Categories
ACT Mindfully

A New Relationship to Thoughts and Feelings

This new relationship to thoughts and feelings is one of recognizing thoughts and feelings for what they are. Sometimes this is easy, you instantly see the falseness, uselessness, or ridiculousness of a thought. At other times, it isn’t so easy. Some thoughts have a number of feelings attached to them, which makes those thoughts especially “sticky” and difficult to not believe.

Thoughts and feelings that are very convincing have to be investigated carefully and often repeatedly before they lose their hold on us. For instance, those who grew up with abuse or without the proper nurturing often strongly feel and believe that they are unlovable. Thoughts and feelings such as these need careful and deep examination, usually with the help of a professional, before they are no longer believed. This can be difficult work, but it is important work, because such thoughts and feelings shape and limit us, often much more than we realise.

The new relationship to thoughts and feelings that is possible is one of recognizing and accepting them as part of the human condition but realising that they don’t define us or say anything at all about who we really are. Isn’t it great that the petty, angry, judgmental, unkind, and discontent individual that our thoughts often make us out to be isn’t who we really are and that we can move beyond feeling and behaving in these destructive ways? Our true self is inherently good, kind, and in love with life.

Isn’t that what we all really want, to be our best self instead of our worst self? Well, the good news is that we really are our best self and not our worst self, since the worst self is created and maintained solely by believing our negative thoughts and acting out the negative feelings that come from those thoughts.

Thoughts and feelings arise within all human beings, and they are very similar from one human being to the next. The stressful thoughts and feelings that you have are nearly the same as the ones I and everyone else has. We are all in the same boat as human beings, and no-one escapes this fate. And yet, it’s also possible to become free of the domination of such thoughts and feelings.

Even enlightened or spiritually awakened people have stressful thoughts, but they’ve realised the truth about their thoughts and so are free to have something else define them and determine their experience of life. They’ve learned to live as their true self within this human life. And so can you. The secret that these individuals know and have known throughout history is now available to all who are ready to receive it.

The skills, or steps, for becoming established in a new relationship to thoughts and feelings are:

1.    Noticing stressful thoughts and feelings;
2.    Allowing and accepting stressful thoughts and feelings;
3.    Investigating stressful thoughts and feelings;
4.    Reframing stressful thoughts; and
5.    Being with stressful feelings.

Obviously, to become free of our stressful thoughts and feelings, we first have to be aware of what we are thinking and feeling. Sometimes awareness alone is enough to disidentify from a thought or feeling and be free of the stress it’s causing. Awareness gives us a little distance from a thought or feeling, a little objectivity. For example, I might be hurrying around and feeling stressed-out, but as soon as I become aware of the “hurry up” voice and the tension in my body, that awareness may interrupt my behavior enough to allow me to see that I need to slow down. Then if I choose to slow down, that would put an end to feeling stressed-out.

With some stressful thoughts and feelings, however, more than just becoming aware of them may be needed to disidentify from them. Sometimes we have to spend a little time with a stressful thought or feeling, acknowledging it, letting it be there, and experiencing it fully, without resisting it or pushing it away, before we can come out from under its spell, because it may be that we need to discover more about it. In the previous example, if I hadn’t been able to stop hurrying because unconsciously I was afraid that something bad would happen if I did, then taking a little more time and noticing that fear was also there along with the sense of hurry might be enough to calm the fear and allow me to continue more peacefully. If not, staying with that fear a little longer and investigating it further might be called for.

Allowing and accepting a stressful thought or feeling gives it space and time to be there and opens the door to experiencing it fully and discovering something more about it. Without first allowing a stressful thought or feeling to be there, how can we investigate it? And if we don’t accept it, why would we be willing to investigate it? Allowing and accepting a stressful thought or feeling makes it possible to have a new relationship to it, one that is neither identified with the thought or feeling nor pushing it away, but curious about it and open to it and to finding out more about it.

