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Grateful Body: How to Find an Open Heart in Troubled Times

Many of us know the power of gratitude to change our lives. When we’re reminded to practice gratitude, most of us find ourselves filled with love and peace. As we bring to mind all that we are thankful for in our lives, we feel waves of positive feelings.   In America, we even dedicate our most precious national holiday to this practice: Thanksgiving. Gratitude shifts our focus from what we lack to what we have, it brings us into presence and opens our hearts. But, what if all we are grateful for is stripped away? What if we find ourselves filled with longing, fear, or anger as we peer at the unjust world around us?   Even the most conscientious practice of gratitude can fall short when we focus gratitude on the things outside ourselves. We are grateful for our family, health, wealth, peace, and friendships. Then one day, perhaps in the midst of a pandemic, all is unceremoniously taken from us. Our family is ill, our job is lost, our nation’s shortcomings are thrown in our face. What then can we be grateful for? How then can we find our way back to an open and loving heart? How can we take up the fight if we are paralyzed by loss or anger?   The answer comes when we practice gratitude for our inner gifts. The gift of our own calmness, kindness, and love. As the world around us churns in violent upheaval, we can return to love through this deeper practice of gratitude. Practice gratitude for the qualities in yourself that you value most. Your kindness, your love, your ability to empathize with the pain of others.   From that place of gratitude, we can take up the fight for truth and justice from a posture of strength. When we anchor our gratitude in our soul’s higher qualities, we find ourselves more able to step into our power and purpose.   I work with horses in my spiritual equine coaching practice. Clients come and learn about themselves, their inner truths, challenges, and gifts, through the eyes of the horse. Horses invite us to enter the present moment, to be grateful for what is, and find peace through living in our truth. In my practice, one of my horses gave a client a beautiful gratitude practice that I will share with you now. Grateful Body Stand with feet hip width apart, shoulders relaxing down the back, and heart open. Inhale deeply into the belly, ribcage, then upper chest. Exhale deeply in the opposite direction: upper chest, ribcage, then belly. Now, focus on each body part, beginning with your toes. As you focus on each body part, bring to mind something within that you are grateful for. Work your way from toes to legs to trunk to chest to arms to fingers to neck to head. At each body part, visualize that inner quality of yourself that you are thankful for. If you run out [...]

2021-01-11T14:41:28-08:00By |

3 Ways Single People Can Stay Happy and Fulfilled

It sometimes seems like the only path to happiness is with a partner. Just look at TV commercials, rom-coms, and Hallmark cards. Sure, being with someone is special, but single life is just as satisfying. You don’t need to be part of a couple to be complete, and it’s about time that the world wakes up and realizes that happiness comes from within, with or without a significant other to share it with. Whether you are single by choice or due to circumstance, embracing your freedom and all the fun you can have solo is exciting. Being partner-free doesn’t mean loneliness. It gives you opportunity to explore and engage, all on your own terms and in your own time. I’m in a relationship, and it gives me great joy. That said, when I was single, I felt just as fulfilled, just in a different way. Life has its steps and stages. It’s important to take in every moment, appreciate the present, and free your mind of the “What ifs?” and focus on the “What now?” Perhaps “The One” is somewhere out there (if that’s what you want), but for now, it’s all about self-acceptance, a zest for life, and the understanding that your peace and prosperity comes from personal experience and positive energy. Here are three ways single people can stay happy and fulfilled. You deserve the best, so dig in and do it.   Form Friendships You may have a large circle of friends or just one or two you can count on, but there’s always room for new platonic relationships. It can be tricky to make new friends as an adult, but when you’re open to stepping outside your comfort zone, you’ll give off a vibe that’s welcoming and accepting. Seek out like-minded individuals by volunteering, taking classes, or just being extra-friendly when you’re going about your errands and daily to-dos. You can meet new people at the gym, in line at the grocery store, or while you’re walking your dog. All too often, we keep to ourselves and lose the opportunity to find a friend. Smile at a stranger and you may just find a connection.   Be Healthy Make yourself your number one priority by eating well, exercising, meditating, and treating yourself to the extras that give you a good feeling. When you’re at your best, you feel awake and alive. If we don’t tend to our mind, body, and spirit, we can fall into a slump. We think the answer comes from the outside – perhaps in a mate – but the real solution is self-care and mind-body management. Go for whole foods, lots of hydration, regular workouts, and plenty of sleep. Erase negative thoughts and give yourself the go-ahead to reach new goals and greater self-awareness. It’s not about looking a certain way or pleasing anyone else. Good health is personal and productive. Put your all into it, and you’ll be enough all on your own.   Delve Into [...]

