There’s a wise quote that I love that says “go where you feel most alive”. While the idea of that sounds wonderful, we rarely give it much thought and more often than not, brush that desire aside and move it to the bottom of our “to do” list. It gets reserved only for special occasions when we’re caught up on our work, all the chores are done, the weather is perfect and we’ve fulfilled all family obligations. But have you ever considered that where you feel most alive is also where your body can thrive?
Don’t confuse this place with a luxurious 5-star once in a lifetime vacation. Those are nice I’m sure, but not in the cards for frequent visits and while relaxing, often don’t conjure up the same feelings. Nature of some sort usually offers the connection needed to make you feel alive, but it looks different for everyone. Maybe it’s a calm mountain lake, maybe it’s a field or a meadow, maybe it’s a forest, maybe it’s snow covered mountains, maybe the ocean, maybe just an area that gives you the right sort of vibes. Perhaps it’s a combination and maybe it involves an activity (paddling, biking, hiking, yoga etc). You know it, you’ve been there before and you know that feeling. You feel at peace and calm when you’re there. Pains aren’t as bad, anxiety storms calm and your overall stress levels begin to melt away. Every time you experience it, you promise yourself to make more of an effort to return, but then you get back to “real life” and you get out of touch and forget how you felt when you were there. Sound familiar? You know the place now don’t you?
Sometimes that “missing link” to help us heal and thrive isn’t found in a change in treatments, it’s found in a change of scenery. I wondered if being immersed in the places we feel most alive can truly change our symptoms, or is it just because maybe we’re on holidays and it doesn’t matter where we spend them? I decided to go to the dogs to test out this theory – as they are “on holidays” pretty much all the time. I was struggling to sort out my dog’s recent extreme anxiety to vehicle noise (so much so that going for a walk in the neighbourhood or even walking out the front door was off limits), but I knew we were soon headed to a place that’s right up her alley and figured I would watch to see if her behaviour changed when we were there. Well, it was virtually instant. With only a small patch of trees separating the house from a busy road, on the shores of a beautiful lake, my old dog returned. Running and playing on the beach, exploring in the trees and relaxing in the yard – all well within very clear sight and ear-shot of a constant stream of noisy trucks and motorcycles going over the bridge and along the highway above. In spite of the same triggers being present, changing the environment proved to create a completely different psychological and physiological response in her. While us human-types may take slightly longer to get our minds out of the way and appreciate our body’s different responses, they still happen just the same! I have seen many people who are concerned about how much of a set-back they may experience with an interruption in their treatment plan because they are going away. But I’ll let you in on a little secret…I am never worried about the ones who are headed somewhere that makes them feel alive. That is because in virtually every case, I knew that once they arrived, they would find that they didn’t need frequent care when they were there anyways. In fact more often than not, even without care, they would come back feeling even better than before.
So mark it on your calendars frequently and make it a priority to go to your happy place, the place that makes you feel most alive. Your health is worth it and I know your body will thank you for it.
Written by: Dr. Mandy Downie
Dr. Mandy Downie is the founder of Navigate Vitality. Her ultimate goal is to help people understand the body in a way that makes sense to them. Dr. Mandy believes that with education comes great power and it’s available to all of us – if only we have the right people teaching and leading us. Making changes is hard stuff, we all stumble and sometimes need a little encouragement and guidance to help us succeed. She hopes that you will find her information helpful on your journey. Please take the lessons that resonate with you, leave the ones that don’t, but always keep moving forward. You do deserve to live the life you desire and it IS within reach – whichever path you choose to take! Navigate Vitality