I have a credo—an expression of truth—that hangs on my bedroom wall.
It is a poem by an anonymous author, written in wonderful script on an old piece of cloth, its ends glued to two pieces of wood so that you can roll it up like a scroll. It acts as a daily reminder to me of what I value most and helps keep me mindful, calm and healthy.
On This Day
Mend a quarrel. Search out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a love letter. Share some treasure. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in a word or deed.
Keep a promise. Find the time. Forego a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Listen. Apologize if you were wrong. Try to understand. Flout envy. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Appreciate, be kind, be gentle. Laugh a little more.
Deserve confidence. Take up arms against malice. Decry complacency. Express your gratitude. Worship your God. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love. Speak it again. Speak it still again. Speak it still once again.
Imagine a world where this was done every day by everyone. Think about how individuals, families, schools, companies, governments, countries—even our world at large—might be if we lived by these simple truths.
When we actually use this credo as a reminder of how to be when it counts, it can improve our health.
Stress affects our health in a dramatic fashion. The American Institute of Stress notes that 75-90 percent of all visits to a primary doctor are for stress-related complaints. That’s huge.
I often describe stress as a “response to the threats” in our lives. Sometimes those are overbooked schedules or looming deadlines, but often, truly major stressors compromise our identities, needs and values, or cause us to retreat into fear. In those moments, we are not living our truths.
You can reduce your stress by simply reminding yourself what your most important truths look like on a daily basis.
If you can find ways to live that are more consistent with these beliefs and values, some of those “threats” might not carry so much weight.
For me, reviewing “On This Day” every morning helps me remind myself why I do what I do. Sometimes the pace of the day makes me lose track of those things that I hold dear. It is then that stress begins to get a grip on my health.
In a way, that’s mindfulness.
One of the best definitions of mindful living comes from the notion of being fully present in each moment. Lama Surya Das says it best when he defines mindfulness as “remembering to remember.”
It’s easy to forget—to get carried away by stress, fear, worry or anger—but this credo helps me remember.
Even if we forget most of the lines of this poem, we would do much good for our health to be mindful of one thing: to speak our love—again and again and again.