Tag Archives: stress

Walking into authenticity

A pilgrimage walk is so much more than an ordinary hike, working on many subtle levels, that may trigger a changed perspective and a complete realignment of emotional, physical and spiritual needs.

Walking the Camino is a walk into authenticity when the whispers from the inner voice gradually become heard as with every step more distance is created from the pull of the external distractions of the daily treadmill.

Moving to a higher energy level

From my own observations, I would say that most people are living lives in which they suffer in a quiet misery of unhappy jobs, dysfunctional relationships and other unfulfilled needs that come when the mind is focused too much on external rather than internal needs.

A combination of a daily dosage of junk foods, a mind fed with negative gossip and emotional drama, a sedentary lifestyle, an imbalanced stress, and recuperation cycle, inevitably lead to a downward energy spiral.

Finding that momentum to change an unhappy situation

Over the years it then becomes that much more difficult to find enough energy for the momentum to change an unhappy situation, especially when it comes to taking that first step in changing bad food habits, doing a regular exercise routine or morning ritual.

When you are on a pilgrimage walk, you simply have to keep going. Once you are on the path the pull to complete it is very strong. Other pilgrims will give you that extra bit of encouragement when you are having a down moment.

Walking off old emotional baggage

Especially during the early stages of the walk, there will be mornings when every muscle in the body is aching and feet are blistered.  You may be asking: “Why am I doing this?” But gradually the walk becomes easier, the load from a backpack less heavy, and the motivation to reach the destination that much bigger.

Camino_Portuguez

It is a huge reward when you actually start feeling so much better, physically and emotionally.  It is part of the detox, the walking off of old emotional baggage, that is part of the Camino experience.

By the time you have walked three or four weeks on your pilgrimage retreat, your energy frequency inevitably rises. This becomes noticeable in the resonance with people that have a positive mindset.  You might find stray dogs or cats following you, a bird singing at you from a breakfast table or complete strangers greeting you and starting a conversation. You will also become more aware of the beauty of your surroundings.

Taking time out for realignment

Over the years I’ve tried fitting in a pilgrimage retreat into my schedule every year. It has been life-changing. Modern lives have become exceedingly stressful with the emotions of pain and fear dictating the daily narrative. The uncertainty that comes with exceptional economic and social changes is making many people ill.

More than ever, therefore, we need those time out retreats for inner realignment for those age-old questions seeking answers: Where do I come from? Where am I going? Am I leaving a positive footprint for future generations? The sense of purpose reveals itself in the authentic self.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

                                             applepodcast         

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Camino de Santiago, connection, happiness, lifestyle management, meditation, mental-health, Pilgrimage, psychology, self-development, spirituality, Uncategorized

Time out is crucial for your health

Most people living in an urbanized environment live highly stressful lives, spending most of their lifetime in closed indoor environments or on noisy streets. It is crucial for health and well-being to reconnect with nature and the natural rhythm of the universe.

Sprint and recovery

An integrated sprint and recovery system that integrates work and recuperation time spent outdoors in nature, should be built into our daily routine.

img_2311

In order to function as human beings we need lazy time for rest, recovery, creative play and the digestion of the countless distractions vying for our attention round the clock.  There is a huge amount of scientific evidence showing that stress factors such as high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and high cortisol stress hormone levels begin to fall as soon as we focus our attention on the rustling of leaves in a green forest or hear the sound of ocean waves gently washing to shore.

Natural light is crucial for your body metabolism

Natural sunlight affects our bodies in many ways.  It is a catalyst for the secretion of hormones such as serotonin and melatonin. Melatonin is an important antioxidant and can neutralize some agents that damage cells and DNA that are believed to be a contributing cause of some cancers.

Indoor toxins may threaten your health

When we spend most of our lives indoors we also expose ourselves to countless indoor toxins that come in the form of mold, dust mites, fabrics and chemical compounds.

After going through a period of massive job and personal stress that left me badly fatigued, grumpy and in poor health, I went on my first pilgrimage hike in northwestern Spain some ten years ago. It changed my life and since then I’ve taken time out every year to spend between three and four weeks at a time walking in nature. I’ve interviewed numerous people from all walks of life on the Camino, who have confirmed my own observations that walking is a wonderful way of reconnecting with the universal rhythm.

Great thinkers found inspiration while walking!

During research for my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul”, to be published later this year by Morgan James Publishing in New York, I was surprised to discover that some of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, found inspiration while walking.

