21 Ways to Live a Better Life

  1. Smile and laugh as often as possible.  They are the ultimate anti-depressants and don’t cost a thing.
  2. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  3. Focus on the positive.  Invest your energy on good thoughts, positive people and what vibrates at a high level of energy.  (Avoid energy vampires.)
  4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and less manufactured food.
  5. Make time to do the things that bring you joy and fulfillment.  (Coloring, writing, singing, dancing, drawing, scrap booking, painting, playing an instrument, etc…)
  6. Disconnect from all electronics and connect with nature 15 minutes a day.
  7. Take responsibility for your own happiness.  It is not up to anyone else.
  8. Spend time with people under the age of 5 and over the age of 65.
  9. Drink plenty of water. Stay hydrated.
  10. Practice meditation and affirmations on a regular basis.
  11. Clear clutter from your home, your office and your car to make space for fresh new and flowing energy in your life.
  12. Let it go. Life is too short to hold onto resentments or waste time hating anyone.  Forgive and release everything!  You will feel lighter.
  13. Do at least one activity a day that gets your body moving. Take a walk. Go running. Hike. Hit the gym. Keep it moving.
  14. Be kind to yourself. (Would you treat others the same way you treat yourself?)
  15. Agree to disagree. You don’t have to win every argument.
  16. Stop comparing your life to other peoples’ lives.  Comparison robs us of our joy.
  17. Prepare for your situation to change, good or bad.  Change is constant.
  18. Stay in touch with your friends and family.  Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
  19. Do the right thing for the right reasons. (Check your motives before taking action.)
  20. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.  Be grateful instead of hateful.
  21. Be of Service.  Give back.  Volunteer.  Help someone.  It is beyond fulfilling.
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7 Slow Down Strategies

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Do you find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed? Is your schedule overloaded? Do you wonder where the energy will come from to get it all done?  You’re not alone. Taking time to slow down is a popular topic that comes up with some of my clients. After working together, many of them discover that we all need to internally slow down in our minds, slow down in our schedules and slow down in our activity.

It is usually our resistance to slowing down that causes the anxiety, fear and overwhelming feelings. When you think about slowing down, what comes up for you?  Some people have a fear that they won’t get everything done.  Others fear they will miss out on something. It is important to take a look at what slowing down really means to you. This might help to shift your perspective.  (Even the Energizer Bunny needs to change batteries at some point!) By slowing down, most of us end up feeling more energized, less stressed and a little lighter.  Doesn’t that sound nice? The good news is that it is totally possible. Here are 7 slow down strategies you might find helpful:

  • Breath. By consciously taking loooong, slooow, deeeeep breaths we can begin to slow down the heart rate and our racing thoughts as well. Control over our breathing is something that is always available to us, no matter what the circumstances might be.
  • Recognize limitations. Be gentle with yourself. Something has to give and sometimes it’s your very own expectations that apply the pressure to keep going and not slowing down.
  • Schedule time to relax. Block time on your busy calendar for YOU.  By planning a date and time on your calendar, you are making a commitment to take care of yourself.  Be sure to keep the date! Do something relaxing during your time like taking a bubble bath, getting a massage, reading, meditating or listening to soothing music.
  • Make a list. Do a brain dump and write down all of the things you have on your mind.  There’s no need to worry about writing out sentences, correcting spelling or punctuation.  Just write it out.  This will release the mental clutter and your thoughts will slow down.
  • Avoid too much caffeine. The extra energy you get from the morning cup of java can also increase anxiety.  Try ordering a decaf coffee in the afternoon or evening.  Cutting back on the energy drinks will help as well.
  • Connect with Nature.  Disconnect from the electronics and spend some time with nature.  Take a walk in a park.  Make time for a hike.  Sit outside and observe Mother Nature. What kind of trees and flowers do you see.  What the birds, squirrels and other creatures in their natural habitats.  Connecting with nature will bring a calmness to you.  In turn, it will allow you to let go of the stress and slow down.
  • Remain grateful. We all have so many blessings to be grateful for in our lives.  The universe is taking care of us all the time.  Focusing on gratitude will help you to internally slow down and reconnect with your spirit.

It is important to give yourself permission to slow down. I challenge you to pick a few slow down strategies from the above list to practice on a regular basis. There are many other ways to slow down, so feel free to do whatever works best for you.  The goal is to slow down. After you start slowing down, make sure you recognize the positive difference it makes in your life.

