Neurons that fire together, wire together!

glasses-983947_960_720I am spending the next 6 days learning more about Positive Neuroplasticity at the Positive Brain Change: Tools for Lasting Happiness, Love, and Peace workshop by Rick Hanson, Ph.D., which makes me positively happy!

Never stop learning about things you love.

I have been experiencing, teaching and sharing the benefits of savoring the good moments of our life for years, but I enjoy the topic so much and I talk with so many folks about it that I am always seeking new ways to learn more about our wonderful brains!

Did you know that you can change your brain? It’s true – neurons that fire together, wire together. The more time you spend reinforcing the positive moments in your life and savoring them, the more likely you will be to focus on, enjoy and benefit from them, because your brain is geared to do just that! New neural pathways form, making it easier for the good times to flow, in and out of you. And, over time, these new pathways can help you deal with negative moments and events more quickly and with less harmful effects on you and your sweet soul. Life will be happier, gentler and more fulfilling.

You see, if you take care of the minutes, the years will take care of themselves. (Tibetan saying.)

I hope the next 6 days are wonderful for you. And, that you treat the positive moments that arise with the tender loving care they deserve, because if you do, they will repay you tenfold, by helping you create the happiness and the life you deserve.

 

 

Explore what you love

lotus-1205631__180Some of us recently finished a new 21-Day meditation series offered by Oprah and Deepak Chopra. It was free, and through a Wishful Thinking Works Facebook group we met and touched based during our 21 days of meditating.

On the 22nd day, Oprah and Deepak shared a extra post and in it Oprah noted, “Spend time doing what lifts you up and brings you love.”

Oprah’s words are more important than they may appear at first. You see, to follow these words we must first know what lifts us up, which is something we talk about all the time at Wishful Thinking Works and our Wishful Thinking Women gatherings. We have to take time to truly understand what makes our hearts sing, then and only then can we spend more time doing it.

Ocoffee-782171__180.jpgften, you will find what lifts you up is in the simplest moments – stretching in bed in the morning, planning something special for someone you love, watching the sun set or rise, drinking a rich delicious cup of cappuccino or accomplishing a difficult task at work or home.

In the last few weeks of April, practice noticing what brings you true pleasure. Then spend a bit of time digging deeper to unearth the essence of those moments, the reason they bring you happiness.

Stretching connects us to our bodies. It is one of the few moments of the day that we really experience a mind-body connection. (Most of the time we only notice our bodies when they hurt or cause us discomfort.) If you like stretching, maybe you need to do it more often, to add yoga or exercise to your life as a way of connecting your mind and body.

If planning something for someone you love makes you feel wonderful, explore the topic of relationships in your life and doing things for others. How can you deepen your connection to those you love and to your community and the world?

If cappuccino is your thing, perhaps you need to provide yourself with more peaceful and delicious moments. Long lazy baths or simply a new body cream might make you feel relaxed and luxurious or maybe cooking a new dish or finding a new favorite restaurant. Maybe you need to add more time for reflection to your life.

There are so many reasons sunrises and sunsets could delight us – being outdoors, taking time to enjoy the moment, the majesty of the color  – explore what makes them special to you personally and find ways to expand on the essence of what they bring to your life.

Accomplishments come with widely varying benefits that may change throughout our lives. Personality, age, culture, environment may all play a role. Explore why your degree matters to you, why a promotion makes you happy, why making the sale motivates you, why refinishing a chair brings you joy – then keep going until you get to the core of why those “whys” matter and you will create a journey, which may help you plan or enrich your emotional and economic lifestyle.

There is a lifetime of wisdom and happiness in what you enjoy! Let all of your discoveries – big or small – pave the way for new paths in your life. Let them lead you and provide a solid foundation for bringing more peace and joy into your life.

Namaste.

PS And if you worry for even a moment that you don’t deserve more wonder and joy, you are not alone. We often create roadblocks for ourselves on new journeys, especially when we are focusing on giving ourselves more of what we love.

Know in advance this might happen, and if it does, be prepared to find ways to gently and calmly quiet those voices in your head. You can invite them in – don’t resist them, simply say something to yourself like “I knew you would be coming, please come in, take a seat.” Then take a deep breath, exhale slowly, and then smile to yourself for being so smart! You are not only are brave and courageous you are insightful and prepared –  you can handle whatever comes your way.  Great things are waiting for you, go ahead and explore.

14 Valentine’s tips for a happier day

Patrice Koerper Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching Speaking

Would you like your sweetest Valentine’s Day ever? 

Here are 14 Wishful Thinking Works tips to make this year’s Valentine’s Day your best yet!.

Mix and match them to your heart’s desire. ♥

♥ Using even one can raise your happiness levels. 

