Friday, September 13, 2013

Human Needs

Some thoughts on taking care of ourselves.

Basic Human Needs

By the time you are thirsty, you are probably already dehydrated.  Your body needs lots of water!

Signs of dehydration
Dry Skin
Dry Mouth

How much water daily?
Multiply your weight by .5 to find the baseline amount of water you need daily.
add 8 oz. to this total for every caffeineated beverage or soda you drink.  If you find plain water boring or difficult to drink in large amounts, check out the caffeine-free herbal tea selection at any grocery store.  There are many flavors to choose from, you can boil a cup or two of water, add several tea bags and steep, then add water and ice to make a gallon that is ready to drink from all day.

There is no one right diet plan for every body.  As a basic start, fill the bulk of your diet with whole foods, as unprocessed as possible.  Sugar, MSG, and white flour are at the top of my to-avoid list.  From there, be kind to yourself!  Pay attention to which foods make you feel terrible, and eliminate or greatly reduce those.  If you do want to indulge in one of those foods, take the time to sit down in a relaxed environment and slowly savor a small portion, noticing the smell, texture, and being very present with the taste through the whole experience.  If you want some help on how to get started with that concept, the Center for Mindful Living downtown offers mindful eating sessions, as do I.

Human affection and connection are crucial to our well being.  Whether partnered or not make sure you accept affection from the other loved ones in your life, as well as from yourself.  This includes self-massage, and giving yourself the time to get a massage or other hands-on therapy, even if it is trading with a friend.  If possible, massage therapy and reflexology are great as well.

It is important to feel that you have sources of healthy attention.  Practice deep attentive listening in your relationships to encourage that pattern between the two of you.  Also, meditation can be a wonderful way to sit down and fulfill this need for yourself, to observe your own thought stream with rapt attention.

Participation in community-
If you feel a lack in this area, there are may avenues to find a group of people that you can join.  Check, Facebook groups that also meet in person, local events, faith based groups, volunteer groups and so on.  It can be difficult to find a good fit at first, but it is worth the effort.  Keep trying!  Look for people who are comfortable accepting you for who you are right now.

You may have wise and trusted older relatives or friends that can offer their wisdom.  If you do, lucky you!  If not, a religious leader in the community may be able to help with guidance.  However, the truest teacher is Within yourself.  Practice listening to your intuition, trusting the impressions you get, and acting on the needs you see in yourself.  Also, take a look at the book list in this packet for books I have found particularly helpful for guidance.  You may enjoy all, some or none!  Check the library self-help and spirituality sections for books more to your specific situation.

Altered states of consciousness-
In spite of what you may imagine when you see that phrase, what I am referring to is "transcending the ordinary" and accessing a deeper/higher type of awareness.  Mindfulness based practices can help, meditation, bodywork, and whatever it is for you that makes you feel blissful and timeless.

Healthy sexuality-
We are sexual beings, and are meant to maintain a balance of this aspect of our nature neither depriving ourselves or overindulging.  If you have tended toward deprivation, explore healthy outlets for your sexual energy.  If you have had little to no sex drive, spend some time investigating the causes, and supporting yourself in this area.  Whether partnered or not, women especially benefit greatly from regular solo self-love sessions.  If you tend towards overindulgence, support yourself in reflecting on why that might be so, and what you can do to bring balance.

Emotional balance-
Our emotions are an integral part of the human experience.  If you have a tendency to "stuff down" or ignore your feelings, consider some safe ways you can start to pay more attention to this part of your experience.  Whether you have been ignoring feelings or hanging on to them, even difficult feelings are temporary, experiencing them fully allows them to dissipate or integrate more readily.  Journaling,  talking to a counselor, meditation, inner child work and yoga therapy can all help.

Unconditional Love-
We all have a deep need to love and be loved.  A crucial piece of feeling fulfilled and loved is to actually begin to deeply love ourselves as individuals.  When you commit to listening to yourself, to doing what you need for your well being, that is a powerful path that will change your life.  Think of it like when you have a new romantic partner.  It seems so easy to love everything about that person, to overlook small flaws and to be impressed by simple things that make them who they are.  You feel exhilarated to do things for them, happy to find out what their wants and needs are so you can participate in fulfilling them.  In a similar way, if you begin to looking at yourself as a person worthy of ecstatic unconditional love, and start establishing habits accordingly, you may notice very real changes happening.  This shift can also lead to working on loving relationships you have with others, and all of these connections point to, and are part of, our connection to Divine.