Tending to the HEN (and ANTs)

HEN stands for Hygiene/Exercise/Nutrition, and it’s a mnemonic I use whenever I’m really focused on something, but I still want to tend to my basic bodily needs. Think of it as the GBM workout plan – and although it’s incredibly simple – therein lies its genius (and effectiveness). For the Body Life Area, I decided that HEN was the most basic element. From there, I picked an activity that would be easy to accomplish whenever I didn’t feel like tending to the HEN.

The reason this is effective (and sometimes necessary) is because of ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts). Despite all the self-improvement, sometimes you just have ANTs in your day, and like real ants, you can get overwhelmed by the sheer number of them. When that happens, it’s difficult to want to do, or enjoy, even the most basic activities. So the idea is to think of your HEN, and go from there.

  • Some basic activities for Hygiene is washing your face, brushing your teeth, and taking a shower. If I feel strong resistance to doing any of these things because of ANTs, I focus on one of them – usually brushing my teeth – eventually I do it, and get a sense of accomplishment (and a brighter smile).
  • For exercise, my activity is to do some Life Force Yoga. Just pick something basic and short to get your body moving. It works!
  • Nutrition is kick-started by drinking a big glass of water.

This is only necessary when the pull of inertia is particularly strong that day. Sometimes I get very focused on what I’m doing, and I don’t feel like doing anything else. This is a way for me to turn the tide. I used to write more often about overcoming things like anxiety and depression, but these days I’m practicing being unconditional, and that allows me to use non-resistance against resistance.

So if you’re feeling stuck, remember to tend to the HEN.



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