Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holidays are here!

Holidays are probably the most stressful time of year for most of us. It is a time when more people than ever are anxious about gift giving, worried about money, and/or are feeling lonely and depressed. Regardless of whether you are far away and alone, have lost a loved one, or are surrounded by loving family and friends, the holidays can take a toll on you physically, mentally and emotionally if you don't take care of yourself.

I always make it a point to take extra care of my physical body during the holidays. That's because I know that the added activity of having a second holiday job, attending parties, and worrying about money and family issues doesn't just affect a person mentally and emotionally. These issues really have an affect on you physically, so taking care of your body can fend off a lot of the mental and emotional fallout from holiday pressures. No matter how busy you are, find a few moments to stretch your muscles or take a brisk walk. Make it a point to make it to your yoga or exercise class, as moving your body releases endorphins that make you feel better emotionally.

When it comes to holiday eating, I'd say avoid sugar altogether, but I know how hard that can be when those lovely and naughty treats seem to appear everywhere, calling for just a taste. The problem with sugar is that it can leave you flat and tired after an hour or so, which can affect your emotions negatively and lead to a less than lovely mood. I recommend that you enjoy a little so you don't feel cheated, but do your best to keep sugary treats to a minimum. And don't forget the water. Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and to throw off toxins that may build up in your system from holiday over-indulgences.

And most importantly, go easy on yourself. The holidays can really magnify the voice of our inner critic, especially when we feel we must live up to some expectation or another. So, this is a very important time to choose to give yourself a break and tell that inner voice that you are the one driving the car and it can sit in the back seat and be quiet. My friend, the truth is, you can't be all things to all people, so don't try. Live within your budget during this time and keep your gift giving to what you can afford. Scale back your activities a bit if you are feeling overwhelmed, and choose to say “no” to requests that you feel would add to your stress or consume too much of your time. Instead, add in those things that will relax you and relieve stress like a hot bath, a massage, a visit with a close friend, or an hour alone with a hot cup of tea and a good book. You'll be glad you did.

The holidays are supposed to be a time of happiness not heavy stress. Choose to take good care of yourself during the holidays and you'll “stress” less and enjoy more.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What does it take to make you Happy?

This week, I have a question for you: What does it take to make you happy? Is it more money, spare time, good friends, a better job? Through my many years of advising clients, I have confronted a common theme regarding happiness. In fact, I've come across it so often that I've named it the “I'll be happy when …” syndrome. It is a very common expression that we have all said. “I will be happy when I don't have to get up at 5:30 am to catch the bus to work.” “I will be happy when my co-worker shows more respect for me.” “I will be happy when I get my new car.” And it goes on and on about a state of mind that remains in the future rather than in the here and now.

Happiness shouldn't be something dangling out there in the world of tomorrow or someday. It isn't a feeling to experience once something else happens. It is something to be experienced now, in this moment. While our anticipation or focus on the future is perfectly fine, connecting happiness to future events can cause us to miss out on any immediate opportunities for joy and fulfillment.

Happiness is more powerful when experienced as an immediate emotion than seen as a carrot to be sought after. Interestingly, many people find that when they place future conditions on happiness, even when those conditions are met, they don't feel the pleasure they had expected to. The key is to learn how to let go of the unknown future and the unchangeable past and allow the goodness of the moment to fill you with inner peace. The present moment is all that we have, and when you find meaning and satisfaction in the present, your future will take care of itself.

Happiness means feeling pleasure about what you have right this minute. In any given moment, if we try hard enough, we can find good and positive things to be happy about. Maybe it is simply that the sun is out and shining warmly on our skin or we are enjoying a nice cup of hot tea with a good friend. Or maybe after a tough day at work, we know we have done our very best, or we shared time with a child.

