The Power of saying NO

I had just returned from a whistle-stop trip to Italy, which I knew would be a challenge as traveling and in particular flying can be tiring, at the best of times, but with a fibro body, you need to be able to pace yourself and avoid stress.
In the past I have been a very nervous flier often gripping the seat or arm of the adjacent passenger. Lucky for them, I have been managing my stress and fear, I managed to remain calm even when we hit some turbulence on the way home, it was all good, I practiced my yoga breath and used it as a form of mediation, at one point I thought we had already landed when the undercarriage went down. TRE (trauma release exercises) have definitely contributed to my body’s ability to reduce the stress meaning, no pain.

On my return home, I did not feel well enough to go out for a walk with my husband and the dog. I knew I needed to sleep. I was not feeling any pain, just extreme tiredness and I knew going for a walk would make me feel worse. So Dog and husband went for a walk without me, I slept. I felt better. Result, all I had to do was say ‘No’ there was not an explanation required.

‘No’ is a complete sentence, it does not require a justification. It is the most empowering sentence that you can ever use. At first you feel guilty for saying it and try to explain your rationale. It’s even harder with friends and family, they give you a look, you then end up backing down, and agreeing to something that you don’t want to do, that can often impact your mind, body and spirit.

The result that this can have on your health can be catastrophic. I have learnt from experience, it is not easy to say ‘No’, but once you start it does get easier.

I have always been quite easy going and happy to go along with things, and even though I might not want to do something, rather than say so, I have gone along with it for fear of upsetting anyone, and in the process made myself feel ill and then complained that I wish I hadn’t done it.

Living with a chronic pain condition requires you to pace yourself……….easier said than done, particularly when you are having a good time and feel better. In the early days of my diagnoses, I did not think it possible that I would ever have good days and feel well. If I wanted to something special, like going for a night out, I knew that I would have to weigh up the fact that I would feel really poorly for 3 or 4 days after the night out. It was always worth it, but then sometimes you have a really good day and do more as you feel well and then the next day you have a relapse.
I thought I was invincible and everyone kept telling me to pace myself, I thought I knew best, then burn out!

A couple of years ago, I was walking with a stick, sometimes I didn’t need it, on the days when I had paced myself. They were good days. Then I would do a bit more than I should have done, the pacing went out of the window and the stick started to became an indication of a good or bad day. As Fibro is a hidden illness, on stick days friends, family and colleagues could tell it was a bad day. However on good days, because I didn’t have my stick, some people got the impression I was well. They did not realise the effort that I had gone to, to walk without a stick.

It still takes a lot of determination and I still have to make sacrifices and battle with my body to ensure that I use effective pacing, to stay pain and medication free. Learning to stay ‘NO’ has been the biggest tool in my Holistic healing journey, sometimes it has been really hard and difficult, not to justify why I am saying No.

I like Bruce Campbell’s description of The Energy Envelope

To use the idea of the energy envelope, think of your situation as having three elements. The first is your available energy. This is the energy you have to accomplish things. It is limited and is replenished by rest and food. The second is your expended energy, the energy you lose through physical, mental and emotional exertion.

The third is your symptoms, fatigue, brain fog, pain, and so on. In this view, if you expend more energy than you have available, you will intensify your symptoms. This is called living outside the energy envelope. An alternative is living inside the energy envelope.

If you keep your expended energy within the limits of your available energy, you have a chance to reduce symptoms, and over time may be able to expand your limits.

Life is not a rehearsal, this is it! Why waste your time doing something you really don’t want to do. Take control of your life. Learn to say NO and start living inside Your Energy Envelope.

Recently everyone has been telling me I look so well; I feel amazing but it takes a lot of effort and I continue to attend my weekly yoga practice, my monthly gong baths, I fill my life with people who make me laugh and smile and avoid the energy vampires (those people who leave me feeling worn out, as they feed off my energy to make themselves feel better). Sometimes you need to be selfish if you want to get your life back.

