Healthy Ways to Manage Frustration

Oftentimes, frustration can get the best of us. Life seems like a set of dominoes- once one falls- watch out! A key to managing frustration is taking the time to identify and address the causes. See how Deborah Fike discovered five ways to help her manage frustration in trying times.

When things go wrong, they really go wrong.  In the span of two weeks, I lost my biggest contract job, my entire family came down with a stomach flu, my husband had to leave on a long business trip, and I barely missed getting into a traffic accident three times within 48 hours.  I tried to maintain a positive attitude, but with each setback, I felt my frustration mounting.  My anger came out in sarcastic bursts.  I lost motivation to get things done.  At the end of the two-week period, I could feel depression mounting, even though most aspects of my life were looking better again.

Depression runs in my family, and I’ve sought counseling a time or two at very low points in my life.  I’ve picked up a few tricks and tips to manage frustration, and I realized that I had not employed any of those techniques during this unfortunate series of events.  When my cloud didn’t lift, I tried these ways to manage my frustration:

1. Address the person(s) responsible for causing the frustration.

It’s easy to snap at family and friends when you’re going through a rough period, but what you’re really doing is transferring your anger onto a source that can’t solve the problem.  I scheduled a sit-down meeting with the company where I lost the job contract.  They assured me my work wasn’t the issue, but a matter of budget.  They would gladly hire me again once their business picked up.  Knowing this greatly eased my frustration.  I would have never known this had I not gone to the source.

It’s easy to snap at family and friends when you’re going through a rough period, but what you’re really doing is transferring your anger onto a source that can’t solve the problem.  I scheduled a sit-down meeting with the company where I lost the job contract.  They assured me my work wasn’t the issue, but a matter of budget.  They would gladly hire me again once their business picked up.  Knowing this greatly eased my frustration.  I would have never known this had I not gone to the source.

2. Acknowledge the good things in your life.

When life gets rough, it’s good assess all your advantages.   I make lists – mental and physical – of all the great things I have going for me: my family, my friends, my health.  Even during times of great stress and isolation, I’ve found something to hold onto: purpose in a job, hobbies I enjoy, or just calling distant friends who have no idea of my current troubles.  Knowing that I have a foundation of happiness, even when sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, helps me get through a particularly dark moment.

3. Plan something fun.

There’s nothing worse than having a terrible series of days, and you have nothing to look forward to but more drudgery.  My husband knew I was going through a rough patch and insisted that we do something I wanted once he returned from his business trip.  I spent his time away from home daydreaming about the fun things our family would do.  When you plan something fun, you not only get the satisfaction of doing it, you get the happy feeling of anticipation leading up to the event, taking the edge off of other things in your life.

4. Maintain your health and well-being.

When I got sick, the first thing I gave up was my exercise routine.  I didn’t pick it back up once I felt better again, justifying that I had other demands on my time.  I made compromises on maintaining my health, and it never works out.  Once I started working out and sleeping well again, my attitude improved tremendously.

5. Consider counseling if you can’t get out of a funk after a month or so.

Everyone feels down now and again.  It’s normal to have a week or two where things just blow up in your face and you wish you could just close your eyes and go back to sleep in the morning.  However, if that becomes the norm, you should consider outside help.  Thoughts of suicide and cutting yourself off completely from everything you love are also signals that you should get help.  Getting help doesn’t mean you’re weak or broken.  In fact, it’s a sign of maturity that you’re trying to acknowledge you have a problem and get better.

Life still isn’t 100% for me, given that I’m switching things up with my work life, but it’s much better than it was a few weeks ago.  I’m taking the time to appreciate what I have and make moments to look forward to.  And I always know, if the frustration gets to be too much, I can find someone who will listen.

www.thechangeblog.com

Daily Inspiration

Sometimes the best sources of inspiration are right in front of us.

Check out how Judy Thompson gained inspiration by lending a helping hand.

For a lot of us, life just happens. It did to me for many years. I had a job; I paid my bills; I took an occasional vacation, went out with friends, had my favorite TV shows, and always read before falling asleep. Life was a safe habit and quite predictable. And then, as can happen, I had a single experience that changed my life.

A friend had come over for dinner. We had planned to go to a club that night, but a horrible storm came on. As long as I had enough wine, we decided not to go out. So, we began to look through the cable guide for a movie to watch. One movie that came up was Pay it Forward. I had never heard of the movie but my friend had seen it several times and insisted that we watch it. Because I love Helen Hunt (As Good as It Gets) and Kevin Spacey (A Time to Kill), I agreed. While the acting was not their best, the movie hit me like a nuclear blast.

I couldn’t get this movie out of my head. Such a simple theme; such a simple concept. I stewed about this concept for several days, not realizing that inspiration was creeping into my soul. I spent more time alone and began to unlock the “real” me. We all get inspired at a lot of points in our lives. We go to a conference, listen to an amazing keynote speaker and leave inspired to improve ourselves at work. Gradually, it wears off, because there really is no passion behind that inspiration. But this concept, this simple concept, was sticking around. A middle school kid, who was just an actor, was changing me.

Of course, the rest of the story is easily figured out. I decided to try it – random acts of kindness I think they are called, but with a twist. My acts of kindness would have a price that might or might not ever be paid. Still, I had to believe that some people would pay the price.

