Category: Energy Psychology

Changing Your LifeStyle

 

Changing your lifestyle can bring a sense of excitement, like moving to Florence Italy, or some other place you’ve fantasized about. Or it can be as subtle as deciding to cook vegetarian meals. Regardless, switching things up takes concerted effort to make it real.
Here are a few ideas to help you make the changes your passionate about.

Be clear with your vision, what is it that you want to change? Detail it, color it in, avoid vague ambiguous goals. Being specific will help you visualize and embolden your plan. Oh, and yes, have a Plan! Flopping about willy-nilly without some kind of road map will get you nowhere.

Set realistic goals that you can achieve and that will encourage your tenacity. For example, you want to move to a new location. Decide when (in two months, a year), be realistic with the cost, then start setting aside your move money.

Whenever you do something new, out of the ordinary (big or small) you are going feel that pang only change can bring. Change is often hard, even when it’s fun. Let’s face it, It takes effort to do something different. Shake hands with this, and soon enough that discomfort disappears. Changing your life may be the most challenging and uncomfortable thing you’ll ever do butin the end, it’s worth it. Marriage, children, opening a new business, taking on a new job, going back to college, relocating are all wonderfully exciting. They are what you’ve dreamed of…but they still take some adjusting to.

Think about what it is that has held you back, then move onward. Pull out those negative tapes from the past and toss them in the trash. You ARE capable of change, of achieving dreams, of becoming a new you.

Set timelines that will keep you on track. Be diligent about them and again be clear. Rather than saying, “sometime in the spring I’ll get more work” rephrase it to a specific positive: “In one month I’ll have a side job that will move me towards my goal of making more money.” Make concrete time frames and stick to them. Keep your eyes on the prize.

Be prepared to adjust when a wrench is tossed in the mix. When you get tired or derailed, instead of drowning yourself in negativity, go with the flow. Acknowledge the hiccup, the slow down, the block and keep going. Read stories of empowerment, talk to others who have overhauled their lifestyle, listen to how they got through the storms of doubt.

Keep reminders, pictures, mantras, anything that roots you onward to your new location, your new life. If traveling more is the goal, post pictures of the places you plan to go. Listen to cultural music that inspires you for the journey. Read and educate yourself on whatever it is you are embarking on. Whether it is changing your diet or learning how to sail, learn as much as you can.

Get your spouse, your friends, your family on board. Remember though, silence the naysayers, do not ask their advice, they are all too eager to impose their fear and trepidation. But it is not yours.

Reward yourself when you’ve climbed a wrung, gotten closer to the finish line. Celebrating the small victories along the way, gives you incentive to keep going. Tony Robbins has said, “By changing nothing, nothing changes.” Continue creating the life you want. No one can do it for you, and you have what it takes, just do it!


Creating a Consciously Aware Life

 

How do you define consciousness? The medical definition of consciousness is the state of being awake and aware of your surroundings. But there is a deeper more symbolic definition of consciousness that transcends the physical and the mental.  The ninety-three-year-old Buddhist Monk and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh describes consciousness like a stream or river, it is always continuing and evolving. And like running water there is the shallow surface to the still silence in the depths below. Like many who have studied consciousness in the physical (brain/mind) and its effect on the body and perception, they all have found that you can shift your consciousness once you raise your awareness and focus.

If you think of consciousness as layers imagine the first being that which is more primal or automatic and connects the brain to the body; your physical needs; hunger, pain, pleasure. You are aware if a room is hot and stuffy, if you are nauseated, or feeling relaxed from a massage. This is surface consciousness.

Let’s think of the next layer as your thoughts and perceptions, how you evaluate your experiences and how they impact your decision making. Here lies what you have learned from both a formal education, absorbed from your culture, as well your past experiences and how these affect your emotions. Your emotions and feelings though are liable to be subject to moods of others unless you learn to listen within.

There is another layer. Learning to listen to the awakening of that layer, that transcends all the other layers, this deeper level of consciousness that can elevate your awareness, heal your mind and your body, and bring you a greater sense of peace and joy. Ah, this is what we all want, right? So how do we get there?

