A challenge to put mindfulness to work: Quit complaining

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You might have heard, at one time, that you can do anything—for 60 seconds, 10 minutes, a half hour a day. It’s also said you can create or break a habit in just 21 days. In my recent posts, “A month of mindfulness…” and “7 tips to incorporate mindfulness…,” I suggest myriad ways to daily practice a deeper awareness within each moment—which could seem overwhelming. However, I’d like to propose a challenge. For the next 24 hours, choose one area of focus in which to incorporate mindfulness: quit complaining. As I write about in “Complaints don’t change a thing,” we can get caught up in negativity and miss out on the positive, the good that surrounds us. Even seemingly harmless comments like, I’m so tired, or the weather, traffic or XYZ sucks… can quickly turn our thoughts inward and escalate a pessimistic mentality. Just for today, let’s create a complaint-free zone and watch the life-changing magic unfold.

How hard is it for you to quit complaining?

Embrace the struggle: every good story contains conflict

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We must let go of the life we have planned,
so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.
~ Joseph Campbell

Nearly 18 months ago, I embarked on a rite of passage: the admittance into “Club 50“—a new season I embraced with enthusiasm, positivity and sparkles. Oh, the places I’ll go, to coin a favorite Dr. Seuss book title. I began to plan this next half century, my hopes and dreams—my bucket list—with gusto and determination. Yet, here I am, a year and a half later, my bucket filled with these same goals, along with a few plot twists along the way: loss, disappointment, unrequited dreams. But, if we release our plans—or, at the very least, loosen the reins—perhaps, in turn, we invite opportunities to build character and deepen relationships through our struggles. In the process, we might even create space to dream a new dream. And to share that dream with others.

What plan(s) do you need to release?

Let go: be fearlessly and beautifully you

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Don’t let the broken ones harden your heart.
Your greatest retaliation lies in continuing to be
fearlessly and beautifully you in spite of it all.
~ www.alexanderworks.com

In my personal quest to break free, I’ve run across myriad advice, including these top 10 things to let go of to be happy (according to Power of Positivity, Nerdy Creator and edited by yours truly):

1) Judgment. People aren’t toxic, behaviors and actions can be.
2) The past. It’s over, learn from it.
3) The need to be right. Everyone’s perception is different.
4) Being a victim. Quit complaining, or change your situation.
5) Identifying with your thoughts. Good, bad or ugly.
6) The need to impress others. Psssst: you are good enough.
7) Limiting, negative beliefs. Focus on something worthy, positive.
8) The need to please everyone. It’s not possible, just stop.
9) Gossip. If you can’t say something nice…
10) The future. Invest in today, tomorrow will take care of itself.

What can you add to this list?

Image courtesy of marin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

What we speak is what we get

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Think positive

 

Think positive, speak life. What we speak is what we get. These were the words my BFF texted me following my earlier message that morning: Feeling a bit discouraged today. Although I often post positive messages on social media and write blogs about sprinkling kindness liberally, discovering the secret to happiness and assorted don’t-worry-be-happy thoughts, many times it’s easier said than lived out. If worse comes to worse, it’s probably best to keep our mouths shut until we can say something positive and, in the meantime, to read a few inspirational quotes to turn our minds around. Or call or text a best friend to put instant smiles on our faces. That particular morning my BFF’s words served as a reminder that, even when external circumstances might cause us to feel discouragement, it’s our internal self-talk that enables us to change the direction of our thoughts—therefore, our day. Unhappy? Try thinking positive and speaking life. Hint: No belly aching allowed.

What does your self-talk sound like today?

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Body shaming comes in all shapes and sizes

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Body shaming

 

The other day, a couple of (well-meaning) people thought it was okay to comment about my weight on Facebook. If I were heavier, I think it would be un-PC to call me out on it. But I weigh in on the smaller side with a lean BMI. The biggest (no pun intended) thing to note, however, is that my weight is nobody’s business, except my physician’s. What is important is that body shaming is inappropriate toward any size or shape. A few years ago, I wrote an article for In With Skin magazine—titled “Body Image Can Shape Well-Being”—about the ways people close to us may influence our feelings toward our bodies, either positively or negatively, plus tips on how to develop a healthy body image. And as someone who has lived in the shadows of an eating disorder for decades, I speak from experience. It’s okay to express concern (privately, rather than on social media). But remember: words create a lasting impression.

How’s your body image?

Image courtesy of Aleksa D at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Turn your frown upside down

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Pessimism

[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

In a Men’s Health February 2014 article, negativity is likened to parasites that eat away at your health. That’s because pessimism begins in your brain and works its way down the spinal cord to the lungs, heart, liver, adrenal glands, kidneys and gut, which can cause long-term damage. It’s even possible to experience benign pain as a result of stress (Tension Myositis Syndrome). Conversely, if your state of mind is happy and hopeful, you’re apt to be more cognizant about fitness, as well as healthier food choices; you’re also likely to either quit or refrain from smoking tobacco. While negativity breeds negativity, you can pump up your optimism by exercising it on a regular basis. Increase your outlook with these three simple activities: 1) reflect on accomplishments and events that made you proud; 2) recognize gratitude by citing three good things that occur each day and 3) picture your perfect life, detailed, five years from now, and focus on what’s attainable.

How do you exercise your positivity muscles?