When we stop being identified with a stressful thought or feeling, it stops feeling like my thought or my feeling, and it becomes just a thought or feeling. It’s more like humanity’s thought or feeling rather than ours personally. Paradoxically, disidentification makes it possible to relate to our stressful thoughts and feelings more intimately than when we were identified with them, because if they aren’t ours, then we don’t need to resist them or push them away.

When we no longer think a thought or feeling is bad or that it means something bad about us, then we won’t feel the need to run from or reject it. This is why accepting our thoughts and feelings is so important. Acceptance counteracts our natural inclination to reject a stressful thought or feeling and allows for the possibility of disidentification and investigation, which leads to freedom from that piece of conditioning.

From From Stress to Stillness: Finding Inner Peace in a Not So Peaceful World by Gina Lake, which will be released in December.

Love & Laughter ~ John

Categories
Mindfulness

101 Reasons to be Mindful

1. You simply feel better.

2. You experience life more fully.

3. You experience other people more fully.

4. Other people experience you more completely.

5. It’s easier to just ‘be yourself’.

6. It improves your golf swing.

7. You notice when things change, which is always.

8. You let things change instead of always holding on.

9. Smiling is easier, and you end up doing it more.

10. It relieves stress.

11. You are more confident about what to say, how to say it, and when.

12. Your senses are more clear and vivid.

13. You worry less about the future, and ruminate less on the past.

14. You feel less inclined to always ‘be in control’ and can more easily flow with situations.

15. You get more accomplished, and you feel better while your at it.

16. You spend less time managing your stress levels.

17. You expend less energy in blaming other people and the world, for your problems.

18. You spend less time managing your anger.

19. You spend less time visiting your doctor.

20. You spend less time glued to the television set and computer screen.

21. Other people like you more.

22. You like other people more.

23. When someone is different than you, you are less likely to judge and be put off by them, and more likely to be curious and interested.

24. Relaxation and quality of life become more important to you than staying on the treadmill 24/7.

25. You are less inclined to always filling the space with needless activity.

26. You are less freaked out by contradiction and uncertainty.

27. You are more comfortable with ‘letting things be’.

28. Your body starts to feel good.

29. You start to feel good.

30. You become more in tune with ‘things as they are’.

31. You are kinder with yourself and more friendly with other people.

32. Looking into someone’s eyes seems normal and you do it with greater ease and frequency.

33. You speak more clearly.

34. You feel less need to always be talking in situations when there is nothing to say.

35. You become more considerate and more aware of what is the most helpful in any given situation, for yourself, and for other people.

