Posts Tagged “Kate Siner”

Authentic Happiness: 3 Simple Steps to Find the Courage to Be Yourself

We all have flashes of inspiration. Sometimes they appear as quiet whispers in the night, as fleeting thoughts in the morning shower or as huge “a-ha!” moments. The question is: Are you giving enough attention to the clues that your inner voice is sending? How can you get more attuned to the inner directives? Here are three ways to get started.

1) Knowledge Is Power
Socrates said it best: “Know Thyself.” This includes understanding what makes you feel alive, what captures your imagination, and also what comes naturally to you. Knowing your strengths is a huge advantage. If you have a great sense of humor, creativity or an ability to communicate easily with people, then you can build on those qualities to create your best life. By focusing on enhancing your strengths rather than trying to make up for your weaknesses, you can move more quickly in your desired direction and have fun in the process. Ask a few friends what they see as your strengths, and do the same for them. You may be surprised!

2) Get Into The Flow
Have you ever been so caught up in an activity that the hours fly by in what seemed like minutes? This is called being in a flow state. According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, flow can happen when you’re totally immersed in what you are doing and feeling both serene and connected. This buoyant state can happen many ways, including when deeply focusing on a sport, writing a paper or even playing music. Yoga and mindfulness are reported to increase flow, but it can occur anywhere your skill level is equal to your challenge and you get totally absorbed in the activity. When athletes say they were “in the zone,” they are talking about flow. When artists refer to the music, art or inspiration flowing through them, it is the same state. Think of times when you were engrossed in something: your attention was heightened and you felt that everything was aligned. What if you made the choice to make more time for that in your day to day?

For me, yoga is where I experience flow. Although I never set my sights on being a yoga teacher, I noticed (and happened to pay attention to) an ad in the paper about a yoga teacher-training course. After checking into it, I decided to go for it. The course was one of the most fulfilling experiences I have ever taken on – every class was like immersing myself in flow. What are some ways that you can incorporate more flow into your daily life?

3) Embody What You Believe In
Once you know your strengths and where you experience flow, you can consciously tweak your life to include more of that. By stepping into your authenticity, you automatically come into greater alignment and a peace that serves not only yourself but others, as well. Gandhi stated that “[h]appiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Don’t underestimate the importance of your own fulfillment and happiness; it ripples out farther than you may know. Rather than rocking the boat by being who you are, you actually give other people permission to do the same. Listen to the clues. By being on the lookout for directives, you will start to see them everywhere.

Steve Jobs has an interesting quote:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life… Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

If you can tap into your intuition and inner wisdom to direct your passions, you can use that in your own life, as well as to serve others. Then, you will easily embody what you believe, and your authentic happiness will shine the way for others, too.

What are you passionate about in your life?

Randy Taran is the founder of Project Happiness, a non-profit that empowers youth to create greater happiness in their lives and in the world. She is the co author, with Maria Lineger, of the Project Happiness Handbook. Programs which grew from the book, make the best of positive psychology, neuroscience and mindfulness accessible nationwide and in over 80 countries.

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10 Signs Its Time To Let Go

Here are ten signs it’s time to let go:

1. Someone expects you to be someone you’re not. – Don’t change who you are for anyone else.  It’s wiser to lose someone over being who you are, than to keep them by being someone you’re not.  Because it’s easier to mend a broken heart, than it is to piece together a shattered identity.  It’s easier to fill an empty space in your life where someone else used to be, than it is to fill the empty space inside yourself where YOU used to be.

2. A person’s actions don’t match their words. – Everybody deserves somebody who helps them look forward to tomorrow.  If someone has the opposite effect on you, because they are consistently inconsistent and their actions don’t match up with their words, it’s time to let them go.  It’s always better to be alone than to be in bad company.  True friendship is a promise made in the heart – silent, unwritten, unbreakable by distance, and unchangeable by time.  Don’t listen to what people say; watch what they do.  Your true friends will slowly reveal themselves over time.

3. You catch yourself forcing someone to love you. – Let us keep in mind that we can’t force anyone to love us.  We shouldn’t beg someone to stay when they want to leave.  That’s what love is all about – freedom.  However, the end of love is not the end of life.  It should be the beginning of an understanding that love sometimes leaves for a reason, but never leaves without a lesson.  If someone truly loves you, they will never give you a reason to doubt it.  Anyone can come into your life and say how much they love you, but it takes someone really special to stay in your life and prove how much they love you.  Sometimes it takes awhile to find the right person, but the right person is always worth the wait. 

