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GrowthBRINGS POSITIVE CHANGE

Additional Self-Care Tips

Additional self-care tips, random thoughts, and quotes for your pleasure and learning: 

  • Human fulfillment is merely a mirage unless we actually reach out and grab what makes us feel alive. What is one healthy thing that you do that promotes your feeling fulfilled?

  • Express your love and appreciation for yourself and others. Get and give several hugs every day. You will feel better and so will those around you.

  • Do you have people in your life that only call you when they need something? Do you feel used or taken for granted? Most of us like to pitch in and help others in times of need. However, we also like to be appreciated, thanked, and valued for our help. Notice who you rely on and take the time to give thanks for how they are available to you. Both of you will likely feel better by that interaction.

  • Remind yourself today that your power ends when your fear begins and see how much you can increase your courage to achieve something you wouldn't ordinarily attempt.

  • Loneliness is one of the hardest things we deal with as humans. The interesting thing is the loneliness often has nothing to do with other people. We can be terribly lonely in a crowd, with a loved one, or by ourselves. Part of the loneliness factor is not being comfortable with ourselves as we are. Once we find inner acceptance and unconditional love for ourselves, our loneliness dissipates. Letting go of our fear of loneliness and getting acquainted with finding a life within gives us a sense of peace that results in contentment.

  • When we are hurting, our immediate "feel better" step is to get outside ourselves. When we allow ourselves to help someone else, we get outside ourselves and usually feel better by taking the focus off our pain. Helping someone in need gives us something to look forward to and it positively contributes to our journey in life.

  • "Happiness is the art of making a bouquet of those flowers within reach." Goddard

  • Billboards bearing "messages from God" around the USA are one-liners with each simply signed "God". They were commissioned anonymously and conceived by Charlie Robb, former creative director for the Smith Agency in Fort Lauderdale. Examples are:

    Let's meet at my house Sunday before the game. Loved the wedding. Invite me to the marriage. Will the road you're on get you to my place? That "love thy neighbor" thing - I meant it. Do you have any idea where you're going?

  • Remind yourself that your happiness is entirely up to you. Look for possibilities to shift your self-talk so you feel better. Remember it is an "inside job" when you are unhappy and when you are happy. This can be very empowering to realize you have the ability to feel better by being kinder and gentler with yourself inside your own head.

  • "When two people meet there are really six present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is." William James (1842-1910) Psychologist

  • So many of our problems are fear-based. Take one fear at a time and analyze it. As you face your fears head-on, you are more likely able to move beyond them. "Please heal my fear-based thoughts" from the book The Only Little Prayer You Need by Debra Landwehr Engle may help you let go of your fears.

  • Billboard messages in the USA sporting "messages from God":                                              What part of "thou shalt not" didn't you understand?

    I love you...l love you...! love you.

    We need to talk.
    Don't make me come down there.

  • Other amazing "It's never to late to be great" examples:  At age 87, Jeannette Rankin, the first female member of Congress, led an anti-Vietnam protest on Capitol Hill. Doris Haddock, the activist also known as Granny D, walked 3,200 miles across the USA to generate support for campaign reform at age 89.  At 90, Jenny Wood-Allen of Scotland completed the London Marathon in 11 hours, 34 minutes. She ran her first marathon at age 71. Hulda Crooks climbed Mount Whitney, the second-highest peak in the USA, at 91.  At 93, Lillian Gish starred in the film "The Whales of August," 72 years after appearing in "The Birth of a Nation." Martha Graham premiered her choreographed work "The Maple Leaf Rag" at 96.

  • My resistance to eating sugar is down when I'm tired, stressed, or overwhelmed. I want sugar especially chocolate, to help lift my spirit or at least my energy. It does work temporarily.Then I pay the price physically with a drop in energy, and emotionally with feeling bad about my behavior/lack of will power (or how I define it). What's the ultimate cost to my body, to my health, and to my emotional well- being? It feels as if I pay a high price for this temporary pleasure.

  • What would it feel like to spend one entire day treating yourself as well as you treat others? Giving yourself kind and loving attention to the point where you feel cherished would be an interesting experiment in self-care.

  • Self-care tip - Deepen your breathing when you get anxious, stressed, tense, or frustrated. Deep breathing helps your body release and relax enough so that you can think clearer and make better choices

  • Yale University began a study in 1953 in which all graduating students were asked if they had written down their goals. About 3 percent had written down at least one goal. For the next 20 years, they studied how those 3 percent fared in life compared to the other 97 percent. In the final analysis, some interesting information emerged. The people who had written down their goals reported being happier than the rest, they displayed better health, a lower incidence of divorce, and greater career satisfaction. The biggest discovery was that the 3 percent who had written down their goals were worth more financially than all the other 97 percent combined! What is especially impressive about this is that it means on the average, the goal writers were making over 30 times the income of their classmates. Knowing what you want to achieve and create in your life and writing it down as a goal is truly a powerful way to live out your dreams.

  • Alison Levin, our amazing volunteer coordinator for our local makers space, Truckee Roundhouse  wrote:

    “I came up with the theory that "beware" is just "be aware" condensed and with a scary undertone.” Perhaps this is a new perspective. 

  • Looking at your well-being on several levels - spiritual , emotional, and physical - can result in new awareness. We can experience contrasts throughout the day. At any moment we may feel spiritually and physically sound while feeling emotionally not up to par. In another moment, we may feel on top of our game physically but emotionally fragile. We can feel as if we are a passenger on the roller coaster of life. Hang on and enjoy the ride! 

  • Appreciate yourself at the end of each day for all the little and big accomplishments of your day. Replay the successful moments over and over. Celebrate what you have done rather than worrying about what still needs completing. Stop all criticism of yourself.

  • "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." Anais Nin (1903-1977)

  • "I will believe in you every day of my life." - Elliot to E.T. from the movie E.T. What would your life be like if someone believed in you completely every day of your life? Could you be that person for yourself? It would be an amazing gift to give this unconditional belief to yourself.

  • "If I do not go within, I go without." This is from the book: Conversations with God. How do you

    "go within" so that you nurture yourself? Notice how you feel when you take a few moments for yourself.

  • "Knowledge without action is the greatest self-con of all." - Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse How do you lie to yourself about something you know you need to take action on? What small change could you make today that would use the knowledge you already have?

  • Forgive yourself. Mistakes are lessons to be learned. Ask yourself what you can learn when you make an error.

  • Research discovered that feelingsonly last for 90 seconds. If you are continuingto feel sad, depressed, happy, or content, you are "looping" the feelings - repeating the story that goes with them over and over. If you want to shift the feelings, shift the story.

  • It is never too late to be great. Examples: At age 65 Laura Ingalls Wilder published Little House in the Big Woods, the first of her eight-volume Little House series. At age 67, Louise Arner Boyd became the first woman to fly over the North Pole. Lillian Carter, mother of President Jimmy Carter joined the Peace Corps at age 68 and served for two years in India. Labor leader Mary Harris "Mother" Jones helped found the Industrial Workers of the World at age 75! At age 76, Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, rode mule wagons and worked as a nurse during the Spanish-American War. Eleanor of Aquitaine led an army to crush a rebellion against her son King John of England at age 78.

  • A mantra for your use: "Even though I'm not able, not willing, or not worthy of being healed around______________ . I love, accept, and forgive myself." Gary Craig, EFT Founder.

  • "Why it's great to be a dog: No one expects you to take a bath every day. If it itches, you can scratch it. There's no such thing as bad food. A rawhide bone can entertain you for hours. If you grow hair in weird places, no one notices. You can lie around all day without worrying about being fired. You don't get in trouble for putting your head in a stranger's lap. You're always excited to see the same people. Having big feet is considered an asset. Puppy love can last." Dawn Dressler

  • Never give up on yourself no matter how far off track you get from your ideal self. Daily and sometimes hourly, we must move back to our chosen path. We must re-assess our goals and shift our behavior and thinking to reflect what we want. Sometimes we must do this minute to minute. Alcoholics Anonymous beliefs help with the attitude of "just do it for today."

  • It's important not to let your spouse, family, or friend's eating behaviors sabotage yours. They are not forcing you to eat the food. Remember, you are willingly choosing to put food in your own mouth. Take responsibly for your actions and make the changes you need to make. You will be happy about your shifts in behavior.

  • The Power to Change Anything by Kerry Patterson states the following: "The National Weight Control Registry has identified vital behaviors for weight loss, using a method that compares the best to the rest. Their data reveals three behaviors that successful people do: 1. Exercise on home equipment 2. Eat breakfast 3. Weigh themselves daily." This is a start in the right direction if you need to lose weight. However, you must find things that work specifically for you, focusing on shifting behaviors. Likely you already know what you want to achieve. Now you want to learn what to actually do to achieve your goals. Then consistency will serve you well to keep doing what is working.

  • Look in the mirror. The person you see is the only person who can change the amount of exercise you do or what you put in your mouth or how you talk to yourself. Be kind to yourself today by being your own best friend - in your mind, say kind things, get out of critical mode and be loving toward yourself. When you look in the mirror, you are looking at the person who is responsible for your health and happiness. Be gentle with your reflection.

  • Pretend you are the weight you wish to be. Stand, walk, and carry yourself as if you are at your ideal weight. You might find yourself feeling lighter, freer, and more confident. Now figure out ways to make this a reality.

  • Helping others can be one of the greatest blessings in life both to ourselves and to the person we are helping. We open our heart in this act of giving to another. Older people often struggle with doing previously simple tasks such as washing bedding or rugs because they can no longer lift them to put them in the washer. Younger people may need a coach or mentor in some area of their life. Is there someone you can lend a helping hand to? Look for the satisfaction in giving.

  • HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018! 

  • If you are looking for something worthwhile to do in 2017 just before it ends. Check out Scott Harrison's goal to bring clean water to everyone in the world at: http://www.charitywater.org/thespring

  • We all try to avoid pain and seek to gain pleasure as human beings. We assume if we only had more money, we'd be happier. In reality, this is not true. Studies show that once individuals are of middle-class status, more money in their lives has no effect on their level of contentment. So if money isn't the key to happiness and fulfillment, what is? People who feel connected to a spiritual purpose, are involved in satisfying relationships, and are striving to achieve meaningful goals are the happiest according to research.

  • We often say: I HAVE to do something. Shifting your self-talk to "I GET to do something" is often a refreshing change in attitude.

  • Some positive questions to include in your life: Why is my life so blessed? Why are my relationships so phenomenal? Why am I so loved? Why is staying healthy, safe, and fit so easy for me? Any other thoughts on how to shift your self-talk so you get more of what you want?

  • Struggling with your weight? Do you know what food serving sizes are? Most restaurants serve potions much larger than serving sizes. One serving of ready to eat cereal is one cup, the size of a hockey puck; one serving size of cooked meat, poultry or fish is 2-3 ounces, the size of a deck of cards; one serving of fruit is a medium piece or about one-half cup, which is the size of a standard light bulb: one serving of cooked grain, pasta, or rice is one-half cup or the size of one-half of a baseball; one serving of cheese is two ounces or the size of four dice; one serving of nuts is one-half cup or the size of a loose pile of nuts in a medium take-out coffee lid, one potion of margarine or butter is one teaspoon or the size of a standard stamp. I imagine all of these are smaller than you realize.

  • If you need to take medication, taking it with intention might help your overall health and certainly your attitude about needing medication. You might consider saying: This pill will heal or help my ________.  If you struggle with exercising, you might add this: This exercise will strengthen my ________. If you struggle with overeating or addictions, you might consider this statement: Not partaking in this will make my ________ better.

  • If you want to improve your exercise routine, find two to three exercise partners. You could walk with a co-worker one day during lunch. You could meet a friend to lift weights one night of the week. You could go to a yoga class every Wednesday night . You could take your children to the park and play with them. Use your creativity to plan exercise into your life. You and your family will be healthier for it.

  • Happy Thanksgiving! I'm so grateful to my fablous husband. I feel like such a fortunate woman to have been married to him for the last 34 years. What are you grateful for? 

  • Practice taking action on your goals. People of integrity spends their time wisely. Instead of vegging out in front of the TV after a challenging day at work, they take themselves to a yoga class to relax or they walk with their family regardless of the weather. If you want to be fitter and healthier, it takes many small steps in the right direction. Develop self-discipline that pays off in a better quality of life.

  • Persian proverb: "I wept because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet." Are you feeling sorry for yourself? What can you do to shift your self-talk and appreciate what you do have that is working for you?

  • See your life as a gift. Be grateful for what health you have right now. We are all dying. Have you become truly aware of this? Allowing yourself to fully acknowledge your pending death allows you to fully live today and every day. Give this gift of reality to yourself. It will help you embrace life and live it to the fullest.

  • The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the nature of your health habits.

  • If you need support, ask for it. Finding friends with whom you can communicate in person is important. If you are a middle-of-the-night worrier, find an online group or someone in another time zone to share your troubles. Challenge yourself to seek out others. You may be giving a gift of friendship to someone else who really needs it by reaching out for yourself. You can never know the positive impact you may have by giving and receiving help with another person.

  • Whoever you have a grudge against drains your energy, is a burden to your spirit, and depletes your peace-of-mind. Do you eat or drink over these feelings? Who do you hurt with your behaviors- you or them?

  • Need to relax and let go of stress? Listen to your favorite music - sing along, dance to the beat. This is a good way to shift your mood and focus.

  • Asking for help is frequently very difficult for people. However, others like to feel useful and it is often a gift to them when you ask for assistance. This is especially true if you often give to others but don't ask for help yourself.

  • Does watching your favorite TV program or flipping through the channels support your growth? We all have a limited time in the world. Choose well how you spend it.

  • "A prayer to be said when the world has gotten you down, and you feel rotten, and you're too doggone tired to pray, and you're in a big hurry and besides you're mad at everybody. HELP!" Author unknown. It's okay to ask for help and to do it today.

  • "0ld age is like climbing a mountain. You climb from ledge to ledge. The higher you get, the more tired and breathless you become - but your view becomes much more extensive."- Ingmar Bergman. Take a moment to appreciate the view you now have at the age you now are. Remember how much you have learned over the years. Value your insights and knowledge gained due to the passage of time.

  • When you are striving to change your behavior, such as quitting smoking, stopping alcohol, or eating less processed foods, note the benefits you receive from your daily efforts. Remind yourself that you, your family, your loved ones, your colleagues, and everyone else who interacts with you, ultimately benefits from your new behavior. Give yourself credit for each small step in the right direction. Remember the quality of your life is increased.

  • Connecting with nature by walking in a park or the woods will nurture you. Sit by a stream and stretch or eat your healthy lunch while watching the water flow by. Watch a sunrise or sunset for increased peace of mind.

  • Just for today, focus on your strengths and downplay your weaknesses.

  • If you spend your spare minutes educating yourself and shifting your old, unwanted behaviors by listening to motivational talks in your car or on a walk, reading self-help books, and spending time with people who inspire you, you will keep your mind more focused on happier, more positive thoughts. Spending time with people who have similar self-care goals to you (lose weight, exercise, eat healthy, be happy) will encourage you to do the same.

  • Build a library of books that inspire you. Build a collection of movies that make you laugh. Stretch your body or do abdominal exercises while you watch them. Develop a set of music that sooths and motivates you - the kind where you relax, feel happy, and feel invigorated - the kind of music you sing along to.

  • An amazing opportunity to listen for free to Self-Acceptance presentations by some amazing people is available 3x per day until September 20, 2017. 

  • It takes 21 days to develop a new habit. Most people give up before they can create a new habit due to the pain of replacing an old, familiar behavior. What do you need to change? Are you willing to make the effort it takes to do this?

  • Truckee, CA Cohousing Presentation: Living Sustainably in Community, Katie McCamant and Charles Durrett are the nation's experts and have designed over 50 Cohousing commuities. Come hear their presentation on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 6:30-8:30 p.m. Truckee Community Recreation Center, Room 4. $10 suggested donation. 

  • Are you bored with your life? Do you have too much time on your hands? Volunteer - get outside of yourself and give to others. Physically, this takes effort. Emotionally, it is rewarding and spiritually, it is fulfilling.

  • Our minds are extremely powerful. They either help us or hurt us. Our subconscious minds cannot differentiate between real and imagined. So make sure you are thinking about what you truly want to become a reality.

  • "Your thoughts are shaped by the people you associate with, by fhe books you read, by the words you speak, and by your daily physical surroundings." Robin Sharma from the book: Who Will Cry When You Die?

  • lf you owned a fancy car, you wouldn't consider buying anything but premium gas for it. So why are you putting anything but the best quality and nutritional value food in your body?

  • Staying in the moment is called mindfulness. Keep your mind focused on your goal. Every time your mind wanders into fear or anxiety, pull it back to your goal.

  • Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict by Tsultrim Allione is an excellent book for letting go of your past and being peaceful in the present moment. Polly Ryan, LMFT teaches a weekly meditation class at ForGoodnessSake(http://goodnesssake.org/) in Truckee, CA that incorporates the skills from this book. If you don't know about For Goodness Sake, look at their calendar and stop by to see all the spiritual books they loan to the public. It's an amazing place to learn and grow with many free or low-cost classes.

  • Attitude makes all the difference. "Two shoe salesmen were sent to a faraway island to sell shoes. After the first day, both men sent messages to their bosses. One read: 'This place is a disaster. No one wears shoes.' The other said: 'This place is a gold mine. No one wears shoes."' Author unknown

  • Boost your mood by doing something today that you would do if you found out you only had months to live. If you plan pleasurable activities in advance, you have something to look forward to, which is a mood enhancer.

  • What do you do to help yourself relax? Think of some new ways to allow your mind, body, and spirit to let go and have moments of calm. Shifting our routine even slightly makes us feel more alive. Some ideas for relaxation are: take some deep breaths each hour on the hour, go for a walk out in nature, connect with another person on your phone, email, or social media, get at least one hug today, schedule something fun to do later in the week, watch the sunset, stay mindful in the moment by focusing on your breath while observing things around you, or go to the library to read magazines. Take a few minutes to focus on allowing the muscles in your body to relax while letting go of tension.

  • "The most fundamental and radical of these changes is learning how to love and accept your precious body right now. It is, after all, the temple that houses your soul.” 

    ― Christiane Northrup, Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom: Creating Physical And Emotional Health And Healing

  • Most of us believe that we need to change our attitude before we change our behavior. However, the reverse is often true. If we behave in a desirable way we change our brain's chemistry and this can shift the way we think.

  • Worrying can cause a lot of distress, especially when the situation we are worrying about is completely out of our control. It is helpful in those situations to acknowledge that we feel out of control and ask if there is anything that we can do to prepare for what we are worried about. Sometimes we can take action and that will usually make us feel better. Other times we need to accept that we have no control over the situation and that all we can do is project an intention, perhaps in the form of prayer, that all will turn out well for those involved.

  • Here's your "QuoteAction" of the day:

    "None of us can change our yesterdays, but all of us can change our tomorrows."
    General, Colin Powell

    Your action for today is to pick something you can do better tomorrow than you did yesterday. 

    Have an extraordinary day!

    Kymberlee Simantel 
    Inspiring Humans to Live an Exceptional Life Filled with Passion & Vitality!
    (775) 742-0272 

  • If you want a direct line to feeling happier, do some deaning - clean out a closet, recycle your old magazines, wash clothes, scrub pots and pans. When we bring a little order to ourworld, we almost always feel immediately better. Even finding storage space for items you have scattered all over your desk or kitchen counter will increase your pleasure. Pick one small messy area and bring some order to it. Then take a minute or two to give yourself credit for what you did. Bask in your accomplishment. Notice how great you feel.

