Why Self-Care is NOT Selfish!

Does this sound familiar?

Hectic mornings, kids to school, work, workout, groceries, cook, clean, kids’ activities, spouses’ poker night, pay bills, crazy bedtime, phone calls, laundry, pack lunches, limited time with spouse, finally your bedtime… and REPEAT

WorkingMum_IS-e1362833917975You can switch it up a bit to suit your situation. The question remains: where is the “you” time? There just doesn’t seem to be any time left. We often fail to see how time for ourselves can fit into our daily routine. We are worth prioritizing, so we can be the best version of ourselves.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Do you see what others likely see: A vibrant, always-at-her-best supermom, wife extraordinaire, volunteer of the year, top career woman, the woman who can juggle it all? Or do you see a somewhat neglected, tired, unbalanced and lonely woman, in need of praise, time to pursue her passions, and time to just breathe?

We praise our kids for pooping, because we love them.  So why do we feel guilty asking for praise or praising ourselves for all of the things we do? Do we feel guilty loving ourselves? We deserve and need the same love, reassurance and nurturing that we provide children, to be the best version of our self.  Guilt should never accompany self-love.

What can we do?

We can still be super…moms, wives, volunteers, career women, and an incredible “juggler” who finds time for herself as well, so that we can be at our best emotionally and physically, feel like ourselves again.  We simply need to see that taking time for ourselves can fit into our regular routine, and realize that it needs to… We can’t give from an empty well!

When you hear the words “self-care” what comes to mind?

I’m too busy at work this month; the kids are just starting soccer and baseball season…good luck finding a spare minute for me; once I look after everything and everyone else in my life, I’ll take care of me! Do you think it would be selfish to put yourself before others?

Are you familiar with the adage, “Take care of yourself first or you will have nothing left to give others,”?  If so, why do you feel selfish or guilty putting yourself first?

Our behavior and emotions impact everyone around us, our children included. We might think that those around us: our children, friends, co-workers, and loved ones, are oblivious to how we really feel, if we “act” positive and relaxed.  How we feel, and our actions, affect them, even at a young age; they can feel our stress and our need for rest and rejuvenation.

If you need more convincing, think of it this way:

Your heart pumps blood to itself first, then it pumps blood out to the rest of your body.  This is how it keeps you alive. It serves itself first, then the other organs. It needs to take care of itself before it can take care of others, or you wouldn’t be alive.

You need to take care of you first.  Then, you can take care of others.

You deserve to take care of you. Those you care about, deserve it as well. You will be nourished, rejuvenated, the best version of yourself, and your well will be full and available to the important things and people in your life.

Love yourself.

Your Coach,

Krista


Self-Reflection: Dare to be the Ideal You!

We are half way through another year… Does it feel like it has flown by? Are you wondering where the time has gone?

Time itself, doesn’t slow down.

However, we must allow ourselves to:

  • reduce the rush
  • slow down in life
  • and, get to know ourselves better

or, we can become emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally frazzled.

To most, it feels like our society is fixated on a “go, go, go” mentality; a fast-paced environment that leaves little time for rest and introspection / self-reflection.

What is Self-Reflection?

Self-Reflection is:

  • a practical way to use a few minutes a day to work on yourself – even when busy
  • asking yourself thought-provoking questions to help develop a deeper level of understanding yourself
  • allows you to absorb, process and organize the information you take in all the time
  • emphasizes balance and mindfulness (active, open attention on the present), allowing you to have a clearer picture of your true desires; who you really are
  • remove inner roadblocks and release emotional tension and stress
  • promotes positive change, self-awareness
  • it allows you to become more proactive, than reactive

iceberg You often do not have a clue why you are doing a certain thing and why you feel the way you feel.  The subconscious mind, which makes up 90% of your brain function, is on autopilot and can trigger certain behaviors in certain situations.  These triggered behaviors don’t necessarily lead to the desired outcome.

Self-Reflection helps with that!

