ONE DAY AT A TIME

Is this you?

I found this picture rather amusing. As I looked at it I was beginning a run of 14 days in row of working. Just for good measure, 3 of those days had 2 jobs and one had a job and a seminar. It included driving at least 50 miles everyday and on one occasion, more than 100. I felt exhausted just typing about it!

While these words are being constructed, it is day 14 of those 14. I am just preparing to head out to DJ. I am looking forward to a nice day off tomorrow. My plans are to visit the Milwaukee County Zoo and go out to lunch with my lovely Margie and my mother. It is to a Mexican restaurant so I would think a quick nap might follow that. The evening calls for a nice dinner and movie at home with my love.

Relaxing with my love

As tough as the last 2 weeks have been, and as wonderful as tomorrow will be, I realize my meditation on the subject that I am wasting a great deal of my energy. Thinking of how challenging the upcoming working days were going to be had me feeling exhausted before the alarm clock went off on the first day. This made each day seem a little tougher than it needed to be. Keeping this thought in my mind had me mentally exhausted. Doing this daily lead to physical exhaustion as well.

Looking forward to my wonderful day tomorrow is certainly a noble pursuit. However, I must be careful not to dread the journey of arrival.

Both of these activities drain our energy and both have the same simple solution – live in the present moment. It is something I remind my life-coaching clients and seem to have forgotten myself. You can certainly plan for tomorrow. Lay your clothes out ahead, get the coffee ready and other such activities. Yet spending time worrying about the arduous day ahead will only steal the joy and energy from the day at hand.

The same can be said for suspending joy until a future event. It is great,and I feel vital, to always have something to look forward to. Supressing the joy of today in anticipation of the joys of tomorrow makes little or no sense. In this case, it makes perfect sense to be greedy. Look for joy every second of every day! Look for joy in the present, while being excited for the joy to come!

Living in the present gives us a great many gifts. One of those gifts is more mental and physical energy. Next time you feel yourself thinking “Next week was exhausting!” Slow down, and remind yourself to take one day at a time!

YOUR INNER TREASURE

Here is a photo that is worth a thousand words. Don’t worry, we will be well under that today.

Your happiness. What makes you happy? Think of how many things you can rely on to put a smile on your face and joy in your heart? You noticed the word in italics? That is because there is really only one source we have control over that we can rely on to make us happy and that is ourselves.

It is true that seeing a smile on my lady’s face melts my heart and puts a smile on my own face. It is further true that I have a good deal of influence on that. If that is what I rely on solely to bring me happiness, I could be very disappointed. There are days when I do the best I can and due to situations beyond my control her smile is fleeting at best. This leaves me frustrated and sad, although determined to find a way to bring her joy.

There are other simple items that bring me joy outside of myself. I enjoy relaxing in a coffee shop enjoying a steaming beverage. Right now they are all closed here due to the Corona virus pandemic. I enjoy warm sunny days. As you read this the high temperature where I live is slightly above freezing with a possibility of snow.

Not that enjoying many things outside of yourself to increase your happiness isn’t good, it is great and we will discuss that in greater detail coming up in the next few posts. What I am recommending is that you find a few things inside of yourself that bring you joy. These should be things in which you have control over. A few examples are meditation, reading, going for a walk in nature, singing a simple song you enjoy, whistling or even just daydreaming.

These are a few of my personal happiness hacks. I would love to hear what you do that makes you happy. What internal activities bring a smile to your face? If you don’t have any, now would be a great time to come up with a solid list.

YOU MUST MAKE TIME FOR THIS

Most of you know I am an advocate for physical fitness. Personally, I work out 6 days a week on a regular basis. It provides me a feeling of a win each morning. It also helps reduce stress and allow me to face the day with a feeling of confidence. When I begin talking about fitness to people who attend my self-improvement seminars they are a little surprised. They shouldn’t be. Physical fitness does as much for your mental well-being as it does for your body. There are numerous studies showing the benefit to regular exercise. You do not have to do it 6 days a week like me. You don’t even have to go to the gym. What is certain, is that we must make time to keep our bodies in the best shape we can. It strengthens our immune system, it allows us to heal from injury quicker and can go a long way to avoiding that injury in the first place.

