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Improve Your Relationships with 3 Little Questions

One area where many of us get ourselves into trouble is in our speech.

We react, give advice and simply talk without thinking.  This creates hurt feelings and relationship discord. There are many techniques to help with this and this one is simple and quite effective.

Before speaking ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is it kind?
  3. Is it necessary?

Often the first two are on target, but that third one is a bit tricky to avoid. Many of our comments are well meaning in our minds.  Think about how many times you have received unsolicited advice or opinions and how it felt.

Even the most innocent comment can be hurtful and unnecessary.

Taking a moment to pause and get centered before you speak will give you time to ask yourself if what you were about to say is appropriate.  This change in behavior will have a positive impact on your relationships and your own inner peace.

Give this a try and let me know in the comments below how it went.  Did you hold back on a comment?  Did you notice when you made an unnecessary comment?

Posted in: Technique of the Week

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5 Steps to Find & Change what Stresses You Out

We all have things that stress us out.

One of mine is rushing.  It is important to me to be on time. When I rush, I notice my heart races, my neck tightens, I don’t breath and I get frustrated.  What has changed over the years is simple- I do not rush because I make sure to leave enough time!

Many of us have knee jerk reactions that we have had for decades.  We cannot force them to go away, but can make changes to avert the situation.

Often, we set ourselves up for stress and knowing what our hooks are is valuable information.

Try this:

  1. Take a few moments and focus on your breath
  2. Think back and see what you react to. Here are a few examples- traffic, time, travel, hunger, put on hold.
  3. Track back to what happened preceding the reaction.
  4. Now make a list of those situations that set you off.
  5. See how you can make a small shift in behavior to avert them.  It might be as simple as pacing yourself, or not allowing yourself to get too hungry (that is another one of mine!).

You will probably find that there are some that are constant in your life.  When you realize this, make a few small changes, and you will be amazed at the results.  You will experience more peace, calm and joy throughout your day.

Give this a try and let me know what you found.  What changes did you make? 

 

Posted in: Technique of the Week

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It is What it is…

 

This simple phrase is short, sweet and quite freeing.

Our minds ruminate over things making them complicated, generating a multitude of feelings.

This creates internal chaos, because we see what is happening through our perceptions, layering our judgments, wishes and desires on top of what the reality is.

As we go through our day, situations will arise.  When we are able to see what is truly happening and realize that there is nothing we can do about it, that it just is; we are able to move on.  We can experience the relief of not having to fix it or change it.

When you can do this, you will feel calmer and more centered and free.

Remember- It is what it is… Until it changes!

Let me know in the comments below how you view what happens in your life.  Are you able to let go and move on?  If not, what do you think happens?

Posted in: A Calm Perspective

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5 Steps to a Breath You Can Count On

Often we need something we can do quickly to bring ourselves back to the here and now.  When we spin out of control agonizing or reacting over situations, we end up creating more tension to our bodies and minds.  Our relationships are impacted and our day becomes difficult to enjoy.

Breath is the most effective way to quickly harness our minds so we can release stress and tension.

Try this:

  1. Take and inhale and easy exhale
  2. Soften your belly
  3. Slowly inhale through your nose to a count of 4
  4. Hold for a count of 4
  5. Slowly exhale through your mouth to a count of 4

If you have the time, do four repetitions.  If not, one time will definitely make an impact.

Let me know in the comments below how this worked for you.  Did it help you get centered?  If not, what do you think happened?

Posted in: Technique of the Week

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Traffic: 5 Steps to Regain Composure

Traffic is a fact of life in metropolitan areas, yet many times when we are caught in traffic we get angry and frustrated.

Before we realize it, our breath is shallow and our neck and shoulders are tight. 

I was leaving a parking lot and planned to make a right hand turn.  Much to my dismay, a car pulled out of a lot across the street and rudely blocked my entire lane, causing a line of cars behind me.  My reaction was anger and frustration at how inconsiderate the driver was. 

I noticed my reaction and after employing the technique below I felt calm and centered once again.

Try this:

  1. Take a moment to see if you are holding your breath.
  2. Notice if you are tensing your neck and shoulders.
  3. Feel your feet on the ground and if you are sitting, feel your contact to the seat beneath you.
  4. Relax your belly and without straining take three slow, easy inhalations and exhalations, each time softening your neck and shoulders.
  5. Now, review the situation as if you were giving a report, without commentary and see how you can make a choice to see the event differently.