Through self-reflection, you can:

  • change how you see yourself
  • how you feel about certain situations
  • how you act

“Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.”                                            – Eleanor Roosevelt

The Benefits of Self-Reflection include:

  1. Keeping you focused on the bigger picture!
    • It is important to have a clear vision of where you see yourself in the future – write it down if you have to or create a vision board, to continuously remind yourself of what you intend to accomplish!
    • By keeping an overall goal in mind, your daily tasks become more meaningful and less frustrating
  2. Allowing you to define your own happiness!
    • Recognize the positive events and activities in your life, and apply these to future endeavors and goals
    • Ask yourself: When am I most happy? What am I most proud of and why? Who do I most enjoy spending time with?
  3. Preventing you from worrying about things out of your control!
    • Self-reflection allows you to direct your energy toward self-improvement, rather than trying to improve others, and change things you have no control over
    • Why worry about traffic jams, or those with odd opinions, when you can be improving yourself?
  4. Noticing negative patterns in your life!
    • Self-reflection enables you recognize negative patterns; understand how and why they have a damaging effect on your emotions; allow you to consider alternative approaches and alleviate the stressors.
    • ie: toxic relationship or work environment
  5. Increasing self-awareness for improved results!
    • With increased self-awareness, you are more likely to trust your gut when making decisions, and you will feel more confident in your choices!
    • You will have the courage to face fears and challenges, because you are confident in who you are!
    • You will be more aware of who YOU are, and what YOU truly want in life!

Other benefits include: developing better critical thinking skills, communication skills, social awareness, empathy, tolerance, creativity, emotional awareness, …

What is an immediate, short-term goal that you have right now?

Do you have a goal to spend more time with family, exercise more, start a new hobby (painting, ping pong, golf, paddle boarding, …)?

  • these goals could be unrealized (not met) because of lack of self-awareness
  • you need to know how to direct your behavior, in order to know how to pursue your goal
  • self-reflection helps you make progress on the goals that will improve the quality of your life

Self-Reflection Tools, Activities and Methods:

  1. Self-Reflective Journaling:

Self-reflective journaling is not about jotting down your days’ activities, but rather:

  • your thoughts, your perspective, your feelings, your actions, the feedback from your environment throughout the day
  • It is about becoming aware of your actions and behaviors, and the results of those actions and behaviors.
  • You will think about everything that happened throughout your day, and WRITE down (journal): why it happened, how you felt, why did you feel that way, how is that affiliated to your beliefs and values, …

The purpose of self-reflective journaling is:

  • to get things out of your head and clear your mind, allowing you to relax
  • allow you gain insights you may otherwise miss
  • useful problem-solving tool

Three ways to keep your self-reflective journal:

  1. Notebook – the best! (Your hand is connected directly to your brain and handwriting with no blinking lights, popups, distractions … is the best way to go!)
  2. App – on tablet, phone, laptop, etc (notepad or journaling software, even something as simple as Evernote)
  3. Private Blog – not the safest option

Some journal prompts to get you started.

2) Empathy Map

empathy mapAn Empathy Map helps you:

  • identify your needs
  • identify the disconnections between:
    • what you say
    • what you do
  • practice identification of your feelings/thoughts/attitudes
  • analyse yourself from a 3rd person perspective

Empathy Map activity 

3) Six Thinking Hats

Edward de Bono’s, The Six Thinking Hats, is a simple, effective method that helps to increase productivity, focus and mindfulness.   The main idea is that by “mentally” wearing and switching “hats”, you can easily focus and redirect thoughts, a meeting or a conversation. sixhats-1

This process allows you to look at situations and yourself from a different perspective.  It can also help you when practicing self-reflection by providing new insight.  It is also quite fun!

Are you going to wear a blue, white, yellow, black, red or green hat?

The Six Thinking Hats activity

4) Why? Why? Why?

Did you know that asking yourself “why” repeatedly, helps you get to the root of a problem by encouraging analytical flow?

Try it:

  • think of a situation: (I didn’t get the promotion, I rocked that presentation today, that hatrick I scored was unexpected, I failed the exam,…); OR a certain feeling: (I was distracted all day, I am in a bad mood, I am unusually upbeat today,…)
  • once you have a situation or feeling in mind, start asking yourself WHY
  • do it 5 or 10 times
  • you will gain new insight into yourself
    • ie: I was distracted all day
    • Why was I distracted all day?
      • maybe I was thinking about the kids activities tonight and the upcoming vacation and having to get immunizations and what to do if the dog gets sick again while we are gone
    • Why was I thinking about the kids activities tonight?
      • I may need to get someone to carpool Sally so I can pick up Joe…
      • Why? because there isn’t enough time between the two
      • (take steps to arrange this… why be distracted all day?)
    • Why was I thinking about the upcoming vacation?
      • I should be making packing lists and determing what we will be doing each day
      • Why? to ensure we have appropriate clothing for weather and in case we need to buy passes in advance
      • (set aside some time in your schedule to do this… avoid future distraction)
    • Why was I thinking about immunizations?
      • these need to be scheduled
      • (schedule them! avoid worrying about it any longer)
    • Why was I thinking about if the dog gets sick again?
      • I need a plan in place, or decide I can’t control this
      • Why? because it is causing me stress and really is out of my control
      • (decide to have a back up plan for the dog or let it go)

Another Why? Why? Why? exercise

5) Meditation

One of the best ways to connect with yourself, and observe your thoughts is the method of self-reflection, meditation.

