The airplane rule.
Ever heard of the airplane rule? Ever been on an airplane? I recently took my first ride on those big gravity defying tubes back in May, and this trip was also my first time leaving the country. Got a twofer in the traveling department. On each flight I took on my way to and from Australia, (total of 8 flights), the in-flight safety videos teach flyers about the oxygen mask. Oxygen masks drop down in case there is a drop in cabin pressure in the plane, and the rule is that you fasten on your mask first, before helping others, whether they be children or adults. This small analogy can be applied to all aspects of life, and following it backward (while noble) benefits no one.
I have talked about this rule in previous articles, and it is important that we all understand the purpose behind it. If you try placing the mask on your small child, before securing your own air, you will soon become dizzy and may very well pass out. You may fail to fasten their mask properly, resulting in both of you passing out, which may result in death. When you fasten your mask right away, thus taking care of yourself first, you are able to help the people around you. Even if they are already unconscious, (which only takes 15-20 seconds) would still be able to affix their mask and revive them.It is important that we take care of ourselves before we try to care for others. We can never truly help others until we are well rounded and positive individuals. We must have our needs met before trying to meet the needs of others. However, there are times where we may not always be able to fill our bellies, in which sharing and compassion are absolutely necessary. When we transcend our physical selves by making it positive and healthy habits, serving the world becomes not only the goal but also the purpose.
It is important that we take care of ourselves before we try to care for others. We can never truly help others until we are well rounded and positive individuals. We must have our needs met before trying to meet the needs of others. However, there are times where we may not always be able to fill our bellies, in which sharing and compassion are absolutely necessary. When we transcend our physical selves by making it positive and healthy habits, serving the world becomes not only the goal but also the purpose.
You are what you eat, so create your mindset as you would your children’s.
We all know that a carrot carries a lot more benefit for our body than what a cupcake has to offer. But who actually finds vegetables tastier than sugary treats? You may find that your craving for sweets is not all powerful, although sugar is one of the strongest drugs in the world. Yes, sugar is a drug. We have grown so used to it being in everything, and so we take no notice of its effects on our bodies. Yet none of us would give our children or ourselves heroin, so why give them so much sugar?
90% of our serotonin is found in the lining of our stomach, and serotonin is the neurotransmitter which most influences our mood. For more information on how this works, click here. This being said, what we consume literally decides how we think, feel, interpret, function, and thus behave. The old saying, “You are what you eat” couldn’t be truer. We all want to be happy, right? Taking care of ourselves starts first with what we put into our bodies, and this means all of our senses, not just what we eat.
With that being said, I can tell you first hand that changing my diet has greatly improved my quality of life. No, I have not completely cut out sugar. But I do try to avoid massive amounts of foods that are pure sugar and limit the food that does contain some sugar. The natural sugar in fruits is totally okay, because they contain a balance of glucose and fructose, whereas processed foods usually contain only fructose. My thought processes and efficiency has changed so dramatically over the past few years, even though the change in diet is not the only reason.
Run with your stresses, not away from them.
There are several realms of taking care of ourselves before being able to fully serve others, and exercise one of the biggest ways to form a mindset (and body) that you desire. Exercise can be difficult, especially when starting from a point of not exercising at all. It is natural when we are sad, stressed, angry or upset to curl up, hunch over, sit, and dwell. The best thing for us when we are down is to straighten our posture and get moving.
Today I had to have an MRI, and the technician told me that there would be two sessions for 20 minutes each, the first without the dye to contrast and the second with the dye. I had to hold my arms up over my head and lie still for the duration of the MRI. After a while, this became very painful in my shoulders and neck. But for those of you who have no knowledge of MRI’s, if you move around, they have to start over because the images the machine takes get blurry. It turns out that I ended up being in there for an hour for the first session, and 10 minutes for the second. The technician told me wrong. Had I not been exercising and meditating consistently for the past 2 years, I would not have been able to do that.
Every single day, I do a set number of pushups, (which I increase by 5 every few weeks) sit ups, and I try to get out and go for a walk. I have found it is more beneficial to do this right after waking up, although the rush of getting up sometimes pushes that out of my mind. It is a constant work in progress. Stresses are necessary, and not always negative. However, avoiding them only make them grow larger, and a good way to let off steam is to exercise. Writing, drawing, or talking to someone who listens are also very helpful.
Yes, you can “Sleep when you’re dead” but it will come sooner if you do not rest now.
Many workaholics, party animals, Netflix bingers, and those of us who just have difficulty sleeping sometimes say the words in quotations above. And yes, there is some truth to that. Although we cannot experience anything when we are dead because there is nothing left of us to do the experiencing. When we lose sleep, it takes a long time to make that up. Some sleep never does get caught up.
Our bodies need to recharge. I would say that your odds are pretty good, considering you only have to sleep for a third of the day and get to be awake for the other two. I know how hard it is to get to sleep, and have tried many remedies for getting to sleep faster, staying asleep, and not feeling groggy. I can tell you that while pills and medications may knock you out faster, the long term effects of these substances are very detrimental. Try to avoid these at all costs. The hope is that we do not need to use anything to sleep, whether it be man made or natural remedies such as teas or herbs, but the truth is, it isn’t always that easy.
The yogi or monk who lives up in the mountain on nothing but rice, vegetables, and water did not always live like that. And that lifestyle is definitely not for everyone. But there is a lot of truth in living simply. I personally have tried many medications for sleep, only to feel like shit the next day. An addiction to these substances was something that I had difficulty beating, but that is a story for another day. I have used cannabis for sleep as well, and while it is much safer, and deeper sleep is nice, the groggy feeling in the morning still persists. I have found that a combination of zero light, meditation, and not using my phone right before sleeping has helped tremendously. The groggy feeling in the morning is still something to figure out.
Serve yourself, serve the world.
While this rough description of physical improvement is not a one size fits all, it can definitely be used as a baseline or reference for those who are having trouble being positive. Another big factor in our mindset is who we spend our time with, as well as what we spend our time doing. Both of those topics are for another post. But I can tell you personally that taking the steps to improve myself have shown results. As with anything, micro steps are key, as setting huge goals for yourself is a sure way to feel defeated and have an attitude of “I can’t”.
Taking action is the and will always be the only way to having the life you desire. I spent 18 years thinking and pondering and talking about how I could improve, how I was gonna. That Chris was missing the one element that creates our life: action. If you want something, or dislike something, do something about it. Fix it yourself, don’t wait for someone else to fix it or for a miracle to happen. This applies to the special someone you want to the state of the world you dislike. (But remember that the Earth is fine, the people are fucked!) Do something about it.
Once we learn to take care of ourselves, and only after we are well-rounded, positive individuals, can our advice to the collective make a positive impact. Practice what you preach, right? The saying “I care more about others than I do myself” is thoughtful and kind when looking at intentions, but when you look at the people who say it, more often than not (but not always) they are afraid of taking the steps to better their lives. I have been one of those people for a long time, and only after I started worrying about myself first (while still being polite and respectful) was I able to make a positive impact in others lives.
Taking care of yourself before others is not selfish (as long as we are not rude, hostile, or inconsiderate of others). When we are well grounded in the spiritual, mental, physical, emotional and financial domains, we are in a greater position to positively influence the lives of others. Love yourself, and your purpose will come.
If you found this article interesting, feel free to leave a comment, question, or story below. I am always excited to hear the words of others, whatever they may be. I hope you have a wonderful day!