For a moment, create in your mind’s eye your favorite place in nature. Whether it is at the ocean hearing gulls and the sounds of waves crashing on the sand, or in the mountains with the scent of pine trees and the moist dirt of a mossy forest, breathe and be there for a moment. Open your eyes and notice how you feel. By bringing your awareness inward, you can choose what it is you want to focus on. This is a step in the direction of creating consciousness. Being aware. If you are meandering through a beautiful park, with the fall leaves surrounding you, yet rather than admiring their beauty you worry about an upcoming business meeting, your mind is not engaged, you’re distracted. Creating consciousness is letting go of those distractions and reconnecting to the quiet within.

Living consciously helps you with negative emotions. It gives you the ability to deal with negative feelings differently, to not be rote with reactions. Creating consciousness builds empathy towards yourself and others, because you have a deeper understanding. Think about when you were four or five, learning to count, then learning to add, subtract, multiply, divide, etc. As your awareness grew, so did your understanding and appreciation for numbers. It is the same with cultivating an expanded life that is fully alive and conscious. And like learning math, it takes practice.

When you are feeling angry, rather than lashing out, notice the anger, shake hands with it, acknowledge it. Then breathe, long slow steady breaths. Make a conscious choice to handle your anger differently, not allowing it to consume you.

Spending time in silence, bringing your awareness to your breath or meditating is a powerful way to increase your consciousness. By withdrawing from outside stimuli on a regular basis you can begin to create a calm interior. Physiologically, when you slow your breath, your body relaxes. Rapid breathing is associated with fear and anxiety. Consciously, focusing on breath, allows you to relax.  When you practice this, eventually you learn to quiet your thinking mind, the one that makes assumptions and passes judgements.

Living with purpose or living fully, is the same as living consciously. Bringing awareness to yourself helps you to be a more loving human being as you begin to see that you are interconnected to all living things. You need the warmth of the sun, the shade of trees, the oxygen from the plants, the love of another. By raising your awareness and centering on the self that is beyond definitions (mother/father, employee/employer) you can tap into the truest essence of you. That spirit or energy that is kind and loving can grow, once you bring your consciousness there and spend time stripped of pretense.

Opening your awareness liberates you from patterns of thought. Thoughts that have biases towards yourself and others. It gives you new perspectives, like wearing a pair of glasses that help you see better. You may not be aware that you treat certain people with disdain, like wait staff at a restaurant or the janitor at your children’s school. When you awaken your consciousness, you may see the humanity in all people. You may get to know that janitor and realize he is an artist or a single father working several jobs to provide for his children. Awakening removes veils allowing you to see the beauty in all things, a flower, an old man, a cloud. It gives you a sense of appreciation for the life that is all around you.

Lastly, living a conscious life is indeed like the stream that flows into the river that eventually finds freedom and flows into the ocean where all embankments and confines are removed. You don’t have to go on long extended or expensive retreats to create an expanded consciousness. You simply have to practice, be fully aware of the beauty around you, take time to notice your child’s sweet chubby hand that brought you a fistful of daisies, or the stranger that offered you a smile. Know that the sweet place of consciousness dwells within you. Listen to Podcasts, read books, find a favorite poet or philosopher, try guided meditations, nourish your consciousness, and then watch it, like the one seed of a sunflower, grow and bloom.


Coach Yourself to Freedom by Letting Go

What does letting go mean to you?

To me it means not allowing events from the past to influence your life today. When you let go, you learn to be in the moment, and experience what is happening right now. Buddhists refer to this as mindfulness or being fully immersed in what you’re doing. Mindfulness allows you to let go of everything going on around you and concentrate on your own actions. Mindfulness lets you to be free from passing judgment or expecting a certain outcome.

Your beliefs and attitudes may be keeping you from letting go and being present in the here and now. When you coach yourself to identify the beliefs that are holding you back, so you can let go of them and your emotional attachment to them. As you let go of the past you will be in the present. If you stop trying to control what happens, you may notice that you also stop criticizing and judging others. It’s simple, coach your mind to shift your words to view the world as the cup is half full and you will not only accept what is, but you will enjoy life more.