  • Take a moment to notice how you are feeling. If you are a bit down, think about what you have been reading, what TV programs or movies you've recently watched, and who you've been spending time with. If you are reading books about difficult topics or watching violent TV programs or seeing grim movies, you may need to shift what you are doing because they may be increasing your negative feelings. People we spend time with, who are not pleasant to be around, may also be causing our down mood to increase. Try balancing your life with uplifting reading, inspiring movies and TV programs, and spend time with people who make you feel good in their presence. Notice when you feed your mind positive images that you feel better than when you bombard it with negativity.

  • Do you have the ability to take a mental health day? If not, see if you can get your place of employment to change one of your sick days over to be a "mental health day." In a small town it's very difficult to take a "sick day" off work for powder skiing or to have fun with a friend, your kids, or spouse without consequences. A built in mental health day allows you to take one day to do whatever you want when you need it most. Hopefully, it gives you a day to recoup so you are an even better employee when you return to work. Enjoy your day off and have some fun.

  • Big birthdays (30, 40, 50, 60 and on) tend to make big impressions on us. Some people even get depressed as these birthdays approach. One of the reasons they may feel down has to do with not having something to look forward to. As we accomplish our goals, we need to keep focusing on what else we want to do with our lives. They might be simple or complex goals: complete a college degree, create a vegetable garden, try sky diving, or learn to play an instrument. Regardless what age we are, we need something to look forward to. What is your "want to do" list? Make one today, ideally putting it in writing. Dare to dream.

  • Robin Hallett is an amazing teacher and healer. Her articles on mothering are well worth a read. She has a wonderful way of speaking about difficult topics with truth and compassion. Her classes are of great value. If her coaching and classes are not in your budget, you can sign up for her newletter to gleam her words of wisdom

  • Those of us who work over a computer or do other tasks at a desk often have a lot of shoulder and neck tension. Usually we ignore the signals we get throughout the day that our body is uncomfortable. After all, we have stuff to accomplish! A kinder and gentler way to address our body's need for relief is to do shoulder rolls and/ or shrugs. This is very easy and at the end of the day, your body will feel better. 

  • Do you use quotes and slogans to help you stay uplifted and positive when you have those down moments that plague all of us? It's helpful to see these sayings in various places such as screen sav~rs on your computer, in written form on your bulletin board, and post-it notes scattered about your house or car. There are many sources of quotes in books, on calendars, and on the internet. One resource is:

  • Even if you are not a Buddhist, you may benefit from the "Loving Kindness Meditation" which is about wishing yourself and all other beings in the world good things. There are slight variations to this meditation which you may do sitting, standing, or laying down: "May I be peaceful. May I be happy. May I be free from suffering. May I be filled with loving kindness." Then you bring someone you know to mind and use the same phases with their name. Then you end with repeating these phrases for everyone: "May all beings be peaceful. May all beings be happy. May all beings be free from suffering. May all beings be filled with loving kindness." This offering of good wishes, which only takes a couple of minutes to do, may bring you even greater peace-of-mind and happiness.

  • We all deserve to be treated well. How do you treat yourself? Are you respectful of yourself? Are you kind and gentle with yourself? Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. What can you do or be in this moment to treat yourself with love?

  • When you need to say "I'm sorry" to someone and you are struggling to find the words, Bradley Trevor Greive's book: I'm Sorry...My Bad! Is a humorous yet effective way to ask for forgiveness. He also wrote a book about getting out of depression called The Blue Day Book, which is excellent. He has a simple way with words and pictures that is profoundly meaningful.

  • Top three death-bed regrets: "I wish I had lived a life truer to my dreams instead of what others expected of me." "I wish I'd worked less." "I wish I'd kept more in touch with loved ones." If you are reading this, you are still alive, and can make changes in your life based on this information. 

  • "One close friend is worth more than a thousand acquaint ances." Book: Friends: May You Always Have Loving Friendships by Meiji Stewart. If you have one close friend or several, count yourself fortunate. Take time today to appreciate those people in your life that you call friends.

  • "Your biggest challenge isn't that you've intent ionally been making bad choices. Heck, that would be easy to fix. Your biggest challenge is that you've been sleepwalking through your choices. Half the time, you're not even aware you're making them!...Nobody intends to become obese, go through bankruptcy, or get a divorces, but often (if not always) those consequences are the result of a series of small, poor choices." Take time to notice your choices today and imagine where they will lead. Ask is this is your hearts desire for your life?  

  • Ask for whatever will make you happy. You can do this in the form of prayer if you believe in that or you can just have the intention to be happy without assuming you know what that is for yourself. Ask directly for happiness in your life. You may be surprised at what a profound difference this small request will make.

  • Everyone has bad things happen to them at some point in their lives. The research on optimists reveals that they believe the bad things are temporary while pessimists believe that whatever bad thing is happening in immutable. What problem could you benefit from believing that it is changeable or temporary?

  • If you are challenged by all the changes in Facebook, Jon Loomer has some interesting and worthwhile tips for you to check out.

  • When we are stressed, we tend to breathe only in our upper chest. One ofthe best things you can do to relax your body and reduce your stress is to allow your breath to go all the way to your belly. Even focusing on belly breathing for one minute will make a difference. The trick is to remember to do it. How will you remind yourself of this simple tool?

  • Why do we wait for special occasions to wear our favorite pieces of clothing or use our good dishes? Are there small things you can do to indulge in something you enjoy such as buying your favorite tea even though it might cost a bit more,or using perfume when you go to bed because you like the smell, or spending a few extra minutes reading a library book? You can make today a special occasion just because you are alive.

  • Researchers at the University of Miami have revealed that if we work toward goals because we want acceptance or approval rather than to satisfy an inner longing, reaching the goal does not bring us happiness. Sometimes people achieve something because they think they should. They are living up to someone else's expectations. True happiness results in reaching a goal because we want it regardless of what anyone else wants for us.

  • Do you give yourself credit for how you've grown and what you've learned in the past five years?Any time we do something new, we have moments, of wondering if we will be able to accomplish whatever we are attempting. Remembering that we are growing and learning as we progress in life helps us feel more secure in the unknown. When you are challenging yourself with a unfamiliar task, remind yourself of the wisdom and awareness you have gained in the past five years and know you will continue to gain knowledge as time passes.

  • What did you do well recently? It's so much easier for humans to focus on our failures than our successes. Take a moment to do a success inventory and pat yourself on the back. Did you clean up the kitchen before going to bed last night? Did you have a pleasant conversation with your Mother, brother, husband, or child? Did you get started on a project you've been procrastinating on? Did you help someone in need? Did you smile at someone you work with?

  • Jonathan Robinson, in his book Short cuts to Bliss recommends making a pleasure/pain list for your day-to-day routine. In one column you want ten things you like to do and in another column you write ten things you hate to do.Then you estimate the number of hours per month you spend doing each and add up the totals for each column. What is your ratio? If you are spending more time on things that you hate to do than on things you love to do, you are likely not as happy as you could be. What can you do to increase the pleasure in your life and decrease the unpleasant things?

  • I'm aware of how "routine-bound" my life is with all the things I do each and every week. I was recently reading about how routine leads to passivity. While I often do things out of the ordinary, I struggle with breaking the comfortable patterns of my life. When I do something new and especially something out of my comfort zone, I feel more alive and even happier than usual. What are you doing to break up your routine? Is there a new restaurant, store, or park that you've wanted to check out but haven't taken the time to explore?

  • A book I highly recommend for developing personal power in a positive way is: The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh. Here is a brief intro: "I suggest that there is another kind of power, a greater power: the power to be happy right in the present moment, free from addiction, fear, despair, discrimination, anger, and ignorance."

  • Could You Love Me Like My Dog? By Beth Fowler is a humorous way to look at

    unconditional love at its finest. Some examples from the book are: "Could you savor whatever I

    put in front of you, even though it's straight from the can? Could you always be the same little

    puppy inside, even when you're old and gray? Could you not snarl when I tickle your feet?"

  • We enrich our lives with the things we read and the people we hang with. What have you been reading lately that inspires you and makes you feel good? Who have you been spending time with that makes you think and feel happy?

  • "What disturbs people's minds is not events but their judgments on events." Epictetus, First Century A.O. This quote is certainly true for most of us today. I often say, "It's not what's happening to you that's a problem, it's what you are saying to yourself about what's happening that is the problem." This is a similar theme to the quote. What can you do today to be more kind and gentle with yourself around whatever is going on in your life? Remember, we can make ourselves feel better or worse by what we are saying to ourselves. Choose to be even more loving toward yourself.

  • The power of our imagination can be profound. Many things have been done and inventions have been created as a result of someone being able to imagine it. Unfortunately, we often use that power to imagine the worst and we worry. Worry is a negative emotion that accomplishes nothing except to make things worse. Worry keeps our point of view on the negative and it represents a lack of faith. Take a moment to imagine your life worry-free.

  • Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide by David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding is a wonderful reference tool for educating yourself around what is healthy in our grocery stores and what is not.

  • "Everything in your life exists because you first made a choice about something. Choices are at the root of every one of your results. Each choice starts a behavior that over time becomes a habit. Choose poorly, and you just might find yourself back at the drawing board, forced to make new, often harder choices. Don't choose at all, and you've made the choice to be the passive receiver of whatever comes your way. In essence, you make your choices, and then your choices make you. Every decision, no matter how slight, altersthe trajectory of your life- whether or not to go to college, whom to marry, to have that last drink before you drive, to indulge in gossip or stay silent, to make one more prospecting call or call it a day, to say I love you or not. Every choice has an impact on the Compound Effect of your life."

  • "The Compound Effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices. What's most interesting about this process to me is that, even though the results are massive, the steps, in the moment, don't feel significant. Whether you're using this strategy for improving your health, relationships, finances, or anything else for that matter, the changes are so subtle, they're almost imperceptible. These small changes offer little or no immediate result, no big win.no obvious I-told-you-so payoff. So why bother?...What they don't realize is that these small, seemingly insignificant steps completed consistently over time will create a radical difference."

  • The Toltec path emphasizes "erasing personal history." The idea is to detach from your concept of who you are supposed to be, and instead exist in the present moment, which is constantly shifting. The belief is that if you are in this state, you don't want to change anything or anyone. You love yourself and everyone else just as they are. This may be similar to the concept of universal consciousness. This state of being allows you to notice that just being alive gives you pleasure. You are pure awareness and in a constant state of gratitude for all you have, all you are, and all you experience. It doesn't mean you don't have preferences, goals, dreams, or don't care about anything, quite the contrary. It just means that you are no longer attached to those things. In this state, you are no longer afraid, which allows you to be very present in the moment and be happy. These are interesting concepts to investigate and see if they fit for your life.

  • Happy Valentine's Day. Take time to love yourself unconditionally today at least for one minute. You matter. Believe it! 

  • We sometimes forget that we have choice. You can choose to have resentments. You can choose to feel victimized by your parents. You can choose to be in conflict with your partner and make his or her life miserable while making yourself miserable, too. You can instead choose to see that you are trapped in your own beliefs which are not supporting you to have a joyful, happy life. If you believe you cannot be happy, then this will be accurate and you will not be happy. It's about what you believe. You have the power to change your beliefs. It's not an easy task and it is possible. If you believe it is not possible to change your beliefs then you will remain a victim to your own thinking process. It is your choice. Beliefs and choices are what determine all our thoughts, feelings, actions, and ultimately how we live our lives.

  • I saw the documentary movie 'Happy,' which I highly recommend. There are lots of interesting insights in the movie. One thing they talked about was how the happiest people do three basic things: They change their routine regularly and consistently try new things. One example is to change your driving route when going places. They have constant contact with family and friends. They have a "tribe" they belong to and even if they don't like all the people they still have a regular connection. They do good things to give back to the world. Some examples are: pick up trash, take care of homeless animals, or help someone to read. They do something outside themselves for someone else or a cause they believe in. What can you do today to make yourself happier? 

  • A majority of people in America have the core belief: "I am not good enough." This profoundly affects every area of their lives. Most of these people outwardly look and sound successful even though they have a weak sense of self-esteem. The most powerful healing for this wound of unworthiness is self-love. When you have unloving thoughts or feelings about yourself, you automatically project them onto other people in your life. When you love yourself without doubt, vou are able to project unconditional love onto others, too. The love you share comes back to you. Take a chance today and give yourself unconditional love. You may like the feeling so much that you will never be without it again.

  • Loving unconditionally is a concept most people have trouble applying, especially when it comes to themselves. You feel better when you extend your love to yourself and to others. One way to do this with more ease is to imagine or pretend everyone including yourself is God in disguise (Buddha, spirit, higher-power, or whatever you believe in). When you share your love, it gets stronger and you feel healthier, more enhanced.

  • Years ago, in a Marriage and Family Therapy class, the instructor talked about "gunny-sacking" and I've remembered this term because it's such an important concept in understanding behavior. This is similar to carrying a huge bag of mental and emotional garbage over your shoulder. It's a place that we put every resentment and slight we experience. As time passes, the bag gets heavier and heavier, yet we don't want to give it up even when it's a huge burden. At times we put it down, open it up, and drag something out of it to share with our friends or family ("Did you hear what my daughter did to me? Do you know that my ex-wife threatened me? Did you hear what my boss expects of me?") We often are curious about what our friends and family have in their bags and solicit their victim stories. The heavier the bag gets the more invested we seem to be in keeping it. Yet when we get to the point where we are willing to surrender our grips, our world becomes a much brighter, happier place. It's necessary to give up your need to be right, your need to protect yourself, your need to defend yourself, and your need to be recognized as important, powerful, good, or even bad in order to release your bag. By letting go of your "gunny-sack," you give up your suffering.

  • Forgiveness is a wonderful thing. You are likely only punishing yourself with the grudges you hold. We all have negative energy that our bodies hold around resentments. Finding a way to release the people and situations you need to forgive may be the best gift you can give yourself for living a more peaceful life. These feelings of anger are draining your energy and you probably don't even realize what a high price you are paying in stress. There is no one right way to forgive. It's very individual and you need to honor finding your own unique way. One possibly successful way is writing letters of forgiveness. A woman who had been molested as a child wrote a letter to her step-dad who molested her, then tore it into very small pieces over a toilet, urinated on it, and flushed it away. It was a very creative way to deal with her anger and she had relief from her suffering. What could you do?

  • Have you ever noticed how the mind has a strong tendency to create problems at times when there really are none, or the problems are actually smaller than the mind is making them? It's a matter of perception when we blame others or complicate our lives with stories about injustices.You can resist the temptation to get caught up in the drama of your suffering by getting out of your mind long enough to come up with a solution to whatever is challenging you. There are many techniques for doing this. Often a long walk in nature, meditating or asking yourself a question about your problem before going to bed and expecting an answer by morning will allow you relief and will generate a solution.

  • It's possible to be happy for no other reason that the fact that you are alive and breathing. You can chose to wake up each morning in joy regardless of what is going on in your world. You can approach the day by asking yourself what it will bring to you. Being open to coincidences and synchronicity can bring you great wonder if you are aware and present in the moment enough to notice them happening.

  • Have you discovered that you are never alone because you have yourself? If you love yourself unconditionally as you likely want a mate to love you, what would your life be like? For most of us, the improvement in our attitude and self-confidence would be profound. If you have been loved deeply by another, you know what that feels like and can reproduce it in your own self-love. If you feel you've never been loved in that way, you may have a bit more work to do in loving yourself. We all have an infinite capacity for love. Sometimes it's just more hidden and more challenging to uncover. If you believe you are meant to love yourself the way someone special would love you, you are on the right path for a fulfilling life.

  • Being human, we have a tendency to deny the possibility of death. Many of us would be afraid all the time if we did not push that reality into the background. Yet all of us die. What do you need to do, say, or be today to live your life fully so you have few regrets when your life ends? Is there someone you need to tell how important they are to you? Is there something unfinished in your life that you have been avoiding completing? Think of how well you will feel when you take action on what needs to be done in your life. Enjoy your day, it's your present.

  • Communication can be challenging at times, especially when we are trying to convey a message that the other person is not hearing. It is helpful to remember that in addition to saying something to the best of your ability, you need be aware that it's how it feels inside you when you say it that is communicated to the other person. The feeling you express to them is what they remember even more than the words themselves. It's of value to look at your intention and underlying feelings that go with your message before you speak. Be authentic in your interactions.

  • Here's an opportunity to learn something new if you want it:

    http://foodfreedom.brightlineeating.com/jan-2017-video-1-o…/

  • Happy New Year 2017. Make it a good one. 

  • Do you have a gift that is hidden in fear? Is there a way for you to express your talent to let more people know about it? Fear can keep us stuck. Fear keeps people from singing in public and living out their vision of performing for audiences. Fear keeps people from writing a novel they have been thinking about for years. Fear keeps individuals from changing jobs and going for careers they have only imagined. If today was the last day of your life, would you regret that you allowed fear from keep you from living out your dreams? What can you do today to face your fear and move toward your gift?

  • Our lives seem to be very busy with all the day-to-day things that "should" be done from work to family to personal tasks. I can get overwhelmed with all the piles on my desk that need attention or the many other obligations I have. However, I remind myself regularly that I when I prioritize and do what is right in front of me, I no longer feel overwhelmed. In fact, I feel successful, on target, and completely at ease even when I don't get my "to do" list completely done. When I deal with things as they come up (remembering to make sure it's a priority and not just a distraction or something that doesn't need to be done right now), I feel more at ease and less overtaxed by any one thing. I notice how I feel, I listen to my body, and I pay attention to what feeds my spirit when I stay present in the moment. The piles on my desk no longer feel daunting nor does the holiday season.

  • Do you have a sense of purpose, a passion about life? If not, are you experiencing unhappiness or a down mood or feeling lethargic? Do you wonder what's the matter with you when your life looks good on the outside but doesn't feel good on the inside? Some of your feelings may stem from not having goals that make a change in your world. Take some time to think about what would be a small step in trying something new in your life that would make a difference to others. Perhaps volunteer work in an area of interest would be of value. If you love animals, the Humane Society is always a great place to volunteer: http://www.hstt.org. If you are interested in community resources, the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation offers a wide variety of worthy services and organizations: http://www.ttcf.net. Keep looking until you find something you are passionate about. A shift in your life to having a sense of purpose, no matter how small, may make a huge difference by allowing more joy day to day.

  • Taking action on insights or gut feelings you receive is important because it opens you to more awareness. When we ignore our gut feelings, we often regret the consequences. Just for today, notice what messages you are getting. When they are in your best interest, allow yourself to take action on them. Be brave. Insights and gut feelings are sometimes challenging to put into practice when they go against our usual routine or way of being.

  • We can only change the present moment. We cannot change our past to make it better. Many people struggle to forget unpleasant things that happened to them in the past to the point where they suppress them so much that the feelings leak out in other ways - alcohol abuse, drug abuse, over-eating, risk-taking behaviors, etc. We can move forward and learn from our past. We can let go of many of the memories that haunt, us making those memories less powerful. One easy, free way to support yourself with this process is to learn Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT} and use it daily: www.emofree.com. Read the Basic Recipe, watch Gary Craig's videos, and read the frequently asked questions. If you find EFT of value, read the Tutorial. The suggestions there could profoundly improve your life if you choose to put the time and effort into doing The Personal Peace Procedure.

  • In The Joy Diet book by Martha Beck, she suggests asking yourself the following questions to learn to tell yourself the truth while interacting with another: "What am Ifeeling about this person? Is there anything about this relationship that hurts? What is the story I'm telling myself about this person? Can I be sure my story is true? Is my story working (helping me feel more clear, sane, and free in this relationship)? Can I think of another story that might work better? 

  • Richard Harry Gatley, Ph.D. has published a book for men about relationships: Engaging the Dragon: A Man's Guide to Happiness in the Garden of Eden which is well worth reading for both men and women. He discusses how nagging can involve more than just criticism of the other person. It can move to contempt quickly. He recommends making requests rather than ultimatums, treating each other with respect, and speaking to your spouse as if you are speaking to a friend. He talks about how married people are often very disrespectful to each other while giving some funny yet enlightening examples that will likely hit home for many. 