I hope that today you will acknowledge the many blessings in your life that make each moment a cause for joy and happiness. And I must warn you that happiness can be contagious, so you just might end up having a positive effect on those around you as well.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

How to Avoid the Holiday Blues

This time of year, visions of festive parties and gatherings come to mind. That's because we tend to have certain expectations of the holidays, which I feel are largely fueled by images from the television and big screen. When things don't turn out in this glamorous and lively manner, we may feel letdown. In reality, few people have lifestyles like those that we see in the media.

My friends often complain of experiencing empty and depressed feelings this season, even when they have lovely families and many dear friends. Over the years, I have developed some suggestions for coping with these feelings, which I'd like to share with you.

When feeling down, try contacting a friend you haven't spoken to in a while, attending a party with a close friend, or even visiting that crotchety old auntie who is probably secretly feeling lonely too. Choosing to get out there and be with people regardless of your situation can really help reduce feelings of loneliness.

The act of giving is also an effective way to lessen and even eliminate feelings of loneliness. When you choose to help others who cannot help themselves or who are less fortunate than you, you are connecting with your fellow man. Or even volunteering your time to your favorite charity can really put you back in the spirit of the holidays.

A final suggestion on my "avoiding the holiday blues" list is to take good care of yourself. Treat yourself to something special like going for a massage, indulging in your favorite hobby, or settling in with a favorite movie or good book. The trick is to lift your spirits and recreate your holiday in a way that is rewarding for you.

All my best wishes to you and your family for a lovely Holiday season!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Letters - A Personal Touch

In a world where technology, the Internet and email rule, many people have allowed their letter-writing skills to fall by the wayside. I find this sad because I remember when it was such a treat to reach into the mailbox and pull out a letter from a friend or family member and then to read what they've been up to and how they were doing. I really miss getting good letters but I refuse to accept that letter writing is completely dead!

Letters do something that quick social media posts often don't do. They provide a very personal and intimate communication between the sender and the receiver, one that has depth and personality. If you think about it, a good letter is basically a small essay with an introduction, a main focus, details and a closure. If you think about the topics you want to cover before you start the letter you'll write something more personal and friendly, and you'll likely not forget to include something you really wanted to share. By planning out your letter, I believe it will carry the energy of who you are and what you want to share far better than something dashed off in a rush.

Sending out letters is a great way to create a regular contact with distant friends and family members. A holiday or New Year's letter to family and friends is an opportunity to help those you care about catch up on your life and the lives of your family members: who graduated, who got married, when the new grandbaby arrived, as well as letting that person know you're thinking of them at a time when many people feel loneliest. You could truly make someone's holiday better with a cheery and informative letter.

If you have located someone you haven't seen in a very long time, like an old schoolmate, or a friend from your youth, sending a letter is a good way to break the ice all over again and let them know you are thinking of them even after all this time. A good reconnection letter can lead to a phone call and perhaps a renewed friendship.

I hope you still find time to write a letter here and there. There's just something wonderful about the tangible nature of a letter in your hand vs. an email on a screen. This isn't to say that electronic mail can't do something similar. I believe it can if only people would treat writing their emails to friends and families like they would writing a good old-fashioned letter.

Friday, November 25, 2011


This morning I was up just before dawn. The sun began to slip its soft pink glow over the eastern horizon. And even though the weather has grown colder and the days a bit cloudier, I still enjoy being up early and sitting with my first cup of tea, watching the world around me come to life. There's just something solid as well as invigorating in being up early when the day actually begins.

I see those moments watching the sun come up a great start to my day, and it's a ritual I rarely depart from. When I start my day off like this, I find that my days go better. I get the jump on things that need to be done and I'm fresh enough to take care of tasks quickly and efficiently. I enjoy the quiet and the fact that I'm hardly ever interrupted when I work in the early morning hours, so I get an incredible amount of work done during that time.