Life is a series of choices, many of which we make automatically, unaware of what we choose or why. When we are afraid of criticism or judgment, we are unable to learn from our choices. To be able to simply be, by learning to let go of judgment and ideas of what should be. Replacing your judgments with a sense of self-worth will allow you to develop the emotional intelligence to live in the present instead of dwelling on the past.

Our expectations also cause us to hold on to the past instead of letting it go. You may be disappointed, based on what you feel ‘should’ have happened, or what you think someone else ‘should’ have done. But when you free yourself from your expectations, you will heal yourself and those around you. Just think about how differently you respond when you feel judged, versus when you feel accepted as you are.

An exercise to practice when learning to let go is to ask yourself if you will feel stressed about a situation in the future, whether it be tomorrow, next week, next year, or in five years. The answer, if your honest with yourself will be no; because we do not really know how we will feel when the future becomes the present.

When you allow yourself to be in the moment, you can live your life simply because it gives you joy. Experiencing joy in your life is its own reward.


Coach Yourself Free from Blame & Shame

“Concern yourself more with accepting responsibility than with assigning blame.  Let the possibilities inspire you more than the obstacles discourage you.”    …Ralph Marston

 

Blame can render you powerless; wreak havoc in relationships, and eat away at your ability to change, to let go, and to get on with life.  So, what makes us fall into the blame trap and how can we free ourselves from it?

By answering these questions, you will better understand blame’s role in your life…Allowing you to eliminate blame from your feelings.

Like any new discovery, raising your awareness of where blame is at play is the first step in ridding yourself of it.  Do you blame your partner or others…do you repeatedly blame yourself when things don’t go exactly as planned?  Are you fearful of making mistakes?  Did your parents routinely use blame to shame you as a way of manipulating your behavior? 

Often the reasons we feel blame are unconscious. Have you gotten into a pattern of blaming everyone for failures, mistakes, or disappointments in life? Blame can become a way to vent anger and frustration; it can help you skirt around the truth, while dumping responsibility away from yourself when the burden feels too heavy.

The good news is you can escape the blame cycle with the following three steps.

Get in touch with your inner feelings and responses. If anger and then blame are your reaction in a relationship or in a challenging situation, take a moment and breathe.  Look at other options – identify your feelings first – (hurt, sadness, disappointment, fear, guilt) and remember most people are muddling through with their own set of challenges.

Make a plan – “Today I am not going to judge or blame others.”  When you establish a new pattern response, a positive one, you are teaching your mind to untangle its thinking from the trap of blaming and shaming.

Begin to love all of yourself, even the imperfect, for it teaches us humility, empathy, and inner beauty.  Author Sonya Parker once said, “Stop comparing yourself to other people, you’re supposed to be unique.”  Learn to love what you consider to be your shortcomings and find ways to navigate through them.

Having compassion for your limitations allows you to see the silver lining in the lesson learned and gives you permission to move on.  Use humor and put your imperfections into a positive perspective.  Trying to be perfect is exhausting and accomplishes nothing more than anxiety over making a mistake, which can lead to a fear of trying anything at all.  As babies we learn to walk by bumbling around like drunken soldiers, so it is in life, stop being afraid to fall.  It is the getting back up that counts.

Take ownership of your life and let blame fall by the wayside.  Often the faults we see in people around us are mirror images of our own.   Rather than harboring anger over your spouse, your parents, your boss, take action, free up your energy with positive affirmations and move onward.  If you feel yourself sliding back into the judging and blaming trap, simply stop and gently remind yourself, “I don’t need to that any longer.”  Celebrate your successes, no matter how large or small they are. If there is something in your life you want to accomplish, rather than brooding over why opportunity has not knocked on your door yet, explore ways to begin the new journey towards what you want.  Go back to school, spend time with people who honor your dreams, read inspirational books, let go of toxic relationships.

As you treat yourself with kindness, and take ownership of your life, blame will disappear.


