According to the ancient Chinese philosophy of Yin Yang, there is always some degree of “the opposite” contained in anything.
We have become so enamored with the quality of balance that we sometimes miss out on the beauty of opposing forces in our lives. Periodically shaking things up can be extremely healthy and provide us with a wonderful sense of renewal.
Here are some simple ways to integrate a little pop in your everyday life:
Mix up your Workout Routine
Too often we get stuck in exercise patterns that do not promote a diverse experience for the body and mind. Although you may feel like you are doing a really good thing by concentrating on one (or few) routines, you may be limiting yourself. People who only do Yoga can benefit from lifting weights; people who focus on weights should do more Yoga! Shaking up your workouts is a wonderful way to get the “pop” going in your life.
Mix up your Eating Habits
Likewise, many of us get caught up in eating the same types of food over and over again. Integrating a diverse range of foods, and trying new ones, can stretch your internal bandwidth of acceptance and is a fantastic way to push the limits of your Yin (or Yang). If you are a meat eater, try going Vegan for a week and see how you feel. Conversely, eat meat for a few days if you are vegetarian!
Mix up your Personality
If you are a shy person, and the prospect of having to speak in front of a large group of people terrifies you, go to a Karaoke club and sing your favorite song in front of hundreds of strangers! If you are an extreme extrovert, spend a full day in complete silence where you do not talk on the phone, email, or watch TV. I promise you, trying these activities will do you no physical harm. In fact, making a habit of integrating these types of personality-challenging activities can do wonders for your well-being.
Mix up Your Sleeping Habits
Very few things are more important for our well-being than a consistent sleep routine; we can still experience the power of Yin Yang by shaking up our resting habits. Are you a habitual early riser? Then spend at least one day a week purposefully sleeping hours later than you are accustomed. Do you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning? Then make it your mission to rise hours earlier than you are used to. This is a wonderful practice to prevent the body from falling in a rut!
Shake up your Working Habits
Are you super responsible when it comes to your career? If so, it can be useful to take an unexpected day off work –- do not make it an official vacation day, and do not pretend to be sick, just take a “personal day” where you spontaneously go to a park, go on a hike, or do something that you really enjoy (and, most importantly, do NOT feel guilty about it)!
Conversely, are you generally lazy when it comes to your career and always looking for the day to end? If so, shaking it up can mean dedicating at least one day a week where you say to yourself: “OK, I am going to try 100% today and not think about other things I could be doing”. You may be surprised how contagious your sudden effectiveness can be!
Remember, Yin (dark) and yang (light) are descriptions of complementary opposites rather than absolutes. The two are in constant movement rather than held in absolute stasis. Cultivating the ability to enjoy opposing forces and move with the laws of Yin and Yang can create unbounded joy and fulfillment.
Todd Goldfarb writes about a wide variety of health, sustainability and personal development issues at We The Change. Some of his most popular articles include The 5 Greatest Foods for Your Health and Why Your Smallest Actions Define You.