Category Archives: Life

19 Ideas To Start & End Your Day With Joy

For any ritual to become habitual, it has to be something you look forward to and consistently enjoy. Experiment until you find your groove and switch it up with the seasons, weather, and how much time you have.

Here’s a buffet of 20 steps for morning and evening bliss that will drastically change your life. Remember, take what you like, and leave the rest!

The Morning Buffet:

1. Practice gratitude.

Starting the day with gratitude and intention will make your entire morning better and seep into the rest of your day. (This works great in the evening, too.) Write down five things for which you are grateful. It seems simple, but it’s a game changer. Focus on the good; abundance breeds abundance.

2. Try oil pulling.

Sometimes I oil pull, sometimes I don’t. I used to be real dogmatic about this, beating myself up if I didn’t do it for one day. I try to make sure I do it at least a few times a week, but I don’t stress if I’m traveling or have to be up super early.

3. Drink warm lemon water.

Hydration first thing in the morning will drastically change your day. We all know we should drink water, but we’re busy and we forget. So at least hydrate in the morning—that way if all else fails later in the day, at least you’ll have done that.

4. Meditate.

Taking a few moments to cleanse the mind can be as beneficial as taking a shower. Perhaps just listen to a favorite song, close your eyes, and breathe in the morning. Maybe it’s one minute, maybe it’s 20, just do it.

5. Get moving!

Moving your body first thing in the morning will be energizing and signal to your body it’s time to be awake. This doesn’t need to be a tough workout each day; it could be as simple as a few yoga poses, some stretching or twists, a brisk walk outside acquainting yourself to the temperature of the air, or just dancing to your favorite song.

6. Eat breakfast.

Make breakfast a mindful practice regardless of what you’re eating. Eat whatever you feel like, but take the time to sit and enjoy it, because nourishing yourself for a successful day is key. Eating on-the-go is unavoidable sometimes, but as much as possible take time to be present and enjoy.

7. Get dressed.

Sounds simple, but for me putting on real clothes (not just yoga clothes), even if you’re working from home will automatically make you feel more put together and help you be more productive.

8. Make your bed like you’re Martha Stewart.

Really get into it with the throw-pillows and enjoying every little part of it. I do this every morning and this practice reminds me everyday to approach everything with a “beginner’s mind.” The sets the tone for the rest of my day and I try to infuse that same intention into every act.

9. Journal.

Getting the thoughts you wake up with out of your mind clears space so you have room for new creative ones. Whether it’s fears you woke up with, an abundance of ideas, or a funky dream, getting it out on paper is simple yet revolutionary. The Artist’s Way suggests three pages every morning, just write and see what comes out.

10. Make your first task a creative one.

When you begin your work day, try to start with the task that you’re looking forward to the most. Perhaps sending an email to someone you’re mentoring or answering comments on your blog.

The Evening Buffet:

1. Prepare.

By getting ahead, packing your lunch, setting out your clothes or creating a to-do list, you’ll set yourself up for success and not have to rush in the morning, leaving time for other things (ie. from the above list).

2. Light candles.

There is something really soothing and relaxing about candles that can really calm us down, and by dimming the lights, it signals to your body that it’s bedtime.

3. Give yourself an electronic curfew.

Set a time a few hours before bed when you won’t check email, Instagram, or even TV. In addition to the blue light from those gadgets being stimulating and messing with your sleep patterns, it’s so easy to get sucked into work or emails if you’re on your phone, which can cause extra stress or keep you up late.

4. Treat yourself to a late night snack.

This can be a good idea, especially if you had an early dinner and it’s a few hours before bed. Going to bed starving is never fun. Just have something that digests super easily; chia pudding is the perfect evening snack and I’ve even read that chia has been known to induce lucid dreaming. (Nice!)

5. Listen to music.

Music can calm you down or amp you up. Choose the right tunes, something relaxing that you love and that will wind you down. I listen to the same album nightly and it’s a signal to my body that it’s evening and time to chill-out.

6. Read.

While watching TV can be super-stimulating and may negatively affect your dreams, reading a book is an ideal way to fill the hours before bed. Preferably something so you’re not thinking too hard, but able to mindlessly enjoy the writing and get lost in a good story.