This was brought home to me with my experience having the corona virus. My symptoms were not as bad as they could have been considering I have asthma and a heart condition. My doctor told me, off the record, that he believed that fact that I had kept my body in decent shape helped it deal with the virus better than had I not. This seems like an obvious conclusion. Same if you injure yourself. Your body’s muscles, tendons and the like will be better able to heal if they were in a good shape to begin with. We could go on for an entire post about what you choose to eat and how it affects you not only physically, but mentally as well.

As important as all of the things we talked about are, they are not what the main point of this post is. The physical sets a good example that is easy to understand. If you don’t take care of your body you will get sick and injured more often. However, taking care of your mind and your soul is even more important. Look, I am as guilty of this as anyone. I have had experiences where I meditated twice a day for 20 minutes. My mind was sharp, I had a lot less stress and just felt better all the way around. Guess how many times I have meditated in the last week? That would be none. I know the benefits I would receive. I have even experienced them! Why haven’t I taken the time to sit down and practice some form of meditation? The same reason lots of us do not do the things we know would improve our life – I didn’t have the time.

This is a bunch of B.S. Not only does it qualify for what that usually stands for, but it also means ‘belief system’. We believe that we do not have time to take care of ourselves. It is true many of us our very busy. I can excuse my lack of self-care by telling everyone in addition to my job at the Post Office, I DJ two nights a week, write blogs 5 days a week and work on writing books. Recently, you can add a television appearance, speaking engagement and other obligations. If I ask myself one question, “Are people who are busier than me still finding time to practice self-care?” Of course they are. It is making it a priority. I have managed to do this with good results with the gym. That hour a day, six days a week belongs to the gym. Why can’t I manage to do it for something like meditating?

The answer is in our priorities. What do we make important? If I told you that if you showed up at my house at 4 am tomorrow I would give you one million dollars, where would you be at 3:55? Another reason is we do not stop and think of what the trade off is by neglecting our self-care. Stress in our modern world is at an all-time high. If we are to remain in a stressed state over a prolonged period of time we will be forced to make time for the results. A nervous break down? Perhaps. Maybe even just feeling burned out and not being able to give our attention and energy to things we might enjoy.

There are other things that may occur that we might not think of. We could snap at some undeserving soul because we are in a state of being stressed out. Then we must not only make time to heal that relationship, there are feelings that may very well linger for quite some time. If we exist in a state of fear or nervousness for an extended period of time we may develop things such as ulcers or high blood pressure. We would certainly have to make time for those.

All of these symptoms could be avoided if we took time to practice some self-care steps. We would end up being more productive, happy and healthier individuals. This would certainly save time in the long term. I get it though, life is busy. In the picture above there are a few 5 minute steps that can serve you to remain full of inner peace. I would love to hear some of the things you do to help your inner health. The more steps we share with each other, the more we can all be healthier and happier people.

THE GIFT YOU GIVE YOURSELF

As we noted last post, yesterday was my birthday. One gift that I make sure to give myself every year is the gift of ‘unplugging’. I do not take as much time as I should for self-care and that is certainly one thing I am working on in the coming year. It can be hard to dance that line between being driven and being able to pull back and give yourself the space to rest and recharge.

One thing that makes me shake my head on occasion is how good we take care of some of our ‘stuff’ in comparison to how we take care of ourselves. “Don’t leave your laptop outside too long or it will overheat and damage it.” Someone should have told me that one earlier. Yet, we will be outside without making sure we are staying cool or drinking enough water. We are using a paper shredder and it gets to a certain point and overheats forcing us to let it cool before we can begin again. In the same token we go without sleep. We consume vast amounts of coffee or energy drinks to get everything we need done in our lives.

