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Have More Patience

“Without patience, we will learn less in life. We will see less. We will feel less. We will hear less. Ironically, rush and more usually mean less.”
— Mother Teresa

Patience: The Key To Peace

Patience is a spiritual lesson.

It calls us to the higher part of ourselves, that part of us that recognizes the divinity within. It overlooks our fear, mistrust, anger, confusion, and all the ways we build barriers to its recognition. It doesn’t even matter how high we build those barriers. Patience is always within reach, a steady force that sings a quiet song of peace.

Impatience isn’t a mere personality quirk or bad habit. It is a life lesson from your soul. Where there is a lack of patience there is a lack of trust and a hopeless feeling of being out of control. Impatience is fear made manifest. It tells us that outcome is uncertain. And uncertainty is never of the soul. Uncertainty is always of the ego and is your first clue that impatience is not the truth. The soul knows outcome is always assured because the soul sees your grace. When you are impatient you must ask yourself, “What is my source?” If you can truly answer that love is your source you will experience patience. “Love” meaning, the Love of God.

When we trust in the divine as our source we know we cannot be left out of the equation of life. The only thing that turns patience into perpetual waiting is lack of trust. Lack of trust comes from a lack of connection to the Infinity within. Your power really is already with you. It will never come from the outside. You will indeed wait forever if you are waiting for any force outside of you to come along and save you. Society teaches us that the “perfect” person or job will make us feel fulfilled. So many of us wait impatiently for that “perfect” something to come along. But that is not trusting. That is waiting on time and space to give you something. Patience is trusting in the presence of your soul and knowing that presence has the power to create that which you need in life. Patience is taking steps of action that lead you gently down the path of your own self. Patience does not compare and contrast. It does not judge. It keeps you in the present moment in grace and love. It is a gentle hug that reassures you that you are safe. The outcome is assured because you have allowed room for what you want to change form if that is what is needed. You have allowed room for personal growth and it is always personal growth that helps you recognize opportunity when it comes knocking.

 

patiencequote

What are you trusting in? Love. Plain and simple. Not the flight of fancy that changes with every glance or the desire that disguises itself as love. Not the wanting of the ego that drives into dark corners confusing us with promises of false satisfaction. No. The love that comes from knowing you are one with the divine, infinite nature that is the source of all there is. The love that keeps you firm in the truth of your soul. The love that cannot be altered based on the behavior of others. The love that is the constant wellspring within. From love flows peace as naturally as any river flows. It brings the calm, regal presence of trust into your conscious awareness and establishes a base of self actualization. From this base, you are centered, intuitively aware, and mindful.

When you are impatient with life remember, impatience takes away.
Patience provides.

Impatience takes you out of the present moment. Patience keeps you in the present moment. Impatience is fear. Patience is love.


by Livnam Kaur
Spiritual Intuitive, Writer, Ayurveda Wellness Practitioner, Reiki / IET Master Teacher, Speaker


Livnam Kaur is a Los Angeles based spiritual intuitive. Her work is about self-empowerment and finding the truth. Known for taking big spiritual concepts and explaining them in easy to understand language, she is a sought after teacher, writer, and speaker. She works to help people find fulfillment by connecting them to their own internal spiritual guidance, Divine Will, the Will of Soul. Once that connection is made, time and space clears and healing is welcomed. Livnam has a monthly spiritual advice column, Dear Livnam, answering questions about walking the spiritual path. She facilitates a weekly study group for A Course In Miracles, gives Spiritual Counseling and Healing sessions, teaches Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, Intuitive Development, and offers Personal Coaching.

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Buddha’s Keys to Unlocking Change in your Life

By Luke Miller        Saturday April 9th, 2016

There are no guarantees
the life we are living today
will be the same tomorrow

There are very few certainties in life but one thing that will remain consistent through your life is, you will continually have challenges and problems to overcome and while these challenges will differ from person to person, the solution for any problems can be broken down into 7 key areas for development.

In a sacred text called the Sabbāsava Sutta the Buddha outlines these 7 areas; my interpretation of this text is below. The original text is available to read here in Pāḷi and English.

