BESTLIFE! 2018

It’s the start of a new year and you are pumped to get or keep going on your new years resolutions…right?!? Or, now that we are a few weeks into the year have you found yourself stumbling out of the gate? Do you need a push or a gentle reminder? Do you find yourself doing “busywork” much more than some of your most passionate work, you know…the things that motivate you? We are all human, but that’s the point. We are human beings, not human doings. Sure, you have things that must get done every day but are you consciously making time for the things you really want to do?

As human beings we have the ability to make a conscious choice to embrace life, and live our best life. But why do we get caught up in all of this busywork hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year? It’s because we chug along in life doing what we feel we need to do, but we don’t take enough moments to clarify what it is that really matters to us. We just keep doing what we’re doing because others have told us that this is what we should do in life. Have you taken the time to figure out yet what YOUR bestlife looks like?

Living your bestlife may include many different areas including:

So how are you going to live your bestlife? Start with this: picture yourself doing what you love to do whether it’s serving others, taking a walk in nature, slowing down at times

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Me on a hike in BC

to appreciate the little things in life, or taking a course in something that you love. How does it feel? Pretty good hey? So how do you get to this place? TAKE ACTION! Sure, easier said than done. So how do we take action?

  • Put one foot in front of the other. Repeat.
  • Research and spend time with who/what you love.
  • Take a course or read about something that’s interesting to you.
  • Say no to busywork sometimes.
  • Strike a healthy balance between work and play.
  • Make better choices (i.e. stop and ask yourself if this current decision is beneficial for yourself, or serves others).
  • Find a passion and motivation, see Motivation – it’s an inside job.

One more important thing. Put aside all of the things everyone told you about who you are and what you should do. Now take some time to figure out who you really are and what you love to do (your life purpose). Once again I’ll repeat this…then TAKE ACTION! Always remember that this is all on you, and you can do it. Make it happen.

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For further information check out a previous blog on Embracing Life Every Day.

If you have anything to add to this or any general questions on living your bestlife I would love to hear from you. We are all in this together, and I want to learn from others too.

Embracing life as best I can,

Kevin


Achieve All Goals: The 5 Step Mindset Shift 

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change-your-mind-set“I wish…”

“If only…”

“It’s not fair…”

“Why can’t I….”

Just shift your mindset and you can!

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

-Maya Angelou

Is your mind caught up in negative thought patterns?  nothing-changes-if-nothing-changes-252x300

Life satisfaction begins with a positive mindset.

  • If you believe you are pathetic, guess what…
  • If you believe you will fail, you are destined to.
  • However…
  • If you believe you are powerful, you are!
  • If you believe you will succeed, you can!

Mindset is a way of thinking, based on a set of beliefs, that determines one’s behaviour, outlook and mental attitude.

Your mind is a powerful tool, fill it with positive thoughts and your life will start to change positively. 

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by CHANGE.

                                                                            -Jim Rohn

What do you want? What do you truly want your everyday “normal” to be? Really think about it.

  • Maybe you want to start working out each morning before the kids wake up, and feel energized.
  • Or you have a weight loss plan you are considering;
  • How about an education or career plan that you have been thinking about? Put it into action!
  • Are you thinking you would like to travel more?
  • Or do you and your partner want to spend more quality time together?

new-mindsetIt is not an unreachable dream… a future plan.  Part of creating your “normal” for today is picturing it as a natural part of your everyday life now.  Visualize it, and master the art of living it now.  Be the energy you want to attract. Begin to live it, create your “normal”, your new reality.

Right now some of you are saying:

“Ya but, my life has been so hard.”  

“My circumstances don’t allow for the changes I want to make.”

“You don’t know what I’ve been through.”

MINDSET.

I, like you, have endured some struggles.

In the past 5 years, I have been widowed in my late 30’s, after 13 years of marriage (suicide as a result of PTSD); lost my dad to cancer; battled for my own life twice with two ruptured ectopics, and suffered the loss of those pregnancies; coped with the effects of our adopted daughter’s mental illness and the associated loss; and am currently dealing with the neurological illness that my thriving 14 year old has suddenly developed and is now affecting her athletic and academic performance; I have had to change careers; and more…  My struggles will not be the same as yours, and can’t be compared.  But we all have struggles.  It is how we choose to let them affect us.4fc6423507712f33a596b77fae2872e5

Make the choice to change your perspective and embrace today with positivity, despite the challenges and stumbling blocks, and always be grateful for the little things (a sunset, a puppy licking you, a baby trying to walk, a horse running through a field, the majestic mountains in the distance, a cup of coffee, a smile from a stranger…).

