Mirror Mirror….

….on the wall…….. Okay I’m not going to ask you ask yourself who is the fairest of them all but what I am going to ask you to do is to simply look at yourself and smile!

Yes – that’s it! Simply take five minutes every day to look at yourself (and for some this may feel really weird and awkward – especially if you are drawn to that spot on the end of your nose) – in the mirror and deep within the eyes – and smile (I can almost get a sense of cringiness here).

Smiling at ourselves in the mirror is like someone smiling at us. It lifts our mood and makes us feel better – happier even. And if you really want to feel great – tell yourself how great you are too. Why not? If you can’t tell yourself how awesome you are – then how can anyone else and even if the do – what’s the point because you will probably only discount it anyway?!

Each morning – after you’ve done your morning ‘run’ to the loo (we don’t need to add discomfort to the exercise) look at yourself and smile. Smiling naturally lifts our moods – our brain interprets the muscle movement as positive and guess what – you begin to feel happier as a result – and all you have done is smile!

And for those miserable so and so’s out there (can’t be too rude here) – maybe a smile could bring more positivity into your life from others too. Let’s be honest – no one likes a miserable face unless you are pretty miserable yourself – a smile can make the world a brighter place for you and for others. 

So go on – put a smile on your face and feeeeeel the love!

You Can’t Touch This

Happiness can be an elusive little beggar if you’re not sure where to go looking for it- but it can be found and thankfully not in the wardrobe or under the stairs!

Happiness is right under your nose – but not many of us see it because we are looking off into the distance in the hope that it might just jump out at us and shout ‘hello’ and then we’d sigh and think ‘phew’ – thank goodness for that – I really thought I was destined to a life of misery.

But happiness doesn’t jump out at us and even if it did – it wouldn’t be found in material possessions, in your child’s behaviour, that all inclusive holiday to the Maldives or even the possibility of a romance or friendship (although love through relationships can increase our feelings of wellbeing and hence happiness – but it can not make us happy – we have to do that for ourselves).

So where can we find happiness? Inside each one of us is the possibility to be happy. For some – it just takes a bit of practice and some learning- just like learning French or yoga – but for other (lucky) people it comes naturally to them. So what makes one person happy and the other – locked in a continual search for what they feel is an elusive dream?

Happiness is quite simply living in the moment and appreciating what life has to offer – both good and bad. It’s watching the rain lazily wind it’s way down the window; it’s being captivated by the chatter of your child; it’s being grateful for your health and well being; it’s being able to find the positives in the negatives; it’s being able to look at life and see what you want to see – not what you don’t.

Happiness is a dying art – or is it just so in the UK? Most of us have forgotten how to have fun – to feel free of the constraints of what ‘everyone’ might think if we ‘let our hair down’ – well who cares? Seriously if you want to get on your bike and go through every muddy puddle in your path then who or what is stopping you? If you want to climb a tree – or hug it for that matter – are you scared that people might judge you?

They probably will – but who cares? If you are doing what you want to do (within the law of course – I’m not for breaking the law!) then imagine how much better you will feel. Happiness is inextricably linked to freedom and I’m not just talking in the physical sense either (although it can be important) – but freedom of the will – of the mind.

So next time you reach for that chocolate bar or feel like a spending spree -ask yourself – what is it that I am missing in my life right now? Because is certainly isn’t chocolate – but it could be love, fun, freedom, relaxation, self-love. Happiness is self reliant – not externally driven. So beware as their is an imposter out there.

Pleasure is the master of disguises and works well at passing itself off as the elusive happiness – however it fails miserably as, unlike happiness, pleasure simply can’t last the pace. Pleasure is always short lasting – you’re up because you bought that designer bag, your down because you know you couldn’t afford it. You feel pleasure after eating the chocolate bar – you feel awful 2 minutes after as you’ve ruined your diet (who cares?).

If I decide to be happy – I will be. I will chose to focus on what makes me happy – i.e. doing what I want to do. Even plastering a smile on your face can help – believe it or not.

If happiness is short in your life – then change your focus and chose more happiness – only then can you begin your awesome journey to happiness. You will meet others along the way – and that’s great – but live for the moment -appreciate the great things in your life and learn from the not so great.

Always look for the positives in everything (it can be hard to begin with) and learn from the negatives. Smile more, give more and appreciate more. Take 5 minutes each day to be still – to listen to the sounds that surround you – to ‘see’ what you can see and feel what you can feel, because only then can you tap into the true wonder of the world we live in and the true wonder of you.

So next time you feel miserable – look within – and find ways to make you happy without relying on others. They can lift your mood but not change your state of mind – only you can do that.

The Truth, The Whole Truth…….

Truth’s a funny thing isn’t it? You either do it or you don’t or you get it right or horribly wrong.

We are ‘taught’ to lie at a very early age (those little white lies to avoid embarrassment or upset) and whilst some of us prefer the truth and resort to it in most situations, some of us prefer the big fat lies. But is it really okay to lie? And if so, when?