  • In The Joy Diet book by Martha Beck, she suggests asking yourself the following questions to learn to tell yourself the truth while interacting with another: "What am I feeling about this person? Is there anything about this relationship that hurts? What is the story I'm telling myself about this person? Can I be sure my story is true? Is my story working (helping me feel more clear, sane, and free in this relationship)? Can I think of another story that might work better?"

  • Have you ever noticed how quickly and efficiently our body heals itself when we get a bruise or a scrape? Small children with a bruise seem to heal in hours; elderly individuals sometimes take weeks for a bruise to heal. Still it heals. Bodies heal slower as they age. Our body has the ability to heal. When we are stressed we move into fight-or-flight mode. There's a direct link in how inefficient we become in our thinking and problem solving abilities with how high the stress hormone cortisol becomes. The most effective way to lower cortisol levels in the body is slow, calm breaths.This type of breath communicates with the body that things are being handled and it's okay to relax. It's the mind-body connection that is so important in reducing our stress levels and increasing our health. It's as simple and as profound as taking slow, calm breaths to increase our problem solving skills and develop clearer thinking.

  • When you pick one thing you are giving up all other options. This is hard for some people so they stay stuck and make no choices at all. Others force family or friends to make decisions for them. This way, they always have someone to blame if they don't like the results. It's difficult at times to take responsibility for our own preferences and what we select to do. On a beautiful day in autumn when the daylight is dwindling and the air is crisp, riding my bicycle for a couple of hours is a pleasure. It's a treat that I know will end as the snow flies and the days get shorter. Yesterday, I chose to sit inside and work on my computer instead of taking advantage of the lovely weather and outside opportunity. The trick is being happy with my conclusion and not being in a state of mind where I lament my decision. Did I make the right choice for me on that day? It's a question that I can allow to haunt me with the underlying theme being perfectionism which tends to never make me feel fully satisfied with my judgments. Regardless, when one decision is make, all other assessments of what can be done with my time and energy has evaporated. Giving me credit for what I do get done is critical for being happy with my ultimate choices. Yes, I was very pleased with my productivity on the computer which translates to being happy with me and the choice of what I did with my precious time.

  • Often release writing is very helpful when you are in a personal crisis, even if you do not often write. Think of it as a brain drain. It's a time to write whatever you are thinking and feeling without restriction. You can even use the back of recycled sheets of paper. Grammar and spelling don't count. What's important is that you write fast and allow yourself to say whatever surfaces without restriction. Allow the good, the bad, and the ugly stuff out onto the paper.This kind of writing is very private and should not be shown to anyone. You can choose to tear the paper into small pieces after you finish writing, you can burn it in a safe place, or you can creatively release the words in a way that's private and satisfying to you. Initially spend 5 minutes doing this. If that's not enough time, allow yourself 10 minutes. At the end of that time, let it go. Imagine releasing whatever you are struggling with and replacing it with a peaceful feeling. Take a few deep breaths and give yourself credit for taking some positive action to move yourself through your personal crisis. If you have a lot to say and 10 minutes is not enough time, you can go on. If you feel it is essential to write more, shift your focus to asking what you need right now to help yourself. Be aware that you do not want to spend more than 15 minute in this release writing even if you have the time. You don't want to move into dwelling on this crisis for that long. It will only depress you more and not move you to a better emotional place. The intent is to write and release, let it go. This fast writing allows an amazing amount of information to surface quickly. You may discover things about yourself that you were not aware of that may support you to shift your perspective. Often this will enable you to identify the key issues that help you solve the crisis or at least have a better attitude about whatever is causing you stress.

  • My resistance to eating sugar is down when I’m tired, stressed, or overwhelmed. I want sugar especially chocolate, to help lift my spirit or at least my energy. It does work temporarily. Then I pay the price physically with a drop in energy, and emotionally with feeling bad about my behavior/lack of will power (or how I define it). What’s the ultimate cost to my body, to my health, and to my emotional well-being? It feels as if I pay a very high price for this temporary pleasure.  So eating sugar is no longer an option for me and next week marks a year of being sugar-free.  

  • Often people have a tendency to get excited about an idea, and then lose interest in it. If you find you don’t follow through once the “shine” has worn off the idea, what do you do? How do you keep a “shine” on staying with your goals?

  • Are you hungry or do you just want to eat? Think about it and check in with your body. If it is not in your best interest to consume food right now, what are some other things you can do besides eat?

  • Do you take personal responsibility for your own happiness or unhappiness? It doesn’t depend on others, as we often think. It completely depends upon what we are saying to ourselves in our inner dialog that shapes our mental outlook. No one is happy all the time. We can decide to wake up each morning with the intent to be happy. Are you willing to take that challenge for yourself tomorrow morning?

  • Vision Walk by Brandt Morgan has suggestions for meditating on a question of great importance to you for five minutes, then taking yourself out into nature for a silent walk for twenty minutes. A very high percentage of his group received answers, many of them profound, to their questions. Are you willing to try this for yourself?

  • I’m aware of the enormous pressure I put on myself to be authentic. It’s important to me to walk my talk every day. Some days I do better than others. Other days I slip into slacking when I don’t feel like exercising or my diet is not as good as usual or I isolate myself rather than reaching out to friends and family. In this moment,  I’m reminding myself of all the ways I am walking my talk and I am being gentle with myself when I fall off my chosen path.

  • Are you grateful for your level of health, whatever it is? It is amazing how quickly things can change with an accident or health challenge. Just for a moment, mentally celebrate your level of fitness, your level of health, and your level of mobility. Give yourself credit for all the parts of your body and mind that are working well. Focus on your health and mobility while taking the focus off how fragile your body can be at times. Take a moment to be grateful.

  • Are you striving to change something about yourself? It helps to remember that real change, the kind that lasts, happens a little bit at a time. You will have even greater success with change if you acknowledge each time you are shifting your behavior or thinking process. Give yourself credit for the small steps you are taking to make these changes. You are the most important person to notice these shifts because the noticing will help you continue the new behavior.

  • Do you keep yourself from exposing raw emotions to others for fear that they will not be able to handle you? It’s difficult to be vulnerable with others when most of us want to appear as If we function well day after day. Yet none of us are immune from intense feelings. How can you be slightly more honest with yourself and others about your feelings when they arise? (Trusting yourself and people who feel safe to you by sharing your feelings allows the feelings to move into the healing process.)

  • Fear seems to show up each time we are attempting a new direction in our lives. Living fully in the moment means that we must move though the discomfort of fear. It’s normal to feel uncomfortable any time we try something new, especially if it’s a new way to respond to as situation. Once we move into the new way of being, we gain more and more confidence in ourselves. However, that first step is often difficult. Just once today, how can you allow yourself to be brave and substitute a new way of reacting to a familiar pattern for an old way that is not working as well as you would like?

  • Job description of being a spouse from Lynn Johnson, PhD Happiness: How Positive Psychology Changes our Lives workshop: The main goal of marriage is to be pleased with, interested in, a fan of, delighted with and happy every day with the person you are married to. This is good for parents, too, toward their children.

  • Stephen Levin, author, asked an important question: “If you had one hour to live, who would you call, what would you say, and why are you waiting?” What action do you need to take right now to let those you love know the extent of your caring?

  • As a way to numb pain, staying busy is a wonderful distraction. Staying busy is probably used even more than drugs or alcohol in our society to keep us from really looking at how we are feeling and what we are thinking. Being busy interrupts the process of healing emotional and physical wounds. Learning to trust our own responses to distress is often difficult. Giving ourselves permission to just “be” is often the first step in healing. The quiet moments of self-discovery allow us to become better at telling people how we feel, what we need, and what we want because they allow us time to listen to ourselves. 

  • Self-Care Tip: Are you a person who feeds off drama? Is this the way you want to lead your life or is it just a habit? I was talking to a woman who lost her dream job two years ago and it sounded like it had happened yesterday. She has completely identified with her job loss drama. As a result, she's struggling with accepting her current employment even though there are numerous aspects she enjoys. She successfully makes herself miserable on a regular basis by not accepting her career path. She's in the habit of being miserable around a major part of her day - her work life. 

  • Robin Hallett on Facebook, YouTube, and many other online sources is a treat. She is a wonderful healer who has many insights that you may find of great value. Enjoy!

  • Satya Sai Baba has a southern India ashram and is a spiritual teacher.He says: "Don't make it about worshipping me. I am only an example of what you are. The difference between you and me is only that you don't know you are divine." Take a moment right now to feel "divine" and notice your experience. What would it be like to know on a deep level that you truly are divine? How would your life be different?

  • We all go through our life journey in different ways and with different strengths and weaknesses. Are you a person who experiences human life on a very deep level or are you a person who looks more at the surface of your life? There is no right or wrong way of doing your life. It's your life and you have free will. Just take a moment to notice. Ask yourself how your way of being is working for you and decide if there is a small change you want to make. Today, take a risk and try some new way of experiencing your life. 

  • If you have a tendency to be a strong person, when do you allow yourself down time when you are the one needing to be held, to be reassured? It’s much easier for us to show the world our strengths than our vulnerabilities. Perhaps it’s your turn to be supported rather than always being the supporting one. You can think in terms of “Pay It Forward.” (If you haven’t seen this old movie, it’s well worth renting). You have provided support for others in the past and now it’s your turn. You can imagine it as the give-and-take in the circle of healing. 

  • If you can sit with the emotional pain of peole who are important to you, you are giving them a gift. It takes courage to stay with someone expressing pain, likely as much or even more courage than the suffering person exhibits staying with their feelings. Many peole have a tendency to withdraw or try to fix it when someone is distressed.
  • Mindfulness practice improves our ability to concentrate because we are connected to the present moment completely. If you are having trouble remembering things, you might find being mindful a helpful technique. Mindfulness suggests that you begin with whatever is already inside you, being present in awareness and experiencing each moment you live. 
  • You might consider buying flowers as a surprise for someone you care about. You do not need to buy an elaborate arrangement. Something simple and inexpensive can be very impactful. Combine this with a note of appreciate and you have a priceless gift. 
  • Being aware of our breath can connect us to the present moment and what we are doing. Focusing on our breath and staying present in the moment supports our well-being.  Take a few moments just to notice your breathing. 
  • Loving-Kindness Meditation by Jack Kornfield: May I be filled with loving kindness. May I be well. May I be peaceful and at ease. May I be happy. Start with yourself. Until you are able to care for yourself, you cannot be of much help to others. Then you can offer a practice for others: start with someone you love, then someone you like, then someone neutral to you, and finally someone who has made you suffer, saying for each person: May you be filled with loving kindness. May you be well. May you be peaceful and at ease. May you be happy. 
  • Getting a good night’s sleep is often a problem for people. A few things may help you to get adequate rest: avoid eating close to bedtime, go to bed at about the same time each night and get up each morning at about the same time, avoid caffeinated drinks after mid-day, avoid stimulating activities such as exercise, violent movies, loud music, or video games close to bedtime. Consider not drinking alcohol for a few nights until you catch up on your rest because it interferes with sleep and often results in insomnia. You can help yourself establish good sleep habits by assuming you will get a good night’s sleep. 
  • A Sangha in Buddhist teachings, is a spiritual community of like-minded people practicing the same ideals. The collective energy of mindfulness when practiced by more than one person is powerful. Alone, we frequently stumble in our mindfulness and/or meditation practice. A collective goal within a spiritual community supports each individual and their growth. What are you doing to support yourself? Is there Sangha group for you to join? Remember in Truckee, California, Forgoodness Sake has many free or low-cost classes. You can access their calendar.
  • Thich Nhat Hanh smiling meditation: “Breathing in, I smile. Breathing out, I relax and touch joy.” The universal language for happiness is a smile. It doesn’t cost anything and it makes you and the person receiving your smile, feel better. Spontaneous smiling will improve your mood quickly.
  • One common negative emotion that many of us suppress is anger. If we choose to identify the presence and the absence of all emotions in us, we benefit by being mindful of our own feelings and have a greater chance of dealing with them appropriately. We have all had the experience of saying or doing something, in anger, that we regret. When we acknowledge that we are feeling anger and mindfully observe it, it loses its power. Using your breath, say: “Breathing in, I am aware I am angry. Breathing out, I am aware that I must take care of my anger with compassion.” When we follow our breathing and honor it with mindfulness, the situation becomes less of a problem even though it does not take the anger away. We can accept our anger and make peace with it using mindfulness breathing. 
  • “Genuine beginnings begin within us, even when they are brought to our attention by external opportunities.” William Bridges
  • Are you interested in becoming more involved in your community in a way that makes a difference in many people’s lives? If you are, you might consider joining Rotary. You need a sponsor of someone already in Rotary in order to join. Look at Rotary for ideas on local clubs and note members you are likely already familiar with. If you are not interested in the commitment to join, you can always attend one of their fundraisers, which also supports local community projects. 
  • Have you ever passed by a yard that someone has taken time and effort to beautifully maintain? Do you take the time to appreciate this beauty given to you? What would motivate you to write a thank-you card expressing your gratitude for seeing their work each time you pass by? Think of how wonderful you will feel giving someone this lovely surprise. Write the note describing what you like the best and slip it on their doorstep. 
  • Are you aware of Khan Academy where Sal Kahn is determined to provide “world-class education for children worldwide?” The non-profit has received a total of $7.5 million from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Google. You may have seen Mr. Khan on 60 Minutes this year or may have seen a copy of his book: The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined. To access his tutorials, which are for adults and children alike, and to experience his passion for education first hand, visit:

  • Do you feel you are living your life as you want and will be remembered as you desire? The Ancient Chinese Secret To Living A More Fulfilling Life” has some wonderful ideas about how to accomplish this. 
  • “A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind.” Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
  • When you make a decision to do something, you inevitably choose not to do something else. In deciding between two or more actions, ideally you want to make the choice that improves your life the most. Should you have chocolate chip cookies for dessert or should you have herbal tea to finish your meal? The answer depends on what you think eating the cookies or drinking the tea will do for you. Which will taste better? Which will please those around you? Will your host be upset if you decline her cookies? Will you be supported in not eating the cookies? Each time you make a decision, your brain has carefully calculated and kept track of estimates and expectations around the outcomes of your possible actions based on your past experiences. Your expectations about the results of your behavior will determine what you choose to do. If you have greater expectations for healthful behaviors, you will generally choose them. If on the other hand, you have expectations that doing unhealthful behaviors will gain you social approval, make you feel good, or will in some way better your life, you will tend to select unhealthful behaviors. Being aware and mindful of these tendencies helps you avoid going on auto-pilot and doing what you usually do.

  • Have you ever noticed how our self-talk either helps us promote our health or it leads to poor health habits? If you think of a piece of chocolate cake and how delicious it will taste, you will probably want to eat it regardless of your desire to lose weight or improve your health by avoiding sugar. If you choose to focus on the stomach ache you might get from eating it, the weight it might cause you to gain, or the sugar rush-then-slump in energy, you probably will not eat it. If you think about how your legs might hurt if you go on a bicycle ride or how uncomfortable you will feel setting on a bicycle seat, you likely will avoid riding your bike. However, if you focus on the sense of accomplishment you will have from the outing or the aerobic benefit you will likely achieve by riding, you will probably make the effort to ride your bike. Altering our self-talk can result in huge changes in our behaviors. Take a moment to listen to your self-talk around something you want to change about yourself. What can you say to yourself to change your sabotaging thoughts to helpful response

 

  • Mindfulness practice improves our ability to concentrate because we are connected to the present moment completely.  If you are having trouble remembering things, you might find being mindful a helpful technique. Mindfulness suggests that you begin with whatever is already inside you, being present in awareness and experiencing each moment you live. 
  • The top three behavioral causes of death in the United States are, in order: Tobacco, Diet/Inactivity, and Alcohol. Information alone is rarely enough to alter behavior. We all know this from the labels on cigarettes telling us they are hazards to our health. Learning “how” to change our behavior is of much greater value than learning “why” the behavior should be changed. Almost everyone knows smoking is a poor health choice, yet many people struggle to quit smoking. Learning “how” to quit smoking requires a dedication and belief that you are worth the effort it will take. Relapse often happens and it is helpful to have back-up strategies in place when you slip. Moment to moment self-monitoring (being mindful) is very helpful in keeping you focused on what you are trying to achieve. A support system is of value in maintaining permanent changes. Who do you know that will help you achieve your goals? Who do you know that will sabotage your efforts? Deferring immediate gratification is necessary in order not to give into cravings. Sometimes it’s helpful to have a reward system in place for those days you are smoke-free. We make healthful habits automatic with practice, practice, practice. It does require continual effort and being aware of our behaviors/triggers. 
  • Quick fixes seem to be the theme of many self-help books and articles. However, there is evidence that changing habits and behaviors is not fast nor is it easy. Making lasting change requires mindful decisions and the need to defer immediate gratification even when overwhelmed, stressed, or in a hurry. Making lasting changes requires practicing the new behavior numerous times. Perhaps your desired behavior shift is to give up smoking. You will need to remind yourself of this goal numerous times a day, not allowing yourself to give into your cravings until smoking becomes no longer an option for you. This will mean saying “no” each time friends smoke and want you to join them. It will mean saying “no” over and over during the day and evening when you would normally smoke such as after meals or during work breaks. Relapses are a normal part of the process of achieving positive health habits. Health is a process, a state of being that is an ongoing activity. So be patient with yourself when you are striving to making behavior changes in your life for better health. Be sure to give yourself credit for any and all small and big changes you manage to achieve, regardless of how long they last. Remember, progress with your health is possibly three steps forward toward your goal and two steps backwards, three steps forward and two steps backwards, three steps forward and two steps backwards until you finally reach your goal.
  • Being aware of our breath can connect us to the present moment and what we are doing. Focusing on our breath and staying present in the moment supports our well-being.  Take a few moments just to notice your breathing. 
  • By acknowledging and observing our feelings and thoughts without judging, blaming, or criticizing ourselves, we start to free ourselves from our suffering. When we acknowledge these feelings with mindfulness, identifying the specific feeling such as sorrow, anger, or shame, we do not allow those feelings to overwhelm us. Instead we have the option to calm the feelings with tenderness and compassion. Deeply breathing, silently say: Breathing in, I am feeling sad (anger, shame, frustration, etc.). Breathing out, I am embracing my sadness with compassion. Giving ourselves this understanding and insight, we can stop our suffering and free ourselves from harsh judgments. 
     
