Powerful Deep Breathing, Au Revoir 2021

A great way to improve your health is to create an intention or lifestyle adjustment. An intention gives voice to a way of life enhancement that aligns with your current style of living.

Breathing is a perfect function to change. It is much more than inhaling and exhaling, there are a lot of things that happen within our body that react to the way we breathe. Just like the difference between living unconsciously or consciously, how we take a breath impacts our health. The first breath we take when we are born is diaphragmatic and that is how we should breathe our entire life, but as we become adults our breathing becomes shallow. Shallow breathing increases our heart rate, blood pressure and a variety of unhealthy lifestyle conditions. One dimensional breathing allows about two cups of air into your lungs, diaphragmatic breathing allows about two or three more liters or twice as much air into your system, reducing headaches, hypertension, insomnia and muscle tension.

Typical breathing patterns are reactive, quick and shallow. Modern day lifestyles that prompt shallow breathing puts the human body in a cyclical state of stress. If you make this small lifestyle change, you’ll feel more at peace and energetic and your overall health will improve. The best and most effective way to counteract short, fast breathing is to train yourself to draw deep breaths through your nose, from your belly. Deep breathing doesn’t eliminate challenges in your life, but it does naturally calm you so you can handle whatever you’re faced with.

How breathing works:

“The trachea, or windpipe, is like the trunk of the tree,” Hoyt said. “From there, the airways divide and divide, like branches of a tree. At the end of a tree’s branches are leaves; similarly, the ends of the bronchioles have alveoli also known as air sacs, where gas exchange takes place.”

In the air sacs, freshly inhaled oxygen is passed to the blood, which is then pumped through the body; the air sacs also absorb carbon dioxide, which is then removed from the body through exhalation.

The diaphragm, a thin muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities, tightens and pulls down as you breathe in, opening the chest cavity and allowing the lungs to expand. To breathe out, your diaphragm relaxes and moves upward, pushing air out. Dr. James Hoyt, Pulmonologist

A Deep Breathing Journey That Changed My Life

As the stress increased in my career, I developed a heart racing problem. As I became more anxious, it would trigger my heart and it would race throughout the day, at times it pounded so hard that it scared me. Then about 10 years ago I learned the difference between shallow and deep breathing. A group of entrepreneurs I was in learned how to breathe through our lungs and diaphragm, deep breaths in through our nose and how to force breathe the carbon dioxide out. This practice changed the way I breathe and has eliminated the heart racing, headaches, greatly reduced stress, brought mental clarity and its become a lifestyle routine that is a part of my better health regimen.

EBKids: Respiration inhale/ exhale jrespir021j4 390 by 300 pixels by Katherine D. Burgess 23rdof March 2006

The Teachers

Dr. Andrew Weil is a doctor who practices integrative medicine. I’ve learned him for years, he offers not only benefits but the simplicity of the deep breathing method for de-stressing and avoiding many health issues that come with shallow breathing. The deep breathing exercise that takes moments to learn is described at the end of the second video, the Tedx Talk by Max Strom.

Take a few moments to begin deeper breathing for your better health:

  • Choose a place to do your breathing exercise. It could be in your bed, on your living room floor, or in a comfortable chair
  • Don’t force it. This can make you feel more stressed
  • Try to do it at the same time once or twice a day
  • Wear comfortable clothes
  • Deep breathing will eventually become your way of breathing without thinking about it

The following benefits of diaphragmatic breathing have been medically reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT — 

  • It helps you relax, lowering the harmful effects of the stress hormone cortisol on your body.
  • It lowers your heart rate Trusted Source.
  • It helps lower your blood pressure Trusted Source.
  • It helps you cope with the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • It improves your core muscle stability.
  • It improves your body’s ability to tolerate intense exercise.
  • It lowers your chances of injuring or wearing out your muscles.
  • It slows your rate of breathing so that it expends less energy.

One of the biggest benefits of diaphragmatic breathing is reducing stress.

