Mind/Body Explorations-New MeetUp Group!

Denver area friends, wanted you to know that I have a new Meetup group that I think you’d enjoy-Mind/Brain Explorations for Living. To help you create the life you are meant to be living, we will learn, explore, meditate and create on our journey to wellness and personal/spiritual growth.Technologies of the Self

Topics range from learning self-hypnosis techniques, stress relief, meditation, pain management, brain optimization, weight loss, and recovery support, to sound healing. Are you the type that loves to keep growing? We will have a creative, rewarding time together. I will be sharing a lot of the same information from my workshops and leading you through some hypnotic visualization sessions. So, this is a very affordable way to experience and learn. Each session will give you take-home exercises, techniques and info to support your creation of the New You!

Our next session, this Tuesday evening, is about willpower, how to access it and how to strengthen it. It’s pretty surprising stuff, based on the work of Dr. Kelly McGonigal.

Besides looking at this fresh new approach to habit change, I will be sharing a very simple 5-minute meditation that anyone can do, in fact, she says it works even better if you’re not good at it!

Space is limited to 8, so make sure to RSVP through Meetup, the rest of the info is there, too-
Mind/Brain Explorations for Living

Dark Days-10 Tips to Live Happier till Springtime

Evening GloomWhen the days are short and the nights are long, do you feel like crawling in a cave or at least under the covers until springtime? Do you feel like Lord Byron expressed-“I am always more religious on sunshiney days”?

Mood variation dependent on the amount of sunlight affects many of us, mostly women. Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, as it is called, mimic those of depression-fatigue, lack of interest in things that used to be pleasurable, cravings for carbohydrates and weight gain.

If this is describing how you are feeling, here are 10 Tips:

  1. Get outside even if it’s just to rake leaves or shovel snow at least 10 minutes a day.
  2. Open all the blinds and curtains in the house to let all the sunshine in that is available.
  3. Take your laptop or book to sit by a window.
  4. Make sure you are taking enough Vitamin D.
  5. Replace your light bulbs with full (broad) spectrum ones.
  6. We are mammals. If you are getting sleepy earlier than usual, don’t fight it. Go to bed.
  7. If you must start your day before sunrise, set a timer on your bedroom light to come on a half hour before the alarm goes off.
  8. If possible, plan your vacations in January or February and go south to sunnier climes.
  9. Push yourself out of the cave. Get together with friends and do something fun. Join a Meetup group.
  10. Remember it won’t last forever. Each day from today on will have a few more minutes of sunshine!

Tis the Season to be Grateful, Next Month We’re Supposed to be Jolly

Saying GraceWhat’s the difference? If you’re jolly, aren’t you grateful? According to Dr. Robert Emmons, the author of THANKS! How the New Science of Gratitude can Make you Happier, while there are many things that we can be happy about, the uniqueness of gratitude is that we realize that we have received a gift that we don’t deserve. It’s “the acknowledgement of goodness in one’s life” and secondly “recognizing that the source(s) of this goodness lie at least partially outside the self.” We can only be grateful to others, not to ourselves, so it brings a sense of humility along with the gift (4-8).

Offering grace at the family table, Bart Simpson prayed,

“Dear God, we paid for all this stuff ourselves, so thanks for nothing.”

Donald Trump stated,

“All of the women on The Apprentice have flirted with me-consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected” (148).

Gratitude is knowing, at a deep level is an appreciation that what we have received was “freely bestowed out of compassion, generosity, or love” (7). The International Encyclopedia of Ethics defines it as “the heart’s internal indicator when the tally of gifts outweighs the exchanges” (6).

Emmons’s research found that when people took the time to write in a gratitude journal, not only did they feel more appreciative about things that they normally overlooked, but they reported–exercising more, sleeping better, experiencing few physical symptoms and feeling more optimistic about their lives. They were more likely to make progress toward their personal goals and to have offered emotional support to others.

Other important healing benefits are that-

Gratitude counters our natural adaption to pleasant events.

Gratitude mitigates toxic emotions and states like envy, resentment, and regret.

Gratitude strengthens social ties.

Gratitude increases one’s sense of personal worth.

Gratitude has a direct link to cardiovascular functioning.

In his intro to the workshop that I attended at Loma Linda Medical School, Emmons described it like this-

“You feel a deep sense of peace and internal balance-you are at harmony with yourself, with others and with your larger environment. You experience increased buoyancy vitality and flow. Your senses are enlivened—every aspect of your perceptual experience seems richer, more texture. Surprisingly, you fell invigorated at time when you would usually have felt tired and drained. Things that usually would have irked you just don’t “get to you” as much. Your body feels regenerated-your mind, at last, clear. . . At least for a period of time, decisions become obvious as priorities clarify and inner conflict dissolves. Intuitive insight suddenly provides convenient solution to problems. . Your creativity flows freely. In this state of inner harmony and deep fulfillment, you experience a sense of greater connectedness—to other people, to a larger whole, perhaps to God, or to a higher aspect of yourself. (From Gratitude as a Way of Life: Insights from the Science of Well-Being, Emmons, 2005)

Heading into the challenges of the holiday season, let’s remember to give ourselves a “gratitude intervention.” Positive results were observed with subjects who only journaled once a day, but here’s the perspective of GK Chesterton-

“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play. . . and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, and swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in ink.”

Kierkegaard and the Pursuit of Happiness

There is an excellent article in the New York Times right now discussing the melancholy spirituality of Soren Kierkegaard, and how no one today “believes that a person can be of troubled mind and healthy spirit.”

One of the hardest parts of developing spiritually is letting go of the dreams and illusions that allow us to hide from the misery and despair that often lurks within us at a deeper level.

There is abundant chatter today about “being spiritual” but scarcely anyone believes that a person can be of troubled mind and healthy spirit. Nor can we fathom the idea that the happy wanderer, who is all smiles and has accomplished everything on his or her self-fulfillment list, is, in fact, a case of despair. But while Kierkegaard would have agreed that happiness and melancholy are mutually exclusive, he warns, “Happiness is the greatest hiding place for despair.”