Category Archives for "Positive Thinking"

3 Ways Working Adults Can Improve Their Mental Wellness

In this extremely busy generation people live in, the tendency for many is to forget their personal wellness. Add in the financial pressure of these harsh economic times, and it becomes obvious that reality puts a lot of responsibility on working adults. Unfortunately, this has become one of the most common reasons that led to the numerous cases of depression and anxiety all over the world.

professionals-working-together

According to statistics, depression is a condition that affects 1 in 10 Americans at one point or another. Over 80% of people that have symptoms of clinical depression are not receiving any specific treatment for their mental condition. Furthermore, the number of patients diagnosed with the said disorder increases approximately 20% per year.

The sad thing is that beyond depression and anxiety, there other conditions that working adults may be into if they do not look out for themselves. In fact, there have been many accounts that suggest that being too busy at work affects personal relationships and relationships within the family.

These are alarming facts that should be faced by working adults today. Thus, it is important that each person is enlightened in the small but interestingly efficient ways to build on mental and spiritual wellness while juggling with work, relationships, health and everything else about life.

woman-working-on-computer

Be at Ease: Get a Pet

With the amount of stress that this life has to offer, the human psychology can be strained by various ailments and mental ailments. This is why it is vital that people take time to just to breathe in and relax.

One of the better ways to enjoy every moment in one’s life is living life with a pet.

Owning a dog or cat can make a person feel much happier and calmer. In fact, playing with a pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for the feeling of being relaxed.  Similarly, having a pet can make a person feel better about him or herself, providing a better outlook on life.

Pets also create healthy connections between people. They can be considered as social magnets which can be very beneficial to a distressed person. They give a sense of comfort and company which can never be truly one of a kind, especially if a person is an innate dog lover or a cat person. According to research, people with pets are generally happier, more trusting, and less lonely than those who don’t have pets. They also visit the doctor less often for minor problems.

man-with-his-dog

Mental health is central in having good overall health because of the fact that the human mind works in intricacies under a lot of internal pressure coming from various factors. This gives light to the fact that training the mind to be more stable is one of the most arduous tasks to handle.

Having pets – from the lively and playful dog and cuddly cats to the calming aquarium fish and mysteriously serene reptiles, every moment turns into a brand new and exciting experience while providing wonders for the owner’s mental health.

In spite of the growing list of what kinds of animals people consider as pets, dogs and cats remain as the most “interactive” domestic companions man has ever learned to love. Often a dog is very intuitive and can seek his man best friend out when he’s feeling down, refusing to allow his owner to remain alone. On the other hand, a cat’s furry presence can bring new light to an owner’s down feeling.

Another inevitable fact is that one can talk to his or her pet about practically anything — one’s day, hopes, and even dreams! Pet owners can also practice a speech with them, lament about a breakup, or utter truths that one may be afraid to actually share with someone else. A pet can definitely be the perfect “person” to go to when the pet owner wants to vent without any potential repercussions.

Engage in New Physical Activities

Most people do not know that physical activities directly influence the activities in the brain. In fact, being physically healthy equates to being mentally and spiritually fit as well. For this reason, it is important for working adults to find time to participate in relatively new and engaging activities.

woman-and-man-dancing

Dancing is a perfect example. It is a concoction of slick moves and an effective training regimen for memory enhancement. This is due to the fact that in dancing, one has to remember certain moves or set of moves to perform in succession. Logically speaking, this activity can be a good exercise for memory retention of on top of the amazing benefits to the body.

Though dance is mostly remembered as a physical exercise, it encompasses more than just bodily health. Researchers have found that going out to dance can already lift the emotional state of a person. This is imperative for people who undergo stress regularly, and even more so for people who suffer from depression.

More importantly, however, is the fact that dancing provides a social setting in which a person can interact with many types of people. One important factor for stress-laden people to unload is by having people to mingle with. This eliminates the “lonesome factor” which many of these type of people actually incur.

On another note, most people might also consider martial arts as a physical exercise that can also boost the mind. This has been proven by a wide array of research concluding that martial arts induces a sense of self-esteem for a fighter, including behavioral changes due to the extreme control which it teaches. Speaking of control, the study of this art improves one’s self-regulation in daily living which is a main influence of the willpower taught in most martial arts.

Furthermore, it has been proven that fighters and participants of martial arts are more driven to seek perfection in everything they do as well as lessened aggression to other people. This comes as a result of how martial arts live by its guiding principle – practice the arts in self-defense, and do so only when necessary.

Establish a Soothing Environment for Rest

An important facet in mental health is the person’s sleeping pattern. Many people do not recognize that their brains recover and still undergo important processes when they are asleep.

