Monday, October 22, 2012

Your body is speaking to you, are you listening?

Child With Headphones by Tania Franco

An essential tool to learn how to support yourself in feeling well is listening to your own body. Your body is continually speaking to you through subtle shifts in sensation. It is just as important to identify how stress feels as it is to know how relaxation feels.

Stress levels in most people tend to be high, yet most are unaware of it. Many people feel tension in their back, jaw, and chest, and describe it as feeling tight. Relaxation tends to be felt in the same areas as stress, yet are described as the opposite sensation.

One strategy to be able to learn to identify different feelings in your body is to become aware of your sensations during activities that you like and dislike.

When you feel extremely pressured, how and where do you feel that? On a scale of 1-10 how much stress are you feeling? When being involved in a situation that you really enjoy notice where do you feel it and how would you describe the sensation?

How does happiness feel? Where do you feel it?
Where do you feel anger? How would you describe the sensation?
What about Fear? Peace? Sadness?

I personally feel tension in my jaw and feel relaxation and happiness in my chest. When I feel pressured, whether by myself or others I notice my breathing is shallow and feel tightness in my chest. My heart center becomes closed. When I feel happy or relaxed I feel openness in my heart space and it also feels light.

Why is it important to identify your body’s cues?

Having this information about yourself can empower you to do something about it. Maybe the tension in your back is letting you know that you have overscheduled yourself and that you need to remove activities from your day. Maybe that headache you’re getting is reminding you that you need to eat.

Noticing that something or someone makes you feel good might mean that you need to dedicate more time to that activity or spend more time with this person. Become aware of these things, the more you practice the better you will become at it.

- Tania Franco

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Happiness is an Art Form

Pacific Beach, San Diego Photo by Tania Franco

I read somewhere that being unhappy took the same amount of energy as being happy. I was completely dumbfounded. It was true. If that is the case, isn’t it better to use one’s energy towards feeling well?

I had spent so much energy in feeling dissatisfied with so many things in the past, that I felt like I had to start thinking for the first time how would contentment feel in my own body. How would I sense satisfaction? These concepts had always felt so abstract to me as if they were outside of me. I then realized that I would not know if I had achieved them if I was completely unaware of how they would feel or look when they manifested in my life. 

It was at that moment that I decided to focus my energy into feeling well and to be grateful for being alive and for all the blessings that were a part of my life.

That is how I started my happiness practice. This is how I began to feel appreciation for simple things like drinking a cup of coffee in complete silence or sharing a laugh with a good friend or having the opportunity to watch a hummingbird fly for a few seconds. 

As my appreciation for daily wonders grew, I began to feel more content and satisfied with my life. I began to notice and appreciate the bigger things that made my life whole, like having a deep connection with loved ones, being involved in activities that give my life meaning or having a lively inner life. Before, a lot of these things would go unnoticed.

I have dedicated much of my life to the pursuit of happiness and yes sometimes to explore the other end of its spectrum which would appear as unhappiness, but we will discuss this in detail in another time. I now believe that for the most part happiness is a choice. I want to share with you the myriad of options that can support you in achieving it. I truly do believe that creating and recognizing happiness is an art form.

Welcome to my blog.

- Tania Franco