Deep breathing is a natural, no cost practice that takes minutes to learn for a lifetime of better health.

HEALTH DISCLAIMER

This blog provides general information that discusses health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

Happy New Year

Creating Joy, Nothing is Certain Don’t Skip Sweets

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I live in the present, I truly believe that nothing is guaranteed so we must live like we don’t know if tomorrow will come so appreciate each day and have some fun.

This post is a bit different from what I usually write about because I don’t typically recommend a specific lifestyle practice. But, one morning I was enjoying a glass of iced tea with a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie I made, I relished the deliciousness and I enjoyed the break. I thought what a simple, versatile practice and anyone can enjoy it, so I decided to put it to “paper”.

Cultivating our own happiness is how we become more resilient and self-reliant. No, we don’t walk around with a smile on our face all of the time, but rather than expecting happiness to come from a person, situation or an event, make yourself happy. Happiness is an inside job that evolves by creating practices that bring joy, a smile and a feeling of pleasure, a sweet or two a day should be one way to celebrate yourself and the day and there are benefits.

About Desserts: from Szandra Szabó, Model, Pastry Chef and Business Woman

They elevate your mood
Have you ever wondered why your mood goes from drab to fab the moment you sink your teeth into a gooey chocolate cake or a chimney cake straight out of the oven? This is because desserts, specifically the sugar in the desserts, causes your brain to release endorphins such as serotonin. These hormones are responsible for making you feel happy, cheerful and calm.

Sugar reduces stress
Sugar is a great stress reliever. So, if you sometimes feel like life, work or school is bogging you down, eating a dessert can surely help you manage some of the stress. How does that happen, you may ask? Well, it has been found that sugar brings down cortisol levels to a certain degree (cortisol is the stress hormone). Although eating desserts or sugar is not a long-term solution for stress, it can give you some momentary respite.

They are a great pick-me-up.
A lot of people eat desserts when they want to reward themselves. Sweet treats offer a great pick-me-up. So, if you choose to eat a dessert after a particularly stressful week, it will instantly make you experience a sense of contentment and satisfaction.

Confections are a part of my daily routine, they are satisfying and enjoyable and prompt pleasant memories of childhood. To assure that I have the best experience, all of my sweets are homemade, with the exception of ice cream, because I use healthier ingredients and adjust the sugar. Irrespective if I eat sweets with a meal or sometime during the day, it’s an enjoyable experience that I savor, whether I have something simple like fresh fruit, breakfast sweets, a piece of chocolate or a baked good.

While your brain only accounts for 2 percent of your body weight, it uses 50 percent of the sugar energy in your body. Your brain loves sugar! Why does it love sugar? Because sugar releases dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, the part of your brain linked to reward, novelty and motivation. Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter that plays a key role in controlling emotional responses. In fact, not only does it help us visualize the rewards, but it also enables us to take the action we need to achieve the reward. In addition to releasing dopamine in the brain, sugar also releases endogenous opioids. These are responsible for the wonderful surge of pleasure you feel when you eat a piece of candy. Warrell Creations

Eat Dessert First: Why It’s a Good Idea from David and Carla Hays/Mary’s Fine Dining

Whether it’s cheesecake or coconut pie, most desserts have a fair amount of fat. Too much fat isn’t good for you, but a little fat with a meal serves a useful purpose – it helps you absorb fat-soluble vitamin and nutrients better. Fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin A, D, E, and K, can’t do their jobs if they aren’t adequately absorbed from the digestive tract. Other nutrients such as the carotenoids in green, leafy vegetables and sweet potatoes also need fat for best absorption.

That’s where eating dessert first comes in. Taking a few bites of dessert before eating your vegetables helps you absorb vitamins and nutrients better – and that’s a good thing when it comes to your health.

I thought I’d share a recipe from one of my mom’s old cookbooks that I’ve enjoyed for years, it can be eaten anytime of the day.

