Life is busy. It doesn't matter whether you are male or female, married or unmarried, kids or no kids....life is busy.
Where you are in your mind on any given day can have a huge impact on how your day does.
what do I mean by "where you are in your mind"?
I mean where your focus is each day will have an impact on how your day goes.
If you are down and depressed and still analyzing last years argument with someone or playing out different scenarios of how an event should have gone and what you should have done or said 10 years ago to someone, then today's day will pass you by unnoticed.
You will miss out on the pleasure of the beautiful day and all the potential that today has to offer if you stay stuck in the past in your head.
When you rerun events that occurred in the past over and over, wondering why things happened to you, you can literally lose time. Hours can go by where your body is on autopilot just going through the motions but not actually being present!
We all do this from time to time but it is important to become aware that this doesn't change anything. Things still happened the way they did and no amount of replaying is going to change that fact.
On the other side of the spectrum is when you're uptight and anxious and you worry about the future. You worry about how things that haven't happened are going to go. You wonder how you are going to feel, how other people are going to react. You wonder about where you are going to be in 5 years.
In this situation, no amount of imagination is going to exactly predict how your life is going to go. We cannot play out the future with accuracy because there are so many variable to any given situation that there is no way our brains could play out every possible outcome of a situation. I admit life would be much easier if we could!
When we are worrying about the future again the today's are passing us by. Our bodies are on autopilot while we debate within ourselves about what will be. We miss out on living each day and enjoying the here and now's while we worry about what will be.
Staying in the present is not always easy. if you are stuck in the past or caught up in worrying about the future it can be difficult to pull yourself back into the now. It can be easier, maybe even safer to stay where you are and not actually live each day. It can be easier to stay on autopilot, but to feel connected to yourself and those around you.
We need to learn how to stay in the present and take each day and actually live it.
So when we find ourselves drifting away from the present, back to the past or forward to the future there are some techniques that can help you reconnect back into the present.
Focusing on your breath and calming your mind can help ground you back to where you need to be. Listening to your breathing can remind you to stay present when you find your mind drifting away.
Getting out into nature and taking in your surroundings can help stop a roaming mind. Looks around you on the walk and see if you can see something that makes you smile. appreciating what you can see, touch and feel can help you stay present.
Talking to yourself and counseling yourself can also be beneficial in helping you to let go of the thoughts of the past or future. Allow yourself to go to the past or the future but only for a couple of minutes then encourage yourself to let go of those thoughts and refocus yourself on actually experiencing the today's.
Life can be amazing, make sure you don't miss out on the today's by staying in the yesterday's or jumping forward to worry about the tomorrow's. Ultimately you cannot control either one and that's okay. That's life. Enjoy it! :)
Developing Your Intuition
Have you ever had that nagging doubt about something you are about to do but you ignore it. Then things go wrong and you realize you should have listened to that nagging sensation in the pit of your stomach.
This is your intuition. Your intuition helps you make quick decisions and can often tell you when something is "off".
You can develop this ability and make it stronger, allowing you to make better judgements and decisions in your life. The intuitions work very much like a muscle. The more you tap into it and use it then the better it works for you.
Over the years I have chosen to ignore my intuition so many times and lived to regret it! I always thought it was just insecure doubts and pushed these feelings aside only to regret it later. I have learnt through experience to listen to that nagging sensation and it has served me well.
We all have "chatter" going on in our heads, our brains have a lot of work to do on a daily basis. Decisions to make, things to remember, thoughts and feelings and observations about our surroundings. It can be a little tricky to pick out that voice or feeling of intuition at work.
Your ego has a voice. Its usually the loudest, telling you what to do, what it wants and comparing you to others. It is full of it's own self importance and wants you to be the best. It wants you to have the fancy things in life to prove to yourself that you are successful.
It also tells you all your shortfalls compared to other people, It tells you to be the best, to show off, to brag and to prove to yourself that you are worthy.
The intuition is the quieter voice, that softly encourages you or suggests not to do something. The intuition's voice is often accompanied by "gut" feelings which come out of nowhere. You get a niggling not to do something or not to go somewhere.
It can come as an uneasy feeling when you are thinking about doing something. It can also come as a gentle determination feeling when you are thinking about changing something in your life. Your intuitions can serve as a good guide in your life and can help you on your journey through life.
The tricks to developing your intuition can be things like
1. Quietening the "chatter" in your head so the thoughts and feelings from intuition can be felt and heard. Meditating, Yoga or walking in nature can help to quiet your mind.