1. Knowledge/Insight

We currently live in an age of information, and while this stockpile of knowledge can at times be overwhelming it is very useful for overcoming challenges in your life.

When you have a challenge there is always a solution out there, it’s your job to gather the info, syphon the good from the bad and work out a plan for getting there.

It’s not always easy; in fact it’s usually very difficult and depending on the problem you are facing could take some real trial and error.

But if you are determined to overcome a problem you are facing there will always be a solution out there, you just have to find it!

2. Resistance/Replacement

When you are making a transition in life there will be times when you will have to call on your resistance to temptation.

If you are starting a new exercise regime, trying to overcome procrastination or trying to get rid of an addiction of any type, there will be times when you will have to resist the temptation to fall back into bad habits. But while this is very important it is really only part of the solution.

To give up a bad habit using resistance alone would be very difficult, so when you are trying to change a bad routine you will find it easier if you consciously replace it with a more productive one.

If you stop smoking, you could start painting. If you stop eating junk food, you could start eating health food. Or if you are going to stop hanging out in nightclubs and getting drunk, you could start going to yoga and drinking raw juice.

It’s very important that you consciously look for a healthy, sustainable replacement to bad habits, because if you don’t you may end up with a worse habit in its place.

3. Consumption

Consumption works both ways; you could be over consuming or under consuming.

You could be eating too much or not enough. You could be not drinking enough water or be drinking too much fizzy drinks. You could be buying too much stuff that you don’t need or you could be depriving yourself from the things that you do need.

However it is in your case, consuming more or less of certain things will help you overcome some of life’s challenges.

This lesson really goes hand in hand with knowledge as when you learn more about your need’s as a human being you get more of an understanding of what you need to consume more or less of.

A prime example of this is medicine and when I say medicine I am not just talking about pills, I am also talking about plants, herbs and food medicines.

A lot of us are taking pills for problems that we can overcome naturally and because of these pills we are starting treatment with one problem and the side effects of these medicines are leaving us with more problems all of which need different pills to overcome them.

This is the vicious circle of symptom based treatment and not looking at health as a whole.

Most illness, spiritual, emotional, mental and physical can be overcome naturally. So try your best to find out how you can use nature to overcome your problems before consuming toxic and dangerous medicines.

Consumption also works for the mind to, your thoughts become things. So if you are stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts you may want to try to replace them with something a little more positive.

patience

4. Patience/Persistence

You cannot always have what you want, when you want it! This is not a bad thing; just imagine everything you set out to do was completed straight away. You would have nothing to aim for, no goals and no reason to wake up in the morning.

If you have something big that you want in your life you will have to be patient and you will also need to be persistent.

If you have something big that you want in your life you will have to be patient.
If you work every day towards a goal and that goal is something that you have some control over then the only thing that can stand between you and your goal is time!

One thing to remember here is to try and enjoy the journey, if you think a certain goal will bring you happiness and you struggle to find anything to be grateful for on the way chances are when you finally get there you will still not feel satisfied.

Celebrate every small victory on route to your big goals, be patient and persistent and you will get there in the end!

5. Avoidance

Some things in your life will be out of your control, certain people and places will leave a negative impact on you. Sometimes it will not be possible to just walk away from these things, but you can do your best to avoid them.

If someone at work acts negatively and always leaves you feeling down avoid them. If you are making dietary changes and your friends are going to a fast food restaurant don’t go. If your partner happens to love Housewives Of New Jersey and you don’t, go read a book when they are watching it!

Some things in life will need to be confronted, but sometimes the best way to deal with a problem is to just avoid or ignore it.

6. Removal

There will be times in your life when avoiding a problem is just not viable. Sometimes in life you have to make tough decisions, but usually the tough decisions result in the biggest impact.

Sometimes friendships and relationships end. Sometimes a career is having such a negative impact on your life that you will have to leave. Sometimes you have to stop relying on will power to help you through your diet and throw out them chocolate chip cookies.

Your life is your responsibility and when certain things have a constant negative impact on you, you will have to make a decision – am I going to accept this or remove it and move on.

This can be one of the hardest things a person can do, but when you take note of things, people and places that impact your life in a bad way and do your best to remove them, your life will change for the better.