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Some great apps when first trying to discipline your mind with meditation are:

Headspace with Andy Puddicombe

Deepak Chopra Meditation Experience

Calm

6) Life Fulfilment Chart

This chart is a visual representation of 10 key areas of your life.  It allows you to self-reflect and determine how fulfilled or satisfied you are currently in each of the areas.  You will assess each area on a scale of 1-10. Then highlight certain areas in red and others in green, and ask yourself “why” for all 10 areas of life.

Life Fulfilment Chart

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Self-reflection can change the course of your life simply by better understanding who you are, and what you are.  It is all about YOU: your whys, your desires and what you want in life.

Self-reflection is about understanding, tolerance of self, increasing your capacity of love for yourself and others, becoming more aware, and noticing things about yourself and your past that may be contributing to current life patterns and emotional states – positive or negative.

Take time to self-reflect.  Dare to be the ideal you!

Krista


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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Kindness Leads to Happiness

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Are you kind? Do you practice kindness? If not, how do you do it? Let’s explore…

Let’s start with a basic definition: Kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Does that sound like something you would like to incorporate into your daily life? Wouldn’t that make this world a better place to live? If you’re on board, then read on…

In a recent blog on Aligning Your Values and Goals I mention that kindness is an important value that not everyone has (but I certainly wish it was widespread). In some cultures you may generally notice that kindness is more common than in others.

However, did you know that there is a World Kindness Day celebrated every year on November 13? A simple Google search will pull up several organizations that are resourceful for day-to-day kindness information. One example is the Random Acts of Kindness organization which states on its website:

Imagine a world.

Where people look out for each other.

Where we all pay it forward.

Where success is measured in selfless acts.

Where kindness is the philosophy of life.

Now what about happiness? Does kindness actually lead to happiness? Yes, studies have shown that practicing kindness by giving to others (rather than receiving) can lead to more happiness.

What’s even more exciting is that this can lead to a virtuous cycle which may increase our lasting happiness. According to one study completed by Harvard and University of British Columbia researchers and published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, two happiness findings were apparent according to the authors:

  1. People in general felt happier when they recalled a time they bought something for someone else. People felt even happier than when they remembered buying something for themselves.
  2. The happier people felt about their past generosity, generally the more likely they were in the present to choose to spend on others instead of themselves.

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So then how do we get to a point where we are practicing more kindness, especially if we feel like we need more of it within ourselves in order to be kinder to others? Kind behavior tends to come to us more naturally when we’re moving towards compassion and connection with others.

Intentionally practicing kindness in our everyday lives, even on days when we’re not in a particularly generous mood, can go a long way toward turning kindness into a habit. That’s largely because of the way kindness breeds happiness: The good feelings serve to reinforce our kind acts and make us more likely to want to perform them in the future.

To state this another way – making concerted effort to perform more kind and generous acts in the short term tends to increase the amount of kindness we perform over the long term. Wow, pretty simple hey?

As Tim McGraw’s song Humble and Kind says:

Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re goin
Don’t forget turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind.

Maximizing the positive effects of generosity can help with kindness as well. One strategy is to take the initiative to learn about the impact of your generosity, which can elicit contagious feelings of joy. For example, see this video of a bone marrow donor meeting the little girl whose life he saved.

So get out there and practice kindness. Let’s all chip in individually to help make this world a better place.

Stay kind,

-Kevin


Aligning Your Goals and Values

Values word

Goals, behaviours, values. Have you ever wondered how to link these things together so that what you say and what you do are in alignment?

If these things are out of alignment it’s likely obvious to you (or maybe not). As discussed in one of our recent blogs, goals and values tie in to Resilience. When our behaviour towards our goals aligns with our values, then bouncing back from life’s setbacks feels easier and more natural for us.

Let’s see how all of these things important concepts are linked….