 

  1. Plan ahead – having something to look forward will raise your spirits.
  2. Broaden your scope – you can celebrate being in love with anyone on Valentine’s Day – friends, family, your kids, your life, your job – whatever makes you smile!
  3. Expand your options  – restaurants can be overbooked and way too busy, flowers and candy can be pricey, so . . .
  4. Be creative – good times don’t require big budgets.
  5. Relax – even the most romantic evening can be ruined by letting our expectations outweigh our circumstances.
  6. Put the focus on others – this is a great time of year for Gratitude Letters, cards or notes to special aunts and uncles, neighbors, or co-workers anyone who has done something special for you – ever!
  7. Memories make great gifts – find ways to bring great moments alive again through Facebook posts, photos, calls or visits.
  8. Volunteer studies show this can brighten everyone’s day, and may even lengthen our lives.
  9. Babysit – If you don’t have big plans – help make someone else’s night great! 
  10. Share sweet surprises – Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to live the Lollipop Effect.
  11. Give an unexpected hug; it is good for everyone’s health!
  12. Ask for a do over – to undo something you said or did that you wish you hadn’t.
  13. Forgiveyourself or someone else!
  14. Give instead of receiving – A $25 donation to KIVA will create a loan that will empower a life. They have a 98.40% repayment rate, which means your one time donation can help again and again around the world. A $58 donation to the International Rescue Committee can send a girl to school for a year in Afghanistan or Africa.

Make the simple, special this Valentine’s Day and you will be making yourself and others happier.

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Christmas memories

Did you know that one of the easiest ways to warm-up your heart and enrich your holiday spirit is to relive your favorite Christmas memories?

snowflake-1823942_960_720A quick trip down memory lane can relax and revive you.

If your holiday memories are not happy ones, use your personal memory lane to inspire you to find ways to light-up other folks’ lives, which can make you feel better, as well!  You have more power and so many more opportunities than you may realize to brighten someone’s day.

A smile, a compliment, a card or a call are easy to do and are for the most part are cost free. Giving-up a prime parking space to the car behind you, paying for the order of the next person in line,  or passing out extra big hugs to your spouse or significant other are all ways to make someone’s holiday brighter. There are thousands of other ways to celebrate the season, and each one can help you focus on what is most important to you this Christmas, and for all your Christmases to come.

Here are my top ten holiday memories. Reliving them made me feel warm and cozy, and I realized how many more I have to enjoy.

  1. Getting an Easy Bake oven one Christmas and going into Mom and Dad’s bedroom first thing the next morning with the teeny tiny muffins I baked and them “oohing and ahhing” over them.  Easy Bake
  2. Squinting at the Christmas tree in the living room so the lights would blur, which I truly thought was magical.
  3. Finding a way to buy Christmas gifts for my eight siblings, my Mom and Dad and the growing number of brother-in-laws and nieces and nephews. There was so much joy in those decisions and in the giving.
  4. Finding a sky-blue crocheted, short sleeved dress in my Mom’s bottom dresser drawer on our annual pre-Christmas present hunt, and hoping it was for me. My just older sister and I ended-up sharing that dress for years. I think I wore it to a 7th grade dance and loved it!
  5. My Mom and Dad always made Christmas morning seem gift-filled even though they were buying for nine kids on a very tight budget.santa-claus-1149928__340
  6. One year we arranged for my same older sister’s boyfriend to play Santa for our two youngest siblings. A few hours after they were tucked into their beds, we woke them up to see “Santa” opening his pack in the sparkling light of the Christmas tree, which was reflected in our living room picture window. I recall this scene clearly, and can still feel their sense of excitement of seeing “Santa”.
  7. I bought my Mom a burnt-orange polyester pantsuit with a jaunty striped, short scarf that tied off to the side like those fancy French ladies!  I purchased this fashion forward outfit – pantsuits and polyester were all the range that year – with my 30% discount from my job at Petries, a retail shop for teens and women.  Having enough money to do something special for my Mom felt so good.
  8. As our family grew with many of us starting families of our own, my Mom decided to change the date we gathered at my parents’ home for the holidays. We descended en masse on my Mom’s  birthday, December 26. I always thought it was amazingly kind of her to cook and clean for everyone on her birthday. Mom said it was worth it to have us all together. Turns out, she knew best. She kept us in touch with one another as we shared her wonderful food and the sides and cookies we brought. Forty years later, we are still finding ways to share our homes, our lives and delicious foods.christmas-655681__340
  9. The joy of seeing everyone’s gifts and what seemed like tons of wrapping paper strewn across our living room floor. It made the gifts seem more plentiful and so festive.
  10. Baking and eating so many sweet treats. My Mom’s cookies were the best, especially the Butter Balls!

Now, compile your list. Then enjoy reliving the moments. And, remember, if sad memories top your list, spend time this holiday season creating better ones for you and others.

Please share some of your favorite memories in the comments section below. Reading them will make us all happy!

Happy holidays to you!

Another way to meditate

b7f8c554b69c1c9a33e783d6c957ddbfIf you’ve been thinking about meditating, but haven’t started or if you are a looking for a way to bring more gratitude into your life, please check out this free gratitude film series by famed  director, producer, and cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg.

The Mentors Channel 21 Days of Gratitude series begins November 4th, and may be the best holiday gift you give yourself – and it’s free. By the time the hustle and bustle of the holiday season begins, you will be relaxed and ready to embrace the festivities from a brand new perspective.