36. You feel less upset when people cut in front of you inline.

37. You are less inclined to experience road rage.

38. You realize that complaining is silly and a waste of time.

39. You give better hugs.

40. You write better blog posts.

41. You worry less about your google search rankings.

42. It helps you let go of bitterness and resentment.

43. You cheer up!

44. You look at people with ‘kinder eyes’

45. Jealousy is less a problem.

46. Greed haunts you less.

47. Love comes easier and with more strength.

48. It strengthens your immune system.

49. It helps you deal with loss.

50. You can better regulate your emotions.

51. You become more rational.

52. Being right becomes less important.

53. Making love is more like making love.

54. You don’t forget to water your plants.

55. You realize that the size of your wallet is actually not the meaning of life.

56. You contribute to the gross domestic openness of the planet.

57. You decide to give up being unhappy.

58. You decide to give up being unkind.

59. You decide that your life is pretty good after all, even if there may be all kinds of problems.

60. You feel more connected with yourself.

61. You feel more connected, with life, with your surroundings, and with other people.

62. It ticks you off less or not at all when people forget to be kind and considerate.

63. You need fewer supplements.

64. You become less afraid and resentful of your weaknesses.

65. You become more honest and confident about your strengths.

66. You take pleasure and pride in details, in taking care of life’s simple tasks.

67. You notice the space between things.

68. You appreciate how much goodness and magic there is in the world.

69. You feel acutely how much confusion and suffering there is in the world.

70. Life and death somehow make more sense.

71. Walking down the street you notice, Wow, that’s wonderous and beautiful.

72. You don’t shut down when reality suddenly changes and life offers you the unexpected.

73. When you stop, you can hear yourself breathe and feel yourself be.

74. Sometimes you understand life at a profound level.

75. Your heart feels lighter.

76. Your eyes sparkle and your smile shines

77. Every so often, time simply stops, and you notice how magical is this life.

78. You are more accepting of life’s inconveniences and you discriminate more clearly when to try and change them and when to let them be.

79. Your mind, and your world, tend to feel less cluttered and more spacious.

80. It becomes less compelling to obsess about your problems.

81. You tend less to harbour enemies and more likely to make new friends.

82. You remember to regularly do nice things for the people you live with.

83. You remember to smile at people you don’t know.

85. You recognize that, really, we’re all in the same boat.

86. You recognize that, despite all our problems, human society is an uplifted and worthwhile situation.

87. You are stronger and more clear when a person or situation threatens you.

88. Your sleep is more restful.

89. Your days are more satisfying.

90. It’s interesting and enjoyable just walking down the street.

91. Energy flows throughout your being with less obstruction and more ease.

92. You are less inclined to addictions.

93. You do finer work.

94. You live better.

95. You die better.

96. You sing more.

97. Grace flows through your days.

98. Ease flows through your nights.

99. You finally decide: Now is the time, now is the time to live my life fully, not in the past, not in the future, but now.

100. You know impermanence, you know joy, and you know how straightforward life can be.

101. You recognize that in fact, you have arrived.

Love & Laughter Always! – John

Categories
Love

The 50 Best Quotes on Self-Love

Love and appreciate yourself – you’re all you have.

Know Yourself

  1. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. ~ Carl Jung
  2. You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are. ~ Yogi Bhajan
  3. We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light. ~ Mary Dunbar
  4. What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
 ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  5. Everything worth having costs something, and the price of true love is self-knowledge.
  6. Becoming acquainted with yourself is a price well worth paying for the love that will really address your needs. ~ Daphne Rose Kingma
  7. My willingness to be intimate with my own deep feelings creates the space for intimacy with another. ~ Shakti Gawain
  8. People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Be True to Yourself

  1. Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.
  2. Follow that will and that way which experience confirms to be your own. ~ Carl Jung
  3. The hardest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you be somebody else.
 ~ E. E. Cummings
  4. Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one. 
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
  5. To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  6. She lacks confidence, she craves admiration insatiably. She lives on the reflections of herself in the eyes of others. She does not dare to be herself. ~ Anais Nin
  7. I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.
 ~ Abraham Lincoln

 

Respect  Yourself

  1. The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself ~  Steve Maraboli
  2. The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore. ~ C. JoyBell
  3. Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  4. Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. ~ William James
  5. It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to. ~ W.C. Fields

 Value Yourself

  1. Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are. ~ Malcolm S. Forbes
  2. Scarcity of self value cannot be remedied by money, recognition, affection, attention or influence. ~ Gary Zukav
  3. The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
~ William James

Accept Yourself

  1. To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
  2. Our entire life … consists ultimately in accepting ourselves as we are. 
~ Jean Anouih
  3. I’ve finally stopped running away from myself. Who else is there better to be? 
~ Golden Hawn
  4. Your problem is you’re … too busy holding onto your unworthiness. 
~ Ram Dass
  5. To accept ourselves as we are means to value our imperfections as much as our perfections. ~ Sandra Bierig
  6. Believing in our hearts that who we are is enough is the key to a more satisfying and balanced life. ~ Ellen Sue Stern

