Posted tagged ‘health’

Tuning into your body!!

August 13, 2009

Our body is the most amazing vehicle we have to tune into the present moment.   Our body is with us at all times,  yet many of us do not spend any time in relationship with our bodies.

How does our body speak to us?  We feel sensations of hunger, thirst, tiredness, etc. We feel emotions of anger, sadness, frustration and joy.  We have voices that speak to us telling us what we should and should not do and we have our inner voice that tries to be heard.

When was the last time that you took time to tune into your body?  Do you know how to do this? In the next few posts I will give you some easy ways to start to tune into your body, moment by moment.

For today:

Take a deep intentional breath into the middle of your chest.

Notice any sensations in your hands and feet.

Notice the feeling in your face.

Is there any tension in your jaw, are your teeth clenched?

Relax your neck and shoulders – notice how they feel.

Notice your back and abdomen – what are the sensations there?

Take a moment to relax any areas in your body that you feel tension.

Take another deep intentional breath into the middle of your chest.

How do you feel after doing this?

Take a few minutes every day to tune into your body.  Schedule it for when you get up, at lunch, before you leave work and before you go to bed.  When you develop the habit of tuning in, you start to develop a better relationship with your body and you will learn to know what it needs.

Let me know if this works for you.  Blog with you later.




July 31, 2009

Summer is here and in full swing.  The urge to sit back, relax and do nothing is strong.  Yet I have many things that I need to DO.

I have to admit, I have never liked working in the summer.  It probably stems from when my kids were home and I found the summer was a time to connect with them, relax and enjoy the summertime pace.  Once school started back in September there was a lot of craziness in trying to balance their school, my work, extracurricular activities, driving them everywhere all the while trying to stay fit, healthy, relaxed and NICE.  Even now that my children are grown and out of the house, the relaxed pace of summer is nice.  There is more sunshine, longer days, and fitness and staying healthy are easier to achieve because it just is.  I love to golf, swim, hike, hang out by the pool, go to the lake etc. The TV is never on in our house and life is all about being and staying healthy.

I was reflecting last week that too much of my life revolves around “DOING”.  I feel a constant nagging at me to do this, do that, run here, run there – staying on the constant never ending treadmill we call life.  My life this summer has been a conflict between the doing and the being.  I notice that my moments of brilliance have come from “BEING” in my life. I know I have many things to do, however my writing, my joy and my inspiration have come from hanging out with friends,  family and mostly myself.  My greatest connection to myself has come when I allow myself to “BE”.  When I give myself permission to trust that I will get the impulse to take INSPIRED ACTION when the time is right, I no longer need to stress about “getting things done”.

What is INSPIRED ACTION? For me it means that I do only that which I feel inspired to do.  When I set the intention that I want to achieve a certain goal by a certain time and then “let it go”, it is amazing how the steps unfold easily and effortlessly.  When I force myself to take action, alot of this action comes from a “should” mind set and getting the job done takes much longer and in my mind is not nearly as good.

For example, I started writing this blog several times because I knew I wanted to get one written this week as I am going on holidays next week.  Lately I have not wanted to be in front of a computer writing blogs, I want to be outside enjoying the beautiful summer weather.  However, tonight, my husband and I went out for a lovely dinner with friends, had some great conversation, enjoyed some good food and some good wine and really connected with them on their journey through life.  When I got home, I felt the impulse to write this blog about my challenges with always “doing” what is expected of me instead of “BEING” in my moments and in my life NOW.  As I reflect on the challenges of developing the content for my new website, meeting deadlines (self-imposed) and being in integrity with what I believe I realize that once again, I AM DEVELOPING DEEPER AWARENESS of how I want to be in my life.  Only through this awareness can I change and grow.

So off I go now to enjoy some well deserved time off with my husband and youngest daughter. I feel so blessed to have them in my life and look forward to being with them for the next week.  While we are away, I am giving myself full permission to not think about work, content development, clients, workshops, writing my book or anything related to my work. However, what I know is that I love what I do and I am constantly being inspired by my day to day moments – so you may find me with a pen and paper scrolling notes while catching a few rays of sunshine at the lake.   This will truly be “inspired action”.
Take care all, enjoy next week and I will blog with you the week of August 11th.

Happy Summer


Do Something That You Love TODAY!!!