Click here to enjoy one of the wonderful videos the series offers. It begins with a sweet message and is 6 minutes of pure pleasure and the perfect way to immerse yourself in feelings of gratitude. The series is designed to be enjoyed with your eyes open or closed, so it is perfect for meditating and gratitude newbies and a refreshing change for those comfortable with the practices.

For more information on this free series, click here. I’m sharing this information because I’m grateful it is available! Please take a moment to do the same with your friends and family via email or Facebook. Everyone can use a bit  of tranquility at this time of year!

Here’s more about the series from the Mentor Channel:

Embark on a never before traveled, journey into gratitude, through extraordinary audio and stunning video presentations . Listen to inspirational thoughts from our narrator and twenty one pre-eminent mentors, leading minds of industry, science, entertainment and spiritually. Keep your eyes open, as you enjoy dazzling images of nature that transport you to a magical place, or, with eyes closed, allow haunting melodies take you to a quiet place within . . .
  • An unorthodox, reliable way for anyone to meditate
  • Audio meditations enhanced with extraordinary visuals
  • Golden nuggets from world renowned mentors
  • Learn how to enhance every aspect of your life with gratitude
  • Heal and/or strengthen family bonds through gratitude
  • Discover your unique place in the universe
  • Begin to appreciate nature in a whole new way
  • Turn your dreams and desires into reality through the practice of gratitude

Enjoy! And remember to share the series with your family and friends.

Remembering friends real and otherwise

Patrice Koerper  Life Coach Wishful Thinking Works Reading Characters

Have you ever read a book where the characters were so real that you missed them when their story ended? Or, found yourself thinking about them days after you’ve closed the book on their lives?

I love that feeling. It’s warm and fuzzy, and a lot like a good friendship.

Why not take a moment this week to let your real friends know how much they mean to you? Send a special FB message, write a short email, send a card, or pick-up the phone. It will only take a minute or two, and will no doubt make their day and yours. Positive psychology research shows that maintaining relationships is an important part of a happy life. In a variety of studies close, confiding relationships were correlated with happiness and well-being.

Friendships matters. People feel better and do better when they have at least a few people in their lives they can trust and confide in. Sounds elementary, but the truth is, many folks are walking around the playground of life without anyone to play with, and they’re not as happy as they could be!

If you want to do a bit more to show someone in your life how much you appreciate them, consider writing them a gratitude letter. It’s free, doctor-tested (Ph. D. Docs, that is), and taught in positive psychology classes at universities around the world! I’ve adapted this practice a bit for Mother’s Day and will be sending a dear friend’s Mom a note thanking her for raising such a wonderful daughter. Last year I received a sweet FB message from a friend wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day and sharing what a good Mom she thought I was; I will never forget her kindness or her thoughts. Get creative and enhance your relationships!

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy some great summer reads. I recently finished Sherri Coner’s “Forever the Willows”  – it’s all about friendships, and I’m still missing Jen, Babby, Ivy and Bizzie!

Other Wishful Thinking Works posts you might enjoy . . .

Building a solid support system

Active, Constructive

Gratitude, happiness, a road trip and a wedding

For Wishful Thinking Works services that can enrich your life, click here.

Use your happy holiday memories to create happier moments now

 

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Research reveals that happy memories are a sure-fire way to boost our current happiness levels.  A friend’s recent post on Facebook brought back a flood of positive memories and feelings for me, and reminded me about the research on the positive connection between the past and the present and our happiness. Reliving positive memories definitely increases our current happiness levels, so why not spend some time this weekend remembering “the good times”?

Find a way to relax and sip a cup of tea, hot chocolate, or a glass of wine, and then simply remember the good times – even if the good times were just last week. Add some background music, photos, books etc., anything that will help you recall all those sweet holiday moments that are hiding beneath the tension and stress of this year’s holiday season.

If you are lucky, lots of moments have already come rushing back, savor and enjoy them!

If you are saying to yourself, “What happy holidays moments?”, don’t worry. Simply close your eyes and imagine a positive holiday scene from a movie or book. Sounds silly, but it works!

Then, if you like, you can extend your journey down-positive-memory lane, by finding a way to work your memories, real or imagined, into this year’s holiday season. If the smell of cookies baking holds sweet memories for you, bake some, even if you just buy and bake a ready-to-go roll from the store. Or visit a bakery and soak in the scents. If decorations are part of your holiday memories, try to find a mini-version of something you remember and love – a pine-scented branch can bring you as much pleasure as a 10 ft Christmas tree and one special ornament can be the perfect substitute for a houseful of decorations, as long as you choose it with intent and care. If ice-skating or tobogganing illicit invigorating memories, but time or resources are short, a walk in the woods or park can bring back all those positive outdoor vibes.

And, if your reservoir of holiday memories is not brimming with blissful moments take a minute or two to create some. Staring up at a starlit sky on a clear winter’s night can work wonders for your mood, and may help you create new memories. Even squinting at Christmas lights can release a flood of positive emotions.  Learn to take advantage of each and every moment in the days ahead.

Happy memories and moments are yours for the making.

Happy Holidays!

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