My “paying it forward” quest has now been going on for three years. And, unless I am sick or missing deadlines, a random act of kindness is committed every day. It may be a really tiny thing like picking up an extra coffee for a co-worker on my way in; it may be a bit more helpful, like the time the young mom in front of me didn’t have enough money for her groceries and I coughed up the money for them. Every time the thank you comes, I say, “No thanks needed. Just do something nice for someone else today.” At first I had to remind myself with little signs all over the place. Now it is so habitual, it is just another part of my daily routine. And here is what has happened as a result:

  • I haven’t started a “movement,” and no news reporter has called for an interview.
  • I haven’t found the “love of my life” and been whisked off into the land of bliss
  • I am smiling more – a lot more.
  • I feel purposeful. And that purpose is to improve someone else’s life just a bit every day.
  • I have more energy. It’s amazing how being inspired in one little aspect of life can spill over into all other aspects.
  • I am grateful. That gratitude makes me see nature differently; it makes me appreciate very small things like a free cookie at the bakery and very large things like having enough of everything I need.

The Lesson Learned

We can all be inspired for a few moments or a few days – maybe even a month or two. That kind of temporary inspiration doesn’t stay with us though, because it isn’t meaningful enough. When we find what truly inspires us permanently, then we know we have added something meaningful to our lives. And it will always involve improving the lives of others in some way. It may be writing a book; it may be passing out a joke of the day at the office. It may mean the giving of time to volunteer where there is real need. So here is the challenge:

  1. Get quiet within. Spending time alone will unlock the real you. You may find that your inspiration will bubble up and you will know what you must do.
  2. Watch for signs that your inspiration is pushing you in certain directions. For me, it was being unable to get that movie out of my mind.
  3. When you find that thing that inspires you, make a part of your everyday life. Keep those reminders all over the place until you have the habit.
  4. Watch the rest of your own life become meaningful.
  5. Enjoy the joy!

www.thechangeblog.com

Intention setting in 2016

With the New Year fast approaching, many of us feel the pressure to set resolutions that often fall by the wayside. This year, instead of setting resolutions (defined by Merriam-Webster as a firm decision to do or not to do something), try setting intentions (defined by Merriam-Webster as an aim or plan).

Mind, Body, Green gives 18 easy to achieve intentions to strive for in the new year. We aren't suggesting you try all 18, set  a moderate goal for yourself and aim to incorporate them into your 2016 routine.

You don’t have to set high-pressure, all-or-nothing goals in the new year to do more, get more, or be more. You might think a higher-paying job, a better relationship, or a fancier car will make you happier. But it’s true what they say — happiness comes from within. And cultivating happiness has much more to do with appreciating what you have than with getting things you don’t.

To have a happier, more joyful, and serene year, choose a few of these intentions and embrace them in your daily life.

1. I will take less and give more.

It’s not about what you can get. The more you can give of yourself, the more joy and happiness you’ll feel.

2. I will work less and live more.

I gave up my legal career to do work that I was more passionate about — writing — and I’ve never regretted it for a second. Your office won’t miss you. Spend less time on what pays the bills and more time on what fulfills you. The trade-off is priceless.

3. I will do less and be more.

Quiet time, reflection, and sleep help you stay productive, focused, and peaceful. Focus on doing less, and doing it better, in the new year. Practice saying no to what doesn’t align with your goals.

4. I will speak less and listen more.

Listening is a practice in compassion. The more you listen, the more you understand. The better you listen, the more quickly the walls of conflict crumble.

5. I will buy less and simplify more.

After the holiday season, will you remember anything you purchased or received? The less stuff you have in your life, the more room you’ll have for living. Commit to buying less this year. Give away what you no longer need and work on living with less.

6. I will have fewer distractions and more time for reflection.

The Internet is intended to distract. Resist by being mindful, present, and aware. A daily practice of silence or mindfulness like meditation can help you feel less scattered.

7. I will be less realistic and dream more.

Quitting my legal career was neither realistic nor practical. It was a pay cut and has been filled with uncertainty. But leaving allowed me to follow my dreams. Every day that I can do that is reward enough. 

8. I will complain less and appreciate more.

When you think about what you don’t have, you’ll foster a sense of lack. On the other hand, when you treasure everything you have — even the smallest of things — life will feel rich and abundant. 

9. I will worry less and surrender more.

Worrying doesn’t change anything except your stress levels. One time when I had a computer problem, I went into a frenzied panic. The problem took two days to fix, during all of which I was anxious and frustrated. 

The next time it happened, I stayed calm and resolved to surrender to the situation. I set an intention for the best outcome – and the computer was fixed within the hour. Even if it hadn’t been, I would’ve enjoyed those two days and been much more productive in the knowledge that it was out of my hands.

10. I will judge less and understand more.

You may judge someone else’s beliefs, opinions, or views in a subconscious attempt at a short-term self-esteem boost. This will inevitably make you feel worse. Instead, try being understanding. You’ll have something to be proud of, and that will increase your self-esteem in a real, lasting way.

11. I will hate less and love more.

If we continue the cycle of hate toward others, we breed more hate in the world. Set the light of love within, but more importantly, be guided by love in the choices you make and in the way you treat others. 

12. I will criticize less and praise more.

Find genuine things to praise in people. Compliment random strangers. Show appreciation to the people who serve you at restaurants. Kind words are worth much more than a good tip (although you should give that, too).

13. I will follow less and lead more.

Groupthink is a recipe for an unhappy life. Do what’s in your heart. Lead the way, even if no one else is doing it. 