  • Loving-Kindness Meditation by Jack Kornfield: May I be filled with loving kindness. May I be well. May I be peaceful and at ease. May I be happy. Start with yourself. Until you are able to care for yourself, you cannot be of much help to others. Then you can offer a practice for others: start with someone you love, then someone you like, then someone neutral to you, and finally someone who has made you suffer, saying for each person: May you be filled with loving kindness. May you be well. May you be peaceful and at ease. May you be happy.
  • Dealing with negative emotions is usually a challenge and something most people like to avoid. A meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh may help you with this. “Breathing in, I am aware of my anger/despair/sadness/frustration/fear/anxiety. Breathing out, I embrace my anger/despair/sadness/frustration/fear/anxiety.” As negative emotions arise, silently say to yourself these phrases while breathing three to six in-breaths and three to six out-breaths. The simple act of naming strong emotions helps process them. This meditation can help calm because as you accept the emotion, it often transforms. 
  • I have a tendency to overbook myself and I try to juggle too many tasks in one day. When I think of my “to do” list, it is usually long and complex. Often I get an amazing amount of things done on my list. Yet, I continue to struggle with being realistic about what can actually be accomplished in one day. Being aware of the numerous tasks I have completed helps me to be kind and gentle with myself even when I do not compete my entire “to do” list on any given day. I am striving to be mindful that I can only accomplish so much in one day. One of my gifts to myself is to give myself credit each and every time I complete a task. It makes my day more joyful and makes me feel as if I’ve accomplished a lot of important things. 
  • When we are in touch with our gratitude for all that’s working in our world, we contribute to our own health and well-being. What are you grateful for today? 
  • Additional Self-Care Tips
  • Getting a good night’s sleep is often a problem for people. A few things may help you to get adequate rest: avoid eating close to bedtime, go to bed at about the same time each night and get up each morning at about the same time, avoid caffeinated drinks after mid-day, and avoid stimulating activities such as exercise, violent movies, loud music, or video games close to bedtime. Consider not drinking alcohol for a few nights until you catch up on your rest because it interferes with sleep and often results in insomnia. You can help yourself establish good sleep habits by assuming you will get a good night’s sleep. 
  • One common negative emotion that many of us suppress is anger. If we choose to identify the presence and the absence of all emotions in us, we benefit by being mindful of our own feelings and have a greater chance of dealing with them appropriately. We have all had the experience of saying or doing something in anger that we later regret. When we acknowledge that we are feeling anger and mindfully observe it, it loses its power. Using your breath, say: “Breathing in, I am aware I am angry. Breathing out, I am aware that I must take care of my anger with compassion.” When we follow our breathing and honor it with mindfulness, the situation becomes less of a problem even though it does not take the anger away. We can accept our anger and make peace with it using mindfulness breathing. 
  • Thich Nhat Hanh smiling meditation: “Breathing in, I smile. Breathing out, I relax and touch joy.” The universal language for happiness is a smile. It doesn’t cost anything and it makes both you and the person receiving your smile feel better. Spontaneous smiling will improve your mood quickly.
  • When we can identify the causes of our suffering, we can then find a way out of the suffering cycle. The daily practice of mindfulness can help you identify your suffering and free you from it. From the teachings of Buddha, Mindfulness is the moment-to-moment from-the- heart awareness of what is happening inside and around us. You must daily practice mindfulness in order to gain mindfulness. Focusing on your breath can bring you into the present moment to achieve this knowledge.  One suggestion from the teachings is to repeat these phases while focusing on your breath: Breathing in, I calm my mind and body. Breathing out, I calm my mind and body.
  • If you set unrealistic goals that require a huge change, it usually sets you up for a vicious cycle of failure which then keeps you from striving for future changes. If you take small steps toward change, you build on success which makes the feeling of your accomplishment contagious and heartwarming. Thinking about a goal you have, what is one small change you can make today to reach your aspiration? 
  • Psychologist Albert Bandura says that “perceived self-efficacy” is essential for any behavior change. Self-efficacy is the belief that you can actually do the behavior necessary to produce a desired change. Believing in ourselves is an important first step in changing habits that do not serve us well. . What we believe about ourselves can significantly affect what we can achieve. What would it take for you to be your own cheerleader and completely believe in your own abilities? The idea is to believe that your goals are attainable and that you have the ability to carry them out.
  • If you have coupons that you have not used at a store, consider giving them to another shopper before you leave. This is an easy random act of kindness that is usually received very well. 
  • The next time you have a conversation with someone; really pay attention without expecting anything. We are often so worried about what we are going to say after the person finishes talking that we don’t hear what that person is actually saying. One of greatest gifts you can give is to truly listen from a deep, accepting place.
  • Self-Care Tip: When your child or employee really tries, reward them verbally regardless of the outcome.
  • Have you ever written a note or letter to a company when you’ve received outstanding service from an employee? It’s a positive and powerful thing to do. Ask the name of the person who delivered the quality service and be sure their manager knows the extra effort they made with you. It’s nice to tell the boss directly and it’s even nicer for the employee to have it in writing for the boss to review later. The benefit to you is that you will feel wonderful for doing this kind deed. Imagine how much you would like something like that done for you or for someone you love. This gift doesn’t need to take much of your time or energy, yet it will have profoundly positive effects on those you acknowledge.
  • More ideas for random acts of kindness: Light a candle in church or in the privacy of your home dedicating it to someone who is suffering. Give a silent blessing or imagine sending love to people you pass in the street. Do a kindness for someone who constantly does things for you. If you are the boss, bring your secretary a cup of coffee in the morning. It’s a way to shake up the routine. Send a letter to your child’s teacher telling them at least one thing you appreciate about them. Write a note to a friend thanking them for being your friend. Honor your local police, sheriff, Highway Patrol, fire, and ambulance stations for their emergency services with a healthy snack or a vase of flowers and a short note of appreciation. Even the inside staff will feel valued when you do this. These are the people answering the phone that often do not get acknowledged for the important work they are doing getting the correct services to you in emergencies. Smile and feel good about yourself for giving to others.
  • "The greatest stock market you can invest in is yourself. Finding this truth is better than finding a gold mine." Byron Katie
  • Do you have a theme going on in your life of: “I’m too old (or not old enough)?” The age of your body has little bearing on what you can do or who you are. There are people in their twenties that are unable to physically do activities that some people in their seventies can still do. There individuals in their teens who are far more capable than they realize to achieve their dream. You can easily see examples of this in the music world. Ask yourself if you are using your age as an excuse to keep yourself from taking the risk of trying something out of your comfort zone.
  • “There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
  • Questions to ask yourself today: What accomplishment will make me feel better than anything else I can get done today? What will happen if I don’t do it today? High or low payoff for what I am about to do?
  • Social connections are important. If you are feeling alone, lonely, or isolated, consider finding groups of people that are interested in the same things you are interested in, such as cars, boats, model trains, butterflies, etc. Take time to go to classes or lectures on topics of interest to you. Then take the opportunity to talk to people at these events. They are likely looking for social interaction, too.

  • You wonder how you will ever repay all the people who help you. You can consider many ways. You will come up with something unique to you. Irving Berline gave the right to his song, “God Bless American” to the Boy and Girl Scouts because he believed in their organizations and wanted to help them. They have received over $5,000, 000 in royalties for that one song. Where do your passions live? Are you an animal lover who wants to benefit the Humane Society? Or perhaps you are passionate about computers and want all people to have access to them. Maybe, you start your own non-profit organization that donates computers to inner city kids. Dream big. Your goals need to be to cheerfully give money to worth causes that make a lasting and ongoing difference in the world. 
  • Meditation is a powerful tool for connecting with yourself and reducing stress.
     
  • Do you have half-finished projects around the house such as sorting photos, making a scrap book, or something partially painted or repaired? Are you aware of how these halfhearted projects are weighing on you in the form of guilt and maybe even feelings of failure? Putting things in order In your life, one small step at a time, might make you feel better about yourself than you can even imagine. Acknowledging yourself for completing a job may give you great satisfaction. When you are productive and feel determined to complete something, the sense of pride in your follow-through can be profound and well worth the extra effort.
  • Dr. Phil's 10 Life Laws are well worth reading and using. 

  • Happy New Year!
     
  • If you celebrate Christmas, I hope it was joyful. What random act of kindness have you done today? Have you left coins on the ground for children to find? Have you given food or gloves to a homeless person? Have you delivered a bouquet of flowers or balloon to the nursing staff at the hospital for some patient who needs some attention? Have you ever hired a local teenager to mow someone’s lawn or shovel their snow as a surprise? This is especially helpful for elderly neighbors or people recovering from injuries. Have you ever sent your spouse or child a love note in their lunch box? Imagine how you would feel getting these gifts.
     
  • “No one needs to know that you’ve shut the world out and are meditating as you stroll down the street. Twenty minutes to a half-hour every day is a good amount of time to restore a sense of serenity.” Sarah Ban Breathnach – Given our busy schedules, you might not find that much time to yourself. Can you allow yourself five to ten minutes of daily walking and reflection? This time of the year is especially hard to find time to take care of yourself and yet those minutes to yourself will make the holidays even more pleasurable. 
     
  • "What's something you can easily do in five minutes or less that makes you feel happier, healthier, or stronger?" Book by Jan McGonigal - Super Better
     
  • A tool to help you keep the extra holidya weight off is Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D.'s work. She offers many valuable insights and reseach on her website. One piece of information is: "The Three Huge Mistakes that Almost Everyone Makes When They Try to Lose Weight." 
     
  • If you are having trouble sleeping, get out of bed and do something productive until you feel tired again. You will fall back asleep more easily and you will feel that you have done something worthwhile with your time rather than staring at the clock. Some ideas of things you can do if you can’t sleep: clean a file cabinet, throw away old magazines, straighten a drawer, or sweep the floor. If you are too tired to get up, holding your fingers, one at a time, will help bring harmony to your being (body and soul). This is “The Fingers According” in Jin Shin Jyutsu. Holding the thumb (either hand) is for “worry,” the index finger for “fear,” the middle finger for “anger,” the ring finger for “sadness,” and the baby finger for “trying too much”.
     
  • As a culture, we tend to medicate our anxieties with shopping, alcohol, drugs, or chocolate rather than listen to them. Sometimes a small action such as taking a walk, release writing where you put down your thoughts and feelings, scrubbing a bath tub, or organizing a closet, will temporarily release some of the anxiety you are feeling. This can then allow you to take a clearer look at what is causing your distress and help you find a solution. .
     
  • “Most artists get blocked not because they have too few ideas but because they have too many.” Julia Cameron.
    The tendency is to get overwhelmed when this happens and to feel stuck. What you ideally want to do is allow this creative energy to move out of you, one small step at a time.
     
  • “Most artists get blocked not because they have too few ideas but because they have too many.” Julia Cameron.
     
  • Practice unplugging everything in your world for one-half an hour and plug into yourself. Your creativity, your essence, and your well-being will celebrate this gift. This self-care will help you express yourself.
     
  • Monday, November 2, 2015 Deepak and Oprah start a 21-day free meditation experience: "Become what you believe." Sign up today and enjoy.
     
  • “All serious daring starts from within.” Eudora Welty
     
  • How are you creative? Art, music, dance, writing, film (acting, directing, producing) are all considered creative outlets. There are many other ways of being creative that you might not give yourself credit for, such as, being an excellent cook, wearing clothing in your own unique combinations, decorating your home with a flair, or playing with children in a way that makes them feel entertained. Being creative feeds your soul. It makes you feel better. How can you expand your idea of creativity?
     
  • Faith: Where is yours? What do you believe? Align yourself with a spiritual power in whatever form it takes for you. Ask, believe, and receive. Take time to count your blessings.
     
  • Time alone often requires planning, especially if you have a family. Where and how can you find a half-hour of privacy? This alone time may be the key to improving your happiness quota. It can help you clarify your thoughts, create priorities, and replenish you.
     
  • Try limiting internet time by reducing it an hour this week and spend that extra time in nature or with friends or both. It may make you feel wonderful.  
     
  • Viewing works of art will often help you feel better. What art have you seen lately? Do you visit any museums? Do you go to art openings or art galleries to look? The goal is to spend time looking at art that you find uplifting.
      
  • You may be experiencing information overload and be unaware of the impact it has on your system. Constantly being in contact with phone, email, texting may be challenging your well-being. Do an “internet timer” search to find a software program that tracks your time online so you have more of an awareness around time spent this way. How easy or difficult is it to limit these activities? Do you balance them with quiet time and physical activity?
      
  • Companion animals bring huge amount of joy and laughter to people. You might not be in a position to have a pet. However, you may be able to volunteer at your local Humane Society and get your weekly animal pleasure by helping care for them. Remember to adopt one of these animals when you are looking for a pet.
      
  • Consider taking breaks from watching and listening to the news and see how you feel. Remember you have choices with the media. Notice what you choose to read, watch, and listen to. Notice how you feel after each experience. You may consider shifting your behavior if you feel too stressed from the media information you are ingesting.
      
  • Take time to think about your experience with managing your thoughts. How successful are you in stopping negative thinking? We often make ourselves feel bad. If you have a problem, take action to change it or accept what is. Dwelling on the problem only makes you feel worse.
      
  • What keeps you from getting enough good-quality sleep? What have you done to change these obstacles?
      
  • What are your obstacles to getting more physical activity? Identify them and if possible, remove them. If your obstacles are people, see if you can get them invested in moving their bodies, too.
      
  • Last two days of Truckee Open Art Studio Tour. Come see our creations. All artists are open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
      
  • Caffeine – does it support you or hinder you? Does it shift your mood? Notice what kind of caffeine you are ingesting. Coffee in moderate amounts may actually promote your health according to the latest research. Caffeine drinks may not be as healthy depending on the kind and amount you are consuming. Just notice for today what you drink and how much. What happens to your body if you reduce or eliminate the amount of caffeine you drink? What happens if you add a glass of plain water between your caffeine drinks? Do you feel better or do you feel worse due to the withdrawal from caffeine? Self-care is about being gentle with your body and treating it well.  
      
  • Truckee Open Art Studios Tour - July 17, 18, 19 and July 24, 25, & 26, 2015 - Come see the art including my metal work. 
      
  • Which people in your world help you feel more optimistic, positive, or cheerful? What can you do to make plans with them this week? Think of the joy it will bring you and them. 
      
  • Plan some creative fun: Truckee Open Art Studio Tour July 17, 18, & 19 and July 24, 25, & 26. Support local artists. 
      
  • Sign up for the free 21-day meditation experience with Oprah & Deepak - Manifesting Grace Through Gratitude which starts July 13, 2015.

  • Truckee Open Art Studio Tour July 17, 18, & 19 and July 24, 25, & 26. Come support local artist including me.  

  • Friendships are a mainstay of support. As the years pass, our friends become even more precious. The history we share sustains us and feeds our souls. What are you doing today to support your current friendships? What are you doing to make new friends?

  • What does being emotionally self-sufficient mean to you? As we connect with others, we feel better and likely feel happier. Yet, we need to remember that someone else is not the answer to our desire for happiness. This comes from within and happy people tend to make other people happier. We can’t rely on others to boost our mood. We must do that for ourselves. When we are aware that we are the only ones who can make ourselves happy or unhappy, we can be more accountable for our emotions. Regardless of this awareness, it’s easier to blame someone else for our unhappiness than it is to take responsibility for ourselves. To a certain extent, this is just human nature. Being emotionally self-sufficient means we have the ability to shift our mood and increase our happiness level.  

  • Money, time, and energy are often in short supply for many people. What do you do that gives you the biggest pleasure boost for the least investment of money, time, and energy? For me, it’s a few minutes of reading greeting cards at a local store. This pleasure always includes several laughs and helps me connect with feelings of gratitude for people I care about. Sometimes I buy one card to send. Often I just enjoy the experience, knowing I can go back later to buy cards when they are needed. Also, I have benefited from spending volunteer time at the Humane Society, sitting with the cats or walking the dogs. There’s a sense of intense pleasure being with the animals and a feeling of giving to creatures that need the attention.

  • How do you promote your own happiness? If you put something for fun on your calendar, in the same way you schedule work obligations, you will be more likely to do it. Plus, each time you see it written, you will increase your anticipation of pleasure. It gives you something to look forward to. Be honest with yourself about what gives you a mental boost. Don’t just do something you’ve always done because it’s your “hobby.”

  • If you have a low mood several days in a row, you might consider taking breaks from watching or listening to the news. Instead, listen to music that elevates your spirit.

  • If you feel distressed or down, spending time in nature just absorbing the sights, sounds, and smells will often make you feel better. Walks in nature, watching a sunrise or sunset, or hanging out by a river will usually improve your mood. Take your children and dogs with you if you have them, as they usually provide humor and delight. The bonus is that everyone will likely feel refreshed.

  • Consider who in your life of relatives, friends, and acquaintances have regular habits of physical activity. If you feel you need to be getting more exercise, seek out one of them to help you get your body moving. If this person has a sense of humor that tickles your funny bone, all the better. Appreciate her. She will help you improve your fitness level while having a few laughs, which will help you feel better on many levels.

  • Think about the things that make you laugh and feel happy. Notice how often you laugh. Consider spending time this week with someone who makes you smile and laugh. Think how good it will feel to spend time in chuckle mode.

  • Who do you need to forgive? Yourself? Someone else? Imagine how your life will change and what the rewards will be when you forgive these people.

  • When you are in a negative mood, how do you get yourself out of it? Having an attitude of gratitude for whatever little or big things are going well in your world usually helps shift your mood to a more pleasant state of mind.

  • Where does the main source of stress come from in your life? Do you have friendships and support that help you weather your stress? If not, what can you do to change this? Think about people who are relaxing to be around. Think about spending time with people who are happy, fun, and make you laugh. Spending more time with people who help you feel joyful will feed your soul and help you cope even more effectively with your stress.

  • Fill up on fiber. It makes you feel full and it helps with digestion. Educate yourself around what foods have the highest fiber content along with the lowest sugar. Your body will thank you.

  • Bathing suit season fast approaches! Don’t try to be perfect when dieting. It just sets you up to disappoint yourself. Success is about having a willingness to make errors and get back on track. Nobody is a “perfect” dieter.

  • Are you looking for more knowledge about nutrition? Have you seen any of the book series by David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding called Eat This, Not That? The book I found the most insightful was Drink This, Not That. Have you thought of the calories and sugar content in the beverages you consume? I think you will be surprised, especially when it comes to juices, which have an amazing amount of nature sugar in them. Beverages could be putting extra weight on you.

  • “If you’ve ever had an injury or disease that doesn’t allow you to do your usual activities, you are likely aware of how precious life is. Take a moment today to appreciate whatever level of health you do have. If you can breathe okay, be grateful. If your teeth work and are pain-free, be thankful. If you can walk, be appreciative. If your hands and fingers work, be glad. Be aware of what you can do and be pleased about these abilities because they are truly gifts.

  • “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Eleanor Roosevelt
    To have a few moments of inspiration and humor, view an old TV clip of Eleanor Roosevelt:

  • What life experience do you want to have that would make you feel you’ve lived a satisfying life? What actions are you taking to achieve this goal?

  • How much time do you spend on the internet? Is it a good use of your time and energy? Do you stretch or move around after being on the computer? Would you be willing to take a few moments right now to do some stretches while sitting in your chair?

  • What are you doing today to create a balance in your life between your mind, body, and spirit?

  • What do you do that supports your spirituality? Do you go within and get quiet? Do you attend religious services regularly? Do you walk in nature? Do you know about: Oprah and Deepak's meditiation? There is a free 21-day meditation going on right now called: Manifesting True Success. You need to take action on this quickly because we are on day 4. It is well worth your time along with your effort and it will support your spirituality.

  • When you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep, what do you do? Most people stare at the clock, increasing their worry even more by focusing on the fact that they can’t sleep and valuable sleep time is passing. Sometimes, getting up and being productive with mundane tasks such as cleaning, organizing, or working on the piles on your desk for a couple of hours is valuable. This will often help you feel better about yourself because you have gotten something accomplished. It helps expend nervous energy that’s keeping you awake and will eventually allow you to fall into a restful sleep. You do not want to use this time to watch TV or surf the internet because they likely will not relax you enough to get back to sleep. Writing out what is bothering you before bed is usually a helpful task that can result in a peaceful night of sleep.

  • Until someone is ready to change, nothing will help them. They will continue as they always have. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” If you have been trying to get someone to change her behavior, remember that you will have better results getting yourself to change your attitude toward that behavior.

  • What would you be if you could rewrite your program from scratch? (More confident? More serious? More fun?) What’s holding you back besides fear of being more the way you would like to be?

  • Do you know that by massaging your hands and/or feet, you can make other parts of your body feel better? For increased wellness, work the reflexology points in your body. An example is if you have knee pain on your left side, work that reflexology point in your left foot and left hand for some relief from you knee pain. For a better understanding of reflexology, watch

  • Research shows dancing helps reduce the potential for developing dementia. If you didn’t have a reason to move to music before, now you do.