Slowing Down

 

 

If you are always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you’re in?”     ~ Nanette Matthews

 

Do you find yourself in a perpetual panic, chronically hurrying, feeling as if there’s never enough time? You’re not alone. The fervor of modern life can make it very challenging to slow down However it is possible to learn to temper your pace, while still achieving goals and checking off that ever revolving to do list. Slowing down doesn’t mean giving up, in fact, it is just the opposite! It is about investing in yourself, renegotiating your time, affording you more opportunity to be present, to be happy, less stressed and in the end, more efficient.

When you flit from one task to another, you deprive your spirit of soaking up the moment, and you rob yourself of the joy of the journey. Take a second to reflect on how many times you have been walking the dog, helping the kids, driving in your car, yet your mind is on a business meeting, a bill you have to pay, next week’s appointments. You miss the smells of nature, or the funny face your child made, or the beauty of the trees you are passing. So how can you learn to slow down, to notice, and to be more present?

Consciously learn to raise your awareness –Take small awareness breaks throughout the day. Look out of the window, notice how you are feeling, breathe fully for five or ten minutes. Turn away from your computer, your phone, your whatever and feel rather than do. Let go of day-to-day work and home demands for a few minutes every day.

Practice starting conversations with strangers – people in line, or the store clerk you see at your favorite grocery store. Acknowledge them; listen with interest to other people’s responses. By taking time to connect with others on a human level you open yourself up to new experience. Let go of the idea that you are too busy to listen to others. You will be astounded how often your assumptions of others prove to be wrong. You may get a little nugget of knowledge you hadn’t anticipated. Carving out time for others, even if it’s only a few moments of conversation, can renew your spirit and give you a sense of connection with others.

Connection lessens feelings of being overwhelmed and isolation – Think about when you talk to someone you barely know, maybe about something trivial, annoying or stress inducing, like traffic and realize, I’m not the only one who feels like this. If you never take the time to engage with others, you deprive yourself of giving and receiving acknowledgement.

Stop cramming your day with an impossible list of things to accomplish – Allow time for reflection, for exercise, for conversation with your family, for a relaxed meal. Be realistic about the number of minutes in a day. Prioritize, what is really feasible today? Ask for help, delegate responsibilities at work and home. When you try to be a superhero too often you find yourself depleted and resentful. Dodge those pitfalls by creating time for yourself.

Pay attention to your body, it is very wise – When you are tired, take a short nap. Like a car without gas or oil, your body needs fuel. Take the time to eat, not in the car or at your desk, but to eat with presence. Exercise, this can be a wonderful way to get out of your head. Breathe some fresh air, take a walk, a jog, a bike ride and focus on your breath.

Cultivate a small-town mentality – even if you are living in the center of a bustling city. What is small town mentality? It is slowing down long enough to say hi to the mail carrier, to notice the afternoon breeze or the soft tapping of rain on the window. It is bringing over cookies or flowers to a neighbor or simply saying hello to people. It is being part of the community you live in, acknowledging others.

Once you slow down, you’ll notice a new awareness settling in. You will have more energy, life will feel fuller and more rewarding. Gifting yourself with a slower pace will cultivate clarity, and garner new perspectives on life.

 


Listening and Trusting Your Inner Voice

Change surrounds us, whether we notice it or not. If you listen to the rustle of leaves or the ocean waves, they are never still, there is a constant shifting of energy. What does this have to do with listening and trusting your inner quiet side? If you want the tides of your life to go in a different direction, paying attention to the shifts and the inner wisdom within will help you be that change you want in your life. All of us have desires and aspirations that we want to see come to fruition. Yet sometimes there are leftover doubts lingering in the hallways of your spirit. Learning to trust yourself, not the voice of others will help you navigate through the changes in life and to guide you on the track that you are meant to follow. That marvelously unique journey that no one else can understand, feel or follow.

