Is your body saying, “No.”

Our body clearly and unapologetically shows us our experiences; particularly the ones that we try to push away or ignore. This idea isn’t new. There are a whole host of books out there exploring this idea: when we ignore our deepest feelings, especially anger, they don’t just disappear. They show up in our bodies as illness or disease.

It’s truly fascinating how our immune system is directly affected by our recurring thoughts and feelings.

I was talking with a friend about this the other day and she was kind of upset about the premise. She said, “But this makes me feel like it’s my FAULT any time I get sick.”

But that’s not the point at all.

The point is to realize the power we have over these things! Our body isn’t trying to shame us into not getting upset. Not at all! It’s just saying, “Hey. You know how you keep thinking about that relationship/work situation/feeling of being taken advantage of/fill-in-the-blank? That’s really starting to take it’s toll. We’re having a breakdown in the system over here. Let’s take some time to pull back and re-group!” Rather than blaming us for the illness, our body is simply asking us to redirect our thoughts.

It can actually be that simple in many cases.

Especially when we realize it early! We don’t have to wait until we have a full-blown disease. We can take a step back when we realize we are fighting a cold, or keep injuring the same knee, or have a recurring infection. Any and all of these are early warning signs from our body re-directing us to a positive mindset and dealing with difficult feelings right away rather than pushing them away.

But it’s not always that easy, is it? Simple? sure. IF you even know where the thought pattern is that’s causing the pain. But sometimes it’s REALLY hard to identify where it is! I know this because I’ve been there. Many times.

So, what to do?

I find that often times the best place to start is with some reflective practices. Each one of these can be powerful practices. But not everyone likes them all. Go with the one(s) that seem intriguing to you. That’s ALWAYS the best place to start if you ask me!

Here’s the greatest part – ANY time you make efforts toward your own wellness, your body notices RIGHT AWAY! And when we improve our mindset and choose new thought patterns, lots of amazing changes start to happen in our bodies.

Do you have a great story of how changing your mind has changed your life? I’d love to hear it! If you’d like, email me to tell me YOUR story!

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Yoga and Meditation for Caregivers and Seniors

yoga and meditation for seniors and caregivers

So often, when we think about yoga and meditation, we think about it in terms of part of a “normal” weekly routine. But a couple groups of people who may not realize the extreme benefits are seniors and also caregivers. I recently virtually met a gentleman who works with these groups and he has a lot to share about the benefits and how to incorporate yoga and meditation into daily life for both of these groups of people. Read on to discover what Harry Cline from newcaregiver.org has to share!

It seems that everyone is embracing yoga and meditation, which is not surprising, as both practices offer some very real benefits. This is especially true for those of us in stressful lines of work, as well as seniors and their caregivers. If you’re curious about looking after your mental and physical health, it’s time to learn about yoga and meditation.

How Yoga Helps

One of the best parts of yoga is that it is the perfect exercise for all body types and ages. It helps us lose weight and gain strength and stability, all while improving our moods and mental clarity. Yoga helps to reduce stress better than any other form of exercise, and it may be better for our overall health than aerobics. It can even lower pain levels in seniors.

Working out, especially as we age, carries with it the risk of injury. However, yoga reduces that risk through a focus on slow movement, stretching, and balance improvements. This becomes even more important in our golden years when we may not heal as quickly as we once did. 

There are seemingly endless benefits to the practice, especially for seniors and caregivers, as it can also help us breathe more easily and even lower blood pressure. As for our mental health, yoga can help us better cope with anxiety, as well as lessen the symptoms of depression. And because mental health has connections to physical conditions (oral health, heart health, weight, etc.), you’ll also pay additional attention to your physical well-being. In other words, it really is one of the healthiest forms of exercise.

Another aspect of physical health that is benefited by yoga is your gut microbiome. Your gut is made up of trillions of bacteria that, according to research, can affect digestion, your immune system, and even your mood. The key to good gut health is proper diet and exercise to reduce stress levels and improve the function of all areas of your body. Yoga is an excellent form of exercise, since it can enhance digestion and increase the diversity of your microbiome.

