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Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


What Self-Care Is — and What It Isn’t

When asked the question: “Do you take care of yourself?” most of us will answer yes — we’d even think, “What kind of question is this? Of course I care about myself.”

When asked, “In what ways do you take care of yourself?” — well, that’s where the tricky part begins.

What is self-care?

Self-care is any activity that we deliberately do in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health. Although it’s a simple idea in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also keep to a good relationship with oneself and others.

What isn’t self-care?

Knowing what self-care is not might be even more important. It is not something that we force ourselves to do, or something we don’t enjoy doing. As Agnes Wainman defined, self-care is “something that refuels us, rather than takes from us.”

Self-care isn’t a selfish act either. It is not only about considering our needs; it is rather about knowing what we need to do in order to take care of ourselves, being subsequently, able to take care of others as well. That is, if I don’t take enough care of myself, I won’t be in the place to give to my loved ones either.

In a few words, self-care is the key to living a balanced life.

Where do you start? Well, there are 3 golden rules:

  • Stick to the basics. Over time you will find your own rhythm and routine. You will be able to implement more and identify more particular forms of self-care that work for you.
  • Self-care needs to be something you actively plan on, rather than something that just happens. It is an active choice and you must treat it as such. Add certain activities to your calendar, announce your plans to others in order to increase your commitment and actively look for opportunities to practice self-care.
  • What I often emphasize to my clients is that keeping a conscious mind is what counts. In other words if you don’t see something as self-care or don’t do something in order to take care of yourself, it won’t work as such. Be aware of what you do, why you do it, how it feels and what the outcomes are.

Although self-care means different things to different people, there’s a basic checklist which can be followed by all of us:

  • Create a “no” list, with things you know you don’t like or you no longer want to do. E.g. Not checking emails at night, not attending gatherings you don’t like, not answering your phone during lunch/dinner.
  • Promote a nutritious, healthy diet.
  • Get enough sleep. Adults usually need 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Exercise. In contrast to what many people think, exercise is as good for our emotional health as it is for our physical health. It increases serotonin levels, leading to improved mood and energy. In line with the self-care conditions, what’s important is that you choose a form of exercise that you like!
  • Follow-up with medical care. It is not unusual to put off checkups or visits to the doctor.
  • Use relaxation exercises and/or practice meditation. You can do these exercises at any time of the day; in the morning, when anxious, before going to sleep.
  • Spend enough time with your loved ones.
  • Do at least one relaxing activity every day, whether this is taking a walk or spending 30 minutes unwinding yourself.
  • Do at least one pleasurable activity every day; from going to the cinema, to cooking or meeting with friends.
  • Look for opportunities to laugh!

Set up a 15-day self-care routine and see how you feel before and after. And never forget: As with everything, self-care takes practice!

 By Raphailia Michael, MA

About Raphailia Michael, MA
Raphailia Michael is a licensed Counselling Psychologist, qualified in Cyprus, Slovenia and the Netherlands. She runs an online practice working with people from all over the world, as well as a practice in Cyprus where she offers face-to-face sessions, workshops, skills groups and group therapy. Raphailia works with a variety of symptoms in a humanistic and integrative way, drawing on the perspectives of Person-centered approach, Narrative therapy, CBT, DBT, and Mindfulness. Her goal is to help her clients through their journey towards self-empowerment, self-acceptance and a more fulfilling life. More information can be obtained through www.raphailiamichael.com.


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7 Ways to Fend Off Holiday Stress (and Stay Grateful!)

By: Jordyn Cormier     November 30, 2015

The holidays are the most joyous time of the year, right? Well for some of us, what should be a pleasant season filled with laughter and mirth turns into a 90 day stress marathon. But do the holidays really have to be strangled by a glittering tinsel of stress? Absolutely not. Here are 7 tactics to fend off holiday stress and truly embrace the holidays.

Eat mindfully. Instead of stuffing your face — which is absurdly easy to do — really work on tasting your holiday treats. The holidays aren’t just about eating. Slow down, connect with your loved ones, make memories. Sure, food is a part of the equation, but that doesn’t mean you have to be constantly eating. Enjoy yourself mindfully and in moderation to skip the guilt that tends to accompany overindulging.