2020-12-10T17:15:58-08:00By |

When You Focus on Yourself, Don’t Forget Everyone Else

“Time and good friends are two things that get more valuable the older you get.” ~Unknown   In recent years, we’ve collectively been talking a lot about creating boundaries and letting go of things that no longer serve us. Many of us have gotten better at permitting ourselves to say no and to escape old habits and routines. We’re also more open about our choices to reject people and places that exude bad vibrations or bad energy. I love that we’re becoming more conscious of the universe that’s always changing all around us. Together, we’re acknowledging the power we have to make mindful decisions that resonate with our higher selves. That’s what it’s all been about, right? Maybe not quite. I’ve been thinking a lot about how this evolution on the focus of “self” is affecting everyone and everything else. While we’re busy setting boundaries against the world, are we forgetting to establish boundaries with ourselves? And when we are actively avoiding places with bad vibes, are we considering the energy we bring into spaces? While we’re working on finding inner balance, are we leaving behind the people that depend on us for stability? And while we’re off becoming who we’re meant to be, are we selectively excluding parts of our reality? Think about it. You can love the vibes of your favorite studio, but if you show up five minutes late, after frantically running in from the subway, you shift the energy of the entire room. Or, in another example, you may feel empowered by a boundary you set with someone, but what if the person on the other end doesn’t understand why? You can be in the process of becoming your best self, but are you also still honoring your relationships and responsibilities? Are you still honoring the world that gives you the space to breathe? What we need to avoid, quite frankly, is becoming spiritually selfish. True, when we show up for ourselves, we’re better at showing up for others, but we can’t forget to notice how we show up in the meantime. Of course, we must have an understanding of how we feel through developing self-awareness. It’s also vital we retain an awareness of how we make others feel. Yes, we must focus on what’s happening in our inner world with more compassion, but that doesn’t mean dismissing what’s happening in the world around us. We must learn how to find stillness in our chaos, but it’s just as imperative that we are not causing any chaos ourselves. I’ve loved my spiritual journey, and I’ve found a lot of value in exploring the confines of what I didn’t think was possible while keeping an open mind to what more there could be. I’ve become more grounded by taking the time to get to know the edges of myself. And I’ve learned to alchemize my vulnerability to help me move toward my potential. Even still, I’ll admit I’ve probably been selfish in [...]

