Be Cheerful!!!

My cheerfulness is contagious

I have many choices to make on any given day. One of the major decisions I make is the mood that I portray throughout the day.

When I get up in the morning, I consciously opt to be cheerful. I am cheerful because it makes my life more fun and interesting. Plus, I make it through the day like a champ when I am cheerful.

But the really cool thing about my cheerfulness is that it spreads to those around me. I see that I can have a profound effect on those around me simply by choosing to be cheerful.

When I am cheerful, it challenges those who are grumpy. It is more difficult for others who are nearby to complain and be negative whenever I am in a cheerful mood.

I smile, compliment others, and take any bumps in the road in stride.

Being cheerful makes me feel like an emotionally stronger human being. I refuse to allow the Negative Neds and Nellies of the world to pull me down. Instead, I turn on the light in my eyes and grin.

I use an interested tone of voice. I show my good mood. And when I do, people around me do the same.

Today, I intend to remain cheerful all day. I notice how my cheerfulness affects others and I am pleased that I have the ability to make a positive impact on their lives.

I truly am a happier, more fulfilled individual because I choose to be cheerful and by doing so, I lead the way for others to be cheerful as well.

-unknown

Serenity N-O-W!!!!

We all too familiar with this scenario…

‘You wake up each morning and are in a big rush to get to work on time. It seems like traffic is always bumper to bumper! By the time you get to work, you are met with deadlines, office politics, and 100 things on your to do list and 50 things to tackle in your in basket. Five o’clock comes and you are rushing home…traffic again! By the time you make it home, you are already late for dinner with your neighbors. The babysitter just called, and can’t make it tonight.’

Whew! I am stressed for you just thinking about it. Balancing your work and home life can be extremely stressful. It seems like there is never enough time in the day for relaxation, or taking care of your self.  Relaxation is a necessary part of health and wellness for your body and mind. There are a few things you can do throughout your day to help relieve stress and find time for serenity NOW.

One of my favorite Seinfeld episodes:

http://youtu.be/PlZvY_LXJco
1. Just Breathe: Take a big deep breath…then let it go. You will be amazed at how quickly you will feel better by simply just doing that. The great thing about this particular breathing technique is that you can do it anywhere. Sitting or standing, slowly and consciously focus on your inhalation. Breathing through your nose, inhale to the count of five. Hold the breath for three, and then exhale thru your mouth counting to eight as you imagine the stress leaving your body. Repeat this 3-5 times, and several times throughout the day. Stress can cause people to unknowingly breathe more rapidly, or worse, forget to breathe at all!  Yoga or meditation classes both use deep breathing to promote relaxation and overall health. Find a local yoga studio in your area, and sign up for a class.  If you’re in Sacramento, I would highly recommend, http://www.padmecenter.com/


2. Be Active: Hit the gym or the yoga studio! Although you may feel more like lying around the house, perched in front of the TV, exercise is great pick-me-up. Exercise releases endorphins that help your body battle anxiety. This alone can elevate your mood. In addition to the chemical benefits, exercise is great for taking your stress out in a constructive way. Kickboxing for example, is a great therapeutic way to relieve stress. Just visualize your stressor (boss, evil co-worker, nagging ex) as the recipient.


3. Laugh: Laughter is the best medicine, and it’s contagious! Pop in a funny DVD, go see a comedy show, or read a funny book, or better yet, hang out with people who make you laugh.  You will forget about your anxieties just as quick as they came about.   I am fortunate enough to have many people in my life who are funny and see the lighter side of any situation.


4. Reach out and touch someone: Have you hugged anyone today or this week? Whether it is from a close friend, son, daughter, or significant other, a simple touch of endearment is an incredible mood enhancer. Having physical contact has been found to raise levels of Oxytocin also described as the “love hormone” while lowering levels of Cortisol, “the stress hormone” helping us relax and feel good.  I have always been a hugger.  I grew up in a family who wasn’t very affectionate so I vowed to be the complete opposite.

5. Smell the Roses: Have you ever noticed that a certain scent just makes you feel better? Is it the smell of a certain flower, scent of a loved one’s cologne or even something baking in the oven? For me, the scent that I prefer is vanilla.  Figure out the scent that is most pleasing to you, and use it throughout your home. In the practice of Aromatherapy, certain scents influence your mood and can even change your physiology. Lavender is the go to for relaxation, but you can also use chamomile, ylang ylang or rose oil in a warm bath or just defuse the scents in the air.