7. Lifestyle

The first step for lifestyle is finding out what lifestyle you really want, a lot of people go into adulthood without knowing what they want or what they stand for.

Lifestyle will affect your health, wealth and relationships so it’s important if you want to lead a fulfilling life that you know what you want and build a lifestyle around that.

Lifestyle is really a combination of the knowledge you acquire, the daily habits you partake in and what you deem to be acceptable on your journey.

It’s very important that you set strict boundaries in some areas of your life to make sure your life is the one you want to be living.

Let’s face it we all have the same amount of time in the day, yet some people can barely manage to get on top of household chores, While others can run a Fortune 500 company and still find the time to meditate, go to the gym and hang out with friends and family in the evening.

It’s very much about viewing your life and seeing what is productive and empowering you and what is negative and disempowering you. Then doing more of the positive and less of the negative!


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The Importance of Cultivating Patience

Patience: the one trait that can be used to easily differentiate between a child and an adult.

Impatience is almost entirely expected of kids isn’t it? Are we there yet? I want this toy NOW! Immediate gratification was what they liked and expected. Unfortunately, we see this same trait in some adults today as well. I want to make some fast money NOW! I want to lose this weight NOW! I want the perfect life NOW!

What these types of adults fail to realize is that patience is a refined sense of confidence knowing that you WILL get what you want. This quality will help you attain your dreams in three ways.

Cultivating patience gets you out of the instantaneous gratification model of thinking.

No great achievement was ever created instantaneously by anybody at anytime. Great achievement is always a function of patience.

Impatience often makes us do rash things and engage in poor decisions because we didn’t take the time to gather the correct information and resources. For example, let’s say we have two car companies. One who just wants to get a car out as fast as possible to make a quick buck, but another which takes the time to gather the best information, the best parts, and the best engineers to produce a quality car. Sure, the first company would be the one to make money sooner, but in the long run, which car company is going to generate the most profit? The second one by a HUGE margin. The patience the second car company displayed resulted in a quality product, which then domino effected toward huge future profits as consumers readily saw the difference between the two car companies and their products.

When you’re patient, you know that the achievement of your goal will take time, which is the proper and healthy way to view it. Because it will take time, you know that hard work is going to be involved. You know and expect that setbacks will occur. When it’s all said and done, when all the cards are on the table, you know that you will inevitably achieve what you set out to accomplish and that you will have done it with quality.

You see impatient people embracing the instantaneous model of gratification all the time, especially with kids today. They are always asking how they can make money quick and easy. Some of these kids will probably engage in criminal behavior in order to get the money quick and easy. Those kids who are patient will do the work to get the money and when they do, they’ll find themselves in a more favorable position because of it.

Patience

Take for example the kid who mows the neighbor’s lawn for a measly 5 bucks. If he’s patient enough to do a good job, that neighbor may be so impressed with his work that he refers him to another neighbor, and another, till the kid starts generating more cash than he did at that one job. Another kid who’s impatient and just wants the five bucks will do a mediocre job, and will have missed out on the future opportunities the patient kid was given. All because he was impatient with his work.

Another common example is a person who wants to lose a lot of weight. The quick and easy way would be to have surgery, but we know that can bring along with it a whole host of complications and consequences. The patient way is to exercise daily, get the correct diet information, eat healthy, etc., and sure it might take months or even years, but in the end, you get quality results. You have more self-discipline, more self confidence, great eating and exercising habits, things that you would NOT have gotten had you taken the instantaneous gratification way out.

Patience gets you into the quality model of thinking. Look around you and see what has gone into the making of the computer you are using, the chair you’re sitting in, the books on your shelves. Realize how much patience has gone into developing these products. We correctly correlate quality with patience. Patience implies that works needs to be done, and that work will take time, which is the best attitude to have.

Cultivating patience makes you aware of your surroundings and allows for breakthroughs to occur.

Impatience is directly correlated with narrow-mindedness and gets the mind to focus in on the negative side of things. If you’re patient, you become open minded and you see all the positive opportunities all around you. Those who are impatient in line are often seen huffing and puffing, being exasperated that they must wait, while those who are patient view this opportunity with an open mind and see it as a chance to strike up a conversation with a person nearby, which may lead to a new network contact or friend.