Try saying NO, it could really be the starting point to your own empowerment.

 

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I am going to enjoy this!

 

I recently met an inspirational lady who has really changed the way I see and do things. Earlier this month I had a text from a yogi friend who gave me the heads up, that we would be doing laughing yoga on our usual Friday yoga practice. As a lady who had come into her shop to buy an ice-cream, had ended up leaving her, agreeing to show us the practice of laughing yoga!

 

I had heard of laughing yoga, but had not ever had the opportunity to try it out. So it was with great anticipation and excitement that I rocked up to yoga that Friday, ready and willing to laugh my socks off. I should point out at this stage, that my long-suffering yoga teacher Virginia often has to become a bit stern with the Friday group, as we are a bit raucous and exuberant with our energy on Friday mornings,  that she has to try to contain the naughty ones that can be very disruptive. (naturally that’s not me, as you all know I am very quiet and unassuming!!!!!).   

 

I met Kirti the lovely laughing yoga lady on route to the studio and immediately warmed to her wonderful aura. Once we were all settled she explained about the benefits of laughing yoga, and when she told us of her age and some medical conditions she had; I was blown away by this passionate and extremely well looking lady. There is definitely something in it. Her positive attitude shone through.

 

We started off the session by clapping and saying ho, ho, ha, ha, ha and then went through some various exercises that had me in hysterics, including greeting each other and talking gibberish, it was hilarious. My face hurt so much from smiling and laughing.

 

Kirti explained that we often go through life with a copy and paste attitude. Each day we have a habit of copying and do the same things from yesterday and end up filling our lives with stuff, without any time to Just Be and Notice……. That really struck a chord with me. I now make sure that I take time out to just be and notice the little things, even if it is just to change the way I do things.

 

By nature we tend to always clean our teeth with the same hand. TRY THIS…….clean your teeth with the opposite hand, not only does it clean your teeth differently due to the change in angle, but it is retraining your brain away from default and then try standing on the opposite leg from the one that is cleaning your teeth. I nearly choked on the toothpaste as it started to make me laugh.

 

Oh what Joy………the blissful sound of laughter, the smile, the feeling, the great energy it creates.

 

You want to keep your brain active? Get a note pad and on the right hand side jot down the numbers 1-10 with that hand then on the left hand jot down the numbers 1-10 with your left hand and then write the number one next to the number and two and so on with right and left hands then progress onto sentences….in time your non dominant handwriting will look the same. I still have a long way to go, my brain is getting a full work out. It is a great form of meditation.

 

At the end of the session we sat back to back with each other and started to slow our breathing down and back into a calm state. This was so hard, I carried on laughing so much it made me cry! I left that morning with a spring in my step and a smile on my face. I had a few weird looks whilst walking around the supermarket, if only they knew what I know! Oh how they may be able to enhance their lives.

 

Later that evening, I started to giggle, my husband asked what I was laughing at, which make me laugh even more, so much so that I became hysterical and couldn’t speak, as I was laughing at the fact I was laughing about nothing, that made me laugh even more. I felt great, I even laughed away the pain that I got in my side from laughing so much. It must be good for you. When you breathe out and laugh you empty all the stale air from your lungs, it’s a proven thing, try it! It’s really difficult to breath in when your laughing…..  

 

 Kirti has this amazing Mantra that I have started to use:

When faced with challenges in life, as we all are; instead of facing it head-on with fear and dread. Take a deep breath in and say to yourself, I AM and as you breath out slowly say to yourself GOING TO ENJOY THIS.

 

Go on, try to live your life differently, change the way you think, stop copying and pasting, tell the people who matter that you love them, let the little things make you smile and most of all, laugh and enjoy life! 

 

 

Want to know more about laughing yoga, please contact ~ Kirti Sharma   www.bodymindlaughter.co.uk
Come to the amazing yoga studio, please contact~ Virginia Compton www.holisticyogasangha.com

 

 

My Holistic Fibro Fighter Blog