Sleeping is an integral part of a person’s life. However, it is actually an incredibly complex process. The brain generates two distinct types of sleep—slow-wave sleep (SWS), known as deep sleep, and rapid eye movement (REM), also called dreaming sleep. Mostly, people’s sleep includes a SWS variety characterized by large, slow brain waves, relaxed muscles and slow, deep breathing. As such, this sleeping pattern helps the brain and body to recuperate after a long day of non-stop functioning.

woman-reading

This is why a person must establish an environment that provides him comfort. What else can be a more soothing environment than one that emulates nature? Getting a whole house air purifier and setting up the mood with therapeutic scents and music can definitely help with creating the best relaxing space at home.

On the contrary, an untidy house can cause a negative internal reaction, preventing a person from fully maximizing the use of his or her home. Also, no one would be able to invite people over! In turn, it could lead to gradual relational disconnect and build-up of feelings of isolation and depression.

Overall, cleanliness and organization at home can have an amazing impact not just on one’s surroundings but also on a person’s mental and physical wellbeing. Thus, a clean house can bring about positive relationships with family, friends and partners, which are basically the key to a happy life.

A Teen’s Guide to Improving Mental and Spiritual Health

Being a teenager nowadays is genuinely exhilarating – largely because there is a variety of opportunities that await the young generation. The thrilling sounds of parties and the flashing neon lights of puberty are special and even more unique with the recent year’s advent of technology. Then again, the current generation is faced with the double edged sword of reality as many teens are placed in circumstances that may test their mental and spiritual health.

happy-teens

As this era has opened itself to exploration and to a more frequent tapping on the cumulative deviant mindset, many teens has faced the harsh realities of life. One of the more widespread challenges of the youth in recent years is teen pregnancy.

In 2014 alone, a total of 249,078 babies in the U.S. had been born to women aged 15–19 years, for a birth rate of 24.2 per 1,000 women in this age group. Though it is a huge 9% drop from the 2013 statistics, this is still a staggering number for U.S teens. More often, the effects of teenage pregnancy is devastating, as some young mothers fail to reconcile themselves and to fully outlast the depression it may concur.

Teenage depression is also a hindrance for those it effects. Teen depression is a serious mental health problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects how a teenager thinks, feels and behaves, and it can cause emotional, functional and physical problems. Although depression can occur at any time in one’s life, symptoms may be different between teens and adults.

Issues such as peer pressure, academic expectations and unrelenting changes in the body can bring a lot of ups and downs for teens. However, for some teens, the lows are more than just temporary feelings — they’re a symptom of depression.

More often than not, teen depression presents itself not just slight case of mental weakness that can be overcome with willpower. In some cases, it has serious consequences and requires long-term treatment. For most teens, depression symptoms ease with treatment such as medication and psychological counseling.

This is where effective handling of one’s mental and spiritual health comes in. In fact, even without these problems, teenagers should be aware of ways that can help them improve their mental state as well as their spiritual health. Here are some ways teens can be stronger in character and more resilient with regards to mental and spiritual wellness.

Alone Time is Always Essential

Most people today aged 15-18 years old spend time outside partying and “in a hurry” to explore adulthood. This is not necessarily a bad thing for young adults, especially if their goal is to improve their attitude of being outgoing and adventurous. What is imperative in their “trial and error moment” is that teenage people should not forget that alone time is the best time to improve.

What exactly are the things one can do during alone time?

The first thing that may pop out of people’s heads when ‘alone time’ is stated is munching on popcorn and watching their favorite flicks. This is just one of the best ways a teenager can find out about their personalities as they reflect on the type of the movie they are watching. Instead, to know more about one’s self is for them to be one with the universe through meditation.

teen-relaxing-on-grass

In the digital age, mindfulness seems like a lost art for teenagers. When they’re constantly texting with friends and checking their Instagram likes, they’re not actually living in the moment.  Mindfulness means giving full attention to present thoughts, feelings, and sensations. It is so important for teens to be present in the moment and deeply consider their feelings. One of the best ways to practice mindfulness is through meditation.

In spite of its purposeful effect on a person, meditation may not be easy to sell to teens. Some may immediately think it sounds lame, pointless and boring. The good news is that mediation only takes a few minutes, and there is a ton of reasons they can benefit from giving it a try.

An important thing to consider while meditating is that it is supposed to be done in an environment that emulates nature. This includes having a soothing music to form a relaxing atmosphere, finding a comfortable meditation spot and creating a clean ambiance to avoid any unnecessary irritants and distractions. From getting the best air purifier for allergies to adding the most stimulating aroma for concentration, setting the right mood is a great way to invite teens to enjoy meditation even more.

