It’s so easy to make a big deal out of lifestyle changes, to think that everything must happen at the same time and so it doesn’t really work now. Maybe after New Year’s. But it’s the small things we do often that make the biggest difference in our lives, to our health, our well-being and for the people around us. And we can make small shifts all the time. Through conscious choices we shape our lives every day.
Taking the stairs instead of the elevator every day will affect you more than running once a week. Drinking an extra glass of water per day will support the body more positively than gulping down four liters once in a while. Adding one extra vegetable per day is better than eating seven different vegetables in one sitting once a week.
Most of us probably know all that, it’s a recurring theme here at Food Pharmacy. But I also want to focus on what we do for our mental and emotional health. Thinking about a few things you are grateful for every day instead of making a long gratitude list once a month will support the reprogramming of the brain more. To do a body scan every evening and note if there are any emotional knots stuck during the day that need to be felt. Stopping and deepening your breath a few times a day is better than doing breathing exercises only on retreats. Choosing to forgive the small mistakes the people around us make will prepare you for when you really need to find understanding for someone else’s behavior.
And at the same time, when we break down the big, abstract “life”, into the here and now, one moment at a time, we also create the conditions for more enjoyment of life. Because it’s nice to feel the pulse in the stairs, to drink a glass of water, eat yummie vegetables, feel gratitude, release trapped emotions, breathe consciously, and choose to understand and forgive the people around you.
This is it. This moment is your life. Right now. Right here. Whatever you’re doing as you read this, this is your life. What’s real, right now. So, start here. What small step can you take here and now, or at least today, to create the conditions for more well-being, even in the long term?
Sure, sometimes we need to do things today that aren’t so nice today to create an even better tomorrow. But I think we have a lot to gain from shifting perspectives. Implement small and wonderful micro-habits today, be present for them now, and know that over time they will shift your entire life for the better.
Sometimes I use the acronym BEAT to realize which choice I need to make today, to also support the future me and others. BEAT stands for Body, Effect, Alignment and Thank.
Body – what is my body telling me I need to do right now? What intuitively feels like the right choice in this situation?
Effect – how does this choice affect myself and the people around me?
Alignment – which choice is in accordance with the highest version of me? Which choice is in line with my values? And what is an automatic response to old patterns?
Thank – what choice would future me thank for in this situation?
As usual, there is a paradox here; live and be here now AND make choices that also serve your future self.
What is one small thing you can do today that you know you need?
What is the most loving choice in this situation?
Who do I want to be and how do I act when I am the person I choose to be?
What would future me thank myself for if I did now?
You create your life all the time through the choices you make in the present. What small choices are you choosing to make today?