How the Angry Birds Movie Helped Me Beat Procrastination

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Have you ever procrastinated doing a task because it felt so boring, monumental, and time-consuming?

If you just nodded your head, then I know I’m in good company. I, myself, have a project at home that I’ve been avoiding. It’s going through all the bins of old clothes in my basement to make room for my new home office. Every time I think about it, I cringe knowing that it is going to take all afternoon. These days, I am extra mindful of what I do with my time. I have a full schedule, and I don’t want to spend my time doing something that doesn’t make me happy. After all, the overall mission of my company, Ultimate Healing Journey, LLC is to inspire and inform busy people on how to use happiness skills to help them reach their goals.

A Playdate
This past Saturday, my son, Maxwell, and his friend, Aaron, had a playdate. Aaron’s mother and I took them out for lunch and then we saw the movie Angry Birds. For 11-year-old boys who enjoy playing online games, this movie was a great hit! As a parent, I loved spending quality time with my son and his friends. And as a positive psychology practitioner and coach, I was interested in how the characters used their strengths and talents during the course of the movie.

Angry Bird
The main character, “Red,” who was this red looking bird with thick bushy black eyebrows was a grunt and a loner. He disliked being liked or showing any positive emotions. As the movie evolved with its twists and turns, Red used his courage, determination, and anger to lead the bird community who have turned against him. Without giving away too much of the plot for those you of who haven’t seen this movie, the good guys, in this case the Angry Birds, won and saved the community from the bad group of green pigs. Interestingly enough in this day of anger management and stress reduction, this movie used the opposite to feel better. It used anger in a positive way as the driving emotion to herald courage, clarity, and creativity to save the day.

Ride Home
The movie was a big hit for my 11-year-old companions that afternoon. It brought on an interesting and lengthy conversation on various video games they play during the ride home. By the time we got home, Max and his friend were still immersed in their talk. They both asked to have an extra 30 minutes together to trade their game cards. Because Aaron lives 5 houses down from ours, both mothers consented to this extra time together.

Timer
When I got home, I decided to put the timer on for 30 minutes to remind me to pick Max up. As I prepared a cup of tea for myself, I wondered what I was going to do with myself while I waited. That’s when I got the idea to get “angry!” Just as the angry birds used anger as their driving force to get the job done, I will use it as well to help me tackle what needed to be done. I will sort through the old clothes in my basement. Having less than 30 minutes to start this project seemed less intimidating to me because I knew that it wasn’t going to consume my whole afternoon.

I Got Angry
Noticing that my 19-year-old son, JT, was in the kitchen playing a game on his computer, I decided to add more fun to what I was about to do. I declared to my unsuspecting teenager that I was going to get “angry!” He gave me a quizzical as look he turned back to his game. I kept repeating to myself.
“I am going to get angry!”
“Yes, I am!”
“I’m angry.”
With a smile on my face, I was ready and excited to for what I used to call ‘mission impossible’. I got giddy about using anger to motivate myself and begin my own game against time, my kitchen timer that is.

Pumped with Adrenaline and Anger
I decided to further challenge myself by setting a goal of filling 3 trash bags full of clothes that I would give away for donation. I went down my basement stairs pumped with adrenaline and anger. As I opened bins of old clothes, I kept saying,
“I’m angry.”
“Oh yeah, I am angry.”
“Yup, I AM ANGRY.”
I couldn’t have been any happier playing my version of this online game! Each bin of clothes became easier and easier to go through because I wasn’t approaching my old clothes with nostalgia. I approached them like a gamer who had little time to win this obstacle.

I Won!
And it worked. Using play helped me win over my procrastination. By the time my kitchen timer went off, I was so engrossed in filling my 3 trash bags full of clothes that I asked my son JT to get Max for me so I could finish up what I had been postponing for that last few months. I felt like a winner! By the time my sons got home, I had 3 bags of clothes at the bottom of my basement stairs ready for donation and I had fun doing it.

Play Saved the Day
Adding the elements of fun and play to what I was doing helped me become more effective and efficient. As I’ve mentioned in my book, The Happiness Result, experts like Dr. Stuart Brown, researcher and founder of the National Institute for Play, have found that play can help us become more creative, optimistic, productive and so much more. In fact, play can save the day by helping you search out new solutions to your problems as it did for me.

Here’s how you can create your own winning game to overcome procrastination.

1. Play — Decide how to playfully to approach a specific project. I used my inspiration from the Angry Birds movie to power up and get excited.
2. Time — Decide on how much time you want to dedicate for this. I recommend giving yourself no more than 30 minutes. Any longer might feel too overwhelming or too time-consuming.
3. Celebrate — Celebrate your accomplishment. Recognize that you are much further along than before you started. This will give you more motivation to do it again. Remember, you’ve taken the hardest step, which is the first one.