  • “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt. I highly recommend a book called: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers. It’s by far the best of its kind.

  • Did you know that Yamaha not only manufactures musical instruments, they also develop music curricula aimed toward older adults? Maybe now is the time, regardless of how old you are, to learn to play a musical instrument. It might be an exciting challenge for your brain.

  • It’s a lovely moment in time when we give ourselves credit without criticism for something we’ve gotten done.

  • Random thoughts – Today I’m aware of how the outside of me is wrinkled and gray which means the inside of me has the same level of aging. This is normal for someone my age. However, I’ve never thought of it in those terms before. I wouldn’t consider going out to ride my bicycle without putting on sunscreen protection. So why would I put unhealthy food in my body when it doesn’t promote my health and well-being? Just because I like the taste doesn’t mean I should eat it. Eating unhealthy food is a short-term pleasure for a potential long-term negative consequence.

  • Can you see the vitality and wisdom in older adults? Can you see the idealism and hope in young adults, adolescents, and children? Ideally, we want people of all ages as friends or acquaintances. Older adults give us a different life perspective and often see value in relationship that younger people might not be aware of yet. Young people see the world with fresh eyes that open our world to technology and current trends. Children, adolescents, and young adults may help keep older adults more interested in life from their viewpoint.

  • In order to avoid weight gain as we age, we need as many nutrients from our foods with fewer calories. What in your diet could you eliminate that has high or empty calories (cake, chips, soft drinks)? What could you add that has low calories and valuable nutrients (Kale, Berries, Broccoli, Peppers, Spinach)? It’s never too early or too late in life to make your diet a healthy, life-promoting one. The better your diet at a young age, the more it will support your ability to stay healthy and active.

  • The best thing from a health standpoint about smoking is the requirement to go outside and stand away from the building. People who get out in bright sunlight for a few minutes each day take in Vitamin D from the sun, which helps lift our mood. Plus, there’s the added bonus of being in nature while socializing with other smokers. If the cigarettes were left out of this scenario, it would be an even better moment of self-care.

  • “A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something.” Frank Capra

  • It’s natural to be nervous when learning something new. Just don’t let that anxiety keep you from trying something you’ve never done before. It helps to remember that we all learn new things at different speeds. So be patient with yourself when you stretch yourself in the endeavor to master something you’ve never attempted before. Be sure to give yourself credit for the courage it took to move out of your comfort zone.

  • People tend to get into ruts of doing the same things day after day. How can you shake up your routine by doing something out of your usual habits? Today might even be the day to challenge yourself to do something you’ve always wanted to do and have never done.

  • Random thoughts – Are you a risk taker or more cautious? How does that affect you challenging yourself to be creative with art, dance, or singing? How does it affect you trying new things, new activities, or new foods?

  • Are you able to focus on your abilities rather than your disabilities as you age? Everyone has something to contribute regardless of how frail or physically inactive they are. Even people who have cognitive declines have something to offer if we pay attention to their strengths.

  • What are you going to do for fun today that doesn’t include eating or drinking?

  • If you keep doing things the same way, you will get the same results. This is great if you are happy with the outcome. If not, what changes are you going to make today?

  • The fear of failure is often high when trying new things. Try to trust yourself in order to have a beginner’s mind in learning something new. Remember how wonderful you felt when you mastered something you had never tried before? If you can’t think of something new you have learned recently, remember how you felt when you learned to swim or ride a bicycle.

  • What’s the balance between your mind, body, and spirit today? Are you keeping a balance in your life? Are you nurturing each aspect of yourself? Are you supporting yourself in growing in each of these areas? Are you struggling with keeping your New Year’s Resolutions? Is it possible to believe in yourself a bit more and keep your commitments to yourself? These questions may feel overwhelming to you due to all the nurturing we need to do to take care of ourselves. Focus on one thing and do it today.

  • Today I’m grateful for the long-term friends I have. I honor my friends of forty years: Michael, Mary Ann, and Taylor. May the sun shine especially bright for them today as I send my love.

  • One of my self-care tools is to continue to challenge myself regularly to learn something new, to do something out of my normal routine, and to explore the world I live in with fresh eyes like a small child discovering a new toy. This type of challenge keeps me interested and excited about my life. What can you do today for five minutes that’s out of your normal routine?

  • “It’s a great relief to me to know that I can actually be creative and be happy at the same time.” James W. Hall – What are you doing that’s creative and is it making you happy?

  • “What a man thinks of himself - determines or rather indicates, his fate.” Henry David Thoreau – What is it like inside your mind when you think highly of yourself? Start 2015 out by thinking highly of yourself and see how that shift improves your life.

  • There are so many things I’m interested in that I have a hard time understanding people who are bored. There are not enough hours in a day to do everything I would like to do. My main goal is to prioritize so I get to whatever I deem most important in my quest to try it all. What are you doing with your time?

  • You will feel empowered by paying closer attention to your food intake if you want to lose weight or if you want to maintain your current weight through the holidays. Give yourself credit for everything you do right, even the small stuff. You will feel good about yourself and your behaviors when you stick with your goals.

  • “An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.” Friedrich Engels

  • “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” Confucius - Are you enjoying the Christmas music you are hearing? Try singing along for greater pleasure.

  • Happy Chanukah.
    Merry Christmas.
    Happy Holidays.

  • When I do volunteer work, not only do I help a needy cause, but there’s always the added bonus of feeling good about myself and my contribution. Sierra Senior Services is a worthwhile cause. Part of their program is Meals on Wheels which provides hot meals to people with two or more disabilities that don’t allow them to cook for themselves. What do you do that makes you feel good about yourself? How do you give back to your community?

  • Recently, I did two hours of dance, which fed my soul and made me aware of how much I miss moving my body to music. It felt freeing and joyful. There’s a local group, Sierra Conscious Dance that moves to music with a DJ each Friday night from 7-9 p.m. at Inner Rhythms Dance Studio at 12047 Donner Pass Road. The group suggests a $10 donation. Take yourself on an adventure perhaps outside your comfort zone. If you live outside of Truckee, CA, do you have a local dance group you can visit? Dancing likely would help you work off some of the additional holiday calories, reduce your stress, and make you smile.

  • I am very aware of the ways I lie to myself about what I put in my body and how much or how little exercise I get. I have been working on awareness a long time in order to be able to catch myself at these small “white” lies I tell myself. It’s time to be totally truthful with myself about how long I’m actually swimming and how long I’m hanging out talking to the person in the next lane. It’s time to notice that eating french fries is not in my best interest. They are in conflict with my desire for health and maintaining my weight goals. Yet I sometimes convince myself that these fries are okay to eat. What subtle little “white” lies are you telling yourself? How challenging is it to tell yourself the truth, nothing but the truth? At times, it is really hard especially during the holiday season!

  • Too often people agree to do things they later regret. Rather than immediately agreeing to a task, you can say…”Let me get back to you on that.” Then either agree, pass up the opportunity to serve or renegotiate what you will do – bring 40 cupcakes or take juice to an event rather than doing both. Sometimes saying “no” can help keep your stress level down this holiday season.   

  • There’s something peaceful and reassuring watching rain come down from the comfort of my living room while sitting in my favorite chair. This experience is a few seconds of pleasure I give myself each time I am aware and present in the moment.

  • Often people worry about things that they are unable to change especially things that have already happened. Remember the motto: “Don’t cry over spilled milk.”

  • Random thoughts - Step into your power knowing you have a right to it. Slip it on a like a soft, warm, coat. Bask in the knowledge that it is your birthright. Use your personal power in productive ways to enhance your relationships.

  • I hope you had a good Thanksgiving holiday. Traditions are lovely, reassuring touchstones in our lives. Each January First, I have a yearly tradition of riding my bicycle regardless of how cold it is. Snow and ice will keep me off the bike but bitter cold does not. It’s a wonderful way to start the New Year with the goal of getting outside on my favorite toy. What traditions do you have that make you feel good?

  • Worry and hurry combined always cause distress, anxiety, or stress problems.

  • As the holidays approach, “Honor the evidence in front of me” keeps flashing in my mind as I think about people and their struggles with weight. When do you accept the weight you are and stop longing to be ten pounds or twenty pounds or thirty pounds lighter? How long have you been your current weight? When is it appropriate to be realistic about what is and when is it necessary to be aware that you are unrealistic about your goals? What can you do today to change your mind set about your weight? Be gentle with yourself.

  • Anger is a peculiar emotion in that most of us say we want to let the anger go as fast as possible. We want to calm down and get ourselves back in control. However, we usually attach subtle conditions that must be met first, such as the other person admitting they were wrong, and often an apology is necessary prior to us releasing the anger. The person who is angry may not even be aware she has this hidden agenda requirement before she allows her anger to go away. It’s as if she releases her anger too quickly, it would allow the miscreant, off the hook. So, she punishes herself with these uncomfortable feelings of anger all the while thinking she is punishing the other person. It’s our own emotion, so we are the person responsible for dealing with it. In reality, it has nothing to do with the other person. Yet, this is hard to admit. We can release our anger productively without the apology by knowing we are the person responding with anger. We are the ones who make ourselves upset by our thinking process. Of course, this is easier said than done.

  • We list makers are pleased when we cross off something we’ve accomplished from our list. There’s a sense of pride in getting a task completed. At the end of the day, most of us focus on what remains on the list. What would our inner lives be like if we focused more on the things we crossed off? What would it be like to give credit to yourself for the items you’ve accomplished? Sweet success! Just think how much better you would feel with this shift in thinking.

  • Even though junk food seems to place a burden on our bodies and on our emotions because we often feel guilty for indulging, we crave it. When we avoid junk food, the freedom of letting it go feels so good.

  • A wonderful self-care tip is to go over, just before you fall asleep, all the things you have gotten done for the day. Most of us tend to focus on what remains on our “to do” list that was not completed. Taking a few minutes to review your accomplishments allows you to go to sleep feeling successful and appreciating yourself.

  • Uncontrolled laughter as a result of just being silly is a priceless gift. Laughing at yourself and your limitations is even better. What can you do today to tickle your funny bone?

  • Sometimes people’s words don’t match the feelings you get from talking to them. They may be saying how much value they have gotten from your interaction with them and yet it may feel as if they are upset with something you’ve said. It’s as if they are unable or unwilling to admit distress about the conversation as they “make nice” and pretend they are grateful for the insights and interaction. Trust your gut feeling that what you are talking about is not okay with them and ask them about your perceptions. You may or may not make progress with the conversation. Regardless, you can be happy with yourself for sharing your insights in a kind and gentle way.

  • People need productive things to do. When we have no goals or purpose, life becomes more difficult. Each day, we need to feel we’ve accomplished something of value. What have you done today?

  • It’s easier to do social things on spur of the moment if we keep our home clean and picked up. Living in a tidy space is more relaxing and allows a level of comfort when people drop by that living is a cluttered space does not. It’s a nice feeling to be prepared for unexpected company. The bonus is you will be more welcoming to these people if you are more at ease with your home.

  • One habit that makes life much easier to manage is the ability to organize. If you put your stuff back where it belongs and keep your possessions tidy, it saves time looking for lost or misplaced items. As a result, you will almost always know where your things are and won’t spend much time hunting for things. Just think of these lovely saved moments in time that you can spend any way you want and how much less stressed you will feel.

  • Have you seen the magazine "Live Happy"? They just celebrated their first anniversary with their October 2014 issue. It is a magazine well worth reading.

  • I’ve started doing the 5 Tibetan Rites (yoga moves) at night prior to bed. They feel peaceful and calming while they stretch me. I have slept well. The movements are a lovely treat. These are exercises of healing, rejuvenation, and longevity.

  • I’m aware that body parts that are not used don’t function well after a while. So it’s important to keep mobile in all areas at all times. Most of us need to work through the pain in order to keep moving. What small steps will you taking today to keep your mobility fluid?

  • “All you need to do to receive guidance is to ask for it and then listen.” Sanaya Roman – Are you asking? Are you listening?

  • Things we can learn from a dog: Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride. Allow the experience of fresh air and wind in your face to be pure ecstasy. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them. When it’s in your best interest, always practice obedience. Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory. Take naps and always stretch before rising. Run, romp, and play daily. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Be loyal. Never pretend to be someone you’re not. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit closely, and nuzzle them gently. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do. On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree. When you are happy, dance around and wag your tail. No matter how often you’re criticized, don’t buy into the guilt and pout…run right back and make friends. (Author Unknown)

  • “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” Seneca

  • I look at some of the dietary restrictions people place on themselves when they struggle with weight (no sugar, no meat, no dairy, no wheat, no food, massive exercise) and realize there’s something punishing about these behaviors and this thinking process. It’s as if they need to restrict themselves to make up for some character flaw they see in their self, as if they are inherently damaged. If you are on a diet, how can you be kinder and gentler with yourself while still striving to reach your weight goal?

  • Think you are winding down at the end of the day by sitting in front of the TV? Watching TV for an extended period of time will actually make you feel more fatigued when you are tired rather than refreshed. You need to play and have fun to revitalize. Do something you feel passionate about – dance, sing, watch comedy and laugh, pet your cat, talk to a friend, do a hobby, ride your motorcycle, play with your dog, walk in nature, etc. Keep yourself from doing your usual routine of sitting in front of the TV hour after hour. Your body, mind, and spirit will feel better as a result of this change.

  • “Eliminate something superfluous from your life. Break a habit. Do something that makes you feel insecure.” Piero Ferrucci – What are you doing to challenge yourself just a little to get out of your comfort zone?

  • Today is all we each have. Every day of our lives counts and our daily decisions make up the quality of our lives. Invest your time and effort wisely.

  • “We are always doing something, talking, reading, listening to the radio, planning what next. The mind is kept naggingly busy on some easy, unimportant external thing all day.” Brenda Ueland – No wonder we often have trouble relaxing. We seldom allow our mind, “downtime.” What can you do today to let go of your thinking mind for a few seconds here and there?

  • Remember the definition of insanity – doing the same thing the same way over and over, each time expecting different results. We have got to make a change in order to get different results. What do you need to shift? How is your thinking process helping or hurting your progress?

  • “Perfection is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we ever do will be good enough.” – Unknown Author – What do you need to do today to let go of one small aspect of trying to be perfect?

  • What would it be like to cherish the body we have RIGHT NOW, not the one we’ll have when we lose ten pounds or develop more defined arm muscles or achieve a flatter stomach? What would it be like to treasure and appreciate our body, to honor all the ways our bodies serve us, and most of all to be grateful for whatever level of mobility we have? Priceless honoring of yourself would be the result.

  • “Walking is inexpensive, familiar, and safe. That’s why many have argued that the most effective piece of exercise equipment is a dog.” Dr. Penteleimon Ekkekakis. This is the perfect season to look for a new companion at your local Humane Society. Check out the one in Truckee at http://hstt.org.

  • Do you realize that saying you are “sorry” when you feel you are in the wrong is only truly effective when you recognize what the injured person has actually experienced from your behavior or words? Otherwise, the “I’m sorry” is only a concern for yourself and making yourself feel better with your apology.

  • In The Joy Diet book by Martha Beck, she talks about taking risks and at least once a day do the following: “1. Choose any scary goal. Name an action step you’ve devised for obtaining one of your heart’s desires. Make sure that you really want this to happen, and that it really scares you. 2. Take the smallest scary step possible. Can your action step be broken down into smaller component parts? Determine the very smallest forward movement you can make. 3. Make backing out as hard as going forward. Commit your pride, your time, your money to obtain your ultimate goal. Announce your objective as publicly as possible. 4. Don’t be afraid to be afraid. Accept that you’ll be afraid as you take this step. Calm yourself with accepting and reinforcing self-talk. 5. Walk into the monster’s maw. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, ‘You must do the thing you think you cannot do.’ Take a deep breath and jump.”

  • So you are having a day of intense feelings that you don’t like. What do you do? Some healthy ways to deal with feelings of anger, frustration, worry, etc. are: exercise, write about your feelings and destroy the paper, draw about your feelings, talk about those feelings with a person you trust, listen of music, watch or listen to comedy, take a hot bath or shower and imagine releasing the feelings with the water, meditate.

  • Longevity in life is both a blessing and a curse. If you have mental sharpness and mobility along with relative health, it’s a blessing especially when you are enjoying your life. Living longer with ill health, lack of mobility, and mental deterioration seems like a nightmare for many people. It’s a burden to those experiencing the challenges and the individuals who are caring for them. I wonder what the solution is to this increasing problem.

  • Do a quick inventory of things that affect your behavior. Take a count of how many bad food choices are within your reach at each hour of a typical day. Then take a count of how many good choices are within the same distance. Now look at how easy or how difficult it is for you to exercise. Are you helping or sabotaging your health goals? Discover how many items in your home can simply be moved to make a right behavior easier and the wrong behavior more difficult. It's important to make the correct behavior easier.

  • If you tend to be hypervigilant in making sure you are safe and secure at all time, this may be an old pattern for you that no longer works as well as it once did. Perhaps for a few hours, let go of your overprotective tendencies in order to bring your attention to the present moment over and over. By staying present in the moment, you might find that it calms you and makes you feel safe. Enjoy your Labor Day holiday.

  • The stories you are telling yourself are what are creating your self-inflicted misery, not the actual stories or what’s happening in the stories. It’s about what you are telling yourself about these situations that is making you unhappy. It’s not your sister’s drinking that’s causing you misery; it’s what you are telling yourself about her drinking that’s causing the distress. This is a hard reality to comprehend. Reread it a couple of times until you get the gist.

  • Brian Wansink found plate size affects the amount of food a person will eat during a meal before deciding he or she is satisfied. Smaller plates left people satisfied with small portions. Other interesting things found in this research are: Positioning of snacks and whether packaging is clear or opaque can increase or decrease consumption by 50%. Candy jars on a desk rather than a few feet away on a bookshelf can double the amount of candy consumed. Ice cream with a clear top is more likely to be eaten than the same treat in a cardboard box. If you move your exercise bike from your TV room to your basement, you’ve just dramatically cut your chances of using it. Travel to a gym for your routine cardiovascular exercise as opposed to using a piece of home equipment and this too will lessen your chances of success. What are you doing to increase your success rate with diet and exercise?

  • Carl Whitaker states: “Life isn’t mind over matter, it’s present over past and present over future.” Remind yourself to stay present in the moment using your breath to keep yourself there.

  • I have noticed people who struggle with extra weight are frequently harsh with themselves when they decide they MUST lose weight. They torment and belittle themselves with dietary restrictions as if sacrifice is the only way to accomplish their goal. I wonder if learning to listen to their body would be of greater value to them. I think learning what supports them – how much or how little to eat to feel full – how to tell when they are actually hungry and not just want to eat, and most of all the ability to trust themselves would be all helpful and nurturing information.

  • Be an inverse paranoid and believe that the world is plotting to do you good and see how your day goes with this attitude.

  • I have awareness that because I have coped with so much pain from my childhood, I know I have good skills for dealing with intensity. So maybe walking straight into my pain with the knowledge that I can endure it will allow me to stay present when I want to run in the opposite direction.

  • Overeating, drinking, using drugs, or engaging in casual sex is a way we leave ourselves when life gets hard. It’s a way we distance from how things actually are in life and how we want them to be. The trick to ending our obsession with how we want things may be about the ability to stay present in the moment, feel our feelings, listen to the chatter in our heads, and not run away.

  • I tried a TRX class which works core muscles intensely. It was fun to challenge myself to do something new and different. Once again, the other students were less than half my age. It’s interesting that so few people close to retirement or of retirement age are not taking these classes when they are often the ones with the most time. I’m grateful that I have a nice life balanced with work I love, family, friends, and staying in shape.