2. Listening and feeling the first instincts you feel when you are about to make a decision. Is there nagging doubts? Do you feel things are not right? Is your gut saying no?
3. Trusting what you feel. Believing that nagging feeling and acting accordingly. The more you trust your intuition, the stronger it will become.
Many successful people in life have changed their lives by listening to their intuition even when others doubted them. I believe you intuition helps you stay on track with your life and make choices that will serve you better.
How many times have you gone to a restaurant and watched families eat disconnected from each other, looking at their phones instead of talking to each other. So many times I have gone out and watched as families eat in silence. Fork in one hand and phone in the other.
I'm all for technological progress and all, BUT its really starting to encroach on our family time.
I can't count how many times I have came into a room and found my husband checking and replying to emails in the evening oblivious that one of the kids is asking for help.
Many of us are hooked on checking our phones every couple of minutes.
Since the creation of email, laptops and smart phones the lines between work and family life have become increasingly blurred.
Many companies expect employees to continue to work outside of the workplace. International companies now expect employees to take early morning or late night conference calls regardless of their family commitments.
Before the era of technological advances workers went to work and did their job then clocked off at night and enjoyed their family time without any work related distractions.
Depression, stress, insomnia and anxiety are all on the increase, a coincidence? No!
People now feel that they never REALLY get away from work, its always there in the background it's always present on your smart phone and you are always expected to be "available".
Many peoples are being paid for a 40 hour work week and yet many, many workers are racking up double that.....even though they are not receiving a penny more for it.
Many people are not taking their annul holidays stating that they are simply too busy at work to take time off. Millions of annual holidays are going unused every year. People are working harder than ever and yet are not receiving an adequate salary to even afford a vacation for those holiday days. Crazy I know!
Companies would really benefit from taking a step back and allowing employees to disconnect. If this was implemented many companies would see productivity increase as well as stress related absences decrease.
Have you ever had one of those days where nothing has gone right? You know, the ones where you oversleep, stub your toe getting out of bed and then spill something on your clothes right before you are due to leave?
We have all had days like these. Some more than others! Did you know that it's depends on your mindset whether these days continue to get worse and worse? It depends on whether your mindset on those days is positive or negative. Often if we start our day with a negative mindset then we will actually look for things to go wrong and focus on them rather than any good things that happen.
When we start the day and it feels like things are stacked against us. It can change our perception of how the day is going. People who start the day in a negative mindset will actually expect for more things to go wrong. People with a more positive mindset will acknowledge that the day didn't start well but will expect things to improve and have a tendency to look for the good in the situation. Therefore their perception of the day will mean that they will look and expect good things to happen.
Our perception is how we view the world and our mood can affect our perception. If we are in a bad mood, we look for all the negative things happening that day that confirm to us that this is really "one of those days."
If we accept that the day day didn't start too well but can keep a positive mindset then our perception of the world is that everything is good, then we will look and expect things to go well.
When we can stay in a positive mindset then we can control our mood and then our perception of the world expects only good. If something challenging happens in our day we respond and not react to it. This in turn means that we cope better with the everyday stresses of life and our stress is then perceived to be less on those "bad days"
Working each day to respond to challenging situations instead of reacting to them can help life flow easier and you will find "those days" become less frequent and more manageable.
Everyone experiences a particularly challenging day when your patience becomes tested and it can feel like the world is against you, but you can control how much it affects you and how much stress it creates.
Some tips for getting through one of those days:
1. Don't berate yourself for your mistakes, we all sleep in once in a while
2. Try to keep your mind calm
3. Take a moment to breathe if someone or something annoys you
4. Try to respond not react to challenging situations
5. Look for the positive in that day and not the negative
6. Keep your sense of humor
Staying positive can really get through you day with relatively little or no stress. Remember it's how you perceive the situation that will decide your mood and if you go through the day acting like Anger from the film "Inside out" then lets face it your day is only going to get worse!! :)
When It's Time To Change Your Life
There comes at least one point in everyone's life that you say "I just can't do this anymore!" What you do next decides whether you will move forward, backwards or stay at the very same stage in your life.
The people who decide at that point enough is enough, think about finding a way forward. They acknowledge there is in fact a problem that requires change, ponder and problem solve to find a solution and try to find an effective way to implement that solution.
They say to themselves "How can I stop this from happening again?"