If you are interested in more ways to gain more time, more love, more health, and more success, stay tuned for information on how to get my new book, The Happiness Result — coming out this summer! You will learn 7 simple techniques to help you create an awesome life. If you have any question or want to learn more about our services visit, contact us at  INFO@ULTIMATEHEALINGJOURNEY.COM today.

The Secret Sauce to Savoring the Holidays for Busy People

by Debbie Lyn Toomey Speaker, Author, Trainer

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How many times have you heard yourself or others say any of these statements recently?

“I cannot believe the holidays are here already!”

“What can I do this year so that I can enjoy myself for a change?”

“How am I going to get all my work done and still have time to shop for presents?”

Yes, folks it’s true! It’s the middle of November and it’s officially the holiday season. While it may seem like Father Time sprinted through 2015 (instead of marching), there are ways to have him slow down so we can relax, reflect, and rest and enjoy the end of the year before the new one begins. My “secret sauce” will help you can gain more time to cherish this wonderful season.

Bitter-Sweet

If you’re like many busy people, you’re probably still trying to remember what you did last month! Realizing the fact that the holidays are suddenly upon us can be enough to make some people cringe and even cry. Although traditionally this is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year,” some people find it difficult to be happy for various reasons such as: having too much on their plate from work- life responsibilities, lack of financial stability, and lack of support from others. Unfortunately, the holidays can be a bitter sweet time of the year where it can feel like salt has been added to deep unresolved wounds.

Too much!

Time does have a way of escaping us because of our busy work and life schedules. It’s becoming more and more difficult to stop and slow down. I’ve coached many busy people who fall into the same old trap of doing and planning. The mere thought of sitting and reflecting takes a back seat because it seems like an unproductive use of our time. As mentioned in my forthcoming book on living a productive and positive life, “Our time management skills are constantly being challenged because of the compounding distractions that are coming from all directions as well as our shortening attention span. Our lives are filled with so many distractions both external and internal multi-sensorial stimuli. The external stimuli come from two main sources: technology and team. Our techie toys are so distracting that even the mere presence of them on our desk tempts us to touch them and use them when we don’t need to. The teams of people in our personal and professional lives can be a source of support or stress. As if those distractions are not enough, we also get internal distractions that bombard and overload us with negative thoughts that ruminate and keep us from feeling good and proud of ourselves. These inner distractions add to self- sabotage, keeping us from producing easily and effectively.” We have so much to contend with in our daily lives that for some the holidays can become more of a burden instead of a blessing.

Special for Everyone

Yes, the holidays are upon us and with them come their own sets of stressors such as shopping for “that perfect gift,” having a reasonable financial holiday budget, decorating, and going to parties. While some love this time of the year, studies have shown that there is an increase in depression, suicide attempts, and drug and alcohol use for others. No one is safe from the stress that happens during this time of the year.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), women experience a higher level of stress than men during the holidays. It is because women tend to take on the work burden to ensure the best possible holiday traditions are celebrated.

The Secret Sauce for a Health & Happy Holiday Season- Gratitude & Mindfulness (6)-11180

What’s in that Sauce?

Although stress is unavoidable, there are two ways of adding sweetness to the holiday season that will get even the busiest CEO whistling his favorite holiday tune as he greets his team. These two ingredients create such a rich combination that they can’t help but awaken all the senses. The two special ingredients that make up the secret sauce are: gratitude and mindfulness. When added together they can: turn bitterness into sweet, make the tough into tender, and heavy into something light. This secret sauce combination is the easiest and most practical way for today’s busy professionals to relish and savor the holiday season so that they have more time to celebrate, communicate, and connect with those they care about.

Yummy Moments

Gratitude and Mindfulness are great ways to bring purposeful awareness, attention, and appreciation to your holiday experience. Together they will give you: more time to be productive, an increased sense of purpose in your actions, and greater positivity in your day. Practicing gratitude is a heart-centered practice that can make you feel connected, blessed, and special. Practicing mindfulness can make you feel more alive, awake, and allowing. Both of these two techniques combined have hundreds of studies that prove their ability to improve health, boost happiness, enhance relationships, and increase productivity during the holiday season. The beauty of these two practices happens during the millions of micro-moments throughout the day. The “practice” happens when we purposely remember what is happening within us and around us—without judgment. Exercising these new habits will deepen your neural pathways and ensure sustainable success in creating positive experiences in your life.

