Results are In! Hugging is Beneficial To Your Health!

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For those of you who need a reason to do so, and I know some of you who do, researchers at the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School have found that the beneficial effects of positive touch are long lasting.  Benefits of positive touch include a decrease in the stress hormone, cortisol, and causes surges of the “feel good” hormones dopamine and serotonin! And the results of positive touch can last a long after the two people are no longer in physical proximity! Hugs are like giving someone a dose of Stress Reduction before going out into a stress filled world. So hug your kids, your spouses, significant others, friends, the elderly, and today you might even get away with hugging a stranger (just be careful to not be creepy with that one). Hug and hold hands. Give away as much positive touch as you can today and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!!

6 Questions To End Each Day

922-Challenges-800x600Whether you own your own business, work in a corporate setting, are a stay at home parent, or a student, chances are, that’s not the only thing going on in your life and you’re busy.  When I worked in a university’s retention program, I would go over students’ schedules with them and was often surprised at how packed their lives were.  As a coach, similarly, when you go over people’s schedules with them to see what all they’re trying to fit into their day, it’s often surprising how many things people are trying to do and how many things fall through the cracks.

It’s the things that fall through the cracks that are the cause for concern.  It’s the “I’ll get to that tomorrow” that often never gets done until its on fire or past due.  To enhance simplicity in your  life, Thoreau wrote in his journal, “The rule is to carry as little as possible.” [Journal, 22 July 1857]

I have been teased for carrying tiny purses.  But my purse generally has only what I need for that day in it.  Every evening I take everything out of my purse and every morning I only put into my purse what I’m going to need that day.

Our lives should be given that same consideration. Everyday unpack your “purse”. Take a few moments every evening to think back over your day, from the beginning of your day and take stock of what happened. You don’t need to keep a journal if that’s not your style, a blank sheet of paper will do. The important part is to go back over your day and take everything out of your head that happened.

Now, that you’ve done that ask yourself these questions:

 1. Did I connect with someone?  Not who did you see, but with whom did you connect? Are you pleased with the connections that you made? Is there someone that you wanted to connect with that for some reason the connection didn’t happen?

 2. What was my focus today? Take a really good look, and since no one is looking over your shoulder, be completely honest with yourself. Were you preoccupied with some nagging unwanted thoughts? Were you “there” in body, but not in spirit?

 3. What did I really enjoy about today? If you can’t think of anything, that might be something that you want to put on a list for tomorrow.

 4. What was I doing today when I gave it my best? Often, when we’re spread too thin, we don’t have enough energy or presence to give anything we do our best. We show up to hurry up to get to the next thing. Sound familiar?

 5. What are my gut instincts telling me about my life and the people around me? Nagging thoughts about something that you’re pushing away because you don’t want to deal with should lead you to writing that nagging thought down and then scheduling some time to think about it and strategize about how you’re going to deal with it.

 6. What am I grateful for today? Gratitude is the key agent for getting some positive energy flowing.

When you practice asking yourself these questions on a daily basis, if you don’t like the answers, you’ll find that you will naturally begin to change things going on in your life.  Too often we don’t look at our lives because we think that we are going to HAVE to implement some system to change our lives. But, the truth is, while we do things to avoid pain, what we really want is pleasure.  If you want to put more pleasure in your life, ask yourself the questions above, each day, until you can answer the questions without discomfort. You’ll find that your life will naturally become simpler and the things that you carry will be lighter and fewer.

10 Keys to a Happier Life – Part 2

More6. Pay Attention To The People Around You.  Is there anyone that you’re walking with on the sidewalk of life and they’re steering you into potholes, puddles, and piles of poop?    If so, why are you walking with them?  Oh, they’re saying such nice things but the talk is deceptive and they’re not treating you nicely.  Get away from them.  Now notice the people who are looking out for you, watching your back, encouraging you, cheering you on.  Aren’t giving them as much attention?  Why not?  You can analyze that later.  Right now.  Pay attention and get in step with the good people around you.

7. Be Loyal Back.  When you’ve started to notice the people who are around you that are great to be around, be loyal back to them.  Encourage, cheer them, watch their backs, look out for them, enjoy their successes!