Love Yourself

  1. You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy.
  2. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection. ~ Buddha
  3. You can’t build joy on a feeling of self-loathing. ~ Ram Dass
  4. It’s not your job to like me…it’s MINE! ~ Byron Katie
  5. Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. ~ Rumi, thirteenth century Sufi poet
  6. Love is the great miracle cure. Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.
~ Louise L. Hay
  7. A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror. ~ Ken Keyes
  8. Loving yourself…does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honoured guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion. ~ Margo Anand
  9. If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t even giving to yourself. ~ Barbara De Angelis
  10. Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting. ~ William Shakespeare
  11. To love yourself right now, just as you are, is to give yourself heaven. Don’t wait until you die. If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now. ~ Alan Cohen
  12. I celebrate myself, and sing myself. ~ Walt Whitman
  13. Find the love you seek, by first finding the love within yourself. Learn to rest in that place within you that is your true home. ~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
  14. I love myself for I am a beloved child of the universe and the universe lovingly takes care of me now. ~ Louise Hay
  15. Whatever you are doing, love yourself for doing it. Whatever you are feeling, love yourself for feeling it ~ Thaddeus Golas

Expand Yourself

  1. There is nothing noble about being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self. ~ Hindu Proverb
  2. It is never too late to be what you might have been. ~ George Eliott
  3. Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. 
~ Veronica A. Shoffstall
  4. Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness. 
~ Jean Vanier
  5. When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life. ~ Jean Shinoda Bolen
  6. It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves. ~ Edmund Hillary (first man to climb Mt. Everest).
Categories
Life Choices

Your Life is What You Make it.

 

“If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.” Robert Fritz

Your life is what you make it. Your present  life is the result of all the choices you have ever made. You are the only one responsible for where you are right now, for how your life looks, for how you are being treated by those around you, for your level of happiness or unhappiness. You and only you. If you want to change the quality of your life, if you want to change the quality of the relationships you have, you have to start by taking responsibility for everything. Yes, everything!

If you keep on doing the same things over and over again, you will get the same results, over and over again. Your life will change the moment you decide it is time to change, it’s that simple. It all starts with a thought, an idea, and based on that, the actions you will take, will lead you in a different and new direction, will lead you in the right direction. Even though it may seem hard at first, in time, little by little, things will get better and better. Whenever you feel out of sync, burned out and powerless, whenever you feel like there is nothing left for you to do, repeat these words to yourself:

I choose to be patient for I know life is a journey not a destination.

I choose to forgive myself for all the mistakes I may have made in the past and to advance confidently in the direction of my dreams.

I choose to live a powerful and inspiring life.

I choose to express my gratitude and appreciation daily.

I choose to be happy, joyful and kind.

I choose to be an inspiration for all.

I choose to live a balanced life, for I know that balance is the key to a happy and successful life.

I choose to be content.

I choose to get up every time I go down and start all over again because I know that I CAN DO IT.

I choose to be opened in mind and spirit to what the world has to offer and embrace it all as it comes.

I choose to accept all the gifts life has to offer me.

I choose to allow events take their course without me trying to control everything.

I choose to be kind towards those people who like me and also those people who don’t.

I choose to always step out of my comfort zone, to stretch, to grow and to evolve.

I choose to take care of my health every single day for as long as I live.

I choose to help others grow and develop, knowing that, by doing so, I will grow with them.

I choose to always be true to myself.

I choose to always look at the bright side of life.

I choose to believe that everything I need, the universe will supply.

I choose to release all of my fears and doubts, knowing that they are all self created, keeping me away from achieving great things.

I choose to grow and develop into a wonderful, beautiful and powerful human being.

I choose to listen to my heart and intuition, knowing that they will always guide me in the right direction.

I choose to step into the unknown, knowing that in the unknown lies my freedom, my opportunity for growth.

I choose to let go of the past, be confident about the future, and to always be present in the now.

I choose to share my unique gifts and talents with the world.

I choose to always do what I love, and love what I do.

I choose to be loving towards myself and the world around me.

I choose to believe in myself, knowing that I have incredible potential and I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.