Going back to the example of the kid mowing the lawn, his patience in getting the job done with quality may make him aware of other areas to generate money. While taking time to mow the lawn, he may become aware of weeds in the garden that he can pull or the dilapidated fence he can paint new again. Had he been impatient and just wanted the money, he would’ve missed out on those opportunities to generate more money. Because he has the patience in knowing that the work that needs to be done will take time, he becomes aware of his surroundings and can leverage that to create breakthroughs.

Cultivating patience makes you see everything in the big picture.

Patience gives you the ability to place everything along your journey in the big picture. You see the lessons that you learn and you become aware of how they can help you. In other words, you leverage every experience along the way and maximize its use. Because you see things in the big picture, you anticipate roadblocks instead of being surprised by them, which makes them easier to deal with. When you become impatient, you think short term and quit and miss that moment where everything clicks together.

For example, if your dream is to open up a pizza shop, but you get rejected by several investors, you take each rejection and place it in the big picture. You know it’s going to take time and beacuse of that, you learn something from each rejection. If you didn’t have patience, you’d probably quit at the very moment where you would’ve had all the necessary information to make the next presentation to investors a successful one.

Cultivating patience supports the belief that you know you’ll get what you want in due time. It’s the bridge connecting your vision to your end game and without it, nothing of great achievement will ever be accomplished.

source: briankim.net


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Patience, The Art of Intelligent Waiting

Sara, from Institute of HeartMath   February 15, 2015

“Adopt the pace of nature: Her secret is patience.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life unfolds in spite of our impatience. The misfortune of it is that because of our impatience we don’t fully appreciate the joy and beauty of watching it unfold. And then there’s all the stress and discontentment along the way.

Especially today, with the rapid pace of modern life, lowering the level of impatience could help reduce a lot of the world’s stress. It is fortunate then that many of life’s experiences teach us that patience is possible. The impatience of youth, for instance, at last becomes patient because adulthood finally arrives. The impatience of the artist becomes patient because art is created. Driving in traffic becomes patient because the destination is finally reached.

Impatience, however, can have great costs. How much has impatience in people’s lives led to things that could have been but never were: a true friend lost because five minutes of conversation could not be spared; poor marks in school because of a lack of attention to instructors and instructions; immeasurable and uncountable opportunities gone by the wayside because judgment, anger and anxiety among other byproducts of impatience prevented people from ever knowing they existed.

In contrast, how much is there in our lives that our patience has benefited us? Our true loves, cherished friends, close confidantes and other rewarding relationships nurtured through mutual listening, empathy and unconditional acceptance; a finished project at work whose success is owed to perseverance and attention to detail; a major breakthrough with a withdrawn child because of unwavering parental love, understanding and patience.

‘The Art of Intelligent Waiting’

Impatience, it is clear, is not an emotion that befalls only an unfortunate few. It may be true that there is a lot of impatience in some people, but there is a little impatience in all people.

Institute of HeartMath Founder Doc Childre characterizes patience as “the art of intelligent waiting” – waiting with purpose, positive intention and a sincere belief that waiting is an important element in the unfolding of all things.

“Patience is the practice of maintaining a state of inner ease and resilience when you are tempted to be impatient,” Doc says, “especially when the mind wants to force results, rather than remain in flow.
“Impatience is an invitation to frustration, shallow discernment, and faulty choices. With a little heart-focused intention and practice, we can effect a makeover by replacing impatience with patience – the secret sauce in the recipe for flow. When our hearts truly commit to becoming patient, then our minds will cooperate, surrender their resistance and take purposeful steps to manifest it.”

patience

Although we may not always consciously acknowledge when we have slipped into impatience, this emotion certainly is not an involuntary one. There is no Man Waiting in Trafficreason we cannot opt to be patient in myriad situations throughout our busy days. Here are some common examples:

  • Encountering a neighbor, colleague or other acquaintance while on our way to the office, store, a meeting or other place.
  • Driving in stop-and-go traffic.
  • Waiting on that seemingly endless spinning wheel on the computer screen.
  • Listening to someone tell a long story about something that happened to him or her.
  • Fidgeting or clock-watching near the end of the work or school day.