It is no wonder that many of us suffer nervous breakdowns or at the very least have our health compromised by high stress levels. Are you aware that 90% of hospital visits can in some way be related to stress? Sound crazy? Many of today’s leading causes of death such as heart disease, cancer and many others are to a great extent lifestyle driven. If we put enough stress on a chain it will break on its weakest link. If we put too much stress on our bodies and minds, they will break at the weakest link. For some of us that might be a genetic condition we already have such as coronary health. It could be a cancer that runs in our family. Perhaps a breathing condition.

There is a reason when you are seriously sick they say you have a disease. If you break the world down it becomes dis-ease. That is a body that is not at ease. We may think we are saving time, money or stress by working ourselves to the bone, but it may cost us far more in the long run. Remember the quote we began this post with – almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. INCLUDING YOU.

Give yourself that gift today. Unplug and relax. You will feel better in the present and thank yourself in the long-run.

IT IS ABOUT YOUR 90%, NOT THEIR 10%

In this day and age there is a lot we cannot control. It can leave some people feeling scared or uncertain. Then again, others seem completely unfazed. Do these people shelter themselves from what is going on in the world today? Are they more ignorant to the news and the other scary and negative information the rest of us are being fed? The answer is ‘no’.

We see it in our friends, family and coworkers as well. It seems people fall in one of two categories. Either they break a nail and the day is over. You know the type. Over-emotional. Stress out something terrible. It is worse when those people seem to take it out on others. It is even worse if you have a boss like that. So I have heard anyway. Then there is the other side of the coin. There are people that nothing seems to get them down. They get a flat on the way to work and they take it in stride. They lose a job and somehow find the positive in the situation. These people used to drive me crazy, that is until I became one.

There is one axiom that helped me turn it all around and I am going to share it with you in hopes it can do the same in your life. That pillar of knowledge is not only true, but is worth printing out and hanging in every corner of your house. Maybe putting one in the car for when some less enlightened soul cuts you off in traffic. Need one at work? I would imagine that would be the case. This nugget of knowledge may be hard to believe at first, but use it and you will find it is true. Almost everyone has heard this statement before but not many agree with it. They almost seem to fight it even though it is the key to adding both joy and opportunity to your life. Why would someone fight something that could be so powerful? When you understand and make this statement part of your life you not only feel more in control, but you are more in control. Who among us would not want more of that in their life? Here is the reason why more people do not subscribe to this belief. Along with joy, opportunity and control this statement requires you to take responsibility for your emotions, your inner peace, your sense of joy and the current state of your life.

Yes my fine friends, that is the secret. “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” Before I start hearing all the excuses as to why this isn’t true, let me share a personal story with you. I was employed through a temporary service that was supposed to let me know after 30 days if the company I was working for would like to hire me. If they did, it would mean a raise of $4/hour. Thirty days came and went and no news. I called every day and was told they had not heard anything. After 3 days of this I called the company I was working at. They told me that they had asked to hire me but the temp service had not gotten back to them. When I confronted the service about it I was told they did it so they could keep me because I was a good worker. I will spare you the details of what happened after that except to say that I kept my head and looked elsewhere. The job I would’ve gotten moved to Mexico 6 months after I would have been hired. I then got a job that put me in position to get the job I have now, making more than I would have.

You may be thinking that it worked for me, but it wouldn’t work for you. When you decide what things mean and how to use them in your life, you are greeted with a lot more happiness and inner peace. When you choose how to act, instead of letting your emotions choose how you react, you win. This is simple, but it is not easy. The more you practice this, the better you will become. Then when the next challenge comes, ask yourself “How am I going to choose to react to this?” When you ask yourself this question it will go a long way to helping you go from reacting…to acting. You make the decision, not your emotions. Again, this is not easy but it is so worth it. You will find yourself slowly developing a positive mindset and discovering ways to turn negatives into positives.