Make room for yourself. Everyone needs something during the holidays, and you may especially feel the pressure to give even more of yourself than usual. However, if giving your friend a ride to an appointment is going to throw off the rest of your day and flood your constricting vessels with stress, it’s best to practice saying ‘no’. Helping out loved ones is lovely, but you shouldn’t sacrifice your own well being to accommodate others. Treat yourself well, and then you’ll be able to treat your loved ones well. If you burn out, you’ve done a disservice to both yourself and those who rely on you. Make room for ‘you time’: take a bubble bath, go to yoga, see a concert, indulge in a trashy novel. Enjoy the season without spreading yourself too thin.

Stop worrying about money. If you’re a little low on spare cash this year, it can be easy to get swept up in the dismay of not being able to afford gifts for your loved ones. Don’t get sucked into the commercialism of the holidays. If you can afford nice gifts, great. If you cannot, use your ingenuity. Buy a book from a thrift store, make a piece of jewelry out of found items, craft a collage, write a song — explore your own creativity! Money isn’t everything, so stop stressing about it. It really is the thought that counts.

How to Stay Healthy at Christmas

Stay positive. Money, work, deadlines, relationships, crowded shopping centers, chores, bills, that incessant holiday music that’s been playing since Halloween — there are plenty of things that can get you irritated or down over the holidays. But, negativity is a vicious cycle and will only serve to increase your stress. Try to work on some self-affirmations or emotional resetting exercises. Your mind is a powerful tool that has the complete control to stop a cycle of negative thinking. Know this — you are good enough, your problems are not insurmountable, and holiday joy is all around you just waiting to be enjoyed. Use whatever works for you to get your outlook back on track. If imagining Ryan Gosling standing in front of you in a Santa cap is what keeps you with a positive outlook, hey, no one’s judging…

Stay humble. Feelings of humility and gratefulness have actually been shown to drastically improve your well being. Those who focus on their blessings rather than their obstacles are better equipped to handle stress. “…to the extent that gratitude, like other positive emotions, broadens the scope of cognition and enables flexible and creative thinking, it also facilitates coping with stress and adversity.” (source) Be regularly thankful for all that you have, and the world will seem a whole lot brighter and more manageable.

Be accepting of others. Everyone is different and beautifully unique. The holidays are a time to embrace these differences and celebrate them. Try to take a step back from disagreements and arguments and attempt to understand the other person’s perspective. Instead of getting bogged down by minor disputes, turn down your ego and try to come to a peaceful compromise. We are all very human and so very flawed. Let’s accept and celebrate that.

Accept yourself. Most of our stress and negativity comes from within. We may project it upon others, but we are much more capable of handling outside stress when we are happy with ourselves. This is a lifelong journey, but the sooner you learn to love the person you are, the happier and more peaceful your life will be. Let your true, positive self shine this holiday season and good vibes will bounce back.

Stress can be a difficult obstacle to acknowledge, and an even more difficult one to overcome. But don’t let it thwart the joy of the holidays! By practicing mindful techniques and focusing on the positive, you can be a glowing entity of holiday cheer rather than a furry little grinch. Feel the joy and enjoy the fruits of the holidays!


7 Things Truly Kind People Do EVERY Day That Make Us Adore Them

By Jan Bowen

It’s hard not to love a person this great!

Have you ever noticed that kind people are also incredibly content in their life?

That’s because being kind literally increases our levels of health and happiness. Research shows this impacts our relationships positively, as well. Kindness helps keeps couples together. The more your partner is on the receiving end of your goodwill, the more likely they are to shower you with love in return.

Kindness is pretty awesome. It creates an overall climate of trust, acceptance and comfort. And let’s be honest — in this age of violence, war, general snarkiness, and online cruelty, “being kind” is it’s own form of social rebellion. What a fun way to “stick it” to an overly harsh world.

While over-the-top “nice” people tend to annoy us, genuine kindness is a trait pretty much everyone appreciates and admires. So what’s the difference between that amazing, kind person everyone adores and, well … you? Here a seven things they do every single day that make people want to be around them:

1. They’re kind to themselves. They know that being spontaneous and generous requires having solid stores of your own positive energy. So, they take care of meeting their own needs first, before giving to others. As a result, receiving from them feels like a true gift.