7. Make washing up like a spa date.

I used to dread getting ready for bed and I’d put it off until the last moment, until I changed my mind and decided to enjoy this routine. Now I brush my teeth with intention, cleanse my face in a soothing, massaging way with beautiful smelling natural products, and put a warm towel over my skin, which simultaneously pulls out toxins and calms the mind. On some nights, taking a warm bath or shower will really do the trick.

8. Make a nourishing nightcap.

End the evening with a bedtime tonic sans alcohol and caffeine, perhaps right in your bed. Enjoy some warm water with lemon, ginger (helps with digestion) and cayenne, chamomile tea, or warm almond milk with vanilla, cinnamon, and stevia. Something you like that will warm you up and calm you down.

9. Write a To-Feel list rather than a To-Do list.

To-do lists are overwhelming! If you want to feel whelmed with intention, excitement, and childlike joy, try ending the evening by writing down how you want to feel the following day. Just write down the first word that comes to mind: loved, supported, happy, joyful, productive, spirited, intuitive.

Billions of Worlds

http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2013/11/06/billions-of-worlds/

18 Travel Quotes to Feed Your Sense of Wanderlust

WHAT’S THIS?

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BY LAURA VITTO2 HOURS AGO

If you are lucky enough to have traveled to a foreign place before, then you know the pull there is to keep exploring long after you’ve returned home.

If you’re longing for a much-needed adventure, we’ve rounded up 18 quotes for travelers like you.

Whether you’re an avid traveler who’s never without a suitcase, or a homebody searching for a momentary escape from your daily routine, these quotes will speak to your sense of wanderlust.

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7 Tips For Kicking Your Sugar Habit

The average American consumes nearly 90 grams of added sugar on a given day, and all this sugar can contribute to the development of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. That’s before even mentioning the major role that sugar plays in weight gain. Cutting your added sugar intake as low as possible is one of the most powerful things you can do for your health. Follow these tips to help you in that process:

1. Never eat sweets on an empty stomach.

This is a recipe for a “carb coma”: high blood sugar with an energy rush followed by an energy crash that leads to subsequent sugar cravings. The earlier in the day you start eating sweets, the more likely it is that you’ll continue to eat sweets throughout the day.

2. Eat more protein.

Protein is the number one thing that will help you feel full and satisfied, and therefore less likely to crave sweets. Protein, when paired with carbohydrates, also helps to keep blood sugar levels steadier and decreases the glycemic load of a meal by slowing absorption of glucose (from broken down carbohydrates or sugar) into the bloodstream. Protein-rich foods include organic meat, eggs, fish, beans, dairy, and nuts and seeds.

3. Brush your teeth after eating. 

Sometimes the sweetness of the toothpaste is enough, and the act of brushing your teeth means that mealtime is over, helping you move on to other activities. Also, ice cream or a cookie just doesn’t seem quite as appealing when you have a minty taste in your mouth.

4. Practice productive distraction.

In other words, when you keep thinking about eating sweets, consciously decide to shift your focus to something else. Try having a cup of your favorite tea, reading a good book, hugging someone, or going for walk. Often, it’s not the sweet that we really need, but instead a nurturing distraction from our everyday activities.

5. Avoid saboteurs. 

For many people, the workplace is the worst source of sabotage when trying to improve your eating. Clients, patients, or staff may bring in sweets, or co-workers may have candy jars at their desk. I’ve heard many stories from my clients whose co-workers give them a hard time for turning down the steady stream of sweets in the office in order to lose weight or get healthier. These positive behavior changes should be celebrated, but instead are unfortunately often chided by others who have more trouble making good choices.

6. Get enough sleep. 

I can’t stress this one enough. It’s not only more difficult to make good decisions when you’re sleep deprived, but inadequatesleep is associated with decreases in levels of the hormone leptin, leading to decreased satiety and increases in ghrelin, which in turn increases appetite.

7. Remember that your taste buds will change over time. 

Much the way one’s tolerance to alcohol changes with varying levels of alcohol intake, one’s taste for sugar can change over time. To follow the alcohol analogy, a heavy drinker needs more alcohol to get drunk, while one who rarely drinks feel tipsy after one beer or glass of wine.

