Start a Journal For 2017

Why You Should Start Keeping a Journal

The world just lost a great woman at the end of 2016, Carrie Fisher. What was not lost, though, were the journal reflections that she kept during her life, especially the journal that she kept while filming Star Wars as Princess Leia. This she made into a best-selling book, The Princess Diarist.
Other ‘greats’, from Richard Franklin to Winston Churchill, many of history’s greatest achievers have kept a journal or diary at some point in their lives.
Journaling is not what made these great figures what they were. Nor am I saying that journaling alone will be enough to make you ‘great’ or write a best-selling autobiography or fiction novel. But what I am saying is that these folks are onto something with the idea of keeping a journal. In actuality, there are a ton of very valuable benefits to journaling that make it worth your consideration. Here are just some of them…

It’s a Record

When you write a journal, it means you have a record of everything you’ve done. This record becomes something you can look back over in order to learn important lessons and to put your life in perspective.
It can sometimes be a great feeling looking back and seeing all the exciting things you’ve done. But if that’s not the experience you get from your journal then perhaps it can highlight that something needs to change. Either way, this lets you honestly appraise your life.
Just imagine being able to read this in 20 years – there will be so much detail that you would otherwise have forgotten! This is a way to immortalize yourself and to hold tighter onto those memories.
What’s more, this journal is a record for others and means that they can potentially learn from your experiences. It’s a legacy for your loved ones to know you better, even when you may no longer be here.

It’s Meditative

Most of us spend our day using technology, working on things that make us stressed and otherwise staying wired and on the go. Writing a journal at the end of the day with pen and paper is a kinesthetic experience–an excellent alternative to those tech activities. The act of writing is almost meditative in its ability to encourage focus. It’s quiet, it doesn’t involve a glaring screen and it’s a great way to unwind before bed.

It Can be a Powerful Tool

You can also use a journal as a tool. Write about your day, including what you ate and how you felt physically after eating. This might help you pinpoint a food sensitivity, too. Or journal about what you dreamed as soon as you wake up in the morning and reflect on what this dream might be teaching you.
Make a note of each day you worked out or jot down each time you performed some act that you are trying to make into a habit. You can even just make a note of your mood. This lets you assess your performance in any goal at a glance and also to get some useful contextual data that might help you to find correlations in your routine and the way you feel/act. While you’re at it, jot down the 3 things that you’re grateful for each day. The practice of gratitude is the most effective means to increase your over-all life satisfaction.
So pick up a notebook, marble composition book, or blank bound journal book, grab some pens and start creating the habit of keeping your thoughts and actions in a journal. It’s a great habit to cultivate.
And if you would like to download and print out a gratitude journal to use as your journal, go here and add your name and email address and you will be able to download your own gratitude journal. Leave me a comment below and let me know how you plan to journal for 2017.

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It’s Time To Get Honest

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Overwhelm Happens To Us All

It’s safe to say that every person in the world knows what it’s like to be overwhelmed at one point or another. Some people live lives where overwhelm seems to be the norm. Maybe that can be chalked up to being busier than ever as a society in general. Or it could be chalked up to personal habits that continue to lead to chaos and overwhelm. It can also be about repeatedly saying YES to something or someone when you really want to say NO to that request.

But regardless of the reason, when overwhelm hits, your stress levels rise and your body reacts with the same hormones that you get when you experience the stressful “fight or flight” feeling.

Living in that overwhelm state isn’t optimal. It leads you towards that downward spiral into chronic health conditions and moves the needle away from your wellness and more towards dis-ease.

Overcoming Overwhelm With Mindfulness

You can reduce overwhelm by allowing mindfulness to take over instead. Mindfulness allows you to see what’s actually happening. It’s really about getting honest with yourself. It’s about getting honest with your emotions, feelings, and thoughts. And most importantly, this is done in a non-judgmental way.
This means that you become aware of your emotions and any thoughts that are driving what you do. You take the time to focus on the present moment and discover what’s at the root of what you’re doing.
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Your actions are really driven by your thoughts.  Conscious or not, your thoughts  have influence over what you ultimately do–what action you take. Your actions produce the results that you get in your life. So the big picture looks like this:  The results in your life are directly related to your thoughts. The good news is this:
Examine your thoughts to get better results from life.
For example, are you taking on too many projects because you have workaholic tendencies, want to please everyone and maybe you tie who you are into what you do? Once you see what’s really happening, you’ll recognize the thoughts that lead to your emotions. The emotions contribute to or cause the overwhelm from your inability or unwillingness to say NO and instead say YES to every request that comes your way, resulting in guess what? OVERWHELM!

Acknowledge the thoughts and feelings

Emotions are not always comfortable. Consequently, people shy away from wanting to allow these feelings to simply ‘be’. Some of these underlying emotions that people have difficulty with include anxiety, fear, shame or depression. It can be uncomfortable or downright painful to experience these negative emotions. With the practice of mindfulness, you are a curious investigator, noticing and experiencing all emotions for just a bit.

