Cleansing and Strengthening the Mind – New Way Forward
Greetings to our OHI community; I wish you a sunny and warm spring as we leave the cold season behind. It feels wonderful to get outside and feel the sunshine on our faces and the warm air on our skin after a long winter. Getting outside once again is an apt comparison to the way in which we are emerging from our two years of Covid-19 precautions.
You may recall from our January newsletter, I wrote that after two years of restrictions it was time to move forward, and a great time for re-
evaluating our purpose, vision, values, and goals. It’s a time to reflect on where we’ve been and where we want to go. I also wrote about how to recognize and deal with limiting beliefs. In this issue, I wish to address spring cleaning of the mind and how to strengthen our mental resilience.
Cleaning with Meaning
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
The return of spring always reminds me of spring cleaning. Spring cleaning can apply to cleaning the home or cleansing the mind of negative thoughts about ourselves and other people. At OHI, our tradition for “cleansing the mind” is our Wednesday Release Ceremony. During this sacred ceremony, our guests are encouraged to reflect on limiting thoughts, words, or deeds. Then, on a slip of paper, they write a list of things that no longer serve them. The entire community forms a circle around a fire, and each guest symbolically releases their limiting beliefs by burning their slips of paper with the full unconditional support of their fellow guests, staff, and missionaries at their side. By releasing these limiting items, space is created for future positive intentions.
Moving Forward in the Face of Adversity
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
As we begin to emerge from the restrictions of the past two years, it’s time to plan how we are going to forge ahead. Meanwhile health experts are predicting either another wave of Covid variants or an entirely new pandemic; war has erupted in Eastern Europe; and inflation is causing prices to rise dramatically.
How are we going to handle the next crisis? We will handle it by developing mental toughness and mental resilience.
The American Psychological Association defines resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress, and that it is a trait that can be learned by anyone.
Humans are creative creatures, and when adversity strikes we adapt and find new ways of thriving. We are resilient, but it takes practice and planning. Developing a resilient mindset begins with positive thinking and avoiding anxiety through mindfulness. It means staying focused on your goals, even when circumstances force you to find a different path to reach them. Regularly visualizing the achievement of your goals will reduce anxiety and build self-confidence. A high level of self-confidence gives you control – not over unanticipated developments – but over your emotions and how you perceive and react to them. And, your commitment to your goals will help you overcome the challenges to achieve them.
Snap Back from Setbacks the OHI Way
On a practical basis, here are some things you can do to build your mental resilience:
Life is a learning process. Manage your self-talk by catching negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones. Acknowledge what you did correctly, what you learned from the mistake, and remind yourself that life is a process of learning. Just think of the old saying: “If you aren’t failing; you aren’t trying hard enough.”
Accept life on life’s terms. If something is frightening you, find its source. Identify the cause, investigate it, analyze it, and determine if it’s real. Knowledge and understanding quell fear, and help you determine what you can do within your power to resolve it. Dale Carnegie, in his book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, suggests that you ask yourself, “What is the worst that could happen?” Then he says to either accept that or seek out the answers you need to fix it.”
Build up your skillset. Nothing is more empowering than developing your abilities. The better you get at a particular skill the more your confidence and self-esteem will grow. Mastery and competence also enhance your problem-solving skills and enable you to handle challenges as they arise.
Limit your exposure to anxiety producing situations. If you know you’re not ready to move to the next level, don’t force yourself. However, there is sometimes a fine line between feeling ready and being ready. Many times our fear of failure keeps us from trying even when we are fully competent. This is a good time to have a friendly colleague help you determine if you are indeed qualified; someone who will give you a push if you’re holding back when you needn’t be.
Practice self-care by eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Following OHI’s healthy holistic diet and taking regular walks outside in the sun and fresh air will do wonders to keep you mentally strong and resilient. Make sure you are including fun in your schedule. Do something on your bucket list. Alternatively, take on a chore you’ve been putting off, there’s nothing more fortifying and energizing than the sense of accomplishment that comes from finally doing something you’ve been putting off.
Cultivate community. Develop a support network; start with your cohort here at OHI, the people who truly understand you and your goals. When you talk out your problems, fears, and challenges with others, it helps you put them in perspective and come up with solutions you may not have thought of.
Engage in self-discovery to identify your strengths and weaknesses. I like to do this first by meditating to clear my mind. Next by journaling: I inventory my talents and accomplishments to set a positive tone, and then I vent about my struggles. I find that the very process of writing often brings an idea for the solution I need.
Accept that change is inevitable. Helen Keller wisely observed, “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” One way to accept change is to see it as the advent of opportunity – for creating new business or making new friends. For many people change causes fear and anxiety, but when you live mindfully (one day at a time) and patiently (another one of OHI’s 5 Ps to holistic healing), you find that most change is not nearly as bad as you anticipated, and oftentimes it turns out to be better.
See your life as a journey. Don’t let the bumps in the road upset you, see them as new experiences from which you can learn.
This spring, I highly encourage you to come to OHI for your own personal retreat. Our program classes, cleansing diet, and the warmth of the OHI community will undoubtedly support you in your journey to optimum health.
OHI, The Safest Place to be Outside of Your Home!
We continue to make upgrades to both of our facilities. At both locations, our OHI for Life Wellness Rooms are outfitted with a Molekule air purifier and 100% organic cotton linens and towels (including fitted sheets). We also brought Covid-19 testing in-house. At OHI San Diego: every guest room has wood flooring, high-speed internet, black-out shades, our guest room bathrooms have been renovated, and 80% of our food is from local organic farms. At OHI Austin, we added new wood flooring and carpet to our exercise classroom. We hope you come to experience our OHI for Life Wellness Rooms – designed with your safety and comfort in mind.
Here’s wishing you health and wellness in this spring season.
Yours in prayer,
Robert P. Nees, Jr.
Senior Pastor and Chairman
Optimum Health Institute of San Diego and Austin