If you haven’t already seen this comic that’s circulating the web, well, you’re welcome. Let us introduce you to Heart and Brain, a light-hearted commentary by Awkward Yeti on the internal dialogue we all have when our heart desires one thing and our brain another. Here, a few life lessons we can all take away from the quirky comic.
Life lesson #1: Have humble confidence. Trying something new can be daunting, and admitting that we don’t know it all can be uncomfortable. At the same time, some of the greatest learning occurs when we take a step back, absorb new information and create new skills.
We can (and should) know we are awesome, we can love ourselves and we can have pride in our strengths. True confidence, however, can also be humble: We should know in our own hearts that we are worthy and of value without having to prove this to anyone. Too much pride is bred from insecurity. The need to prove and be better than someone else or to know more than others is a sign of not being comfortable in our own skin.
Put it into practice: Next time you are in a beginners situation tell yourself: “I don’t need to know everything to know my worth and value. I’m amazing, no matter what, and don’t need to prove it to anyone.”
Life lesson #2: Feed your brain. Don’t get me wrong: I love movies, novels and, yes, reality TV. I love entering another world, and switching off, relaxing my mind. But I also know the importance of exercising my brain the same way I do my body. When I listen to audiobooks on topics that I love, or spend time research my interests on the web, or play Sudoku, or do puzzles, I feel my brain thank me for this exercise. I am more able to focus when I need to. My memory stays sharp.
Put it into practice: Whenever a topic interests you, find an audiobook on it and go for a walk while you listen to it. In other words: Exercise your body and brain at the same time! Find a puzzle, crossword or some other brain challenge to try out, and put it into your daily routine. My morning coffee and Sudoku routine is one of my favorite “brain food” past times.
Life lesson #3: Enjoy sweet nothing. It’s great to have plans. To set goals. To reach them and feel accomplished. Full, busy days can bring a kind of contented tiredness to the end of the day, happy in our knowledge that we got a lot done. That said, sometimes, the spontaneity of an open day with no plans and the option to do absolutely nothing (or absolutely everything!) can be a freeing feeling. We’re not being lazy when we consciously choose to set aside time to do nothing. Not only do we give our body and mind the opportunity to rest, slow down and relax, but we won’t have any guilt for taking this time out.
Put it into practice: Take a day, a half day, or even just an hour to make a plan to have no plans. Leave this time as open, and see what you do with it. Maybe you nap, or sit, or go for a walk, or find yourself doing something you’ve been wanting to do, but didn’t have the time to do it before. See what comes up, and enjoy sweet nothing.
Life lesson #4: Embrace your relationship with coffee (and / or other love-it, can’t-help-it things). This one is for the coffee lovers. With so many arguments about the health benefits of coffee (and considering my own passion for a healthy lifestyle), there was a time when I questioned whether I should be indulging in that morning cup. But the more I realize that a healthy lifestyle is about balance, and that the rigidity of limiting myself of something that I truly love would feel even more constricting, I have sought to find a happy medium. So how do I nourish my relationship with coffee and support my body in the process? I try to stick to one a day (this isn’t a hard rule), and I always follow my coffee with something green, like a wheatgrass shot, to balance the acidity of coffee and promote a more alkaline state.
Put it into practice: If you love coffee, follow it with something green, fresh and hydrating. If you’re not a coffee drinker, what indulgence do you have in your life that you could accept and have a healthy relationship with, rather than restrict?
Life lesson #5: Live for the now. How can we let go of the past, and live with more presence? In honoring what we have experienced (the good and the bad), we can detach from the clinging of what once was, as well as the yearning to change what is. Oftentimes) our most inward growth occurs from the most challenging times. Could we not be grateful for all of it? For teaching us what we now know, for showing us what we want more of, or less of in our lives? Having gratitude for our past helps us to let it go.
Put it into practice: Mindfulness is another great tool to bring yourself to the present moment. Observing where you are, where your body is in any moment, being completely engaged with what you are doing will allow your past and future thoughts to dissolve as you anchor yourself in to presence. So, where are you reading this right now? What can you hear, smell and see if you look around?
(Buy Heart and Brain: An Awkward Yeti Collection, $12, here.)
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