2. They’re grateful. Truly and deeply grateful … for life and all its blessings, its challenges, and its lessons. In every circumstance, they take time to find and acknowledge the kernel of good — viewing every situation with a glass half full mindset. They still acknowledge what’s challenging, but in facing it, they strive to help others keep perspective, too.

3. They truly listen. Even when they have something to add, they know how to just listen first to what others say, so that the person talking feels respected and understood. They connect fully, listen with interest, and don’t censor or talk-over what others are saying.


4. They’re confident. Their self-confidence allows them to indulge their big-hearted nature without expecting anything in return. And others find this quality incredibly attractive. Every day, kind people look for opportunities to give someone the benefit of the doubt — and they do. Because they’re confident in themselves, they don’t need to take others down for every misstep.

5. They genuinely care. Kind people pay attention and your happiness and well-being are on their mind. While they respect personal boundaries, they support and celebrate what serves your higher good. They want to know how your day is, how your mom is, and that the people in your life treat you right.

6. They laugh often. Kind people see the humor and irony in situations, without the snarkiness and meanness others typically show. Life is funny! And these awesome people know that sometimes the best gift you can give someone is just helping them laugh and lighten up. Dropping a witty comment at just the right moment — they are masters light-hearted comedy.

7. They’re respectful. They thrive on diversity but don’t expect others to share their opinions. They accept your right to your own viewpoint, even if they don’t agree with it. And they would never shame or embarrass someone in any way — verbally or non-verbally. They look out for others and try to protect them from feeling small in front of others.

Small acts of kindness make a big difference.

Grand gestures don’t always mean more than small kindnesses. After all, it’s the “little things” that show an awareness of others (who they are and what they love). Kind people put their love for you into action, through small thoughtful gestures that show they care enough to pay attention. Little things like: sending cards, making a phone call, buying presents.

But life is busy, times get hectic and we don’t always have time for those extra actions.

We will, however, always have time for kindness because it is the real intention and emotion behind those actions. Follow up with those gestures when you have the time and opportunity and watch how fast those around you begin to think you’re the kindest person they know.

But when you don’t, still make the time to take care of yourself, truly listen in a conversation, and be deeply grateful. And just see if the world doesn’t seem a little … or a lot… nicer.

Jan L. Bowen is an author and certified thought leader, experienced at helping her clients facilitate their life more joyfully and easily. 


5 Priceless Gifts You Deserve to Give Yourself

“The greatest gift you can give yourself is a little bit of your own attention.”
~Anthony J. D’Angelo

The other day, when I was out celebrating a friend’s birthday, someone asked about the best gift I’d ever received.

What came to mind was getting my parents’ hand-me-down Corolla when I was sixteen. It was my first taste of being all ‘grown-up.’ I felt like my parents trusted me enough to give me the keys to go out on my own. It gave me a sense of pride and freedom.

Aside from that, nothing else that was tangible came to mind. What stood out were the memories and the moments I shared with the people who celebrated my birthday with me. And the most memorable ones involved traveling or living in a foreign country.

So this got me thinking—the best gifts you can give yourself are things that are priceless. They are a collection of moments and experiences that add depth and value to your life.

Aside from a lifetime of adventures, here is a list of invaluable gifts you deserve to give yourself.

1. Time to learn about yourself.

In Dr. Meg Jay’s TED talk, she offers twenty-somethings a piece of advice—to invest in “identity capital,” something that adds value to who you are and who you want to be.

I feel this point is applicable to people of all ages. One of the best gifts you can give yourself is to learn more about you.

Give yourself the permission to explore and really get to know who you are. Discover what you like and don’t like. This will help you set your standards and boundaries, which are hopefully aligned with your values, so that you can create the life you want.

Along the way you might find that things change. And that’s okay. It’s natural. When it does, recognize this and be mindful in your daily actions as you adjust to the person you are becoming.

2. Peace of mind.

Everything is temporary; nothing lasts forever.

When you give yourself permission to befriend what is, instead of what you think it should be, you’ll realize that the best thing you can do is to focus on the present and count your blessings.