Which slow down strategies will you focus on today?

How do you make everything OK?

 

I found the magic button to make everything OK!  After years of searching, it virtually came to me.  You can see it for yourself at the Magic Button – Make Everything OK page.  This got me thinking.  If only it was as easy as clicking a magic button.  Which led to the question, how do you make everything OK?

Whether we see it or not, at this moment everything really is OK.  Our thoughts about the past and projections about the future are what blurs our perception of reality.  Being present is the best way that I have found to be OK.  It is so easy to let the weight of the world build up on our shoulders.  Between trying to get all of the items on our “things to do” list done, day-to-day routinues and planning for the future, it can feel overwhelming.  In that moment, I have found it helpful to take a deep breath and focus on the air going in and then out.  After doing some deep breathing for a moment and focusing on the present moment, I feel more centered.  It brings my mind back to reality where everything really is OK.  (My back-up alternative is ice-cream!)

Visual Vacation

It would be so nice to cancel plans for the rest of the week and hop on a plane to a beautiful, relaxing place far away.  I can close my eyes and see the amazing scenery now! The only thing stopping me are the plans and appointments on my calendar and finances.

So it looks like I’m not going anywhere this week.  But that does not mean that I can’t take a visual vacation to escape for a few minutes.  I have free tickets for an unlimited number of passengers to come on board for this visual vacation.  You don’t even need to pack.  The time of departure is NOW!!!

Are you ready?  We’re heading over to our first stop at the beach.  (No sunblock needed.)  Here we go…



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for traveling with me.  I hope you enjoyed the short visual vacation.  You’re invited back as often as needed for a free escape to these amazing places.  I’m feeling more relaxed already!

 

 

 

Find Time for Solitude

This article was written by Leo Babauto of  Zen Habits

One problem with our complicated lives these days is that many of us never find time to spend alone, in peace, without being bombarded with noise and information. There’s no time for solitude and quiet contemplation, and as a result, we have stress and anxiety and depression and repression.

Find time each day to be alone, for your mental health, by stealing pockets of time from other areas of your life. This time will pay off for you in the long run. You will become sane, and with the ability to reflect on your life, on what you’ve gone through in the last 24 hours, in the last week, in the last year, you can slowly improve it or learn to be happy with it.

Finding time for solitude is extremely important, and yet it’s an area that is often neglected. I don’t mean time alone, where you’re watching TV or surfing the Internet or reading or watching the news. There’s nothing wrong with those activities, but they aren’t conducive to contemplation, to getting to know yourself, to reflecting on what you’ve been going through, for thinking about your dreams.

Learning to spend time in quiet solitude is also very difficult. It’s probably best if done in small doses at first, so if you only do it for 20 or 30 minutes at first, that’s OK. Learn to fight the urge to turn the TV on or turn your computer on or play music or read. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.

What follows are just some ideas for recapturing about an hour a day of extra time, from other sources of time, so that you can have time for solitude. These are temporary fixes … ways for you to find that time for 30 days, and in those 30 days, you can find other ways to simplify your life so that you can have this time permanently. Use those 30 days, in part, for thinking about the complications in your life, about things you might want to eliminate to free up more time for important things, like your dreams, your loved ones, your passion, and solitude.

