16 Sep Nurturing your inner heart
I’ve been wondering just how long I need to keep working on myself to be a better person. When is enough, enough? The answer I came up with is that I think I will start to die inside the minute I stop nurturing such habits of the heart as compassion and generosity, for example. So I’m plugging on to age well!
Twice in the last month, I’ve blown up in anger at someone near and dear, which is not like me. I learned this week from Kelly McGonical (The Willpower Instinct) that strengthening the pre-frontal cortex – the executive director of the brain – helps us do the more difficult thing (like speaking calmly!). And certainly being our best selves as often as we can requires us to do the more difficult thing in all kinds of situations, which is easier if we have a certain amount of willpower.
This means I need to practice the habit of stillness, to increase connectivity in the pre-frontal cortex, so that I have enough willpower to draw on when I need to be more patient or more forgiving or whatever it is I’m trying to be or do.
– staring at the ocean
– walking in nature
– doing repetitive or rhythmic movement
– closing your eyes or staring into space
– gazing at something (e.g. candle, painting, flower, fire)
– reading poetry or devotional text.
Instead of becoming ungrateful, impatient, cranky or just plain miserable, I plan to keep my pre-frontal cortex in good working order through daily acts of stillness, so that I have enough willpower to continue becoming a better person to age well.