4. An intimate relationship is based strictly on physical attraction. – Being beautiful is more than how many people you can get to look at you, or how others perceive you at a single glance.  It’s about what you live for.  It’s about what defines you.  It’s about the depth of your heart, and what makes you unique.  It’s about being who you are and living out your life honestly.  It’s about those little quirks that make you, you.  People who are only attracted to you because of your pretty face or nice body won’t stay by your side forever.  But the people who can see how beautiful your heart is will never leave you.

5. Someone continuously breaks your trust. – Love means giving someone the chance to hurt you, but trusting them not to.  When you completely trust a person, without any doubt, you’ll automatically get one of two results – a FRIEND for life or a LESSON for life.  Either way there’s a positive outcome.  Either you confirm the fact that this person cares about you, or you get the opportunity to weed them out of your life and make room for those who do.  In the end you’ll discover who’s fake, who’s true, and who would risk it all for you.  And trust me, some people will totally surprise you.

6. Someone continuously overlooks your worth. – Know your worth!  When you give yourself to someone who doesn’t respect you, you surrender pieces of your soul that you’ll never get back.  There comes a point when you have to let go and stop chasing some people.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll find a way to put you there.  Sometimes you just need to let go and accept the fact that they don’t care for you the way you care for them.  Let them leave your life quietly.  Letting go is oftentimes easier than holding on.  We think it’s too hard to let go, until we actually do.  Then we ask ourselves, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”

Here are ten signs it’s time to let go: 1. Someone expects you to be someone you’re not. – Don’t change who you are for anyone else.  It’s wiser to lose someone over being who you are, than to keep them by being someone you’re not.  Because it’s easier to mend a broken heart, than it is to piece together a shattered identity.  It’s easier to fill an empty space in your life where someone else used to be, than it is to fill the empty space inside yourself where YOU used to be. 2. A person’s actions don’t match their words. – Everybody deserves somebody who helps them look forward to tomorrow.  If someone has the opposite effect on you, because they are consistently inconsistent and their actions don’t match up with their words, it’s time to let them go.  It’s always better to be alone than to be in bad company.  True friendship is a promise made in the heart – silent, unwritten, unbreakable by distance, and unchangeable by time.  Don’t listen to what people say; watch what they do.  Your true friends will slowly reveal themselves over time. 3. You catch yourself forcing someone to love you. – Let us keep in mind that we can’t force anyone to love us.  We shouldn’t beg someone to stay when they want to leave.  That’s what love is all about – freedom.  However, the end of love is not the end of life.  It should be the beginning of an understanding that love sometimes leaves for a reason, but never leaves without a lesson.  If someone truly loves you, they will never give you a reason to doubt it.  Anyone can come into your life and say how much they love you, but it takes someone really special to stay in your life and prove how much they love you.  Sometimes it takes awhile to find the right person, but the right person is always worth the wait.  4. An intimate relationship is based strictly on physical attraction. – Being beautiful is more than how many people you can get to look at you, or how others perceive you at a single glance.  It’s about what you live for.  It’s about what defines you.  It’s about the depth of your heart, and what makes you unique.  It’s about being who you are and living out your life honestly.  It’s about those little quirks that make you, you.  People who are only attracted to you because of your pretty face or nice body won’t stay by your side forever.  But the people who can see how beautiful your heart is will never leave you. 5. Someone continuously breaks your trust. – Love means giving someone the chance to hurt you, but trusting them not to.  When you completely trust a person, without any doubt, you’ll automatically get one of two results – a FRIEND for life or a LESSON for life.  Either way there’s a positive outcome.  Either you confirm the fact that this person cares about you, or you get the opportunity to weed them out of your life and make room for those who do.  In the end you’ll discover who’s fake, who’s true, and who would risk it all for you.  And trust me, some people will totally surprise you. 6. Someone continuously overlooks your worth. – Know your worth!  When you give yourself to someone who doesn’t respect you, you surrender pieces of your soul that you’ll never get back.  There comes a point when you have to let go and stop chasing some people.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll find a way to put you there.  Sometimes you just need to let go and accept the fact that they don’t care for you the way you care for them.  Let them leave your life quietly.  Letting go is oftentimes easier than holding on.  We think it’s too hard to let go, until we actually do.  Then we ask ourselves, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” 7. You are never given a chance to speak your mind. – Sometimes an argument saves a relationship, whereas silence breaks it.  Speak up for your heart so that you won’t have regrets.  Life is not about making others happy.  Life is about being honest and sharing your happiness with others. 8. You are frequently forced to sacrifice your happiness. – If you allow people to make more withdrawals than deposits in your life, you will be out of balance and in the negative before you know it.  Know when to close the account.  It’s always better to be alone with dignity than in a relationship that constantly requires you to sacrifice your happiness and self-respect.  9. You truly dislike your current situation, routine, job, etc. – It’s better to be a failure at something you love than to succeed at doing something you hate.  Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of going after yours.  The best thing you can do in life is follow your heart.  Take risks.  Don’t just make the safe and easy choices because you’re afraid of what might happen.  If you do, nothing will ever happen.  Chances must be taken, mistakes must be made, and lessons must be learned.  It might be an uphill climb, but when you reach that mountaintop it will be worth every ounce of blood, sweat and tears you put into it. 10. You catch yourself obsessing over, and living in, the past. – Eventually you will overcome the heartache, and forget the reasons you cried, and who caused the pain.  Eventually you will realize that the secret to happiness and freedom is not about control or revenge, but in letting things unfold naturally, and learning from your experiences over the course of time.  After all, what matters most is not the first, but the final chapter of your life, which unveils the details of how well you wrote your story.  So let go of the past, set yourself free, and open your mind to the possibility of new relationships and priceless experiences.  And the one thing you should never let go of is hope.  Remember what you deserve and keep pushing forward.  Someday all the pieces will come together.  Unimaginably good things will transpire in your life, even if everything doesn’t turn out exactly the way you had anticipated.  And you will look back at the times that have passed, smile, and ask yourself, “How did I get through all of that?”