If you are hindered by self-doubt, let it be okay. The first step in listening and honoring yourself is to become aware, noticing and acknowledging.  Slowly you can learn to believe in your inner convictions and intuitions by practicing a few simple steps. First, take a few moments to close your eyes, and breathe into whatever comes up for you when you ask; what do I want? Let your mind roam and see what surfaces. Then draw your mind to what you see as obstacles in reaching this goal. Again, not judging, rather scanning for those voices (that most likely belong to someone else; a partner, parent, teacher). Thirdly, see yourself achieving what it is you want. How does that feel, sound, look? Throughout this exercise breathe slowly, allowing your body and mind to relax. It is safe, there is no right or wrong feeling.

Once you take stock of what it is you want for you life, start to focus on it. If your family wanted you to be a doctor and you have a love of cooking and dream of being a chef, listen to that voice within. Maybe you are at a corporate job that pays really well, but you are miserable, and you want to be a teacher or own a wellness shop…listen to that voice. For what you desire, you can achieve, by listening and acting on your desires

Begin each day focusing on something positive in your life. Your hair has gotten longer, you are exercising, you have sent an email that you needed to get out. Whatever it is, give yourself permission to pat yourself on the back. Make small commitments towards morphing your life into the life you envision. For example, you want to own a yoga or dance studio one day, but don’t have the money at the moment (remember change is imminent).You can work on your personal practice, teach a few classes, set yourself up for a path that can eventually fulfill that goal.

Make small promises to yourself and keep them. “I am going to remember my partner is my friend” or “I am going to see my friends twice a month.” Or “I am going to say no to overtime and yes to expressing my creativity.” Make attainable goals with incremental landmarks to celebrate that eventually lead to a life change. Think of yourself as a friend who keeps her/his word. This way you build trust in yourself, in the same way you build trust in a partner. If the partner never follows through with his/her promises, you begin to lose trust that they ever will. By being a friend to yourself, upholding commitments, you will build your confidence, which is one of the many rewards of listening to your inner voice.

Intuition is a real, scientifically proven phenomenon. It is a psychological process that is instinctual, you don’t have to try to create it. Intuition is when the brain draws on your experiences, knowledge, patterns and comes to a quick decision. It is the part of you that knows the right answer to a question far before the analytical mind gets involved. How can you use your intuition to enhance your life choices? By listening to your inner spirit, that energy that gives you a connection to something you love; music, dance, art, etc. and saying yes to your intuition, you will build a life that is rich with contentment, joy, and inner peace.

There are thousands of stories of people who were destined for one path, and instead listened to their inner voice, their intuition, their internal guides and chose to travel the road they were passionate about, and for that everyone around them benefitted. You too have that birthright to listen, trust, and honor yourself. Allow the movement of change, like the wind and the waves to take you towards a life you envision for yourself.


Practicing Gratitude

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” -Zig Ziglar

Building a practice of gratitude and positive thinking is easy for some people, but for others, it is a struggle. It may be challenging to break the habit of looking at life through a pessimistic perspective at this particular moment in time, as the world grapples with a pandemic and social unrest. However, through consciousness and practice you can change that. When your thoughts begin to move towards the positive spectrum, your eyes will naturally open to gratitude. In other words, it is almost impossible to be a negative thinker and have gratitude.

To grow your gratitude, look at how you feel about yourself and the people in your life. Do you gravitate towards trust, kindness, doing the right thing? How is your self-esteem? When you feel good about yourself, you can feel good about others. Positive thinking begins from within. If this is a battle for you, try repeating affirmations. Veer away from overly critical people in your life. Read uplifting material that encourages you and allows you to let go of fear. Recognize negative thoughts as soon as they pop up. Focus on your breathing, consciously slow it down and imagine with each exhale, you release negativity.

Implement noticing all the little things that are good about your day, your life. To change the hole in the bucket syndrome (no matter how much you have it’s never enough) redirect your focus to what you do have. Health, friends, a flower growing in your yard, your loving pets, two hands, a working mind. Make a gratitude list.  Once you get started you will see there is a lot to be thankful for!