Recipe for a Sweet Holiday Season

Directions:

  1. Ask yourself what you want this holiday season to look and feel like for you. Just like with any recipe that you’ve never made before you might first have to look at the picture so that you will have an idea of what the dish will look like.
  2. “Prepave” your holiday festivities with the feeling and images of what you would like it to be for yourself. “Prepaving” is a way of creating and attracting what you want through visualization and positive emotions. Feel as if it is happening now. Have fun using your imagination to visualize and tune into what your holiday celebration is going to be like. There’s no right or wrong way of doing this. Picture yourself purposefully being aware and appreciative of what’s going on around you so that you will experience the beauty of the season so much more.
  3. Practice and play with the secret sauce ingredients throughout your days and nights.
  4. Enjoy adding other quality ingredients to this special sauce such as: creativity, courage, and self-compassion.

Key Ingredients:

1. Gratitude:

According to gratitude expert, Robert Emmons, gratitude is defined as a “felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life.” In other words, it’s more than just saying “thanks.” This year instead of sitting in traffic just to shop from place to place, save yourself some time and lots of misery by staying at home. Instead of shopping for gifts why not make them in a form of a gratitude letter to those you care about. This practice has been proven to boost levels of happiness for a weeks and weeks for both the writer and the recipient.

Here’s how to get started. Think of that special someone in your life that you need to get a gift for. Get a piece of paper (preferably a nice stationary) and write down how they have impacted your life in a positive way. Write from your heart and elaborate as much as you can. When you are done put it in an envelope and personally deliver it to that person and ask them to read it in front of you. Notice their expression. Notice yours. Notice how this loving practice can turn your holiday into a magical one. Try to do this to for as many people as you can. Schedule a time every evening during this holiday season to write out one letter to deliver in person. If you allow yourself to do one letter at a time, you’ll notice what may seem like a burden in the beginning will become a blessing in the end. The practice of gratitude will make you feel blessed and blissful. Once you get into your gratitude letter writing routine this holiday season notice how you look forward to doing it each day or night. This delicious ritual will gift you the special time to relax, reflect, and remember so many golden moments that you’ve shared with your loved ones. You’ll thank yourself for doing this!

2. Mindfulness:

According to mindfulness expert, Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness is “paying attention in a particular way on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” Any activity when done purposely and with a beginners mind is considered a mindfulness activity. In other words, activities such as washing the dishes, walking, or watching can be a mindfulness activity as long as the person purposely aims to notice and experience that particular activity fully and without judgment.

Here’s how to begin this practice. During this holiday season, purposely gift yourself about 20 minutes of mindfulness by focusing on one of the five senses at a time. Start with mindfulness seeing and purposely notice all the shapes and colors that you see around you. Once you see something that catches your eye, look even closer. What do you see? Do you see any intricate patterns that make up that particular object? Notice the different shades of colors that meld together to make the colors that you see. Is that object manmade? If so, think about how that particular item made it there in front of you. Look with a beginner’s eye and notice as much as you can in that period of time. The next time you plan your mindful sit, try another sense like taste. Practice savoring when you are eating all the delicious food during your holiday festivities. Imagine as though it was the first time you’ve tasted that food. Notice how long it took you to chew it and swallow it. Try to figure out the flavors that were used in that particular dish. Notice how slowing down and savoring your food helps you stay on track with your diet because you are appreciating each bite and notice when your stomach is full. Practicing mindfulness during this holiday season might just be one of the easiest ways to keep the extra pounds off by mindfully noticing what goes in to your body. Imagine going into the New Year without having to add “lose holiday weight” in your New Year’s Resolution!

Adding gratitude and mindfulness will surely add more richness to your holidays. This delicious combination of ingredients will kick up your festivities a notch so that you can have your cake and eat it too– without guilt. Once you begin practicing these techniques, you will notice that you have more time for more important things and people in your life. Cultivating gratitude and mindfulness in your busy life will not only make you healthier and happier but also add more harmony to your life. Begin today and look around you. Challenge yourself to find something new that you haven’t seen before. Have fun and have yourself a healthy and happy holiday season!

Do you have a way of making this holiday season fun and stress-free? Please share your suggestions with me below. Thank you in advance!

New Normal

I don’t know about you but this summer has been a roller coaster of incredible and intense emotions. It has been filled with some endings and wonderful beginnings. Between my wedding anniversary, my two oldest sons’ graduations, birthdays, and new opportunities, this has been an unforgettable summer. It’s a summer that emphasizes having appreciation for those you love and how much they have impacted your life.