7. You are never given a chance to speak your mind. – Sometimes an argument saves a relationship, whereas silence breaks it.  Speak up for your heart so that you won’t have regrets.  Life is not about making others happy.  Life is about being honest and sharing your happiness with others.

8. You are frequently forced to sacrifice your happiness. – If you allow people to make more withdrawals than deposits in your life, you will be out of balance and in the negative before you know it.  Know when to close the account.  It’s always better to be alone with dignity than in a relationship that constantly requires you to sacrifice your happiness and self-respect. 

9. You truly dislike your current situation, routine, job, etc. – It’s better to be a failure at something you love than to succeed at doing something you hate.  Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of going after yours.  The best thing you can do in life is follow your heart.  Take risks.  Don’t just make the safe and easy choices because you’re afraid of what might happen.  If you do, nothing will ever happen.  Chances must be taken, mistakes must be made, and lessons must be learned.  It might be an uphill climb, but when you reach that mountaintop it will be worth every ounce of blood, sweat and tears you put into it.

10. You catch yourself obsessing over, and living in, the past. – Eventually you will overcome the heartache, and forget the reasons you cried, and who caused the pain.  Eventually you will realize that the secret to happiness and freedom is not about control or revenge, but in letting things unfold naturally, and learning from your experiences over the course of time.  After all, what matters most is not the first, but the final chapter of your life, which unveils the details of how well you wrote your story.  So let go of the past, set yourself free, and open your mind to the possibility of new relationships and priceless experiences. 

And the one thing you should never let go of is hope.  Remember what you deserve and keep pushing forward.  Someday all the pieces will come together.  Unimaginably good things will transpire in your life, even if everything doesn’t turn out exactly the way you had anticipated.  And you will look back at the times that have passed, smile, and ask yourself, “How did I get through all of that?”

Looking for more guidance and support in your life? Tune in every Thursday at 12pm EST for Dr. Kate’s new radio show Real Answers.

article reposted from Mark and Angel Hack Life

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5 Steps to Clear Mental Clutter

Clutter is anything that gets in the way of what matters most to you. It can certainly be material—unwanted trinkets and clothes that no longer fit—but clutter also can be spiritual, emotional, and psychological.

Maybe you’ve found yourself unable to meditate or pray because you can’t stop thinking about an insensitive remark your coworker made. Or you’ve filled hours of your life with worry and irritation about something you can’t control. Perhaps you’re still mad at a college roommate who has owed you rent money for decades, or the memory of an embarrassing moment in your past sometimes creeps into your thoughts and leaves you cringing and mortified for hours.

These aggravations and other negative thoughts about people and situations can get in the way of an intentional life focused on the things you actually value. Regrets, anger, frustrations, anxieties, envy, and other nonproductive emotions may be depleting your limited energy. And, unfortunately, mental clutter doesn’t magically disappear; the only way to alleviate mental clutter is to deal with it.

1. Assess the mess. Physical clutter is easy to identify, but mental clutter can be more difficult. What relationship in your life is draining? What consuming thoughts aren’t in accord with the life you desire? What distracts you from being fulfilled spiritually and emotionally? Try this to help identify the clutter: sit in silence, close your eyes, and try to clear your mind. As thoughts pour in and distract you from centering, pause to write them down. Return to sitting still with your eyes closed. Repeat the process until all those invasive thoughts are on paper and your mind finally feels quiet.