Finnish Pancake: (4-6 servings)

Image Courtesy of JoCooks

This is a delightful custardy, souffle-like baked pancake that melts in your mouth, topped with honey or confectioners sugar and fresh fruit, it is delicious. Make sure when you remove it from the oven, you eat it immediately as it falls as it cools. (NOTE: If making for yourself, cut the ingredients in half, but must be eaten immediately)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups of milk or half and half
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tablespoons of butter

Preheat oven to 425o. Put an oven-proof 10-12 inch high sided frying pan in the oven for about 10 minutes to preheat. Combine the flour with milk, whisk until smooth, add eggs, honey and salt, whisk all together. Remove the pan from the oven, put the butter in the pan, when its melted, carefully pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Thank you for stopping by.

Your purpose isn’t what you do, but who you become, while doing it. ~ Matt Kahn

Self-Care Has Never Been More Essential

“When we care for ourselves as our very own beloved—with naps, healthy food, clean sheets, a lovely cup of tea—we can begin to give in wildly generous ways to the world, from abundance. —Anne Lamott, author

Since 2020 there have been so many uncommon adversities that we’ve all had to deal with that self-care which was once dismissed as a luxury should now be considered a vital daily practice. It takes effort to feel tranquil, balanced and collected which happens when we create practices to care for ourselves. Self-care is a very personal and intentional practice of improving our physical and mental health.

I believe in leading by example, so I’ll share my recent journey of introducing self-care into my daily practices, hopefully it will inspire you. Since I’ve healed from my self-created back injury, I’ve taken time to reflect on how I was thinking and why I was filling my days with a rigid agenda and unreachable ideals. To change that I knew I had to take some serious steps. So, starting that week I began spending more time doing things I used to consider luxuries. Since then I’ve added an assortment of simple and doable self-care practices and so far I’m more aware, tranquil and really enjoy each day. I can now say without a doubt that I am happier than I’ve been in a very long time. Even though the chaos continues in the outside world, there are ways to soothe and pamper ourselves that I believe can only make us a better person for ourselves and those around us.

If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. Jack Kornfield

If you’re ready to begin your journey, start by carving time into each day to indulge your five senses with purposeful self-care. There is no wrong way in doing self-care, the list I created below are my ideas, you can create from this or create your own ways of pampering yourself. Caring for yourself doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated, this is just about finding simple ways to give attention to yourself. Practicing self-care is about doing something for yourself that evokes positive emotions. I sincerely believe that if we feel good and are at peace, we can bring that into everything we do. And if for no other reason, Adam Feldman says, “Self-care also helps us sharpen our mental and physical health through better self-esteem, stress management, and overall well-being.”

Luxury at Home – Nurture Yourself

  • Get plenty of sleep, when you can, turn off your alarm
  • Spend time with your pet(s)
  • Have a good cry
  • Take time when eating to enjoy the taste of the food, savor the joy of nourishing your body
  • Scented or unscented candles and flowers can make any room feel special
  • Set some time aside to read a funny story, watch videos or shows that make you laugh out loud
  • Enjoy a midday break, treat yourself to enjoyable refreshments
  • Make your shower or bath luxurious by using a special soap, scented lotion, include items to slough your skin, play music, use soft lighting, have live plants and super soft towels
  • Give yourself spa treatments, a manicure or pedicure, a facial treatment, a foot massage, a footbath, or a soothing body massage,
  • Spend some quiet time reading, meditating or writing
  • Take a leisurely walk
  • Read a book
  • Educate yourself on something you’re interested in
  • Declutter, add live plants, some pictures or colorful items to lift yourself
  • Take some time to appreciate yourself, compliment yourself, it’s a healthy and simple thing to do that will lift your spirits
  • Set time aside to do nothing
  • Make an indulgent meal, something that you might usually have for a special occasion
  • Plate your meal for presentation as you’d receive it in a fine dining restaurant
  • Use linen spray in a scent you love
  • Enjoy time in nature
  • Rub CBD oil where you may have aches
  • Put on comfortable Loungewear
  • Take a nap