Picture the scenario – you meet your friend who you haven’t seen for a while – and notice that she’s packing on some extra weight. You chose to be diplomatic and to be honest (pardon the pun!) kind hearted, so you tell her on meeting how great she looks.

Fine so far, however after a few drinks she begins the onslaught of ‘I’m so fat’, ‘I can’t believe I’ve put on so much weight’ etc and you sit there just smiling hoping she won’t ask what you’re hoping she won’t.

Then it’s there. The question you have been dreading and praying to avoid all night. But there is no avoiding it as your friend looks beseechingly into your eyes. “Do you think I look fat?”

YES! You holler in your mind ‘I mean have you seen your backside in those jeans?’ But what do you tell your friend? Your dear beloved friend who is the most amazing, thoughtful and caring woman who you have ever met. Do you feel obliged to tell her she’s wonderful (after all she is – if not a little weighty) or do you tell her what she is secretly dreading you will – that you agree – she has put on weight.

But firstly is there a right or wrong reply? Is one more suitable than the other? Is it better to tell your friend the truth in the hope that she might take your observations on board and do something about shedding the extra weight, or do you keep the peace?

Neither is right and neither is wrong! If you don’t feel confident to speak truthfully to your friend then that’s a shame because isn’t that what real friends are for? For the ‘hard’ love – to give you their ‘honest’ opinion – after all it is just an opinion.

But honesty I believe is the best policy – and yes you can be tactful about it! Don’t draw comparisons to the backside of buses or hippos when you inform her that she could do with losing a few pounds as that isn’t being honest – that’s plain horrible!

Tell her she always looks good when she’s a size ……..whatever or tell her she could do with losing a few pounds as she looks healthier and appears more confident too when she’s at her ideal weight. Tell her she can count on your for support too!

But whatever you decide – don’t be put off from telling the truth – because lies will always come back to haunt you. And if they don’t want to accept the (your) truth – well at least you were honest.

The truth is a wonderful thing if used in a positive way – it can help people move on and make changes to their lives. It can make people literally face the ‘truth’ of their lives which they have been avoiding for a while. So next time you are in that sticky situation – to lie or not to lie – tell the truth!

Smile!

A very simple yet powerful way to lift your spirits, to make you feel happier and more positive about who you are is to use a mirror and smile!

It may sound crazy and may feel completely awkward to begin with but keep at it and you will notice you begin to feel happier and better about who you are as an individual (and so you should because you are incredible!)

Every morning (and every time you pass a mirror if you can) take a couple of minutes to simply smile at yourself. That’s all you have to do – just smile at yourself. Appreciate it may feel weird to begin with – but keep doing it. If you can then tell yourself how amazing you are too – that you love yourself.

Again if that feels strange just go with it and before long you will feel comfortable smiling at yourself and telling yourself how great you are (because you are great!)

After a week you will begin to feel a little better and after a month you will feel a whole lot better and all you did was smile at yourself it the mirror and tell yourself how awesome you are!

Try it out – I mean how long does it take? And if you can do this exercise 3 times a day – in the morning, during the day (if you have the bathroom free at work) and at night just before you go to bed. You will notice that you do feel good whilst doing this exercise – and that’s great isn’t it?

You may notice that you begin to laugh too – and that’s great too as laughter is a powerful medicine and one which many lack. So Smile and be Happy!!

Meditating With Children

I have two young sons – one of whom has ADHD and suffers from anxiety – and I had decided recently (again) to introduce daily meditation. I have benefited from regular mediation and know that it has the ability to transform your life – so why not let them benefit from this amazing practice too.

Now kids are kids and to introduce them to meditation takes a whole lot of patience – believe me and that’s where I went wrong when the first time! I’d get frustrated because they weren’t doing it ‘properly’. But how do you do meditation properly anyway especially as you begin?

Basically there is no right or wrong way to meditation however you have to find the right way for you. So with heaps of patience and lower expectations this time (they aren’t going to be little buddhas after a week!), I introduced a daily meditation into by boys lives again.

I merely informed them as we began, that we would be doing meditation everyday before school and it was down to them how much they wanted to get involved. We would sit and practice and if they wanted to follow along then great – if not then whatever! (this lowers resistance because they can not resist something that they don’t really have to do!)

Day one was a write off which I knew it would be – it takes time to learn to sit still and focus and with a son with ADHD it may take even longer. I used guided meditation and took them to an amazing tree-house in the woods – my youngest loved this and the eldest? Not bothered.

I continued for nearly a week with some improvement. My eldest son realized around the third or fourth day that we were going to meditate whether he wanted to or not so whilst he was ‘there’ he might as well join in.

Today I got them to focus on the journey from the local shop to our home and to see how much of that journey they could remember. My eldest son was amazed at how much he could remember. My youngest focused more on ‘sameness’ i.e. houses, cars, roads etc where as my eldest saw specific cars, windows opened, a post box etc.