The same is true of sugar. The soda drinker doesn’t think fruit provides much sweetness, but after giving up soda, it tastes unpalatably sweet. As you start to limit your intake of sugar, you’ll start to have a lower tolerance for sugar. Sweets you used to love will start to taste too sweet, and you will begin to enjoy the natural sweetness of fruit and foods like nuts that have a small amount of natural sweetness. Dark chocolate may even start to become enjoyable, when it may have seemed too bitter in the past.

If You Do Nothing Else To Be Healthy, At Least Do These 5 Things

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-10476/if-you-do-nothing-else-to-be-healthy-at-least-do-these-5-things.html

6 Quick & Simple Techniques to Melt Away Stress

Through the years in my psychotherapy practice, I’ve noticed that people basically have the same issues. I’ve discovered that there are 12 core attitudes that underlie all our problems, although each person has a slightly different story based on his or her particular situation and upbringing. These attitudes are things like feeling the need to control, or being selfish, or being judgmental. The 12 attitudes and the problems they cause stem from three core emotions that often go unexpressed: sadness, anger, and fear.

I designed an online survey that would help me find out which core emotion causes people the most trouble in their lives, and which attitude is most predominant. Based on answers from 1,000 participants, I discovered that the most dominant emotion they experience is fear. And that fear manifests as stress and anxiety.

My Attitude Reconstruction Survey shows that many of us have forgotten the “be here now” mantra of the 1960s, which promoted happiness and inner peace. The most prevalent attitude I identified from my survey is that people aren’t able to live in the present very well. More than 7 out of 10 (71.4%) participants reported that they’re preoccupied with the past or the future half or more of the time.

Focusing on past “what ifs,” or dreading what might happen in the future — the next shoe that’s about to drop — are classic symptoms of fear. Interestingly, almost 6 out of 10 of those surveyed (58.6%) said they also feel a need to control half or more of the time. Control is another common fear symptom. The problem is, living with fear on a daily basis can lead to chronic stress.

These attitudes mirror our culture today. We’re trying to do too much, and are sacrificing our health and well-being in the process. It’s interfering with our ability to relish the moment and enjoy our lives. We’re being ruled by fear!

Here’s a short list of some strategies that quickly dissolve fear-based stress in one’s life.

1. Shiver away your fear.

It works. While shivering, try not to think of all your worries and stressors. In your mind, repeat these two simple statements over and over: “It’s OK,” and “Everything will be all right.”

2. Don’t “pile up” your worries.

One of the ways we get overwhelmed is by entertaining thoughts about everything at once. Try to focus on one concern, and think it all the way through. This mental exercise can be very calming because it requires that you slow down your thoughts and organize them in a linear fashion.

3. Make a detailed task list.

Writing down a list of to-dos is a good way to break a problem down into smaller, easier tasks that can be more easily accomplished when tackled individually. Make a list of what needs to be done and attend to one thing at a time.

4. Don’t go it alone.

Any overwhelming situation becomes less so when you delegate or ask for help. If a task really does require your brain and your skills, you can still make it easier by asking a friend or colleague to help you with a less demanding aspect of your work or life — one that’s taking your precious time and energy from the more burdensome problem.

5. Be kind to yourself.

Doggedly interrupt those critical thoughts about what you didn’t do well and lavish yourself with appreciation about what you did do. Repeatedly remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can, or that you did the best you could at the time.

6. Get into the now.

When you feel fearful and worried, do something that gives you a break and brings you into the now. Close your eyes and focus on taking some deep breaths. Grab a few minutes throughout your stressful day to step back from the overwhelming workload or problems and do something to refresh yourself. Throw water on your face. Do some jumping jacks. Walk around the block. Or take a 15-minute nap.

By: Jude Bijou

Why We Deny the Realities of Population Growth

Why We Deny the Realities of Population Growth – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-carroll/why-we-deny-the-realities_b_3542838.html

25 Habits of People Who Are Happy, Healthy and Successful

Who among us doesn’t want to be a happy, healthy and successful human being? Still, it can be easy to lose your way, which is why I’ve compiled a list of habits you can use to help reach your goals.

So what is it about happy people that makes them the way they are? Below are just some of the ways they separate themselves from the rest of the crowd.

1. They don’t hold grudges.

2. They think outside of the box.

3. They go by a routine and make exercise a part of it. It takes practice to develop healthy habits and stick with them. Once you do, your internal foundation will be strong.