2. Sort. Categorize all that mental clutter into groups based on how you intend to process it. Group it into categories like: I can let it go right now, I can research and likely solve the problem, I can change my attitude/opinion about it, I can make amends, I can confront it with the help of a mental health professional.

3. Plan your attack. Treat this like any other project: you need clear direction for your actions and a timeline for when to take the next step. Working through the categories you created in step two, write a to-do list of the next steps you can take to reduce or completely get rid of your distractions. For example, you might decide to set a timer and wait 10 minutes before responding to emails that make your blood boil, forgive a friend even though she hasn’t apologized, or schedule 15 minutes this evening to research family therapists in your area. Once you have solidified your to-do list, open your calendar and schedule all time-sensitive actions for a specific date and time.

4. Throw out the backpack. Once you resolve an issue, don’t stash it in your mental backpack to retrieve later. If you have forgiven someone, do your best to never mention the transgression again. You’re done with the clutter; be resolved to let it go for good.

5. Avoid future traps.It’s pretty hard to avoid mental clutter for the rest of your life, but you can prevent some of it. Look for physical clues—when your outward space is chaotic it might be a sign your inner space is out of balance too. Keep a journal where you can offload your small, daily emotional clutter. You might consider scheduling five minutes every day to worry about all the things you can’t control. Then, if an unwanted anxiety pops into your head you can dismiss it by reminding yourself, I’ve scheduled time to think about that problem during the bus ride home, so right now I will focus my attention on writing this report. Cultivate habits that help you identify mental clutter when it starts, and turn your attention to something more meaningful.

Remember, you get to decide what fills your head and shapes your thoughts. Only you can clear the distractions and focus instead on what matters most to you, so stop letting clutter interfere with your meaningful path.

reblogged from www.spiritualityhealth.com (more…)

Breaking Through Creative Blocks

It is human to avoid. This trait probably even predates homo sapiens, by about a zillion years. The creatures who stayed in their holes in the ground survived, while the ones who ventured outside were eaten. It ain’t survival of the fittest. It’s survival of the most anxious.

The survival strategy of remaining frozen in your burrow clearly works to a point, but when used willy-nilly, it becomes hard to get anything done. It leads to that old bug-a-boo, procrastination. Freud’s favorite word, neurotic, can be defined as using a survival strategy after its outlived its usefulness. This genetic atavism leads to the number one problem that people present in my psychotherapy office: “I know what I should do – I even know what I wanna do – why don’t I do it?”

This monumental impediment and its fix, especially around creativity, is the subject of Steven Pressfield’s terrific little book, The War of Art.

Pressfield uses another old Freudian word to describe the problem: resistance. This progress-stopper has been called by lots of names: the gremlin, the devil, maleficent, the underminer, the underdog. Like anyone who has encountered the power of the thing that prevents us from writing that novel, inventing that app, working to end sexual abuse, or losing that fifty pounds, Pressfield knows that this is an uncanny force of indomitable strength, that by all appearances has a life of its own.

Pressfield tells us that the first thing we need to do to beat this damn thing is to acknowledge its existence and understand its power. Stay close to your friends, but get closer to your enemies, kind of thing. In pithy, compelling, powerful, and entertaining chapters, Pressfield does as good a job as anyone describing just what this nasty little demon is like. If you want to know what’s getting in your way, you’ll find the answer here.

The author then goes on to give us the solution. It’s also pretty simple: do it anyway. This requires, just in the beginning, feeling fear. Avoidance, or resistance, happens so we don’t feel the fear. Instead, we feel indifference, boredom, tiredness, laziness, or we come up with all kinds of excuses – my toenail itches, it’s too cold outside, my mother wasn’t nice to me – rather than feel the fear that actually doing something involves. So, if you take action, you will be scared. After all, you, in all probability, will screw up and fail. But who cares? It’s not like you are going to get eaten by a saber-toothed tiger.

Once you get through that hard part, and you devote yourself to the daily work come hell-or-high-water, then, Pressfield tells us, a miraculous thing happens. Other forces – benevolent forces – come to our aid. The devil has us if we are sitting on the couch with our fingers up our noses. But the minute we just start and practice, something like God comes to visit.

Here, Pressfield is right on. He tells us not to wait for passion or inspiration, because it isn’t there in the beginning. We don’t get it for free. Inspiration is a gift we receive for hard work. It comes long after we begin.

I’ve watched these powers at work over and over again in my own, and others, lives, and I’ve tried to enlighten my clients about this about every way I could think of. But Pressfield lays it out better than I can manage. The only part I don’t like is when he tells people not to go to therapy! Having tried every technique against this formidable foe, I accept that there’s no magic formula to what is gonna hit the magic button for someone.