Gratitude is active. It champions goodness, sincerity, earnestness and is meant to be shared with others. The more you give it away, the more it is like the one seed that grows into a field of flowers. Walk away from anything or anyone that is toxic in your life. You don’t need it. Most people that are negative about others are expressing their feelings about themselves

Positive thinking and gratitude reinforce each other. As your gratitude grows your belief in the goodness of others and the universe grows. From that point of view positive thinking is only natural.

This may sound sharp, but when you indulge a pity party for too long you may forget that you can leave at any time. Life is made of ups and downs, ride them out and learn the lessons. Let go, and move onward, don’t overly chastise yourself for mistakes. If you got a raw deal, it more than likely had nothing to do with you and everything to do with the other person. Realize the good in a bad situation, things could always be worse. Find those little thank goodness’s that didn’t happen and be grateful. Practicing gratitude during difficulties builds stamina and helps you grow stronger and more positive.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” ― Lao Tzu This is a simple, yet profound reminder of being awake, being mindful. Paying attention to positive thinking, words, and actions has a ripple effect and over time influences every aspect of your life. When your inner dialogue begins to judge, complain, or criticize yourself or others, stop them in their tracks. Gently remind yourself, that you are learning to practice positive thinking and gratitude.

Gratitude begets gratitude. The more you express it through actions, the bigger it becomes. Be grateful for the lessons learned while you worked through a challenge, gratitude comes in many shapes and sizes. Practice acts of kindness, smile more, say hello, receive the day with an open heart thankful for another chance to learn and love. Then watch as your positive grateful living, blossoms into powerful changes.

 

 


Stress & Strengthening Relationships

 

There is no time like the present to learn to manage change in a relationship. This year has been riddled with changes (social, economic, technological and personal) that have been challenging to say the least. All changes impact a relationship. Learning to go with the flow, and adjust when life happens, will help you be less fearful when change comes knocking on your door.

Relationships need a strong foundation from which to grow. If your relationship is already tumultuous, working through change can be tough. Building a base of trust in your relationship early on is the way to go. If this hasn’t happened, now is a perfect time to start. Talk issues and disagreements throughlisten to each otherbe kind, and remember love is powerful; it has the capacity to endure. And most important to building trust, is to mean what you say and say what you mean. Be honest, even if the truth is not what your partner wants to hear.

During stressful changes, a move, a new baby, a death in the family, a new job; lather on patience extra thick. Go for a walk, have quiet time, reassure one another, and give each other space. Respect each other’s processing of change, don’t demand your partner respond to change the way you do. Each of you extra thick. Go for a walk, have quiet time, reassure one another, and give each other space. Respect each other’s processing of change, don’t demand your partner respond to change the way you do. Each of you may want to talk about how or why you react the way you do, talk about the hurts, fears and insecurities that shape your reactions. This alone can help relieve a lot of the stress.

Stay physical with each other, and that doesn’t mean just having sex. Hold hands, snuggle, touch each other as a physical symbol that you are here, and you are ready to grow as a couple. Often change can produce resentment which can bleed into the bedroom. Allow yourself the pleasure of sharing one another’s bodies, let your guard down and re-connect. If you are both spiritual or religious, try praying and meditating together, do some yoga together. Share any inspirational gems that speak to you with your partner. Send kind texts, remind your partner that you love them. Life as a couple is sweeter when you know your partner has your back, that you are not alone and that your loved one is rooting for you in and outside of the relationship.

Do something familiar. It can be as simple as having coffee together in the morning. Find a thread of familiarity you both enjoy. Talk about funny memories, leap off the overly stressed, serious bandwagon and find time to get back to the essence of your relationship. Change will come; learning to deal with it together will make life richer while deepening your relationship and better prepared for the inevitable changes to come.

 

 

 

 


 The Art of Giving without Attachment

 

Have you ever done a kind deed simply for the sake of giving without any strings attached or payback considered?  Have you given away something of value to a stranger or given of your time without expecting any financial reward?  These are just a few examples of practicing the art of giving without attachment. What does giving without attachment really mean and why should you cultivate this practice?