Values

Values are like a built-in GPS that guides us in the direction of what truly matters. Values help guide daily actions and decisions. It’s a chosen life path with regard to relationships, personal growth, leisure, etc. For example, a value could be a love for travelling, or being a good mother or father.

A value is something that is meaningful to you, regardless of what’s meaningful to friends and family. It’s individual; however, many of our values tend to align with social values. One example of this alignment is kindness. One of your guiding values may be kindness, but we all know that not everyone finds kindness as one of their guiding values. That’s unfortunate (more on the importance of kindness in a future blog…stay tuned!).

So what if it feels like things are getting in the way of living your values? You’ll need to identify and overcome those things that get in the way. This is an important step, otherwise it may feel like there is constant internal conflict.

Even minor adjustments in behaviors can help steer us towards our overarching values. For example, if one of your values relates to health and wellness yet you continue to eat badly and get little if any exercise, then an internal conflict will likely surface. A minor adjustment will be required (i.e. a little more sleep or exercise).

Goals

g67599oalValues are your guiding direction, whereas goals are the achievements you set along the way towards the values. For example, if one of your values relates to travel, you could make a goal to go to Australia or the Bahamas – sounds good to me! One behaviour towards this goal may relate to how you spend money. Is it being spent in pursuit of the goal or is it being spent frivolously?

Another example is having a value related to life-long learning. A goal may be to finish a course, or pursue a certificate or degree. Ultimately, goals are informed by our values.

Stress is an important piece that weighs in on living our values. Part of being and living consistent with ones values is to clarify your values, be firmly aware of what they are, know which behaviors enable you to live consistent with these values, and then staying committed to them – despite experiencing stress and unwanted thoughts or experiences. These are the things that will take us off-course or out of alignment and cause us to live inconsistent with our values. For more info on this check out our blog on Changing Your Reaction to Stressful Thoughts.

It’s important to perform periodic check-ins to ensure our behaviours are consistent with our goals and values. If these are out of alignment then it’s time to sit back and re-think and re-adjust. Then commit to trying again. If you need to re-align again that’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Keep at it until your goals and behaviours align again with your values.

Australian psychologist Russ Harris said this about commitment:

Commitment isn’t about being perfect, always following through, or never going astray. Commitment means that when you inevitably stumble or get off track, you pick yourself up, find your bearings, and carry on in the most meaningful direction possible.

Living a life where your goals, behaviours, and values are in alignment is an important step to living your bestlife!

-Kevin


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


#happiness Part III

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It’s here! That’s right, now that the International Day of Happiness is upon us, what better way to celebrate than by checking out the Day of Happiness website. Also, let’s add a few more actions to increase your general happiness! Remember in Part I, I discussed practicing Pro-Social Qualities and Mindfulness as ways of increasing happiness. Then in Part II, I discussed taking actions like Flow and Awe as methods we can use to tap into more happiness.

So let’s get right to it, here are two further researched happiness actions you can try…

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5. Laughter. When is the last time you laughed? When is the laugh time you had a really good belly laugh? If it’s been a while, get on it! There are lots of funny movies, funny people, and other things that can induce laughter – like remembering funny times in the past, or surrounding yourself with people who like to laugh and find the humour in everyday life. So, try not to be so serious all the time, seriously. A vast amount of research has shown that laughter can contribute to overall health and wellness including increasing your resilience and improving your overall mood.

6. Self-compassion. Kristin Neff, author of Self-Compassion, says that self-compassion is a state where you understand your own suffering and use mindfulness, kindness, and openness to hold it non-judgementally and consider it part of the human condition. In other words, self-compassion is where you would consider grace for the self even despite unfortunate circumstances. Kristin Neff says that self-compassion entails three core components: 3-Elements-of-Self-Compassion1

She goes on to say that we must achieve and combine these three essential elements in order to be truly self-compassionate.

Research has shown that people with self-compassion tend have an inner strength of a self that is worthy of respect, and their sense of self-worth tends to be less rattled. They also tend to worry less about social comparison, and feel less need to retaliate for perceived personal slights.

This research suggests that self-compassion provides a sense of calmness. Think of it as a safe place from a perceived hurricane of positive and negative self-judgment. It can shelter you from questions like “Am I as good as they are? Am I good enough?” By practicing kindness, and realizing that all of us have an imperfect human condition; you can be confidently on your way to feel more safe and secure, feeling like you belong, and embracing life fully.

