THE GREATEST GIFT TO GIVE IN THE NEW YEAR

I am not sure why this is, but when it comes to doing anything for ourselves people have a very funny view about it. Whether that is spending quality time alone with our thoughts, needing to turn down a social invitation because we are a little burnt out, or doing something because it brings us joy, people view it as selfish. To be honest, nothing could be further from the truth. The greatest thing we can do is work on ourselves.

No matter what we are striving to do for others or the world around us, the happier and healthier we are, the more we can bring to the situation at hand. When you know people rely on you for transportation, taking care of your car doesn’t seem selfish does it? Of course not. When people are relying on your friendship, your support and encouragement should making sure you show up in the best state to help them be considered selfish? I think not. Working on your own happiness makes you a better friend, a better lover and a greater gift to those around you.

In this new year let us remember to take time out to do what makes us happy. Let us make sure the ‘Me’ we bring to the world is the healthiest, happiest more energetic ‘Me’ we can bring. If it is not, remember that it is ok to take time out for yourself. Begin today by compiling a list of things that replenish your mind, body and spirit. Make sure to not only want to do then sometimes, but to schedule at least one a week. Keep your joy and vibration up and you will be able to do the most for the world around you.

THE FIRST PLACE TO CREATE PEACE

How often have you heard that we live in a crazy, chaotic world? If you don’t hear it daily from someone you know, you can read it splashed across the television screen, on the front page of the daily newspaper and on every social media site you go on. Reading and absorbing all of this negative news can leave us feeling scared, overwhelmed or exhausted. Sometimes we can feel all three with a host of other unpleasant emotions thrown on top! What are we left to do when we have a day feeling this way?

What many of fail to lose sight of is the fact that if we have inner peace, the outside world has little, if any, impact on our life. Sounds great, but if having inner peace was so easy, how come everyone is not sitting in the park in a state of bliss. To some extent it is not our fault…exactly. We have been lied to by the media, politicians and others. We have been told that we should worry if hypothetically we have a world leader that seems determined to make enemies of friends, create a world filled with division and hate. We have been told to worry if others different than us seem to be receiving some sort of advantage. Countries are about to go to war. The price of oil is going to go through the roof. The stock market is going to fall through the floor.

The truth of all of this is that while some of it may have an impact in our life to a greater or lesser degree, it is mostly beyond our control. We can do what is in our power such as voting against that politician or writing our congressman. We can plan trips and do our best to make the most of the fuel we purchase. If we spend countless hours being upset and discussing or even worse disagreeing with our friends and coworkers about it, that will do us no good.

I have spoken at length about worrying about what you cannot control. The benefits to such actions simply are not there and the negatives abound. First of all it will create stress. Stress has been noted to be a factor in over 80% of medical conditions. In addition, stress causes you to age prematurely. In other words, you will look older and possibly experience health problems sooner. Sounding good so far? I didn’t think so.

As if compromising your health and physical appearance were not enough, lacking inner peace and worrying about and complaining about things outside of our control can affect our social life in a negative way. Almost nobody likes to be around someone who is stressed out and complaining all of the time. I said almost because the only people who seem not to mind are those who complain themselves. Not exactly the people you would want to surround yourself with.

Lastly, and in my mind most important, dwelling on what is wrong does little if anything to create solutions. It is important to note what is wrong in order to define what we would like to be happening, but dwelling on how wrong or terrible it is does us no good. Instead, it would be better to focus on how wonderful the solution would be and what steps we could take to make it happen.

To foster inner peace starting today let us focus and discuss what is beautiful and right with the world and how we can grow that. When we come across something that is not right, let us do what we can in our control to change it and focus on what would like to see. When we see someone who could use some inner peace, share with them what we learned in this article.