Travel Young, Reap the Benefits

Traveling is one of the best ways the mind unwinds from all the challenges of everyday life. This is simply because one is introduced to a whole new environment, away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. While the teenage dream survives on having thousands of followers on Twitter and Instagram, plus thousands of likes and shares on Facebook, there comes a time when a teen should explore the wonders of what’s real and tangible of the REAL world.

teen-photographer

Traveling can bring about many benefits for the human mind as well as the human spirit. For one, a person becomes more adventurous and outgoing, able to tackle tasks on hand especially on surviving skills. Decision making is also harnessed as teens are at a stage when they tend to rely more on what their intuition says and what they have already experienced.

Likewise, journeying to places can vary, offering exciting adventures every time. Traveling by air seems to be an exhilarating mode of transportation as one gets to have an aerial view of the world. Trips by sea can be quite tranquil since it provides the same aesthetics but a much slower, more gradual transcendence, as if meditating in a vast blue expanse. Finally, traveling by land is an experience EVERYONE can relate to since it is more accessible and more in tune with reality.

Overall, all trips can be exciting, depending on how the travelers looks into the world.

Don’t Be Afraid to Open up

The main dilemma of many teens is that they find it hard to open up to people, even to those who are close to them. Again, it is important to remember that each teen is faced with personality problems. As such, they do need guidance from people who are close to them.

At home, it is essential for parents to try to truly get down to the bottom of their child’s nuisances. This is done by constantly reminding them that their parents are present when they need them, and can guide them through hard times. Parents are the first lifeline of their children with regard to mental fortitude and spiritual wellness.

teens-with-questions

The same thought applies at school where teens spend most of their time. It may be important that teens have constant communication with their peers, especially those who fall within the same age bracket. Friends tend to understand each other more, especially when they are in the same circle experiencing similar circumstances. Teens should open up to their friends and learn to trust each other with their problems in order for them to get their opinion on important matters, as well as support in times of turmoil.

Nothing is more comforting than a friend’s company in times of trouble.

Likewise, it may also be helpful for teens to communicate their thoughts with trusted guidance counselors at school. The American School Counselor’s Association (ASCA) offers detailed literature about the role of the school counselor.

One of the major components of that role is accountability. School counselors are responsible for analyzing data on their own effectiveness and adjusting their techniques to maximize their value to students. As a result, the role of the counselor is ever-changing and depends on a variety of factors at work within the school.

12 Amazing Places To Find Your Inner Peace

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

– Sydney J. Harris

Busy streets overflowing with rushing people and loud cars. Pressure at work from the heavy workload and seemingly endless deadlines. Overdue bills. Loud neighbors.  Sleepless nights.

In spite of all this new-aged chaos, people still try to cope and survive in this modern fairy tale called life.

However, everyone has their breaking point. People cannot deny the fact that time will come when they need to let go of their junk cars and old lives just to blow off steam, or else, they will erupt like a volcano. At this critical junction, some people opt to trample anyone in their way, justifying their actions by blaming others in the difficulty of living life.

Or they can stop for a second, take a deep breath, and recollect.

Just like the old saying goes, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s about time to take that well-deserved leave, have a break and find that inner peace in these breathtaking places.

1. Table Mountain – Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

People can find peace in Table Mountain for it is the home of four great energy vortices of the earth. South Africa considers this place as the most sacred area in their country. With its unique natural landscape, people can enjoy the calming view of how the mountains merge with the sea. It is also a serene place that is fitting to converse with a higher being and reconnect with one’s self, leaving all the stresses of city life.

2. Batanes Islands – Batanes, Philippines

Batanes Islands.

The Islands of Batanes are located at the northernmost region of the Philippines. The place holds the record of the least populated province in the country, and it practically has a zero crime rate record. For those who look for a place that can give them a peaceful environment, Batanes is one of the best place to go.

3. Lourdes Town – Lourdes, France

Lourdes, France

Catholics who want to reconnect with their faith can visit Lourdes in France. According to the locals, the place is popular for the 1858 apparition of Virgin Mary to a shepherd girl. Groups of devotees who seek peace through religious endeavors join the annual pilgrimage to Lourdes. Attendees have the tradition to bathe and drink in the spring near the place where the apparition is said to have taken place. As such, they believe that the spring has the power to cure someone’s physical, emotional and spiritual agony.

4. Mount Mitchell – North Carolina, USA

Mount Mitchell, North Carolina

Mount Mitchell is known for its ability to release nexus energy due to the global ley lines that run through it. The global ley lines serve as the connection among sacred sites around the world. People can meditate atop, around or near the mountain and feel the soothing energy from around the globe. Thus, it is highly suggested to try reaching its peak since it is where the sacred energies are the strongest.

5. Blue Hole Mineral Spring – Westmoreland, Jamaica

Blue Hole Mineral Spring, Jamaica.

Blue Hole Mineral Spring is one of the most popular places in Jamaica for people who look for healing. There are testimonies in which visitors share their experience how they feel a unique connection with nature as they bathe in the mineral spring. Moreover, some visitors even experience healing from their physical ailments. According to those who have visited the place, they see how the spring marries with warm sunlight to give off a welcoming atmosphere, especially for those who want to find peace and relax during troubled times.