The very definition of giving, freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone) has an inherently detached quality. There is an innate sense of letting go, the opposite of hoarding or holding on. But how often is our giving calculated?  Well if I babysit for a friend, she/he will do the same for me.  Giving without any expectation of outcome or praise is tough, but that is the essence of giving without attachment. Giving to grow your heart, to release your grip, to become liberated from that which you hold on to.

How does giving without strings liberate and grow your ability to love and to live a more meaningful life?  It connects you to your humanity, to your empathy, to your ability to see the suffering in others and feel something.  Giving also helps you to step outside your sphere and to connect with others on a visceral level.

Giving without attachment is a wonderful way to help you accept when others give to you.  Often, our childhood dictates a message of receiving that it’s better to give than receive, but if everyone is clamoring to give, who is receiving?  That message sends a negative image that receiving is for the poor, the needy, the weak, and the unsuccessful.  We all have times in our life when we want to receive.  Giving without attachment helps us to receive without feeling guilty or shamed.

Anne Frank, a diarist and one of the most talked about victims of the Holocaust once said, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”  It is often difficult in the modern world to remember this.  When you give, it does not have to be a thing or financial, (you can give of your time, your silent presence, a smile) you reap the internal rewards of connection, joy, and self esteem.  Giving builds character and helps you get outside of your own needs and desires and consider others.  When you give freely, you teach yourself a lesson in being unconditional.

Giving without attachment does not mean giving everything away and doing without.  It may entail digging a little deeper than merely skimming off the top. If you only give away your excess, you may want to look at other ways you can give. Become a mentor. Take a friend to lunch, just because or send a card without an occasion. Bake a dinner for a charity event, make an anonymous donation to a cultural or educational organization or slip a bill to a homeless person.

Think of all the people in your life that have given something to you without any expectation.  There are countless ways to pass on that giving tradition, and when you begin to drop the attachments and expected outcomes, you send a ripple of hope into the world, while expanding your ability to be a loving considerate human being.

 

 

 


Practicing Gratitude & Positive Thinking

 

 

 

Building a practice of gratitude & positive thinking is easy for some, but for others, it can be a struggle. If you were raised with an abundance of negativity, it might be challenging to break the habit of looking at life through a pessimistic perspective. However, through conscious choice & practice, you can change that. As your thoughts begin to move toward the positive spectrum, your eyes will naturally open to gratitude. It’s almost impossible to be a negative thinker and have gratitude!

To grow your gratitude, look at how you feel about yourself & the people in your life. Do you gravitate toward trust, kindness, doing the right thing? How is your self-esteem? When you feel good about yourself, you can feel good about others as well! Positive thinking begins from within. If this is a battle for you, try:

  • Repeating affirmations
  • Veering away from overly critical people in your life
  • Reading uplifting material that encourages you & allows you to let go of fear & self-condemnation
  • Replacing negative thoughts as soon as they pop up
  • Focusing on your breathing, consciously slowing it down & imagining that with each exhale, you release negativity
  • Acknowledging the little things that are good about your day & your life

To change the hole in the bucket syndrome (when you seem to never have enough), redirect your focus to what you do have. Your health, friends, a flower growing in your yard, loving pets, two hands, a working mind. Once you begin, you’ll see there’s a lot to be thankful for!

Gratitude is active; it champions goodness, sincerity & earnestness & is meant to be shared with others. The more you give it away, the more it’s like the one seed that grows into a field of flowers – it’s self-perpetuating. Similar to positive thinking, the more you practice it, the easier it becomes. Positive thinking allows you to fail & to try again. It encourages you to grow into your best self & walk away from anything or anyone toxic in your life. Most people who are negative about others are projecting their own inner fears.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself. This may sound harsh or simple; however, when you sit on the pity pot too long, you get stuck. Life is made of ups and downs, ride them out & learn the lessons. Let go & move onward. Don’t overly chastise yourself for mistakes. Realize the good in a bad situation. Find those little “thank goodness that didn’t happen” & be grateful. Yes, it’s terrible you lost your job, but you still have all your body parts, move on. Practicing gratitude during difficulties builds stamina & helps you grow stronger & more positive.