Henry David Thoreau wrote in his journal, “Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.

The poet William Wordsworth was said to have walked as many as a 290,000 kilometers (180,000 miles) in his lifetime. This translates to an average of six and a half miles a day starting from the age of five.

Humans are hard-wired to live in the past or in the future because planning and learning from the past has been crucial to the survival of our species.

Listen to thoughts when walking

Real joy comes from those magical moments of being absolutely present and experiencing spirituality, love and peace of mind.

It is an enlightening experience to “listen” to your own thoughts when walking. Becoming aware of your thoughts is the first step toward focusing on the moment.

Take a break, savor the nature around you by opening your sense of smell to the herbs by the wayside, open your ears to the chorus of bird song and feel that cool mountain breeze caressing your face.

Nature is the best healer!

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

                                             applepodcast         

Leave a comment

Filed under cancer, cortisol, energy, environment, exercise mental health, healing nature, meditation, stress, Uncategorized

Beyond control

In one of my recent leadership workshops it soon became apparent that several participants were highly stressed out by external matters in their institution beyond their control.

The result is a general feeling of helplessness, that, if not addressed, can lead to a life of silent misery and frustration that is the root cause of most depression.

During a stress situation we fall into tunnel vision, unable to see or perceive things from a different perspective.

Stress starts with a thought as much as opening the gate to a hallway of bliss starts with a positive emotional shift.

rawpixel-611119-unsplash (1)

Emotional shifting is replacing the negative thought with an inner memory, image, or event where we recall a deeply positive feeling.

Negative thought attracts negative people and situations. Becoming a magnet of higher energy frequency get to be a challenge when we are bombarded with a “ghetto blaster” of negative media.

Training the mind with thought discipline is like training the body for a marathon run. You start with small baby steps and take it from there. Awareness is the first step.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

Leave a comment

Filed under happiness, Job satisfaction, lifestyle management, psychology, self-development, stress, Uncategorized

Go Slow To Go Far

One of the  many lessons learned walking the Camino in Spain is that you have to go slow to get far.  I must admit that I too get infected at times by the “bug” that bites many hikers on the Camino: Getting up in the early hours of the morning and racing ahead to the next town to avoid the hassle of finding no accommodation.

IMG_1014

In some of the remote towns albergues or hostels for pilgrims are rare. But on all my ten walks on the Camino, I have always found a place to stay for the night. The Spanish people are incredibly hospitable and friendly toward pilgrims walking the Camino. If worse comes to worse a sports hall or school classrooms is opened with mattresses on the floor. Villagers in the towns have even been seen offering their private bedrooms to tired pilgrims.

But the Camino is in many ways an analogy of life and you inevitably take yourself with you on a journey.  Many pilgrims take a time out from their stressed-out lives at home, and have difficulty switching to a calm, slowed-down rhythm.

And, under stress or in a hurry, you make mistakes. You go into tunnel vision and start missing way markers, making your walk that much longer than planned. You miss out seeing many of the small miracles or the messages sent by the universe on your way. You fail to pace your energy, ending up with blisters on your feet, hurt knees and back problems.

Sometimes a small talk with a villager or a word from a fellow pilgrim along the way can be an immense eye opener and blessing. I have walked several of the Camino routes more than twice and have been amazed at how much I didn’t see the first time around, and how different each Camino walk was.

Staying in the moment is one of the most difficult exercises in the hurried life of the Western mind which is preoccupied with all the fears of tomorrow and the events of the past. Will I have to sleep under the bridge? Will I be safe?  I have seen pilgrims literally fall into panic upon hearing that there was no accommodation left in the town. It is an innate fear to be in a foreign place and having no place to stay.  Others stay completely calm, trusting in the universe that a solution will always be found, laughing it off as part of the Camino experience.

I have taken this Camino experience to heart. A day can be ruined by a stressed-out, hurried mindset where one little catastrophe follows the next.  Or, you can just take one step back, concentrating on the breathing, deliberately slowing your walk by a pace or two, and then just taking it as it comes.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant 

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Camino de Santiago, life vision, lifestyle management, Pilgrimage, spirituality, Uncategorized

As within so without

That which is above is from that which is below, and that which is below is from that which is above…

IMG_0309

Art in the Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, Majorca

This excerpt from the Emerald Tablet of Hermes, a text shrouded in mystery and believed to be several thousand years old, illustrate to some extent how much the ancient teachers emphasized the discipline of thought.