Just buying the book, and even reading it, is no guarantee of getting the message. When that inner critic is in force, he can even snark out Pressfield’s sage advice. But don’t listen to that cigar chomping skeptic that sits on your left shoulder who tells you that Pressfield doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Pressfield isn’t somebody who found it all easy and just gets to lord it over us mortals with his elephant poop wisdom. It took Pressfield seventeen years to have his inner breakthrough. And when he did, at fifty-two, he finally sold something. He wrote The Legend of Bagger Vance, which was turned into a movie directed by Robert Redford, starring Will Smith, Matt Damon, and Charlize Theron. Now, if that’s not a proof that miracles come to those who just keep doing it, I don’t know what is.

reblogged from www.glennberger.net Dr. Berger is a Dr. Berger is a psychotherapist, relationship counselor, business coach, artist coach, and young person’s mentor.

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10 Ways To Make The World A Better Place

Making a positive impact in the world starts with our everyday actions and with a deep sense of caring for our own lives. Here are 10 simple and profound steps you can take today.

1. Be kind and generous: In every moment of every day it is possible to change someone’s life. Sometimes, it is as simple as just being kind. Whenever you have an opportunity to go the extra mile for someone – take it.

2. Be clear about what does and does not work for you: People cannot work with you if they do not know what you are all about. If you are always compromising yourself, you will not be as effective. Be honest and direct about what you are willing to take part in.

3. Be your full self: Holding back because you think that is what others want is not helpful to anyone. You would not be who you are if it was not needed. Expressing yourself authentically may cause waves at first, but in the end it will surround you with the people and circumstances that truly reflect your inner experience.

4. Let others be their full selves: The same goes for anyone else. If you think 
others need to be different, you are wrong. Let people be who they really are. 
If you don’t like it, figure out how to work with it. One of the most generous and healthy things we can do is just let others be themselves.

5. Say thank you: People love to be appreciated. Let them know when you are grateful. When you do, you are more likely to keep receiving these positive things.

6. Look for ways to give back: Don’t lose track of making a contribution. No 
matter where you find yourself in your life, you can give back in a way that helps others.

7. Tip well and tip often: If you have money — and some might argue that this 
is true even if you don’t have money — make sure to support the people who Support the things you believe in: Purchase what you want to support. 
Spend your time doing what you want to support. Talk about the things you want to support. You get the picture?

8. Care for your health: It is hard to be our best selves when we are under the weather or treating our bodies badly. When we are not taking care of our physical self it spills over to the rest of our life and then to the others around us. Conversely, when you care for your body you not only are inspiring example to others, you will have more energy to give back.

9. Really listen: Most people are not listened to enough. Pay attention to them and let them know they are important. When you really listen to others you increase your connection and consequently your appreciation of others.

10. Focus: Know what you want to create and how you can help others. Then do it. Most everything else is a waste of time.

Want more ways to make your life and the world around you change for the better? Write me directly at admin@projectspace.in and we can set up a time to talk about what next steps are right for you!

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Beware THIS Zombie Apocalypse

I am writing you from 30,000 feet. It is 10pm and I got delayed. I should have arrived three hours ago. I’ve been doing a lot of travel this week and am hungry so naturally I am up here in the air thinking reflecting on unhappiness!

Clearly, the airline and airports made a few mistakes to get me here but the most bothersome part of the flight delay that let to my missing my next flight is that during the whole thing no one even showed an ounce of compassion. I swear they were all Zombies. I get it – airline employees deal with so many problems in the course of the day. But the degree to which these people were unhappy with their jobs and unhappy with me by proxy was astounding. So I want to focus this week on joy.

Emotional Zombies

At any given time, there can be one or more parts of your life that you are less than totally satisfied with. Some of this has to do with the continual changes that we are going through –what once worked now does not. However, sometimes we never had satisfaction to begin with.

If you do not take care of what is making you unhappy, you will find yourself shutting down more and more –turning into an emotional zombie. There are some rules of thumb when it comes to being a happier person that can never hurt for us to be reminded of.

Know that you are 100% responsible for your life –every last bit of it. It may seem like this is a recipe for misery but it is a crucial component in being happier in every moment.

Take care of the things that are not working for you. When your engine light comes on, if you do not take your car to the shop it is only going to get worse from there on. Your life is the same.

Be kind to people – including yourself. This is the reminder that I got from the people in the airport. Even if you are in a bad mood, do your best to find it in yourself to be authentically nice to all the people you encounter.

These three steps alone will help you feel more energetic, joyful, and help you feel alive as you go through your life.