My life would not be as happy, fulfilled and wonderful as it is without gratitude and a shift to a positive mindset.

A positive mindset, gratitude, always remember that everyone has struggles, and it is how they choose to deal with them, that can create positive change; this is how I have achieved my goals, and chosen to live the life I am living.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

                                                                                                               -George Bernard Shaw

What choices do you need to make to create this “normal”?

 

What actions do you need to take?

  1. Define your goal(s)
  2. Change your beliefs – from negative thought patterns to positive thought patterns; “I am worthy of this”; “I am deserving”; “there is time”; etc
  3. Think positive thoughts – “I can do this!”
  4. Identify fears and potential obstacles – “I will not succeed”; “I have failed in the past”; “I will not have the support of others”; “I do not believe in myself”; “I cannot stick with anything”; etc
  5. Practice gratitude – be grateful for what you do have, and each step that you do accomplish toward achieving your goal and shifting your mindsetmindset-shift

 

To achieve goals and live the life you want to live, you don’t need superhuman strength, or the ability to time travel or wall crawl like Spiderman.  All you need is to change your mind. Sounds pretty simple really, doesn’t it?

 

 

With Positive Thoughts for your Mindset Shift,

Krista

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I Found It… The Secret To A Happier Life

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If I said I found the secret to a happier and more fulfilling life, and it is an effortless habit, that takes only minutes a day…

Would you be interested in knowing what it is?

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It can:

  1. Lift your mood
  2. Increase motivation
  3. Help you focus your time and energy on the things in your life that you really want to “live with intention
  4. Not allow you to take things for granted
  5. Lift your spirits; experience joy, even in more difficult times

thG4IX9KVM    Have you guessed yet? (here are a few more hints…)

  • Focus on what is already here, what already surrounds you
  • Focus on what you can be grateful for in your life

Focus on GRATITUDE EVERYDAY, throughout the day!

That’s right… it is GRATITUDE!

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Gratitude fosters happiness, and doesn’t everyone strive for happiness?

To cultivate both gratitude and happiness:

Pause/Breathe:    simply pause throughout your day, a brief pause, and ask yourself the question –  What or who can I be grateful for today, in my life? 

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Enjoy the View:    look around you throughout your day, and appreciate and acknowledge your surroundings, be grateful for them (the beautiful sunset, the laughing children, the cute puppy, the majestic mountains)

Be Insightful:    improve your self-esteem and self-confidence by being appreciative of yourself.  Make a habit of identifying things you can be grateful for about yourself each day (you helped someone out, you made a good decision, you met a goal, your sense of humour was spot on today)

The Little Things:    look for the small daily things you can appreciate, the things you may take for granted (your lunch, your dog welcoming you home each day, your car getting you to work each morning, the pen that allows you to write your thoughts/lists)

Timing is Everything:    You will learn to recognize and acknowledge gratitude all the time, before you know it! But until then, it helps to set aside 1 minute in the morning each day or 1-2 minutes in the evening, before bed, and use a journal or Gratitude Box

IMG_7189  GratitudePinterestLI   gratitude-journal--225x300  (see: New Years GRATITUTIONS (Part II) for some great ideas!)

Yell It From the Rooftops:    You can’t keep all of this gratitude bottled up inside! You need to express it! You are grateful for all that surrounds you and you are happier, so let others know you are grateful for having them in your life – make them happy as well!

So there you have it! The secret to a happier and more fulfilling life:

GRATITUDE!

Happiness isn’t about finding something new, it is about focusing on what is already here, and appreciating it, being thankful for it.

Gratitude turns what you already have into enough.

You can always choose to be grateful, which in turn, means you can always choose to be happy.  Think about it…

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With overwhelming gratitude for my multitude of simple life blessings, and in happiness,

Krista


Your Attitude is Contagious

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Attitude is contagious, is yours worth catching? Consider this – your attitude towards anything can work with you towards your goals and dreams, and can lead you to accomplish things you didn’t think were possible. OR conversely, your attitude can work against you and limit your potential, which keeps you in a spiral of negative attitude.

It’s also contagious in that your attitude affects others – whether it’s family, friends, or co-workers. If your positive attitude today makes one person smile then isn’t it worth it? I think so. Remember that you may only be one person to the world, but to one person you may be the world.

So which one do you choose? Yes, it is a choice! If you want to live your best life, it’s an easy choice. Choose a positive attitude.

