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Altruism

Practice the Change You Wish to See in the World

Life is a practice, and what you choose to practice is what makes up your character. It's worth considering what you value in life, and then making an intention and plan to live alongside those values. Ghandi's wise words can inspire us to: "Be the change that you wish to see in the world." Consider how simple it really is: If you want to be more grateful in life, practice being grateful. If you want to be confident, practice confidence. If you want to be more mindful, practice mindfulness. If you want to be more loving, practice loving yourself and others. If you want to be more forgiving and let go of stress-laden emotional burdens, practice forgiveness. If you want to live essential happiness ingredients such as compassion and generosity, practice compassion and generosity. While simple on paper, in practice it's a little more difficult to live this way.


Depression

Three Simple Ways to Sustainable Happiness

There's no question in my mind that we all want to be happy. For some people happiness comes easier than others, but what we're starting to understand is that happiness -- that sense of connection and ease of appreciating the good moments and being more graceful and resilient during the difficult ones -- is a skill and strength that we can all build and make sustainable. Here are Three Simple Ways to Increase Happiness in Daily Life (Note: Set all judgments aside when you read this, practice these techniques for yourself. Also, know that in making any habit stick, it takes time, there are no shortcuts, but stick with these three simple ways, be forgiving when you stray, learn from the obstacles and come back again and again - let experience be your teacher.) Relax your nervous system - We happen to live in a world that is more rapid than ever. It's no wonder that stress and anxiety are on the rise. It's important to literally relax your body a few times a day. Take a deep breath, scan your body, and soften or stretch the muscles that are tense. Make this a practice throughout the day. You'll be surprised how much this can help. Here's a short meditation that can help with this. Be tender with yourself - If there's one constant in life besides death and taxes, it's stress and pain. We all experience it, it's inevitable and there's a common humanity to it. The key here is to learn to get better and better 


General

The Science and Power of Music

Have you ever stopped to think about how profound music has been for you in your life? Just the beginning of a song can change someone’s mood, drop us into a state of reflection on life, reduce stress or even prepare us for a better athletic performance. For many people there may be a calming effect to Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.” Or Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” can create a surge of energy bringing up a feeling of courage and confidence. Or Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” can drop you into a reflective mood on the impermanence of life and the longing for connection. Apparently, science shows that Beethoven’s 9th symphony can have positive impacts on our health and well-being. In this study, Oxford University scientists took 24 healthy volunteers and had them listen to a variety of different forms of music. They found that listening to music with a 10-second repetitive cycle like Beethoven’s third movement No. 9 can lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.


Anxiety

3 Steps to Releasing Negative Anxious Thoughts

What a time we live in. Recently we've had two historic hurricanes, Harvey and Irma leaving devastation across Houston Texas and the Caribbean, while Bangladesh experiences one of its most catastrophic floods. That's not even adding in the constant barrage of political uncertainty and threats of potential war that stream across the news feeds.

It's no wonder that an increasing amount of people are experiencing heightened stress and anxiety.

No matter what we choose to do in...


Anxiety

7 Ways to Ease Your Anxious Mind

No matter where you live in the world right now, for a certainty, anxiety is high with many of us. After the election there was a number attacks on mosques internationally and now there has been an onslaught of over 60 bomb threats at Jewish synagogues in the U.S. in January alone. To me this means we need to not act out of anxiety and anger, but instead to calm our nervous systems, get some perspective and then choose how we'd like to respond to our emotional tumult.  For some it will be signing petitions, for others it may be creating awareness for cultural sensitivity, and yet others may be so overwhelmed they need more direct self-care and self-compassion. One thing we know for sure is we are active participants of our health and well-being. The first thing we need to do is regulate our emotions, creating a sense of stability and control. From this place we are level headed, have perspective and can make wiser choices.

In my work I have found 7 Ways You Can Ease an Anxious Mind.

Slow down - At the first sign of things speeding up - thoughts racing, heart pounding, breathing accelerating - move a little slower.


General

Finding Success in Anything: On Striving Versus Effort

Over 300 people from around the world are right in the middle of a six month training program called A Course in Mindful Living. One of the first elements of this program is learning how to calm your nervous system and bring energy into the moment. The combination of calm, energy and focus is the trifecta for effective learning and integration of whatever we're attending to. If we want to be successful in anything, whether it's a meditation practice, learning guitar or fostering connection in our relationships, these three skills are highly important. But in learning anything, there's a very clear nuance that could be the difference between failure and success. That is whether we approach it with the mindset of "effort" versus "striving." For most of us, our natural inclination is to strive toward an outcome. If you're learning skills on how to


Anxiety

A Wise Approach to Taking in the News

In this day and age global news is everywhere. We get it from traditional news stations, social media, or just alerts from friends, family and colleagues. The news always seems to come in the form of headlines that are meant to stimulate our nervous systems. This is so our eyes will stare more often and longer at the screen and they can charge more money for their ads. It's pure economics. We also have become accustomed to reading news in smaller bytes which means we usually jump from the headlines into a judgment or opinion and begin sharing it with other people prior to really investigating the story. Shoshanna Goldstein, who has assisted me at Kripalu during my Uncovering Happiness Retreats and her husband John Tedesco, reminded me recently of a very important practice when it comes to a mindful (and necessary) way to engage news that I think would not only serve us individually in keeping our nervous systems balanced, but could help our culture as a whole.

Here it is:



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