June 3, 2009

What do you love to do?  Take a moment and write out the things in your life that give you pleasure, joy, happiness and peace.  Then ask yourself: When was the last time I gave myself permission to do any of these things?

Today I want you to remember that “Attitude is everything“.

If you love watching your kids play, then watch them play. Feel the joy of having them in your life ( as opposed to the work of raising them)

If you love listening and singing to the music on the radio – then really listen and sing out loud.  Feel your energy as you sing

If you love listening to opera and your soul is moved beyond measure when you do – then really listen to opera today

If you love walking in nature because it grounds you and makes you feel connected to your spirit – then make time today to go for a walk and really feel that connection

If you love the taste of chocolate and your body feels the love – then savour a piece of chocolate today

If you love having fresh flowers in the house – then treat yourself to a bouquet and smell the scent

Drink in the beauty of what surrounds you – friends, family, a healthy body, laughing children,puppy dogs and kittens

Make a commitment today to do something that you love  to do – it could be cleaning your house, folding your laundry, writing that report, driving your kids, chairing a meeting or what ever your day holds.  When you feel the love and appreciation for the moments in your life, the rewards in improved health and wellbeing are endless.

Blog with you later


7 Unrecognized Signs of Early Stress

May 20, 2009

People think of stress as being burnt out, crying alot, feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope.   While these are definately signs of stress, they are often preceded by some earlier warning signs that people do not necessarily attribute to stress. These include:

1.  Inability to get a good nights sleep – Many of my clients report that they cannot sleep well because they are  thinking and rethinking about their day as they are trying to get to sleep. Sometimes they wake up in the middle of the night and find it difficult to get back to sleep as they cannot seem to shut off their mind.

2.  Aches and Pains – Research shows that even one stressful thought can lead to changes all the way down to the DNA of our cells.  The aches and pains we experience are like the body is crying out for some relief from the stress that it is facing and it needs to get loud for us to start paying attention to it.

3.  Low Energy – Not only does stress affect the DNA of our cells, it also affects the energy generation of our cells. It is a major energy leak .  Dr. Woodson Merrell in his book “The Source” outlines wonderfully how stress impedes our energy. This is an excellent book to help you develop a plan to return to vibrant health.

4.  Scattered thinking – Have you ever walked into your office and thought “I need to do this today” and 2 minutes later you find yourself on the internet surfing something totally different.  You find yourself starting one project, and then moving onto something else without completing the first.  Not only is this behavior stressful as you do not get your work done, but it is often an unrecognized sign that stress is starting to accumulate.

5.  Foggy Thinking – Have you ever found yourself trying to get a project done but you cannot seem to find the words to write the report or complete the task.  You look at the work in front of you and do not know where to begin.  Once again, with adrenaline and cortisol running through your system at unhealthy amounts we get what is called “corticol inhibition” which means we are not even accessing the brain’s cerebral cortex which is responsible for decision making, problem solving and creativity.

6.  Loss of your sense of humor – Remember when you could laugh at your mistakes, when you did not take everything in your life so seriously, and when you could smile spontaneously at a good memory.  When we have stress starting to accumulate in our bodies, our perspective narrows and we start to take everything way too seriously.

7. Increased negativity – Remember when you could see the good in others, in your children, in your partner and your colleagues.  If you are finding yourself more critical and inclined to gossip or look for what is not working in a situation, this is another unrecognized sign of stress.

Many of these signs are often minimized or ignored. What usually happens when people notice they are acting this way is they get into the negative self talk of the shoulda, woulda, coulda that I spoke about it “How connected are you with you”.

One of the best ways to de-stress “in the moment” is to take 3 Intentional Breaths.  This focuses your attention on the body with the intention of calming it down.

Blog with you later


Stress and Adrenaline – what can you do?

May 13, 2009

Adrenaline is a hormone that is secreted by our sympathetic nervous system in response to an event real or imagined that has us scared.  People often refer to it as the fight, fright or freeze response.  It is the hormone that is responsible for people having an uncanny amount of strength in scary situations e.g. lifting a car off a person to save their life etc.