-Kevin


Changing Your Reaction to Stressful Thoughts

 

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Stress. One little word that seems to be on many people’s minds these days. If you’re finding stress entering into your day-to-day life, I would like to offer some suggestions on how to alleviate this state of mind. Here’s one simple way. Wayne Dyer says:

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

So what does this mean, exactly? Consider for a moment that an outside event can invoke completely different thoughts for two different people. Person #1 may think – wow, that’s so cool!, or I’m good with that. Meanwhile the exact same event may cause person #2 to melt down or say I am so not good with that. What’s the difference? It’s the immediate unconscious thoughts due to years of conditioning. That’s all.

Consider how you might change your own thoughts and responses to outside things or people. It’s really not important to change people or things (good luck with that anyways), it’s more important to consider your own reaction to the seemingly unchangeable. So just let it go, and change the way you view the thing that is seemingly creating stress for you. Of course that sounds easy but it can be difficult to take either of these actions (changing your thoughts or letting go).

facebook_-330887767.jpgPart of alleviating stress in your life relates to letting go of things you cannot control or change. It’s an inner choice:

– you can choose to stay in an out-of-control spiral where external stressors like people or things typically don’t change; or

– you can remove yourself from the stressor by thinking differently about it; whether it’s for a moment or longer term. So again you basically have two options:

1. Stay the course and continue to feel the stress; or
2. Change your inner thoughts and reaction to the stress event. Then feel the weight lifted off your shoulders (in other words, stress begone!).

Which do you choose? I prefer the one that lessens my stress.

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Emotions. Everyone who wants a piece of inner peace say “I”. We discussed thoughts earlier, but consider that your thoughts create your emotions (because without a thought there would be no emotion – where do you think emotion comes from?). It’s true that emotions can be beneficial in some ways and for some things. They’re part of our system of sensing and responding to the world. But try not to let emotions completely control you. They will chew you up and spit you out if you let them run rampant. So please, make a good choice. Never allow another person or event to control your thoughts and emotions.

Again, this sounds simple on paper, and it may be easier said than done. How do you change your thoughts and resulting reactions. Better yet, how do you sustain this change into a learned behaviour? This is where “leverage” may come in handy. Tony Robbins says “Leverage is uncovering what’s most important to a person to help them make the commitment to making a change. To ensure that change is lasting, the commitment has to be overwhelming. It has to overcome the forces of inertia that hold our old behaviours and beliefs in place.”

He goes on to say that “to access leverage, you must…associate massive PAIN to not changing NOW, and massive PLEASURE to changing immediately. The motivation is based on both pain AND pleasure. Pain is short-term motivation, but you need the pleasure side for long-term motivation.”

To sum up, consider how a better life choice decision for alleviating stress, like changing your thoughts or emotional reaction to external events, could help you change your life for the better.

Continue to practice these strategies and you’ll be on your way to living your best life!

– Kevin


Embrace the Day!


Life can present you with many rewarding experiences and many challenges.

Expect the unexpected, there will be challenges along the way. It’s how you respond to life’s challenges that matters.

You can’t control the curveballs being thrown at you, you can however, control how you react to them. So, make sure you move out of the way as quickly as possible, so that curveball doesn’t knock you down!

Be sure to allow yourself the freedom to experience an array of appropriate emotions for each life experience.  These are all encompassing moments that change, mold and challenge us as individuals.

Happiness is dependent on expression of all emotions.

When life throws you a curve ball, what are some of the ways you cope?

Embrace the Day!

Embrace Life!

-Krista


#happiness (How can I get some of that!) Part I

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#happiness is one of the most popular hashtags around right now. Makes sense right? Whoever doesn’t want happiness in their life say “I” (room goes silent now). But the question is…how do we get this thing called happiness? How do I summon this greater power throughout the day? Let’s examine.

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First of all, what is happiness? That is a loaded question, so let’s start by looking at one happiness researcher’s definition. In her book The How of Happiness, positive psychology researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky describes happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”

OK, so where does happiness really come from, and how does it mysteriously appear? Some scientists have said that it arrives as a reaction to outside events, the events that bring us joy. While other scientists discuss it as being an inside job (it is conjured up from within ourselves). I believe that it is something that arrives from within ourselves. Sure, it seems like an outside event is the trigger, however the exact same outside event can mean different things to different people. It’s intentional activity that’s really important here; it’s how we choose to create or do an activity, and ultimately our response to it. Think about it – a simple thing could seemingly cause one person to be unhappy while another person could be joyous. The event is exactly the same. It’s our reaction to the event that can be so different.

In fact, according to research, approximately 50% of our happiness is accounted for by genetics, 10% by life circumstances, and 40% by intentional activity. The 40% intentional activity is what we should focus on changing, and I will discuss some ways to do this shortly.