True luxury is being able to own your time – to be able to take a walk, sit on your porch, read the paper, not take the call, not be compelled by obligation. Ashton Kutcher

The following lists are from Alastin Skin Care

The Psychological Benefits of Self-Care

  • Reduces feelings of anxiety and anger
  • Reduces instances and feelings of depression
  • Improves your thought life and direct it to more positive things
  • Increases your sense of optimism and hopefulness
  • Reduces negative thoughts and feelings
  • Changes your mood from bad to good
  • Helps you build stronger connections with yourself and others
  • Increases your self-awareness and ability to self-reflect
  • Helps you respond better to challenges
  • Increases your patience and tamp down on a short fuse
  • Increases your focus and productivity (so you can do all the things!

The Wellness Benefits of Self-Care

  • You’ll sleep better
  • You’ll strengthen your immune system
  • Your relationships will improve
  • Better finances
  • You’ll be able to think clearly and refocus
  • You’ll freely and copiously give more of yourself

“Practicing self-care can help you sleep better, improve focus, and strengthen relationships. That positive daily routine can support a happier, healthier outlook so you can enjoy the good times, too.” findyourwords.com

Thank you for reading my post, I sincerely appreciate your taking the time.

Our Legacy, How Many Hearts Will We Touch?

It’s easy to get caught up in day to day life and forget about the memories we will leave behind, The sudden death of a photographer who recently shared his wisdom with me gave me pause to reflect on the fragility of life. Even though I didn’t know the man personally, my memories of him are of a magnificent photographer, a kind person who enjoyed what he did; and that he loved and appreciated his life. His passing triggered a journey into reflecting on my legacy and reminded me of how essential it is to be more mindful of the way we live, no matter the circumstances we are faced with. When we do depart this earthly life, it will not be the material possessions or money we leave but how we were as a person that will be etched in the minds of anyone we engaged with forever.

Reflecting upon the upending events of this year, I believe we’ve been given an opportunity or a silver lining in the midst of all of this to transition to a simpler, less frantic life and given more time to take stock of who we are and if we’re living as authentically as we can.

Consider setting some time aside to think about the legacy you want to leave behind: explore the recollections, narratives and reminiscences that will remain in the minds and hearts of those lives you touched and your contribution to future generations.

Will You Join Me – Home Cooking, a Benefit of Pandemic Coping

“At a scale not seen in over 50 years, America is cooking, a healthy move in the middle of a pandemic.” Hans Taparia/New York Times

The kitchen is my second favorite room in the house. I consider it a place where my creativity and love of delicious food unite to create a combination of ingredients to nourish myself and share great tasting food. Cooking and being in the kitchen gives me comfort and peace in such a strange and difficult time. My mother who created wonderful meals led the way for me, she was my teacher in the process of making food with love. While my mom passed away in 2013 she’s never left my side, whenever I cook she’s right there with me. I cannot imagine a more soul satisfying way to spend days at home then enjoying the process of making delicious, healthy meals that satisfy my intention to eat mindfully.

While there have been many negatives with COVID-19, there are a few benefits, one most prominent is the return to the core of family and cooking and serving real meals at home. Cooking at home isn’t only a means of satisfying our appetites, it is a cultural pillar of socialization that stems from the love of family, friends and the essential human bond of togetherness. This terrible situation has forced people to return to family closeness and better health.

When I was growing up, going out to eat was uncommon, our togetherness and the terrific food were matchless. Did you know that since the inception of the pandemic over 100,000 restaurants have closed, not just independently owned, but many major chains have had to close either some or all of their restaurants? My personal opinion is that eating out has become too common, as ordinary as filling a car with fuel. I see this pandemic as an opportunity for people who treat food as necessary to discover homemade food as a personal link to the care of their body as well as a fun and creative way to enjoy food.

