Posted in Children, Communication, Excitement, Inspiration, Joy, Learning, Positive Thinking, Self Improvement

Quote Of The Day

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”

– e.e. cummings
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As always, thank you for stopping by. Fill your day with laughter.

Posted in Communication, Inspiration, Learning, Motivation, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

Listen – Did You Hear That? Tips to Improve & Understand The Art of Listening

Photo by Florencia Potter on Unsplash

“The art of conversation lies in listening.”

–Malcom Forbes

There are two essential forms of listening. First, is being able to listen to yourself. Second, is your ability to listen to others.

What do I mean when I say, listen to yourself? To some, that statement is foreign. We do not listen to ourselves. We listen to other people, so why would we listen to ourselves? Why, indeed!

Unfortunately, most of us do not know that listening to ourselves is something we can and should be doing. In some ways listening to our selves is an art. Every day we are bombarded with information. We think about events from yesterday and how we were affected by them, and we think about tomorrow and what we need to do. At the same time, we are trying to focus on what we have to do today. There are some days we are on autopilot.

We are not good at listening to others, so why should we listen to ourselves? The art of listening includes both.

All of us have an inner voice or unconscious mind, and we usually ignore it or push it aside. You should pay attention because this is where we store our basic instincts and our learned wisdom. Based on previous experiences and how they affected our overall well being, our inner voice will attempt to influence our present thinking and behavior. The unconscious mind stores our learned skills, our intuition, good and bad experiences from the past, and also our dreams.

When you are interacting with someone, or by yourself and planning on doing something, you may experience a niggling thought, or feeling, that is pushing into your mind. You are busy and concentrating, so you push it away. That is your inner voice, and it is attempting to give you information. Slow down and take a moment, relax, and listen to your inner voice.

I have had that experience before. It does feel like intuition, and I have found that it is usually right. Most of the time, I listen to my inner voice, and I am happy I did. On the occasions when I chose not to, the results were not good. I should have listened.

In today’s culture, we are so busy. To listen to your inner voice, you need to slow down. When you are stressed and want to make a decision, take a moment to concentrate on your body. Stop and focus on your breathing for 2 – 3 minutes. Close your eyes and concentrate on the way your body feels as you breath in and out. This practice will help you to relax and eliminate stress. Open your eyes and start to think again and listen to your inner voice. Make this a daily practice.

Also recommended is taking a small amount of time each day to reflect. Be by yourself and be still. Write down your thoughts. They can be about anything, a person who you interact with, a particular situation or upcoming project. The practice of writing things down, reading your words, and then reflecting, will help you visualize and may change your perspective. You are giving yourself time to think and to listen to what your inner voice may be telling you.

What about your ability to listen to other people? Have you ever been talking and you can tell by the other person’s eyes that they are not listening to you? What about when you are still talking, and they interrupt you? They have been thinking about what they want to say. I hate that!

Humans are not skilled when it comes to the ability to listen. If you want to have a good conversation, talk to your dog. They are so focused, giving you all their attention. They make eye contact, and they will move closer to you and make physical contact when appropriate. They signal their approval and eagerly await your next words. Talking to your dog will always make you feel good and bring you comfort when needed. How many people can you say that about?

Follow the lead of your dog:

Make eye contact. Let them know you feel they are important and you want to hear what they say. Smile when appropriate. Do not look away; concentrate on the one speaking.

Do not interrupt them. Please do not do that. It will make the other person feel lousy and unimportant. Wait until they finish and if you are not sure, ask them. Keep any comments you think of as they are talking until they are finished.

Watch their body language as they are talking. It will give you a better understanding of how they feel. They may be holding things back because they are uncomfortable or afraid. They may be angrier than what their words are telling you. They may be saying what they think you want to hear or they do not trust you. The body language they display will help you make an assessment. What do they need and how should you proceed.

Use your body language to encourage them and to show that you are interested in what they are saying. Lean forward, make eye contact, nod your head, smile, and use small statement words such as okay or yes.

When appropriate, ask questions that will indicate to them you are listening and you are interested. I think I understand, did you mean—–? Are you saying—–?