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Now what about “joy”, how does this relate to happiness? We are all well aware of the moment-to-moment times of joy that seem to arrive from external things, like when we see a baby smile or a tail-wagging happy puppy. But have you seen the popular movie Inside Out where we learn from the character named Joy – that real happiness involves a suite of emotions including sadness. Yes, you saw that correctly, sustained happiness will include times of sadness, believe it or not. Happiness is not simply a constant euphoric state without negative emotions included along the way. Unhappy emotions like anger, fear, and sadness are quite normal, and at times, appropriate. If we continually set a high bar for happiness, we can become disappointed when we don’t meet that bar. An acceptance of some “negative” emotions is ok.

So happiness – how does it appear and continue with us along our journey called LIFE? This is a question many of us talk about and, we at Embrace Life have often wondered about this illusive word too. So let’s get to it…here are two ways of conjuring up more happiness in our lives:

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1. Practicing “pro-social” qualities like human connection, gratitude, and compassion, etc. Some examples of this could include practicing “Three Good Things” (or you could even try One Good Thing)”. Practicing Three Good Things involves, on a weekly basis, writing down three things good that happened in your life. This activity reminds us to seek out and savor positive things. This could include our connections with our friends and family, or considering how grateful we are for little things throughout the week. Regularly practicing pro-social qualities can help us feel more connected to others and connecting to something higher outside of the self. Check out this fantastic 12 minute TEDtalk on an exciting 75 year Harvard study on living the good life. The #1 thing learned in this study is that good relationships keep you happier and healthier….period! The quality of your relationships really matter, not necessarily the quantity. Good relationships with family, friends, and community are what really matter. And besides general happiness in life, there are many other benefits as mentioned in the video.

2. Mindfulness and awareness. Be present. In an article on Mindfulness , well-known mindfulness guru Jon Kabat-Zinn discusses how to cultivate mindfulness as follows: “although mindfulness can be cultivated through formal meditation, that’s not the only way. It’s not really about sitting in the full lotus, like pretending you’re a statue in a British museum,” he says…“It’s about living your life as if it really mattered, moment by moment by moment by moment.”

Here are a three key components of practicing mindfulness that Kabat-Zinn and others identify:

• Turn your mind to your breathing, really noticing it, especially when you’re feeling intense emotions.

• Notice what you’re sensing in a given moment, the sights, sounds, and smells that ordinarily slip by without reaching your conscious awareness.

• Recognize that your thoughts and emotions are fleeting and do not define you, an insight that can free you from negative thought patterns.

Mindfulness is important in that it includes awareness. Self-awareness – we can’t be authentic without being ourselves. And we can’t be ourselves without really knowing ourselves. Therefore, being authentic all starts with self-awareness. Consider being more aware of your reaction to words and actions, be it positive or negative. Try pausing for a second before a reaction to anything, and generally pausing from time-to-time in your everyday life. This gives your prefrontal cortex time to access a more positive road to take in your reaction to anything, be it positive or negative. Consider Gandhi’s famous quote:

‘Happiness is when what you think, say and do are in harmony’

Personally, I have found meditation to help with taking pauses at opportune times, and for thinking things through with greater clarity and purpose.

So there you have it in a nutshell. Practice the above and we think that you will see a difference over time. We are making strides to practice these things too – and we really hope that you will try this too. We would love to hear how it goes!

Stay tuned for Part II of this Happiness blog where I will discuss further happiness actions to include in your daily routine.

Kevin


New Years “GRATITUTIONS”… Forget Resolutions (Part I)

This New Years, instead of making “resolutions“, why not change it up and make “GRATITUTIONS“?

What are gratitutions, you ask?  Well, first of all, let’s be honest, I made up the word… but it will soon be famous, I’m sure of it! 

New Years Gratitutions are a soon-to-be tradition. You reflect on the things you are grateful for from the past year, and create an action plan for gratitude for the New Year; rather than setting new goals, referred to as resolutions.  Why, you ask?

  1. Gratitude makes sense of your past, provides peace for the present and creates a vision for tomorrow
  2. Gratitude allows you to reach more goals, because your outlook changes and opportunities seem to open up everywhere
  3. Gratitude teaches you to appreciate the sunshine and the rainstorms, all of the ups and downs in life
  4. You can always choose to be grateful
  5. Gratitude turns what you have into enough and more

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The thing to understand about Gratitutions versus Resolutions is this:

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New Year’s Resolutions, list of items

According to John Norcross (Journal of Clinical Psychology), approximately 50% of the population makes resolutions each New Year.  Some of the most popular resolutions are: quitting smoking, weight loss, exercise, better money management and debt reduction.