Meditation’s Benefits

Life can be stressful, especially if we have difficult or emotionally challenging jobs. Meditation is one way of lowering that stress and improving how we feel. It can even improve memory by increasing the amount of gray matter in our frontal cortexes. Meditation also helps us make better decisions and think more quickly on our feet, which is especially beneficial for caregivers. If you need to remember many details, or even simply want to improve your memory as you age, it might be wise to take up meditation. We know for a fact that meditation can reduce stress thanks to a study by the US military. The researchers monitored heart rates to measure stress levels and found that meditation was a sure fire way to lower anxiety levels over time.

Working Out at Home

Starting yoga does not need to be an intensive ordeal. To determine if you enjoy it, you don’t need to go out for classes, as this can be difficult for busy schedules and seniors. Thankfully, there are plenty of workout routines seniors and their caregivers can try at home thanks to websites like YouTube, exercise videos, fitness apps on our phones and tablets, and even things like Wii Sports. Look around and see what is available, and what appeals to you. There are also several lists for the best instructional videos, so do some research to find a practice that you might enjoy, fits your athletic level, and your timetable.

Finding the Right Meditation

The sheer number of different kinds of meditation can be overwhelming; however, that also –  means there are lots for you to choose from. Read up on the different methods of meditating before you jump in so you can find something you know would not be onerous to try. Some may prefer focused attention, which can have you adopt a mantra, rather than something like basic mindfulness. There are guided meditations available that benefits seniors and caregivers alike, and these are especially helpful if you have a hard time focusing. You can listen to soothing music, count beads, watch a candle, or practice deep breathing. There is even a walking meditation for those of us who need to be doing something to concentrate best.

You don’t need to change every aspect of your life to get healthier, whether you’re a caregiver or a senior. Yoga and meditation done for 20 minutes a day can see a marked improvement in our well-being. It’s time to prioritize wellness and give yourself the devotion you deserve. Meditation and yoga are two excellent ways to improve our focus, balance, and strength.

Image by Christian Northe from Pixabay

Burnout Prevention Strategy

We recently talked about recognizing your first clue that overwhelm is coming on. You know, that thing that happens *just before* you slide down the slope of, “Oh my gosh! I can’t take it anymore.”

When you recognize that clue and use a tool to prevent the feeling overwhelm, burnout, and “I’m going crazy!” you set yourself up for prolonged success.

One of the tools that is the most effective in preventing that feeling of chaos and too-much-busy-ness is super simple. And when you use it, you can let go of the craziness of the day. Want to know what it is?

It’s gratitude.

I know. It sounds too easy. And maybe even overdone. But it’s true. When you take the time to express gratitude for the people in your life and the small successes throughout the day, it really does change the way you perceive what’s happening to you. It even gives you the extra boost you may need to make it through what may be a truly challenging day.

When you take the time to acknowledge and celebrate throughout the day, for yourself and those around you, you set the stage for an improved experience and outlook. Simply pausing to enjoy the moment changes how you feel inside. When someone you work or live with does something well, tell them! You will both feel so happy inside!

What’s your first clue?

I have a question for you – what is your first clue that overwhelm is coming on? What is the first things you notice when there’s too many things to do, when too many people are calling for your attention.

Do you reach for another cup of coffee? Maybe you over-schedule yourself so you have an excuse for why you haven’t gotten things done. Or do you get short in your interactions with family, friends, co-workers, bosses or subordinates? If you hear things coming out of your mouth that are too pointed or that illicit shocked facial expressions from the person you’re talking to – this may be your clue!

My voice gets all froggy

I know when I haven’t had enough rest, my voice gets all froggy. And if I’m not rested, I am well on my way to overwhelm.

So if you’re not sure what YOUR first clue is, start to pay attention. Notice how you act when you feel happy. Then notice how you act when the emails are stacking up. And then, notice what happens *just before* your behavior changes. THIS is your clue!