New-Normal
There’s a “new-normal” that’s unfolded for me. I learned about this description after spending an afternoon with a friend just days after losing his 84 year old father from cancer. As I sat with him in the park, he told me that now that his father has passed, both he and his mother had to get use to a “new normal” way of living.

Bittersweet
As for me and my family our “new-normal” takes on many bittersweet forms. Our “new normal” consists of adjusting to my oldest son living at home and working in Boston with a prospect of being relocated to Chicago. Another “new normal” change is getting used to not having my middle son home. This week kicks off his 1st week of living at college and away from home. Lastly, my other “new normal” is supporting my youngest as he starts a new school. In the grand scheme of things, my “new-normals” are all great news and certainly something that my husband and I are both proud of. It still does not help with the feelings of longing for the good-old-days of having everyone at home, all together, safe and sound, and silly-at-times. No matter what you call it – separation anxiety, the “new-normal” or simply life, is still painful. It hurts when you no longer have the person that you love near you to talk with and sit with like before.

Life
As a Health & Happiness Specialist™, I often share my own experiences in my programs. Happiness is nothing without pain or sadness. Life will deliver each of us good and not-so-good times. This is what makes life very interesting. Nothing good lasts forever and nothing bad lasts forever too. There a dynamic motion that propels us forward to become better than before if we allow it. The secret is to feel the negative emotions and allow them to surface so that we can move on. It’s when we hold on to our negative emotions that we start suffering in many ways that can manifest as severe depression, insomnia, gastro-esophageal reflux, chest pain, anger, over eating, and so much more.

3 Ways to Feel Better
Fortunately, with the increase in positive psychology research there are so many effective ways to help people cope with life’s challenges. The science of happiness has many solutions that help people grow and thrive so that they can be the best version of themselves.

Here are 3 ways to feel better:

1. Do something kind for others. When you think outside of your own situation and do kind deeds for others, you begin to feel happier.
2. Physical activity. Doing any type of physical activity is a positive way of releasing your sadness and stress.
3. Contact someone. Whether it is going to church to pray or calling up a friend. Connecting with others enhances relationships which often lead to greater happiness.


How about You?

If you are struggling with life’s ups and downs right now, trust that where there is darkness there also is light. If you need a coach to help you reach your personal or professional goals please contact Debbie Lyn at debbie.ultimatehealingjourney@gmail.com

Mindful Moment


Are you becoming more and more absentminded lately?


Multitasking

My answer is “yes.” This has become a busy and fast paced world, and many of us have taken on a habit juggling and struggling. According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, when we are multitasking, we are paying attention only partially from one task to another. A study conducted on multitasking while driving showed that the driver’s attention decreased by 37% when he/she listened to sentences while driving. How many times have we listened to sentences either from the radio or another person in the car? This important study shows that multitasking is not as efficient or safe as we once thought it was.


Les Miserable

Multitasking spreads our energy thin. Chronically multitasking can make us feel overwhelmed, out of control, and overly tired. When this happens, concentration and clarity become a challenge. A negative ripple effect of unhealthy habits arise such as mindlessly eating comfort food in front of the TV to “veg-out,” consuming endless cans of high energy drinks in order to “pull an all-nighter,” and a taking anti-anxiety medications to counteract the guilt and worries of not getting enough done.

While some people thrive under this fast-paced and demanding lifestyle, their mind and body will eventually show signs of “wear and tear” in the form of chest pain, depression, obesity, gastric reflux, etc.  There is good news! With mindful awareness, we can turn this misery into magnificence.


Mindful Moments

I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t tell you that I don’t multitask—the truth is I still multitask. But after many years of making mistakes that cost me more time to correct, I’ve decided to become more purposeful in my multitasking. I’ve learned to only do it when doing simple tasks. And it works. While it did take some time for me to get rid of the temptation to multitask, the results have been profound. I went from multitasking everything to multitasking with some things.  I made mindful choices that made my day more enjoyable and effective.


What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness in a nutshell is purposefully paying attention and becoming aware of what you are doing at that very moment. It’s a way of noticing (without judgment) the thoughts in your mind and emotions that you are feeling. Mindfulness also provides a time, however short it may be, to quiet our mental chatter. The more we apply this simple practice, the more we will feel calm, confident, and in control in the midst of our busy day.


Try This

Here’s a mindful practice that will help you begin to cultivate this positive habit – learn to do less and get more done. I call it Mindful Moment: Take 5 & Take a Break

  1. Close your eyes.
  2. Take a deep breath.
  3. Imagine you are in your special place.
  4. Let go of your tension.
  5. Enjoy.