Say what you mean8. Speak up and Say What You Mean.  This can be difficult for some of us.  Especially if  you’ve been in a position where you got really bad feed back from others. Especially if you were made to feel marginalized, minimized, discounted and dismissed.  Henry David Thoreau wrote, “If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams and endeavor to live the life that you have imagined…you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”  The life that you imagine is one in which what you say is valued.  Say it.

9. Listen Well.  There’s “Active Listening”, “Appreciative Listening”, “Dialogic Listening”, “Informative Listening”, “Reflective Listening”, “Workplace Listening”.  Whichever you are doing, Listening is paramount to success, effectiveness, and satisfaction.

Random Acts of Kindness10. Perform a Random Act of Kindness.  Whether you pay someone’s toll, buy someone a Starbucks, pay for someone’s groceries, or pick up litter along a stretch of road near your house while you’re taking a walk, doing something kind for someone else expecting nothing in return really does give you some warm fuzzies that you can’t get anywhere else!

10 Keys to a Happier Life – Part 1

Be your authentic self!

1. Be authentic.  This is the greatest gift that you can give the world.  Feel your feelings.  Those are yours and you have a right to them.  We are here to make an impact on the world.  In your corner of the world, who is looking at you?  Who needs the wisdom, care, love, and concern that your authentic self has to offer?   Oscar Wilde said it best, “Be yourself.  Everyone else is taken.”

2. Love Yourself Unconditionally.  When you love yourself, there is a good chance the next nine things will be much easier.  Yes, you have flubbed-up some things pretty badly and no, you haven’t done everything right.  But, you’re working on your stuff, right?  And there are some things about yourself that you’ve just decided to accept, right?  Loving yourself makes loving others easier.

Forgive yourself3. Forgive Yourself.  Remember we just talked about those things you flubbed-up?  Have you taken the time to also forgive yourself?  Sometimes just THINKING about something you’ve done that was embarrassing, unkind, or just plain dumb makes us cringe and NOT want to remember it.  However, if you’re remembering it with a cringe, take a few minutes to forgive yourself.  Understanding that we all need forgiveness makes forgiving others so much easier.

4. Be Confident.  We’ve already accepted the fact that you’re not perfect and that you’re not always going to get it right.  That takes off a lot of pressure, doesn’t it?  Allowing yourself room to make mistakes, taking yourself out of the “Most Perfect Person in The World” contest makes it lots easier to take that pressure off of others, too.  Confidence comes with putting your imperfect, best foot forward.

Keep moving forward5. Move Forward.  Now that you’ve got that imperfect best foot in the forward position, start walking.  Look around and see who’s walking with you.  Interesting…they’re all smiling!  Moving forward in life is something that everyone wants to do and sometimes once you start moving, you find out that there’s lots of room on the sidewalk with people just like you who want to move forward too.

My Decree: The Body In Motion That Stays In Motion

This universal law of physics applies to both my body and mind. Once I start an activity, it’s easy to maintain momentum. Knowing this, I can soar past obstacles in my path and remain focused on my tasks and goals.

I create my action plans so they begin with undemanding tasks. This allows me to start any project with ease. Then I can quickly complete that task and move effortlessly onto the next, gaining momentum as I move forward.

The energy of my forward momentum helps push challenges aside. My active and focused mind is able to figure out a way to work with or overcome difficulties. Sometimes I may have to alter my plans, but I always maintain momentum.

Playing poolIt is similar to a game of pool. Once the cue hits the ball with enough energy to give it a strong push, it continues its momentum regardless of anything in its path. When it hits another ball or the wall, it simply changes its path and keeps going.

Like the ball, each and every day I have a chance to take my turn and do with it what I will! I choose to maintain my forward momentum with my eyes on my prize, even if I must change my plan from time to time.

Just as the ball comes to a stop at the end of its turn, I wind down at the end of the day and rest. The next morning I feel rejuvenated and I have the energy to take another exciting turn in this wonderful game of life!

Today, I will strive to be the body in motion that stays in motion. With my forward momentum, I can handle anything that steers me away from my tasks. I may change my route to overcome challenges that arise, but I am still on course to attain my goals.