Weekly Wellness Word: Warmth
Monthly Theme: Sensing
This week’s word is Warmth
There is nothing quite as endearing as a picture of a marsupial with her young peeking its head out of her pouch. Koala bears and kangaroos, the species most commonly known from this class of animals, hold their young close in enveloping warmth for many months after birth. It is a space of protection, of nurturing, of development, of comfort. Without the warmth of the mother's body, the newly born marsupial offspring would quickly die. Nature has creatively provided for their vulnerability during this stage of early growth.
For humans, temperature often seems more of a nuisance than anything. We are too hot in summer, too cold in winter, discontent and grumbling about every little change of weather. Our thermostats are often set it and forget it. Yet, sometimes our bodies don't want to cooperate with that plan. We get a sudden chill and have no reason why. We feel overly warm and take off our sweater. At times it seems a never-ending battle to maintain a state of homeostasis between the temperature of our environment and our bodies.
We search for little compensations for these temperature fluctuations, especially in winter - a blanket of warmth over our shoulders, fuzzy slippers for our feet, a nice cup of tea, a hot bath. Little do we realize that these small comforts are actually small intentional acts of self-care. The effects they produce not only bring a comfortable temperature, but also act to comfort us mentally and emotionally. We add other small elements to intensify the effect - the glow of a candle, soothing music, the snuggly warmth of a loved one. Internationally these fringe benefits are called by different terms like hygge, gemutlichkeit, koselig, and mys. Here in our country we call it coziness.
This week notice what little things produce an effect of coziness for you. What temperature feels most comfortable to you right now? At what temperature are you most productive? Most relaxed? Experiment with small compensations to ease your body whenever you feel discomfort. Try adding some additional cozy effects in the spaces where you live. Stay aware of how these compensations affect you mentally and emotionally. Consider how you might incorporate some of these small acts of self-care into your daily routine to generate a greater sense of serenity through your day.
Quote of the Week
“The way your body generates and uses heat reflects your overall wellbeing. More heat is generated in the trunk of the body and distributed to the limbs and head through the flow of blood. Hands and feet, ears and scalp act like radiators. When you are hot they help dissipate heat; when you are cold their blood vessels constrict and send heat back to the center of the body. This happens not only in response to the temperature around you, but in emergency and chronic stress conditions as well. Faced with a life-threatening crisis, this diversion effect is helpful in providing a maximum amount of energy to the heart, lungs, brain, and muscles. Over a longer period, if stress becomes chronic, this adaptation can be more harmful than helpful. It leads to a retention of energy and is manifested by cold hands and feet. An extreme example is seen in the disorder known as Raynaud’s disease, in which hands become painfully cold. Many people have a less serious form of this condition, without even being aware of it. The first manifestation is consistently cold hands, even when the temperature outside is above 70°F/21°C. Later complications include migraine headaches, blood-sugar problems such as hypoglycemia or diabetes, menstrual problems, and depression.
If you have this tendency, you can learn to consciously make your hands warmer, using methods such as visualization processes and temperature biofeedback/neurofeedback. You can monitor your hand temperature by touching your lips—a stable reference point—to note whether your hands are warm or cold. Soaking in a hot bath or taking a sauna, produces relaxation in a similar way by encouraging blood to flow to the body’s periphery. When this happens, your tissues expand with more blood and you experience pleasure.”
• Wellness Workbook by John W. Travis, M.D. and Regina Sara Ryan
Warm Hands/Good Health
“By relaxing and focusing on warming your hands, you can raise your hand temperature as much as 20°F in five minutes. The result of hand warming is usually a deep state of relaxation or one of the altered states of consciousness experienced in meditation. It is an effective stress reducer and can be used in the control of migraine headaches. It helps the body to carry out its self-repair.
Sit in a relaxed position. Place your hands on your lap, palms facing up, fingers easy.
Begin to slowly say to yourself: ‘My hands are getting warmer.’
Repeat five to ten times or more, maintaining a relaxed mood. Three to five minutes of focused attention will generally start to yield results.
Combine the repetition of the words with a mental picture that suggests warm hands. For instance, see your hands being bathed in warm water; imagine that you are holding your hands up to the sun; visualize someone rubbing your hands to encourage circulation; see rivers of warm energy flowing from the trunk of your body into your hands. In your mind’s eye, surround your hands with a glowing yellow light. Feel them getting gradually warmer.”
• Wellness Workbook by John W. Travis, M.D. and Regina Sara Ryan"
For a deeper dive on ideal temperature and the effects of temperatures outside of the ideal range affects productivity, check out the article below.
How Temperature Affects Workplace Productivity
Have a GREAT week!