Think of a time when you grew impatient in any of the situations above. Did you tell yourself, “I don’t want to be here,” or “I don’t have time for this.” How much effort would it have taken if you had gone to your heart instead and told yourself, “I have a choice. I don’t have to be impatient. I can make peace with this situation.”

“The greatest ideas in history often came to light in sudden bursts of inspiration. Then patience prepared them for the world.”

Patience through Inner Ease

Man MeditatingEven individuals who meditate and use heart tools still may experience some impatience, but these are practices that can diminish our impatience to a mild or hardly perceptible feeling that we can simply acknowledge and let go.

A primary goal of such practices should be to access your personal space of inner ease, where choosing not to be impatient comes more naturally and quickly.

“The state of ease is a refuge,” HeartMath’s Doc Childre writes in his booklet, The State of Ease, “a refuge for action in our hearts and minds. In ease, instead of reacting in the same old ways to the stresses and challenges of our harried world, we can take a little time to connect with the qualities of our hearts – love, care and compassion – and our hearts’ wisdom.” (Go to The State of Ease to download a free copy of the e-booklet.)

The state of ease can be achieved within minutes with HeartMath’s Inner-Ease® Technique any time you feel at risk or are in the grip of impatience. When you practice Inner-Ease on a regular basis, you can add more flow to your life and greatly reduce episodes of impatience.

Developing Patience (Adapted from the Inner-Ease Technique.)

  • If you are feeling impatient, acknowledge your feelings as soon as you sense that you are out of sync – experiencing feelings such as impatience, frustration, anxiety, being judgmental or mental gridlock.
  • Take a short time-out to do heart-focused breathing: breathe a little slower than usual, and imagine you are breathing through your heart or chest area.People In Line
  • As you do heart-focused breathing, imagine with each breath that you are drawing in feelings of patience and inner ease.
    • Anchor these feelings of patience and inner peace in your heart. Do this throughout your daily tasks, interactions and challenges.6006

Remember, the presence of sincere patience means the absence of so many byproducts of impatience: negative emotions like anger, disappointment, frustration and blame among others. Rather than draining yourself and creating negative energy, you can increase your energy and resilience. Sincere patience means approaching situations with a positive attitude, care, understanding and genuine allowance.

The long lines at the store, traffic jams and slow computers won’t instantly disappear as you practice Inner Ease. However, the state of inner ease helps us attune our mental and emotional nature to the most reasonable and effective way for responding to each situation that life brings us.

 


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Tips to Manage Stress

Stress is a part of life, a normal response to demands either emotional, intellectual, or physical. It can be positive if it keeps us alert, motivated, and ready to avoid danger. It can be negative if it becomes chronic, increasing the risk of diseases like depression, heart disease and a variety of other problems. 

Managing stress is key to your health. And it isn’t so very difficult to do.

How Does Stress Affect Health?

The body’s autonomic nervous system has a built-in stress response that causes physiological changes to allow the body to combat stressful situations. This stress response, also known as the “fight or flight response,” is activated in case of an emergency. However, this response can become chronically activated during prolonged periods of stress, which can cause wear and tear on the body — both physical and emotional.

Stress that continues without relief can lead to a condition called distress — a negative stress reaction. Distress can disturb the body’s internal balance or equilibrium, leading to physical symptoms such as headaches, an upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, sexual dysfunction, and problems sleeping. Emotional problems can also result from distress. These problems include depression, panic attacks, or other forms of anxiety and worry. Research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases. Stress is linked to six of the leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide.

Stress also becomes harmful when people engage in the compulsive use of substances or behaviors to try to relieve their stress. These substances or behaviors may include food, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, gambling, sex, shopping, and the Internet. Rather than relieving the stress and returning the body to a relaxed state, these substances and compulsive behaviors tend to keep the body in a stressed state causing more problems. The distressed person becomes trapped in a vicious circle.


What Are the Warning Signs of Stress?