For some of us it's just not that simple. Some of us find ourselves saying those words "I can't do this anymore" all over again in another few months.
Some of us feel that we are not in control of our lives enough to change it. We feel duty bound by society, family or financial pressures to just carry on as we are even if it is making us really unhappy.
I'm here to tell you that if you are one of these people who finds themselves struggling with a situation that is making you unhappy with your life, you CAN learn to move forward from your problems.
You are NEVER too late to start changing anything in your life.
If you find yourself encountering the same issues time and time again and it making you unhappy then change it!!
We are not bound from any universal law that says we have to live with situations that push us to the edge and make us feel miserable/unhappy/inadequate and or unfulfilled. Quite the opposite.
YOU and only you can choose what and how day to day. Take your power back, ask yourself now "How can I make things better for myself?"
It can be a small change at first, small changes make a big problem seem more manageable and you will have more chance of standing firm with yourself in times of challenge.
You are the one who decides what your life will be like in the future. Plan to make yourself happier and more fulfilled! You will be glad you did!! :)
Can you remember the last time you watched a video on the internet that made you laugh, really laugh? Chances are it wasn't too long ago either!
Everyday I see my news feeds from Social Media fill up with videos. Some are only mildly amusing to me, but, now and then I find one that really makes me laugh.
Keeping your sense of humor and remembering to tune into it can really help you through the tougher times in life. It can even help you cope with the difficult times.
When times are hard in your life and you are struggling to cope, allowing yourself to laugh at something no matter how small or insignificant, can have a huge impact on your physiology.
Sometimes when we are going through a difficult phase in our lives, we can forget what it like to find something funny. or feel like we shouldn't allow ourselves to find something amusing. But keeping your sense of humor can be key to helping you cope with these difficult times.
Physiologically, when we laugh at something we can cause huge changes at a cellular level that can help us relax and realize that life isn't always meant to be serious even during the tough times.
Life can be tough but it is important to boost you mood when you feel like life is getting you down. Remembering that a sense of humor can help lighten the burden you are carrying is key to moving forward towards that feeling that you are coping again.
Laughter has a powerful effect on the body causing the following changes:
Laughter reduces the stress hormone cortisol which weakens immune response.
The immune system is boosted by activating natural killer cells and T lymphocytes.
Blood pressure and heart rate levels drop after laughter.
Endorphins (the body's natural painkillers) are produced.
Muscle tension in the face, chest and abdomen is reduced by the contraction and relaxation of the muscles during laughing.
All too often we forget to embrace the laughter still in the world during the difficult periods of our life.
So now that you know all the health benefits to laughter how do you incorporate it into your life? Here are some tips to incorporate laughter and remembering to use you sense of humor into your every day life.
Find what you think is funny
Not everyone finds the same things humorous, find what works for you. If you love watching cats doing epic fails or falling asleep in random places then go find the videos on the internet. There are so many different clips out there nowadays with the internet at our fingertips. Make a point each week to schedule some time just enjoying watching things you find funny. You will find that it will be a welcome distraction from whatever is going on in your life right now.
Don't just wait for them to appear before you on your newsfeed. Go find them when you have a spare moment. Give yourself a giggle break even if only for a few minutes. You will find you go back to your day a little brighter.
Don't think that because you are going through a difficult time that you don't deserve to laugh. Life is so serious that we sometimes forget to enjoy it.....for weeks, months and even years at a time.
Think back to your childhood and some of the crazy, funny things that you remember doing. Bring back that memory and relive it. Remember what it was like to be a child and carefree in that moment. Embrace that feeling, it's a little welcome escape from the seriousness of life. All too often we don't allow ourselves to be silly, happy and laugh!!
Next time you are in a tense place with a family member think about something you did together that was funny and allow this feeling to permeate your body and mind, this helps to reduce your anger and frustration.
Finally I hope this inspires you to bring back your sense of humor into your life today. We all deserve to life happier more fulfilled lives.
This summer I was lucky enough to go back to my home country of Scotland with my husband and 2 children who are 9 and 7.
I decided to go and visit my father's grave which is on a beautiful hill top with hardly any houses around. I always find this difficult because my father's passing was quite unexpected and I was five months pregnant with Ethan my first child when he passes.
The graveyard is very small and the road leading to it and from it is a single winding track with passing places here and there for if you meet any other cars which you seldom do.
