Tag: Wellness

Starting Your Day with Intention

People often talk about how living with intention can help you to feel happier and more fulfilled. It may sound like a too-good-to-be-true solution to all your problems – but it’s very true. Starting each day with intention can have a dramatically positive impact on not just your mood, but the way you view your life, yourself, and those around you.

What does it mean to live with intention?

The definition of intention is an aim or a plan. Living with intention is to have an aim or a plan for your life, or maybe just for your day, or for the next hour. Life can be busy, and it can also be full of unpredictable events or interactions that cause us stress. That makes it that much more important for us to take control and center ourselves when and where we can. We all deserve to live an intentional life, and one of the ways we can achieve this is through starting our day with intention.

It doesn’t take long – between five and fifteen minutes every morning – and there are several ways you can go about centering yourself and starting your day intentionally.

Meditation

Meditation is not a one-size-fits-all practice, which is why I like it so much for an intentional practice. Rather than trying to clear your mind of thoughts, focus on what you want your day to be. Focus on how you want to feel. Do you want to feel nurtured? Loved? Productive? Creative? Whatever you want out of your day, focus on that for just a few minutes. Over the course of your day, when you feel overwhelmed or like you’re not in control, revisit this intention. Are your decisions moving you toward the way you want to feel or away from them?

A Quick Walk

Make time in your morning to take a 5-15 minute walk. Breathe in the fresh air, take in your surroundings. Use this time to clear your head, and take deep, relaxing breaths. By taking a small bit of time in the morning to focus on and invest in yourself, you are prioritizing you today. Getting your blood flowing wakes up your mind, contributes to your physical health, and centers your emotions.

Journaling

People often shy away from journaling because they feel that their writing has to be top notch, or they’re worried they won’t have anything to journal about. Journaling might not be for everyone, but taking a few minutes at the start of your day to jot down, even if only in bulleted form, how you want to feel today and what you want your life to look like – from big dreams to simple daily goals – can often center you and help you work towards those goals.


Moving Forward

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“Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.” Albert Einstein.

For most of us, the onset of a new year brings a renewed sense of starting over, clearing the slate, recommitting to change. You may revel in the accomplishments of the bygone year while lamenting over losses or achievements left unfulfilled. Perhaps you are experiencing a lingering weariness from the holidays and getting back on track seems a bit arduous. How do we find that balance of relishing what has passed while keeping the faith for what is yet to come? In other words, how can we refuel our ability to move forward?

Take an honest look at all the challenges you have faced thus far and give yourself an enormous pat on the back. We do this for others with ease, but when it comes to acknowledging our own successes, the list is often skimpy. Recall the days you were tired but cared for your family despite the fatigue or the extra efforts you made for a friend or a colleague. Remember your new habit of drinking more water or eating less sugar or breathing before reacting. Success is the sum of all the small steps you take along the way. Honor yourself for the courage it took to overcome life’s hurdles. When we remind ourselves of our unique victories, no matter how large or small, we renew our conviction to infinite potential and possibility.

Evaluate your definition of what constitutes being a successful person. Are integrity and kindness factored in? Moving forward sometimes means taking some time to examine your values and goals. Do you yearn for more meditative time or a less hectic lifestyle? Then moving forward may mean subtracting; and taking out the tedious nonessentials that keep you from achieving that goal. As the saying goes, less is more. Substituting the urge to acquire more things for the desire to simplify or de-clutter may free up time for creative endeavors. Perhaps moving forward means loosening the reins of controlling a loved one. The side effect is more time to be present in your own life to be free from judgements and expectations that don’t belong to you.

Believe that change can happen. Human beings are dynamic, our cells are continually rejuvenating themselves. If you took a MRI of your body today and another in a few months, they would look different. A close friend of mine has a favored quote “the one thing we can rely on is change.” It happens whether we want it or not. Choose to be an active participant in the kind of change that shapes your life in the way you envision it.

Moving forward means developing patience and steadfastness. When you read about a writer celebrating their award winning novel or a teacher being rewarded for their contributions, what lies under the surface is the years of plodding ahead with no reward in sight. There is no such thing as an overnight sensation, despite what the tabloids may have us believe. Every stride towards being a whole individual is a step towards creating a meaningful life.

Remember, it is never too late to hop on the train and travel to your next destination. No matter your age or circumstance, you have the innate ability to change, to move forward. Each day we are given a new opportunity to start again. And although you may have setbacks, perhaps they are simply necessary rest stops to peer back over the terrain you’ve crossed until that next whistle blows and onward you go.


Are Your Thoughts Making You Sick?

Flu season is upon us, and we are all trying to be as proactive as possible to avoid getting sick. Coming down with the flu, a cold, or any kind of illness is not pleasant, nor convenient in our busy lives…especially with all the holidays approaching! So we might get a flu vaccine, try to eat right and exercise, get enough sleep, stock up on vitamin C and hand sanitizer, and stay away from people who look sick. We’ve done everything we can. Or have we?

