Archive | October 2012

Maintain Your Childlike Spirit

Halloween is almost here, and many of us can still remember the thrill of dressing up in our costumes and walking the neighborhoods with our friends trick-or-treating. Though this holiday may not be our favorite anymore or feel the same as it did when we were kids, we can still maintain our childlike spirit through this and other holidays.

Some of us maintain it by taking our own children out for Halloween while others throw costume parties or hand out candy to the excited children who come to their door.

Though collecting candy is the highlight for kids and a concern for many parents, it doesn’t have to be totally unhealthy.

Check out this post from The Official Spark Blog for some healthy ideas.

Watching the Peanuts characters by Charles M. Schulz always brings a smile to my face and gets me in the holiday mood.

Maybe you have a happy memory of Halloween that does the same for you?

Action Step:

Enjoy the peanuts video!

Embrace Your Feelings

Many of us may have been taught that our feelings are dangerous, and this is especially true with regards to anger. We learned that it wasn’t nice or safe to feel anger toward others, so we may have a tendency to minimize our feelings or bury them deep inside.

However, the only feelings we really need to fear are those we ignore. This is because negative emotions are very powerful and if left unexpressed can turn into psychological and physical problems.

The stress and energy it takes to hold our feelings inside is much like trying to hold a beach ball under water; each requiring an enormous amount of effort to keep below the surface.

Not only is this a waste of time but inevitably, whatever we hold down will pop up to the surface in the form of an inappropriate angry outburst or long term depression.

Our emotions are wonderful indicators that tell us whether or not what we are doing in life is working. Anger or frustration, is telling us that something needs to be adjusted or changed.

Just like the warning lights on the dashboard of a car that alert us to trouble, so it is with negative emotions. They help us to notice and pinpoint the situations that are creating our stress.

Usually, what causes our stress are the negative interpretations, thoughts and meanings we assign to people, places or events, as well as, weak personal boundaries or poor self-care. Our pain can motivate us into taking actions in these and other problem areas.

Additionally, it can help us develop positive ways for dealing with unpleasant emotions by:

  • Engaging in meditation and surrendering control to a power that can help us.
  • Participating in regular exercise to lift us up and physically reduce our stress.
  • Sharing our feelings with trusted friends and alleviate emotional discomfort.
  • Incorporating more fun and laughter into our life which is the best medicine of all.

Action Step:

Welcome your feelings as a friend who is trying to help you, and not hurt you.

Listen to Your Inner Guidance

 

Doreen Virtue, holds a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in counseling psychology, and is the author of more than 20 books.

She shares a wealth of wonderful information in this video clip regarding affirmations, visualizations, prayer and following our inner guidance.

She explains that once we surrender control and get clear about what we want, the Universe provides an inner road map of what actions to take in the form of gut feelings, visions, signs etc.

For example, we may feel moved to write a letter, make a phone call, sign up for a class or other relevant actions toward our dreams.

The examples she provides from her own life, gives a clearer understanding of how this whole process works.

Action Step:

Enjoy the video in its entirety.

Cultivate Healthy Friendships

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friendships are a beautiful gift in our lives and help us to ‘blossom’ with joy. Spending time with encouraging and supportive people helps us to be the best that we can be. Conversely, being with people who drain our energy can inhibit us from being our best selves.

Cheryl Richardson, author of Take Time for Your Life, provides us with the following types of friends to avoid, so that we may experience the rewarding relationships we deserve:

The Blamer

This is a person who consistently blames you and/or everyone else for her problems. The world and the people in it always seem to create havoc for this person, and instead of taking responsibility for her life, she’d rather blame others.

The Complainer

This person likes to hear his own voice. He constantly complains about what isn’t working in his life and yet never does anything about it. While you’re being drained, he actually gets energy from complaining and dumping his frustrations on you.

The Drainer

This is the needy person who calls to ask for your guidance, support, information, advice, or whatever she needs to feel better in the moment. Because of her neediness, the conversation often revolves around her, and you can almost feel the life being sucked out of you during the conversation.

The Shamer

This person can be hazardous to your health. The shamer may cut you off, put you down, reprimand you, or make fun of you or your ideas in front of others. He often ignores your boundaries and may try to convince you that his criticism is for your own good. The shamer is the kind of person who makes you question your own sanity before his.