Chronic stress can wear down the body’s natural defenses, leading to a variety of physical symptoms, including:

  • Dizziness or a general feeling of “being out of it”
  • General aches and pains
  • Grinding teeth, clenched jaw
  • Headaches
  • Indigestion or acid reflux symptoms
  • Increase in or loss of appetite
  • Muscle tension in neck, face or shoulders
  • Problems sleeping
  • Racing heart
  • Cold and sweaty palms
  • Tiredness, exhaustion
  • Trembling/shaking
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Upset stomach, diarrhea
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Irritability, impatience, forgetfulness

Tips for Reducing Stress

People can learn to manage stress and lead happier, healthier lives. Here are some tips to help you keep stress at bay:

  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Accept that there are events that you cannot control.
  • Be assertive instead of aggressive. Assert your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, defensive, or passive.
  • Learn and practice relaxation techniques; try meditation, yoga, or tai-chi.
  • Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when it is fit.
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
  • Learn to manage your time more effectively.
  • Set limits appropriately and say no to requests that would create excessive stress in your life.
  • Make time for hobbies and interests.
  • Get enough rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.
  • Don’t rely on alcohol, drugs, or food to reduce stress. Ease up on caffeine, too.
  • Seek out social support. Spend enough time with those you love.
  • Seek treatment with a psychologist or other mental health professional trained in stress management or biofeedback techniques to learn more healthy ways of dealing with the stress in your life. 
source: webmd.com


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4 Ways to Enjoy (Not Just Endure) Holiday Family Gatherings

The holidays mean lots of time spent with family, which can mean lots of opportunities for stress. Whether your brother-in-law insists on talking about politics, your mother probes into your love life, or your Great Aunt Jean picks her teeth at the table, each family gathering is rife with opportunities to lose your cool.

“The irony about spending time with the people you know and love the best is that they also know how to push your buttons the most,” says Kate Hanley, author of The Anywhere, Anytime Chill Guide. You can either clench your jaw and muddle through until it’s time to go home again, or you can try a few mindfulness techniques that can help you stay open-hearted to the people you love, Hanley says. “The only way you can change another person’s behavior is to change the way you react to them—and taking even a few seconds to take a deep breath can help you react more thoughtfully to whatever’s stressing you out.”

Here are four simple remedies—drawn from meditation, yoga, and acupressure—Hanley suggests trying at every family gathering you’ll be attending this holiday season. “Although no one thing can magically transform your family relationships, these tips can help you be more relaxed, less stressed, and less likely to get snippy with the people you love.”

Stand by your mantra.

Before you head to the family gathering, decide which family quirks you’re dreading the most. Then resolve to repeat a calming mantra whenever your stress trigger happens. “Your mantra can be any word or short phrase that’s meaningful to you,” Hanley says. “It could be something formal, like ‘Om’ or ‘Amen,’ or something simple such ‘peace’ or ‘bless his heart.'” Whatever mantra you choose, taking a few moments to repeat it before you react to whatever is pushing your buttons gives you a chance to collect your thoughts—making you less likely to over-react.

How to Stay Healthy at Christmas

Accentuate the positive.

Before you leave for the family gathering (or before you begin getting ready, if you’re hosting), take a few moments to name the parts of the day you’re looking forward to—such as eating Mom’s apple pie, seeing your favorite cousin, or playing with your niece. Then if anything happens to spike your stress levels, make it a point to focus on the things you like. “Changing your focus from something upsetting to something enjoyable can snap you out of a downward spiral in mood,” Hanley says.

Practice the art of letting go.

We all wish we could “get more Zen” around our families, but we can all use a little help because the emotions associated with family are deep-seated and highly charged. There is an acupressure point known as Letting Go that facilitates the release of troublesome emotions, deepens breathing, and promotes relaxation. “Spending a few minutes applying gentle pressure to your Letting Go points can provide a noticeable shift in your mood,” Hanley says. “You can do it in your car before you go inside or even in the bathroom if you need help during the festivities.” To find the Letting Go points, feel the tips of your collarbones on either side of the notch of your throat. Walk your fingers out to where the collarbones end—the Letting Go points are located three finger widths below that end point. With your arms crossed in front of your torso, press two or three fingertips in to the points on either side of your chest and breathe naturally as you do. “You don’t need to go for the burn—think steady but gentle pressure,” Hanley advises. After a minute or two, remove your fingertips slowly and take a couple of breaths before you head back in to the festivities.