2020-03-24T12:49:45-07:00By |

How My Gratitude Journal Has Made Life More Fulfilling and Fun

“Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be genuine. But most of all, be thankful.” ~Unknown   Have you ever tried to keep a daily journal? How long did you last? I’ve tried to keep one many times in my life, and I have failed every time. The longest I’ve ever kept a journal was for a measly two weeks, in a Google Doc, with my college roommates as a way to keep in touch, before I got bored and stopped. For the last four months, though, I’ve managed to write in my journal every day. The trick, for me, has been to keep my updates short and sweet and to write less about my daily problems, which tends to make me feel hopeless and overwhelmed instead of relieved, and more about the things I love in daily life. I keep a gratitude journal, and it isn’t a drag, like my past diaries. It’s fun and makes me laugh because I limit myself to writing about only two types of things: moments of gratitude and moments of triumph, or wins, as I call them. Occasionally, and I mean only when something bothers me so much that I can’t sleep, I rant. Keeping the journal has changed my life, and it’s good value too! Doing it costs me less than five minutes and five dollars, depending on the brand of pen I buy (I’m a sucker for Pentel Energel pens). If you’re looking for ways to integrate more gratitude into your life, I can definitely recommend keeping a gratitude journal. I’ve benefited from it in five specific ways, probably more. Here’s how:   1. I enjoy spending time with loved ones more and see our challenging moments differently. I recently realized that one of the impacts of losing my mom is a constant fear of losing other people I love. My mom died five years ago, and I feel anxious about eventually losing my dad all the time. It puts a lot of pressure on me to be fully present for every moment we spend together and to be the perfect daughter. Here’s an example: My dad and I see a movie together, and I’ll periodically say to myself throughout the film “This could be the last movie we see together. You need to appreciate every moment!” It’s a pressure that will always be part of me, but I write in my gratitude journal because I refuse to let it control my life. Writing things like, “I’m grateful that I got to see a movie with Dad today,” relaxes me. It’s like giving myself permission to enjoy the movie because I know that I’m not letting the moment mindlessly slip by. My gratitude journal also helps me reframe the challenging moments I have with my dad. For example, I recently wrote, “My win today was setting aside my ego and communicating with Dad after we got into an argument over cleaning out old things.” Now, instead of seeing confrontations as [...]

2020-03-24T12:35:44-07:00By |

Ways to Show Thanks with Meaning…Not Money

Letting someone know you appreciate them is a kind gesture that speaks volumes. All too often, good deeds go unnoticed, and those who deserve praise get passed over. When you have the chance to thank someone for any reason, be sure your message comes from the heart. The same goes for when you simply want to put your gratitude out there in the universe, be it for your many blessings or a particular instance. There could be a time when a monetary gift would make sense as a gesture of thanks. While it is sure to be appreciated, it does not always make the biggest impact. Not to mention, not everyone has the means to give much, making the thanks seem skimpy or shortsighted. Rather than a monetary exchange, show your thanks in a way that’s far richer. They say it’s the thought that counts, so step up to the plate and prove just how appreciative you are.   The Art of The Handwritten Note We have gotten used to texting, making it one of the top ways we communicate on nearly any level. While a thank you text does the job swiftly, the recipient knows it took little to no effort to send it off. Do more than the bare minimum when you want to go the extra mile. Pen a handwritten note and spend time giving credit and care. Give your note to your recipient and they will be delighted by your dedication. It only takes a few minutes to complete, and the reaction will be priceless.   Time Is Precious A quick phone call or an in-person thank you is generally sufficient in most circumstances, but spending time with someone is so much more enjoyable and engaging. Sharing experiences shows you care, and when you take a few hours out of your schedule, the time spent is special. It doesn’t cost a thing to sit down with someone to talk and laugh, and the value could never compare to emotionless dollar signs. The connection keeps relationships thriving, and your thank you will be remembered fondly.   Food for Thought Whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies or some banana bread and bring it to someone who has done something worth celebrating. Your culinary skills don’t have to be superb, as long as the cooking is done with lots of love. If you are feeling especially crafty, package the homemade goods in a lovely basket with ribbons. Tuck in some paper plates and disposable cutlery to make things easier. Next time go one step further by inviting them over to your home where maybe you can share stories along with some dinner.   Remember, slipping someone some money may seem satisfactory, and for some, the need is there, and you will be doing them a great service. If that is the case, give what you can when appropriate. Otherwise, realize that money is just an object, and your sentiments and actions go [...]