6. Kusatsu Onsen, – Gunma Prefecture, Japan

Kutsatsu Onsen

Kusatsu Onsen is an invigorating place for people to find and recollect themselves. It is said that visitors can get the chance not just to connect with nature but from the people in the past. The spa is still carrying out their 1600s tradition in which visitors say a prayer in the shrine, and once they are done, they follow the ritual of pouring water over their head.

7. Stonehenge – Wiltshire, England

Stonehenge, England.

Stonehenge is one of the most well-known historic places because of its mesmerizing formation and enigmatic aura . There is no historical data that can explain how and why the stones are formed the way they are. Some says it serves as a way of reading astronomical movements. Ironically, the mystery behind the Stonehenge gives a sense of clarity to visitors, giving them a new perspective in life. People who find peace in mystery can find the Stonehenge a perfect place to visit for recollection.

8. Sedona Vortex – Arizona, USA

Sedona Vortex, Arizona.

No one leaves Sedona Vortex without feeling the energy that flows in the place. People who are trying to find clarity visit this place to be motivated and encourage themselves to pursue passion for art. Visitors get an uncanny feeling, and for some reason, find themselves highly inspired and start painting this serene place. Some simply return just to reignite their artistic calling.

9. Western Wall – Israel, Jerusalem

Western Wall.

For Judaism, the Western Wall serves as one of the most sacred sites for its followers. Similarly, travelers take the time to get a glimpse of this place for its historic value, being the only wall left in the Second Temple of Jerusalem. The people can also start reconnecting with their fellow visitors of varying faiths since the place is not strictly for those who believe in Judaism. Despite the different religions and cultures of the visitors, this holy site has become a sacred place for anyone who wants to express their faith to a higher being.

10. Ayers Rock – Uluru, Australia

Ayer's Rock.

Ayers Rock serves as a great spot in finding that inner peace in life. Protected by indigenous tribes, this unique rock formation also serves as an energy vortex along the Dreamtime Track. According to these tribes, the deities walk along the energy vortex after they have created the earth. People can also feel the positive energy even without climbing the rock. Watching its beauty from afar is already enough to get be inspired.

11. The Golden Temple – Punjab, India

The Golden Temple.

With its intricate design and form, the Golden Temple has served as the central religious site for Sikhs. Visitors can throw their worries away as they walk around and inside the structure during its open pilgrimage. The holy activities conducted in the Golden Temple are focused on helping the attendees find spiritual comfort and solace to reach a state of inner balance and serenity.

12. Pamukkale Hot Springs – Pamukkale, Turkey

Pamukkale.

Pumakkale Hot Springs serves as one of the oldest spas in the world. People in the community believe that the hot spring has the ability to heal whoever bathes in it. The heat generated from the hot spring comes from natural heat generated from the earth, inducing a relaxing and invigorating sensation. People can experience a deep connection with nature and one’s self through the hot springs’ good ambiance and uniquely satisfying setting.

Sometimes people just need a break to continue with life. In time of turmoil and duress, reconnecting with the one’s self is one of the best ways to relax the spiritual and physical faculties of a person. It definitely is a must try to visit one (if not all) of these places.

The trip to these sites may just give the inner peace and holistic wellness the modern man has been searching for all his or her life.

Follow Your Heart, Not Your Fear: How to Make Choices That Are Right for You

Follow your heart

“Unnecessary fear of a bad decision is a major stumbling block to good decisions.” ~Jim Camp

Twenty years ago, my wife and I decided to move from Montréal, where we had lived for the first 35 years of our lives, to Nova Scotia, 800 miles away, where we had no connections whatsoever. Neither a small decision, nor undertaking, since this involved our four kids and the entire contents of our house (not to mention a dog and two cats!)

Why were we moving? We were not moving because of a job opportunity; we enjoyed the life we had in Montréal. And there was nothing—as far as we knew—waiting for us in Nova Scotia. Nothing, except our future, the next stage of our lives.

But we both had a strong, clear feeling—a felt sense—that it was time to leave. And we both had a strong, clear feeling that Nova Scotia was the right place to move to. Simple as that.

There were lots of reasons to think that we shouldn’t make this move and take all the risks involved. In the year before we moved, every attempt I made at getting work there fell through. Every attempt I made at finding a house to rent fell through. It was literally only three weeks before we moved that we finally had a place to move to!

There was plenty of worry, stress, and anxiety, plenty of thoughts saying that this was a bad decision.

By this point in my life, though, I had learned to listen to my intuition, and to the signals of my heart, to guide me in my life choices.