I recommend that you do this practice for about 5 – 10 minutes a day in order to feel your tension release. The more you release and let go of you stress the more you will be able to make mindful choices towards a healthier and happier day.

Gratitude & Mindfulness Experience. More on the program


Need Help?

Contact us for more support in cultivating mindfulness in your life. Email us at info@ultimatehealingjourney.com to begin your journey towards health and happiness. You don’t have to do this alone. We are here to guide you towards your highest and best goals.

Goals and Growth Mindset

 

Know what you want to win at.

I heard a great statement from my middle son’s graduation speaker that still rings in my ear. It was, “Know what you want to win at.” This made me reflect back to my own high school goals and dreams. I remembered how bold they were and how determined I was to make them happen. While I had many high hopes and aspirations, I was also realistic. I knew that I would never be a Parisian super model at my statuesque height of 5’4” or get to meet Richard Gere (the officer and a gentleman) and have him carry me off into the sunset or even become a Solid Gold dancer when I only danced at parties or weddings. I knew my limitations and accepted them but I also had a dream and a purpose of having a great life for myself.

We can have it all!

You see I wanted it all! Deep down I always believed that we can have it all – a healthy, happy, and successful life. We make the most of what we have and go for it.

Some of my goals were:

  1. To go nursing school without any student loans — In 1988 I graduated nursing school and had no school debts because of a full university scholarship I won.
  2. To meet and marry the man of my dreams — I met him at my first job working in my local sub shop. We soon became best friends, got married, and had 3 amazing boys!
  3. To have my own company that can inspire people to live the life of their dreams by being healthy and happy no matter where they are in life – I started my company Ultimate Healing Journey, LLC almost 4 years ago. It has brought me so many wonderful experiences and opportunites to deliver my health and happiness mission globally to men, women, and children.

Goals and Growth Mindset

I suppose at a young age I knew what I could win at and focused on what I wanted with passion and zeal until I got it. Although the process wasn’t easy all the time, it made me a stronger person and certainly a healthier and happier one along the way. My comfort zone got bigger and bigger as I stretched myself. This is what author and psychologist Carol Dweck would call having a growth mindset. She calls growth mindset the science of success.

goals and growth word cloud

Goals for Focusing

According to Positive Psychology expert, Tal Ben Sha-Har, goals are important because they help us focus, become more resilient, help with our self-fulfilling prophecy, create our world from the words we speak and lastly become a natural step to us when we immerse ourselves in our thoughts, beliefs, and actions.

Goals are the means

Tal Ben Sha-Har emphasized how goals are the means while the present moments are the ends. What he meant by this is lasting happiness comes from what we do every step along our journey to our goals. And that our goals, while they do give us direction, are not the source of our lasting happiness.

How about you?

Do you know what you want to win at?  I suggest picking one goal today and determine when you want it and what you are willing to do to reach it.

Need help?

If you need coaching in ways to reach your goals, contact me at info@ultimatehealingjourney.com so we can work together to get you to your winning state of mind.

Cheers,

Debbie signature

Boost Happiness and Burn Calories within Minutes

This past weekend was full of laughter!

Last Saturday I started my 4 week Laughter Yoga™ class at a nearby yoga studio, and last Sunday was World Laughter Day. As a Laughter Yoga™ teacher I still get so amazed at the power of laughter and how it instantly transforms people. I love it when new participants come into my Laughter Yoga™ class with a perplexed, “I don’t really know what I am in for” kind of look. When I explain to them about what laughter is and how it can bring us to a place of oneness, they immediately see the genius in it. The reason why I wanted to learn this form of yoga is that it’s easy, playful, and non-intimidating. If you can laugh and take deep breaths then you can do it!


No Yoga Experience Necessary

It can be done literally anywhere. Further, it’s a wonderful way to get people, who are intimidated with the concept of yoga, to get the feeling of blissful mind-body-spirit connection that yoga delivers. Laughter Yoga™ can be done sitting or standing and with no yoga experience. I’ve had the honor of doing this yoga for stroke patients in rehabilitation centers, for seniors, for low income housing residents, cancer survivors, care givers, health care professionals, and even Harvard researchers!
As a nurse and a Laughter Yoga™ teacher I get invited to speak at corporate retreats, cancer survivor events, and hospitals. I really enjoy sharing practical information with people so that they can be inspired and reminded to add more laughter to their day. This exercise is perfect for those who can “use more laughter” in their lives.