Do you know that the above changes can make you happier but not sure HOW? Consider working with me and get the tools and support you need to create change! www.katesiner.com

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I Did It Because Of YOU

Wow, I am really having a really busy time right now! I am writing this newsletter standing up at my kitchen counter scarfing down tangerines because I haven’t had time for a real meal. I know that I am often talking about balance but sometimes regardless of what you do you still need to sprint at full speed and this is one of those times.

Not only is it the holidays but I am working on a finishing up an new image for my business, making my national network TV debut , and starting my own radio show. In case you have to ask, that is a lot of work! 2014 is going out with a BANG or maybe that is better said with a ZOOM.

What I am really grateful at when I am this busy is how well I am supported. Not just by others but also by myself. It has taken time to put my life together so that I can persist and thrive even when I am in such a busy time!

I know Thanksgiving was two weeks ago but there is never a time where gratitude is unimportant. Today I want to talk about gratitude for support.

This last Thursday I was at the Massachusetts Conference for Women. There were literally thousands of women in attendance and the message I kept hearing as I connected with people is “It is so good to be here because I feel so much support.”. I think most of us were on a high to see so many women stepping up for themselves and for the world and to feel that we are doing it together, each in our own way.

If you have every found yourself thinking that you did something all by yourself, whether you felt proud or lonely, you were wrong. While it is so important to acknowledge our own efforts, the bottom line is that we never succeed without the help of others. NEVER! As a matter of fact, there is really no aspect of our life that is untouched by another person.

That being said it might be helpful to take a moment and think about who is in our corner. Maybe it is time to let them know how grateful you are for their support. Take a few moments this week to go out of your way to notice the support you get from others and acknowledge them for their efforts.

I would like to lead by example:

First, a deep debt of gratitude goes out to my sister and right hand woman. Not only has she helped me advance my business but she is also a continual inspiration to me. I am certain I would not be the person I am today if she were not a part of my life –and I also forget many less appointments which simply cannot be overrated!

My second debt of gratitude is for my friends. It is a blessing to have the phone ring and hear a voice that has been a part of my life for years or even decades. Nothing beats laughing with someone who has seen you through both the good and the bad times.

Clearly that is just barely the beginning of a long list of people who have made my life what it is, made ME possible. As I said things are crazy busy and I am still standing here still writing this, finishing my tangerines. But now I am smiling. I may be busy and at moments stressed but I know I have the ability to face any challenge that comes my way because of my awesome support.

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Your Fulfilled Life: 5 Tips For Cultivating Creativity

Creativity isn’t a physical product: a story, a painting, a wreath. Acquiring the skill to make items takes practice. Creativity, on the other hand, takes a commitment to a certain mindset. As Robert Henri put it “The object is not to make art, but to be in that state which makes art inevitable.”

Creativity is the intangible quality of being able intelligently synthesize concepts in a fresh way. But how can access this place of innovation and new thinking?

Here are some tips that may help out when things seem stagnant:

Be playful. That’s the first rule. Creativity will not flow freely from an uptight, unwilling source. Don’t be afraid to be irreverent or silly, or to create something that is not your best. Looking at your life or business from a playful attitude may help you see things in a new light.

Embrace failures. You’re going to have ideas that flat out will not work. But that doesn’t mean that parts of your ideas aren’t useful or can’t be recycled for later projects. Don’t give up after just one draft of an idea, but whatever you do, don’t force bad ideas to happen. Instead, put them aside and you may reinvent them later.

Keep a record. Write it. Draw it. Record it. Whatever you do, make sure you take note of the things you’ve done and keep these notes in a central location. It helps you gain creative momentum. Once you see the great ideas you’ve come up with, it gives you the confidence to keep pushing them further. Keeping a creative journal can help you draw from past, unused ideas and watch yourself progress. It doesn’t have to be fancy or even intelligible by other people. As long as you know what your shorthand means, your notes are invaluable.

Try something new. I’m sure you have heard the quote “Same actions get same results.” So, when in search of creative thinking, try something (anything!) new. Attempting new things may shed new light on the things you’re interested in. The more versatile you become, the more experience you’re able to use to leverage your creativity.

Flâner. A French word meaning, “to walk around aimlessly without a plan.” (It actually means something closer to I would like to meet/stroll around with you). The phrase has roots in the actions of 19th century writers, who would would leisurely loaf around Paris seemingly without purpose. However, this downtime has two purposes: you can draw inspiration from taking in the world around you, and you can let the ideas in your head marinate and mature. Take a break from your hard work and nap. Drink a cup of tea and watch a thunderstorm. Loaf around and be with your thoughts. Some of the most creative ideas come when you focus on yourself, or even when you focus on nothing at all.