14. I will fear less and act more.

If you’re human, you’ll feel fear. Try to notice the fear, acknowledge the fear, and break through the fear. Thank your fear for encouraging you to be cautious, but proceed anyway. Courage is a muscle — the more you use it, the better you get at overcoming fear.

15. I will think less and go with my gut more.

Your instinct, intuition, and heart know a lot more than you might give them credit for. Listen to them when you are making a decision and follow your inner voice.

16. I will please less and stay true to myself more.

You think you’re making others happy when you’re trying to please them. Unfortunately, you’re not being truthful to yourself or others. It’s okay to let people down by saying “no” if you do it with love and compassion. 

Choose authenticity and honesty over people-pleasing. People-pleasing precludes the possibility for anyone — including yourself — to get to know the real you.

17. I will require less perfection from myself and accept where I am more.

Is perfectionism sabotaging your life? What is the motivation behind your perfectionist tendencies? Is it low self-esteem? Did you feel inadequate growing up? Acknowledge what’s driving your perfectionism, and accept that there is really no such thing as perfect.

Find small instances when you can practice letting good enough be good enough. Let go, breathe, and see how it feels.

18. I will hold fewer grudges and forgive more.

As you know, holding onto anger and hurt will only cause you more pain. Don’t let someone hurt you repeatedly.

Forgiveness is key to finding peace of mind and being able to move on with your life. If you can’t forgive today, set an intention to forgive the person who hurt you, as you are able, over time.

www.mindbodygreen.com

Listen to your body

As young adults we often feel invincible to harm. Yet we don't take into account the harm that we do to ourselves. Unhealthy lifestyles can lead the body to manifest illnesses that we never thought would happen to us. It's never to late to invest in a healthy behavior change, your body will thank you later.

Check out how Jessica Reid Sliwerski, Cofounder and Chief Academic Officer of LightSail Education, learned a hard lesson about lifestyle changes with a surprising cancer diagnosis.

 

“What are those spots?" a student asked me one day, pointing at my face.

"Pimples,” I said, annoyed that my complexion, not his assignment, was the topic of discussion.

"Have you been eating a lot of chocolate?”

"No,” I said, lying, as I was definitely getting Kit Kat-wasted on the reg. "I'm stressed,” I hissed.

"Maybe you shouldn't be so stressed," he advised, turning back to his assignment to indicate the conversation was over.

I recounted this story to my friends and we laughed hysterically at "the things kids say," but when I think back to this encounter, I realize there was wisdom in my student’s needling advice.

People looked at me and assumed I had my shit together as a teacher. My classroom was meticulously tidy. My bulletin boards were beautiful and teeming with student work. My kids were on-point. But my skin was a raging indication that things were not as perfect as they seemed. I was a hot, stressed mess. On a good day, I worked twelve hours in the classroom. Most days I stayed later than that, sometimes not leaving school until close to 9pm. Arriving home exhausted, and still having more work to do in preparation for the next day, I’d throw something in the microwave and then burn the midnight oil lesson planning. After only a few hours of sleep, I’d awake the next day and do the whole thing all over again fueled by adrenaline, Oreos and Starbucks lattes.

As I moved up the ranks from teacher to school leader to Achievement Coach for a network of schools to Cofounder and Chief Academic Officer of an education technology company, I got slightly better at taking care of myself. I joined a gym and religiously practiced yoga. I ate fewer Kit Kats and more kale. I slept for longer stretches at night. But stress was still an underlying theme in my life and I struggled to consistently implement any of these healthy habits, especially given my workaholic tendencies. What can I say? I was young. I thought I was invincible.

And then last spring I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33.

There is no history of breast cancer in my family and I do not carry the gene. So my cancer was “environmental” – meaning something about the way I was living my life caused me to catch cancer. Reread what I wrote above and it’s easy to see all the ways I abused the one and only body I have, ignoring the stress signals my body was sending – hello, pimples! The strategies I’d only recently adopted to take better care of myself couldn’t erase the years of compounded toxic stress.

Since undergoing treatment for cancer, I’ve made some serious lifestyle changes, making wellness one of my top priorities (my family being another). Whereas the old me would have stayed up late ogling bulletin boards on Pinterest, the new me goes to sleep at 9 o’clock every night, giving my body a solid 8 hours of sleep so it can heal. I fuel my body during the day with nutritious food even though it requires more time to pack myself a salad for lunch than grab a microwavable meal. But the time is worth it because eating well makes me feel good. When life inevitably begins to feel stressful, I take a deep breath and remind myself that I determine how to expend my emotional energy, refusing to waste it on things I cannot control. I meditate and I do even more yoga. The other day I looked in the mirror and it occurred to me that for the first time in years, my adult-onset acne is gone.

I frequently hear teachers say, “There isn’t time to take care of myself,” and I get that because I was there. The physical and emotional demands placed upon teachers coupled with the ever-changing landscape of accountability make it difficult to take care of the needs of students and yourselves. But here's the thing I learned the hard way: you absolutely must take care of yourself. Life is short. In the same way you nurture your students, find simple ways to nurture yourself.

www.holstee.com

 

 

Finding More Time And Feeling Less Stressed

Nowadays, people so often use the word "overwhelmed" to describe their lives. It has come to replace the tried and true "fine" response. With busy lives, we often take on more than we need to and complain about our daily stressors and to-do lists.

Below are three simple tricks, presented by Holstee.com, to help you get through your to-do list with time to spare. 