Laughter Yoga word cloud with site-59210

Experts Seriously Studying Laughter

The science of laughter, Gelotology, is a field that has been getting attention from researchers since 1964. Researchers like Dr. Edith Trager and Dr. William Fry are the pioneers in this field. In the 1970’s Norman Cousins, writer and magazine editor for the Saturday Review, was diagnosed with a painful and debilitating autoimmune disease. When his own doctors could not help him cure or manage his pain, he discharged himself from the hospital and checked into a hotel where he used high doses of Vitamin C and laughter to cure his disease. He found that 10 minutes of deep belly laugher gave him 2 hours of pain-free sleep.


7 Fun-Facts

Here are some fun and interesting facts about laughter:

1. 1 minute of deep hearty laughter is equivalent to 10 minutes of rowing a boat or jogging!
2. Deep hearty laughter is an aerobic exercise.
3. We can “Fake it til’ we make it.” Our mind doesn’t know the difference between fake and real laughter. We feel good either way.
4. Kids laugh 300-400 times a day. Adult laughs approximate 50 times a day.
5. It’s a social contagion. It’s catchy and people who hear it also benefit from the sound of laughter increasing the positivity in the environment.
6. Deep hearty laughter reduces tension and boosts energy.
7. Deep hearty laughter can boost the immune system.


LOL

Next time you find that you’ve run out of time to work out or if you are feeling low, why not try laughing? Start with a “fake” laughter and just keep going until you start feeling better. You don’t have to wait for someone to make you laugh out loud (LOL.) You can get started anytime. Remember, whether it’s fake or real laughter your body will respond to it and you will begin to release your stress and tension and pretty soon you will start to burn calories. Yes, with laughter you can boost your happiness and burn calories within minutes.

Interested in more ways to sustain a high level of positivity in your life, contact us at info@ultimatehealingjourney.com to find out. We can work together in helping you reach your dream of living a happy and healthy life.

 

 

Simple Stress Reduction Technique

Here’s a simple stress reduction technique that is perfect for any age, I call it the Dirty-Water-in a-Plastic-Bottle technique.

I recently demonstrated this technique to a group of 6th graders that I’ve been teaching mindfulness based learning to in Boston, MA. It was actually great timing that I did this because the school had just finished their first week of standardized testing. All the kids’ (and the teachers’) energy levels were so high from preparing and performing, that the stress level in the school was palpable. Needless to say, the last thing that my students wanted to do that day was to sit down and learn about mindfulness from me. Those kids were “done” with learning that day. That’s why it took me some time to get them to listen to my lesson, which incidentally was on stress. Between you and me, I was getting stressed too because I could not get them to simmer down. I felt my level of control over the class slipping out of my hands quickly!

Super-dee-duper Contraption

Just when I thought it was hopeless, I changed my lesson plan by taking out my super-dee-duper stress reduction contraption sooner rather than later. I needed a way to hook them onto my lesson and it did the trick! When I took out the plastic drinking bottled filled with a water and soil mixture the class stopped and asked what I had in my hand.

I thought to myself, “Yes, you got their attention!”

“Don’t stop and keep talking!”

I told them what it was and why I brought it. Some of the kids were “grossed out” while others were intrigued. I explained to them that this murky bottle of water was like our minds sometimes. It is filled with the mixture of positive and negative thoughts making it difficult for us to pay attention and to feel calm and in control of our actions. Furthermore, I told them that the key to decreasing our stress and seeing solutions more clearly is becoming mindful to our present state and knowing how we are feeling. I reminded them that mindfulness was all about paying attention and being aware of what’s in front of us, around us, and within us. Moreover, I emphasized that the best way to start feeling better, especially from the week they just had, was by allowing things to settle down (like the dirt in the bottle) and using the power of our breath to reduce our stress.

Letting It Settle

With this in mind, I shook the bottle of muddy water while the whole class watched the muddy vortex swirl around in the bottle. While we watched it swirl around and around, I had them participate in a deep breathing exercise. I encouraged them to continue the deep breathing exercise until we noticed that all the dirt had settled at the bottom and that the water had become clear. This became a powerful visual aid because they were able to see that by becoming aware of their stress, they could stop engaging with the stressor and start deep breathing exercises to regain their sense of self control. This Dirty-Water-in-a-Plastic-Bottle technique that I taught them made them feel relaxed, and they were able to concentrate more on the rest of the class. It really worked!

This technique is perfect for anyone as a way to reduce stress.

Mindfulness is...

Cheap and effective reminder

The Dirty-Water-in a-Plastic-Bottle technique is a great recycling project to do and possibly one of the simplest stress reduction techniques to use.