2020-11-23T19:02:03-08:00By |

Thanksgiving for Two – Celebrating with Your Special Someone

Thanksgiving this year may be a little different than usual. With less travel and smaller gatherings, you may find yourself having a cozy couple’s celebration rather than an all-out family/friends affair. While you may miss the catching up and carefree chaos, there’s something nice about giving a low-key thanks with the special someone in your life. A table for two is far simpler to set up, and you won’t have to worry about your “crazy uncle” going off the rails or everyone asking about the status of your relationship. When you have a Thanksgiving for two, you can bring on the romance while being grateful for your blessings, as you carve the turkey and share the side dishes. Pop open a nice bottle of wine, toast to your good fortune, and settle in with a smile. Be sure to leave room for extra dessert…wink, wink.   Eat What You Want The typical Thanksgiving fare is delicious, but you don’t have to do the same old thing when it’s just the two of you. If you’re in the mood for something different, serve what you like. Perhaps you’d prefer fish or steak instead of turkey, or want to lighten up the side dishes with fresh salads instead of sweet potatoes and stuffing. You can even order in rather than cooking, saving time and energy so you can relax on your day off. You’re sure to still have leftovers, so store them for the next day’s lunch, when you and your partner can enjoy another meal together.   Make It Festive Just because it’s only the two of you doesn’t mean the holiday isn’t as important. Give yourselves the full Thanksgiving treatment by bringing out the good dinnerware, using cloth napkins, and getting dressed up nicely for your meal. Play some ambiance music, light a few candles, and sit down at the dining room table rather than plopping down on the couch in front of the TV. Take your time with your meal – savor every bite as well as the precious moments with your partner.   Pay It Forward You’re fortunate to have a hot meal to eat and someone to share it with. Before sitting down to supper, take some time to help those less fortunate. You can spend a few hours volunteering at a soup kitchen, collect canned goods for donation, or give money to a charitable organization. A little goes a long way, and any effort you can put forth will be appreciated. Doing something like this with your loved one makes the experience even more meaningful, and hopefully you’ll continue doing so moving forward.   Follow Up with Family Your laid-back Thanksgiving is something you’ll cherish, but find a few minutes to wish your family a happy holiday. Zoom or FaceTime to check in on your loved ones to find out how their day was, and hopefully this time next year, you’ll all be together. Then again, if your Thanksgiving for two [...]

2020-11-10T13:27:28-08:00By |

Navigating the Holidays When Your Relationship Hits “Serious” Status

With holiday season fast approaching, making plans with friends and family is at the forefront. While gatherings and get-togethers may be a bit different this year due to the current state of affairs, there are still sure to be celebrations as 2020 wraps. If you are in a relationship and it’s now reaching the next level, the holiday season becomes a bit more involved. With a partner to share the experiences with, there will have to be compromise and consideration. There are two sets of families and friends to manage, introductions to be made, and traditions to formulate and follow. Before you stress out, remember the season is all about love, laughter, and life. There is no need to get too structured when food, fun, and feeling good are first and foremost. These tips below will help you and your significant other navigate the holidays as a couple. Before long, you will be ringing in the New Year with more memories to make.   Give A “Heads Up” Before accepting invitations and showing up, alert your loved ones that your relationship is getting serious. You don’t want there to be awkward conversations or any big surprises. Those who support your decisions will be happy that you’ve found that “special someone,” and the fact that you’re celebrating these milestones as a couple is a big deal. This will be your first “introduction” as a serious couple, so expect some questions…perhaps a little prying. Hopefully, nothing gets too personal or uncomfortable, and everyone just wants to get to know your partner better.   Divide and Conquer Unless you can somehow manage to get both sets of family and friends all together for one big gathering, you’re going to have to decide who you’re going to spend the holidays with. This issue often causes tension between partners, so plan wisely well before the holidays approach. You can do Thanksgiving with your family and Christmas or Hannukah with your partner’s. Perhaps you split the day and head over for supper with one set and dessert with another. And who says you must celebrate a holiday on a specific day? Make it a double and celebrate twice! There are plenty of ways to be sure you cover all the bases and see all the faces you look forward to seeing this time of year. With a little arranging and adjusting, everyone will be on board. Better yet, host the holidays yourselves and invite the whole group to your place. Problem solved.   Release the Pressure Holiday season can cause anxiety. There’s a lot to do, and the expectations are extraordinary. Don’t let the “musts” of the season cause you to lose your cool. Take a deep breath and give thanks for what you have, including your relationship.   Don’t worry about what your friends and family will think. Be yourselves and everything will fall into place. After all, if your relationship is getting serious, your families may blend before you [...]