I had learned not let my thoughts (that is to say, my worries, doubts, fears, anxieties, and apprehensions) paralyze me in my decision-making. I had learned to have more confidence in what my body felt than in what my mind said.

There was a time when I would have wasted a lot of time and energy debating back and forth, and then made a choice I was neither sure was the right one, nor fully happy with. For the first three decades or more of my life, I was a person who struggled intensely with making choices and decisions.

I was usually afraid of making the wrong choice, and unsure of how to know whether I was making the right choice. Aside from any question about “right versus wrong” choices, I worried about what others would think, or how others would feel, if I made this or that choice.

This indecision, this self-doubt, resulted in significant stress and anxiety—sometimes, to the point of feeling too paralyzed to act at all—as well as resulting in wasted time, lost opportunities, and regrets.

Over the years, I worked in therapy on overcoming anxiety and other issues, and learned and practiced meditation and mindfulness, and yoga. Over time, and with consistent practice, I gradually learned how to find a calm center in the midst of those conflicted thoughts.

I also learned how to tune into my heart, with heart-focused meditations.

I discovered that my heart would always tell me what I really needed. There was always one clear answer from the heart, about what was right for me in any given situation. And when I experimented with acting on those choices, the outcomes were always good, and I never felt doubt or regret. There was a consistent sense of acting in alignment with my true self, my true purpose…my truth.

The fundamental basis for this approach to making decisions is mindfulness. Being mindful means being able to “sink down” below the turbulent surface of thoughts, projections, fears, and perceptions that all clamour for my attention when I have a decision to make. It means having a still center from which I can then be aware of the quieter, and subtler, signals in my body, my heart.

When you mindfully tune into your heart, when you separate from your thoughts and emotional reactions, you discover that the heart has a very clear, although sometimes, a very subtle, way of saying “yes” and “no.”

A sensation or feeling of opening, relaxing, warmth, moving toward, is a “Yes.” A feeling or sensation of closing, hardening, pulling back, tensing is a “No.”

I have learned to trust that this response from the heart tells me what is best for my overall, integral being, for my physical health, my mental health, my social relationships, my family relationships, and the unfolding of my life purpose.

Mindfulness is the basis from which this approach to decision-making stems, but making decisions this way as a practice also enhances my ability to be mindful in everyday life.

It is an exercise in letting go of attachment—attachment to desires and fears; attachment to expectations of myself, of others, or of the future; attachment to thoughts about what I “should” do; attachment to what other people might think and feel.

Most of our stress, anxiety, indecision, and doubt around making decisions is rooted in fear. We fear unknown outcomes, or we fear negative outcomes that we project might happen.

Fear reactions always serve to dissociate us from our true and integral Self in the moment.

In his book The Biology of Belief, Bruce Lipton talks about how a cell is either in defence mode or in growth mode; it cannot be in both at once. The same is true psychologically.

If we are—even just in our thoughts—engaged in fear, and trying to defend ourselves from negative outcomes, then the choices we make will be based in trying to protect ourselves from whatever it is we fear; they will not be grounded in hope, confidence, and faith; they will not be conducive to growth and thriving.

It isn’t necessarily easy to resist the fear, and to listen to your heart. Our brains are wired to prioritize safety; this means that the brain will pay attention to fear and let it guide our thinking. It takes practice and perseverance to find a calm center beneath and within the fear; it is the work of mindfulness, applied to actions.

Mindfulness is fundamental as it trains you to detach from the narrative of the fear-based thoughts. But making decisions to act in ways that challenge those fears takes the challenge up a notch.

Part of the solution is reminding yourself of what has always happened in the past when you acted according to these fears. You will find that there is always some kind of dissatisfaction or disappointment, if not outright frustration, that resulted.

Part of the solution is working on reducing those fears (try Energy Psychology techniques or, my favorite, Logosynthesis); and part of the solution is in “feeling the fear and doing it anyways”—pushing through the fear, and experiencing the positive outcomes.

I have come to make all my decisions in this heart-centered way, and I have never been disappointed. On the one hand, I can say that I have never been disappointed because the outcome has always been good.

On the other hand, there is a feeling that comes simply from making a decision this way, based on a felt response in the body, where I physically experience my body saying yes or no, that allows me to detach from expectations about the outcome altogether, and to feel good and confident about my decision, regardless of the outcome.

I feel good and strong simply because I am making the decision that I know is right for me.

The outcomes we wish for are not always the outcomes we need, or that will be best for us. The outcomes we wish for are often based in a sense of lack, longing, or insufficiency. In my emotional heart I may fear, I may want to avoid something, or I may long for something, desire it.

In my energetic heart, the response will not be based on any sense of fear, avoidance, lack, or insufficiency. It is based in a consistent, integral sense of Self, in relationship to others, to the world, and to life itself.

