15 minutes of quiet can give you peace

University of Rochester researcher Thuy-vy T. Nguyen, M.A. recently completed 4 studies related to solitude.  Here’s one of the major findings her work revealed summed-up nicely by Bella DePaulo Ph.D. in a recent Psychology Today article:

 

“In short, the people who sat alone by themselves for 15 minutes with no electronic devices, and who got to choose what to think about, or who thought about positive things (by choice or by assignment) had very positive experiences of solitude. They felt calmer and less angry or anxious, without also feeling any sadder or lonelier, and without losing any of their feelings of excitement or enthusiasm.”

15 minutes of quiet – no phones, laptops, Echo or Alexa – can increase positive feelings and reduce stress. How wonderful is that?

Here’s how to unwrap this personalized, peaceful present that will keep on giving to you throughout the year!

  • Sit quietly for 15 minutes.
  • Think about any positive thoughts you like.
    • Relive your happiest or simply fond memories or anything else that brings you pleasure.
  • And, then enjoy the benefits of feeling more peaceful!

Give yourself this free and easy, sure-fire gift to make your life feel more relaxing and fulfilled this holiday season.

You deserve it! Unwrap your 15-minutes-a-day for the next 21 days, and see how your happiness grows.

“Tis the Season to be . . .

Enjoy!

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Note to self

Getting over ourselves can lead to insights

Good Morning! 

Life is interesting, little moments of insight and joy can pop-up for us each day in unexpected and unusual places. 

When I started watching this video I really had a strong negative response to the woman being interviewed. I had no clue why but for some reason she rubbed me the wrong way. Fortunately, I decided to stick with it because learning more about meditation is something I value; I decided to focus on the message and not the messenger. I am so glad I did. 

I truly enjoyed Susan Piver’s insights and knowledge, and owe her an apology! Susan shares great information about how our minds behave while meditating – they will wander – lots, and that is okay. She also notes, that the key is to become aware that we are thinking and then gently and kindly return to focusing on our breath. (The realization that we are thinking means we are aware and in the moment, which is the goal of meditation, so while our thinking might distract us, our awareness of it is truly a good thing.) 

She suggested the simple but memorable imagery of watching your breath during meditation as you would a slowing swinging hammock – your breath enters and leaves just as a hammock rocks back and forth. 

If your day gets chaotic or rocky – and whose doesn’t on occasion – treat yourself to the cozy effect of watching a hammock gently rocking back and forth while cradling you and your sweet little overworked brain and then take a deep breath, or two or three and continue on your way. 

Your brain, your heart and your soul will thank you. 

Here’s a video to get you started. If this beach scene isn’t your thing, conjure up the image that makes you feel happy and relaxed. (I am deep in the woods,  listening to the sounds of birds, leaves rustling and for a split second the beauty of silence.) 

 

To listen to Susan’s interview, which was part of the Shambhala Mountain Center “Reality Summit” and is only available today and tomorrow, click here. 

I truly enjoyed it after I got over myself and let go of my personal biases and stereotypical thinking! To key into her comments about the hammock, listen from minutes 9:21 to 12:02. 

Let me know what you think.

Capturing the holiday moments that matter

The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming!

heart-picture-1075034__340No surprise there, but they do seem to appear earlier and earlier each year. A couple of years ago I was faced with new challenges centered on blending our ever-growing and combined family’s holiday expectations and traditions. My husband and I were excited to be spending our first holiday together as a newly married couple when we quickly realized that having five sons and their wonderful families in two far-flung states, could make the holidays more complicated than ever.

My first thought was panic, my second and more sensible thought, was rather than worrying about how we were going to share the holidays with our respective kids and grand kids – we have 12, going on 14 – I would first figure out what truly mattered to me during the holidays, and then trust the rest would fall into place.

I had recently read a positive psychology article on the correlation between what folks value individually and what nations value and how we track both, when a thought resurfaced for me – what we measure grows.

You see, that which we deem important enough to measure, i.e. pay attention to, tends to grow. Ta da!

If I fill my holiday with strife and worry and thoughts of who gathers when and where, I was doomed before I began. BUT if I focused on what really mattered to me, perhaps I could increase the likelihood that those things would increase, or at least that I might be more likely to notice and enjoy those moments when they did appear. 

It worked!  Knowing what mattered and focusing on that made our first and subsequent holiday seasons richer, more memorable and way more fun!

Measure what matters

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What do you want to celebrate throughout the holiday season? What are your personal beliefs and values related to the season? In simplest terms, what is most important to you? Family? Love? Togetherness? New Experiences? Tradition? Food? Fun? Religion?

I decided I want to pay more attention to love. I focused on and savored all the acts of love I saw – moments of tenderness and caring, gestures of kindness and sacrifices of any size made in honor and support of the holiday. I was so busy looking for love – that I ignored, or at least didn’t stew as long or as deeply about the less than stellar moments that occurred along the way.

 

How to make your season brighter

  1. Ask yourself what really matters to you. What do you want to hold in your heart this holiday season?
  2. Then capture every moment that matches what matters to you. Note and savor the moments as they occur.
  3. To reinforce your resolve and truly impact your holiday spirit, give yourself a helping hand by using at least one of the suggestions listed below:
    • Jot down your memorable moments in a journal. (You can start a special holiday journal, pack it way with the holiday decorations and have the fun of re-reading and adding to it each year.)
    • Write your moments on bits of paper and store them in a jar to read during or after the holiday. (The jar can be saved from year to year and enjoyed year- long or before next year’s holiday season.)
    • Write your moments on holiday-colored paper and create a paper chain throughout the holiday with all the moments you have enjoyed and want to remember.
    • Encourage your kids, spouses and even your guests to add their special holiday moments to your jar or chain and watch them grow along with everyone’s holiday spirit.
    • Take a few minutes each night before you go to bed or when you wake-up to review these special moments.
    • Or, simply put a penny in a jar or bowl to capture each moment and watch your “riches” grow.