“Cultural Procrastination”, an effort to reinvent oneself; this is Timothy Pychyl‘s definition of resolutions.  As a Carleton University psychology professor, he believes that although people make resolutions as a way of motivating themselves, they aren’t usually ready to change their habits. Thus the high failure rate of resolutions.  New_Years_Resolutions

I believe unrealistic goals and expectations are another contributing factor. Discouragement from goals not being met as easily or quickly as anticipated can lead to old behaviours returning.

To change a behaviour, you have to change your thinking!

Gratitutions allow you to see only the positive by being grateful for things, big and small, hourly, daily, weekly…. If your mind is focused on the positive, and the abundance that surrounds you, it is much easier to achieve a goal!

Resolutions on the other hand, focus on the opposite, what you do not have, what you need, what you have not yet accomplished, what you lack, … this is discouraging and not conducive patterning to change behaviours over the long-term.  Hence, New Years resolutions are famously known to fail.

Focus your thinking on successes and how you can continue to improve upon them, such as with my proposed, Gratitutions. In order to create new behaviours and thought patterns, you must create new neural pathways in your brain to change habits and behaviours; do this in a way that allows you to be positive, present, and mindful.  Do not live in the past (except to build upon positive experiences for which you are grateful) or future. Be aware of your physical, mental and emotional present state, and pause and be grateful for it. Use gratitude as your encourager, and you can achieve anything!

Part II, New Years GRATITUTIONS, will delve further into the failure of New Years Resolutions, the benefits of Gratitude, and concrete strategies to embrace New Years Gratitutions!  I will post it in a couple of days 🙂

Be kind to yourself, practice gratitude, check back before the New Year for Part II!

With heartfelt gratitude,

Krista

 


Gratitude is a Choice… I’ve Made It, Have You?

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Do you find yourself in what feels like an uncontrollable downward spiral of misfortune, bad luck, resentment, failing relationships, emotional instability, pessimism, decreased self-esteem, or decreased energy?

Do you feel like things don’t usually go your way?

Do you frequently question how others can be so lucky?

Do you resent them for their good fortune?

Do you want to improve your physical health or reduce anxiety/depression through exercise or a better sleep routine?

Do you want to achieve a goal or increase your productivity?

Do you want to strengthen your relationships?

Even if you only answered yes to one of these, you can benefit from increased gratitude.

Gratitude opens the door to an abundant life! It turns what we already have into enough and more.

Over the past decade, researchers have really begun to delve into studying the benefits of gratitude.  These studies have documented the social, physical and psychological benefits, and these benefits are within reach to most anyone who practices gratitude, despite adversity.

To begin practicing gratitude, is a choice.

To make any change in your life is a choice.

Are you ready to practice gratitude? Are you ready to make this change? Then make the choice…choose to practice gratitude.

Unlock the fullness in your life and allow gratitude to create clarity for today and a vision for tomorrow. Gratitude allows you to see the positive through the negative, the calm through the chaos.

Begin to find emotional balance and happiness by simply acknowledging:

I am grateful for…

Choose to see what you already have as enough.

Open the door to YOUR abundant life!

 

Grateful for time to write about gratitude, as I sip apple cider in a cafe with my true love,

Krista

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Embracing Life Every Day

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As I sit here having breakfast in southern Texas, y’all, I look out of a restaurant window and can see snippets of the ocean. As wonderful as this is, you know what I found more exciting? You guessed it – one of my fave songs from the 80’s (I have many) appeared on the radio station – Heaven by Warrant. Isn’t it interesting and wonderful how joyous moments can appear anywhere you are? We’ll get back to this thought in a moment.

As human beings we have the ability to make a conscious choice to embrace life. It’s almost magical how fear, anxiety, anger, etc seem to diminish when you are “in  the moment”. Now, embracing life can mean different things to different people. I don’t suspect hearing Warrant on the radio is an absolute joy for many of you as it is for me and I’m ok with that. I’m me and you’re you. More on this shortly.

Embracing life is really about showing up for life, accepting life as it is (suspending your judgment), learning from your mistakes, and then making better choices every day because you learned from your mistakes…right!?!

Keep in mind that better hourly and daily choices often involve:

  • opening your heart424441_10151345454700648_1452729985_n
  • taking a few deep breaths
  • taking the “high road” whenever life challenges you
  • and most importantly accepting who you are! You are beautiful…YES YOU!

Embracing life has many different facets. This blog has covers several different areas of life that we will fully explore in the near future. Krista and I plan on taking you along on a wonderful journey as we explore and hack life. Please stay tuned for more exciting content!

If you have anything to add to this or any general questions on embracing life we would love to hear from you. We are all in this together.

Embracing life as best I can,

Kevin