I used to be afraid of confrontation, or even of risking a confrontation by displeasing people. So when it became clear that the dynamics of my (birth) family’s gatherings were too stressful for my wife, and detrimental to her well-being, I was forced to look at it more closely and acknowledge that I felt uncomfortable in those situations, as well.

I had the usual reaction: “But it’s my family! I can’t just decide not to go for Christmas!” But in my heart I felt clearly that the right choice was to stop attending. Having to take this action and tell them caused me a lot of anxiety.

I was afraid of the anger and rejection I felt certain would come of it. I delayed and avoided.

When I did tell them, I was met with confusion, anger, and blame. The response I feared did happen. What didn’t happen is what I really feared—that I would not be okay if they were unhappy with me.

I was okay…We were okay. It made my relationship stronger because my wife knew I would take her needs seriously, and act on them, even though it was uncomfortable for me. It made me stronger, because it helped me to realize that even if I made other people unhappy, I could still be okay.

Knowing I was making the right choice for myself, there was a clear distinction between what other people might think was “right” or “wrong,” and what I knew in my heart.

Letting go of fear opened me up to growth.

The more you practice decision-making in this way, the more you develop an incredible sense of freedom, an ability to move in this world in a way that is true to yourself and to your life purpose. It helps to cultivate the “courageous self-acceptance” and the “fearless heart” described in Buddhist teachings.

And when making your decisions becomes clearer, less stressful, and less conflicted, it makes your relationships with others a lot easier. You let go of people pleasing, of guilt, of feeling like you have to explain yourself or even to compromise yourself and make decisions that aren’t right for you.

You may be afraid that if you act according to your heart, you will make people angry. And that may be exactly what happens. But your great fears of the consequences of people being angry with you never happen. You realize that even if you have to deal with loss, you have regained something of yourself.

Relationships become simpler as you feel a sense of wholeness, of integrity. You know you are acting with integrity, and so you feel comfortable affirming your choices. You feel less defensive when people disagree with you. This is a freedom we should all wish for each other, and grant each other.

And, in case you were wondering, nineteen years later, we still love living in Nova Scotia. It is home now, and we would never think of leaving. Within a couple of months of moving here I was working full-time. It has been a great place to live, to work and to raise our children and we would never think of leaving.

Our hearts drew us to a place that became home in a way that the place we grew up and began our adult lives in could never quite be. Our hearts drew us to our destinies.

A Simple Way to Calm Yourself When Feeling Strong Emotions

Peaceful Woman

“This is the root of Self. You are not your thoughts; you are aware of your thoughts. You are not your emotions; you feel your emotions…. You are the conscious being who is aware that you are aware of all these inner and outer things.” ~Michael Singer

I sat across from my colleague with a growing sense of discomfort. I had accepted an assignment from the boss, but I heard from my colleague an undercurrent of questioning and uncertainty—or so it seemed. It was so subtle that I couldn’t quite tell what was going on.

Did she not believe I could do it? Nobody else was stepping forward to meet the need. Was she saying it’s better to go with nobody than with me?

All I knew for sure was that I wasn’t hearing this outright. I decided to let it go, head on home, think about it tomorrow, and be fully present with my family instead. But the next morning as I pulled into my parking spot in front of the office, a subtle agitation rumbled in my stomach.

I walked into the quiet building and set my things down in the office, distracted by my disquiet and wishing I could focus on my task list. The thoughts prickling at me wouldn’t let go.

I laid my pen down and asked myself, “Okay, what’s going on?”

In my top drawer I keep a deck of “grok” cards that I bought from the folks at the Center for Nonviolent Communication. Each one has the name of a need or value—things like “hope,” “trust,” and “balance” show up in this deck. I frequently use these when I can’t quite put a finger on what’s bothering me.

I flipped through the cards and sorted them as I went. In the “not now” pile went cards like “freedom,” “competence,” and “creativity.” In the next pile, the “Maybe?” pile, went cards like “security,” “meaning/purpose,” and “friendship.”

I went on sorting between just these two piles until I hit one that resonated: “Acknowledgement.” That went into a new pile: “Yes.”

A couple of cards after it I found “Appreciation.” That went into the “Yes” pile too, and then I noticed something really interesting happen: I got angry.

Usually when I sort through these cards, the experience of finding the right word to put on my current needs or values results in feeling more settled, more clear. Frequently my agitation will be replaced by a sense of gratitude, or courage to act in a way that helps me meet my needs.

Typically, that is the value for me in identifying my needs. It helps me find a more straightforward and effective path toward getting those needs met. But it didn’t happen this time.

Instead, the voice in my head just became louder and more insistent.

My coworker should be grateful for my willingness to take on this new project! She wasn’t going to step in and do anything. Why wasn’t she acknowledging that I was making a sacrifice on behalf of the team?

This narrative swept me up. It threatened to pull me under.