Of course early rising has other benefits too. Getting up earlier provides you with time you wouldn't normally have to do things you normally wouldn't have time for. If you wish you had time to meditate, exercise or work on some special project you never seem to have time for, early morning is the perfect time to fit these kinds of activities into your day. Your willingness to give up a bit of shut-eye for the personal satisfaction of doing something you truly enjoy can pay off in better physical and emotional health, and maybe even a better job. Many well-known and successful people talk about rising very early to write before going off to their day jobs.

Getting up early also means you are more likely to have time to make a proper breakfast and maybe even a healthy lunch to tide you through the day. Chances are you'll eat foods that are much better for you and you'll save money by avoiding the fast food chains as you make your commute to work. Plus, once you get there you are likely to be brighter, more efficient and will do a better job, which can lead to other workplace benefits such as promotion and salary increase.

There's nothing like looking up from your work at noon and realizing that the majority of what needs doing for the day is already taken care of. I just can't say enough about the benefits of choosing to be an early riser. If you're a night owl give some thought to making the switch. I guarantee you'll be surprised and pleased once you do.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving. It shouldn't be just once in a year, it should be every day of the year. Be thankful for all the mornings that you still get to wake up and see the sun!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Law of Attraction

Are you familiar with the expression, "Like attracts like"? Recently I had seen a man on TV who was struggling with this idea. He was having difficulty coming to grips with certain emotions he was experiencing. He felt controlled by them and this was creating a lot of tension for him. The more he fought his feelings, the stronger their hold over him seemed to be.

I completely understood his frustration and assured him that his situation was not unusual. I felt that with a little work, he could overcome this obstacle. He began by introducing himself to the Universal Law of Attraction. According to this law, we attract that which we focus on with the most intensity, and this attraction can create a positive or negative experience depending on its nature. In his case, it meant that when he focused on emotions or feelings that made him uncomfortable, he ended up creating more of those uncomfortable feelings in the process.

Of course, this wasn't enough for him. He needed a workable solution. They suggested that he try looking at his unresolved emotions in a different way. Instead of battling his feelings, they asked him to look at them without judgment. They wanted him to focus on the root of his emotional turmoil because as that point, he would he would be in a position to make adjustments to his behavior.

Soon after, he took those instructions to heart and began observing his difficult feelings. He reported that life flowed easier when he could refrain from making judgments on his emotions, and as a result, he was soon feeling much better about himself. By just listening to these emotional messages, rather than just getting upset or worried by them, he no longer felt so controlled by them. And, once he could really listen to his feelings, he was able to get a better grip on why those feelings were coming up.

Now, I hope that you too will spend some time thinking about the Law of Attraction and the primary focus of your energy. What are you attracting into your life?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Best Friends...

I want to share some interesting information I recently read on friendship. But first I'd like you to take a moment to think about your closest friends. Are you the type of person who has one best friend or one who prefers a few close friends? Well, if you answered yes to either of these questions, consider yourself fortunate, because dependable friendships bring some amazing benefits.

It is probably no surprise to you that close friendships are good for us. However, the list of actual medical advantages is quite remarkable. Research shows that our good friendships can help us to reduce our blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol levels, as well as to lower our stress levels. In other words, solid, dependable friendships help us to live a longer, healthier life.

The nice thing about our friendships is that they are ties we choose to develop, sustain and nurture. When we are young, we seek comfort in our companionship, by befriending dogs, cats, dolls and stuffed animals. As we grow into adolescence and later into adulthood, good friends can become more than just companions. A good friend is there through the good and bad times.

A good friend is someone who loves you in spite of yourself. They laugh with you, cry with you, listen to you when you need an ear, tell you the truth when you don't want to hear it and even keep your secrets. And now, you can add the positive health benefits of friendship to that list!

While this information probably won't make you change how you feel about your friends, it may make you appreciate them even more. Enjoy your Veteran's Day weekend! :)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Do You Need Space?