A simple but lovely prayer that I found:

May this food that you provide
and that I prepare
bring nourishment to our bodies
and renewal to our souls.
Amen (Simon Carey Holt)

Cooking at home is a primary element to good health. A few people who have tried to promote the benefits of cooking at home made far less impact then COVID-19. A turn of events that has the potential to improve the overall health of many Americans who had previously relied on take out and restaurants in place of cooking at home. Around 30.3 million people in the US have type 2 diabetes and 84.1 million are prediabetic. making this pandemic a perfect storm to take the time to learn to cook and find ways to improve our health through fresh and healthy ingredients.

The need to home cook has never been higher, since the coronavirus has been most threatening to people with food-related chronic diseases. About 90 percent of those who become seriously ill due to the virus have an underlying condition — hypertension and diabetes being the most common. New York Times

Above and beyond the nutritional and health benefits is the connection with the ingredients that feed your body. We are evolving away from institutional, commercial food to fresh food. A better environment is created when meals are made and enjoyed at home and mental health benefits are considerable. We pay more attention to what goes in our meals and the way we feel when we eat. For instance, I’ve been slowly reducing the amount of sodium in my food to adding no salt recently. So, I’m ramping up the herbs and spices to make healthier food that is full of flavor and it’s a big success. I consider myself a home chef because I am able to create many meals without the use of a recipe, so I followed the chef standard of adding salt to everything, even sweets so this was a big change for me, but one that is driving a new creative path and a new relationship with the ingredients.

I recently watched a show where a group of people, a historian and archaeologists left the 21st century to immerse themselves in the simple and hard life on a farm in the Victorian era for a year. If you think cooking is a challenge now, just consider the life of someone who cooked using a charcoal fueled stove and oven, preparing food from scratch that they gathered from their garden where animals were butchered that they’d hand raised. That is the true spirit of home cooking embodied in a life lived naturally and self-sufficiently.

The act of cooking should be a spiritual practice that fuels the soul. Create a kitchen that is not only peaceful and beautiful but a sacred space. Here are some methods to connect the kitchen and preparation of food to the earth and all of life.

  • Declutter your kitchen, keep it clean
  • Keep in mind that this is a space where everyone will participate in the important rituals of treating their body and heart with special care
  • Make the meal cooking process an event, whether you’re cooking with someone or you’re on your own
  • Turn off and remove any electronic communication devices to increase your consciousness around the food you’re preparing
  • Be respectful of the room, of the food that is created and what the room represents, your loving care will be predominate
  • Organize the counters and cupboards for beauty and ease of use. What I had duplicates of or didn’t need, I donated. Whatever changes you make do it so you feel inspired such as adding candles, pots of herbs or flowers
  • Cook mindfully and with love paying attention to all of the dishes that you’re making. Always keep in mind that your energy effects everything around you including meal preparation

Finally, think about how you show up in the kitchen, just as you do in your relationships with people, be thoughtful and mindful of your relationship with the room and the process of preparing food. Fall into step with nature and the beauty of creating meals whether simple or complex. Enjoy and celebrate the food that you make. Let your imagination soar, with access to millions of recipes on the internet, anything is possible in the kitchen.

What the World Needs Now is the Power of Optimism

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (in reference to Covid-19), “There must be room for faith and optimism at this time…the kind of faith that believes, as Moses commands in the Book of Deuteronomy, that “God will bless you in all that you do.” We must do. We must act. We must fight…”fear will weaken, rather than embolden, our resolve. It will undermine our health. Depression will sap our energy and make us partially give up. But faith, optimism and hope will compel us to do the right thing in a time when exercising wise judgment is the difference between life and death.

My fundamental character has always favored optimism over hopelessness so I concentrate on the good in my life. It isn’t always easy, but it feels better than hopelessness so whenever I’ve faced difficulties, catch myself complaining or focusing on the negative, I stop and reflect on all of the luxuries that I am surrounded by. No matter what the circumstances, optimism, faith and belief are the catalysts that have kept me strong knowing to keep going forward and that something will change.