Slowly, I started to notice another, quieter voice saying, “Why am I getting so upset? That doesn’t usually happen after I go through the GROK cards. What can I do for myself that won’t be so negative?”

I’m going to admit this was an odd experience for me. I don’t typically have this second, quieter voice. Or, if I’ve had it, I haven’t been able to hear it.

But I did hear it this time, and it called to mind Michael Singer’s book, The Untethered Soul. I read it just about a month before.

“You are not the voice of the mind,” he wrote. “You are the one that hears it.”

He suggests that when we’re bothered by something, we can change what we identify with. Rather than identifying with all of those thoughts and feelings, we can instead identify ourselves as “the observer” or witness of what is being experienced.

As I felt myself getting swept up in defensiveness against my coworker, I decided to try it. What would happen, I wondered? I started up a new voice in my head that said, “I am not all of these thoughts and feelings. I am the observer who is noticing that Amy is having a powerful experience.”

It was almost meditation, but not quite the same as my usual practice. Michael Singer might say I was doing it wrong. A psychiatrist might have a lot of questions for me—I don’t know.

What I do know is what happened inside myself. As I identified myself as “the observer who is noticing that Amy is having a powerful experience,” I relaxed. I let go of the waves of negative thinking.

I realized that I could talk to myself the way I would talk to a dear friend who is feeling unacknowledged and underappreciated. I realized I could give myself compassion.

I imagined telling myself, “I’m sorry you haven’t been appreciated. That’s hard. You are still okay.”

I admit I feel extra vulnerable as I type that out. Part of me doesn’t want to admit that I talk to myself in this way. On the other hand, this was such an amazing experience!

I was able to walk myself through processing my own needs and emotions in ways I’ve never done before. As soon as it happened, I wanted to shout it out to the rest of the world, “Hey, I’ve found a path that looks like it leads somewhere good! Come check it out!”

Do you ever feel the emotional undertow of unpleasant, uncomfortable feelings? Have you tried to resist them without success? Perhaps it would help to identify yourself as the observer.

Accept that the feelings and thoughts are there, but instead of identifying with them, try identifying yourself as the observer or witness who is noticing that this experience is flowing through.

Perhaps you already know this part of the path. Have you tried a practice like this? What works for you?

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This Moment is Enough

I was in a plane descending into Portland for a quick stopover, and I gazed upon a brilliant pink sunrise over blue and purple mountains, and my heart ached.

Instinctively, I looked over to Eva to share this breath-taking moment, but she was sleeping. I felt incomplete, not being able to share the moment with her, or with anyone. Its beauty was slipping through my fingers.

This was a teachable moment for me: I somehow felt this moment wasn’t enough, without being able to share it. It took me a second to remind myself: this moment is enough.

It’s enough, without needing to be shared or photographed or improved or commented upon. It’s enough, awe-inspiring just as it is.

I’m not alone in this feeling, that the moment needs to be captured by photo to be complete, or shared somehow on social media. It’s the entire reason for Instagram, for instance.

We feel the moment isn’t enough unless we talk about it, share it, somehow solidify it. The moment is ephemeral, and we want solidity and permanence. This kind of groundlessness can scare us.

This feeling of not-enoughness is fairly pervasive in our lives:

  • We sit down to eat and feel we should be reading something online, checking messages, doing work. As if eating the food weren’t enough.
  • We get annoyed with people when they don’t act as we want them to — the way they are feels like it’s not enough.
  • We feel directionless and lost in life, as if the life we have is not already enough.
  • We procrastinate when we know we should sit down to do important work, going for distractions, as if the work is not enough for us.
  • We always feel there’s something else we should be doing, and can’t just sit in peace.
  • We mourn the loss of people, of the past, of traditions … because the present feels like it’s not enough.
  • We are constantly thinking about what’s to come, as if it’s not enough to focus on what’s right in front of us.
  • We constantly look to improve ourselves, or to improve others, as if we and they are not already enough as we are.
  • We reject situations, reject people, reject ourselves, because we feel they’re not enough.

What if we accepted this present moment, and everyone and everything in it, as exactly enough?

What if we needed nothing more?

What if we accepted that this moment will slip away when it’s done, and saw the fleeting time we had with the moment as enough, without needing to share it or capture it?

What if we said yes to things, instead of rejecting them?

What if we accepted the “bad” with the good, the failures with the attempts, the irritating with the beautiful, the fear with the opportunity, as part of a package deal that this moment is offering us?

What if we paused right now, and saw everything in this present moment around us (including ourselves), and just appreciated it for what it is, as perfectly enough?

 

Happy mothering! It’s good for your health.