  • Rick Hanson, Ph.D.’s book Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence is well worth reading if you have ever struggled with depression, unhappiness, or general discontent with your life. It is surprisingly easy to read given that it’s based on research and it has many practical examples of how to actualize his suggestions. He points out that we as humans tend to focus on the negative in life rather than the positive. The example he gives is the yearly review at work. On your performance review, if your boss gives you an excellent evaluation filled with positive comments and one negative comment, you will focus on the one negative comment and forget the positive. Negative feedback is perceived more quickly and easily than positive. He describes our brains as being like Velcro for negative experiences and like Teflon for positive ones. Realizing this is a “normal” reaction and shifting to focusing on the positives will help you feel better and be happier especially at work.

  • The “day before a vacation attitude” is achievement orientated. Think of how much you accomplish the day before you go on a vacation. If you need to accomplish a lot, you can use that mindset to get tasks done.

  • For the older crowd: How to age proof your mind from Psychology Today:
    • Keep your job. Don’t retire. Ever.
    • Stay physically healthy.
    • Become an expert in something – anything.
    • Take up the piano. Take a course in something.
    • Learn to roll with the punches.
    • Do crossword puzzles.
    • Go out with friends or find new playmates.
    • Learn French in four years, not four weeks.
    • Turn off the TV.
    • Stock your life with rich experiences of all kinds.
    • Play with toys. Lots of them. Different ones.
    • Skip bingo. Play bridge instead.

  • Some tips from Richard Harry Gatley, Ph.D. Engaging The Dragon: A Man’s Guide to Happiness in the Garden of Eden, a couples’ psychotherapist: Women, use less words, be more direct in your requests, and express yourself before you are ready to explode. He gives some great examples of how women do not get what they want from the men in their lives mainly due to their communication style differences.

  • In Rick Hanson, Ph.D.’s book Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence, he recommends recording good events on a daily basis. One of his clients started a “Good Year Box” on New Year’s Day. Each day before you go to sleep you write at least one good-feeling example on a piece of paper and put it in the box. This is an opportunity to feel the little things that happen that feel good during your day rather than staying busy and glossing over them. You then read them all on New Year’s Eve the following year. We often don’t recognize good things are happening regularly because there’s no stimulus to attract our attention. You need to find your own way to note all the small, yet joyful things that happen in your day – getting an easy parking space, a smile from a stranger, someone complimenting you, wearing a shirt you like, a beautiful sunset, eating a tasty sandwich, finding something to laugh about.

  • “The costliness of keeping friends does not lies in what one does for them, but in what one, out of consideration for them, refrains from doing.” – Henrik Isen. What do you need to refrain from doing or saying to your family and friends? Is it possible for you to treat your family members as you would a friend you value? These are the people who love you the most. See, hear, and feel the significance of that gift of love.

  • What does being physically healthy mean to you – lose weight, eat less high-fat foods, get more sleep? Set short-term, intermediate, and long term goals. After attaining one goal, you must set another goal in order to make the changes you say you want to make. The future is a clean slate no matter what were our past habits. Right now you can decide how you want the rest of your life to unfold. Will you choose health now? Or will you choose the status quo? 

  • Posters I’ve seen and appreciated say:
    Love’s meaning is life’s secret.
    Confidence: the feeling you have before you really understand the situation.
    Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.
    Life is something that happens while you are planning something else.
    Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.
    We do not remember days, we remember moments.
    Love is the magician, the enchanter…with it earth is heaven.
    The road to success is marked with tempting parking spaces.
    Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look at the stars.
    Today, well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
    I feel that the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.
     
    There can be no rainbow without a cloud and a storm.
    If you do not understand my silence you will not understand my words.
     
  • “There is nothing honest in saying ‘I love you’ until it comes from the center, until one knows it is not a camouflaged way of saying: ‘Please love me.’” Pamela Erbe

  • “Hate is a prolonged manner of suicide.” Author unknown. Who do you need to forgive today? Start with yourself and go from there to peace of mind.

  • It’s that warm time of the year when many people want to lose weight so they can look better in less clothing. If you set a written goal to clarify your desires (lose 20 pounds and increase level of health), you will focus more on those activities and habits that will lead you to those goals. There’s something about writing it down that empowers the person to take action.

  • According to several studies, people who make relationships a high priority in life are happier than those who place the pursuit of money and the accumulation of material things as a high priority. Does this mean that money really can’t buy happiness? It certainly suggests that. Do you have a balance between these two areas of your life?

  • Recently I tried a Bosu ball class, which requires a great deal of balance. I was worried about hurting myself in this class due to the need to stand on a half-ball platform. I fell off numerous times and managed to get back on with determination and perseverance. I did not hurt myself, it was fun, and I laughed at myself often. I was able to do some of the exercises better than others. The side plank, which was the last exercise, was the most difficult and the one I excelled at. I’m glad I challenged myself with this class. I’ll do it again. The balance aspect is something I need to do to help keep my body aligned and upright. What do you need to do to help your body stay in shape?

  • There’s a huge range of feelings between “I’m feeling sad” and seeking ways to make the sadness disappear. Staying with the sadness, really exploring it, and allowing tears to fall is a way to honor yourself and a way to explore who you are. Give yourself this gift of feeling for at least a few minutes today to whatever feeling you are experiencing.

  • I did amazingly well in a new exercise class. It was fun to do and I’m proud of myself for getting out of my routine. It was anxiety-producing to try something different. I wonder if increased anxiety and fear of trying new things is a negative part of the aging process. There seem to be less and less older people in the activities I’m challenging myself with physically and emotionally. The physical fitness classes I’ve taken for mental stimulation and fitness are usually filled with younger people. These exercise endeavors leave me being the oldest person in the class. – It seems that as we age, due to all of our experiences, we should have more freedom to experiment by trying new things. Yet it often appears to be the opposite. Do we get too comfortable in our routine as we age?

  • Do you have the “No one will help me,” theme going in your life? Perhaps you need to be asking for help more often. Most people do not like to ask others for help. However, have you ever noticed how good you feel when you help someone else? It’s nice to be appreciated and helpful. Believing that you have the right to ask for help and that the right people will be available to help you willingly is a wonderfully powerful mind-set.

  • When trying something new, people are often aware of how self-conscious they feel. They wonder if they are doing it “right.” If you are asking yourself frequently if this is the correct way to do this new thing you are trying, it may be helpful for keeping yourself aware or it may just be another way perfectionism is keeping you stuck.

  • "Be careful of the environment you choose, for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose, for you will become like them." Author, W. Clement Stone Your action for today is to think of three of your close friends and identify what qualities you like the most and the least about them. Have an extraordinary day! Kymberlee Simantel Inspiring Humans to Live an Exceptional Life Filled with Passion & Vitality! (775) 853-2120

  • We can love someone and not like them. It’s hard to let people we love take the consequences of their behaviors. It’s challenging to believe we have the right to be treated with honesty and respect even by our relatives. Not clearly seeing how poorly they treat us, we sometimes make allowances for those we are the most closely related to. What can you do today to slightly shift this?

  • You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them." -- Maya Angelou, American writer

  • Happy Memorial Day! Thank you to all current and past military personnel. I appreciate my freedom and am grateful for their service.

  • Bathing suit season is just around the corner! As you invest time and effort into getting to your ideal weight, firming your body, and creating greater health for yourself, you deserve credit for the new habits you are establishing for yourself. Pat yourself on the back!

  • Do you struggle with feeling not smart enough? Some people constantly tell themselves over and over in a variety of ways that they are not intelligent enough, and they compare themselves to people around them. This only reinforces the illusion of any brain power they lack. We each have our strengths and weaknesses in our abilities. If you often repeat to yourself that you have your moments of brilliance, you will in fact shine more often. Give yourself credit for all the small and large things that you do that show your own unique talents and brain power. You are likely more gifted than you realize. The more you verbally reward yourself silently in your mind, the better you will be at showing your skills.

  • If this was your last day alive, who would you talk to? What would you say? What kindness would you do for someone you care about? Why not do these things now? Few of us know how much time we have on this earth.

  • I brushed my teeth and flossed right after dinner last night to keep myself from snacking after that meal. It was a very effective technique for stopping mindless eating. What do you do to help yourself keep from eating when you are not hungry?

  • Staying present in the moment with how you feel, what you sense, and what you are thinking may truly be the first step in ending any self-destructive cycle you might engage in. The issues remain even after you’ve distracted yourself with sex, food, drugs, or alcohol and obsessed about how unhappy you are with your behaviors. Not running away and being present without being numbed out feels like a huge challenge for most people and it is a worthwhile challenge.

  • When in the “I’m not good enough” mode, most people believe they can’t handle, can’t tolerate, and/or are not resilient enough to withstand whatever is hard in their life without the fog (or numbing effect) that overeating, drinking, using drugs, or escaping in sex creates in their lives. Saying kind words to yourself in your head will be the most powerful way to combat these negative feelings. Treat yourself like you would treat a precious loved one. What would you say to a loved one who is in emotional pain? You will feel more alive and happier if you say these things to yourself. This clarity and gift to yourself is a welcome state of mind. You need to remember that you do have some skills to deal with the pain and that you are developing more by learning about yourself and doing self-care. Good for you!

  • An interesting TED talk is by Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are. "Our bodies change our minds...and our minds change our behavior...and our behavior changes our outcomes."

  • "I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." Michael Jordan - This quote is in Gary Craig's EFT newsletter this month. Something well worth thinking about!

  • The reason we should try to accomplish something we are unsure we can do is two-fold: 1. We may succeed. 2. Even if we don’t succeed, we’ve likely made progress toward our goal which can help us replace negative thoughts with positive ones. So try whatever you dream about. You have everything to gain and little to lose.

  • It’s often challenging to break out of a routine, even if it’s not an ideal situation. Change can be really scary. Acknowledging the fear can be helpful.

  • My brain is challenged in good ways by my habit of driving different routes to get to the same places I always go – the dry cleaners, the grocery store, gym, the swimming pool, and work. What small things are you doing to challenge your brain?

  • Martin Seligman, Ph.D. did studies on happiness and optimism for more than 25 years. He said to be a happier person, find your “calling.” He gave these examples: A “job” provides income; a “career” provides power, prestige, income, and a personal commitment; but a “calling” is a passion where the activity is the reward regardless of status or income it provides. To find your calling, discover an activity that provides challenges which engage your unique talents. Those with callings reach the upper end of happiness more frequently than those with jobs or careers.

  • Practice complimenting people who say or do something that touches your heart. It will make both of you feel good. When you are moving from place to place, notice the people in your surroundings. Is a Mother being loving to her child? Comment on how her actions touched you. Does someone have on a beautiful outfit? Tell them what you like about it. Does a man have on a colorful tie that you like? Tell him the bright colors make you smile. Practice, practice, practice complimenting others – it is rewarding.

  • I have had moments of complete awareness around self-care when I do such a good job of nurturing and supporting myself. Then I have this experience of fleeing awareness that comes in and I completely forget my self-care skills, or at the very least, I totally ignore them. Does this ever happen to you? It seems like a normal part of being human to forget things that could benefit us.

  • I went to the second birthday party this year that didn’t have cake and ice cream, in fact, neither of them had any desserts. There were no obvious health reasons for this. It should be mandatory to have cake and ice cream for all birthday celebrations! The upside was the health benefits. Still, it was so disappointing not to have that sweet option.

  • I organized a game night with three other women and we played a card game. It was good for my brain to be challenged and to teach others a new game. It was also fun and exciting to win a hand. What are you doing to challenge yourself that might be slightly out of your comfort zone?

  • There’s a vicious cycle when a body part hurts. We don’t want to move that part of our body, so we protect it. This can lead to more problems because it becomes stuck in one place, making movement even more challenging. It takes courage to work through the pain and keep moving in a gentle manner.

  • Are you trying to change the behavior of someone in your life instead of concentrating on your own necessary changes? Even with all of my training, I fall into this trap. “People learn what they need to learn the way they choose to learn it, and there is nothing we can do about their choice.”- Iyanla Vanzant. We all need to remember that the only person we can change is ourselves and that is often very difficult. Just for today, what will you work on changing about yourself? I will to be kinder and gentler with myself when I make errors and I’ll apologize to my husband for thinking his behaviors should be different.

  • Guest info from Kymberlee Simantel - Here's your "QuoteAction" of the day: ”You must have long-term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-term failures." Major General, Charles C. Noble Your action for today is to take a specific action that will move you towards one of your long-term goals. Have an extraordinary day! Kymberlee Simantel Inspiring Humans to Live an Exceptional Life Filled with Passion & Vitality! (775) 853-2120

  • Take time to compliment yourself on whatever progress you’ve made each day on your exercise and diet goals. Give yourself credit for what you’ve accomplished. Praise yourself for the ten mile bicycle ride you completed rather than giving yourself grief for not riding the twenty or more miles you had planned.

  • If you consume caffeine, how much and how often do you drink it? Is this an area of self-care that could be improved for you? One way to promote your health might be that, for every cup of coffee you drink, you drink an equal amount of plain water or water with lemon or lime.

  • "Anger is only one letter short of danger." Eleanor Roosevelt This quote is from Gary Craig's newsletter from Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

  • If you eat a lot of refined or processed foods, consider adding a fresh salad and a piece of fruit to your daily intake in order to get more fiber in your diet.

  • Enhancing your resilience requires a balance of care for yourself and care for your family. If you engage in personal behaviors that are associated with self-care such as physical exercise, friendship, spirituality or personal reflection, quality leisure time, and feeling emotionally competent, they will help you have the stamina to take care of those important to you. Do you wonder where you will find the time for all these things? It’s a balancing act where you do a little bit for yourself, daily. Even a few minute of self-care each day will help you be more effective in caring for others while feeling less resentful.

  • When stressed, it’s difficult to remember any stress management tips you’ve learned in the past. The easiest and most convenient thing you can do is focus on your breathing. It’s free and available. Deepen your breath by pulling healing energy in through your nose and releasing stress out through your mouth with your breath.

  • “Artists who seek perfection in everything are those who cannot attain it in anything.” Eugene Delacroix

  • Think of your energy in terms of a checking account (energy account). You must make regular deposits in the form of rest, relaxation, and sleep in order to make withdrawals. If you have a person or two in your life who take a great deal of your time and energy, what price do you pay for their withdrawals from your energy account? Do you have energy or time to invest in other areas that feel supportive and revitalizing to you? If your energy is squandered in poor investments, you will feel short-changed and emotionally bankrupt. Much like an overdrawn checking account, an overdrawn energy account has consequences to your well-being. If the person who empties your checking cannot help fill it, then you must find the alone time and inner resources to fill it yourself. This may mean taking yourself into consideration more often and investing more time in your own self-care. The world will not end if you do this.

  • Thought of the day – Is it better to define yourself as being too selfish or is it better to be ill tempered and cranky from continuously giving of yourself? How can you better balance giving to others and taking care of yourself?

  • We must practice generosity in the form of time and attention, not only toward others, but also regarding ourselves in order to feel that we matter.

  • What are you passionate about? Your work? Your spouse? Your hobby? You may not relate to the word “passion” and feel you don’t have any. However, you actually may be passionate about something you don’t define in that way. How do you spend your time? If you spend a lot of time out riding your bicycle, you might be passionate about that sport. Is there’s no passion in your life, what do you need to do to allow yourself to feel passion?

  • “The words that enlighten the soul are more precious than jewels.” Hazrat Inayat Khan

  • If you want to help someone feel cherished, write them an old-fashioned letter, put a stamp on the envelope and mail it. Getting something in snail mail besides bills and advertisements brings its own pleasure.

  • Today I’m grateful for all that is going well in my world – how well my body is functioning even with my aches and pains, how happy I am to be in a loving partnership/relationship with someone who loves and cherishes me, and the gift of work that sustains me, helping me feel useful and productive.

  • As emotions go up, logic goes down. To change negative self-talk to positive, ask: • What is my self-talk? What am I actually saying to myself? • Am I unnecessarily upsetting myself? • Is my thinking moderate or extreme? • Is my self-talk helpful or harmful to myself or others? • Can I change the situation I’m upset about? • If I can’t change the situation, can I accept it? • How can I interrupt my train of thought and redirect it to a more helpful response?

  • “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

  • “I shut my eyes in order to see.” Paul Gauguin

  • I realize for several days, I haven’t been seeking sugar nor have I been craving it constantly. I wonder if it’s because I’m creatively expressing myself though painting, writing, and doing walking meditation which all feed my soul.

  • “Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

  • A project too big will overwhelm me and I’ll make no progress. If I can break a task down into small, doable steps, I can conquer anything, or at least it feels that way.

  • Noting unpleasant feelings helps us focus on issues and situations that are not working in our lives. These feelings can help us be aware of what needs our care and attention. Mindful observation helps us gain insight and understanding into what needs to be changed and how to actually change it. The mind is a powerful ally or foe. You can gain its help by focusing on the present moment over and over until you gain clarity into your challenges. Taking time to observe your mind can help you become aware of the mental gymnastics that help or hinder you from reaching your goals and feeling good about yourself.

  • Am I truly hungry? Is it a physical sensation that reminds me I haven’t eaten in 3 hours or more or is it an emotional craving I’m experiencing? I need to check in with myself so that I don’t make reckless food choices. Take time to ask yourself these questions before you eat.

  • Size does matter in food. Portion control is a major problem in America with most restaurants serving two to three times the recommended size. Likely you are eating way more than your body needs in order to fuel your daily activity level. Lack of portion control is likely one of the reasons if you constantly are struggling to maintain your weight.

  • When I’m stressed, I do something productive to relax: go for a walk, stretch at my desk or wherever I am, take a few deep breaths letting the out breath be especially long, or I do a yoga pose.

  • Remember portion control. It’s almost guaranteed to be smaller than you think for almost everything you eat. Eat slowly and allow your body the twenty minutes it needs to signal it’s full.

  • It’s motivating to think about the results of a workout. However, putting my energy into how to make the workout happen (time, place) has more impact in getting results. It moves from theory to reality as I pack my workout bag the night before and set my alarm for an hour earlier than usual. Even getting to bed earlier supports my follow-through for the next day’s workout.

  • Genuine smiles are our best accessory. So, I’m reminding my face to reflect the happiness I’m feeling inside. Smiling is a simple, free gesture most people appreciate receiving. What can you do today to smile more?

  • “The universe will reward you for taking risks on its behalf.” Shakti Gawain - What kind of risks are you taking to grow and learn?

  • I love to dance to oldies in the privacy of my home. It always makes me happy. I smile ear to ear as I move. Sometimes I even sing along. Ah, the joy in something so simple.

  • Will I love/like myself more or less if I engage in this activity? It’s an important question to ask myself on a regular basis. It will support my good choices and remind me to pay attention to how I feel when I make poor choices. We can apply this question in all aspects of our lives.

  • I’m aware that small steps make a huge difference in my well-being. Today, I’m taking a walk/snowshoe in nature where I will meditate for five minutes. What small action are you doing today to take care of yourself?

  • Last night at a party, I watched a woman eat one cookie after another over a period of time while a group of us were talking. I doubt she was aware of the taste after the first bite of the first cookie. She reminded me of myself and how I can be with sugar. It’s my drug of choice. She was sad to watch with her rapid consumption.

  • “To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.” Robert Louis Stevenson

  • “Make your own recovery the first priority in your life.” Robin Norwood

  • Struggling to reach your New Year’s Resolutions? You might benefit from using Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to assist you. You can receive a free manual/ tutorials and gather information to educate yourself by looking at two websites: www.emofree.com and www.eftuniverse.com. If you need additional help, you can hire me for a one-time session to fine-tune your EFT skills and learn advanced techniques to be able to do this tapping in public places without people knowing that’s what you are doing. I can be reached at 530-582-5459 in Truckee, CA.