ASK A BETTER QUESTION

Evaluations, we all do them every day.  What is an evaluation?  It is really a question.  Was that concert good last night?  How good was the concert last night?  What does all this have to do with you and living an amazing life?  Another good question.  Here is what I hope you will find to be a good answer.  Asking yourself the proper questions can make all the difference between success and failure.  It is another way to take advantage of the way the brain works.  Let me give you an example.  I have a friend who constantly dates men who are not right for her.  After the relationship fails she always asks the same question, “how could I be so stupid?”  When your brain hears this it subconsciously goes to work on finding out why you could be so stupid and usually supplies the conscious mind with several answers.  Normally when you receive answers to questions you ask it should make you happy?  If you are always asking disempowering question like the one above, or see if you can ever remember asking yourself questions like these. “Why does this always happen to me?”  ” How come I can never get this right?” “How come I can never get ahead?” These are all perfect examples of questions that will lead you nowhere.  Start asking yourself empowering questions.  If you find yourself always dating the wrong person, ask yourself “What can I learn from this?” or one of my favorites is “What do I have to be grateful for in this situation?”.  Sometimes the little devil on your shoulder will scream “Nothing you idiot, this situation sucks!”  Even if it does, there is always something to be grateful for.  So how do we get past that little negative voice in your ear?  This is where fun things like tricking your own mind comes into play.  Ok, so I don’t feel like being grateful for anything, but if I did want to find something to be grateful/happy/optimistic about what would that be.  That way you are giving that voice room to do its thing while still focusing on the positive.  So pay attention to the questions you ask yourself. They can literally empower or disempower you.  So do yourself a favor and ask the right question.

THE POSITIVE POWER OF NEGATIVE THINKING…

At first glance this may seem like a paradox.  After all, how can negative thinking be anything but…well negative?  Let’s face it, positive thinking can empower us to do a lot of things.  Being positive minded 100% of the time is not only unrealistic, but not very healthy for growth either.  I would say a good healthy mix is 95/5.  So why are negative feelings so ‘good’ for us.  They can serve to vital and very important purposes.  First, they let us know what is not working.  There is something in our life that is currently not meeting our standards.  Why is this important?  Let me explain it with a situation we can all relate to, going to the doctor.  Why do you go to the doctor?  The answer usually is “because something is wrong”.  Noticing this means you have had bad physical feelings.  Whether they are nausea, pain, or some other not so pleasant feeling it let you know something is not as it should be.  If you are anything like me the very next question to the doctor is “How can we make this go away?”.  That leads us to the second great thing negative feelings can do for us.  They can motivate us into action.  In the case of the doctor visit, to do what actions are necessary to heal our condition.  The same holds true for any condition in life.  If we notice something in our life is causing us a noticeable amount of grief, get excited!  Excited about grief Neil?  Are you crazy?  Well, yes I am crazy, but here is why you should get excited.  Our bodies are designed to use feelings as warning signs.  Such as pain so you don’t leave your hand on the hot stove, or nausea so you don’t keep drinking the expired milk.  These may seem like a pain at first, after all who likes to burn their hand?  Yet if we didn’t have the pain we could leave our hand on the stove until it cooks right off.  Interesting thing is our minds do the same thing.  Ever wonder why certain things make you feel sad or angry.  That is our mind and spirits way of telling us something is wrong with them.  It is a warning sign, just like the burn on the hand.  We must decide what is causing this upset and act to correct it.  Now here is where negative emotions can be a double edge sword.  When trying to discover what would work to eliminate our discomfort we must think in a positive, solution oriented frame of mind.  For example, I had a friend who had recently given her all into a relationship that she felt had true potential, but when push came to shove the man she was in a relationship with did not feel the same.  I heard her utter phrases like “I’m never going to get into a relationship again, that way I won’t get hurt again”  Haven’t we all felt this way at one point or another?  I know I have.  In this situation she was willing to sacrifice all the pleasure a healthy relationship could provide her to escape the pain of another possible unhealthy one.  This may seem like a solution on the surface, but what it really amounts to is giving up.  If there is one thing you don’t want to give up on it is your own life.  So make negative emotions our servants, not our masters.  Let us use them for clarity and motivation, but not dwell in them.  So next time you find yourself upset, remember the positive power of negative thinking!