© Glow Images. Models used for illustrative purposes© Glow Images. Models used for illustrative purposes

Today’s woman is multi-faceted. She can be a wife, daughter, sister, aunt, mother and grandmother. As a mum, she juggles her life with raising children, running a home, work or study. As a grandmother, she often plays an important role in looking-after her grandchildren. For these women, mothering is a serious responsibility and a treasured privilege. While it’s a demanding life, it can be made easier when it incorporates happy mothering which is good for your health.

Celebrate Happy Mothering

Each year Mother’s Day celebrates the contribution women make to family life and acknowledges the importance of mothering. My earliest participation in this celebration, was the morning I proudly carried the breakfast tray into my mother’s room for the first time. Serving my Mum breakfast in bed was my way of thanking her for the love and caring she was giving me. Of course, I didn’t fully appreciate all she was doing to raise me to be a happy, healthy, good person. Yet my mother did this each day with boundless grace and love.

TIPS:

– Relish the challenges of parenting. Be pleased that you’re doing your best as a mother.

– Take pleasure in the fact that you get your children to school each day so that they can receive a good education; that you’re able to feed, clothe, and give them a safe, loving home; that through your efforts you are giving them a good start in life.

– Be glad to “Direct your children onto the right path (so that), when they are older, they will not leave it.” The Bible, Proverbs 22:6.

– Feel satisfied that through your spiritual values and example, your children will become model citizens, knowing right from wrong, treating everyone with respect and kindness, and being a blessing to others at home, school and in the community.

– Have inner contentment. Find joy in allowing meditation or prayer help you be a happy mother. “Take time to be holy, Be calm in thy soul; Each thought and each motive beneath His control.” – W.D. Longstaff .

– Be grateful for your mother’s nurturing and the selfless caring that women around the world give their own children and others. “Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.” Science and Health p. 57 – Mary Baker Eddy.

– Be joyous. With the help of a divine Mother-love you can fulfill your parenting tasks with poise and grace, and celebrate happy mothering.

Grieving, Mourning and Moving On, Part II

In this episode, we had an in-depth discussion on the symptoms of grief. We learned from Dr. Andrews that children can express grief in many ways. They may lose the ability to focus at school or they  may act out in anger. At times, some children will regress even to the point of wetting the bed when grieving. We also learned how to help them deal with their pain without being condescending or judgmental.

If we don’t learn to grieve, mourn and move on properly, we carry pain and sorrow for the rest of our lives. It manifests in the form of depression and physical illness and we often mask our grief with pills.

Grieving, Mourning and Moving On – Part I

Grieving is a real, physical, emotional response to loss.  Mourning is an outpouring of those painful emotions.  If we don’t go through the proper mourning process, the outpouring, we can become spiritually weighed down, angry and even physically ill.

Dr. Andrews shares her thoughts on the grieving process and how faith and hope can help us get well.

Nourish your thinking! It’s good for your health.

@Glowimages@Glowimages

In the whirlwind-of-life that we call our daily routine, every minute seems to be accounted for. There’s the family to attend to, trips to the supermarket, household chores, work commitments, and yes, emails and Facebook posts to catch up with. How does one cope with the hectic pace of life and stay mentally on top? One way, is to make time to nourish your thinking at home and work. What’s more, it’s good for your health.

NOURISH YOUR THINKING AT HOME AND WORK.

Recently I witnessed the benefits of undertaking “nourishing” action. In my garden a number of beautiful rose bushes planted by a previous home-owner, suddenly started failing. A friend inquired if I was regularly nourishing the roses with proper food and water? I hadn’t been doing so. When I did, they revived immediately and have bloomed more profusely than ever.

In the comfort of our home, we may have appropriate food and water each day for our bodily needs. But what about our thinking? It also requires attention. Old, worn-out, negative thoughts need to be over-hauled and refreshed, and our thinking capacity nourished with fresh, robust, constructive ideas. Such mental nourishing leads to a healthier state of mind. We’re able to relax more, sleep better, and respond to challenges from a position of strength.

TIPS:

– Before you leap out of bed in the morning, take a moment to nurture your inner self. Affirm that you are loved, lovable and loving. You are a special person. You can accomplish much good.

– Cherish yourself by remembering that an ever-present Love is constantly watching over you, guiding you through each day, and keeping you safe. – Bible Psalm 121

– If you’re thirsty for caring or companionship, drink-in thoughts of hope and encouragement. Happiness and contentment are within your reach.

– When feeling under pressure at work, do what a friend of mine does. Take a mental pause and feed your thinking with “beautiful images of thought”. Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health p. 248

– Use the gentle imagery of the beautiful 23rd Psalm, and picture yourself in a peaceful green meadow, resting beside a calm stream. This comforting, tranquil thought-image, will soon refresh and restore your peace of mind.

– If you’re someone who likes to pray, or meditate, feed your thinking with gratitude for the good that is already in your life. Gratitude definitely gives you a boost. It nourishes your thinking, puts a spring-in-your-step, and is good for your health.

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