The Discounter

This is the person who discounts or challenges everything you say. Often, she has a strong need to be right and can find fault with any position. It can be exhausting to have a conversation with the discounter, so eventually you end up giving in and deciding to just listen.

The Gossip

This person avoids intimacy by talking about others behind their backs. The gossip gets energy from relaying stories, opinions, and the latest “scoop.” By gossiping about others, he creates a lack of safety in his relationships, whether he realizes it or not. After all, if he’ll talk about someone else, he’ll talk about you.

Action Step:

Seek to surround yourself with those who lift you up.

Make the Connection

In the movie, The Secret, there is a section in the film that discusses health and disease, shown below, which explains the power of our thoughts as it relates to our bodies. It discusses how people have been cured from their physical illnesses, once they started living and thinking differently.

 

 

This is not to say that we should ignore our pains and avoid medical testing or about blaming ourselves for our pain or sickness. If something hurts, it is important to get it checked out by a doctor.

However, it is also important to check out our thinking and see how it is contributing to the problem as well.

If we have a physical pain; we could ask it what it is trying to tell us. This exercise can provide some insightful answers.

For example, if you have back pain, you may discover that you have been, ‘carrying the world on your back’ by trying to control everything or living in fear and worry.

Additionally, maybe you need to slow down or forgive someone for an old hurt. Stuffing your feelings or carrying lifelong resentments around is bound to show up in your body if you don’t find a healthy release for them.

Once we get the message of what our pain may be trying to tell us, then we can go about making changes in the way we are living and bringing a more relaxed mind to our life.

Action Step:

Write down what your pain may be trying to tell you.

Expand Your Horizons

By expanding my horizons, I easily dissolve limitations.

Louise L. Hay

In her book entitled, Meditations to Heal Your Life, author Louise L. Hay presents a number of daily meditations to help start your day off in the right direction. Below is a sample of one of those inspiring readings:

Life really is free and easy. It is my thinking that is difficult, limited, shame-based, or not good enough. If I open myself to unlearning some of my limited thinking patterns and learning something new, then I can grow and change. Or do I already know it all?

The trouble with knowing it all is that I don’t get to grow, and nothing new can come in. Do I really accept that there’s a Power and an Intelligence greater than I am? Or do I think I’m the whole thing?

If I think I’m it, then of course I’m frightened. If I realize that there’s a Power and an Intelligence in this Universe far greater and brighter than I am, and which is on my side, then I can move into that mental space where life can operate freely and easily.

Action Step:

Expand your horizons by allowing yourself to learn something new.

Start Your Day Over

 

I love the idea that we can start our day over at any point throughout the day, and don’t have to wait until tomorrow to begin again. By choosing to start our day over, we can prevent a lot of unnecessary suffering and salvage the remainder of any challenging day.

Certainly, the loss of a loved one or other traumatic event is beyond the scope of this particular conversation and not so easily repaired.

However, occurrences such as getting stuck in traffic, arriving late to work or forgetting our notes for a class presentation can be annoying, but they do not have to shape our whole day.

How we respond in these scenarios makes all the difference. Our attitude means everything!

Just like on a movie set, the director yells, “Cut” whenever a scene isn’t going as desired; we can do the same with the scenes from our own life as well.

Even if we can’t always redo “our lines” like actors on a stage or change a specific event or circumstance; there are several ways we can change our emotional state and therefore, change our day at any moment:

Take a time out.

We can take a deep breath, and silently say an uplifting affirmation such as, “I choose peace, calm, and joy knowing that all is well.”

Plan in advance.

We can affirm that, “This is going to be a great day, no matter what.” Even if someone else is not happy or tries to bring us down with them, we are in control of how we handle our feelings.

Break the day into parts.

Start breaking the day down to mornings, afternoons and evenings. So, for example, if we abandon our diet in the morning, rather than saying we will start again tomorrow, we can start over at lunch instead.

Let go of the unpleasant event.

Whatever happened so far today is over and that leaves the rest of the day to turn it around. We can start over by remembering that we are right here, right now.

Choose our focus.

Put our attention on what has gone right today, and not on what has gone wrong.

Focus on gratitude.

No matter what occurs throughout the day, we can stop and express gratitude for being alive and for all our many blessings.

Action Step:

Start your day over by focusing on something positive today.