Truth is, we are in control of the holidays ahead. I know it seems like things move way too fast, and that the gift lists, demands and commitments grow longer and greater each year, but in my case so has the love. And, the more I remind myself of that, the brighter my season shines.

Here’s to enjoying the holidays ahead!

Please note: This post has been updated from the original Wishful Thinking Works published in 2015.

 

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Grab a cup of tea or coffee, relax and read on

alarm-clock-2132264__340I was writing a post for my Meditation Facebook group this morning when I came across this photograph, which led me to slow down a bit and allow myself to spend some time wallowing in the wonderful memories tea and Fall have brought to my life.

I think my reverie was made easier, because there is a chill in the air this Autumn Monday morning in Florida.  Temperatures in the 40’s and 50’s are as cold as we get even in the middle of winter, so today’s weather was a welcome surprise for me.

With a cup of tea by my side I let my mind wander through some of the scenes and memories that a relaxing cup of tea and Fall weather have given me over the years. I spent time in my mind at kitchen tables around the world sipping tea and savoring the feelings those moments evoked.

My mental journey began with my sister in Avon, Ohio’; I love her kitchen and the view through her sliding glass doors – I never tire of visiting her. Her tea is loose leaf and deliciously flavored. I then traveled back in time to my Mom’s kitchen in the parkway house they lived in after moving from the home in which we grew-up. I remember feeling so happy that they were happy, while sipping her honey and milk laced tea.  After revisitng Mom, I stopped by my former mother-in-law’s – she kept Constant Comment in her cupboard for me  – she was a coffee lover her entire life. Next, I fast-forwared to time spent with my amazing host family in a small village in Macedonia 11 years ago, where I enjoyed fresh-dried and fragrant mountain tea and personal cross-cultural exchanges.

During another time living abroad, I sipped tea and cooked-up a storm with my Georgian host family in their tiny kitchen that was always cozy and warm and overflowing with family and friends. I completed my morning’s sojourn enjoying another special memory with my dearest friend in Florida, who I was able to share daily tea and conversation about our lives and the world around us for months at a time before she passed away last year. We odten laughed about the fact that she barely dipped her tea bag into the steaming water in her cup, while I often let mine steep as I sipped.

I hope you find time today, this week, or in the month ahead to sit and savor some of your favorite Fall memories and any present or future moments you create this year with the special people in your life.

Take time to take in the good, and both your body and your brain will be relaxed and refreshed.  I guarantee it will be time well spent.

 

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FREE Group Meditation on the Beach

Earlier this month, I participated in the insightful and inspiring Mindfulness in America summit in New York City hosted by Anderson Cooper.

The benefits of meditation on our brains and our stress levels are well-documented in the scientific community. One of the seminar participants noted that even 8 minutes a day has immediate results, and over time will leave a positive, lasting impact on our brains.

One of the topics they discussed was the value of group meditation.  An organization called “The Big Quiet” is flourishing in New York City and their success motivated me to start a monthly Fort Myers Beach meditation for Wishful Thinking Works.  If you are in the area join us, if not check out this virtual meditation event!

We are gathering Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 9:30 am by Pincher’s Restaurant on Fort Myers Beach, FL.

How to participate:

• Bring a towel or blanket and an open heart and mind. If you prefer a chair and coffee, no problem, but still bring that open heart and mind! Everyone is welcome, so bring a friend or two.

• Head to Pincher’s Restaurant on Fort Myers Beach. There should be plenty of parking on a Sunday morning at this time of year.

• Then walk across the beautiful, soft sand to the water’s edge. I will be waiting for you.

• After a welcome and introductions, we will sit quietly together looking out at the sea for 20 minutes.  We will do 10 minutes of a guided meditation and 10 minutes on Individual.

• Afterwards, folks can share about the experience and talk a bit.

• If you like we can head to the restaurant for coffee or breakfast, or simply sit longer on the beach, or head home

Until then . . . here are some meditation links from “The Big Quiet” to get you started. This 5-minute mini-meditation is a gentle way to begin. 

Also, check out the Wishful Thinking Women FREE 21-day Virtual Meditation Meetup activity that begins October 30.

Join us to find a bit more peace in your heart and relaxation and happiness in your life.

 

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Guided Goodness – Free Meditation Series

If you have never tried meditating, or if you meditate and would like to add to your practice, join us for Making Every Moment Matter Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s upcoming, free 21-day meditation series.

I have used Oprah and Deepak’s meditations in the past, and they are guided goodness and a refreshing way to calm your mind and comfort your soul. Meditations are usually 15 minutes in length – a small amount of time that can yield big results.

  • There are thousands of studies showing the benefits of meditation.
  • You do not have to meditate for long periods to begin receiving the benefits.
  • Benefits include: reduced anxiety, easing pain, and improving sleep

To enrich your life and create new levels of awareness, insight and joy sign-up for their free meditation series, which begins Monday, October 30.

Then join the free  Wishful Thinking Works Meditation Facebook Group, which is designed to help you develop the meditation habit by

  • providing accountability – studies how this is key when developing any new habit,
  • to celebrate your successes – also so important when trying something new,
  • and to give you a place to share your thoughts and questions with others going through the same process.

It’s a virtual support group for your new journey!

meditation-567593_960_720The Wishful Thinking Works Meditation Facebook Group is open to everyone, it is listed as “closed” on FB, but that just means no one but members can see your posts. You have nothing to lose and so much gain.

Join us to find more peace in your heart and happiness in your life. You deserve this and more, and it is all free!

Register for your Free Wishful Thinking Works Discovery Session!

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