In simple terms you could also translate the text into: What you think, you will attract.

That is why nearly all the great masters recommend and practise themselves  meditation, reflection and alone-time to realign with what is the core essence, and transmuting the daily impulses that come in reaction to dealing with life’s challenges and distractions.

Subconsciously we pick up emotions from people around us and especially from the exposure to mass media. The word “media” has its origins from the Latin word “medius” – the middle – or the medium communicating with the spirit world and passing the message on to the rest of us folk.

What we are seeing and hearing is only one window of reality and that window is often a message of fear and negativity. I would dare to say that the agenda of most of our daily thoughts is set by the first news report or “bad dream” we are exposed to in the morning.

The message from the Emerald Tablet is that we are co-creators of our universe, built in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). You need to build a wall around the temple of your soul so that you can be a creator of your own reality. Surround yourself with a protective imaginary wall that protects you from impulses that trigger stress, fear and other toxic emotions.

Reino Gevers – Mentor and Author – Your Health Matters

Awakening the Fire Within – key principles of health and success. Enrolling now will give you a 25 per cent discount.

 “Walking on Edge – A Pilgrimage to Santiago” available both in Kindle and paperback.

http://www.reinogevers.com

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under exercise mental health, happiness, humanity, lifestyle management, Uncategorized

Back pain: Walk it off

Back pain is becoming an increasing disability, increasing by more  than 50 per cent since 1990. A series of papers just released by The Lancet shows that most treatments such as surgery and the use of opioids is doing more harm than good.

back pain

Foto, courtesy Jesper Agergaard

Apart from accidents and genetic conditions, there are multiple reasons why chronic back pain is reaching epidemic proportions. Poor posture, stress and a mainly sedentary lifestyle are some of the obvious.  In Germany statistics from public health insurance companies show that back pain has been one of the main reasons for absenteeism from work for years, costing the national economy a fortune in lost productivity.

Anyone who has suffered lower back pain will know how debilitating it can be and what impact it can have on happiness and general well being. It can force us into a state of paralysis where even the most willing of minds is trapped in an incapable body.

During stress situations our muscles tighten, especially around the neck and shoulder areas. Pressure has to go somewhere and will eventually find an avenue around the weakest part of our back in the spinal discs of the lower back.

The spinal discs play a crucial part in supporting the upper body, and allowing a wide range of movement in all directions. The supporting muscles of the spine inevitably degenerate when we don’t exercise enough. A slipped disc often comes when performing a mundane task. Of course back pain has to be checked by a physician. Sometimes an underlying serious condition such as an infection of a vital organ or cancer can be the cause. Every body is different.

Having practised Tai Chi and yoga for years, I can really recommend these body arts as extremely healthy for body and mind with a good teacher giving special emphasis on body posture.

People with lower back pain initially find any type of exercise painful, making an already serious situation worse by reducing all movement and causing more muscle degeneration. Therefore the most simple way to start is simply by walking which increases the stability of the muscles in the feet, legs, hips and torso.

Gentle, slow walking also improves circulation, pumping urgently needed nutrients into the spine and removing the toxins.  You are in effect “walking off” that back pain. But with our busy lifestyle, most people will argue: “I don’t have the time to do at least 5-8 kilometers a day!”

There are many ways the mind tricks us into staying in a state of procrastination.  But here are some tips of integrating more walking into your daily routine:

  • Use the stairs rather than the elevator
  • Walk to work and back if you can, or use a parking further away from the office
  • Find a nature area you enjoy for your walk. Its that much more fun.
  • And the best tip of all: Get a dog. A dog will tell you in many ways when its time for a walk, be there rain or sunshine. Its a fact that dog owners are healthier, simply because they do more walking.

Reino Gevers – Mentor for Leaders and Achievers – Your Health Matters

Awakening the Fire Within – key principles of health and success. Enrolling now will give you a 25 per cent discount.

 “Walking on Edge – A Pilgrimage to Santiago” available both in Kindle and paperback.

http://www.reinogevers.com

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under back pain, exercise mental health, happiness, stress, Uncategorized

Your friend the obstacle

IMG_0117 (1)When walking the Camino you will be confronted by obstacles.  The first biggest challenge is mental. You are thirsty, exhausted and your feet are hurting. You push yourself to the summit of that mountain only to find that you have an even steeper hill to climb further ahead. Your mood sinks to rock bottom.