As I asked them to recount what they could remember I pointed out to my eldest son just how amazing his mind was to remember such details and how by using meditation he could begin to improve his mind and his performance on the rugby pitch too. He was incredibly pleased with his ‘performance’ and I can guess that he will be more willing in future to participate.

My youngest loves the ‘story’ and enjoys the whole process – and I pointed out that by continuing with meditation he could get even better at maths (his favourite subject) and that keeps him keen.

So by lowering my expectation of what my children could achieve in such a short time, plus, giving them the option as to whether they wished to take part or not, has ensured that the introduction of meditation as a daily routine has been a success this time around. Oh! And I have heaps more patience now due to my regular meditation.

Mediation is a must for anyone – regardless of time constraints – and if you are ‘too busy’ then perhaps you need to meditate more! Find time to meditate first thing in the morning before life takes over. It’s an amazing process and kids have a right to benefit from this wonderful process too.

So take time out to help your kids learn to control their emotions, to feel better about themselves and become more positive and confident – it really is worth it and what’s more it doesn’t cost a penny! If you child suffers from anxiety, depression, ADHD or is just a ‘normal’ kid – meditation can improve how they feel and help them put live into perspective.

So try it yourself first and share it with your kids. Remember they may resist so lower their resistance by telling them they can do as much or as little as they want and after a few days they will realize that they might as well join in!

Praise them for their efforts – to sit still for some kids is virtually impossible so realize this and make a point of motivating them through praise.

Lower your expectations – it’s hard enough for an adult to get into mediation and we have less energy! So understand that the first week won’t produce outstanding results but keep focusing on the benefits that your child will enjoy. It takes time to set up a new habit – but it’s a worthwhile habit which deserves to be given time.

Patience. Perseverance. Fun. Three important words. Keep calm, expect good results (in time!) and enjoy it!

If you need any help or advice about meditation – give me a ring on 07532110457.

Just a Quickie……

And not that sort!!!

But seriously – have you ever stopped to think about how your actions affect the world at large? Have you ever stopped to think how a kind word can bring so much more happiness into someone’s life than a bitter remark?

When was the last time you smiled at a complete stranger? When was the last time you complimented anyone – whether it’s the grumpy shop assistant (I always go out of my way to compliment people who look miserable or mean – it completely floors them and they do change their attitude towards you – it’s great!!) or the woman waiting in the queue in front of you – just put some effort into the world – some love and kindness and who knows – you may just get some back in return!

And besides – it really does make you feel better being kind to others – it’s a natural thing to do – but some of us along the way have lost our way.

So find your way back to kindness, generousity and love. You will not only feel better day to day but you will brighten the day of others who may just need that smile!

Feel Good Or Bad – Your Choice

I am in the process of getting a program together to help people realize their true potential – to enable people to see how awesome they truly are – and it’s been an exciting project so far.

I have become more and more aware, due to the nature of my job and life itself, that we chose the life we want – that’s right – we chose the life we want! Every second of the day we make life choices which not only affect how we feel from moment to moment, but also our future too,

All to many people focus on the bad things in life and fail to see the abundance of beauty that surrounds them every single second of every single day – and why? Because they have chosen to be ‘miserable’ – it has become a habit for them. They feel ‘safe’ being miserable and it becomes comfortable – just like an old comfy sweater – worn out and holey! They resent happy people and go out of their way to hurt others – because in some way – it makes them feel better temporarily.

And when you ask said people how they are – they will no doubt moan and groan about this and that and when you ask them if they are happy in their life – amazingly they will say yes!! And why? Because we all strive to be happy – but how we go about that may not be working!

We chose our moods – no one else choses them for us – how can they? Seriously? No-one can get inside your head except you and I mean no-one. You chose whether you get upset about the mindless comment made by a colleague – you chose to get upset. It has absolutely nothing to do with what anyone says – it is about whether you wish to ‘accept’ what your colleague has said and get upset or whether you chose to ignore it or deal with it.

Surely you know that what people say (about you) is about them and where they are at – and has absolutely nothing to do with you? Yes, your boss can give you some feedback – and you can take it as just that – feedback – a way to improve your performance. Or you could take it as a personal sleight and spend days and weeks brooding. Again – your choice.

When we begin to realize that everything about our life is a choice – it makes it all the more easier to change it! Think about it – if you react to everyone in your life, to what people say or do – you are handing others control over your life.

However if  you acknowledge what is happening in your life and chose whether or not to react (and again it’s a choice whether your react positively or negatively here too!) you maintain control over your life and believe me – it feels incredible!

If you chose anger – then expect anger in return. If you chose hate then expect hate in return. If you chose victim then expect to be abused. But if you chose love you get love in return. If you chose tolerance you will receive tolerance and if you chose fun – how much better will your life be?

So stop blaming others for the way you feel and for once in your life – make a commitment to change your life for the better by acknowledging your personal power. You have so much personal power which lies dormant – wake it up, shake it out and chose a better life!!

After all it literally is your choice.