Having a positive attitude isn’t and has never been about ignoring what someone is living through, it is about finding the light and remembering that this too shall pass as everything does. Not everyone around you will agree or may think you’re not seeing the world as you should, but if you think about it that, like everything else, is their perception of the world based on their experiences and how they feel.

It’s been eleven years since I stopped living a conventional, expected life and began the daily practice of living mindfully, intending to make the world a better place. Somewhere along the way I was introduced to the Optimist’s Creed. The words may seem “pollyanaish” but I believe that aligning with the author’s intent are a way to encourage positivity and raise my level of happiness.

I’ve discovered that being optimistic lifts the spirit, eliminates stress and worry that anyone’s health surely does not need. Being optimistic takes determination, grit and an attitude of faith, even if it is only the size of a mustard seed, it will make a difference in your daily life.

About the author of the Optimists Creed: Christian Larson was an American new thought leader and teacher (1874 – 1954), who changed the way people thought; this was his belief:

That all people have a tremendous latent power within them, which could be harnessed for success with the right mind and proper attitude.

To support his beliefs, in 1912 he wrote the following creed, something I thought I would share. I’ve observed this to a fashion, but now I intend to include these ideals in my daily practices, especially with all of the negativity and challenges surrounding us all.

 Sir Ernest Shackleton (an Irish Antarctic explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic) said: ‘Optimism is true moral courage’. 

In an article about optimism, Dr. Jon Blakey, a coaching expert wrote that he believesit takes courage to be an optimist because it takes courage to fail. It takes courage to be wrong. It takes courage to be unlucky. It takes courage to have a go. Much easier to drift into the background and shelter in cynicism, negativity and despair.”

Bring Good Vibes with the Ancient Practice of Feng Shui

Whenever there are challenges I have no control of, I turn inward and to my surroundings. It lifts my soul and it changes the direction of my focus. My surroundings parallel how I want to feel using the practice of Feng Shui. Because I am naturally inclined to maintain an open flow, it makes sense for me.

I grew up in a clean clutter free home, so it was natural for me to apply the practices of Feng Shui, in fact I was quite excited when I discovered it. Over the years, I’ve learned to use Feng Shui no matter what the circumstances to echo the way I feel and how I want to experience the world around me.

Feng Shui is a simple common sense way to improve your environment, it’s not about decorating but is focused on natural energy flow and a clean, clutter-free home. It’s simple, fun and there’s a feeling of fresh energy everywhere once you’ve begun the transformation. The life-giving joy of Feng Shui is a great way to create an environment that has a favorable impact on you and your everyday life.

Feng Shui is a combination of an ancient art and science that goes back thousands of years. I know from first-hand experience that there is a significant change in the feeling and flow of energy when it is applied.

The philosophy of Feng Shui is a practice of looking at our living spaces and working environment and striking a balance with the natural world. The Chinese words “feng” and “shui” translate to mean “wind” and “water,” respectively. This concept derived from an ancient poem that talks about human life being connected and flowing with the environment around it. Anjie Cho

How to apply Feng Shui to any room

Step 1 – Commanding Positions That means the direction of the important furniture in each room. While your kitchen appliances have to remain where they are, you can rearrange other rooms to create a better flow. Never line anything up with a door or put your back to the door, simple and practical advice as you begin to choose new locations for your furniture. I suggest imagining it first before you move anything, consider the function and the outcome so you don’t have to move something heavy more than once.

Step 2 – Keep the house free of clutter – “Clutter is an energetic anchor that impedes the best things from unfolding in our lives,” Laura Benko Keeping a space devoid of clutter makes it feel light and easy , Feng Shui is not about a perfectly decorated home, but creating a happy, healthy space to enjoy your life.

Step 3 – Remove negative symbolism – Evaluate your space for any symbolic representation of anything showing up in your space that reflects any challenges and difficulties you’re been faced with, replace them with items of what you want to attract.

