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New Year New Habits?

New Year New Habits?

Someone asked me recently about my new year resolutions and they were surprised to hear that I don’t have any. I wasn’t surprised by the question. After all, this is the time of year we most see courses, books, and offerings on how to set intentions, healthy lifestyles, and positive changes. It is a new year, and with it comes the opportunity to start afresh. We are also in the midst of winter, which means nature itself is in the process of renewal, dying off and preparing to re-surge again in the coming months.

I do set goals and seek to improve myself in various ways, but I do that throughout the year. Somehow new year resolutions do not work for me. Perhaps what is missing with resolutions is making them realistic and achievable.

When I got my hands on the book High Performance Habits- How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard (2017), I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have seen a few promotions on the book as well as courses Burchard offers, and I was afraid it was going to offer a different way of working on resolutions.

It didn’t, and I was pleasantly surprised. The book describes six habits to perform at a higher level, and these habits are more about attitudes and approaches to life.

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Decluttering: The Alternative to Minimalism

Decluttering: The Alternative to Minimalism

I am amazed at people who own very little. I’ve heard stories of people who live with the bare essential, with a wardrobe of 2 dresses, 3 skirts, 3 sweaters, a few t-shirts, 2 jeans, and 2 trousers (Luhrs, 2016).

While I cannot live with a minimalist wardrobe, stories like these make me realize I own too much. My closets are filled with items, some that I use, others that I barely use, and still others that rarely see the light of day. At a time of year when people generally acquire, I have decided to discard.

Whether we realize it or not, the things we own have an effect on. They clutter our space, they create dense energy, and they encourage us to remain attached to things that no longer serves us. It is quite likely that the more we own, the more baggage we carry- literally.

I know I cannot be a true minimalist, but I used that as inspiration to declutter.

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The Importance of Mental Health Support

The Importance of Mental Health Support

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), nearly ¼ of adults in the United States are affected by mental health, whether it be anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among others (2017).  This means that over 44 million people in the US suffer from a mental health issue (Mental Health America, n.d.).

There are social stigmas surrounding mental health, including the misunderstanding that people who suffer from mental health issues are more likely to be violent or institutionalized.

The truth is mental health issues affect people of all ages and are no different than any other issues that we face.  In fact, we all suffer from some form of mental health issue at some point in our life. Having discussions and open communication about mental health can provide people with proper support.

Ashely Santangelo (2018) discusses her experience with mental health issues, diagnoses, and eventual support. I was inspired by her story, and it motivated me to write this article.  The holiday season can be a particular trigger for those suffering from mental health issues, which made me feel this is an appropriate time to write about this.

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How to Stop Comparing Ourselves to Others

How to Stop Comparing Ourselves to Others

Measuring ourselves against others leads to feelings of insecurity and that we are not enough.  Comparisons are draining and keep our focus on others rather than on ourselves.  In the long-run, they hurt us.

There will always be people who have more than us, who can do more than us, and who have what we desire.  Similarly, there will always be people who have less than us, do less than us, and are in situations we don’t desire.  It is inevitable.  It is a fact of life that we are better off accepting and not indulging in.

Don’t get me wrong, even though I realize comparisons aren’t healthy, I struggle with comparing myself to others.  I have done it my whole life and continue doing it still, but I have gotten better at managing it.  Here is how I have learned to reduce the desire to compare.

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Get It Done

Get It Done

If you are like me, you struggle to get things done.  Even though most who know me consider me to be organized, I am far less productive than they imagine.  At times I lose myself to procrastination.

That is why I was intrigued when TCK Publishing sent me a copy of the book Get It Done – The 21-Day Mind Hack System to Double Your Productivity and Finish What You Start by Michael Mackintosh (2018).

Michael makes big promises.  He says his system is different because he explains how to overcome the resistance that holds us back from accomplishing what we desire.

The book does not provide strategies, timelines, or time management techniques.  It is quite the opposite.  Although there is planning, it’s quite simple.  The book is divided into three parts and provides a step-by-step system for bringing our ideas to life.  I tested it and I am sharing my take and results.

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We Should All Write – Here is Why

We Should All Write – Here is Why

I have been writing in one way, shape, or form for many years, but it wasn’t until the last couple of years that I took upon doing so as a habit.  I have found it to be extremely beneficial.

Now, I write every day.  And, I do different kinds of writing, including stream of consciousness writing, creative writing, business writing, and these articles that I write weekly. I don’t do all types of writing every day, with the exception of stream of consciousness writing, which I do daily, ideally in the mornings.  I learned the habit after reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

I have found writing to be beneficial and studies support it.  I will share some of the benefits of writing and provide encouragement for you to do the same.

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4 Worthwhile Books on Wellness

4 Worthwhile Books on Wellness

A couple of weeks ago I provided a list of five books that could transform you.  Those books were about self-development.

This time I have decided to give you a list of four books on wellness that are worth your while.

Each book provides a plan or insight to improve health and wellbeing, and although each book presents different approaches, there are similarities.  They all involve some type of shift to habits and practices that involve more care- care for our health, ourselves, our communities, our tribe, our planet or other.

Read all four books on this list and take the parts that resonate from each.  Or go through my descriptions below and select the healing approach that you most identify with.

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5 Books That Can Transform You

5 Books That Can Transform You

I read.  A lot.  I’ve done it since I was a child, and I have continued this habit as an adult. I read all types of books including fiction, non-fiction, historical, reference, self-development, and spiritual.

Books offer an escape, a diversion, a learning tool, and a transformational vehicle.  I often encounter books that change my perspective and open my eyes in unexpected ways.

The books I have included in this list have done just that.  They may be classified under the self-development or self-help category, but they are not what you expect.  Some offer profanity, humor, and even cynicism, and others offer spirituality, but they all provide the possibility for transformation.

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How We Can Tell Which Chakra Needs Attention

How We Can Tell Which Chakra Needs Attention

Last week I explained why balanced chakras are the key to vitality, and what it means when our chakras are in harmony.  I also gave you a description of each chakra.

The lower chakras, namely the root, sacral, and solar plexus, affect our wellbeing and our ability to relate to our self, our sense of self, and the tangible world.  The upper chakras, namely the throat, third eye, and crown, affect how we connect with the outside world.  The heart chakra brings both together, as it foments our ability to lovingly connect with ourselves and others.

When one or more chakra is out of balance, we can bring them back to center by engaging in activities, behaviors, practices, thoughts, and intentions that allow energy to flow freely.

To know what to do, it is first important for us to recognize which chakra needs attention.  I will share how we are likely to feel physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually when our chakras our out of balance.  These are generalizations but hopefully can help to bring awareness to what we may be experiencing.  Symptoms can stem from over expressing the energy of a chakra, and other times from under expressing it.  I share a bit of what happens in both cases.

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Happiness Measures- The Nordic Way

Happiness Measures- The Nordic Way

May is Mental Health month, and I thought it appropriate to touch on the topic of happiness.  Finland was awarded 2018’s top World Happiness Country by The United Nations.  The UN released its annual report ranking 156 countries, and it’s notable that Finland has either won or been within the top 10 spots for the last few years (Khan & Blau, 2018).

In fact, the top 10 spots usually include Scandinavian & Nordic countries.  In addition to Finland, in the 2018 report included Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Sweden. The only non-Scandinavian countries in the top 10 spots were Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, and New Zealand (Helliwell, Layard, & Sachs, 2018).

What do these countries have that is so unique, and that ranks them so high on the happiness scale?  Apart from being Nordic, what do they have in common?  I wrote about Sweden’s concept of Lagom and how they strive for balance, but I wanted to look at this in more depth. Here is what I found.

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