Just like we need veggies for our bodies to stay healthy, we need to veg out for our minds too. Now, when I say “veg out” I don’t mean sitting around and watching mind-numbing TV shows (although I’m totally down with that occasionally). What I really mean is some serious soul food to nourish your mind.
This is a practice I try and do every evening in my journal before I go to bed. It only takes about ten minutes, and it can be revolutionary. So here’s my challenge to you: every night before you crash, sacrifice ten minutes of TV watching time, book reading, paper writing, Facebook creeping, or whatever else you might be doing, and VEG out.
VEG out. It’s a three part practice.
1. Value – Write down three things that you value about yourself or three ways that you have added value to someone else’s life. Make them specific. Instead of saying “I value my passion” say “I value how dedicated and committed I was today to working on completing my project and I’m proud of the result”. Here’s an example of a recent set of self-values for me:
1. I value that I can speak in public, in front of hundreds of people, and love every minute of it and feel so inspired by my courage.
2. I value that I have committed to doing yoga regularly and have maintained that commitment to myself.
3. I value that I am working on becoming a really good active listener and that this has helped nourish many of my relationships.
2. Ego – Take an inventory of your ego, and then forgive. Make a list of all the times fear, judgment, negativity, or an inability to forgive or be grateful got in your way today. Take a few minutes to reflect on your day and take note of the times that you chose fear instead of love, false assumptions instead of trust, selfishness instead of generosity, or judgment instead of gratitude. Write them all down. And forgive yourself. Release all of those past actions. Let them go. And start fresh tomorrow, with a commitment to love, gratitude, and forgiveness.
3. Gratitude – Make a list of three things you are grateful for (or more if you’d like, although I know once I really get rolling this list can be endless). Be sure to pick specific things and write down the reasons why you are grateful for these things. For example, “I am grateful for Lily because she makes me feel so heard when I tell her things that are important to me” or “I am grateful for the sunset I saw this morning when I was running because it helped keep me motivated to run and set a calm and peaceful start to my day”. They can be big things, or they can be small things. Just make them specific.
Seriously. Give it a shot. Tonight before bed, take some time to VEG out. Maybe it won’t be in the way that you’re used to, but it’ll be worth it. Once you commit to a practice like this, stick to it, and you’ll start to see shifts in how you see the world. Little by little.