I choose to be free of the good intentions of others and to always live my life the way I feel is right for me.

I choose to have faith, knowing that things will always turn out for the best.

Thanks to the Purpose Fairy for this Wisdom. Love & Laughter Always! ~ John

Categories
Life Choices

What Goes Around, Comes Around.

Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind. ~ Henry James

One day a man saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road, but even In the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her. Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn’t look safe; he looked poor and hungry.

He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill which only fear can put in you. He said, ‘I’m here to help you, ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson.’ Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to putthe jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two.

Soon he was able to change the tire.But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt. As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid. Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her.

She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty, who had given him a hand in the past. He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Bryan added, ‘And think of me.’ He waited until she started her car and drove off.

It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight. A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair.She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase. The lady noticed that the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan .. After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill.

The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, but the old lady had slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be. Then she noticed something written on the napkin.There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: ‘You don’t owe me anything. I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you.’

Under the napkin were 4 more $100 bills. Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people tos erve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it?

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. ~ Plato

With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard…. She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, ‘Everything’s going to be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson.’

This article was written by Manvita Gandhi. Love & Be Kind to People! ~ John

Categories
Life Choices

Top 5 Regrets

A Nurse reveals the top 5 regrets people make on their deathbed.

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. When you are on your deathbed, what  others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is about choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness. Love and Laughter Always! ~ John

Categories
Mindfulness

Mindfulness in Sport

To achieve optimum performance, athletes not only need to train their bodies but also need to have complete control over their minds. Professional players always seem to have a natural ability to create ‘mind over muscle’. What they are actually doing is playing the game mindfully. Having a mindfulness practice helps sports people increase their concentration and focus on their game. It’s about having the ability to see things as they really are without being influenced by mood, fear or other strong feelings. Regular mindfulness practice helps to enhance performance and will prevent burn-out.

Here are some mindfulness tips which will help you to compete at your very best in your chosen sport :-

  • Breathe easy:
    It’s vital for all athletes to get into a habit of mindful breathing. This is recommended whenever you start feeling stressed out, anxious or insecure. You should try and bring awareness to your breath as much as possible, especially before you perform. It’s important to be aware of the different thoughts coming into your mind, to immediately let them go, like cars passing your house. This will help you to remain calm, sharp and mindful.
  • Feel your senses:
    No matter what kind of sports you are in, you will get an opportunity for full body awareness. Suppose, you are running, you need to feel the moment to moment connection which your body experiences that includes discomfort as well as pain. The main challenge is to experience that level of sensation and experience its pattern. The mind will have a tendency to wander away – you need to use mindfulness to accept this, and bring your attention back to the job at hand.
  • Focus
    Sports people need to be intentional of what they are doing. It’s important to keep your focus, which is an essential part of mindfulness, and not let other thoughts interfere with your performance. Focus on the current moment – whether it is fitness training, a regular exercise routine or the actual event.
  • Enjoy common activities:
    Practise mindfulness even when you are doing some common tasks, like washing dishes, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, packing your sport-bag, getting ready for an event or simple walking up to a pre-destined area. Suppose you are travelling in a bus, all you need to do is take mindful breaths and start reflecting on the things which occurred throughout your day. This relaxes your mind and helps accept any emotions without fighting with them or trying to avoid them.
  • Practise with a fellow sport:
    How many times have you faced a situation when you simply wished to end a conversation with someone prematurely and move on? Well, why not start fully listening to what others have to say and then react very honestly to what the other person has to say. You will surely become a better listener and know yourself better, thereby building patience and better friendships too.
  • Analyse things calmly:
    You need to contemplate your body, feelings and state of mind. Focus on your breath, clear your mind and analyse different aspects of your situation mindfully.