2020-11-09T16:13:30-08:00By |

When Should You Consider Couples Therapy?

Relationships take work, and any couple that claims theirs is easy breezy 100% of the time must be either sugarcoating the truth or the luckiest people on the planet. Most couples have ups and downs, good times and bad, highs, lows, and everything in between. From the thrills to the troubles, those who intend to stick with it will do all in their power to persist. Throwing in the towel isn’t an option, and fighting for love is what they believe in. It takes strength and support to make it through the trying times and staying on track can be tricky. Sometimes, this requires professional guidance to get to a place of positivity, especially when the couple feels stuck in a rut or at their wit’s end. Should you consider couples therapy? If you’re already thinking about it, the answer is probably yes. First and foremost, erase any shame or stigma you may feel about this option. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about and nothing to hide. Taking steps to improve your relationship is a meaningful approach towards a brighter future and a closer connection.   You’re Constantly Bickering If you can’t go a day without back-and-forth bickering, nitpicking, and feeling annoyed, there’s surely an underlying issue at play. Rather than delving deep into the root of the problem, you find fault in nearly everything else. It’s exasperating. This dreadful dynamic leads to tension and aggravation. You’ll focus on trivial things that otherwise wouldn’t have bothered you. Your relationship will suffer as you throw verbal jabs and criticize. Couples therapy can help you open up to share what’s really bothering you. Once that’s out in the open and you can heal that pain, the bickering will become a thing of the past. You’ll be able to address one another directly with the tools your therapist teaches you.   Lack of Trust Trust is the cornerstone of a good relationship. When it’s broken, everything can fall apart. When one or both partners lose trust, it affects nearly everything, and this can lead to arguments, lack of affection, and even a breakup. One may lose trust due to infidelity, lies, secrets, or something else that compromises the confidence and faith in the relationship. Constant questioning and ongoing doubt is stressful and scary. Couples therapy can address this concern and help the couple reestablish a level of certainty and stability, so they can regain the trust that was lost along the way.   You’ve Hit A Dry Spell The “honeymoon phase” is over and now you feel more like friends. There’s little (if any) romance and your relationship is pretty much platonic. While it’s nice to have a best friend by your side, you want more out of your relationship for the long run. A therapist can help you reignite the spark you once shared, prompting you to fall in love all over again. Don’t expect the same level lust you experienced when the relationship was new, but [...]

2020-11-09T13:51:32-08:00By |

I Used to Be Hungry All the Time

I mean, hungry allll the time. Basically, if I was awake, I was ready to eat. I’d mindlessly pick at whatever was available. I’d wander the kitchen feeling “snacky” all the time. I’d be completely consumed with thoughts of what I was going to eat next from the minute I woke up til the minute I went to bed. And behind all the desires to eat were always the arguments—what I wanted to eat versus what I thought I was “supposed” to eat. No matter how much I had just eaten, I could literally always still eat. I lived in a constant state of fear of putting on more weight and felt guilty and horrible about myself for all of it. “No thanks, I’m not hungry” wasn’t a sentence that existed in my vocabulary. If there was food around, I was eating it. If there wasn’t food around, I was going to get it. (An interesting point to make here, and something for you to think about in your own history with food and dieting, is that I was never like that until I started dieting. The harder I tried to restrict certain foods, the worse it seemed to get, but I digress…) Dieting and food rules were a big part of the cause, but they weren’t the only cause. For many years, I thought I was a pig. I thought I was just someone who loved food. I thought I was a pig with no self-control. For quite a while I even thought I was addicted to food (and more specifically, sugar). That was the problem, I thought. The solution then, of course, was to just try keep trying to “be good.” I had to want it more, shame myself more, and try harder to stop eating things I shouldn’t eat. I thought the way I felt about my body (hatred, of course) was my fault because I was too much of a pig to stop eating and I kept making myself fatter and fatter (I thought). I knew there were things in my past that could have been considered “issues” I’d never dealt with, but as far as I was concerned, they were in the past. I was over them. Besides, I was strong and nothing bothered me (I thought). That’s what I honestly believed. But wow, was I wrong. Here’s what I’ve learned in the years since I’ve “awakened” (as they say) to the truth. First, our thoughts are not our truth, but if we repeat the same ones to ourselves for long enough, we believe them to be true. What stories are you running on autoplay in your head everyday about yourself, about food, about your body, about food? Second, our thoughts are only the surface level chattering of a very complex computer, and that computer is constantly running (mostly) unconscious programs in the background, all day, every day. Beneath those thoughts, what subconscious beliefs are lingering and driving them? Those programs not [...]