Cultivating a creative mind takes some effort. Challenge yourself. The more you can put yourself in a space of creativity, the more you can imagine greater potentials for your life or business. And what you can dream, you can do!

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18 Ways To Avoid Family Stress During The Holidays

There is something both comforting and beautiful about the end of the year rituals of our holiday celebrations. No matter what you choose to celebrate, each year we return to what we expect to be the same events – perhaps this is a party or meal, purchasing gifts or attending certain religious or spiritual ceremonies.

With the beautiful parts, we also return to the less beautiful – for some of us this is the stress of family, or loneliness, or financial burden. Because of this, it is a perfect time to work toward change. Instead of accepting these stresses as a given, an unavoidable part of the season, what could be different?

How can you use this time of year to grow your sense of how GOOD your life can be?

Below are 18 tips from www.greatist.com to help you reframe many a potentially stressful holiday situation.

Let It Go. For many families, the holidays are the only time everyone is in the same place for more than a hot second. What better time to bring up a forgotten birthday, an unpaid debt, or a longstanding childhood feud, right? Um, no. If you can’t let go of an old grudge (and please, please try), don’t turn a holiday gathering into an airing of grievances. If forgiving someone just isn’t possible at the moment, put on a smile and focus on other matters.

Stand Tall. Being around family has a way of making us revert to our childhood selves. Resist the urge to whine at Mom, fight with siblings about the remote, and, most importantly, defer to others about your own life. Grandma might not approve of your job or lifestyle choices, but when you’re an adult your life is your business. Don’t be afraid to stick up for yourself. Go With the Flow. Someone forgot the dip, a baby cousin wailed through dinner, and the dogs ate the leftover roasted chicken. A big holiday gathering can bring out the control freak in many people, but resist the urge to make everything Pinterest-worthy. Relax and breathe, and remember that next year no one will remember the time you dropped the Christmas pudding (Okay, we can’t promise that. They might remember. But it’ll be a lot more fun if you laugh along — because c’mon, it’s pretty funny).

Be Self-ish. Nobody likes to hear it, but each person can only control his or her own behavior. Stop trying to make Mom more cosmopolitan or Grandpa less nostalgic. The holidays will be much less strained for everyone if each person only worries about his or her own actions. Of course, with a meddling family this can sometimes feel impossible, but focus on being your best self.  

Privacy Please. Don’t be afraid to answer a prying question with “none of your beeswax.” Every family member doesn’t need to know every detail of your life, especially if it’s something you’re not comfortable sharing. So, sorry Cousin Jenny, I’m not going to talk about why I quit my job.

Act Like Santa. Getting everything on a holiday wish list is great, but keep expectations within reason. Avoid disappointment by focusing on the act of giving and people’s reactions to those gifts. Better yet, donate time and money to a worthier cause than your shoe collection.

Get Moving. When the urge to run out the door strikes, listen to it! Heading out for a walk or jog in the brisk air can improve any mood and give you some much-needed space from pesky relatives. Plus, getting blood pumping can reduce stress hormones like cortisol in the body.

Do It Yourself. Taking on a specific project or responsibility can give you a boost of energy and motivation to do something besides watch reality TV while counting the hours until you can leave. Instead of loafing around in the kitchen, stay busy by helping with chores like collecting cans for a food drive, taking the recycling to the dump, or restocking the fridge.

Put the Bottle Down. Sipping on spiked eggnog or a hot buttered rum is part of the fun, but it’s no surprise that alcohol + crowded rooms + family grudges = a whole lot of drama. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and makes some people more aggressive, so making sure no one gets too friendly with the wine bottle is a good way to keep the peace.

Follow the Leader. When someone else is running the show, stay on the sidelines. Nobody likes a know-it-all cousin trying to steal their thunder, so let Uncle Jim teach Dad how to carve the ham, even if you have a better technique up your sleeve. Besides, trying to take on too much is a recipe for a stressful holiday meltdown.

Mind Over Matter. Feeling really overwhelmed? Find a private space and do some basic meditation to get back on track.  Mindfulness meditation can help reduce stress and anxiety. Check out these 10 ways to meditate every day.

Mix it Up. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to suggest an alternative. If everybody just picks at the traditional roast goose at Christmas dinner, try chicken or ham or even a show-stopping vegetarian dish. Just because someone always hosts the big event or brings a certain dish doesn’t mean they want to do so indefinitely. When planning for the holidays, make sure no one feels forced to carry on a tradition they don’t particularly like.

Zip It. As the old saying goes, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything. Let old conflicts gather dust and don’t create new ones by haranguing relatives and kvetching about little things like who brewed the weak coffee.

