Posts tagged stress relief
Research has shown that when you offer a kindness to someone, your seratonin levels (the “feel good” brain chemical) rises. The person who has received the kindness, their level rises as well. Best of all: anyone who witnesses or hears about your kind act, their level goes up, too. One act of kindness can ripple out and impact others far beyond yourself.
Don’t believe me? Go on the internet and find a heartwarming, “good news” story. Notice how you feel before and after reading it. You will notice the warm feeling in your tummy (or is that the tacos you ate for lunch?) Maybe you will have a smile on your face or find yourself suddenly wanting to sing Walt Disney’s favorite song, Feed the Birds, from Mary Poppins.
Now imagine, if just reading about a kind act can create this kind of “buzz,” imagine how you will feel if you are actually the provider of the kind act. It doesn’t have to be grand, even a small gesture can reap big rewards. So feed the birds, open a door, come over and do my ironing…small acts add up to a seratonin surge so big that you may even find yourself dancing to Chim Chim Cheree.
Adopting an attitude of gratitude is the quickest way to improving the way you look at life. Whenever I am in a funk, I start to list all of the things that I am grateful for until I feel better. Here is a sample list: I am grateful for: a good hair day, my electric toothbrush, my dog that makes me smile, having a car to get me places because I could never walk that far, a day without rain, a warm coat, a good friend, frozen yogurt with toppings and Gilligan’s Island. By the time I get to Gilligan, I am starting to smile and to find the blessings that are so abundant in my life.
Start a gratitude journal and write down three things that you are grateful for. If not every day, then at least on Wednesdays. Don’t save giving thanks for Thanksgiving. Every day is a holiday, if you count your blessings and know that “grat is where it’s at.”
Chocolate days are ahead of us every weekend. Time to rest and take in all of the rewards for our weekly efforts. Hot fudge, Hershey Bars and a cup of Hot Chocolate are at the ready. How about a long hot bath, coffee with friends, sleeping in, working out or reading a good book? Those are also chocolate moments.
You see, chocolate really refers to indulging yourself. Not just in the high calorie, high fat,, but totally worth it tasty treat. Indulging yourself means losing yourself in those things that make you feel good. Really good. The kind of good that allows you to truly exhale, relax your shoulders, dance a jig and chillax completely. Yeah, that good. Now that is a chocolate moment.
Yikes! This is the hardest day of the week. To forgive myself and others is not the easiest of tasks. To carry a grudge – easy peasy, but to let it go and forgive, well that takes an entire day of practice. My favorite quote about forgiveness is by Mark Twain, who wrote, “Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet leaves on the heel that has crushed it.” Pause- take a moment to re-read that sentence. It is powerful and profound. Are you that violet? I’m not, but I am trying by practicing crushing non-living things, like crumbs and cotton balls, under my shoe and then seeing if it forgives me.
Yet we know that to carry a grudge does nothing but poisons us. The bitterness eats away at our soul and keeps us from feeling the true joy in life. Forgive and forget? Well, I may not forget, but I sure will practice forgiveness on Fridays.
Flexibility is not just for yoga practitioners. If you want to stop stressing, start practicing being flexible. No need to put your leg over your head like a pretzel. No plan to stick to. Just let the day go and let it flow. When others intrude on your day, let them. When computers stop “playing nicely,” take a breath and then tackle the issue. When the dog wants to go out and play, go out and play.
If you resist the way the day is going, you will only create stress in yourself and you will accomplish less on your “to do” list. There is no reason to let a perfectly good day pass you by. By practicing flexibility, you may be surprised at how the day turns out when you are finally ready to lay your head down on your silk pillow (after eating the chocolate left there by your “turn down” service.) Sweet dreams….
Day by Day the Laughter Club way, teaches us to devote each day of the week to a different value. I now do these things every day, automatically, but it is wonderful to review these from time to time with others. Living with these has changed my life for the better, and I know that by putting into practice these simple tasks, you will also get value beyond your imagination.
Mondays are for compliments. This means not only giving, but also receiving them. Make sure they are sincere compliments, as people can spot faux flattery and it will not be well received. However, liberally sprinkle compliments throughout the day and watch people light up. It is known that being acknowledged and validated is human nature. Call it “ego stroking,” call it “feeling good,” call it “spreading sunshine,”- no matter what you call it, know that you are making someone’s day….and that is the very definition of a good day.
Everyone wants to be happy. In fact the Declaration of Independence gives Americans the right to pursue happiness. It is not guaranteed, but we can chart our own path to joy. At times when our work becomes overwhelming, or in this economy underwhelming, we may feel stressed and unable to rise to the level of cheerful delight. However we all know people that no matter the circumstances always seem to have a smile on their face and a joie de vivre. How do they get there and how can we achieve this same satisfaction in our days and allow this feeling to spill over into the work we do? Happy people have three qualities that other people don’t have: they know it, they show it and they grow it. (more…)