A new technology aspires to harness the powerful human sense of smell to enhance our daily lives. Someday this approach might even be used to benefit our health. How is this possible? Step one: Just inhale. We’re living in a playlist world, with many of us curating soundtracks to get us through life’s daily ups…
The videos in this blog are too fascinating not to share. I’m especially interested in the implications for food addiction and diabetes. As someone with a rather acute sense of smell and a love for essential oils, I am super curious about this research. You may find it intriguing as well.
I am just coming out of my first two days at my new job, meeting people and learning more about what I have signed up to accomplish. It is exciting and exhilarating.
It is also like one of my colleagues described it, “like drinking water from a fire hose.” There are a lot of new concepts to absorb, and research units to understand, training to complete, and meetings to schedule.
Over the lunch hour, I attended a session from the Office of the VP for Research on Vulnerable Populations. It was a fascinating look at the fact that researchers sometimes take a paternalistic perspective to protect research participants. But we do not always consider the injustice of excluding certain types of candidates for research, and how this may actually deny treatment alternatives.
Fascinating stuff. I can tell this job is going to challenge my thinking and open me up to new perspectives. I love that.
I also know that by the end of the day, around 4:45 p.m. after two full days of meetings, and a mini-celebration dinner with friends for my birthday on Monday, I was wiped. My brain felt worked and tired.
I considered pushing through and working longer. Then I opened my journal and opted for a short reflection on the day, old-fashioned pen and paper style. It helped clarify my thoughts and questions.
On the 12 minute walk to my car to begin the commute home, I considered what might be a helpful mantra, given a slight feeling of being overwhelmed by expectations. Ultimately I decided on “you have time.”
–You have time to learn the new job (and it is okay that you don’t know everything you need to know/do in the first couple days)
–You have time to get to know the department.
–You have time to map out a strategy and plan.
–You have time to absorb the information you need. You were hired because of your expertise, experience and capabilities, not because you know everything.
–Youhave time to enlist the support you need to be successful.
After a few minutes of deep breathing and chanting this simple mantra to myself, it started to resonate in my body. I felt that familiar relaxation response, when my mind starts to believe what I am “feeding” it via conscious thoughts, and my body lets go of anxiety.
The next time you find yourself flipping into a mental script has you feeling overwhelmed, you might tell yourself that “you have time.” See what effect it has on your body, and your feelings. You have time.
I have been doing some thinking in the last couple of weeks to determine what will be the new rhythm of my blog as I begin a new job on June 10th – my birthday!
One of my popular columns & topic areas was the Wellness Wednesday post, which I did some time back. Since I am returning to the workplace, I am going to write a little bit less frequently. I want bring mindfulness to Workplace Wellness. And since I will receive my yoga teacher certification this fall, I really want to bring principles of wholeness and integration to my new workplace.
I will be a Research Program Manager for the Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute at the University of Minnesota. I am looking forward to it, and I still want to write a couple times a week. So my Sunday haiku will remain (it’s kind of a staple of my week). I still plan to do a Saturday share, maybe every other week, or whenever a particular blog inspires me. It’s good karma to promote others work as well!
And rather than the Tuesday/Thursday posts, I will begin a series on Workplace Wellness to be posted each Wednesday throughout the summer and maybe beyond. (WWW – so you won’t forget to check here!).
These posts will be reminders to myself for how to live well in a changing workplace, and I hope they might help others as well. I plan to integrate principles of yoga and other wisdom I may learn along the way of this new journey.
I thank you so much for your readership and support! Happy Wednesday!
On Saturday I will teach my first one hour soma yoga practicum to a several members of my YTT-200 class. I am a little nervous but mostly excited. Originally I was scheduled to teach on Sunday but I swapped with a classmate who needed to make a switch.
Good for me, I am getting it done soon! Wish me some good vibes. I will likely be done by the time you’re reading this but I don’t believe time is always linear, so I’ll accept your wishes before or after Saturday. 😉
And needless to say, I had no time to select a Saturday share post, so that feature will be back next week.
The other morning I opted for a home yoga practice using the audio from a Yoga Teacher Training class that had been recorded for our use.
The first practice called for a small sandbag to lay across our belly as we lay on our mat, to provide some sensory input to feel our diaphragmatic breath. I had no sandbag at home, so I used a small pillow to simulate at least the shape of a sandbag on my abdomen.
As I was considering whether I should place an order for such a thing, my big sandbag of a cat (Calvin) came up and draped himself across my belly, negating the need for that.
It’s hard to know why my cats find me so appealing when I practice yoga. I often think they like it when I am on the floor, practicing poses that get me closer to them. They also seem to understand that, after I practice yoga, my body seems to emit blissful energy and calm.
I realize that is probably fairly anthropomorphic for me to interpret their behavior in that way. There is something about those long inhales and exhales, those full belly breaths that get me into a state of ease. So many of us get used to breath-holding in our daily lives, bracing against stress, or simply holding ourselves in with uncomfortable clothing, belts, braces or even neckties.
What if we learned to embrace that full belly breath and to stop “sucking it in”? Our bellies are made to expand during the inhale. When we only allow for chest breathing, we end up with tightness and muscle tension in our shoulders and our neck. Shallowness in our breath can result in confused and disoriented states of mind.
It took me not very long on a therapeutic spinal strip to realize there was a lot of chronically held tension held in my back and shoulders. Indeed I have to consciously bring my shoulders down when I notice the slight scrunch that seems to happen subtly or when I am at a keyboard, mentally focused and working.
I am dismantling some of these patterns, and actively reminding myself in meditation and yoga to breathe fully. At the same I am learning to notice and slow down at more points throughout my day when I find my thoughts racing (and then usually notice the breath has followed). Then I consciously take in a few long inhales and exhales, bring myself back to the present and realize that my mind was caught up in a story about the future, or perhaps a regret about the past.
So simple, and yet so radical. Thank you, Calvin, for helping me sense and feel that breath deep into the belly. I know you do not struggle with this, and I appreciate re-learning this skill that we all master as infants and then forget.