  • When I’m not in the mood to exercise, sometimes just putting on my exercise gear and doing 5 minutes of movement gets me started. I then exercise longer, feel better about myself, and my mood is lifted.

  • “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Pablo Picasso - What are you doing to support your creative side?

  • At the beginning of 2013, M.J. Ryan  suggests that we mark our calendars by randomly selecting four days throughout the year to give ourselves a treat. You put a special symbol such as a heart, a star, or a smiley face on that date. When you get to that day in your calendar, you give yourself a treat. There’s a wonderful sense of anticipation that may bring you joy along with the happiness of a treat for yourself. It’s something fun to do for yourself.

  • If you are struggling to make changes in your life, perhaps you need professional assistance to help encourage you to reach your goals. Paying someone to help you often increases the seriousness of commitment to change. Take a moment to look at my website to determine if I am a good fit for you to assist you: www.barbarakramenkahn.com. Personal growth for mind, body, and spirit might be the very best time and money you have ever spent on yourself.

  • Happy New Year! Do you make New Year’s Resolutions and how successful are you in accomplishing them? Lots of people don’t bother to make them because they don’t want to be disappointed in themselves. According to Statistic Brain only 8% of people are successful in achieving their New Year’s Resolutions. The most popular is “lose weight” followed by “get fit” and yet one study shows that 80% of gym goers drop out within eight weeks. The rest of the top five resolutions are: “eat more healthy,” “save more/spend less,” and “stop smoking.” What can you do to get the help you need to accomplish your goals?

  • NEW YEAR’S NOTE – It’s that time of the year where people do a reality check on how they are living their lives. They resolve to make big changes (start exercising, write down food intake, get more organized, do something they have been avoiding, etc.) The question is, how long will these changes last? What can you do to make sure you are successful in making a permanent change in your life?

  • NEW YEAR’S EVE TIPS – Drinking a large glass of water between alcohol drinks will help you feel better the next day. Putting a glass of water beside your bed and taking a drink each time you wake up will also help your body recover. Of course, drinking less alcohol will help you even more to feel better the next day.

  • “Happiness is either virtue or pleasure, not this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.” William Butler Yeats. What are you doing to grow? What would you like to alter about yourself and what are you doing to accomplish that goal? Often we need support and help in making the changes we want for ourselves. Who do you have in your life that can encourage and help you with personal transformation?

  • Last Minute Holiday Gift Giving Idea: Some people believe in making themselves happy by giving gifts at the holidays to worthwhile causes. The Seva Foundation helps prevent blindness: http://www.seva.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_seva. What causes are you passionate about that you could gift this holiday season? Even a small financial gift makes a difference to someone struggling to see.

  • It’s that time of the year when disappointment, overspending, and feeling tired are often high. The holidays can also be a time to feel grateful and an opportunity to spend time with loved ones that you don’t often see. What are some things you can do or say to yourself that will increase your holiday happiness? Are there opportunities to give that don’t involve spending a lot of money and yet give you a personal sense of satisfaction that you helped someone? It might be as simple as helping a neighbor with a project or spending time listening to someone who needs a sounding board.

  • Have you ever noticed how too much “stuff” in the form of gift receiving is especially difficult for children? They don’t have the skills to appreciate all the things they get when they are overwhelmed with presents. Plus, there could be a tendency to feel spoiled and entitled by so many gifts. Is there a way to give the children in your life gifts and help them be aware of the less fortunate?

  • You might be aware that the holiday season is a lonely time for many people. Can you reach out to support someone who is alone by inviting them to share a meal with you? Perhaps you want to take a small gift to a neighbor who lives alone or invite him or her to your home for some social time. It can also reduce family tension by having non-family members attend traditional family functions.

  • Local Holiday Gift Giving Tip: You might feel better if the presents you give are of greater value to the people who receive them. Is there an organization that you support that would benefit from a contribution by you in honor of someone on your gift list? Some local worthwhile organizations that benefit many are: The Tahoe-Truckee Community Foundation, Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe, Arts for the Schools, Project MANA, and Sierra Senior Services. These are only some of the worthwhile organizations in our community. You may have your own favorite. The important point is to make a contribution to a worthy cause.

  • If you focus less on how to make your house look good for the holidays and focus more on being comfortable and relaxed with people you love, you might have more fun celebrating. Many of us tend to get caught up in doing many extras this time of the year to the point where we feel even more stressed than usual. Perhaps you don’t need to do everything yourself. Maybe you can delegate some of your holiday preparations or even eliminate some of them. What can you let go of? What can you ask for help doing? Can you have a potluck instead of doing all the cooking yourself? Can you skip the handmade cards or make simpler Christmas cookies? What else do you need to do to reduce your stress and increase your joy this holiday season?

  • What stresses you out about the holidays? Do you feel the month of December is too commercial and not spiritual enough? Do you overspend and regret if when your credit card bills come in? Do you feel especially lonely this time of year? Do you struggle with getting along with relatives that you spend time with during celebrations? When you are able to identify what causes you the most stress, you have the beginning step of being able to change those things. What do you need to do, say to yourself, or believe to shift your stress level during the holidays?

  • If you are a person who's recently broken up with your partner, the holidays can be especially challenging and often painful. Rather than focusing on what memories you would have had with your partner, remember all the reasons you are no longer in that relationship. It ended for a reason. Give yourself credit for making the shift and moving on with your life. Make it a goal to create one or two new, pleasant memories for yourself this holiday season.
  • What brings you the greatest joy during the month of December? There can be many opportunities to connect with loved ones, do things you truly love doing, and have spiritual moments that are meaningful. Take a moment to think about the ways you gain the greatest amount of happiness from this time of the year. How is it possible to do even more of these things? If you do one small thing per day for the rest of December that brings you great joy, you will likely reduce the amount of stress you may be feeling from the overwhelming amount of things you are trying to accomplish this month.

  • “Snipers are people who undermine your efforts to break unhealthy relationship patterns.” Jody Hayes

  • SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS TIPS – If you want to avoid the typical weight gain of the holidays, focus on the people at parties rather than the food.

  • Do you ever look at the obituaries in the newspaper? How many of those people who died recently do you think would trade places with someone alive? Many of them would likely even be willing to trade for our bodies, which we criticize constantly, in order to be alive again. Yet those of us still breathing often don’t appreciate being alive and the gift of being in our own bodies. Our bodies are a treasure to be valued. Take a moment to appreciate your body.

  • I recently read an intriguing article in the New Yorker magazine on Timothy Ferriss, Silicon Valley’s self-help guru who wrote: The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich which has been on the New York Times Best Seller list for over 4 years. It’s interesting how people choose what they do to make a living and how they make their choices. Some do it by planning and some by default. How did you make your career choices and are you happy with them? Anything you need to do differently to live out your dreams?

  • “Some say that OM, which is used as a common meditation mantra, is God vibrating within all living things. OM is the sound of God.” Maxim Budreau Maxim is a talented Intuitive Reader, Spiritual Advisor, and she conducts Angel Sessions. You might give yourself or someone you love, a session with her for a holiday gift. She can be reached in Reno, NV at 775-378-1080.

  • All of us have moments of anguish. I’m aware that most of the time I’m happy and content with my life. I’d say 95-99% of the time. However, the remaining 1-5% can color my entire existence. The intense feelings are just under the surface. While it’s a low level of feelings such as: anxiety, sadness, isolation, and/or loneliness, it’s still there, like a low-grade fever. While I don’t feel particularly bad, I don’t feel great either. There are these pockets of pain that I need to acknowledge and accept about myself rather than hiding them. The holidays tend to highlight intense feelings that often cause distress. What feelings do you need to acknowledge in order to cope with them directly? Talk to someone who cares about you about these challenges.

  • I am so grateful for the friends I’ve had for more than 35 years. They knew me in my youth and have seen my growth and maturity over the years. It’s a blessing to have such witnesses for my life. What friends do you have that you are grateful for and have you told them how you feel about them? Take a moment to tell them how important they are to you. It will be a gift to both of you.

  • Being grateful and aware helps us to be happy. One meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh that might help this awareness is: “Breathing in, as I turn on the faucet, I am grateful for the clean water that sustains my life. Breathing out, I remember the billions of people who are without clean water every day." Take a moment to appreciate the abundance of the world you live in.

  • Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. Is it possible for you to make it a habit of silently thanking all of those around you that you are connected to and dependent on for what they contribute to your life? This is a gift of gratitude you can give yourself and others daily.

  • You might consider buying flowers as a surprise for someone you care about. You do not need to buy an elaborate arrangement. Something simple and inexpensive can be very impactful. Combine this with a note of appreciate and you have a priceless gift.

  • SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS TIPS – If you know there will be alcohol in your party future, drink at least one large glass of water and eat some protein before you leave home. Both of these will help your body process the alcohol and help you feel better.

  • It’s important to keep moving so that you can continue to move throughout your life. So start early developing some small, healthy habits. At work, stand up every 30 minutes even if you have a desk job. An easy stretch at your desk will increase your flexibility, burn calories, and keep you more mentally alert. You could stand while speaking on the phone or walk over to talk to colleagues instead of emailing. Be creative with movement in your workspace even if it’s a small cubicle; roll your ankles and wrists on the hour, every hour. Roll your neck.

  • Are you on a small budget for the holidays and unsure what to give to people you love? You might consider writing a letter of appreciation. If you are fortunate enough to have living parents, you can write individual letters thanking them for what they have done for you over the years. Be as specific as you can. The more details you give your parents, the more they will feel valued by you. Did they go to school meetings, games you played, or plays you were in? Did they provide a musical instrument for you to play or uniforms for you to wear? Did they drive you to school or make your lunch each day or give you lunch money? Remind them of these things they did for you as a way of being grateful to them. It is likely they will cherish this gift more than any other you have ever given them. The true value is that they can read and re-read the words, enjoying the gift again and again.

  • Deepak Chopra is offering a free 21-day meditation challenge that started yesterday and is excellent: 21-Day Meditation Challenge www.meditationchallenge@chopra.com

  • Long-time friendships are the gold in life. Be grateful for the continued love, acceptance, and support from people who have known you for years. These people have seen the progression of your life and value you. They are witnesses to your growth including your struggles and accomplishments. These people are to be valued as the ones who have loved you, warts and all.

  • Another country song line that’s powerful is: “What would you do if you could do it all again?” So, what’s keeping you from making a change or two in your life for the better?

  • A country song gives some good insights with this line: “Hope you get the opportunity to live life like you’re dying” This is a powerful way to live if you stay present in the moment and still remain responsible.

  • “I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.” Duke Ellington

  • How do you want to live your life knowing we all have a limited time on earth? How do you want to impact the world in large and small ways because you were alive? I’ve been thinking a lot lately about these questions due to a long-time friend dying recently. Connemoria Webster raised two children, maintained a good marriage, created a body of art work, and helped many people with their nutritional needs. Even though she died in her fifties, she was able to impact many individuals in a positive and enduring way. I painted with her for over twenty years and will especially miss her when I pick up my paint brush. This is my quest to publicly celebrate her life.

  • Think about a time when your work, relationship, or life was the most exciting, when you felt the most alive. • What was going on? • What made you feel that way? • If you are not living like that now, why not?

  • Small goals do make a significant difference in my well-being. Adding a vegetable to my lunch, reducing or eliminating the amount of red meat I eat, parking my car as far away as possible from my office in order to get a few extra steps, all promote my health.

  • Are you harsh and demanding on yourself, not giving yourself much credit for what you accomplish? Do you struggle with not making a decision due to the fear of making the wrong choice? How would your life improve if you gave yourself credit for what you do get done even if it’s what you expect of yourself? Being rewarded in our self-talk often produces a feeling of confidence that supports us in making better decisions.

  • “Undoubtedly, we become what we envisage.” Claude M. Bristol

  • If I agree to meet someone for a bike ride, swim, or walk, I’m more likely to keep my commitment to exercise. Physical activity can be a great way to connect with a new person or an ideal way to build a friendship by having a mutual goal.

  • A Sangha, in Buddhist teachings, is a spiritual community of like-minded people practicing the same ideals. The collective energy of mindfulness when practiced by more than one person is powerful. Alone, we frequently stumble in our mindfulness and/or meditation practice. A collective goal within a spiritual community supports each individual and her growth. What are you doing to support yourself? Is there Sangha group for you to join? In Truckee, California, ForGoodness Sake has many free or low-cost classes. You can access their calendar at http://www.goodnesssake.org/.

  • By acknowledging and observing our feelings and thoughts without judging, blaming, or criticizing ourselves, we start to free ourselves from our suffering. When we acknowledge these feelings with mindfulness, identifying the specific feeling such as sorrow, anger, or shame, we do not allow those feelings to overwhelm us. Instead we have the option to calm the feelings with tenderness and compassion. Deeply breathing, silently say: Breathing in, I am feeling sad (anger, shame, frustration, etc.). Breathing out, I am embracing my sadness with compassion. Giving ourselves this understanding and insight, we can stop our suffering and free ourselves from harsh judgments.

  • An exercise buddy is someone who will help you get moving and who will push you to challenge yourself physically. It might be a neighbor, an acquaintance, someone you’ve seen at the pool but don’t know, or someone you’ve heard talk about needing to get into better shape. What do you have to lose (besides weight) by asking them if they would be willing to meet you to exercise? Even if they decline, you are no worse off. If they say “yes,” you are ahead of the game. It could be the beginning of a friendship and a better fitness level for you.

  • “Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.” Henry Miller

  • Change what you can, accept what you can’t. Look at it as an opportunity to grow.

  • What is the payoff for remaining overweight? Have you ever thought about the fact that you have more in common with a lot of people when you are struggling to lose that last 5 lbs. than you have when you are at your goal weight? You won’t have the need to complain to others about your weight loss desires if you attain your ideal weight. What would you talk about????

  • “We need to be willing to let our intuition guide us, and then be willing to follow that guidance directly and fearlessly.” Shakti Gawain

  • “Quit eating crap.” From Harry’s rules in the book: Younger Next Year, keeps popping into my awareness. It’s sound advice.

  • I love to play with a jar of bubbles. It’s such an inexpensive pleasure that has me smiling in seconds. I especially like the ones with multiple colors. Plus, it takes little time and gives immense joy. What are you doing for pleasure?

  • I’ve discovered creative ways of not feeling deprived when my finances have gotten tight. I’ve been able to appreciate all the pleasures in my life that are free or very low-cost: sunrises, sunsets, rain storms, shooting stars, lightening, thunder, swimming in the lake, sitting with a cup of hot tea and appreciating what is going well in my life, being grateful for all my relationships, the fun of a few minutes of sensuous touch, and most of all being aware of how blessed I am to have my health.

  • I am an exercise nut. I love to move my body and yet I struggle at times to motivate myself to exercise. I can imagine how incredibly challenging it must be for people who hate to exercise to get themselves moving. By walking and talking with a friend, I can fool myself into much-needed movement while distracting myself by interacting with my friend.

  • As of today, Summer is officially over. I choose to look forward to the fall colors and a change in the seasons. I choose to savor the warmth of the days and the coolness of the nights. What are you choosing to do with the changes?

  • Burying your feelings can result in weight gain, feeling badly about yourself, and has the added challenge of still needing to address the feelings when they surface again, which they will do. They don’t go away until you actually acknowledge them. Most of us wanted an easier route to bliss and fulfillment.

  • Keep moving. Do what you can even if it’s only a few steps here and there. You will become even more immobile if you don’t move. Keep your eye on your goal of remaining mobility until the end of your long, productive, joyful life. Find the joy in moving your body.

  • “To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” Joseph Chilton Pearce

  • Some of the women featured in Andrew Postman’s book: What’s In An Age? accomplished their finest feats after they were past retirement age. Some examples are: At age 65, Laura Ingalls Wilder published Little House in the Big Woods, the first of her eight-volume Little House series. At age 68, Lillian Carter, mother of President Jimmy Carter, joined the Peace Corps and served for two years in India. At age 87, Jeannette Rankin, the first female member of Congress, led an anti-Vietnam protest on Capitol Hill. At age 89, Doris Haddock, the activist also known as Granny D., walked 3,200 miles across the United States to generate support for campaign reform. At age 90, Jenny Wood-Allen of Scotland competed the London Marathon in 11 hours, 34 minutes. She ran her first marathon at 71. At age 93, Lillian Gish starred in the film The Whales of August, 72 years after appearing in The Birth of a Nation. What have you done to challenge yourself lately?

  • Want to feel better about how you look? Brittany Watkins has a client who has come up with a mirror mantra. Marcy’s trick is: Each time she passes a mirror, she says to herself, “I can’t believe how good you look!” Come up with your own loving mirror mantra and say it to yourself each day.

  • “I’ve heard it said that prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening to God.” Maxim Budreau Maxim is a gifted Intuitive Reader, Spiritual Advisor, and she does Angel Sessions. She can be reached in Reno, NV at 775-378-1080.

  • “What is the one thing I need to do to take care of me today?” Brittany Watkins Ask yourself this question first thing each morning and do your best to do that one thing. I think you will quickly find how much better you feel by listening to your inner voice.

  • I like to bless my food and all the people and animals that made it possible for it to arrive in my world to be consumed. I often thank a long list such as: the soil it grew in; the seeds themselves; all he workers who planted it, cared for it, and then harvested it; if it’s an animal product such as cheese or milk, I thank the animal who gave me the food and all the people who took care of the animal; if I am eating animal flesh, I thank the animal for giving its life for my benefit and all the people who helped raise the animal; al the truck drivers who carry the food; all the stockers and grocery store employees who provide a place for me to buy the food; all the people who have prepared and cooked ready-made foods I eat; and anyone else I’ve missed in this food chain. Most of all, I thank God for making it all possible. When I take the time to do this, I feel truly appreciative and grateful.

  • Do you ever want to escape all those negative feelings you experience, yet there is nowhere to go? Sometimes people feel trapped in their despair. There’s a wound in them that they are hiding from. One they don’t want to admit. Sometimes these same people have worked and worked on themselves for a long time and in many challenging ways. Yet there remains a feeling of being lost. Perhaps it’s a way they abandon themselves before anyone else can abandon them. Sometimes they betray themselves by hiding in alcohol, drugs, or food. Often, they feel this kind of hiding is the only treat they have that doesn’t abandon or betray them. It’s a staple in life. It’s a coping skill that helps them escape from the despair. Yet it’s a lie, too. Usually they only feel better temporarily after they drink, take a drug, or eat, especially when they consume as much as they want. The simple yet very difficult way to deal with this despair is to sit with it and allow the feelings to process. Research has shown that feelings only stay for 90 seconds. If we are experiencing them longer, we are the ones who are continuing to dwell on the same feelings over and over. It’s possible to stop that behavior and feel better by allowing the feeling to pass through like a train going down the tracks.

  • Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” Eddie Cantor

  • Have you ever noticed how we keep reacting to our present circumstances based on our knowledge of past experiences? I’d like to be unconditioned by my past or at least open to new outcomes rather than basing my current reactions on past fears. People want to believe touching their pain will not destroy them. However, it often feels so big, especially around grief issues, that individuals fear they will drown in their tears if they let them freely flow. We know logically this is not true. Still the irrational part of us fears being out of control. Do you ever feel that raw?

  • Summer is quickly disappearing as August nears its end. It’s a sad moment to watch the nights get cooler and the days shorter. There are less people on the lake; a sure sign summer is quickly ending. How do you adapt to the changing seasons?

  • Can you be content with doing small amounts of fitness training? Five minutes of stretching is better than no stretching. Yet sometimes when people intent to start exercising, it takes them a long time to actually exercise, as they remember one more thing they need/want to do and then another. So they avoid even starting to move their bodies more often than actually work out because they feel they don’t have enough time to do what they want. It’s better to start with something small, exercise-wise, than to do nothing at all.

