Keeping our Inner House in Order

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While numerous studies have affirmed how important our social connections are to our wellness, research shows that our inner connection affects our overall well-being, too. Having a healthy social life is one of the 7 Dimensions of Wellness, as defined by the International Council on Active Aging. Living with meaning and purpose, guided by our personal values, provides us with a framework to navigate the inevitable challenges of life with peace and inner strength as we age.

There are many ways to foster greater meaning in our lives, including:

1. Meditation – Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to rewire itself, creating new neural pathways in response to both experiences and to focused thinking, like meditation. Meditation also creates the habit of pausing, reminding us of the opportunity to act, instead of react, when something unexpected happens in life.

2. Time in Nature – Some find peace and connection in the beauty of a sunrise, a bird’s call, or a gentle breeze. Charles Dasher finds it on the water and biking trails. “Somebody told me the other day that it’s a ‘God experience, the great outdoors.’ That’s truly what it’s been for me,” said Dasher. “I used to be very judgmental of myself and very hard on myself. I’m not that anymore. I’ve grown to a point where I have a much greater understanding of who I am, and how I move around in the world.”

3. Creative Expression – Belenda Cypress was lost when her husband died suddenly on their 45th wedding anniversary. She channeled her sadness by writing poetry and turned to her faith to keep going. She shares her poems hoping to inspire others facing challenges, even going into jails to read them to inmates. “Keep that hope that people sometimes lose when life doesn’t come out exactly the way you expected it to. Don’t give up,” Cypress said. “Always, always put someone else ahead of yourself, because that is the secret to your joy and peace. Ask for the peace, and you will get it.”

4. Mindful Movement – Mindful exercises like yoga and tai chi are other excellent ways to connect our minds and bodies. As we mindfully follow our breath, our bodies relax, and our stress is reduced.

5. Let Go –  Just as physical clutter can be unsafe in our homes, it’s a good idea to do some mental house cleaning. We can hold onto old ideas and beliefs that no longer serve us. When you find yourself repeating a story or a pattern, ask yourself three questions:

1. Is this really true?

2. Is it helpful? Even if things are true, focusing on them might not be helpful.

3. What can I do to change my experience?

What practices or environments enable you to connect within and create more peace in your life? What’s something you can do today to ensure your inner world is peaceful and well?

A clutter-free home that is the right size as we age helps eliminate stress in our lives. If you need help in de-cluttering, having an estate sale, or downsizing, be sure to reach out to your local Caring Transitions team within Denver including neighborhoods such as Cherry Creek, Capitol Hill, Congress Park, Cheesman Park, Washington Park, Whittier, LoDo, Uptown, Virginia Village, Glendale, Washington Virginia Vale, City Park, Five Points, Curtis Park, Belcaro, and Country Club. We’re here, ready and able to help!

 

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