Are there times you feel that you need some space? Actually, we all need some "space," some time to ourselves and some place to recharge our batteries and renew our spirit. In ancient times, such places were considered sacred and were often found in nature – a grove, a hill or valley, or a mountain. But you don't have to go outdoors to find a sacred space. You can create a sacred space right in your own home.

It doesn't matter how small your living quarters are, even a corner of a room can do nicely. A sacred space is an area where you can sit and meditate, contemplate, or let your mind wander and relax, ponder, and dream. You can place a small table or a shelf in a corner on which you arrange images, photos, religious relics or pieces of artwork that hold meaning for you. Bring in nature with perhaps some flowers or a small plant, or seashells, or perhaps a crystal. Lighting a candle or some incense, or an essential oil diffuser can add to the atmosphere of serenity. Place a comfortable chair there. A wind chime or some bells, or perhaps a CD of soothing music can also set the scene.

Joseph Campbell, the famous American author who wrote about myths and incorporating them into our lives, understood the importance of a need for a sacred space. He says it best in his own words, "If you have a sacred space and take advantage of it and use it every day, something will happen… Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again."

Friday, October 28, 2011

How Creative are You?

How long has it been since you expressed your creativity? In the daily rush to meet deadlines and fulfill obligations, our creative self often gets shuffled to the sidelines. And that's not a good thing as our creativity is so closely connected to our sense of self-fulfillment. Creativity helps us to experience the magical and playful side of life. It lets us explore our passions and express ourselves artistically.

In my case, my preferred creative passion is my garden. I love spending time tending to my rose plants. They delight my senses and fill me with much joy and satisfaction. It is a very grounding pastime, and one that I also get to share with others as well by spending many glorious hours talking about our gardening experiences.

Sadly, many people don't consider themselves creative, especially if they don't write, paint or play music. But that is a limited perspective of creativity. There are many forms of creative self-expression with different kinds of execution and levels of expertise. Within each and every one of us exists an artistic being just waiting for the opportunity to shine. And, that is not to be taken lightly!

Our creative expression touches us on a very personal level. It can be as simple and spontaneous as singing in the shower or the car. It can be a playful moment of making up a silly limerick or strumming chords on a guitar, Or it could be a more directed and focused activity such as sewing a quilt, cooking an exceptional meal, or making your home a special place for you and for those close to you to relax and enjoy.

So, how do you express your creativity, and when was the last time you did that? If it's been a while, I hope that my blog will serve as an inspirational reminder to exercise your inner artist! Just open yourself up to the possibilities around you, and hopefully you will find ways to explore, nurture and enjoy your creative side!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Real Meaning of Happiness

Happiness is a journey, not a destination. Think about this for a moment. We've been taught that getting the job, the relationship, the house, or some other want will bring us happiness. What often happens, once a dream is achieved, is that the happiness we longed to feel is fleeting at best, and then we quickly find ourselves thinking, "What else can I get to make me happy?" This thinking doesn't serve us. After all, how many times have we read tragic stories about the rich and famous, people who have money galore and every material desire, but still happiness eludes them.

So, the answer is not to stop dreaming and achieving our heartfelt desires, but rather to experience happiness on a more consistent basis -- to enjoy the journey. Here's another secret how you can do this -- treat yourself to some small, harmless indulgence on a regular basis.

If you do this, you are saying "yes" to happiness right now, not tomorrow or the day after, or 10 years from now. You are also expanding the positive energy around you. When this happens, you begin attracting people, situations, and material wealth like a magnet right to your side.

When you have a happy and positive frame of mind, you set in motion the opportunities that will enable you to achieve the things you want most of all.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wants and Needs

Distinguishing between your wants and your needs is an essential part of realizing your dreams. While many of us may want a Jaguar or a new wardrobe, or a number of other things, we don't necessarily need to have them in order to live a joyful, productive life.