Mindfulness in Sport is all about being fully aware, fully focused and stepping back from your thoughts and emotions! Love & Laughter Always! – John

Categories
ACT Mindfully

The ‘Willpower’ Trap

All of us, at times, fail to make important changes in our life, even though we know it would be good for us. And we’re all well-practised at coming up with reasons to justify it. And two of the most common of these reasons are ‘I’ve got no willpower’ or ‘I’ve got no discipline’. Our mind can easily hook us with these stories, and turn them into self-fulfilling prophecies. The fantasy our minds conjure up is that there is something called ‘discipline’ or ‘willpower’ and once we possess this thing, we’ll be able to start doing what really matters.

This fantasy is reinforced by everyday language: when we hear, ‘It takes discipline to get up early in the morning and go to the gym’, it sounds like there is some magic potion called ‘discipline’, and until we have this magic potion, we can’t get up early and go to the gym.

Unfortunately, if we buy into this fantasy, then we encounter one of two problems.

Problem one: we go off in search of the magic potion – reading books or doing courses to try and develop more willpower or discipline – instead of committing to action right now.
Problem two: we decide the magic potion is unobtainable, and we give up on doing what matters because we ‘don’t have enough’ discipline or willpower.

So let’s be clear: there is no magic potion; there is no chemical, hormone, gene or part of the brain called ‘discipline’ or ‘willpower’. These words are merely descriptive labels; they are ways of describing a pattern of committed action. When we say someone has ‘discipline’ or ‘willpower’, what we mean is this: this person consistently commits to acting on their values, and doing what is required to achieve their goals – even when they don’t feel like doing it.
Another way to put this is: actions come first, feelings later.

First, we learn to act consistently on our values, whether we are feeling good or bad, tired or energised, anxious or calm, happy or miserable, ‘in the mood for it’ or not.
And only after we have established the habit of acting on our values even when we don’t feel like it, will we feel like we have discipline or willpower.
Therefore, next time you notice your mind say, ‘I’ve got no willpower’, take a moment to consider: what purpose might this story serve? Changing our behaviour will inevitably bring up uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. So if we hold on tightly to the story that ‘I can’t change because I don’t have the willpower’, then it saves us from having to experience those uncomfortable feelings. In other words, our minds tell us this story to help us escape from pain. But what is the long term cost of buying this story?

So next time this story pops into your head, ask yourself, ‘If I let this story dictate what I do, will it take my life in the direction I want to go?’
Then ask yourself, ‘Am I willing to take action, to do what enriches my life in the long term, even though it’s uncomfortable, and even though my mind is saying I don’t have the willpower to do it?’
And if your answer is yes, then ACT: Accept your thoughts and feelings, Choose a valued direction, and Take action mindfully.

Thanks to Dr Russ Harris for this post. Love & Laughter ~ John

Categories
Life Choices

Show Up For Your Life

The way we walk into a room says a lot about the way we live our lives. When we walk into a room curious about what’s happening, willing to engage, to be flexible, to have an open mind and perceiving ourselves as an active participant with something to offer, then we have really shown up as our true selves. When we walk into a room with our eyes down, or nervously smiling, we are holding ourselves back for one reason or another. We may be hurting inside and in need of healing, or we may lack the confidence required to really be present in the room. Still, just noticing that we’re not really showing up, and having a vision of what it will look and feel like when we do, can give us the inspiration we need to recover ourselves.

Even if we are suffering, we can show up to that experience ready to fully engage in it and learn what it has to offer. When we show up for our life, we are actively participating in being a happy person, achieving our goals, and generally living the life we truly desire. If we need healing, we begin the process of seeking out those who can help us heal. If we need experience, we find the places and opportunities that can give us the experience we need in order to do the work we want to do in the world. Whatever we need, we look for it, and when we find it, we engage in the process of letting ourselves have it. When we do this kind of work, we become lively, confident, and passionate individuals.

There is almost nothing better in the world than the feeling of showing up for our own lives. When we can do this, we become people that are more alive and who have the ability to make things happen in our lives and the lives of the people around us. We walk through the world with the knowledge that we have a lot to offer and the desire to share it. Walk like there is a helicopter above your head pulling you up. This gives you a feeling of confidence and is also great for your posture, especially late in life. Try it!