Remember your heart.

Whenever you need help staying calm, take a moment to lay one hand over your heart. “This simple gesture shifts your focus away from your swirling thoughts and on to your body—where your deepest wisdom resides—and your heart in particular, which helps you react with love instead of frustration,” Hanley says. “If anyone in your family catches you doing it and looks at you funny, just tell them you have heartburn.”

Kate Hanley is a professional writer who specializes in exploring the mind-body connection.

source: life.gaiam.com


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4 Ways to Enjoy (Not Just Endure) Holiday Family Gatherings

The holidays mean lots of time spent with family, which can mean lots of opportunities for stress. Whether your brother-in-law insists on talking about politics, your mother probes into your love life, or your Great Aunt Jean picks her teeth at the table, each family gathering is rife with opportunities to lose your cool.

“The irony about spending time with the people you know and love the best is that they also know how to push your buttons the most,” says Kate Hanley, author of The Anywhere, Anytime Chill Guide. You can either clench your jaw and muddle through until it’s time to go home again, or you can try a few mindfulness techniques that can help you stay open-hearted to the people you love, Hanley says. “The only way you can change another person’s behavior is to change the way you react to them—and taking even a few seconds to take a deep breath can help you react more thoughtfully to whatever’s stressing you out.”

Here are four simple remedies—drawn from meditation, yoga, and acupressure—Hanley suggests trying at every family gathering you’ll be attending this holiday season. “Although no one thing can magically transform your family relationships, these tips can help you be more relaxed, less stressed, and less likely to get snippy with the people you love.”

Stand by your mantra.

Before you head to the family gathering, decide which family quirks you’re dreading the most. Then resolve to repeat a calming mantra whenever your stress trigger happens. “Your mantra can be any word or short phrase that’s meaningful to you,” Hanley says. “It could be something formal, like ‘Om’ or ‘Amen,’ or something simple such ‘peace’ or ‘bless his heart.'” Whatever mantra you choose, taking a few moments to repeat it before you react to whatever is pushing your buttons gives you a chance to collect your thoughts—making you less likely to over-react.


Accentuate the positive.

Before you leave for the family gathering (or before you begin getting ready, if you’re hosting), take a few moments to name the parts of the day you’re looking forward to—such as eating Mom’s apple pie, seeing your favorite cousin, or playing with your niece. Then if anything happens to spike your stress levels, make it a point to focus on the things you like. “Changing your focus from something upsetting to something enjoyable can snap you out of a downward spiral in mood,” Hanley says.

Practice the art of letting go.

We all wish we could “get more Zen” around our families, but we can all use a little help because the emotions associated with family are deep-seated and highly charged. There is an acupressure point known as Letting Go that facilitates the release of troublesome emotions, deepens breathing, and promotes relaxation. “Spending a few minutes applying gentle pressure to your Letting Go points can provide a noticeable shift in your mood,” Hanley says. “You can do it in your car before you go inside or even in the bathroom if you need help during the festivities.” To find the Letting Go points, feel the tips of your collarbones on either side of the notch of your throat. Walk your fingers out to where the collarbones end—the Letting Go points are located three finger widths below that end point. With your arms crossed in front of your torso, press two or three fingertips in to the points on either side of your chest and breathe naturally as you do. “You don’t need to go for the burn—think steady but gentle pressure,” Hanley advises. After a minute or two, remove your fingertips slowly and take a couple of breaths before you head back in to the festivities.

Remember your heart.

Whenever you need help staying calm, take a moment to lay one hand over your heart. “This simple gesture shifts your focus away from your swirling thoughts and on to your body—where your deepest wisdom resides—and your heart in particular, which helps you react with love instead of frustration,” Hanley says. “If anyone in your family catches you doing it and looks at you funny, just tell them you have heartburn.” 

Kate Hanley is a professional writer who specializes in exploring the mind-body connection.