6. Plug in to iTunes/Pandora, etc.: Plug in your ear buds, and tune into to your favorite play list! Studies have shown a strong link between music and lowered stress levels in everyday life. Singing helps too. If you need to relax plug in Enya or any massage music track.  For example, here is a listing of playlists I use for massage: http://www.vssageblog.com/?p=359 You don’t have to limit yourself to just “relaxing” music though. Listen to something that lifts your spirits.

7. Treat Yourself: My personal favorite! This, you may not be able to do every day, but on occasion, you deserve a pampering. Treat yourself to a massage, facial or rejuvenating treatment of your choice. Get the benefits of all the aforementioned tips (aroma, music, touch) in one! If its currently not in the budget, you can do a bit of ‘at home’ pampering by soaking in a warm bath, lighting some candles and slip in a Sade or other relaxing CD to seal the deal.

8. Be Present: Sometimes this can be difficult in our modern society, (Am I the only one getting sick and tired of hearing about the fiscal cliff???!!), but it is one of the most important things you can do to reduce stress and find serenity. The present is what is happening right now, at this very moment. Don’t be consumed with what happened yesterday, or what could happen tomorrow. This is an ancient Zen teaching that helps open your awareness to the moment. This might take time to master, but take baby steps. Try eating a piece of dark chocolate. Instead of inhaling the chocolate and thinking after it is gone how good it was, eat it slowly, taking tiny bites. With each bite focus on the taste, the aroma. Experience how wonderful it is…right now. Take this exercise and relate it to other things in your life. You will find that this helps you have stronger relationships, get more done, and increase your fulfillment from life. All of this can be achieved simply by enjoying the moment.
9. Get Outside: Connect with Mother Nature by taking a short walk thru the woods, sit by a body of water, just get some fresh air and sunshine. Our early ancestors spent most of their lives outdoors, but today we are lucky to get 30 minutes a day. Our body’s still physically and mentally need the benefits of the outdoors, especially the sun. So get out there, everyday if you can, and soak it all up. Breathe in the fresh air, soak up some rays, and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds you.  I walk my dog every day, and in the warmer months (above 50 degrees), I ride by bike along the American River bike trail 5x a week for 20-30 miles.

A Light Unto Yourself

 

I make the conscious choice to be free, and to hold my freedom as a priority, not to be compromised.

I take full responsibility for my happiness and know that it is never dependent on anyone or anything outside of myself.

I prefer my essential & intrinsic happiness to the temporary fulfillment of desires.

I value my inner peace more than I do winning, defending my identity, proving my point, or re-actively expressing momentary emotions.

I refuse to be reactive, and to let my emotions be controlled by others.

Anger does not guide my hand. Fear does not inhibit my action. Desires do not govern me.

Attachments do not bind me.

I do not engage in self defeating behavior.

I accept that which I cannot change.

I have no need to control or possess others.

I do not depend on others for validation or approval.

I understand that my feelings are natural, and so make no apologies for them.

I make plans for the future, but remain open in order to respond to each moment directly.

I make no attempt to appear different than I am, regardless of who I am around.

I do not define myself in terms of material.

I allow others the freedom of being themselves, without judging them or attempting to change them.

I can forgive others because I understand that we all act according to our current level of consciousness & understanding.

I am my own authority.

I am complete in the present moment & therefore do not look to the future for fulfillment.

I am free to give love, without condition or expectation.

I know that my identity is self defined and self imposed.

My only binding identification is with consciousness, through which all else is experienced.

I participate in the things in life without becoming attached and identified with them.

I realize that my separation from others & from the environment is conceptual only.

I have no strict idea of myself in which I must conform to.

I see the impermanence of all things and so do not cling unnecessarily to them.

I realize that all perspectives are fragmentary & incomplete.

I do not need an external authority to tell me what is right and what is wrong.

I allow others to be free by dropping all demands and expectations of them.

I learn from the past, but do not allow it to interfere with the present.

I am neither above, nor below anyone, and so make no comparisons.

I realize that anything that I don’t know from direct experience is hearsay and speculation.

Though I cannot always control my thoughts, I can control which ones I pursue and give energy.

I understand the difference between what exists in thought and what exists in reality.

When I am alone, I am not lonely, my presence is all pervading.

I respond to reality according to the circumstances instead of depending on readymade answers.

I see that if my thoughts have no correlative in physical reality that they are little different than imagination.

I know that all answers lie within and that they can only be obtained through experience.

I know that there is no such thing as second hand wisdom.

I will help anyone that I can knowing that ultimately the responsibility is theirs alone.

I realize that when I become disturbed that nothing is missing. Instead, something has been added and is obscuring my inherent peace and stillness. That my attention has deviated from the present moment.