2020-11-09T13:52:42-08:00By |

When Is the Right Time to Say, “I Love You” For the First Time?

The words are nearly falling from your lips, but saying “l love you” for the very first time is tricky. You may be unsure if the feeling is mutual, if it’s too soon to share such an important message, or whether or not it is truly love that you’re experiencing. Only you know what’s in your heart, but expressing it can lead to anything from embarrassment to exhilaration. You feel the butterflies batting away in your belly, your mind is always preoccupied, and when you are with your significant other, you’re in a state of bliss. It’s a beautiful thing, but is it love? Could be. The right time to say “I love you” is different for everyone, but certain principles apply universally. Before you blurt it out, be sure you’re ready, and prepared for whatever reaction will follow. You’re taking a chance, but it’s worth it, especially if the person you’re in love with loves you just the same.   Infatuation or The Real Deal? Is your attraction more than skin deep? And even if you adore your significant other’s personality, are you simply smitten or struck by Cupid? Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if you’re head over heels or if your heart is really in it. If you think you’re at the love stage, consider all facets of the relationship, your significant other’s attributes and attitude, and where you see the relationship going. If it’s just a fling, forget about saying, “I love you.” It’s premature, and probably a surefire way to end the relationship abruptly. However, if you have deep feelings that hit at all your emotions and engage your soul with happiness, love may be where you’re at.   A Private Moment The very first time you say, “I love you” will be meaningful and memorable. Make the moment special by being alone and intimate. The last thing you want to do is shout it out at a crowded bar or in front of others, which can be awkward, to say the least. Find a place that’s private, look into their eyes, and reveal your truth. Your heart will pour out honesty, as they take it in and process your profession. You may get an “I love you too!” in return, which would be the ultimate response, but don’t go in expecting to hear those words. Some people need some time to take it in and figure out how they feel. Don’t be discouraged or regretful, as your sentiment will mark a serious step in your relationship.   On the Other Hand… Sometimes, overthinking can drive you nuts. If you think you’re in love, shout it out from the rooftops. Life is short, and if you think you’ve found “the one,” they ought to know it. While this approach may be risky, if you’re the impulsive type, you’re willing to lay it all out on the table. That said, hopefully you don’t fall in love too easily. One Tinder [...]