In our society, people are under tremendous amounts of stress but it is not the big stressors that make us sick.  It is the accumulation of the little things that have a negative impact on us.  Many people believe they need a certain amount of stress to keep them motivated and on tract.  When we have a deadline to meet the adrenaline is often the hormone that keeps us on task and on target for getting this done.

HOWEVER, if we are living under constant deadlines, constant interruptions, along with worry and fear about work and home with no time to regroup or de-stress, then the accumulation of too much adrenaline and cortisol (the stress hormone which I will be discussing later this week) can have serious negative consequences on your health. Our body does not do well running on hyperdrive when we have bursts of adrenaline happening every time we are startled, frightened or worried about something. SO what can you do about your stress.

When you recognize that your heart is beating fast, your breathing is rapid and shallow, you have butterflies in your stomach or you are scattered in your thinking –

Ask yourself “in this moment” what can I do to feel better?

The most important thing you can do is to tune into your body and calm yourself down physiologically

Take 3 intentional deep breaths

Notice how you feel physically

Listen to the sounds around you

Look at your surroundings

Ask yourself – what can I do right now to improve my situation?

Worry and fretting about what may happen in the future is our minds way of making us think we are doing something about the problem. When you ask yourself what can I do right now, we move away from the worry and into an action phase that can support us in resolving the problem.

Blog with you later.


6 Tips to Help Our Kids De-stress

May 5, 2009

Hello all,

For those of us who are parents, the idea that our kids are not finding effective ways of coping with stress is scary.  When you see all of the problems with childhood obesity, anxiety, depression, eating disorders etc.  there is often a fear that we are not doing enough for our kids to help them with the challenges they face.

After 35 years as a nurse and 28 years as a mom, a specialist in stress management and developer of effective “in the moment” tools,  there are some simple strategies that we can  use with our kids that will help them calm down and “live more in the moment” (and by teaching them these tools, we are also doing them ourselves so it is a win/win).

1 – Teach them to breathe intentionally. As I described in the #3 of the  “Moment-Is Challenge” taking 3 deep breaths into the area around the solar plexus has a calming effect on the whole system.  Set aside time each day to coach your children through the breathing.  Some ideal times to do this include:  a) before you drive out of the driveway on the way to school, b) when you pick them up from day care, school or dance class, c) before they start their homework and d) before they go to bed.  Do it with them, you will both calm down tremendously.

2.  Help them remember something that makes them smile – it could be playing with a friend, riding their bike, dancing, playing soccer.  Tell them to close their eyes and smile or laugh about a good memory they have.  By helping your kids remember the good times they’ve had can help them recreate those feelings in their bodies and counteract the negative effects of  stress.  It is very easy for all of us to remember and obsess about the negative stuff and it takes effort to reconnect with the positive.  By setting this intention with your kids it helps both of you connect to positive emotions.

3.  Develop a habit of talking about “what went well today”.  When our kids were younger and still at home we tried to have everyone come up with 3 things that were good about the day.   I tried to focus on this a couple of times a month.  What I noticed is this was often difficult  to do depending on the drama of the day (it is really easy to focus on the bad but not so easy to focus on the good).  If your younger (and older) children cannot come up with something good you may need to coach them through this.  Our youngest daughter was the recipient of a fair amount of bullying over the years which made this exercise challenging.  We  needed to focus on things at home that were good(because school often was not) , for example: “Molly (the older dog) snuggled with Charlie (the puppy) isn’t it cute they are getting along better than they used to”.

Please let us know challenges you find in doing this.

4. Get them active – try and go to the park after dinner, ride your bikes, if it is lousy or cold outside turn on some tunes and dance, sing to the music, let your spirit soar!!!

Be your goofiest self, feel the groove to the music and let it out.  Your children may be shy to start, that is okay, be the role model and it will help you de-stress as well.  This not only helps all of you release the tension it also creates a closer connection when you can laugh and play together. Having fun, enjoying each others’ company and appreciating life helps to increase our serotonin levels which is the feel good hormone we have circulating through our veins.  We can naturally increase this by feeling joy and observing joy in others.

5.  Healthy eating – Healthy eating is fundamental to a positive outlook on life.  It is a challenge with all of the busyness of the day/week/month to find time to prepare healthy foods for our kids (and ourselves).  However, taking the time to plan can pay off in huge ways – nutritionally, economically and your sanity. What I try to do (and am successful 60 % of the time) is plan my meals on Sunday and do the grocery shopping for the week.