Stay Positive. Stay Present. Stay Strong. Stay Smiling! ~ John

Categories
Life Choices

Benefits of Laughter

 

Health Benefits of Laughter: Stress Relief, Immunity, and More:

Research has shown that the health benefits of laughter are far-ranging. While more studies need to be done, studies so far have shown that laughter can help relieve pain, bring greater happiness, and even increase immunity. Positive psychology names the propensity for laughter and sense of humor as one of the 24 main signature strengths one can possess, and laughter clubs are springing up across the country. Unfortunately, however, many people don’t get enough laugher in their lives. In fact, one study suggests that healthy children may laugh as much as 400 times per day, but adults tend to laugh only 15 times per day. (If you ask me, that is far too little laughter!) Read on for more findings about the health benefits of laughter, and see how to incorporate more humor and fun into your life.

Stress Management Benefits of Laughter:

Hormones: Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline), dopamine and growth hormone. It also increases the level of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins and neurotransmitters. Laughter increases the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T cells. All this means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects of stress.

Physical Release: Have you ever felt like you “have to laugh or I’ll cry”? Have you experienced the cleansed feeling after a good laugh? Laughter provides a physical and emotional release.

Internal Workout: A good belly laugh exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs and even works out the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterward. It even provides a good workout for the heart.

Distraction: Laughter brings the focus away from anger, guilt, stress and negative emotions in a more beneficial way than other mere distractions.

Perspective: Studies show that our response to stressful events can be altered by whether we view something as a ‘threat’ or a ‘challenge’. Humor can give us a more lighthearted perspective and help us view events as ‘challenges’, thereby making them less threatening and more positive.

Social Benefits of Laughter: Laughter connects us with others. Just as with smiling and kindness, most people find that laughter is contagious, so if you bring more laughter into your life, you can most likely help others around you to laugh more, and realize these benefits as well. By elevating the mood of those around you, you can reduce their stress levels, and perhaps improve the quality of social interaction you experience with them, reducing your stress level even more!

How To Use Laughter:

Laughter is one of my all-time favorite stress management strategies because it’s free, convenient, and beneficial in so many ways. You can get more laughter in your life with the following strategies:

T.V. and Movies: There’s no shortage of laughter opportunities from the entertainment, both at the theater and in the aisles of the video stores, as well as at home with T.V. comedies. While wasting your time watching something marginally funny may actually frustrate you, watching truly hilarious movies and shows is an easy way to get laughter into your life whenever you need it.

Laugh With Friends: Going to a movie or comedy club with friends is a great way to get more laughter in your life. The contagious effects of laughter may mean you’ll laugh more than you otherwise would have during the show, plus you’ll have jokes to reference at later times. Having friends over for a party or game night is also a great setup for laughter and other good feelings.

Find Humor In Your Life: Instead of complaining about life’s frustrations, try to laugh about them. If something is so frustrating or depressing it’s ridiculous, realize that you could ‘look back on it and laugh.’ Think of how it will sound as a story you could tell to your friends, and then see if you can laugh about it now. With this attitude, you may also find yourself being more lighthearted and silly, giving yourself and those around you more to laugh about. Approach life in a more mirthful way and you’ll find you’re less stressed about negative events, and you’ll achieve the health benefits of laughter.

‘Fake It Until You Make It’: Just as studies show the positive effects of smiling occur whether the smile is fake or real, faked laughter also provides the benefits mentioned above. The body can’t distinguish between ‘fake’ laughter that you just start doing on purpose, and ‘real’ laughter that comes from true humour… the physical benefits are exactly the same and the former usually leads to the latter anyway. So smile more, and fake laughter; you’ll still achieve positive effects, and the fake merriment may lead to real smiles and laughter.

Love & Laughter Always! – John