Tag: Stress

Oh That Elusive HAPPINESS

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The Art of Happiness. If it doesn’t come naturally, we have to help it along.

Sometimes when nothing seems to go right, Stop!!………Stop all the frantic activity and go DO something you like.

I’m sure you have been told that when you are constantly busy, running around taking care of stuff, nothing changes, nothing new can come in. Your mind is not at peace, your body is stressed out, your emotions are on edge and everywhere you turn presents you with another roadblock.

A glass of wine is good, but maybe not in the morning.

Meditation will definitely get you on a better track, but it seems at times it’s nearly impossible to just sit down and get quiet.

Your mind is racing, your adrenaline is high and the last thing you can imagine is sitting still. That’s why it’s sometimes more productive to do something you really enjoy to get back to a happier place, to find your happiness.

I love to do physical stuff, like painting walls or furniture, digging in the garden, building a little table, fixing something, creating wood-art, practicing yoga or taking a walk on the beach.

You don’t have a moment to stop and spend time “goofing off”, you say? Really? Will you have the time to get sick, have a mental break-down or at the very least get into disagreements with your loved ones? We really all do have time to stop every once in a while. 

We have to prioritize. What is more important in this moment: What we are doing or our sanity?

Do something you enjoy!

Your kids can miss a soccer game once in a while. If you don’t make it to the grocery store after work, you won’t starve. Your spouse can take care of that task without you. If you don’t have a spouse, leave it for another day (it works for Latinos….manana). Ask someone for help. People really do want to help, as long as you don’t abuse it.

I have a couple of rental homes and one of them had a serious roof-leak. It literally rains in. The tenant had to put some pots and pans out to catch the drips. This stresses me out to the max. The thought of the tenant being upset, the damage the water is causing, the expense……on and on. In the meantime, I can’t get a hold of the roofer. It won’t stop raining (I’m in NC right now). But, I suddenly realize, I have absolutely no control over this at the moment. I already left a message for the roofer. I apologized to the tenant. “Money comes easily and frequently” (my favorite mantra).

It was out of my hands.

Still tense, I located my paintbrush, pulled out that new can of paint and started painting my bathroom.

My mind calmed down in minutes, a space opened up for better thoughts, my breathing regulated…..all without me having to work hard at it. That’s the best part! I am tired of working so hard at everything. Aren’t you?

Then I remembered three things that always shift the energy and open the door for happiness:

1. Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself!

Self-pity is the very worst kind of emotion. It kinda sneaks in there and before you know it you are all about it. It destroys everything around itself, and leaves you feeling powerless.

Stop being the victim, stop feeling sorry for yourself – and be happy.

2. Be Grateful

Life is so fast-paced that we rarely recognize and acknowledge the wonder of it all.

Think of all the things you’re grateful for right now: family, health, home, your puppy, your red shoes, the grass, the sunshine, everything. Spend time being grateful each day – and be happy.

3. Accept What Is

We frequently resist what is. Just say “Yes!” more to all of life’s experiences. Don’t fight the river’s current. Say Yes!” more to emotions, situations, social invitations, adventures – and be happy.

Before I knew it I was smiling. Happiness…………it’s a process, not a destination.

To Your Happiness, with Love

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How are you feeling now……?

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How are you feeling now….after the Christmas rush? Are you feeling satisfied, at peace, happy with the way your holidays unfolded? Are you feeling sad that it’s over, guilty that you spent so much money, disappointed with the way it turned out? Or are you exhausted?

How do you feel about the commercialism that Christmas has become? It isn’t new, it increases every year. Now there is Halloween stuff on one isle and Christmas stuff on the other. It’s all about consumerism. We get so stressed out over making sure that we buy enough stuff for everybody. What to do if someone gives us something and we don’t have a gift in return? Are we spending as much as the other person spent on us?

Somewhere in the final days of the Christmas season, I hit a wall.  I felt dizzy with my to do list, the hectic, frenzied shopping, the insane traffic, who I still had to shop for and how much I should spend. Every-day-life didn’t stop, I still had to work, call the cell-phone company, go grocery shopping, get the brakes fixed, etc. My mind was all over the place, just not present. God knows how I got from one place to the next with my thoughts playing this crazy game of chase.

So I stopped!

I literally stopped doing anything, sat down and meditated. It was not an easy thing to just sit and get quiet in the chaos. But on the other hand I couldn’t add one more thing to my plate either. The anxiety and stress were making me sick. I couldn’t participate with the craziness anymore. I wanted to enjoy the season! I wanted to experience the moments.

I didn’t want to be a victim of consumerism and the resulting frenzy.

Some things were easy to change, like remembering to breathe and staying calm, smiling at others, becoming a nicer driver….letting people in, not getting upset when I got cut off, and driving a little slower. I cut back on the gifts I chose for only the immediate family. I didn’t send any Christmas cards; I sent facebook messages or emails instead. I chose to bake cookies and plan a nice dinner. Grocery shopping became calmer and more focused.

It was wonderful, as if time obeyed my command and slowed down.

What hurt was that I couldn’t get gifts to my daughter on time. She lives on the other side of the country and I was too late. I felt stuck and confused about how to approach the topic with her. So I was amazed when we resolved this with lots of love on the phone. (I sent the presents late and some money via paypal).

I can say this Christmas season was wonderful! We enjoyed the food and the cookies (I shared with others); we appreciated each and every gift, my family and I loved our time together and all without stress. The miracle was that we even resolved some family issues that normally cause pain and anxiety.

How do you want your Christmas to be next year? It is your choice! You are in charge; make it as crazy or enjoyable as you want. As a matter of fact, this applies to everything in your life.  You can start right now!

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Quick….can you answer this question?

 

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If someone were to ask, “what do you love most about yourself?” What comes to mind? Do you have a quick answer, or does it take some thought? Can you even come up with an answer?

It probably depends on the kind of day or week you are having. We can more easily access that self-love when we have good days, when things are flowing, relationships are calm. On difficult days– the kind that are full of struggle, too much activity and doubt– that self-love can virtually disappear or play a serious hide and seek.

When I was asked that question just the other day, I drew a blank. Nothing, I mean nothing came to mind.

What is going on, my Self admonished itself. You must know something you love about yourself. You have been working on this all your life. What a fraud you are!

I began to frantically dig around in the hidden cabinets of my mind, where this important information is stored. Nothing! Oh I found some crumpled reminders to love my body, to do loving things for myself, to take some moments each day……blah blah.

All this searching stressed me out. I had to come up with an answer, I was being held accountable.

OK, deep breath. “You’ve had a massively challenging week. You got this.” I took the comforting approach toward Self.

What I found was that when we have too much going on, that old recording starts playing again. You know the one we keep working on; those negative voices that have a never ending reservoir of our inadequacies and shameful secrets. They just sneak in, you don’t even notice them, they are so stealthy and quick. That is why it is so important to stop every so often and not let life overwhelm us. That is why we have to take some time to play, be silly…..and not take things too seriously. Because when we play, we literally shut the door to those voices, they can’t find the entrance.

Especially now during the holidays! Let’s take a deep breath together and take it easy for a minute, find a moment to fool around, have fun, be silly.

Oh yeah, and I found the cabinet. I can answer that question now.

Lots of Love and fun….

Christina

 

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