Don’t be judgmental. It is a skill to be open-minded, and for most of us, it is difficult. We all have our opinions, and we all have certain behaviors or words, which are turn-offs. To be an effective active listener, we need to develop the ability to let those words and behaviors go, and listen to what else they are saying while also watching their body language. When I become judgmental, or someone I am with is that way, I think of the phrase, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

Listen. Do not do anything else. Let the other person talk and do not think about your responses. We are all capable of thinking rapidly while someone else is talking, but it is not beneficial. When we let our mind race, our mind wanders, and before you know it, your mind is on a road trip. You have driven off somewhere, and you have missed some of what they have said. You may have lost the real message. You form your interpretation which may be incorrect. Time to ask some questions and, an apology may be warranted.

When possible, as you are listening to the other person, tie their statements together. Are there multiple messages, and do they all come together into one detailed message, or do they need to be looked at separately?

At times it may be necessary to interrupt and explain that you are having difficulty listening because there are too many distractions. It is too loud, there are too many other conversations taking place close by, you are standing, and it would be more comfortable sitting, etc. Make sure that you convey to them that their message is important and you want to hear all of what they have to say.

We all learn about our behaviors and abilities from experience. From the day we are born, through school, our parents, our friends, and our work, we are exposed to different actions. You can decide which are the best practices. You can use those to develop your own ability to be a good listener. Think of the people you respect the most and how they make you feel when you talk to them. Analyze their ability to listen and what you see as the best practices.

Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”

–Karl A. Menniger

As always, thank you for reading my blog today. Sit, have a conversation and practice listening.

Posted in Learning, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

Quote of The Day

If you’re going to hold someone down, you’re going to have to hold on by the other end of the chain. You are confined by your own repression.”

Toni Morrison
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

As always, thank you for stopping by. Fly free today!

Posted in Excitement, Inspiration, Joy, Learning, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

Quote Of The Day

Plant seeds of happiness, hope, success, and love; it will all come back to you in abundance. This is the law of nature”

Steve Maraboli
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

As always, thanks for stopping by. Plant some seeds today!

Posted in Coping, Inspiration, Learning, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

When Life Is Overwhelming Feed Your Soul

Photo by Arul from Pexels

“Today, whatever is good for your soul, do that.”

Author Unknown

Sometimes life gives us surprises and that is okay…most of the time. There are times when it feels overwhelming. It may not even be a big deal, but it feels that way. Sometimes it really does become a big deal because of one small nugget that pushes us over the edge.

Everyday “stuff” piles up and we keep pushing through it, telling ourselves it will be okay. Then there is one day, a small moment in time, when it is just too much. Our resolve to just keep pushing comes tumbling down.

You have a lot of responsibilities and you are so busy. You have a great attitude and you are happy. You love your life. You love your family, your job, and all of your day to day activities.

You are making it work. You are tired but that’s okay, it’s all worth it. That’s what you tell yourself and you are right, it is worth it.

The question is, can you keep doing it when one more thing is added to your pile of “stuff”. Can you? Hopefully. But what if you can’t?

You may not realize you are feeling stress. When you operate on overload day in and day out, it feels normal. You don’t want to acknowledge that something could go wrong. Even when there might be little niggling doubts circling around in your peripheral vision. If you do not recognize it, it is not really there.

Some people thrive on stress because it pushes them to be more productive. But how much stress can you handle?

That’s a good question, one that is difficult to answer and will be different for everyone.

How will you realize when enough is enough? When will you recognize it is becoming too much? There will be signs. You may have been experiencing them for some time, not realizing what they were. Those little niggling doubts, that you chose to ignore.

What are some of the possible signs? Here they are:

Fatigue – it is one thing to be tired, you are used to that, it is normal. Fatigue is something different. When you are tired, which happens to everyone, a good night’s sleep will usually take care of the problem. You wake up refreshed and with energy. Fatigue is overwhelming. A good’s night sleep will not eliminate fatigue. You may find that, although you are so very tired, it is difficult to sleep. You may develop anxiety, have difficulty concentrating,and experience a decrease in stamina.