Step One: Plan your week, not your day.

An idea originally inspired by one of Holstee’s co-founders, Fabian, take some time at the start of each week to plan out your tasks and to-do’s. If you’re mostly planning work-related responsibilities, you can do this first thing Monday morning when you arrive at your office or workspace. Personally, I prefer to tackle my week on a Sunday afternoon or evening. Because I work remotely, I find I need to be extra diligent about my blocks of time so that I don’t get distracted by household chores or other lingering thoughts of what needs to be done like, I really need to call my dentist. This way, I can jot down everything in one place and space it out throughout the next seven days. Instantly, I feel prepared for the week ahead and am less overwhelmed at the sense of urgency behind certain tasks: everything in its place.

Step Two: Just today.

After you’re through planning your week, you might find yourself in the middle of a busy Tuesday where you’re swamped by a list of phone calls you need to make. While you’re dialing, your eyes drift over to Wednesday’s list and you notice two more phone calls you have planned: stop right there. Let Wednesday be Wednesday. Just because you can look ahead to other stuff doesn’t mean you have to do it right now. Keeping things where they are (within reason) helps you establish a start and a finish sense to your personal projects.

Step Three: Do one less thing.

Yes, exactly: in a world that never stops moving, doing less seems crazy. Lazy, almost. Whenever I find myself not busy, I am usually either feeling guilty or concerned that I have forgotten something important. But down time is crucial to regrouping, connection and feeling like yourself. Without it, things fall apart. So if you find yourself nearing the end of your day and still find you have a slew of tasks looming over you, stop and ask yourself, “What can wait?” If you’re anything like me, I know the obvious answer will probably be, “Nothing! Everything is important!” But try to take a step back and be as rational as you can. Something can always go or simply be tacked on to another, less hectic day.  

For more tips on how to live life fully, check out www.holstee.com.

In the Now

So many times I hear people say that they want to be free- free from constraints, living life moment by moment, and doing what makes them happy. Yet when those same people return from their freedom journey, they aren't any happier then when they left. Why? Because living in the moment doesn't mean reckless abandonment, it is a conscious inner awakening and awareness of our needs. And when we are truly aware of what we need to sustain us, then we can actually be free.

Check out Kelly Niven's self awakening and her five ways to live in the moment.

"For a long time I believed that living in the moment meant doing what I wanted, when I wanted to.

It has taken me many years to realize that I was wrong.

I felt the need to be free at an early age. I recall packing my bags to leave home at five years of age. My poor parents had a hell of a time with me when I hit my adolescent years. And of course, the teen-age years were even worse.

Basically, I didn’t like rules and regulations.

That desire for freedom and to live life in the moment saw some pretty reckless behavior – excessive drinking, dabbling in recreational drugs, outrageous spending habits. Occasional excess is bound to happen sometimes; we are human, after all.

But most of the time, these excesses lead to self-destruction and misery. (Oh, my wild side still comes out to play occasionally. But I make that decision consciously, with full awareness of the consequences. :-) )

What I have come to realize is this: Living in the moment does not mean doing what you want, when you want. Doing what you want, when you want may give the illusion of freedom. But the fact is, the constant need to escape life’s normal daily circumstances is just another kind of captivity.

It has been a long journey, but I have finally learned that genuine freedom is this:

1. Acceptance of What Is

It can be hard to accept life exactly as it is now. You might want things to be different, very different. This is particularly true if you have difficult life circumstances. But resistance to life as it is means that any actions you take, or fail to take, are not based on reality.

Acceptance of what is does not mean that you have to submit to it indefinitely. You can change your circumstances over time; however, it requires that you first accept where you are right now. When you accept where you are now, you are not fighting against what is.

Fighting and resistance create more of what you don’t want — a losing battle against the constraints of reality. Acceptance means that you move into the flow of life.

2. Discipline and Focus

This may sound contradictory. How can freedom require discipline and focus? Because, if it’s allowed to, the mind will take you away from the present moment. If it’s not forced to focus, the mind will return to memories of the past, when circumstances may not have gone well.

The mind will race ahead to the future, worried that things will not go well there, either. It operates on fear as a way of self-preservation.

The need to escape the present moment is fear-based. Your past conditioning will determine your present fears. It could be a fear of failure, fear of commitment, fear of the unknown, fear of success. The list is endless.

The only way to truly overcome fear is to come into the present moment and focus on the activity in hand. In all likelihood, there is nothing to fear in the immediate moment.

So, although it may sound contradictory, it is not. Present moment awareness takes you beyond the fear of the mind. This is necessary for freedom.

3. Knowing Yourself

Most people are highly uncomfortable being alone with themselves. They need other people and things to entertain them constantly.

If presented with situations and circumstances that require them to be alone, they usually put up great resistance. Stripping away the noise and distraction leaves these people with the responsibility of being who and what they are.

Feelings of unease and unsettlement arise when they don’t like what they are forced to face — so they look for a way out. They might think this is genuine freedom, just as I did. It’s not. It just keeps them chained to the need to escape.

4. Dedication to Your “Truth”

I put that in quotation marks because what we generally think of as the truth is usually just our perception of people, events and situations. Identifying your truth requires that you know yourself well, and that you are not easily influenced by the views and opinions of those around you.

Dedication to your truth requires you to have the courage and conviction to express and act on your own opinions. This is easier said than done and can take time to master. But you simply are not able to be fully present if you’re not dealing with your true feelings.