3 KEYS TO A GREAT LIFE

We all know that to quickly get us out of trouble when using a computer we can press ‘ctrl + alt + Del’. This picture reminds us when we find ourselves facing a tough situation in life we can do the same thing.

‘Ctrl’ the first button reminds us to control ourselves. The truth is, we cannot control life, only how we react to it. We cannot control the actions of others, only how much we choose to let them affect us. As you can see, by looking at how we control ourselves, we can go a long way to controlling our life.

‘Alt’ the second button, reminds us to search for alternate solutions. What we have been doing up to that point may not have been working so well. Looking for different ways of attacking, or even looking at, the problem may be just what is needed.

Lastly, there is ‘Del’. Reminding us that as painful as it may be, sometimes deleting the situation that is causing us stress is what is needed.

Use this computer analogy to help you quickly adjust to all of life’s challenges. If the situation seems to have you stressed or stuck, just push ‘control + alt + delete’.

A VITAL EQUATION

This will be a rather direct and to the point post. The equation above is one of the secrets to living an amazing life. I have personally used it a lot in the last few years to reduce the amount of stress I have and to help me better focus my energy. The equation is simple. If it doesn’t EVOLVE me, then is doesn’t INVOLVE me. Simply put if something does not help you be a better person by facilitating personal growth, adding joy or providing an opportunity to help others, it is not worth our time and energy.

Those of us striving to live a more enlightened and amazing life realize you can turn almost any situation to our advantage. This can be both a blessing and a curse in this situation. We can justify getting involved in one of those he said/she said conversations as a chance to help others evolve, but if we are honest with ourselves, our energy would be far better served elsewhere. Maybe we think enlightening our boss Rachel on how unappreciated she makes her employees feel would help our work environment, but we really just know it is only helping us vent some frustration…I mean…hypothetically.

Removing ourselves from situations that do not add to our lives or give us an opportunity to grow and evolve is a great way of reducing stress. This allows us to have more energy and more time to pursue our goals, read that helpful book, practice some self-care or a million other positive options. Not to mention we will feel a lot more amazing and our life will become more amazing!

So remember my good friends, If it doesn’t EVOLVE you, then it shouldn’t INVOLVE you.

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FILLED WITH IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING!! 🙂

WELL THAT’S TRUE

Just as 3+6=9, so does 5+4=9. This is a perfect point to represent the fact that there is more than one way to do things. In a world where debates on politics, religion and even sports can turn violent, this is a very good point to remember.

When you engage in spiritual worship, remember that someone may be seeking to develop their own spiritual nature but doing so in a completely different manner. This does not make their way of doing so wrong, and more than it makes your way wrong. It is two completely different paths to spiritual enlightenment.

In the political climate, there are always a multitude of different opinions. There are different ways to approach the economy, social issues and even conflict. In the event that you encounter someone with a different view on these issues, (highly likely since we live on a planet of 7 billion people) learn to be content expressing your view and understanding they may hold a different view. I really don’t think I have to go into why violence should not happen due to a difference in opinions on sports, do I?

My point is this, what may work for one does not always work for another. If I am stressed, for example, I work out. It is as if I am literally sweating out the stress. Margie, on the other hand, can feel stressed just thinking about working out. She prefers to shop when stressed. The thought of fighting crowds in stores brings me to a stressed state. Both my 3+6 and her 5+4 equal 9. For me to say “Shopping doesn’t help you to not be stressed. It makes you more stressed!” Would be trying to impose my truth on her.

We can have our own opinions and still respect those that differ from us. I encourage you to explore this thinking in the next few days. It will not only reduce the stress in your own life, it is sure to improve your relationships with those around you.