One very important factor we might not have considered as contributing to sickness is…our thoughts! We know from numerous news reports that being in a constant state of stress has negative health consequences, but what about our thoughts in general? Can the way we think make us sick?

Studies show that our thoughts are so powerful they can affect our physical well-being. Try to recall the last time you came down with a cold. What was going on in your life? What was the gist of your inner dialogue the days leading up to your sickness? Were your thoughts focused on worry, fear, anxiety, guilt, anger, or resentment?

Our health can also be compromised when:

  • We keep our feelings locked inside, instead of dealing with or expressing them.
  • We don’t speak up for ourselves and then experience feelings of powerlessness or other energy-depleting emotions.
  • We can’t let go of past experiences that brought us pain, distress, or tension that continue to affect us as we relive the experience in our minds and through retelling the story to others.
  • We think negatively about others, and ourselves focusing on faults and mistakes instead of positive traits or actions.

While thinking negatively or in an unconstructive way will not necessarily make you sick, it can play a part in it. If that kind of thinking can make us sick, then thinking in a way that is positive, loving, and caring toward ourselves and the world around us can contribute to our well-being. So why not add, “wellness thinking” to our regimen of healthy living?

Here are ways to break the cycle of thoughts that can harm our health that you can incorporate into every day:

  • Be aware of the focus of your thoughts. When you bring awareness to what and how you think, you can change or redirect the inner chatter as needed.
  • Think about what the consequences might be to you by continuing to think or feel a certain way. Will they benefit or harm you?
  • Try laughter yoga, meditation, breathing techniques, or other methods to center you emotionally/ spiritually/mentally. Even a few minutes can act as a reset button.

Why Healthy Boundaries Are Essential

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“The most important distinction anyone can ever make in their life is between who they are as an individual and their connection with others.” ― Anné Linden

Boundaries are necessary. Imagine a map of the world with no defined delineations from one country, state, province, city, or town on it…what a mess!

Without boundaries, it is easy to overextend ourselves or do things we don’t want to do. In the end, our energy is drained and we may feel resentment, anger, or disappointment toward others or ourselves. Having clearly defined boundaries help us feel grounded, balanced, and secure. Staying within our boundaries shows self-respect and self-love. When you make your boundaries appropriately known, it can also make life easier for others since they know what to expect.

There are several different kinds of boundaries:

  • Material boundaries – What material things, including money, you will give or lend.
  • Physical boundaries – Your level of comfort with physical touch or privacy.
  • Mental boundaries – Knowing what you believe and your willingness to consider others’ opinions or values.
  • Emotional boundaries – Awareness of your feelings and responsibilities to yourself and others, as well as being able to separate them.
  • Sexual boundaries – What you are comfortable with and enjoy pertaining to sexual touch and activity.
  • Spiritual boundaries – Your beliefs in relation to a higher power.

One important note: Do not mistake boundaries for walls. Spiritual and emotional boundaries are important for our own well-being. Boundaries help contain and build strength from within…whereas walls tend to block and defend.

If you have been reticent to set boundaries or to speak up when you feel a line is being crossed, ask yourself what is the reason behind it. Do you think you won’t be liked or accepted? That you’ll be seen as too selfish or too rigid? That if you don’t give someone what he or she wants, they will reject you? The bottom line is, those who matter will honor your healthy boundaries. Naturally, boundaries are a two-way street. Expect others to respect your boundaries, and you do the same!

Don’t know what your boundaries are? Need to re-evaluate them? As we head toward the holidays—with increased interaction with and demands from co-workers, friends, and family—now is a great time to get clear about boundaries!


Understanding Wellness

Emotional
wellness is not emphasized in our social, professional, educational or family
systems. If you think about it for a moment, wouldn’t it be great if mental
health were part of the main curriculum at schools? After all this is the 21st
century! And when was the last time you asked a friend or family member about
their emotional wellness? 

Throughout
my professional life, I have encountered many people who dislike themselves
because they are not emotionally healthy. They perceive themselves as “damaged
goods"; allowing people to neglect them, as their self-esteem is low. For
them, life is often about enduring, rather than thriving because they perceive
themselves as “broken” and some of society does as well. Not
receiving compassion from those around them, they may feel isolated.

Money,
prestige, position, beauty, cannot be enjoyed and appreciated unless paired
with emotional wellness. Therefore, our emotional, mental and
physical well-being is the foundation upon which we can build. Celebrities who
are in the news and unhappy prove this point.

For
decades as an experienced psychotherapist and relationship coach, I have been working
with people so that they can achieve their dreams and goals. I assist people
to let go of feelings of inadequacy and help them to like themselves as they
raise their self-esteem.  A major component of healing is broadening and
educating ourselves in the art of living, particularly when it comes to
wellness. 



Strive for peace within! 


Practice gratitude today! 



The quieter you become, the more you can hear.

Ram Dass