Mindfulness calls for you to acknowledge the thoughts and feelings but not hold on to them. You acknowledge and then release. When you’re acknowledging these thoughts and feelings, you do so with compassion. This reduces the overwhelm that you would normally feel. You become a curious observer. The thoughts roll past you as if on a movie screen. It may be helpful to remember the acronym, RAIN

Let it RAIN on your parade!

R=Recognize. Become aware of what’s going on. “Here I am again thinking I can’t do this.”

A=Accept. Rather than shaming yourself, accept with kindness to yourself that this is going on. “I’m simply afraid I will fail again.”

I=Investigate. What feelings can you identify in your body when you have these thoughts? What images are coming up?

N=Nonidentify. You want to tell yourself that these thoughts and feelings are not you. They are simply passing through. Allow them to roll past your inner movie screen and know that you have a choice to respond to them. . . . or not!

When you let mindfulness take over, you can deal with the thoughts and feelings that  have previously dictated your actions and therefore your results.  Mindfulness teaches you how to stop the train of overwhelm and see yourself with honesty. You are more than your thoughts.  You are worthy,  you are valued, and you deserve compassion.

What’s been your biggest nugget from this mindfulness article? Honestly, I would be thrilled for you to leave your nugget in the comments below.

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The Number One Thing You Can Do To Increase Life Satisfaction

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Increase Your Life Satisfaction With This Secret

Want to know the number one secret for increasing life satisfaction?  It is such a simple thing, too!  Anyone can tap into this and really move the dial on your overall happiness meter.

The regular practice of embracing thankfulness or gratitude is the best bang for your buck to make your life more satisfying, according to positive psychology research conducted over the past few decades.

The Many Benefits of Gratitude

Studies support gratitude’s effectiveness at contributing to greater success in work and improved health. Studies also show those who regularly practice gratitude experience improved performance in sports as well as business, a higher sense of mental well-being, and an enhanced resiliency allowing faster recovery from surgery and illness. An attitude of gratitude has been shown to lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, improve relationships, and promote better quality and longer sleep.

The Challenge Is To Rewire Your Brain

While it’s exciting to see the many benefits from practicing gratitude, the challenge comes in sustaining that attitude of gratitude. As humans, you come wired to notice what is broken, undone or lacking around you. And for gratitude to meet its full healing potential in your life, it needs to become more than just a word you use at Thanksgiving. You have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And this can take some time–time to rewire the brain.

That’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When you practice giving thanks for all you have, instead of complaining about what you lack, you give yourself the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing. Robert Emmonds, the world’s scientific authority on gratitude, defines gratitude as having two parts;

  • Gratitude affirms that there IS goodness in the world–gifts and benefits that you’ve received.
  • There is recognition that the source of this goodness is from outside ourselves–other people, entities or spiritual existences have brought this goodness to you through gifts and blessings, large and small.
 

Remember that gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where you put your focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world, but when you focus on the gifts of life, you gain a feeling of well-being. Gratitude balances you and gives you hope.
 
There are many things to be grateful for: colorful autumn leaves, legs that work, friends who listen and really hear, chocolate, fresh eggs, warm jackets, Jersey tomatoes, the ability to read, roses, your health, butterflies. What’s on your list?

Some Ways to Practice Gratitude Regularly

•  Keep a gratitude journal in which you list things for which you are thankful. You can make daily, weekly or monthly lists or you can write creatively about something for which you feel gratitude. Greater frequency may be better for creating a new habit–write every morning or every night. Even just keeping that journal where you can see it can act as an anchor to remind you to think in a grateful way. Consistency is the key here.
 
•  Make a gratitude collage by drawing or pasting pictures of people, things and experiences for which you feel gratitude.
 
•  Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of your nighttime routine to speak gratitude with family members.
 
•  Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.
 
•  When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead. You may be amazed by how much better you feel.
 
•  Notice how gratitude is impacting your life. Write about it, sing about it, express thanks for gratitude.
 
As your practice continues, an inner shift begins to occur, and you may be delighted to discover how content and hopeful you’re feeling.

A Gift For You

And because I am so grateful for you in my life, I want to offer you a gift as a token of my gratitude. I’ve created a gratitude journal that you can download, print out, and use to begin your own gratitude practice. If you already practice gratitude consistently, take your practice to the next level with this gift. Go here and enter your name and email address and you will get instant access to your own daily gratitude journal. You are a blessing to me! Thank you for being you.

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What’s YOUR Kryptonite?

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We’ve all been there. You find that your energy level has been dragging for days now. You have no motivation to move. You sit and yawn. You desperately long for a nap. But you never seriously consider taking one because you really can’t sleep during the daylight hours. Not to mention, it would screw up your sleep tonight IF you nap this afternoon.