TAKE CONTROL OF THESE 3 THINGS

As we begin a new week let us put our energy where it can really make a difference. Lots of us, myself included, can find our energy focused on where we have no control. We complain about how our boss is treating us. We wish our spouse we be more appreciative. We wish the weather would be warmer, our car would run better, time would slow down. You get the idea. There are a million things we fret and worry about over which we have no control.

This great quote from Jack Canfield, one of the creators of Chicken Soup for the Soul, really breaks it down for us. There are really only 3 things we have control of, our thoughts, the images we hold in our heads and our actions. I suggest this coming week we focus only on them. I also suggest taking them one at a time. Trying to fix all three may be overwhelming. Let us take them one by one and use the example of having a boss that is unpleasant.

We start with our thoughts. When our boss comes down on us unfairly and without reason, what is our first thought? How unfair it all is? How over emotional and unfit they are for the position? How truly this might be a violation of how they are supposed to act and treat people? While that might all be true, does it really serve us? I would have to say no. In fact, thinking this way can only increase our anger and make us feel worse. Not only with this leave us emotionally exhausted, but held on to long enough can leave us with a host of physical symptoms as well. This means we are not only treated poorly by our boss. but we are treating ourselves poorly on top of it. The solution? Reframe our thoughts. Does our boss have some outside problems we are unaware of? We should be grateful we are not in their position. Maybe they could really use some anger management and stress therapy? This turns our feelings from anger to compassion. To some of you it may sound like you are letting your boss ‘off the hook’ or giving them a pass. It is actually helping ourselves. Whether we are angry or compassionate about our boss’ actions does not affect them nearly as much as it does us.

Next is the images we hold in our minds. These are both the result of, and influence the thoughts we hold. In our example of the terrible boss, we may picture them as a maniacal dictator. We may even have pictures of them as a warden in a prison. Keep this up long enough our thoughts may turn to imagining them roasting over an open spit. None of these are terribly productive. Ok, maybe the last one offers us a little bit of humorous reprieve. Eventually, they will serve to stoke the flames of anger and make us even more upset. Try picturing what it must be like to go home so full of anger and vengence. How well do you think this person is able to sleep at night? How much peace to you think is in their soul? Yes, everyone does have one despite what they may have you believe. How much joy do you think they have in their life? We can also make it a point to keep images of what we enjoy or what makes us happy. Not only is this far more pleasant than any image that has to do with our boss, but will be a great escape to keep our spirits up when they happen to be releasing their anger on us.

Lastly, is the actions we take. These are very often predicated on the the first two. The thoughts we have, the images we hold on to will powerfully influence the actions we take. If we held on to the angry thoughts and images about our crazy boss, we might be tempted to let them know just how much they upset us. If we do this in a very destructive way it may end up costing us our jobs. In essence, we will let their treatment of us make us emotionally sick, eventually physically sick and eventually cost us our employment. If, conversely, we have the images of compassion and understanding in our heads, we will be able to express ourselves in a far more constructive manner. This will not only decrease the chances of the situation ending poorly, but may increase the chance of the situation ending well. It could lead to better treatment from your boss and a better relationship with them.

This week let us focus on the three things we can control and take our energy off the things we cannot control.

CLICK HERE TO GET NEIL’S BOOK FULL OF IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE AMAZING

THIS LOSS IS OK

Another one of those times I read a sign and had to stop and ponder. There is a great amount of truth in this statement. When you are your authentic self, what you have is based on truth. When you do your best to be someone you are not, you may pull that off for a while but anything you gain will be based of that lie.

The same holds true in situations when your priorities change. It pays to be upfront and honest about that as well.

If anything in your life is currently based off of a reality that is less than true, what you have is weak. It will only last as long as you can manage to keep up the deception. Not only is this bad karma to put out in the universe, but it creates a large amount of undue stress in your own life. Having to not only remember who we are supposed to be , but then also acting on that mirage is stressful.

Do yourself a favor and be the real you. Not only will it strengthen the relationships you have, it will also reduce the stress you have in your life.