We have those moments of walking through the valley of death every day. An unexpected tax bill in the post. An unpleasant meeting or other disappointment.  Life is cyclical, like the seasons with periods of winter darkness followed by the joys of spring and warm summer days.

Take a  look at some of the great personalities of our time. Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey and Albert Einstein transmuted the suffering in  those pits of darkness in their youth, honing their qualities of character and emerging stronger than ever before.

What you perceive as an obstacle is a “teacher” telling you where you have to learn and refine your personality in overcoming your greatest fears which can be anything from the fear of death, ill-health, loss of material wealth and the shame that can go with it.

We need only to observe nature to see how all plant and animal life is in a continuous process of evolutionary refinement in the adaption to challenges that come with changing circumstances.

Without an obstacle, without a challenge, you can’t grow. You will remain stagnant and there is the danger of falling into procrastination and lethargy. So next time you have to deal with a major disappointment or challenge it might just be the universe telling you to take a different turn.

Reino Gevers – Mentor for Leaders and Achievers – Your Health Matters

Awakening the Fire Within – key principles of health and success. Enrolling now will give you a 25 per cent discount.

NEW RELEASE: “Walking on Edge – A Pilgrimage to Santiago” available both in Kindle and paperback.

http://www.reinogevers.com

 

Leave a comment

Filed under happiness, lifestyle management, psychology, raised consciousness, Uncategorized

Guarding the temple of your soul

A few days ago I saw a front page headline in our local newspaper: “Trump opposes gun control.” It got me thinking: If I was living in the United States, it would maybe have been of interest to me. In this case it was just another example of the media setting the agenda for the day’s mood.

Motivational Quote That Will Inspire You to Be Successful. Words that inspire your heart, motivate your mind in life, creating success, achieving your goals, and overcoming your fears.Don’t get me wrong. The mass shooting in Las Vegas was a terrible tragedy. But the event has absolutely no impact on the daily lives of people living some 9,000 kilometers away and doesn’t belong on the front page of  my local newspaper. The media is feeding us constantly with blood and gore and the shadow side of humanity, knowing that its human nature to look first at the negative before seeing the positive.

Its part of our reptilian brain, our instinctive behavior and survival instinct to stay alert in case a tiger comes crashing through the woods. But in today’s globalized world of mass media, the constant feeding of the subconscious mind with negativity has an extremely detrimental effect on our health.

Stress, triggered by negative news, negative emotions and toxic thoughts, affects your immune system. When you read negative news and your mind is occupied with negativity, you release a stress hormone called cortisol. Prolonged exposure to cortisol leads to damage to the hippocampus part of the brain, causing in extreme cases anxiety attacks, depression or other mental illness.

This is why its so important to stand guard at the gateway to your subconscious mind. What do you feed your mind with before you go to bed? The worst thing you can do is to watch a horror movie or the evening news. It will program the way you dream and in what mood you wake up the next morning. Reading a spiritual text or listening to soothing music will have the opposite effect.

It takes constant training to shield the mind from negativity. But the more aware you become through mindfulness training the more effective you will become in empowering that guard at your doorway. I’m practising all the time.  Its not easy. Being a former newsman myself, I have to be more circumspect than most others not to fall prey to the tentacles of the mass media.

You create your reality with your thoughts!

Reino Gevers – Mentor for Leaders and Achievers – Your Health Matters

Awakening the Fire Within – key principles of health and success. Enrolling now will give you a 25 per cent discount.

NEW RELEASE: “Walking on Edge – A Pilgrimage to Santiago” available both in Kindle and paperback.

http://www.reinogevers.com

Shop Amazon Devices – Certified Refurbished Echo Connect now available at $29.99. Look and work like new.

1 Comment

Filed under cortisol, cortisol effects, energy, Happiness Index, longevity, psychology, raised consciousness, spirituality, Uncategorized

Who takes the blame?

FullSizeRender

During our recent walk on the Camino in Spain we met a young guy with a big hat on a remote mountain. Miguel was selling cold drinks and water to pilgrims and at the same time giving them an arm band with wise words written on them. I got the quote: “analyze, understand and resolve.”

Words so true and important both in a personal context and how we should deal with problems and conflicts at the organizational level.

FullSizeRender

 

It comes to mind that organizations in the corporate world and leaders who learn from mistakes are extremely rare. My experience: The bigger the organization the more slow and complex the decision-making process. Most managers are afraid to take the blame if something goes wrong.