I am a light unto myself.

In Case of Emergency

• Guide your attention to your breath, and follow it as it goes in and out. This can create space, provide some relief from the relentless thoughts & return you to the moment.

• Try to zoom out and expand your perspective. Sometimes seeing our problems within a larger context can give us a different outlook on them .

• Take a moment to consider how others feel as well, as we are all under stress for varying reasons. Remember that your loved ones, spouse, children, etc. are also dealing with life’s difficulties. (This helps us to take the spotlight off of us and step out of the exclusive mindset we often get trapped in.)

• Realize that your problems and the emotions that accompany them are temporary. They are impermanent. (We tend to view things with a high degree of severity, as if they are eternal, when in fact most of them will be soon forgotten.)

• Make sure you are not engaging in self defeating behavior by feeding the fire with negative thoughts and energy. Become aware of your internal dialogue.

• Remember that acceptance is another word for freedom. Acceptance is a choice we must first discover is available, in which the psychological pain of inner conflict may be eliminated. If something is already the case, or is inevitable, acceptance is the only intelligent response to it.

• Is the way in which you are handling this problem conducive to the goals you have on your spiritual path? (Can expose hypocritical behavior as well as be a good reminder.)

• Is your resistance to what is happening more valuable to you than your inner peace?

• Is what is occurring directly causing your emotion, or is it your position towards what is occurring? In other words, is it your expectations that are being injured, rather than you yourself? What would you lose by accepting rather than opposing? Is it even possible?

• Become a witness to all that is occurring without identifying with it. Observe as choiceless awareness only. Drop all opinion and judgment and just watch. You are not that which passes before awareness, but awareness itself.

Lastly, a few words from Eckhart Tolle

You feel yourself to be alone again, struggling against something or trying to achieve this or that. But why did anxiety, stress, or negativity arise? Because you turned away from the present moment. And why did you do that? You thought something else was more important. You forgot your main purpose. One small error, one misconception, creates a world of suffering.

Wherever you are, be there totally. If you find your here and now is intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. It you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences. No excuses. No negativity.

John J. Patton

 

Inspirational Blogs

I get my daily inspiration from various sources – my boyfriend, my parents,  friends, nature, Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, etc.  I also like to read certain inspirational/motivational blog posts on a regular basis.  Here are a few of my favorites:

http://www.yourlifeyourway.net/blog/

http://zenhabits.net/

http://dailyom.com/

http://almostfearless.com/

http://www.insidethetravellab.com/

 

 

Daily Om: Words of Wisdom – Affirmations

Our minds accept as truth the critical statements we tell ourselves, but it can also accept our positive affirmations.


The words we speak and think hold great sway over the kind of life that we create for ourselves. Many people live their lives plagued by negative thoughts and never even realize this. They tell themselves and others that they are doomed to fail, not good enough, or not worthy of love, yet they are amazed when their reality starts reflecting these words. Just as the subconscious mind accepts as truth the critical statements we tell ourselves, however, it is also equipped to instantly accept the veracity of our affirmations.

Affirmations are statements chosen and spoken consciously. Once they enter our realm of consciousness, they also enter our subconscious mind where they have the power to change our lives. The affirmations you create should be specific, not too long, worded positively, formed in complete sentences, and spoken in the present tense as if what you are affirming is already true. It is a good idea to repeat your affirmations daily. You may want to tell yourself that you deserve to be happy or that you are in control of your destiny. Or, you may want to focus on a particular goal, such as attracting new friends. Rather than telling yourself you want to be well-liked, say, “I am well-liked.” Your subconscious mind will pick up on these positive messages, and you will begin to live your life as if what you are affirming already has happened. Soon, your reality will begin to reflect your affirmations. If you find that you are thwarting yourself with negative thinking, try repeating your affirmations several times a day. Write your affirmations down and say them aloud or in your mind. Allow your conviction to grow stronger each time you say your affirmations, and your negativity will be overridden by your motivation and positive thoughts.

Affirmations are a powerful tool for creating our desired reality. We consciously and subconsciously invite opportunity into our lives when we say affirmations. Trust in the power of your affirmations, and you will very quickly create what you have already stated to be true.


 

Ten Tips to Make the Most of Your Massage

So somebody’s given you a gift certificate for a massage. You’ve never experienced one before, and are unsure yet if this is one of those gifts you’re supposed to appreciate because “it’s the thought that counts,” as they say.  You know getting this massage will involve making an appointment and being somewhere at a specific time, which seems like a chore, kind of like a doctor or dentist appointment.  You have a general idea that it will involve lying on a table for anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half, and you’re afraid you’ll get bored being still for that long.  Here are ten tips to get the most out of your massage experience.