If you are avoiding your truth, you are also missing the reality of the present moment because you are allowing others to define it for you. When you realize that this is not living your own life fully, you will be ready to embrace the truth of each moment.

5. Love

Acceptance of what is, discipline and focus, knowing yourself and dedication to the truth create the space for you to love. When you accept yourself and love life just as it is, the love flows over into everything that you do.

The statement It’s not what you do but how you do it becomes very relevant. You realize that you have the ability to touch others in a deep and meaningful way. You create the space for others to reach the same levels of self-acceptance. You realize that there is no greater place to be than right here, right now.

This is what living in the moment really means.

Coming fully into the present moment — acknowledging my feelings and what I needed to do — was one of the most liberating feelings that I have ever encountered.

Sometimes, it can take a great deal of pain and resistance before we come to this point. But these are breakthrough moments. Liberation and self-acceptance follow.

To live in the moment is beautiful. It is genuine freedom. And every single one of us deserves to experience it."

http://thinksimplenow.com/

Slow Down.

Life moves quickly. Before we know it- days, months, and years have lapsed and we're left questioning "where did the time go?" Sometimes all we need is to take a step back and slow down. The things we can discover in taking a few extra moments can be amazing. Check out Laci's suggestions for slowing down and enjoying each the moment. 

"Life happens fast. Whether we’re looking at the big picture or just day-to-day tasks, we always seem to be in a rush to get to the next thing. But in the hustle and bustle of it all, it seems like we’re fast-forwarding through some important stuff. We’ve gone from skimming the daily news to skimming everything.

Here are a few key moments worth slowing down and soaking up, even if just for a bit.

Waking Up

Mornings are magical. Even if you’re not a morning person, there’s something special about being given a clean slate each day. It’s new, it’s fresh, it’s hopeful. It’s basically springtime. Don’t rush it. Instead of leaping out of bed raring to go or hitting the snooze button 42 times, try something that’s kind of in between—a happy medium.

Instead of reaching for your phone first thing, just reach. Take a deep inhale and stretch. You don’t even have to get up yet; you can lay under the covers and stretch your feet, wiggle your toes, reach your arms up, and roll your head side to side. My yoga teacher likes to say “do it for the fascia.” Fascia is the thin fibrous tissue surrounding your muscles and it loves a good stretch. It works kind of like lotion for your muscles.

After you’ve stretched, quietly set an intention for the day. Think about what you want to accomplish most. And then start your normal routine, hopefully unhurried and unstressed.

While Eating

The Slow Food Movement has been on the slowpoke bandwagon for years now. The concept is simple. It’s basically the opposite of fast food. Slow food comes from better ingredients. It’s fresh and takes a lot longer to make it to your table than a drive-thru window, but is indisputably well worth the wait.

And when you take it one step further and slow down to actually eat it (or any food for that matter), you end up taking in more flavor, feeling fuller quicker and, overall, you’ll be more satisfied. Sprinkle in lots of water, good conversation and ample laughter, and the pace will feel like you’ve taken a nice stroll with your lunch instead of scarfing it down.

If simply slowing meals down can be this miraculous, imagine what kind of power slowing down everything could harness.

When Traveling

At times, I admittedly have sloth-like speed. I like to mosey, get lost exploring, take unnecessary (OK, necessary) coffee breaks, daydream, nap, and snap lots of pictures. And I’m fully aware that this behavior has a special way of annoying others, especially travel buddies.

For most tourists, there’s an itinerary, things to do and sites to see. And these are all great things for seeing a lot in little time. But chasing a city is not only daunting, it’s exhausting.

Some of my fondest travel memories have been while getting lost in a new city, quietly meandering down a quaint street or off-beaten path into a tucked-away café. I’ve found that five minutes spent chatting with locals at the neighborhood pub can teach you more about a city’s culture than any tour guide.

So when life allows it, try tossing out the schedule for a bit. You may be surprised with what adventures await.

Ultimately, whether it’s walking in the rain, kissing the one you love, waiting in line at the grocery store or just going for a jog—soak it up. Try to stay present. Lean into the moment. And don’t be afraid to just. Slow. Things. Down."

www.wanderlust.com

Time for a Reset

Often times in life, we need to press the "reset" button. Knowing that a reset won't take away those things we can't change, it can open up the mental space, clearing metaphorical cobwebs,  and allow us to create new experiences and bring about clarity. See Elizabeth's tips below for refreshing your life.

"Have you ever felt like you needed a fresh start? For one reason or another, we will all need to make our lives new again at some point—or, more realistically, at many points throughout our lifetime. In fact, I would argue that we may need this practice more often than we realize.

Establishing practices that revitalize and renew your experience can be vital to living with ease. Below are a list of ways to refresh your life. They range in extremity as well as cost, but even the most mundane of these exercises will help you wipe away what no longer serves and open you up to new experiences.

How to Refresh Your Life

Out With the Old

Go through your drawers, closet, corners, and even your junk drawer. One space at a time, empty everything out and then place everything back in an organized way. Donate or discard anything that no longer serves you, that is no longer in use, or that is no longer needed. No matter how many times you do this you are guaranteed to find many things to let go of, and you will immediately feel lighter.

Dust, sweep, mop, polish, and vacuum it all. Clear away the literal cobwebs to create new mental clarity.