Of course, it’s not as easy as it sounds and it does take some work to realize and practice self-compassion. It may take baby steps to break old habits. A pause for self-awareness can help to self-identify when we need more compassion for ourselves. Consider how allowing, with an open heart, life to be as it is could help you change your life for the better.

You may be asking “isn’t it selfish to consider the self”? In response to this I would say that allowing self-compassion into your life may, over time, allow you to respond to others and lifes’ challenges in a way that is more open-hearted and loving.

So there you have it. That’s 6 all together. Let’s summarize these happiness actions one more time:

1 & 2 Practicing Pro-Social Qualities and Mindfulness or Awareness

3 & 4 Flow and Awe

5 & 6 Laughter and Self-Compassion

So what are you waiting for? After you reflect on these a bit, start practicing these actions to increase your #happiness. Let’s GO!

Please let me know how this goes for you, or if you have any questions on these Actions. And don’t forget to go to the International Day of Happiness site to join in with other people celebrating this day of happiness!

Benjamin Franklin said:

“Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances”.

-Kevin


Happiness is an inside job

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Happiness is an inside job. Outward circumstances, and actions of others, do not create lasting happiness. That’s a lot of power to assign to anyone or anything else anyways. Sure, these outward circumstances may cause you to feel moments of joy. But deep and lasting happiness – that comes from within. You are ultimately responsible for your happiness. It’s a big responsibility. Are you ready for this?

See our Part 1 and Part 2 blogs on #happiness for some concrete actions you can take to increase your happiness. Part 3 is coming March 20th…stay tuned!

Krista and Kevin


#Happiness (how can I get some of that) Part II

 

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Did you know that there is a day dedicated to happiness? It’s called the International Day of Happiness, and it’s coming up on March 20th. As it states on their website “We’re inviting everyone to focus on their connections with others.”

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In Part I of this blog I had stressed the key finding of a 75 year Harvard study which demonstrates the importance of our connection with others. In the Part I blog, I had also included a background to happiness, and mentioned a further action to help induce moment-to-moment feelings of happiness: Mindfulness. Being present.

Before we get started on Part II, I’d like to mention a further way to incorporate mindfulness into your day-to-day routine, which as I mentioned previously has been shown to lead to happiness. 5-10 years ago I was a meditation non-believer, but after practicing it for several months now, I absolutely see and feel the benefits meditation can provide. In fact, a multitude of studies show how meditation can have positive effects on several aspects of health, resilience, and better relationships.

So let’s continue on to Part II of #happiness. Here are a few more ways you can take action in order to increase your #happiness!

3. Flow. Famed psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihaly coined the term flow to describe a particular state of heightened consciousness. Flow can appear when we do certain activities throughout the day or week, ones that can increase our joyous moments. These activities should be ones that you really enjoy, a favorite activity. Think about this for a moment. What are some things that have brought you joy over the years? Was it a sport or an activity? Visiting family or friends or animals perhaps? Achieving a goal? Reading? There are so many possibilities! Other ways of referring to this state of Flow are “being in the zone” or times where you are involved in something so deeply that nothing else seems to matter and you may lose track of time. Researchers have shown that states of flow have a strong association to happiness.  

thG4IX9KVM4. Awe. You know, that experience you feel when you look up at huge beautiful trees, or perhaps looking at this beach photo here, or a beautiful painting. When was the last time you went star-gazing and saw a shooting star? What tends to put you in a state of awe? It’s really about experiencing awe / wonder / beauty, which makes us feel like we are in the presence of something larger than ourselves.

Researchers have linked positive emotions – especially the awe we feel when touched by the beauty of nature, art, and spirituality – with lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (which are proteins that signal the immune system to work harder). Elevated cytokines have shown association to autoimmune diseases and depression. UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner says “that awe, wonder and beauty promote healthier levels of cytokines suggests that the things we do to experience these emotions – a walk in nature, losing oneself in music, beholding art – has a direct influence upon health and life expectancy.”

And there you have it, Flow and Awe are another two ways to tap into #happiness. This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list and we will explore more ways to tap into happiness in the months to come.

Keep in mind that happiness is different things to different people. There simply isn’t one happiness strategy that works for everyone.

One final note, please try to not let your happiness depend on what others say or do. Remember that happiness is truly up to you and it’s yours and yours only. It’s an inside job.

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Benjamin Franklin said:

Happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind, than on outward circumstances.

Looking forward to continuing on this happiness journey with you. Remember, we are all in this together!

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