There is one mantra many of us need to be reminded to incorporate into our life -- "All I have is all I need." Now I want to make it clear that this mantra doesn't mean that you can't desire or obtain material things in your life. You certainly can, and let me reiterate that we are going to make this happen for you. But while we wait patiently for our desires to take hold, most of us need to be reminded of the abundance that we do have. This perspective brings us the issue of the water in the glass. Should we focus on what we don't have or on what we do have?

It is important to appreciate the positive things around us. Recognizing our assets and giving gratitude for them makes for a very powerful situation to live joyfully in the present as well as to set the stage to attract more of what you want.

The easiest way to do this is to write down in a journal at least three things you are grateful for each day. I speak from experience when I say that after a week of doing this simple exercise you will feel happier. Should you run into an obstacle that is preventing you from realizing one of your dreams, take out your journal and read down the list of things you wrote and you will feel a force of positive energy surge through your body.

Remember above all, it is the person you become, and not the things you achieve or the things you acquire that is most important.

The Universe is on your side now. You are moving forward.

Friday, October 07, 2011

New Beginnings

As Henry Thoreau wrote: "I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor."

In order to change, the first thing you must do is get yourself unstuck. To do this, it is important that you look closely at how you perceive yourself. Most limitations to success you perceive come from internalizing negative messages from people and past events. These can easily be overcome.

This is very important for you to remember -- you do have the power to succeed. And together, we are going to grow your awareness and choice-making ability so you can experience abundance in every area of your life.

Know that the thoughts that empower you to succeed come from your true Self and a Higher Power. This is why you must first love yourself and embrace the incredible blessings you have been given. Now more than ever, know that it is not only possible to change your thinking but also your actions. This steady change will allow your dreams to blossom and be realized. As Marcus Aurelius said "The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it."

So that is why this week I want you to remember to concentrate on:

1. Focusing your mind on your best achievements, both big and small, and your ability to succeed.

2. Quieting your mind for 15 minutes each day in order to feel the energy flow within you. This will help get your thoughts moving in the right direction so that you can begin realizing your dreams.

3. Choosing one goal and taking your first step towards achieving it.

You can't expect to achieve success or move beyond your present situation unless you truly believe in yourself. Now is the time to use this inner power to change your life.

I know you can do this and just think positive, every step of the way.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

What Makes You Cry?

A number of things make my eyes tear up...

the death or the pending death of someone close to me -- parents, family, friends, pets or just a worthwhile and courageous person's story will do it. I can also get tearful at a movie. However, the ones with elegant endings that make all the negative factors into a beautiful finish will really do it.

Songs like, Moon River, Wind Beneath My Wings, You Raise Me Up... and all other emotionally written songs.

Books can cause tears -- Even sunsets and intensely beautiful natural experiences -- like seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time could bring me close to tears. Just thinking about the loss of childhood friends, ambitions, locations, and family can do it as can the lover that never quite became permanent.

Life's frustrations and injustices. however, usually bring out anger -- usually cold anger and resolve rather than tearful hot anger. I would probably be better off with the tears.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Job Hunting

It's been a year since I last blogged. And now that I'm in another country, i've been having a hard time looking for full-time work. they all suggest that i take another course, have a master's degree or specialize in something. but i'm tired of studying and it will cost loads of money... again!

So, what i did was search the internet for some tips in job hunting. and i'm here to share it with some of you and i hope that it would be of great help to everyone.

I do believe that doing research on the company before going to an interview is very wise. You need to be aware of any policies, dress codes, rules and regulations, benefits, how long they have been in business, or if they stand in good with the Better Business Bureau. Yes, I do need a job, but I want to be sure that I won't get stuck in a company with a bad reputation, working for someone who is not honest with their employees such as paying their workers on time and with a fair salary, and a safe environment. These are very important for anyone who is seeking employment. People are so desperate in finding a job that they'll take anything that comes along,especially in this economy. You have to be very careful on the internet of what you read as far as employment,and even in the newspaper. Some job advertisements sounds to good to be true. A research is necessary, always.

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