Step 4 – Maximize natural light – Natural light makes us happy and more positive, so the more of it the better. For this step, adding mirrors in room to reflect it will add light where it may not be as bright as you’d like it, the reflected light will lift the feeling of the room.

Step 5- Balance your work areas in the kitchen – While certain areas of the kitchen are unchangeable, organizing the work areas and other areas in the kitchen will make a big difference in the feeling of your space. As well you can change the color, any decor and improve the light. The time and effort to get that feeling are well worth it. I am just finishing making several major changes in the kitchen/dining space and it feels much better.

The experts in these videos on Feng Shui share other ideas and how to use the five elements in your space. Remember you can also use Feng Shui concepts outdoors as well, giving you a world of peace, joy and harmony.

To better understand and apply the elements by Ivy Marie Lim

For the right feng shui color palette for your home, Rodika Tchi

Furniture rearrangement and placement tips by Carol Hyder

Enjoy your journey and the increased energy flow for a happier, healthier life.

How the Universe Works: Cause, Effect and the Law of Karma

Any action becomes a cause of the events that will follow — the effects, and they in their turn become the causes for something else again. This understanding translates into a very simple formulation of Karma without any flavors of esoterism and religiousness. Chengeer Lee, Life Coach

Karma shapes and effects every aspect of our lives and of those around us. Every choice we take action on is the beginning of the law of cause and effect. Karma, the outcome, is a neutral energy that is neither good nor bad. It is the energy created by an action that is returned in the form of the outcome.

Our actions come from an initial thought or response, it is only when we act that the energy of cause and effect begins, Living a mindful and heart-centered life will change your karma. When your choices are made with purposeful intentions instead of hasty or impulsive reactions, you’ll remove the tendencies from past habitual behaviors that brought an outcome other than what you deserve.

The secret to understanding the way of the Universe;

The process of cause/effect and karma can serve as a way to understand the importance of the mind-heart connection. When you live mindfully, you’ll realize that every situation you’re in has the potential to gain wisdom from the experience. Karma is never meant to be a form of punishment or reciprocal pain and misery. When an unfavorable circumstance reoccurs each time you make a choice, that is the Universe’s way of showing you there’s something to learn from the experience to help you break the reactive/impulse pattern. This is why it is highly recommended that you avoid outside advice and suggestions which will only impede your progress.

For me, being in a state of peace when preparing myself to make important decisions is key. I clear away everything going on in my mind and focus on my innate wisdom and my instincts. I also disregard any distractions or unwanted advice by firmly holding in my mind what I know is the best outcome for me.

Life is a series of events and situations that are not in our control. How we respond to those circumstances that come before us, is. We can either react without thought or carefully respond. It helps to remember that there are a variety of situations that will naturally occur either way.

Every facet of your life, relationships, health, growing older and career all come from the energy that your choices determine. Empower yourself by going with your wisdom and instincts to enjoy the benefits of a heart aligned outcome.

Tips to Help You Consciously Choose:

  • Conscious choice begins with being present in the moment, sitting alone in stillness, considering your options and how you’re lining up with what is best for you
  • Think about how the choice/outcome you’re considering will effect your life and the lives of those around you
  • Don’t allow the advice or suggestions of others make your decision for you. You are the only one that will have to live with the result of your choices
  • Check your impulses at the door, from personal experience, reactionary urges have unfavorable and adverse consequences
  • Remember begin the actions of cause and effect responsibly, It is never anyone else’s fault or the way of the world that our lives end up going in the wrong direction
  • Carelessly made choices become habitual inevitably shaping the consequences of our actions over and over again. This habitual behavior arises from being in a clouded state of mind that colors our every action. When we apply consciousness to our life choices we are aligning ourselves with the way things actually are and seeing clearly the path we prefer

Every time you have the urge to react impulsively, take a breath, ask yourself if you’re absolutely sure and imagine the outcome of your choice. Everyone wants to live their lives with purpose and intention; peace and a better life are just a conscious choice away.