When we were leaving and driving down the track to reach the main road there is a narrow hairpin corner which we turned down and saw three beautiful horses at the gate on the roadside. My children asked that we stop and stroke the horses, so we did. My children have never seen horses so close out in a field and were in awe of how beautiful they were.
Suddenly from across the glen somewhere came this eeeeeooooooorrrrrrrr!!! booming across the fields. I thought nothing of it until I heard the running of little feet and a car door slamming. 'Alyssa??" I called but all I could hear was her older brother snorting with a laughter that was preventing him from breathing.
My daughter hearing the call had panicked not knowing what it was, had legged it out of there as quick as her little feet could carry her and was in the safety of the car while her brother tried to recover from his hysterical laughter.
According to my Daughter Alyssa, it was scary because she thought it was a bull or a monster or something!! What on EARTH???
I explained that it was a donkey braying and far away too so she was in no immediate danger! Through my laughing I was crying.
'Well mom I have never heard a donkey eeooyyying!!" she said quite matter of factly with her hands on her hips, after I had persuaded her to come back out of the car.
Ethan her brother had another laughing fit at night as I tucked him into bed. He told me that had been the funniest thing he had seen as he recounted the experience through his laughs.
Laughter can help us through the tougher times. After all I believe we were given the gift of laughter to help us get through life. Can you imagine how dull life would be if nothing gave you any pleasure or laughs or giggles??
How Gratitude Helps The Mind
In today's busy world we are bombarded everyday by images of what our perfect life should look like. You only have to turn on the TV to see the latest products promising us skin that's ten years younger if we use their cream.
When we see these images around us everyday we can start to feel discontent in our own lives. Sometimes it can feel like everyone around us has a much better life than us after we have browsed Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Everyone's lives look like a party and it can make you feel like your life is boring and dull.
When we are not satisfied with our lives, we have a tendency to look at all the negative things in our lives. We can start to live inside our heads instead of staying in the present. We start to get frustrated and feel down about how unfair life is.
We are all guilty of this at times and it can be hard to break the cycle once it starts. It's hard to find the positive when we are so quick to point out all the negatives to ourselves.
Gratitude is a good place to start to break the negative cycle. You can begin slowly and start to feel better quickly.
Gratitude is being grateful for all we DO have in our lives. It doesn't have to be big things. We can start by being grateful for having running water when so many don't.
I practice this everyday to help keep my mindset positive on a daily basis and works best when incorporated into your daily routine.
The more grateful we feel for what we have, the more we find to be grateful for.
I'm not a morning person and can be prone to being negative first thing so this really helps me out.
I start as soon as I wake up, I think about one small thing I'm grateful for each morning. It can be the coffee my husband brought me. It could be the weather if it's a sunny day.
Each morning I try to think of 5 things I'm grateful for.
Try it out and see for yourself how it can change your mindset.
When we stay in a positive grateful mindset there is no room to let your mind wander into a negative spiral. Stress diminishes and we start to feel more relaxed.
How We Create Our Own Stress
Have you ever felt like you were really stressed out and struggling to cope?
We have all had that feeling that we are juggling so many balls it feels like our heads are going to explode.
Stress is an everyday part of life but it doesn't have to make you down.
Lets consider first how stress builds up. Where does it build up? In your head. Who makes it grow? You do!
Learning to deal with stress effectively and not letting it get you down is so important in life today.
Our lives are busier than ever, longer working days and not being able to switch off play a major part in our stress.
Stress when you break it down is how YOU perceive the present situation. If you perceive things to be tense or busy then your body will react to that, making you think about it more.
You find yourself having conversations in your head about how the day played out and how you could have done it better. You find yourself thinking about everything you have to do and how there is not enough time to get it done.
A little stress in our lives can be beneficial, it can make us do our best and keep us motivated with the task in hand but all too often people start to feel the stress hampering their lives and it starts to get them down.
The best way to deal with stress is to not allow it to grow arms and legs in your mind and turn into a monster that starts to deplete your energy and dampen your mood.
Keep stress in proportion, especially in your mind and shut it down when it starts to get you down.
I've put together 5 tip to help deal with everyday stress.
1. Get some exercise, it doesn't have to be strenuous even just a walk in the park, be outside and enjoy the countryside. When we exercise our body produces its own endorphins which make us feel better.
2. Disconnect from the world for one evening. Put your cell phone down and take a break from it....honestly it will do your body the world of good. Take the evening and read a book or take a bath away from electronics. You will feel the benefit.