Headaches – when you are stressed your body may react by increased muscle tension. Stress can also cause your body to release chemicals which dilate your blood vessels causing a headache.

Sickness – Your immune system can be affected by your stress level. You may be at an increased risk of multiple colds which may lead to respiratory infections. Sniffles become normal, and you blame them on allergies, but they may be a result of stress.

Digestive issues – I know this one well. I was experiencing a stressful situation and all those niggling doubts all cascaded at once. I developed IBS, Irritable Bowl Syndrome. It was excruciating, embarrassing and very inconvenient. Having IBS was stressful which, of course, made it worse.

Appetite – Stress has an impact on your eating habits. You may lose your interest in food and lose weight, or go in the opposite direction and eat when you are not hungry. Many people eat to attempt to make themselves feel better.

Anxiety – Anxiety is a person’s reaction to stress. It is not a physical reaction so much as an internal or mental response. Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event, or something with an uncertain outcome. Let’s face it, we may all experience anxiety on some level, like when you have to give a speech, or you are having an interview. That is normal and it is okay. It is when anxiety becomes excessive and recurring that it becomes a problem. It is a concern, and considered a disorder when it is severe and lasts for an extended length of time.

“I was a little excited but mostly blorft. “Blorft” is an adjective I just made up that means ‘Completely overwhelmed but proceeding as if everything is fine and reacting to the stress with the torpor of a possum.’ I have been blorft every day for the past seven years.” 

― Tina Fey, Bossypants

We all know about stress on some level, but none of us want it to become overwhelming. None of us wants to live a life filled with the negative, mind numbing issues listed above. What can you do to get back to your “feel good” place? How do we nourish our soul?

You may be wondering about “soul”. How do your define it? There are many theories about what the soul is, and what entity has a soul. Do humans, animal, earth, etc.? I won’t attempt to discuss that here. As far as humans are concerned I do believe we have a soul. It is your essence. It is not physical, you cannot see it. It is more ethereal consciousness, an awareness of ourselves, our energy and emotions.

Here are some ways to feed our soul:

Breathe – We rarely think of our breathing. It is an involuntary action, automatic. We rarely think of it, but on some level we should. Make it a practice a few times a day to stop, and just breathe. Think about the movement and relax into it. It will calm you and make you feel better.

Smile – Smile often and mean it. When you smile there are all sorts of good neurotransmitters activated that make you happy and relieve stress.

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

—Thich Nhat Hanh

Be Still – Stop, be quiet, Rest and take time to listen to yourself. Listen to you soul. What is it telling you? Find a quiet, restful spot. Somewhere peaceful. Sit in the shade of a tree, look at the sky, watch your child sleep. Let yourself go and find peace. Learn meditation and practice it, if for only a few moments each day.

Go outside – I have mentioned many times before, being outside is my happy spot. It will calm me each and every time. Take a walk, go to the park. Take a ride in the country, some place where it is quiet and little traffic.

Spend special time with special people – Your family and the people your always feel good being with. Spend quality time, have a quiet conversation and be sure to smile and tell them how important they are to you. Give out more hugs!

Music – music soothes your soul. It is relaxing, refreshing and can transport you to a calm contentment. Everyone has a different type of favorite music. Sing along, maybe dance, and let the music work it’s magic.

Read – Transport yourself into another world by reading a bit of fiction. I love Science Fiction, Fantasy and a good Mystery. Relax and read, if it is just one chapter a day, it will make you feel better.

There are many things you can do to feed your soul and you need to do it each and every day. You also need to recognize when you need to make some changes to eliminate the cause of any stress.

It is important to take a step back and look at the cause and effect. It may be time to make some important changes in your life. Life is short and it is precious. Do not let stress ruin how you experience life. Accept how you feel, that you are stressed and that it is negatively affecting you. Start making changes.

 “Let your joy be in your journey—not in some distant goal.”

—Tim Cook

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Don’t be “Blorft”, relax and do something joyful today.