  • What you say to yourself becomes reality. If you say your stomach sticks out too much or is too big, then your stomach stays too big or becomes bigger. Thoughts become things. It’s time to choose thoughts of a flat, well-toned stomach and take actions to achieve this. The theme of “thoughts become things” is discussed in many books such as Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting by Lynn Grabhorn and in many videos such as The Secret.

  • Does it ever annoy you when you are in a bad mood about something in your life and “Miss Suzie Sunshine” comes along and points out all you have to be grateful for? Not everyone appreciates people who are in “Miss Suzie Sunshine” mode and on the positive path to bliss. However, the alternative is not as pleasant. Wouldn’t you rather see the glass half-full than half-empty in life?

  • When we are invited to a social function, I’m usually very excited about it. I initially look forward to it. Then when the time comes to get ready to leave, I dread going and just want to stay home. I force myself to keep my agreement to attend. When I finally arrive, I have a few uncomfortable moments before I relax and enjoy the event and the people. It’s my typical pattern. What are your typical patterns? What do you do to overcome them if they create challenges for you?

  • Lots of people are tired, very tired. Why do you push yourself to do just one more thing? Why can’t you allow yourself a bit of rest or seven to eight hours of peaceful sleep? What do you really accomplish by getting just one more thing done before you allow yourself to relax completely and rest? Is what you got done worth the price you are paying with your reduced energy level?

  • Do you ever wonder what part of your brain allows you to ignore all you’ve learned about portion control? You might be eating healthy food, just far too much of it. You like the taste. You like the textures in your mouth. So you eat and eat. Long after your body is full, you finally stop. Once again, you have overridden that part of brain that signals “FULL” and kept eating until you’re stuffed and it’s not even Thanksgiving. What can you do differently? Measure your food? Take yourself for a walk or brush your teeth to stop eating?

  • Aging is an exciting opportunity to observe your own body’s changes. Being pleased with the health and mobility you have at any given time is an important aspect of successfully growing older.

  • What sends you over the edge and into poor habits? Sometimes, it's unresolved grief. There are so many loss issues in life and people tend to ignore them rather than acknowledge them. Sometimes people bury their feelings of sadness and loss under a tasty treat, drugs or alcohol. Often their body reacts negatively to these so called "treats." Drugs, food, and alcohol only cover up your losses temporarily. Nothing changes about the situation except for the weight you might gain by indulging or the hangover you might experience, both of these usually only make you feel worse. It's important to actually feel the feelings you are experiencing by acknowledging them. This acceptance and appreciation of your feelings often allows them to move through your body, mind, and spirit.

  • “One is too many and a thousand isn’t enough” is a theme for many people around drugs, alcohol, sugar, cigarettes, and other addictive things in life. They have no filter to stop once they have started consuming. One source of information for those of you dealing with alcohol issues is: 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

  • While I may dream of getting a massage, it may not be in my budget. However, asking my partner for a foot massage and being willing to give him one is in the realm of possibility. When I’m the only one available to nurture myself, I can give my own feet a warm soak and loving rubdown. The pleasure is available to me if I make it happen.

  • What do you need right this moment to care for yourself as you would a newborn – enchanted with their soft skin, believing in the miracle of life, delighting in feeling needed, loving them with your whole heart?

  • Self-care tip - Deepen your breathing when you get anxious, stressed, tense, or frustrated. Deep breathing helps your body release and relax enough so that you can think clearer and make better choices.

  • “A mind too active is no mind at all.” Theodore Roethke What are you doing to calm your mind?

  • My resistance to eating sugar is down when I’m tired, stressed, or overwhelmed. I want sugar especially chocolate, to help lift my spirit or at least my energy. It does work temporarily. Then I pay the price physically with a drop in energy, and emotionally with feeling bad about my behavior/lack of will power (or how I define it). What’s the ultimate cost to my body, to my health, and to my emotional well-being? It feels as if I pay a very high price for this temporary pleasure. What habits do you have that are not working well for you?

  • Self-care tip - Rest when you are tired instead of eating sugar or otherwise seeking quick energy (like drinking coffee as a pick-me-up). Two to three minutes of deep breathing is usually more productive.

  • I'm currently watching an outstanding series promoted by Whole Foods. It is time restricted and is only available for free for a limited time. Check it out. www.thefutureofhealthnow.com/.

  • Dr. David S. Sobel's fourth lecture is: Indulge in Altruism. www.youtube.com/watch

  • Part 3 of Dr. Sobel's series is a prescription to thrive: www.youtube.com/watch

  • Dr. David S. Sobel's lectures are well worth watching. Here's the second: Healthy Pleasures - Senses Prescription www.youtube.com/watch

  • Dr. David S. Sobel has lectures about Healthy Pleasures that are well worth watching. Here's the first one: Healthy Pleasures: Part 1 www.youtube.com/watch

  • Self-care tip – Rest, when you are tired, instead of eating sugar or seeking a quick energy fix (such as drinking coffee or seeking a caffeine drink as a pick-me-up). Two to three minutes of deep breathing is usually more productive.

  • Weight training strengthens our bones and doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Focused, goal-oriented lifting can be completed in only 30 minutes after warm up. What is your health worth, time-wise?

  • Motivation is a key factor in getting anything done. However, the effects of motivation are short-term and it must be made into a daily habit. Brushing our teeth has short-term benefits, too. Yet, most of us feel bushing our teeth is worth doing on a daily basis. Motivation, like brushing our teeth, requires a daily effort.

  • Sleeping in complete darkness allows the best production of melatonin (a sleep hormone) and serotonin (a mood elevation hormone) which enhances feeling rested. If you are a person who struggles with falling sleep or staying asleep, you might try a sleep mask.

  • Thought for the day: “You need to claim the events of your life to make yourself yours.” Anne-Wilson Schaef

  • Effective goal-setting demands more than a wish for things to be different. Reaching a goal, such as losing ten pounds and keeping it off, calls for putting some effort into it and clearly realizing it is an ongoing process requiring your attention. Setting achievable goals requires taking some clear steps: 1. Determine your goal – set a specific and measurable goal with a deadline such as lose ten pounds by eight weeks from now. 2. Note your starting point, which would be your current weight if your goals is weight loss. 3. Ask what changes are you willing to make? Some examples include: No dessert or no alcohol until you’ve reached your goal, walk or exercise each day. Be consistent. 4. Make a list of behaviors that support your goal. Examples: Stretch while watching TV at least one time each week for fifteen minutes, walk and talk with a friend for thirty minutes, drink plain hot tea and avoid eating your usual donut. 5. Make a list of short term and intermediate goals each with deadlines that support your behaviors. Examples: Short term goals – today you will walk twenty minutes. Intermediate goals – this week got to the gym two times, eat a vegetarian meal three times, and drink no alcohol. 6. Keep a detailed log of food intake (everything you put in your mouth, both solid and liquid) writing it down as soon as you consume it. Keep a log of all your physical activity (swimming, walking, skiing) ideally with the intensity level and amount of time engaged in the activity. Planning is critical if you want results. It will take time and perseverance. The reward in improved physical and mental health will be worth the extra effort.

  • I've been at an excellent three day seminar: Pamela Bruner's "Transform" which highlights EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). I'm learning additional skills to be even more effective with my psychotherapy clients.

  • Do you want to support your immune system? Research has found that donating money to an organization that inspires you, actually improves your immune system. The amount doesn’t matter, so a small contribution is equally powerful in building your immunity. You are rewarded for being generous.

  • Have you ever noticed that when you are craving something and then eat it, that it sometimes doesn’t taste as good as you would like? Occasionally it doesn’t feel all that great eating it nor does it taste all that good. It is of value to pay attention and stop eating whatever you were craving when this is the situation.

  • “Like an ability or a muscle, hearing your inner wisdom is strengthened by doing it.” Robbie Gass Happy Father's Day to all the men in the world who cherish their children.

  • Do you know how to just to have fun for a day, and not include several errands for efficiency? Would it be possible not to have guilt when you play? Playing is something that, as adults, we don’t allow ourselves. Yet, it often refreshes us so that we are more efficient for our everyday tasks.

  • We worry about things that are not worth the time and effort we spend thinking about them. How could you start with small actions to resolve your worries? We worry about things that are not worth the time and effort we spend thinking about them. How could you start with small actions to resolve your worries?

  • You need to give yourself a huge amount of credit when you have a sugar free day because there are sugar landmines throughout your day. There are multiple opportunities for sugar consumption, one temptation followed by another followed by one more. We are especially vulnerable when our energy decreases, which is during the late afternoon for most people. It’s a miracle that people manage to go a day without sugar when we are so exposed to it everywhere we turn.

  • Some people do a great job of not keeping sweets, junk food, or alcohol in the house. It’s leaving the house that causes them problems with wanting to buy one treat or another. What else could you do with that money that you would enjoy even more? Put it in a piggy bank to save for a weekend away or a mini-vacation or even a real vacation? It will add up!

  • “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Balancing your energy and not stressing yourself out with your “to do” list is a daily awareness challenge. You can give yourself breaks which based on research, can make you even more productive. Research indicates if you work for fifty minutes and take a ten minute break by doing something completely different and relaxing (get off the computer, take a walk, read for pleasure, move away from your desk, stretch), you will be more productive during your work periods.

  • Sometimes when eating something really good, that part of our brain that says: “I’ve had enough” kicks in before we finish the food. However, often we will continue to eat until the entire amount is gone. We will finish the tasty food anyway. We bypass that part of our brain that wanted to stop eating. Take time to notice if and when you do that.

  • "At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities." Jean Houston

  • On an ideal day, we all would forgive ourselves and ask others to forgive us.

  • Being selfish is a good thing when you are taking responsibility for what you do for your health and well-being.

  • I have a tee-shirt that says: "Chocolate makes my clothes shrink." So true!

  • Staying hydrated plays a role in physical strength. Increasing your intake of plain water is an important part of being healthy. If you don't like to drink water, you can make it taste more pleasant by adding lemon or lime.

  • "Painting is just another way of keeping a diary." Pablo Picasso

  • Personal growth, along with motivation, need to be a daily habit. Often people get initially excited by a class they take or a book they read. Yet, the newness wears off quickly and they conclude whatever they were excited about doesn’t work long-term. This is likely because they haven’t made the ideas a daily habit yet! Take time to inspire yourself daily to learn something new. Staying on a personal growth quest throughout your entire life will help your mind stay active and healthy.

  • “Why should we all use our creative power…? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.” Brenda Ueland

  • It’s easy to distract yourself from your dreams and goals with everyday mundane, yet necessary, tasks such as cleaning, cooking, and running errands. What can you do today to make progress toward your dream or goal? Be brave and take some action.

  • Rest is sometimes more important to your well-being than getting something else done.

  • Random thought: What if these are the best of times and you haven't paid attention? Have you forgotten to be grateful for what is good in your life?

  • The very best thing you can do for people you love is to take care of yourself, and allow them to keep the responsibility for their self-care on themselves.

  • What do you need to do, say to yourself, or think right this moment to feel like a treasure, to treat yourself like a precious object, and to believe you are loved?

  • Diet buddies who support each other and cheer each other on for all the small victories are guardian angels in disguise.

  • If you want to achieve a goal, you need to work on it a little bit at a time until it’s done. Small tasks make a big project more approachable. Often if we try to do too much, we get overwhelmed and get nothing done. Take small, incremental steps toward your goals. Is there something you can do right now that will move you toward your goal?

  • Random thought: Just for today, be uniquely you, just who you are, no one else – not the person people except you to be. Just be youself, the real you; the person in your heart.

  • “I paint not by sight but by faith. Faith gives you sight.” Amos Ferguson

  • “What we play is life.” Louis Armstrong

  • We all have habits that we’re disturbed by, embarrassed by, or wished that we didn’t have. What can you do today to engage in one less habit than usual or release it altogether? Think about how proud you will be of yourself when you give up a habit you dislike.

  • “Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow.’” The Talmud

  • I’ve had a belief since I was a small child that the older I get, the better my life will become. In this uncertain economy, this is an outstanding belief to have. Remember that what you tell yourself becomes your reality.

  • Self-care tip: Choose to take care of yourself and let others take care of themselves. It’s enough of a challenge to do what’s best for ourselves. It’s none of our business what others do. It only distracts us from taking care of ourselves.

  • TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, has a wonderful 20-minute talk by Brene Brown called Listening To Shame. It's about vulnerability and shame. It's well worth the time and effort to see it.

    Click here for the video:

  • Often people have a tendency to get excited about an idea, and then lose interest in it. If you find you don’t follow through once the “shine” has worn off the idea, what do you do? How do you keep a “shine” on staying with your goals?

  • One of my pleasures is reading success stories of all kinds. The most common one in magazines is weight loss: “I lost 42 lbs., and my mom lost 65 lbs.! You can, too.” While I love these stories, I always wonder how they became that much overweight. Why was it when they gained the first 5 lbs. that they didn’t stop the upward spiral? Being unaware of the consequences of their action is likely part of the reason. Being human is another. It’s critical for maintaining your goal weight to nab weight gain quickly at the 3 lbs. mark before it turns into 5 lbs. and 5 lbs. turns into 10 lbs. above your goal weight.

  • Eating slowly and really looking at your food helps you feel physically full and emotionally satisfied.

  • Instead of eating when emotionally stressed, try asking yourself: “What’s eating me?”

  • "The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel.” Piet Mondrian

  • As the last few days of March wind down, we are reminded that New Year’s Resolutions to improve eating habits and get more exercise have lost their initial excitement. The stark challenge of both these behavior shifts has hit. Many people have given up their objectives. What is one small thing you can do today toward your goals?

  • Sometimes, when faced with changes in our lives, we feel overwhelmed and get in “I need to control it” mode. There’s often nothing you can control except your own reaction to a situation.

  • "Why indeed must “God” be a noun? Why not a verb…the most active and dynamic of all?"  Mary Daly, Theologian

  • If you are interested in losing weight and you have a lot to lose, it may be too overwhelming for you to contemplate. If you break the task into five pound goals and then set small steps to reach that incremental goal, you will more likely achieve success. An idea of those small steps might be: GOAL - five weight of loss in one month (this is a reasonable objective without punishing yourself or depriving yourself – or feeling completely restricted). Small steps: Monday – eliminate bread and butter; eat one additional steamed green vegetable. Reduce your food intake today by a few bites each meal. Notice when you are full. Eat slowly so your body has 20 minutes to signal your brain that it’s had enough food. Tuesday – Walk an additional five minutes or more; eliminate all desserts just for today. Wednesday – Stretch while watching TV or a video, drink only water today and one cup of coffee or tea with less sugar and cream than usual. Thursday – eat steamed fish and a brightly colored steamed vegetable for dinner. Find a new way to move your body (roller skate, hula hoop, do a gentle yoga class or yoga moves on your own, or learn to paddle board) and enjoy this activity for at least 15 minutes. Friday – Make sure each meal has lean, low fat protein in it. Eat a yellow, red, or orange raw vegetable today that you don’t ordinarily eat. Saturday – Increase your exercise time by at least 5 minutes. Find the joy in being able to move your body. Dance to your favorite music while preparing dinner. Experiment with steamed vegetables or raw vegetables for one vegetarian meal. Sunday – Take time to walk and meditate. Notice all the small changes you’ve made this week. Give yourself credit for any and all of you accomplishments no matter how small. Praise yourself. You deserve the approval.

  • What you say or don’t say to yourself about what you’re eating really does make a difference. Example: Sugar – either feeling happy you are not eating it or feeling deprived you are not eating it.

  • Do you ever wonder if the habitual way you relate to yourself is keeping you stuck? How can you shift one small thing today that promotes your health? Eat one more vegetable? Drink one less cup of coffee? Walk a few extra steps? If you can’t walk, can you swim or move in the pool? Get an extra half hour of sleep?

  • “What if every wrinkle, scar, or gray hair only made you more beautiful? www.tut.com 2/17/12. It’s all in our perception of ourselves.

  • Self-care tip - Choose to see, hear, and feel the truth about what you are putting into your body.

  • Self-care tip - It’s important to take a full rest day from exercise at least once a week. Depending on the intensity of your activity level, two rest days where you do no exercise, may be necessary for you to recover and feel good. Please check with your doctor and gift these recovery days to yourself as needed.

  • If you smoke, is it possible to give your lungs 1-2 days of rest from puffing as a self-care tool?

  • “Honor the evidence in front of me” is a quote worth remembering. Author Unknown

  • It’s both a blessing and a curse to realize you are the only one with power to choose what you put into your body. You can select vegetables or chocolate. You can choose salt or no salt, alcohol or no alcohol. It’s completely your option. No one else at this point in your adult life is making those decisions. It’s your responsibility to give your body the best care possible. There’s no one but yourself to blame when you make poor food choices. There is no one but yourself to give credit to for the outstanding moments when you make healthy, life-sustaining decisions.

  • Random thoughts: What if being at your ideal weight meant you no longer needed that medication you are on? Your excess weight may be why you need to be on medication for your reflux or maybe for diabetes. Would it be worth the effort it takes to lose the weight in order to possibility reduce the medication or even get off of it? Check with your doctor to see if this is even a possibility.

  • There is no trick to weight loss and improved fitness. It takes effort and dedication, which you will be able to accomplish when you make the commitment to change. However, there is a secret: It has to happen from the inside out. Making the decision to change your life to one of health is necessary for success. This change in attitude will allow you to increase your productivity and make you feel happier while you eat better and get more exercise.

  • New article in Sierra Sun Newspaper on exercise and reaching your New Year's Resolutions by Barbara Kramen-Kahn, Ph.D. Walk yourself a brighter world | It's not too late to exercise and keep 2012 resolutions | SierraSun

  • Many people have a tendency to get excited about an idea then lose interest in it. Often, people don’t follow through once the “shine” has worn off the idea. How do we keep a “shine” on our projects and achieve our goals? Think about what works for you. 

  • Just for today, choose a sugar-free (or an alcohol-free, or a drug-free) day and feel empowered. 

  • Ask: “Will I love/like myself more or less if I engage in this activity?” Sit on a sofa watching TV instead of going for a walk? Eat a candy bar instead of dealing directly with my sadness? Etc. 

  • “It always comes back to the same necessity: go deep enough and there is a bedrock of truth, however hard.” May Sarton

  • Self-care skill - You can choose to “inhale the compliment” taking it fully into your being and feeling good about what the other person is saying to you. It’s a nice way to give yourself credit.

  • Self-care skill: Are you stressing about too much to do? Take a moment to focus on your breathing to help relax: breathe in for a slow count of 5, hold for 5, and breathe out for a count of 5. Do this 5 times. Feel calmer.

  • February has arrived and your New Year’s resolutions for a better diet and more exercise are possibly a distant memory. What one small step can you take today, toward your goals and keeping your commitments to yourself to lead a healthier lifestyle? If you have managed to keep your New Year’s resolutions, good for you! Give yourself credit for whatever progress you’ve made.

  • February is the month for couples with Valentine’s Day. Singles may feel the pressure to be in a relationship with all the displays of hearts, flowers, candy, stuffed animals, and a variety of other marketing tools to get you to buy, buy, buy. This is a time you might feel especially alone if you don’t have a partner. Also, there are many people who are happy not being in a relationship. Even if you have a significant other, there’s the potential to be disappointed that they do not live up to your expectations of what being partners on Valentine’s Day means to you. What can you do to love yourself on that day and make it special for you with or without a partner?

  • The Month of Hearts could be a reminder to accept ourselves just as we are and love ourselves unconditionally. This quest for self-love is the first step in being available and open for others to love us.

  • Valentine’s Day is a day that reminds us to love, cherish, appreciate, and value ourselves in addition to others. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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