Tip #1: Get to your appointment on time. New clients often have to fill out paperwork, or some therapists will have you fill out a form online before you arrive.  It’s also good idea to visit the restroom before your appointment.

Once you’ve met your therapist, you’ll have a discussion about what your goals are for the session, and be lead to the treatment room. Maybe you just want to relax, or maybe you have a particular area to address, like low back pain. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or state what you want.

Tip # 2: Tell your massage therapist about your physical issues. Information like “I’m ticklish on my lower back” and “I can’t turn my head to the right” or “My left calf is sensitive to the touch” help the massage therapist plan a strategy for your massage. Be sure to mention recent injuries or surgeries.

Tip# 3: Go commando, or not. Before your therapist leaves the room, your therapist should give you instructions on what to do, which will likely include the statement “Undress  to your level of comfort.” This means you only take off the items of clothing you feel comfortable parting with. Many people take off everything except their underwear, or go completely commando (take off all of their clothes).

California draping policy dictates that certain areas must remain covered by a sheet at all times. The therapist will uncover one body part at a time to work on during the massage so you will never completely be exposed at any time.

Tip #4: Get under the sheet and blanket. Unless you’re wearing all your clothes, you’re required by law to be covered with a sheet or “draped” during your massage. If it’s uncomfortably warm in the room, the therapist can adjust the temperature or remove the blanket over the sheet, and turn off any table warmer.

Tip #5: Don’t worry about primping for your massage therapist. Sometimes female clients apologize for unshaven legs prior to the appointment, but this is unnecessary. Massage therapists, as a general rule, do not judge male/female clients based on their stubble, tans (or lack thereof), their cellulite or abundance of back hair.

Tip #6: It’s okay to catch up on your zzzzz’s. Many clients find they relax and go into a lucid dreaming state, or take a brief power nap, and this is a perfectly acceptable way to enjoy a massage. Not to worry, the massage therapist will not be offended, and you’re still getting the full benefits of the massage if you’re not awake and alert.

Tip #7: You don’t have to assist the massage therapist. Your massage therapist may adjust your limbs or head during the massage in order to stretch or gain better access to muscle groups. It’s okay to settle in to the session and allow the massage therapist do all of the work.  Your only job when receiving a massage is to relax and enjoy.

Tip #8: Communicate with your massage therapist (if you prefer). If your massage therapist finds and works on a tight or knotty spot, sometimes the discomfort involved can actually feel good because your body senses that the pain is helping to resolve a problem.  Many clients refer to this as “A good hurt.” But once said discomfort becomes too intense, speak up. Too much pressure or manipulation can cause a muscle to go into defensive contraction, and this works against solving the problem. Barring issues like this, clients may or may not choose to ask questions or start conversation during the massage, depending on their preferences.  It’s okay to talk during part or all of the session.  Some people like to talk during a session as it helps them to feel more comfortable or relax while others prefer complete silence.

Tip #9: Be realistic. If you have a longstanding physical issue, it may take a longer session or even a series of sessions before you see marked improvement. Issues like low back pain and stiff necks tend to develop over time, and often it takes time to work them out.  I cannot tell you how many times I have had people come in who think I can “fix them” in one session when they have had a recurring pain issue for years!

Tip #10: Drive safely. It’s common to feel mellowed out and spacey after a massage. Take your time getting to your feet off of the table and getting dressed. Most importantly, be extra careful driving home. Sometimes clients plan some relaxing time in a nearby coffee shop or restaurant after the massage and before they get back in the car.

A number of my clients got their first massage without knowing what was in store, and found it to be a learning experience. Many people say things like, “I had no idea I had soreness there” or “I had forgotten what it’s like to be this relaxed,” and they use what they learn during the massage to prolong the benefits of the massage.  Sometimes this means stretching during some part of the day or simply changing how they use desk space at work. Many people decide to make massage a regular part of their lives after their first session.  When I received my first massage over 20 years ago, I knew I was hooked!

15 Min Back Exercises to Strengthen Your Back

Ready to RID YOURSELF OF BACK PAIN????

Develop a habit to strengthen your back to alleviate your back pain by committing to performing back exercises at least 3-5 times per week.

How do I stick to developing a habit?

 Seven Steps to Developing a New Habit

http://www.briantracy.com/blog/personal-success/seven-steps-to-developing-a-new-habit/

 Back exercises in 15 minutes

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/back-pain/LB00001_D

 

Have fun and good luck!!!