Cleanse your phone, computer, files, and social media. Delete any contacts you don’t need (no you don’t need that one guy’s phone number anymore, really). Clean up your desktop, organize your photos and files, preferably on an external hard drive. You don’t need to delete everything forever, but get it out of your regularly visited electronic space.

Smudge. There are a variety of herbs used to energetically cleanse a physical space, sage being the most common. The ceremony of smudging (or anointing a space with the smoke of burning herbs) is more than just a smoke blessing; it is a ritual that aids in mentally letting go of associations and attachments.

Write and make art, just for yourself. Creative outlets are a great way to purge emotion. Start a journal (or continue one), draw and paint just for fun, make a collage. You’ll be amazed at how liberating an afternoon of getting messy and sinking into a project will feel.

Practice yoga. Yoga helps us let go of stored emotion and memory. Both physically in your tissues and mentally in your issues.

Meditate. Sit with an open mind and allow your thoughts to arise and pass while maintaining focus on a single point (most often your breath). Practicing meditation (even mini ones!) regularly helps your mind become an open space where former loops of thinking can cease.

In With the New

Redecorate. You don’t need to buy all new furniture (but if you can and want to, that’s a major refresh!). You can make a space feel brand new just by moving things around, changing out artwork, plants, or linens. Trade decor between rooms and create a new energy in your home. Use crystals and sacred pieces to attract the new energy you want in your space.

Get bold in your hair, makeup, and clothing choices. That one shirt that you never wear but refuse to donate? Take it out for a spin. Try something a little daring with your aesthetic—a new hair color, perhaps? Go out in something a little outside of your comfort zone. You may end up loving your new look and find a whole new sense of style.

Make new friends. Expanding your social circle can rock your world in a great way. Put yourself out there and see what happens. Treasure and value your solid relationships of the past AND see what new friendships have to offer.

Try something brand new. Whether it’s rock climbing, sky diving, a new style of yoga, or even just a new teacher, be open to brand new experiences. You might need to go out of your way to try them out—and that’s OK. You won’t love everything, but you will find new passions and learn from it all.

Take the long way home. Explore a new route, take a long walk in the woods, get lost on purpose, go on a yoga retreat. Not all who wander are lost—many of them just know that a relaxed journey (however long) can change your entire perspective.

Meditate. Just keep meditating. It will revitalize you in ways you have never imagined."

www.wanderlust.com

Breathe.

Slow down and enjoy life. That is all. 

"Breathe.

If you feel overwhelmed, breathe. It will calm you and release the tensions.

If you are worried about something coming up, or caught up in something that already happened, breathe. It will bring you back to the present.

If you are moving too fast, breathe. It will remind you to slow down, and enjoy life more.

Breathe, and enjoy each moment of this life. They’re too fleeting and few to waste."

http://zenhabits.net

Finding Inner Peace

Isn't it funny that the things we try to release end up being the things we desperately hold on to? Read Antonella's story below as she discusses the ways she was able to find inner peace.

"I have been focused on growth for as long as I can remember. I used to spend my time walking to and from work trying to think up an exit strategy for my life. Everyday, in the morning and in the afternoon, each walk consoled by a cup of coffee and a cigarette that burned way too fast for my taste.

For breaks, I’d sneak down to take deeper breaths–hands shaking, and roaming the street corners for patience. Completely out of the present moment, I’d dread the week, aching through its entirety, only breathing as I’d walk out of work for the few hours I had free. But eventually when 10pm hit, the dread would start again. The weight of the world on my shoulders. Or was it? I was in my 20s. I was in the greatest city in the world. I had a good life, a good job. No real danger compared to the rest of the world, but nonetheless, the dead weight of the world sat there, torturing me.

Looking back now, it’s clear to me how sick I was of mind, heart, and spirit. The end of my 20s proved to be breathtakingly difficult. I experienced a great deal of heartbreak and loss, which eventually, and inevitably led to a great deal of change, growth, and surprisingly,…love.

Eckhart Tolle said something about how our generation is more aware than most of its misery. I’m no scientist but in my very humble, unprofessional opinion co-dependency, dissatisfaction, and neediness are at an all time high. We are obsessed with distractions and in a constant need for validation. In all its glory, technology satisfies these needs and opens the appetite for more. Our ego’s validation has a field day every time we turn the power on. We are never alone and what’s worse is that, we’re smart. We pick up on patterns on what people like and we get better at it.

The first time I read The Power of Now & The Four Agreements my mind opened up wide. Confused at what I was hearing, I felt stumped for days, which was followed by a wave of frustration. HOW DO I DO THIS? WHEN DO I START? In all honesty, I got the overall lifestyle idea, but I completely missed the basic point. The point being start here, start now.

Despite not applying this immediately, it did make me self-aware that I was in a constant state of anxiety and un-presence that I myself had generated. In itself, this was a breakthrough. This resonated with a lot of things a mentor had been trying to explain to me in the weeks prior. I see now that it’s not that I was not emotionally intelligent enough to understand all this–well, maybe I wasn’t–but it had less to do with my capacity to process the information and more to do with my willingness to process and apply.

I had always been focused on changing– changing bosses, people, jobs, or situations. I was obsessed with the outside, changing the inside had never even occurred to me. The inside, huh? So, whose fault does this make it? I’m confused. WHO IS AT FAULT?!

When I realized that the healthiest thing would be to begin to think that no one was responsible my heart sank a little. What do you mean no one gets the blame? Where is the fun in that? It sucks but I really thought this. I felt it at my core, I actually wanted to be angry. I wanted to blame someone.