  1. Television. I’m not on a crusade against television, and I’m not saying you should get rid of it. I watch TV. And though I’ve eliminated cable TV from my life, I’m not saying you should. This is a temporary fix, remember … so try to reduce your television consumption by 60 minutes, just for 30 days. You may find that you enjoy reduced TV consumption, but every person is different.
  2. Internet. Again, I’m not saying you should stop using the Internet. Just reduce your consumption of the Internet by 60 minutes for 30 days. Be sure to use those 60 minutes for solitude and contemplation. Reducing your Internet use will force you to use the time you do use the Internet more productively … you can still do the things you love to do, but you have to use them in a more focused way.
  3. Wake earlier. I’ve talked about the benefits of rising early, and how to do it in the past, and one of its best benefits, for me, is the quiet time I have alone. I like to use this time for writing, for exercise, and for contemplation. Try waking 1 hour earlier, just for 30 days. Or if that doesn’t work for you, stay up an hour later. Either way works.
  4. Email. If email consumes a huge part of your life, try going on an email diet. Only allow yourself to do email once a day, for 30 minutes. See if you can stop yourself from doing email at all other times. Remember, this is just for 30 days … after that, if you want to go back to doing email all day long, you can.
  5. Stop shopping. Again, it’s only temporary! But if you’re also trying to reduce debt or save money, this is a great permanent solution. But just try it for 30 days. Eliminate all shopping except essential grocery shopping. Everything else goes on a 30-day list.
  6. Leave work early. If your work allows it, see if you can leave work earlier. If you have a smart boss, the only thing that will matter is if you’re getting your work done — not how long you’re in the office. So really focus on getting the essential work done within the time you have, and leave an hour earlier.
  7. Go to work late. The flip side of the above suggestion. Again, this is if your work allows it.
  8. Take a longer lunch. Sometimes it’s easier to squeeze out extra time for your lunch break than it is to come in early or to leave early. If you can take 90 minutes for lunch, use the first 30 for eating (pack a lunch if possible) and the other 60 for solitude.
  9. Stop digesting news. Are you a news junky? I’ve written before about how I haven’t watched TV news or read a newspaper or even Internet news sites for a couple of years. It’s possible to go without it. See if you can stop reading newspapers, or watching TV news, for just 30 days. After that, you can go back.
  10. Don’t do anything after work. If you make social commitments after work, or business meetings, or whatever, stop making these plans for 30 days and use this time for solitude.
  11. Skip civic commitments. Do you volunteer or serve in an organization or are you a member of some group? Skip the meetings and other functions for a month. The organization won’t fall apart without you … even if you’re president, you can temporarily hand the reins over to your vice president.
  12. Minimalize laundry. Do you do a load of laundry several times a week, or even every day? That’s an hour or two each time. Instead, go to a laundry mat and do your laundry all in one shot — that’ll take about two hours. You can easily save 1-3 hours this way.
  13. Minimalize housework/yardwork. Do these chores take up a large part of your day? See if you can minimalize this, just for a month. Relax your standards a little. Or do a speed-cleaning stint once a week for two hours, and don’t clean the rest of the week. For yardwork, hire a teen-ager to do it for a month.
  14. Cut out non-essential reading. Cut out magazine reading and most book reading (unless it’s essential) to give you some extra time. This will also include cutting out newspaper and Internet reading, if you aren’t implementing the tips above.
  15. Minimalize recreation. Partying, drinking, playing sports, playing video games … however you spend your free time, see if you can cut into that time.

Remember to use any time you free up for solitude and contemplation, not extra TV time.

Relaxation Techniques

 

Yesterday, I met a couple friends for lunch.  One of the topics we talked about was how most people seem to be in such a rush all of the time.  Day in and day out there is a never ending list of things to do and more things to squeeze into our packed schedules.   Some people are so busy running around that they rarely slow down long enough to relax and recharge.  After a while it takes an unhealthy toll in our quality of life.

If you can relate and would like some relaxation techniques and ideas, see below:

 

  • The relaxation response
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Deep breathing
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Meditation
  • Guided imagery
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Massage therapy
  • Giving Back

    This article was written by Life Coach Jennifer Bridge

    “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” and also the most stressful for many people.  During the month of December, it is very easy to get caught up in the shopping, gift giving, volunteering, cooking, holiday parties, reunions and time with friends and family.  Oh my!  We are so busy running around taking care of all the seasonal details that we often forget to give back to ourselves.  Yes, that means you!  What gift did you get for yourself this season?  (Did you feel some resistance come up when you read the last few questions?)

    It is very common to be thrown off track by the thought of giving back to yourself, especially during the holiday season.  There is so much focus on giving to others and by all means it is an amazing thing to do.  When we give to others, we get our spirit filled back in return.  However, there is a balance that tends to be way off around this time of year.  In fact, when I ask clients what gift they are giving themselves for the holiday, there are surprised by the question.  I have heard many reasons for why giving a gift to themselves is not on the list.   They either don’t have enough money or time to spend on themselves.  As I dig deeper, I learn it has to do with not having the self-worth to see the value in spending the money and time on themselves.  I remind them that they are worth it.  The action of giving back starts with you.

    Not having the money to spend is not a reason, it’s an excuse.  Giving back to yourself does not have to cost a thing. Save your money and instead give yourself the gift of relaxation and rejuvenation.  Take a bubble bath, read a book, listen to music, go hiking, meditate or any other activity that you enjoy is priceless.  It restores your energy and gives you the gift of balance, peace and serenity.

    May your holiday season be fully of joy, love, light and relaxation!!