4. They have a supportive tribe, thereby not wasting time with negative or toxic people.

5. They don’t care about what other people think. Does a tiger lose sleep over the opinion of sheep?

6. They don’t people please.

7. They see difficult and challenging situations as opportunities for personal growth.

8. They consider handling rejection a skill and are resilient.

9. They make time for themselves. Whether it’s getting eight hours of sleep every night, finding 15 minutes to read the newspaper in peace or an hour to go to the gym, they make it a priority — just like everything else. When you take care of yourself, you have a bigger impact on others.

10. They are spiritual. This doesn’t necessarily mean religious. It could mean setting aside time for reflection through yoga or meditation.

11. They practice deep breathing.

12. They know there isn’t such a thing as “having it all,” and they’re happy about that. Wouldn’t the world be a boring place for them otherwise?

13. Fear doesn’t hold them back. They’re ready to take risks.

14. They know how to say “NO,” and don’t hold back. These people have learned to set boundaries. Plenty of them.

15. They learned a great deal from other people whom they admire. Either they had a great mentor, or they took note of how those they aspired to be like handled various situations.

16. They follow their inner guidance. Not only do they have a vision, but they follow it.

17. They give without expecting anything in return.

18. They aren’t pretentious or conceited.

19. Passion is what drives them. They authentically believe in what they’re doing.

20. They don’t complain.

21. They live by their core values in both their professional and personal lives.

22. They’re happy to swim against the tide.

23. They finish what they start.

24. They don’t compare themselves to other people.

25. They want you to succeed, too.

By: Kristy Rao

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Never Give Up

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How To Create A Life Of True Fulfillment

By Deepak Chopra

I receive many questions from people who want to know how to experience more fulfillment, happiness, and meaning. They often express frustration that bubbles over from a variety of sources, including not knowing what they really want, confusion about which direction to go in, and worry about the obstacles that rise up as they pursue their dreams.

At the root of all these frustrations is a misunderstanding about who we really are and the nature of true fulfillment.

Who Am I?

Let’s begin with the question of who is the “I” that is seeking to create your life. Take a moment right now and ask yourself Who am I? Jot down your answers on a piece of paper. Many people will begin this exercise by identifying their external roles in life: I’m a mother, a doctor, a daughter, a Harvard graduate, a CEO, a triathlete, an artist, and so on. However, as they continue to ask themselves this question, the responses will begin to go beyond the ego level to the deeper realm of the soul. I am love. I am joy. I am spirit . . .

In order to create a life of genuine happiness, we need to realize that we’re all much more than skin-encapsulated egos. We are more than our titles, positions, accomplishments and relationships. Our true self is multidimensional, unbounded, pure potentiality.

When we ask ourselves What do I want?, it’s important to know if we are listening to the voice of our ego or the voice of our soul, because they have two very different visions of fulfillment:

The ego’s vision of fulfillment

The soul’s vision of fulfillment

I have everything I need to be comfortable.

I am everything I need.

I am calm, because bad things can’t come near me.

I am secure because I have nothing to fear in myself.

Through hard work, I can achieve anything.

The flow of life’s abundance brings me everything.

I measure myself by my accomplishments.

I don’t measure myself by any external standard.

I win much more than I lose.

Giving is more important than winning.

I have a strong self-image.

I have no self-image. I am beyond images.

Because I’m attractive, I win the attention of the opposite sex.

Other people are attracted to me as soul to soul.

When I find the perfect love, it will be on my terms.

I can find perfect love,
because I’ve discovered it first in 
myself.

While we have all been conditioned to believe that the ego’s vision is practical and more realistic, what the ego promises is an illusion — a will-o’-the-wisp that you can chase all your life without ever coming close. The ego’s vision of fulfillment is unattainable because it is dependent on external conditions that it ultimately can’t control

It can’t compete with the soul’s vision of fulfillment, which is based on our inner awareness. The soul holds out a kind of happiness and fulfillment that doesn’t depend on whether outside conditions are favorable or bad. This vision of fulfillment may seem more difficult, yet it unfolds automatically when you live from the level of the soul. Your inner intelligence comes into alignment with the creative intelligence of the universe, guiding you unerringly in exactly the way you need.