Here’s what you will need:

1. Empty clear 16 oz plastic bottle (remove label)
2. 16 oz of water
3. Soil (glitter or small plastic confetti would be a great substitute for the dirt if you don’t have any around)
4. Super Glue (permanent strong glue)

Directions:

Add items 2 & 3 into the empty plastic bottle. Dry the opening of the bottle, apply super glue, and twist cap tight. Allow the glue to dry for about 1 hour.
It’s that easy! You now have a homemade stress reduction tool that will surely help you and others feel better during those chaotic and overwhelming days.

Enjoy!

How about you?

Is stress leaving your feeling stuck and unable to move towards the life of your dreams? Contact me at Debbie.ultimatehealingjourney@gmail.com for coaching to help you gain more clarity, and confidence to move towards the life of your dreams.

 

Bueller…Bueller…Bueller!

 

Happy February, and I hope that 2015 is being kind and gentle to you.

Here in Massachusetts, we have just been visited by Juno, the blizzard that gave us over 30 inches of snow. My teenager and 4th grader have been celebrating their “no school” days. Do you remember being young and finding out that there was no school that day because of severe weather conditions? Those were the days when we got a “free day off” from our usual routine. Ahh…

I think that we, as adults, deserve to give ourselves a “Ferris Bueller’s day off” day to just kick back, relax, and be care-free.

When was the last time that you did this for yourself?
How did you feel when you did it?
What did you do that made it fun and fantastic for you?

“Life moves pretty fast.” ~ F. Bueller

Yes, I know that you’re busy, but who isn’t these days? It’s all the more reason why we need to take off our ‘grown-up’ hat and just be a kid again! It’s one of the ways we can slow down to enjoy life! Work will always be there and our schedules will always be full of activities. It’s important to be more proactive in setting aside time for ourselves for self care. We need a mental break so that we don’t have a “mental breakdown.”

ferris bueller

Here’s your “hall pass.”

Many people get so stuck on the hamster wheel of their work-life schedule that they forget that they have the choice to get off it. So, here’s my suggestion for you. Create a virtual “hall pass” for yourself to get out and do something that you love. You don’t have to have someone with you do to this. In fact, it might be better for you to just go ahead and take your “pass” and run with it without having to think and talk yourself out of it.

You get an A+

You will find that when you do this, you will want to do it regularly. Why not? It’s very important that you work yourself into your own unique schedule in order to truly have the productivity, positivity, and prosperity that you strive for. Routinely giving yourself much needed time off from life is a self-loving and self-nurturing way of ensuring that you do live a healthy and happy life. In other words, giving yourself permission to enjoy life will result in more success in both work and life than you can ever imagine. You will get an A+ for the effort that you put into this routine break. Danke Schoen! <wink>

If you need support in ways to help you reset time so that it’s on your side in order to live a healthy and happy life please contact me at info@ultimatehealingjourney.com

Time Leadership

Here’s a wonderful quote that made me stop and remember how I used to run around during the day feeling overwhelmed by the overly busy schedule that I had created for myself.

“To be everywhere is to be nowhere.” -Seneca

What I’ve discovered and learned (the hard way) is that being busy has a lot to do with my state of mind and my perceived obligations. These supposed responsibilities grew worse when I felt tired or insecure about what was going on at the time. What would tend to happen was that I would either mindlessly take on more to compensate for how I felt, or I would challenge myself (in a form of punishment) to go the extra mile to prove that I was as good, if not better, than the next person.
It was a mentality that eventually became a habit for me and manifested in an unhealthy physical, mental, and emotional state of being. This self-defeating habit made me gain more weight than I cared to imagine, made me take sleeping medications to help quite my mind in order to sleep, and made me have panic attacks that would momentarily distress me.
I realized that I had to change my way of thinking and start taking care of myself in order to get things done more efficiently. I took on a Time Leadership mentality that changed everything for me.

What is Time Leadership?

Time Leadership is purposely taking ownership of the time you spend doing that which feeds and fuels your inner spirit. It becomes the very essence of which you do any business so that your day is filled mindfully with things that are in alignment with your overall personal and professional mission. Understanding this allows one to have full control over where you choose to spend your time, who you want to spend it with, and what you choose to do with it. It is feeling connected to your heart’s desires and your very own version of success. It is a way of mindfully and passionately engaging with your schedule. Different from time management, Time Leadership places you in the captain’s seat. Time management places you among the crew, running around and taking care of more than what you are supposed to do. Time leadership allows you to stay long enough in one place to reflect, reframe, and react appropriately to your day. I share this concept that empower today’s busy people to find easy ways to add themselves back into their schedules during my work-life balance programs. Basically, one can say that Time Leadership is akin to being Heart Led.