When you know what your first clue is, you are well on your way to solving your overwhelm! Knowing really is half the battle! Once you recognize your first clue that overwhelm is coming, you can take a step back *before* it gets too far and make some changes. Maybe you need an earlier bedtime tonight so you feel rested tomorrow. Perhaps you need to schedule an afternoon off or a massage so you can spend some time with a deeper reset.

Tools

If you’d like to get some tools for overcoming overwhelm in the moment, get my pdf guide, Freedom from Frenzy. And if you’d like to back it up even more and learn how to stop overwhelm and frenzy before they even start, I invite you to email me to learn how we can work together to create your custom plan for developing mind-body awareness and lifestyle excellence so you can live and lead with a deep sense of inner tranquility.

Are you feeling “spacey”?

Fall and winter are great! Cozy sweaters, spiced cider, sports and holidays!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes when autumn really gets going, I start to feel spacey and forgetful. And if the change in the weather is dramatic enough, I can get really dry skin and end up feeling completely ungrounded and all out-of-sorts.

Something I find amazing is how it’s the little changes that seem to make the biggest difference! Something as simple as having a cup or warm tea can make my frown turn into a smile. Or remembering to bring a light sweater can be the difference between feeling great or being completely miserable.

Check out these great tips for feeling great in the fall and winter!

When the frenzy of the work day presses in

It’s super common to get into the middle of a well-planned day and all of a sudden you have emails and IMs pinging in from every direction. Maybe your boss or a contractor is demanding you immediate attention.

Stress starts to mount, right?

Phone calls. Stress. Deadlines. Everything starts to get kind of overwhelming.

You may find yourself pouring a second (or fifth) cup of coffee. Or perhaps you decide to skip lunch (or eat in the car between appointments) to try to get more done. You simply have too much to do and you have to do *something* to make up for lost time.

But this is not the way to REALLY find freedom from the frenzy.

It may seem right in the moment. Get a cup of coffee. Plow through lunch. Work later.

But no.

Trust me. It’s not the way.

The way to find freedom from the frenzy in the middle of the day is to push the pause button.

Yes, it seems beyond counter-intuitive to stop when there’s so much to do. But I promise it works.

If you’re feeling frenzy in the middle of this day, I invite you to push pause. There can be a variety of ways to do this, and if you already know what works for you, do it!

I have one tool I’d like to share with you today. It’s simply managing the breath. I love this tool because you ALWAYS have it with you! You don’t need any special tool. You don’t need a yoga mat. You don’t need workout clothes or perfect weather.

You can manage your breath at your desk, on the stage, on the playing field, in traffic, in a meeting, at home. It works EVERYWHERE!

Here’s the technique:

  • Focus on the breath and slow it down
  • Inhale  1-2-3-4
  • Pause 1-2
  • Exhale 1-2-3-4
  • Pause 1-2

Hopefully you feel better already! You can use this technique anytime, anywhere, and no one even knows you’re using it but YOU! As you use it, you build a new tranquil mind and create freedom from the frenzy of the day.

Get my free pdf guide for even more tools to take back YOUR day, or book a Discovery Call to explore personal coaching options to create your tranquil mind and life!

Book a discovery call

Yoga During Health Education Week: Solutions for Mesothelioma Patients

Between October 15th and 19th, the nation is focusing on Health Education Week 2018. Our minds and bodies are linked in many ways that are still being defined. Every person can have a pathway to better health through yoga, including mesothelioma patients. Because this rare cancer of the lung lining can be incredibly debilitating, yoga offers several answers for a better quality of life. The following practices are shared with mesothelioma in mind. However, these are great practices for anyone dealing with a challenging illness, like cancer.

Putting You in the Moment

The human mind tends to ruminate on the past and future. Thinking about the present isn’t always a priority. Yoga helps patients with terminal cancer by putting them in the present. Feeling their bodies stretch and relax is important for both mental and physiological improvements.

There’s nothing to truly worry about in the present. The focus is on moving the body into certain positions. Mesothelioma patients need this reprieve so that they can deal with life after the yoga session.