2020-10-27T16:59:16-07:00By |

Trauma Can Make Us Sick: How I Found a Key to Healing

“Our bodies contain our histories—every chapter, line, and verse of every event and relationship in our lives.” ~Caroline Myss   I could hear my teacher talking, but I wasn’t listening. Staring at the math homework in front of me, I couldn’t get the sound of my heartbeat out of my head. Two times two equals, thump thump, equals thump thump, four. The more I focused on my heartbeat, the louder it became. I could even feel beating in my chest. Noticing the clock, I had ten more minutes before my mom would meet me in the school office. We had a meeting scheduled with the school nurse. I dreaded it. Was I in trouble? If so, then why was I meeting the nurse and not the principal? Besides, I was an A+ student. I never got in trouble. At the sound of the bell, I made my way reluctantly to the office. As planned, Mom was there. The school nurse, a small woman with a huge smile, met the both of us. “Come in,” she said, as she motioned in the direction of her door. I looked over at my mom and she looked at me, shrugging her shoulders. We were both clueless about the purpose of this meeting. “Uh huh,” clearing her throat, Nurse Smith broke the ice… “Let’s get to it. Casey, you are too thin. It concerns me.” Looking at my mom, she said, “Mom, do you know why Casey is losing so much weight?” My mom quickly described our diet and how she prepared meals for me, “balanced and complete.” “Is Casey seeing a doctor?” Nurse Smith followed up. My mom, in an agitated voice said, “When necessary we go to our family physician.” Looking at me intently, Nurse Smith patted me on the shoulder, “Okay, Casey, you eat more of your mom’s good cooking and get some weight on you. I don’t want to see you back in my office until you fill out a bit.” This was one of many incidents where people, including professionals, noticed something physical about me, made assumptions, but never asked me about my experience. No one asked me about my perceptions of my weight. Did I notice changes in the way my pants fit? Did I notice changes in my desire to eat? Instead, a band-aid approach—eat my mom’s great food—was recommended, and I was sent on my way. It was assumed that if I ate more, my weight would increase. Was eating more also the solution for my fast heartbeat? Apparently not. Months later, during a physical education drill, my teacher confirmed my rapid heartbeat. My teacher was not only concerned, but I was banned from taking physical education classes until my heartbeat was “normal.” Saddened that I couldn’t take a class that I really enjoyed, no one, including my physicians, offered me any solutions. After wearing heart monitors and complying with many tests, I was diagnosed with tachycardia. This is a medical [...]

2020-03-24T12:02:47-07:00By |

4 Secret Tools to Help You Cultivate Calm

In a world of chaos and confusion, cultivating calm comes from our own efforts. With the hustle and bustle of these fast-moving modern times, finding peace and quiet seems near impossible. We have hurdles and hardships, but that doesn’t mean a place of calm isn’t possible. When you’re feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated, it’s important to calm down before things get out of hand. From my own experiences, I know that if I don’t take that important “me time” to decompress, I’ll wind up frantic and frazzled. No matter how much is on my plate, I carve out time for calm in order to center myself and create a harmonious balance that gets me through even the most challenging moments. My secrets? They’re pretty simple. It’s not rocket science or anything time consuming, expensive, or elaborate. These go-to calm-me-down techniques always help me chill out and concentrate. I can relax, recharge, and get that sense of renewal that keeps me from losing my cool.   Mellow Music I have a special playlist I put on when I need to take things down a notch. Smooth R&B, old-school love songs, delicate instrumentals, and pared down acoustic versions of my favorite songs are easy to listen to and put me in a mellow mindset. I love upbeat music too, but I play those songs when I need some pep, like during my intense workouts. When it’s time for low-key listening, I’d rather feel the music than get on my feet and dance. When I’m in bed or resting on the couch and I’m not in a music mood, I play sounds of nature or listen to a book on tape. I can zone out and forget about the world for a while.   Meditation Mode Meditating is so healing. I try to practice as much as possible, even if I can only spend a few minutes here and there to do so. I focus on my breathing and posture, as well as loosening my tight muscles and built-up tension. There’s no formal way to meditate – you can sit quietly in a dim room, follow the instructions of an expert on video, or find an in-person “guru” to guide you. The most important thing is to get in touch with your inner peace as you learn how to cope effectively with outside noise and nonsense. After each meditation session, I always feel like a new person. I’m more patient and positive.   Incense Aromas I’m a big fan of burning incense, not only for the aromatic elements, but for the calming properties. I have a huge collection with nearly every scent I can think of. My favorite sandalwood, with its woodsy waft that permeates the air with warmth. It makes my home feel cozy and I never get tired of the smell. I often burn incense while meditating, making the experience even more soothing for my soul. If you’re not into burning incense, try home fragrance oils. They [...]

2020-10-08T17:47:34-07:00By |