2. Allow yourself to think about each problem in your life for 5 minutes per problem then in your mind put it in a box in your mind and forget about it. Dwelling on issues and stress only adds energy to them. Accept what your can't change and change what you can
3. Don't sweat the small stuff. This means if something happened that annoyed you today and it was minor. Let it go don't hang onto it dwelling on what you should have done. Is it really going to matter one year from now? If not let it go.
4. Do something for your future. Take some time and design you plan of what you really want to do with your life. No matter how small one step towards you goals will raise your spirits up again and make you realize that things are not so bad.
5. Do something kind for someone else. When we help others it can put our own problems into prospective. Take a friend out for coffee. Do something for your community. Spend some quality time with your kids.
When we take some time away from the stress we realize that we were giving the stress so much more energy than we needed to.
Our lives do not need to be so stressful. Its up to you to control it. Are you going to turn the stress up or down today? The choice is yours to make. :)
Fibromyalgia and Tai Chi
I've had Fibromyalgia for 20 years and I am currently working towards lowering my pain levels and increasing my mobility. When a good friend was looking for someone to go to Tai Chi classes, I was interested.
I decided to sign up for the 12 week classes and crossed my finger and toes and prayed that my body would survive!
The first few weeks were utter hell, my body felt like I had regressed further into a flare up. my pain levels went through the roof and my husband was more than a little concerned for me.
I set my mind to committing to the whole 12 week class, telling myself that it was gentle exercise and that it would be a huge achievement if I was able to reach the end of the 12 weeks intact.
I swear after week 4 I was ready to quit! My lower back had gone into spasm and it really hurt to move even slightly. I was using my heat pad constantly and having to use over the counter pain relief just to take the edge off the pain I was in. I could hardly even wash my legs and feet in the shower because I was so stiff!!
Just doing the housework and taking care of my kids was wiping me out. I needed more sleep. Come 9pm at night and my body had had enough. I more or less crawled off to bed each night. My husband was starting to think I was crazy to put myself through this but I was determined to see it through.
I have just completed week 12 and the difference I feel is quite unbelievable! My pain levels have stabilized and are now lower than they were before I started the Tai Chi. I have more energy and feel stronger in my core.
Yes it was tough and not something I would care to repeat but it has definitely set me on the road to remission. I cannot wait to tell my specialist what I have managed. Especially after 6 months ago he told me to be realistic in my goals with regards to remission. He cautioned me that I may never progress towards recovery or any kind of remission!!
The question is will I stay on the road to remission?? I guess only time will tell but I will definitely continue practicing Tai Chi!! :)
Dealing with the constant pain and fatigue associated with Fibromyalgia can be challenging on a day to day basis.
Because it is a condition which not a lot of people are familiar with, it's hard to explain to someone how it feels to have this condition.
I have had Fibromyalgia for 21 years and still feel like I can't tell most people I have it. I can't bear the comments and looks you get when you try to explain to someone that you have Fibromyalgia.
It's hard for someone to understand how much of an impact this condition can have on your life.
The constant pain that comes with Fibromyalgia is just that: CONSTANT. It can be hard to live with that on a daily basis.
Each morning a person with Fibromyalgia wakes up not knowing for sure whether it is going to be a good day, a bad day or the day from hell.
Sometimes I feel like its a lottery! I feel like I have hit the jackpot if I wake up and the pain is minimal!
Other days I just want to fast forward the day to night time again because I have woke up and it feels like I have done 20 rounds in the boxing ring with a professional boxer. Or I have had a wild night on the town drinking until the small hours.
Each morning the first thought in my head is "What level is my pain today?"
I can feel it before I even move a muscle.
Only someone with Fibromyalgia will know how it feels.
One of my favorite techniques for dealing with a bad day is a visualization which I call "My Happy Space"
I imagine a beautiful place in the world, usually one I have been too, like a beautiful beach. I Imagine that I am lying on a fantastic, comfortable four poster bed on that beach.
Then I imagine that I am getting a massage on that bed. I imagine that while I am getting my massage with essential oils that smell so fantastic that the pain I am feeling is slowly ebbing away and I am starting to feel so much better.
I imagine my pain levels decreasing with every moment and how good it feels to have some relief.
Finally I imagine my massage is over and slowly bring myself back to the present. I have found that the more I practiced this visualization, the more effective it became!
This whole exercise only take around five minutes and I will usually do this on bad days last thing at night before I fall asleep or first thing in the morning before I attempt to get out of bed.
Try it out and see!