Of course, you can manifest your ego desires using sheer willpower, but it takes lots of effort and you may not feel as fulfilled when you attain it as you imagined you would. It’s like rowing a sailboat against high winds and a strong current: you can do it with enough effort, but if you harness the forces of the wind and current, then the journey is more comfortable and enjoyable.

Ego or Soul Desires?

Most desires are straightforward ego wishes. The natural impulse toward action that flows from our true self will also express itself as desire, but it will be an easy, gentle preference that does not come from a sense of lack or neediness.

The easiest way to evaluate whether your desire to create something is coming from your real self or your ego is to tune in to your body and ask yourself, Does this desire feel relaxed and loving? Is it coming from a place that already feels good about itself? Does it want this for others as well as for oneself?

Keep in mind that creative drive isn’t facilitated by feeling like you “should” create something, or that you ought to start a project or you’ll regret it. When your inner dialogue is dominated by feelings of frustration, self-judgment, or fear, your ego is trying to take charge. When your desire to create something comes from a feeling of enthusiasm, inspiration, joy, and fullness within, then you are in touch with your true nature and the guidance that will help you create and experience fulfillment.

Tuning into Your Soul’s Desires and Purpose

As we have seen, it is important to learn how to think and desire from your silent self beyond your ego. From there, desire without expectation is easy and automatic. And as your experience of the soul deepens, you will spontaneously find that you will desire from that level of innocence and fulfillment.

There are a variety of practices that can help you connect to your soul’s desires and purpose. Here are a few of the most powerful techniques you can use:

Meditate

When you meditate, you go beyond the mind’s restless, confused state into a higher state that is clear and steady. This expanded awareness is the birthplace of all your inspiration, creativity and insights.

When you meditate on a regular basis, you cultivate inner calm and peace — not just during your meditation sessions, but as you go about your daily activities. From this place of centered awareness, you will be in the best position to access the intuition and creativity to manifest your dreams. Learn more about meditation here.

Here is a simple meditation practice you can try right now:

Meditation on the Heart 

Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Now gently place your attention on the area of your heart. As you breathe in and out naturally, keep your attention. Allow any feelings and sensations to arise pass. If you attention drifts away, gently bring it back to your heart. Try this meditation for a few minutes and notice how you feel before and after the experience.

Cultivate Clarity

Clarity means being awake to yourself and your true desires. Instead of being overshadowed by external situations or events, in clarity your awareness is always open to itself. You’re able to tell the true from the false so that you can identify what you want to nurture and what you want to release in your life.

One effective way to cultivate clarity is to ask yourself the soul questions, Who am I? What do I want? Why am I here? Here is an exercise that you might find useful in working with these questions:

1. Think back on situations and projects where you excelled and had fun at the same time. What were you doing and why did it make you feel good? What gifts do you have that can serve others?

2. Keep a daily journal for 10 days, asking yourself the questions above after meditation and then writing down everything that comes to you. Your passion is the force of evolution that drives your life energy, so don’t suppress it by telling yourself that you can’t do it or that it is impractical. 

3. After 10 days you will have some good ideas to work with. Now list one or two action steps that you can immediately take for each idea. Start with the smallest manageable step, such as making a phone call, signing up for a course, or getting the name of a mentor or someone who may be able to help you. The important thing is to identify that current of energy in you and then give it an outlet. Once it starts to flow, it builds its own momentum and creates its own path forward. 

The more clarity you achieve, the more you will find that the universe is on your side, supporting your thoughts and intentions. Therefore, focus on clarity, not on getting results. The results will come according to their own rhythm and timing.

Practice One-Pointed Awareness

This is a form of mindfulness meditation that will help you create more clarity and present-moment awareness. Choose one simple activity that you do every day, such as brushing your teeth, making the bed, or washing the dishes. Instead of rushing, put your complete attention on this task. If your mind is impatient or prods you to move on to more “important” business, ignore it. This simple daily practice of focusing your awareness on one small activity can create a powerful ripple effect that will expand your experience of present-moment awareness throughout the day.

As you become more aware, you will begin to notice many opportunities that in the past you would have overlooked in your hurry.  This is the phenomenon I describe as synchrodestiny — the ability to use your attention, intention, and awareness to awaken to all the possibilities that always surround you.