It’s taken years to shift that focus from outward in. It’s taken a great deal of time, a plethora of breakthroughs, and a palace of fall backs. It’s been a process. I now understand so much why it took so long now and I connect less of those achey walks that I used to take so many years ago.

I read somewhere that it’s a little ironic how desperately we hold on to the things that we are praying to be released from. I read a lot in the years that followed that initial breakthrough. Line by line, each book wore me down. I was in relationships with so many toxic attitudes and ideas that I didn’t have time for anything else. Complaints about loneliness? What do you mean? I wasn’t alone! I was tangled up with these ideas.

To keep this relationship imagery going—I was devoted to my beliefs (agreements) of the world. What people thought of me, what I suspected the world was withholding from me, and how the universe was planning to jip me. I was so into this and it never occurred to me that there was an opportunity cost. Because to be in one relationship, you are giving up the opportunity to engage with something else, right? Well, I was giving up being surprised, working towards something new, and having faith to keep these beliefs in tact. All because I thought I was right. I had figured out the world and its take with me and I spent most of my time reaffirming that in everything I experienced."

http://www.thechangeblog.com

The Leap of Perception

Everything begins with a decision - decide to be in control of your own story. Too many times we live other people's stories and the life we are living runs us instead of vice versa. If you dont like your story, work to change your perception. This process is not instant and will require a great many steps, but in the end, is completely worth it. Your personal perception of reality is the most definitive determinate of your own happiness. Do you want to be in control?

“The transformation process is not an all-at once thing that blows you out of the water. There are many small shifts, and each one takes some getting used to; you’re basically un-learning a long-standing habit and relearning a new one.

“…Most of us are used to living with suppressed fear, in denial, as a sort of make-do comfort level. We use strong fixed beliefs, opinions, and habits, as cover-ups so we never have to feel our core rage, panic, and pain; we just live in our head on autopilot.

“But this is not possible anymore. The transformation process evolves your consciousness from fear to love.

“That means you have to dissolve the fears and heal the emotional wounds that are in the way-by understanding them. And that means you have to face them, feel them, and decode them, which most of us dread.

“Each time an intensified wave of acceleration rolls through you, it dislodges low-frequency consciousness-and-energy or suppressed fear from your subconscious mind. 

“Needless to say, you may experience varying forms of discomfort!…You may try and push it all back down in the substrata with various flight or flight behaviors…”

“The effort of avoiding and resuppressing subconscious blocks eventually wears you out, and the exhaustion can make you feel disillusioned, unmotivated and hopeless…You are at the turning point. The last gasp of the negative path to transformation is when you’re finally so tired of resisting and controlling, and so overwhelmed by complexity, that you stop; there is nothing more you can do…”

“You’re forced by the process to simply be with what’s happening- to be with yourself and with the fears and the pain. You must experience the state you are directly in without voting on it or having to act.

“By simply ‘being with’ Life and ‘letting things be’ as they are, you return to an experience of your own ‘being’ -your soul- which was always present under the distractions.

“This is when you engage with silence and enter the nonphysical reality. And this is when your intuition opens.

“Now your soul can shine through shedding light on everything. Revelations emerge.

“Understanding and compassion dissolve the fears. There is release, relief and a return to joy. You feel so much better!

“This is the turning point in the transformation process-when the fixed mind surrenders and precipitates a huge expansion in the consciousness of the heart, body, unified filed, and the wise evolutionary Flow.”

 

 Penney Peirce from Leap of Perception: The Transforming Power of Your Attention

Journey into Yourself

While this article speaks of depression and women, it is by no means meant as dismissive to men nor to those who experience depression in any form. An exploration into one's self- acknowledging, honoring and learning from the darkness- is as healing as it is frightening. Femininity, collectively for men and women, allows us to fully connect to our true selves and appreciate the ebbs and flows in life. Nothing is one dimensional, our lives included. 

"Depression comes as a gift that stops one from hurrying briskly, confidently into the market. Stops one from rushing to the shopping center to buy one more bargain blouse for an already overcrowded closet. Stops one from emptily mouthing what one no longer believes in anyway.

Depression stops time… and one settles into one’s own waters as a sailing vessel without wind… without wind… without momentum…and one sinks into one’s depths.

And somewhere, deep inside, in the beehive tomb, one sits alone… and weeps. 

Depression comes as a gift asking that a woman recognize her own substance and trust it as the quiet, steady voice of her own truth. As she trusts it, hearkens to it, attends as it unfolds, she learns that of herself never allowed to develop when her allegiance  was with the collective…

Depression serves a woman is it presses down on her, forcing her to leave behind that which was not herself, which had influenced her to live a life alien to her own nature. Her suffering, now substantial, insists that she no longer deny its truth.

She can no longer ‘keep stiff of her upper lip,’ or ‘pack up her troubles in her old kit bag and smile, smile, smile’ or, as one woman struggling with her weight said, ‘rise above it all.’

…Depression asks that the attitude towards one’s life be changed, that the source of authority be recognized as no longer outside, but now deeply within, that one relate to each event, task, and moment of one’s life personally, subjectively…

Present-day society is afraid of depression. Whatever it resembles – reflection, introversion, a drawing within for quietness – may also be feared.