Give this a try next time you have a situation where you are frustrated driving (you will have many opportunities!) and let me know in the comments below what happened.   If it did not help, what you think got in the way?

Posted in: Technique of the Week

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1 Step to Compassion for Elder Parents

Elders are often stuck in their way of thinking and communication can get quite frustrating.   It is clear that no matter what is said, they are not going to change, but we try anyway bringing increased tension and frustration. 

There is another way: Compassion

It is easy to practice when you are not so invested in the situation, but the challenge is to practice compassion with a parent who “pushes your buttons”.

It is challenging not to argue and judge when they are being stubborn or negative.

Try This:

Step back, take a breath and consciously change your focus to see beyond their behavior.  Look at them as a human being with fears and struggles.  

When you make this shift, your will be more calm and centered and can bring that state into the relationship with them, meeting them where they are at.

Give this a try next time you are with elders that are frustrating and let me know in the comments below how it went.  If you could not make the shift, what do you think happened?

Posted in: Technique of the Week

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Calm Your Mind: Attitude #1

Helping the mind remain calm and undisturbed is a lifelong practice. Often our thoughts are agitated from our reactions to other people.

A chapter in the yoga texts focuses on four categories of people and how cultivating certain attitudes will help.

Attitude  #1:

Cultivate Friendliness toward the happy.

When someone gets something that they are excited about it, jealousy can set in.  This only disturbs you, especially if you want what they have attained.

A shift in attitude to open up to another persons happiness can fill you with joy as well as leave you feeling calm and centered.

Next time your feel yourself feeling uneasy around someone’s happiness, take a breath and shift your thoughts.

Give this a try and in the comments below, let me know what happened.  If you were unable to be open to someone's happiness, what do you think got in the way?

Posted in: Technique of the Week

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Airport Stress: Practice Kindness

I was at the airport boarding my plane.  In front of me was a frustrated mom raising her voice to her  child while holding her heavy carry on in one hand and a baby in the other.

My first reaction was judgment at how she was speaking with her child.

I took a breath and asked her if she needed help and she did not hesitate to say “YES”.  Her voice was still curt but and she said a quick thanks. 

There are opportunities every day to practice kindness even when the tendency is to judge.    Remembering that we are all human, doing the best we can helps us see beyond the behaviors of others.

The most powerful  practice (and toughest to attain) is to let go of any attachment to their response and treat the person you are helping with compassion, as another human being, no different from yourself.

If I had stayed in judgment or frustration of her behavior I would have felt tense and agitated.  When I choose to be kind, my state was calm and centered.   

Let me know in the comments below what your experience has been and how you feel when you practice kindness.

Posted in: A Calm Perspective

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Phone Frustration: 5 Ways to Remain Calm

Phone calls that require waiting or complications can trigger frustration and anger.

When we encounter these situations it is challenging to remain calm and patient, especially if the person on the other end is rude, unhelpful or slow.

We take it personally,and the consequence is physical tension and emotional anxiety.

It is a more productive interaction when you are calm and centered.

Next time you have this kind of call, try this:

  1. Bring your feet under you and feel your feet grounded on the floor.
  2. Take an easy inhale allowing your belly soften and then slowly let it out, a minimum of three times
  3. Know that you too have been rude or confused when asked to do something- this will give you some compassion and patience
  4. Remember that the situation is not a personal affront
  5. Keep the situation in perspective and know that it is one small part of your entire day.  Take a breath and move on.

Let me know in the comments below what you tried and how it worked for you.  If nothing helped, let me know what you think happened?

Posted in: Technique of the Week

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What Happened to My Peaceful State?

Picture this:  You just finished your centering practices and you feel peaceful and calm.  There is nothing you want- you are content.

You join your family and the kids are yelling, the dog is barking and your significant other is looking for the keys- puff…your serenity is gone in an instant!

There is a phrase from one yoga text:

 Lokanandah Samadhi- Sukham : In every bit of knowledge the yogi experiences the delight of I- Consciousness, and there is transmission of this experience to those who come in contact with him.  The bliss continues in every location and every situation.

In other words, bring inner peace into your relationships with everyone and everything.  All of yoga’s practices are designed to help you still your mind to access your inner solid calm center.

As you practice, you will embody the knowing that you are more than your body and you are more than your mind.

You will experience your daily living with grounded presence weaving in the sublime with the mundane, even in the chaos that surrounds you.

Let me know in the comments below your experience with maintaining your calm in the midst of life.  What works for you?

Posted in: A Calm Perspective

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