Encouraging Deep Breathing

One of the most basic moves in the yoga world is breathing deeply. Most people, including cancer patients, breathe with a shallow inhalation. Bringing more air into the lungs allows extra oxygen to reach the tissues. Cancer patients need as many nutrients as possible in their bodies. Therefore, transporting oxygen and other nutrients to tissues can make a difference in prognoses and outlook on life.

Fighting Fatigue and Creating Quality Rest

According to the Oncology Nursing News, yoga encourages rest in the evening and fewer worries during the day. No other medicine or activity can boast both of these benefits together.

Yoga stimulates the entire body. Patients feel elated after the workout. Additionally, patients enjoy good feelings and an energetic mind the rest of the day. As this sensation declines, the body feels tired. Patients typically enjoy a deep rest so they can tackle tomorrow’s challenges with more energy.

Increasing Flexibility

Patients dealing with mesothelioma have a tightness in their chest. This can translate into limited movements among the limbs. Yoga classes with teachers who are experts in their field can help patients with their flexibility issues, states the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. These professionals know how to move the body so that no detrimental effects occur as a result of the movements. Flexibility returns to the body after only a few sessions.

Supporting the Mental Side of Life

Feeling down during a fight with cancer is understandable. Participants can fly with their minds and bodies through yoga, however. When participants move their bodies into achievable positions, they feel good on a mental level. The body naturally releases good hormones, which leads to happier times.

When the mind isn’t supported by a positive outlook, both physical and mental decline are possible.

Finally, fighting off negative emotions, including depression, is an important facet of yoga training, reports Psychology Today. This activity has dozens of benefits that should be explored by mesothelioma patients. As patients look for alternative ways to improve their lives, keep Health Education Week in mind. A better tomorrow is in store for everyone who tries something different.

Do you react or respond? Leadership Lessons from Kung Fu Panda

react or respond

Yes. I know it’s an animated movie! But I must say, TONS of life lessons can be learned from kids’ movies. For instance, some of life’s greatest lessons about friendship, teamwork and parenting are in Finding Nemo!

Kung Fu Panda is no different!

Po (the panda) is like many of us. He’s not sure how he fits in his world and seems to make poor choices more often than not. For SURE, he hasn’t stepped into his own greatness.

In what seems like an undeniable mistake of the universe, Po is chosen the Dragon Warrior, meant to defeat the evil Tai Lung. This is laughable to many and infuriating to those who have been training a lifetime for the possibility to have the honor.

Once it becomes clear that an attack from Tai Lung is imminent, Oogway, the wise Master (the turtle), calls for his student, Shifu. Upon hearing the news of Tai Lung’s attack, Shifu panics and begins barking orders to attempt to prevent the threat. He is reacting from a place of inner-chaos, fear, and agitation. Oogway, however,  is not upset. He lives, leads, and responds from a deep, inner quiet. He tells Shifu, “Your mind is like this water, my friend. When it is agitated, it becomes difficult to see. (Oogway then gently touches the surface of the water with his staff, calming the ripples) But if you allow it to settle, the answer becomes clear.”

Oh the wisdom!

This particular lesson is so valuable for high-performing leaders, professionals and influencers.

Do you react or respond?

When we react to the threat, whether it is a deadline, a rival business, a tech system meltdown, a rogue employee, or any number of other things that can come our way, our minds are like Shifu – agitated, and it is difficult to see clearly.

However…

When we choose instead to respond – pull back, take a look at our mind and emotions and gently settle ripples (or full-blown oceanic waves), the answer becomes clear!

Would you like to know HOW to turn the chaos and agitation into a deep inner calm?

Would you like to see how leading from a place of stillness can uncover the leader in you who leads with a deeper sense of your innate inner-wisdom?

Message me to begin your journey of learning to settle the waters of your mind and emotions so you, too, can see the answers clearly. You’ll learn to use simple, yet effective techniques to calm your mind. Become the stealth, wise influencer you know you can be!

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