Steve Jobs

3 Time Leadership Tips

Here are 3 Time Leadership Tips is get you started:

  1. “Know thyself.” -Socrates 

Knowing your own body and stamina is one of the most important ways to gauge how to best schedule your projects and unleash your genius. If you are a morning person, try to complete all of your creative or complex tasks before noon. Socrates couldn’t have said it any clearer when he said this quote. Knowing yourself allows you to better control what you think, say, and do with your time.

  1. “Ask yourself if what you are doing today is getting you any closer to where you want to be tomorrow.” -Unknown

Inquire within! Search yourself for what is truly giving you the sense of busyness; we can easily become conditioned into a habit of saying that we are “busy” when we actually aren’t. Yes, there will always be something for us to do—that is life. But my challenge to you is to question yourself when you start saying it out loud. You might just be surprise when you ask yourself what it is that you are really busy with—it might not seem as much as you think. This practice has worked for me tremendously and helped me become more mindful when I do say it.

  1. “There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do most of the important things.” -Brian Tracy

Priorities in life should drive us—not our pains. Time leadership means knowing not only yourself but also what makes you happy. Next time you plan out your schedule, try adding something in there that makes you feel good and is important to you. It can be as small as taking a 15-minute walk outside or a power nap. This small addition can help you ease back into your busy schedule in a realistic way.
As you can tell by now, Time Leadership begins with you. It starts with how much you know about yourself and grows from the ways that you purposely add yourself to your schedule. Remember, as the captain of your own ship, you—and only you—navigate your work / life by following your own stars.

 

Balancing Your Work and Home Life: Achieving Higher Enlightenment

WorkLifeMaze

If you suffer from stress, depression, anxiety or even high blood pressure, then you will understand the importance of just being able to relax. Many people try to multi-task too much in their daily lives, thinking that they can achieve more by doing so. This simply isn’t the case and multi-tasking often leads to errors which take even more time to correct. This makes us frustrated and angry, which is often taken out on family and friends. By taking the time to relax for just a few minutes, we realize that our lives don’t revolve around how many things we can do per day, and that by simply concentrating on one thing at once, we can achieve more than we ever thought possible.

Acting Out Of Character

Stress can certainly make us act out of character, especially when you’re stressed because you can’t perform an action on time or at the same time as something else. Your child may interrupt you to ask a question, to which you shout in response. This creates a negative atmosphere for everyone.

Creating a Better Balance

If you want to create a better work-home balance, take a step back and analyze the things you need to do that day. For example, if you need to do the washing and take the kids to school, find a way that you can do both without necessarily multi-tasking.  Start off the washing machine before you go in the morning, and dry them when you get back from your commute. You will have time by yourself to do the washing properly and in good time, and you will also have time to relax between loads. You’ll be doing one thing at a time, but you’ll still get the same amount done per day. This can really make a difference to your life, and by not multi-tasking. You’ll find that you won’t get as stressed, meaning that you can achieve more per day!

Can you think of some simple steps right now that you can do to create more balance in your life? Start with that first thing that you think of.

If can’t think of any right now, here are 3 tips to get you started.

They are:

  1. Divide and conquer- Delegate the tasks that others can do for you. Remember that you are not alone. Decide on one or two tasks that others can do easily and do not require your immediate attention. According to the July 26, 2012 Harvard Business Review, article written by Amy Gallo called, “Why aren’t you delegating” even though delegating tasks is an important skill for leaders and managers, not everyone is doing it—it is underutilized. While most feel they are too busy to ask, some are not trained to think and ask the right questions to ask for help.
  2. Go the distance- Deliberately go out of your way. Many people who are too busy during the day with work and life are way too busy to exercise. The best way to get in some physical activities is by going out of your way. Purposely park in the far end corner of the parking lot and walk or use the stairs instead of the elevators. According to an article called “Exercise and Stress. Get Moving to Manage Stress” by the Mayo Clinic, any form of physical activity can help reduce stress. This reduction is caused by the release of hormone called endorphin. The very hormone that gets released when runners experience the “runner’s high” when running.
  3. Distraction- Clear off your desk, your inbox, or even the noise around you. Distraction leads to wasted time trying to get back on task which can create more feelings of stress, overwhelm and imbalance. According the June 22, 2008 New York Times article, “Fighting a War Against Distraction,” it takes almost 20 minutes to get back on track after being distracted for one minute.

Just know that it is very possible to add more balance in your life. If you need support and coaching on ways to gain more balance in your work-life, contact me at info@ultimatehealingjourney.com for ways we can work together.