Suffering is feared and the sufferer outcast. Collective attitudes have evolved fostering archetypal masculine doing and achievement values. As woman entered the work realm outside her home, there was little alternative but to adopt those values. There was little recognition that her processes as woman was of a different nature or that doing/achievement values were not complete or valid for her. 

The issue is not whether woman can achieve, but that preoccupation with achievement may deny a descent into her deeper nature which a woman must make to touch her true strength. The masculine must perhaps fly to fulfill a part of its heroic nature. But woman, pressed to fly, may lose herself and be prevented from descending into her depths, prevented from fulfilling her own feminine nature.

For through her descent, she touches the power of the feminine, the power that comes of being, not doing… the power of wisdom in the face of a very old woman, a face on which one reads, ‘I know what I know.’

A woman through her descent, touches a deeply feminine authority, as different from the authority of the masculine as is the moon from the sun. 

It is an authority not of abstracted, rational, objective knowledge, but an authority which allows her to speak from her own unique experiencing of life, from her own deepest personal conviction. 

A woman prevented by her own fears or cultural attitudes from making this descent, is left to speak only from her achievement-oriented side rather than from a deeper experiencing of herself as a woman. 

Because present-day society has not understood, has feared the process which woman must undergo to claim her power and wisdom, has recognized only the masculine process, women have been left little alternative but to speak ‘as men…’

Woman herself has become alienated from her need to sink into herself. She has begun to expect herself to have the energies, emotions, and attitudes of the masculine. It is a tragic token of the lack of recognition of a separate and unique feminine process…

A woman could be helped to understand her depression as a passage of initiation to claim her own soul and wisdom to be shared, later, with other women as they prepare for their own passage. She’s is taught, instead, to fear her experience and to loathe herself.

…It is this meaning, emerged from her own suffering, that allows a woman to descent, each time anew, into her own depths, to be present to the truth and wisdom lying there. For only by her willing descent can she uncover, again and again, the meaning of her life. 

Can we come to a new understanding of the feminine process toward wholeness? Can we, as women, take it upon ourselves to deepen within ourselves and each other and appreciation of the descent in the feminine process?"

~Judith Duerk from Circle of Stones: Woman’s Journey to Herself

 http://www.mysticmamma.com

 

 

Creating Courage

Life is a learned lesson. We are born with innate behaviors and are influenced by surrounding structural systems. Many of us never question the systems and spend our lives living for something other than ourselves because it is easier - easier to walk on a frequently traveled road then to walk through the brush and create a new path. Take a step off that familiar road and ask yourself - what's stopping me?

"Life takes courage. Courage to live it. Courage to embrace it. Courage to co-create it. 

It takes courage to get to know ourselves, our desires, our hopes, our dreams and our talents, because once we do it’s devastatingly difficult not to be true to them. It takes courage to stand up to internal and external naysayers and exclaim our greatest joy. But, in the long run, it can be more difficult not to, as our greatest duty is to make manifest our talent in the world.

It takes courage to be in a process of becoming. There is no security when we are growing for we do not know what shape we will ultimately take. Our lives must be big enough, roomy enough, bendy, stretchy and flexible enough to hold our evolving selves. 

Becoming is a process. One that is never over. One that is always daunting, delicious and decisively ours to do. No one can tell us who or what we are.

They may try to though. 

They may cry with confusion. Why aren’t we acting our part? Our gender? Our race? Our class? Our lot in life? Our “ability”? Why aren’t we towing the societal line? The family line? Why won’t we keep the secrets? Keep up the facade?

In the face of societal, peer and familial pressure it takes courage to believe that giving up security for the sake of our deeper yearnings is our sure path to wealth. Spiritual wealth. Emotional wealth. Psychological health. The kind of wealth and health that we posses when we live lives of meaning and depth. 

Not many will tell us that our main job in this life is to follow our internal knowing with every ounce of energy that we’ve been given. But no matter who has or who has not, one thing is for sure, this is our job to do. 

And all we need ask for is the courage to do so, the discipline it takes to apply our enthusiasm consistently and the wisdom to know when to act, when to hold back and when to take direction."

 http://www.chaninicholas.com

Embrace Yourself

I decided to dedicate a new part of my website to the various motivational lessons that I encounter on a daily basis.

Welcome to my Moments of Reflection!

My coaching motto is "It Starts with You." Everything you want in and out of life starts with you - your thoughts, your actions, your energy. One of the first steps in moving forward is the embracing of self. Until you are accepting of yourself wholeheartedly, progress will be an uphill battle. Enjoy the excerpt below from the book Oneness by Rasha. 
 

"Embrace yourself, in these times, and acknowledge yourself for the extraordinary progress you are making, as a soul, in every waking moment.

The very fact that you are drawn to reading these words attests to an openness on your part to aligning with the momentum of this multidimensional journey. Know that what you have done so reflects great courage on your part. And that to continue to do so, despite the resistance of consensus thinking, puts you in the forefront of those destined to emerge…


The opportunity to circumvent some of the mountains that most will manifest and choose to scale lies in the ability, in the moment at hand, to release the need to control the result of the dynamics of any circumstance in which one finds oneself.

By consciously shifting one’s intent to one of conscious allowance of the manifestation of the highest good of the collective, one enhances the opportunity to manifest the brightest possible outcome for oneself.  

In so doing, one is able to secure a state of beingness that is unencumbered by eons of trial and error and is free to explore the joys of manifestation of the Divine Will in alignment with one’s own."

http://www.mysticmamma.com