It is deeply ingrained in our culture from early childhood. Admitting failure means taking the blame and living with the resulting shame and consequences. That is why so few organizations have systems in place where the potential of  learning from failure can be fully realized. The recent diesel scandal at Volkswagen is a classic example. Many of the executives and managers at top level were obviously aware that something was seriously wrong in manipulating emission requirements. But the rigid hierarchy culture at that level obviously made it very unsafe to admit and report the failure of engineers.

Failures and mistakes, especially where human interaction is involved, is inevitable. It is a by-product of a creative and experimental culture that leads to innovation. To consider them bad or avoidable is counterproductive. In fact such a culture will produce major calamities as we have seen with VW.

On a personal level we often dwell endlessly over a problem or fall into a freeze mode out of shame if we have really messed it up. We also tend to blame the situation on external factors but do the opposite when assessing the mistakes of others.

Here are some problem solving tips:

  • Analyze the reasons that led to the problem
  • Identify several possible problem solving options and write them down. This is getting clarity in understanding why something went wrong.
  • Occupy your mind with other things like taking a walk or sleeping over it for a night
  • Prioritize your options and then take a decision that leads to resolution

Reino Gevers – Mentor for Leaders and Achievers – Your Health Matters

Awakening the Fire Within – key principles of health and success. Enrolling now will give you a 25 per cent discount.

NEW RELEASE: “Walking on Edge – A Pilgrimage to Santiago” available both in Kindle and paperback.

http://www.reinogevers.com

Leave a comment

Filed under happiness, happiness research, lifestyle management, organisational structure, outdoor coaching, psychology, raised consciousness, work environment, work purpose

Feeling stressed out?

Mankind is living in its best era yet, experiencing better health, peace and higher standard of living than all generations before. So why do so many people suffer from stress and chronic fatigue?  Has the “comfortable” life made us less resilient? Other generations experienced war, famine, disease and all sorts of challenges that we do not have to deal with.

Businessman pushing hard against falling deck of domino tilesMy take on this is that stress is not really the problem but that a host of factors come into play, especially the lack of recuperation in today’s fast track world. Here are some tips to make you more resilient in riding the storm during those tough times. We cannot avoid stress. It is part of life, but we can learn to deal with stressful situations differently.

 

  • Body movement: When you are under stress your body is flooded with a stress hormone called cortisol. The more cortisol in your system, the more your adrenal glands on the kidneys become fatigued. Try body arts that relax you both mentally and physically and bring your entire body metabolism into balance. Yoga, taiji, qi gong, pilates and meditation are ancient proven methods that work. But even a gentle walk in nature and jogging at a gentle pace will help bring down your stress level.
  • Eating good foods:  Too much sugar and salts in processed foods is wreaking havoc in your body. White sugars rob the body of phosphates which are vitally important in almost every intra-cellular reaction. Too much salt interferes with the natural absorption of water in the body, causing constipation, accumulation of toxins and higher blood pressure. You can’t go wrong with a good mixture of fresh seasonal vegetables and fruit. The supplement spirulina is loaded with beta carotene, iron, magnesium and other trace materials which your body really needs during times of stress.
  • Healing rituals: When everything around us appears to be in disarray or collapse a ritual can restore balance and sense of belonging and connection. It could be a religious prayer, the lighting of a candle, a meditation or any other regularly performed daily action at a certain time or place of the day. Rituals have been part of human life and social interaction since the dawn of mankind but we seem to have forgotten the significance of them in the rat-race of modern times.
  • Friends and family: A typical symptom of burnout caused by stress is the withdrawal from social interaction. We are social animals and need to talk and interact with our fellow human beings, who give us important feedback, empathy, sense of meaning and comfort. Sharing and volunteering your help for a non-profit organisation, church, neighborhood initiative or any other group that serves a higher purpose often brings you “back to earth”.

If you can learn to ride the storm, change can positively enrich your life in many ways. The challenge lies in dealing with those defining moments of transition from a position of strength and power. During tough times we more than ever need time for recuperation, a time out and activities or hobbies that take the mind away from obsessive worry.

Reino Gevers – Mentor for Leaders and Achievers – Your Health Matters

Awakening the Fire Within – key principles of health and success. Enrolling now will give you a 25 per cent discount.

NEW RELEASE: “Walking on Edge – A Pilgrimage to Santiago” available both in Kindle and paperback.

http://www.reinogevers.com

Leave a comment

Filed under body arts, cortisol, cortisol effects, exercise mental health, happiness research, longevity, meditation, personal choice and happiness