When was the last time you played? The positive effects of play for adults

Of all of the personal development or self-help activities we can engage in, fun and play are probably the most underused and disregarded. Contrary to what people think, adults aren’t being lazy or thoughtless when we turn our attention to activities that are recreational and entertaining, we’re tapping into one of the greatest resources for our overall health.

For many adults, letting go of being serious and focused on adult responsibilities isn’t easy or in the forefront of importance. I promise anyone who incorporates play into their life on a regular basis will be much better prepared to handle whatever issues come your way.

Along with the emotional benefits, there are a variety of health benefits by adding play into your life. According to helpguide.com, play:

  • Relieves stress
  • Improves brain function
  • Stimulates the mind and boosts creativity
  • Improves relationships and your connections to others
  • Keeps you feeling young and energetic
  • Helps develop and improve social skills
  • Teaches cooperation with others
  • Heals emotional wounds
  • Boosts innovation

Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker and Corporate Trainer shares his thoughts on the positive effects of fun and play.

For many years I allowed the seriousness of my responsibilities to control my way of being. Then the opportunity arose to make a significant change in my life away from the considerable and weighty issues I had to deal with. During that transition, I felt the need to liberate myself and embrace playfulness and the wonder of life, be curious and have fun. Now, I don’t think twice about being spontaneous and having fun. I’ve created a sense of harmony and balance by injecting play into my life, no matter what’s going on around me, I am always sure to incorporate laughter and enjoyment into my day.

Imagine a billion people pushing for play time, not in a frivolous way or a way that negates progress, but in a way that supplements and allows us to make even more progress. It’s time to put play back into our lives. Jared Keller

According to Dr. Stuart Brown, a play researcher and psychiatrist out of CA, adult play may actually increase our intellect.

“Of all animal species, humans are the biggest players of all. We are built to play and built through play. Most obviously, it is intensely pleasurable. It energizes and enlivens us. It eases our burdens.”

Here are some innovative ideas for you to pick and choose from that incorporates play into your everyday life.

make play a part of your day – from Genuisofplay.com

  • Use unscheduled time to be creative, to daydream, reflect and decompress
  • Appreciate playtime – whether it’s alone or with other adults or children
  • Smile and laugh often throughout the day
  • Try new things and experience the unexpected
  • Participate in a variety of arts/sports/activities whenever you can to expand your horizons
  • Make mental connections (e.g., “how else can I use this,” “what else can this do?”)
  • Sing and dance just for the fun of it
  • Spend time with the children in your life, observing them as they play, listening to their conversation, and following their train of thought
  • Cultivate a happy, joyful, positive attitude, full of gratitude for even the smallest, everyday things
  • Plan to make play part of your day, whether it is indoor or outdoor, solo or social, active or quiet

Finally, the human experience is spiritual, play is spiritual. Play is a time when we take a break from thinking, essentially connecting with all that is. It’s a great way to relax and enjoy life and move away from the grind of work and the pressures of everyday life. Laughter and play are necessary parts of life and a time to reflect on all of the things that make us happy to be alive.

It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” ~ Wayne Dyer

Thank you for reading my post, I appreciate your time, namaste.

The Spirit of Aloha, More Than Hello or Goodbye

What I’ve done over the past several years when I am in a difficult or unusual situation is turn my attention to positive activities to reduce stress and to make my life more enjoyable.

While the world is in chaos, it is a great time to practice self-love, compassion and kindness. Years ago I discovered that the word Aloha means more than hello and goodbye it is a way of life philosophy:

“Aloha is a way of living and treating each other with love and respect. Its deep meaning starts by teaching ourselves to love our own beings first and afterwards to spread the love to others.

“When you live the Spirit of Aloha, you create positive feelings and thoughts, which are never gone. They exist in space, multiply and spread over to others.” (from the state of Hawaii website)

Live in a State of Love, Laura