Positive Pals. Hang out with people who make you feel good about yourself. Spend the most time with supportive relatives and just catch up briefly with others. There’s no reason to be constantly surrounded by negative influencers. And if a conversation is driving you bonkers, simply stand up and leave the room.

The Power of No. Take a lesson from the classic holiday movie “Home Alone” and play to your strengths. No one can do everything, so don’t feel guilty about saying “no.” If you hate cooking, don’t let yourself get roped into hosting a festive dinner. Bring wine or decorations to someone else’s party instead! 

Pace Yourself. If you’re scheduled to attend two or three holiday parties every day, consider taking a step back. When seasonal commitments pile up, it’s easy to wind up overbooked. Though friends and family will miss you if you ditch an event, it’s important to take care of yourself first and foremost. Set some boundaries around what you do and do not have energy for, and stick to them to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Keep it Real. Holiday treats are great, but you’ll probably feel better if you don’t drink eggnog like it’s water. As tough as it may be when traveling, try to stick to some semblance of a healthy routine. Allow yourself those holiday indulgences, but remember to also eat fruits and veggies and keep active for your own peace of mind. Incorporating aspects of normal routines can make that weeklong stay in a childhood bedroom a little easier.

Love Is All Around. At the end of the day, remember what the holidays are really about. Family members meddle because they love you, annoying traditions exist to bring people together, and everyone (even grumpy salespeople) just wants to be home for the holidays. When family-induced stress threatens to crush you, take a minute to think about the bigger picture and give thanks for what what’s often taken for granted. Focus on what’s going right or went right in the past year instead of what’s wrong. The holidays are a great time to practice gratitude.

6 Ways To Cultivate Gratitude

Gratitude and appreciation are two powerful weapons we can use against depression and anxiety.

In fact, Dan Baker writes in his book, What Happy People Know, that it is impossible to be in a state of appreciation and fear at the same time.

Here, then, are some ways we can cultivate gratitude.

1. Keep a gratitude journal.
According to psychologists such as Sonja Lyubomirsky at the University of California-Riverside, keeping a gratitude journal —where you record once a week all the things you have to be grateful for — and other gratitude exercises can increase your energy, and relieve pain and fatigue. In my daily mood journal, I make a list of each day’s “little joys,” moments that I would fail to appreciate if I didn’t make myself record them, such as: “holding my daughter’s hand on the way to the car,” “a hot shower,” “helping my son with his homework.” This exercise reminds me of all the blessings in my life I take for granted and encourages me to appreciate those mundane moments that can be sources of joy.

2. Use the right words.
According to Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman, words literally can change your brain. In their book, Words Can Change Your Brain, they write: “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.” Positive words, such as “peace” and “love,” can alter the expression of genes, strengthening areas in our frontal lobes and promoting the brain’s cognitive functioning. According to the authors, they propel the motivational centers of the brain into action and build resiliency.

3. Remember.
“Gratitude is the heart’s memory,” says the French proverb. Therefore, one of the first steps to thankfulness is to remember those in our lives who have walked with us and shown kindness for deeds big and small. I have been extremely fortunate to have so many positive mentors in my life. At every scary crossroad, there was a guardian or messenger there to help me find my way. The mere exercise of remembering such people can cultivate gratitude in your life.

4. Write thank-you letters.
According to psychologist Robert Emmons at the University of California at Davis, author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, a powerful exercise to cultivate gratitude is to compose a “gratitude letter” to a person who has made a positive and lasting influence in your life.

Emmons says the letter is especially powerful when you have not properly thanked the person in the past, and when you read the letter aloud to the person face to face. I do this as part of my holiday cards, especially to former professors or teachers who helped shape my future and inspired me in ways they might not know.

5. Hang with the winners.
Peer pressure never really goes away, you know. Studies show that married folks hanging out with happy couples are more likely to stay married themselves; that if your friends eat well, their willpower will rub off on you; and that if you surround yourself with optimists, you will end up more positive than if you keep company with a bunch of whiners. By merely sitting next to a person who likes the words “thank you,” there is a high probability that you will start using those words as well.

6. Give back.
A while back I wanted to repay a former professor of mine for all his encouragement and support to me throughout the years. However, nothing I could do would match his kindness. No letter of appreciation. No visit to his classrooms. So I decided I would help some young girl who fell into my path in the same way that he helped me. I would try to help and inspire this lost person just as he had done for me.

Giving back doesn’t mean reciprocating favors so that everything is fair and the tally is even. That’s the beauty of giving. If someone does an act of kindness for you, one way to say thanks is to do the same for another.

Originally posted on Everyday Health.

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