I like to spend time on Sunday afternoon making a meal or two for the week with the kids.  Some things I do in batches include soup, spaghetti sauce, cut up veggies for lunches etc. This is a great activity to do with the kids as it teaches them about healthy eating and also creates some quality time with you. We often have a nice family meal on Sunday night that will help us with leftovers for lunches or dinners on Monday night. As much as I know this works well for me, I am not good at always getting it done.  If I do not get a chance to do this meal prep, I make sure I have some staples in the house like brown rice, sweet potatoes, frozen chicken breasts, cans of salmon or tuna as well as salad fixins and veggies so I can throw together something when I get home.  I find it so frustrating to get home at the end of the day and there is no food in the house to feed anyone.

If your children are a little older, ask them to plan and prepare one meal per week. Set up some guidelines to help them learn about healthy food choices that will improve their energy as well as their performance in school.  Make sure they include at least one vegetable and some protein in their meal prep.  If their dinner of choice is macaroni and cheese you can suggest they make a salad, add some broccoli or carrots etc.  Make it fun!! I found How to get your kids to eat but not too much was an excellent source of wisdom on the healthy eating dilemma.

6. Practice relaxation and visualization exercises – One of the best ways I used to help my kids de-stress at night was to do a guided relaxation and visualization exercise with them.  I would put on some relaxing music, and talk them through a visualization where they would get into a special place inside of them and just be there. What I found incredible about doing this was that as I guided them through this exercise, the benefits were huge for both of us. The thing is this did not add another thing to my day, it was a way of connecting with my kids when I was helping them get ready for bed.  What works well is to set the intention that you are going to help your kids feel relaxed and calm before they go to bed and this exercise helps with this.

With the launch of the Moment-Is website in July I will have a variety of relaxation podcasts that you can use with your kids to help them get into that relaxed state.  By learning to fully relax, visualize positive experiences, get connected with themselves and meditate,  children (and adults) learn they have the ability to control their emotional state which will serve them well throughout their life.

Let me know how things go with your kids as you use these suggestions.  Each one of these activities will not only help your children de-stress but will also improve the connection between the two of you.  You can use any one of them at any time throughout the day.  Good luck.

Take care all and I will blog with you again soon


In this Moment- what do you see?

April 22, 2009

Have you ever noticed that sometimes we can look at something without really seeing it. We are lost in thought focusing on the struggles of our day and our life simply passes us by.  Part of being in the moment means that we are present to the events that are happening around us. We are here.

This week, my blogs will be focusing on how we can tune into our moments by using our senses. The first of these is our sense of sight

As you read this you are looking at words on a computer screen.

How long have you been looking at the computer: 5 minutes, 1 hour or 5 hours.

How much of this time have you absorbed what has been written?

Do you notice yourself getting lost in the surfing without any real attention to what is in front of you?

Have you ever been reading a book and get to the end of the page and wonder what you just read?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions then you are not alone and you are not in the moment.

Have you ever thought of how much of your day you are not really here.  You are remembering the past, fretting about the future or angry and upset about your life now. Let’s take a couple of moments and start to notice what we can see around us.  Look up from the computer. What do you see?  Is there a window?  Can you see outside?  If not, do you have art work on the walls or any momentos that remind you of positive times in your life (family photos, artifacts from trips etc.)?  The purpose of looking at these things is to draw your attention away from your thoughts and bring your attention to your present surroundings.  When you look at the photo or scene outside, take a deep breath and “drink in the scene”. By this I mean, really see what you are looking at, be in the room, notice what is happening around  you.  This need not take long.  By spending the time noticing the details of your surroundings, you become present and in the moment.

When you walk outside, notice the buds coming out on the trees, the crocuses peeking out of the ground, the cherry blossoms that are so beautiful and fragrant at this time of year.  Notice the beauty around you.  Take a deep breath in for the count of 5,  pause,  then breathesunset out for the count of 5. Be curious about what you notice as you do this exercise.  Please comment and let us know what you noticed.

In this moment:

Notice what you see around you

Notice what you hear around you

Notice how you feel

The first step in changing anything we want to change is developing awareness about our behavior.  Be curious, and enjoy the moment.  Blog with you later this week.