Posted in Positive Thinking

Quote Of The Day

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

—Nhat Hanh
Photo by Peter Conlan on Unsplash
Posted in Curiosity, Excitement, Inspiration, Learning, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

What Is Mental Dexterity? How You Can Increase Yours

Photo by Emily KenCairn of Apiary Studio on Unsplash

Our greatest human adventure is the evolution of consciousness. We are in this life to enlarge the soul, liberate the spirit, and light up the brain.

Tom Robbins

Mental dexterity” means a sharpness of mind, or skill in thinking creatively and understanding and expressing something quickly and easily.

When you think of dexterity what comes to mind? I automatically think of flexibility.

The definition of flexibility is the quality of bending easily without breaking, the ability to be easily modified, or the willingness to change or compromise.

Our brains have that flexibility, that power — our wondrous mind and the possibilities that each of us carry within us. How many of you think about your brain, and it’s capabilities?

To some extent, each of us is aware on some level, but I believe most of the time we are not. For the most part, our brain goes about its busy work without any thought from us.

We should be paying more attention because inside our brain is the potential for so much more. We have to stimulate, or exercise, our brain for it to be flexible, and maintain its dexterity. We should treat our brain as we would our bodies if we were training for a marathon.

Have you ever heard of Neuroplasticity? Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to regenerate itself. It is similar to rewiring an engine. Our brain automatically does this based on our experiences or stimuli.

It refers to the physiological changes in the brain that happen as the result of our interactions with our environment. From the time the brain begins to develop in utero until the day we die, the connections among the cells in our brains reorganize in response to our changing needs. This dynamic process allows us to learn from and adapt to different experiences”

– Celeste Campbell (n.d.).

How exciting is that! Think of the possibilities. We reboot our computers, but our brains reboot themselves. Humans have the potential for extraordinary change.

So how do we stimulate and nurture our brains to produce brain growth and enhance our abilities?

There are so many options and, guess what? Many are the same, or similar, to what we are already encouraged to do for good health and longevity.

Yoga – yes, yoga. It is physical activity, and it also helps connect your brain to your body. The breathing practice creates mindfulness. Yoga can be a form of meditation which connects you to your mind and creates focus. It requires self-discipline and concentration. Practicing yoga can lead to a self-analysis of our mental and emotional state.

Physical activity/exercise – Exercise increases our heart rate, which in turn increases the amount of oxygen sent to our brain. Physical activity also stimulates the release of chemicals that effect the health of brain cells and the growth of new blood vessels in the brain. Exercise helps produce new blood vessels in the brain and the abundance and survival of new brain cells. That is so exciting!

Learning new skills – Do something new and different, such as a new language, playing chess, learning to play a new instrument. I like all those ideas, but this is my favorite: learning a new subject. Researching and learning about the brain would be an immense undertaking. There is so much to learn.

Reading Fiction Books – Yes, one more reason to read, I love it! The storytelling aspect of a novel is a multi-faceted form of communication that engages a broad range of brain regions. Studies show that reading improves our brain connectivity. When we read fiction, the neurons in our temporal cortex trick our mind. We think we are doing something, but we are not.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201401/reading-fiction-improves-brain-connectivity-and-function

Being creative – Drawing, painting, working with clay, fabric art, and yes, writing. When you are creative, you are using different areas of your brain. The creative mind is always working, and your brain is activated by what you are doing.

Learning to play a musical instrument – When you play a musical instrument, it creates a better connection between the left and right side of your brain. The left side controls your motor functions, and the right side is learning the melody. Your cognitive function that helps you carry out any task improves when the two areas work together.

We have so many options available to us to improve ourselves. The fact that we have the capability to regenerate our brain means we can regenerate how we think, what we do, and how we influence the world. We can make our minds stronger, better and because of that we can do the same with our hearts and bodies.

Our brain is like a magic box that holds so much more than we can ever imagine……Don’t limit yourself.

Janelle Kene

Think of the possibilities if we all could do this, if we choose to do this. Power up, people!

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Have a wonderful day…may the regeneration begin!