What’s come over you? What and where is that concealed kryptonite that is zapping your energy and draining your super powers? That kryptonite that’s making you feel less like a super hero and more like an exhausted mortal?

Must. Find. It. NOW!

Entire books have been written about the potential causes of fatigue. We seem to be a tired world, unable to feel rested, recharged and full of that endless energy that the energizer bunny always seems to summon. Want to improve your energy levels? Find the kryptonite that is draining your energy and remove it.

Rather than look for something to add to your lifestyle to improve your energy, this is a ‘subtractive’ method. In other words, you are improving your energy by doing less of something and not by doing more – which is considerably easier when your energy is already low.

But which habits are the ‘strongest kyptonite‘ that you should seek out and destroy first if you want to restore your energy? Here are three of the top candidates.

Tea and Coffee

If you use caffeine to power yourself through the day, then this is definitely kryptonite #1 for you. Caffeine can actually severely hamper your energy levels and may even be what’s making it so hard to get up in the morning.

When you drink caffeine, it simulates the molecule ‘adenosine’. This is a molecule that builds up in your brain over the day and it’s accumulation eventually contributes to make you feel tired and groggy later at night. However, because caffeine acts like adenosine, it  ‘plugs’ the adenosine receptors thereby rendering the natural adenosine inactive. The result? An artificial feeling of energy and drive.

But this eventually leads to tolerance and dependence. The brain produces more adenosine/receptors to counteract the perceived lack of adenosine and as such you need more caffeine to feel normal. This leads to withdrawal symptoms and that withdrawal is one of the things making you feel so groggy in the morning! You’re on the caffeine merry-go-round and you won’t be able to get into those deep, restorative levels of sleep as long as caffeine is surging though your veins.

You will crush the caffeine kryptonite when you cut down and (ASAP) quit the caffeine hamster wheel. This will lead to restoring your energy levels and your super powers will return.

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Smoking

Nicotine is a stimulant and has been touted as a nootropic, a so-called smart drug used to improve cognitive function as well as improve memory, motivation, and creativity. But when you smoke cigarettes seeking the nicotine effect, you also inhale a huge amount of harmful gasses which can severely damage your lung capacity. This leads to diminished oxygenation throughout your body. Insufficient oxygen means fatigue to all your cells–only one of the many harmful effects on the body when you smoke.

There is no compelling reason to smoke cigarettes. Removing kryptonite #2, cigarettes, will improve your lung capacity and improve your longevity. Unless you’re looking to sleep permanently in a very deep sleep. Then keep smoking and the statistical odds are that the Grim Reaper will be visiting you earlier than you ever dreamed. You won’t need to worry about fatigue anymore as your permanent sleep will start sooner–one from which you will never wake up!

If you need help kicking the nicotine kryptonite, there are lots of resources and help available. Make a decision, ask for help, and take it one day at a time. You CAN do this!

Procrastinating

Kryptonite #3 is the habit of procrastination. The type of procrastination that leads directly to daytime fatigue is procrastinating late at night. You stay up watching YouTube, for instance, into the small hours because you can’t be bothered to get up and get ready for bed. Procrastinating in this way wastes your valuable time without giving you the ‘permission’ you need to properly rest.

Crush this kryptonite by adopting a routine geared to get you ready for bed starting at a set time every night. Turn off all electronics, take a warm bath with some essential oils that relax the body, maybe some lavendar. Read a good book for a while and then turn out the lights. Focus on becoming comfortable rather than forcing sleep.  You will be in la la land before you know it, properly recharging so you’ll have more energy to get up, go in the morning, and keep going all day long!

If you noticed that crushing each of these kryptonites involves changing a habit, you might be interested in my free online self-study course, “21 Day Jumpstart Your Health Habits For Life” which is all about the science of habit change.  No xray vision necessary–your superpower to grant access is simply to click here and get started!

Crush that kryptonite! Your increased energy levels await!

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Welcome

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Welcome and make yourself at home!  This website is a work in progress (for now) and there are great things planned to help you optimize and live an extraordinary life.  You’re in the right place if you’ve been asking yourself these questions;

  • “Is that all there is?  Surely there’s more to life than what I’ve been shown so far.”
  • “Why am I here?  What’s my purpose, since I sure don’t feel like I’m fulfilling it at the present time?”
  • “If I could just (    fill in the blank    ), my life would really be great.”
  • “Can’t someone just help me feel better?”

These questions (and more) will be addressed right here on this website in the coming months and years. So stay tuned to this site as more information becomes available.  And you might want to consider taking my self-paced course, “21 Day Jumpstart Your Health Habits For Life“. You’ll learn about creating new habits and kicking old ones that don’t serve you well.  It’s self-paced and complimentary, so why not start it today?