There’s no need to worry incessantly, for you can’t control the future, or what others think for that matter. Most of the time people are self-absorbed, going through their own things, not even aware of how their actions and reactions may have come across to you.

Worrying doesn’t accomplish anything; it only takes away today’s peace.

When you are in the moment, just do what you can do. Sometimes it may be nothing, and it’s okay.

Have faith that everything will work out for the best. After all, you have found a way to survive your ‘bad’ choices thus far. So going forward, why not trust yourself? You’ve got the proof that you are capable of more than you know.


3. Time for yourself.

We often put ourselves last on our to-do list.

But it’s important to take care of your well-being and to recharge your batteries first in order to be at your best to give to others.

Find ways to you nurture your body and nourish you mind. Take the rest you need to not burn yourself out. After all, you are the caretaker of your body and life. No one can do this for you.

When you allow yourself to have moments to unwind, de-stress, and reconnect with yourself, you will be more productive, have more energy, and feel happier, which will result in fostering better relationships while reducing your stress levels.

4. A chance.

Give yourself the gift of following your dreams. Do what you love; do what is important for you.

In order for you to live a fulfilled and meaningful life, you have to live it yourself. So don’t wait until it’s too late. Find the courage and willpower to live a life true to yourself, and spend your time doing what counts for you.

I was once depressed and was lucky to find passion for life again.

Through reading self-help books, following sites like Tiny Buddha, getting into yoga, and asking for help, I realized I’d been living someone else’s life . No wonder I was in a slump and unhappy.

When I started to fall in love with life all over again, I was determined to start living on my own terms. And now I am giving myself a chance to do what it is I love, which is to help others whose lights have been dimmed to find purpose and passion again.

As Wayne Dyer famously said, “Don’t die with your music still in you.”

5. Forgiveness.

“Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.” ~Unknown

We often have a hard time forgiving ourselves for our mistakes. Instead of beating ourselves up, we need to appreciate the lessons we’ve learned from our unwise choices.

Recognize that you did your best with what you understood back then. You are not defined by your past.

The fact that you are upset and holding yourself accountable shows that you care and that you have reflected and grown from the experience. So it’s time to stop berating yourself and judging your actions.

Forgive yourself like you would with a friend or a love one. When you forgive and let go of the guilt and shame, you give yourself the power to change your story.

Last but not least, be your own best friend! Give yourself the gift of being the kind of person you would most like to spend the time with.

When you catch yourself talking negatively, change it to a more positive and supportive voice. Be nice to yourself.

You deserve it.

By Theresa Hosource
source: tinybuddha.com

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5 Times You Need to Stand Up For Yourself

We’ve all taken a seat on the people-pleasing train a time or two. We do things for people we don’t want to do, we accept an opinion we don’t believe, and we allow others to treat us unfairly so that we can keep the waters calm. All this does is sacrifice our happiness to make someone else happy.

While on the surface it may seem smart and even admirable to constantly be doing things for others, there is a time when we must stand up for our needs first. It’s important to our happiness to be compassionate and giving to others, but there’s a fine line between serving others and living a life of servitude.

Our happiness is important. In fact, it’s important enough to warrant a little selfishness on our part. Not the kind that is malicious in intent, but the kind that makes us stronger and more secure in who we are. Standing up for ourselves, when it’s easier to give in, helps us to live in our authentic truth.

Our happiness, and ultimately our lives, are defined by the choices we make. When we allow other people to tell us how to feel, they are making those choices for us, and we are giving away our truth. Life is too short to live a life others want us to live. Giving in is a sign we’ve stopped caring about who we are and who we are capable of being.

It’s time to stop caring about how other people will respond, and stand up for ourselves when we need to.

It’s hard to sit and listen to someone talk about something that goes against what you believe. Yet, we do it all the time because we don’t want to cause a scene, or we don’t think disagreeing will change anyone’s mind. Often, remaining silent gives the impression that we agree with the sentiment. As a result, we are not honoring our truth.

When we passionately believe in something, we should let people know why we stand up for those ideals. We may not change anyone’s mind, but we may change the conversation. This is something that can be difficult to do, so practice the argument and think about the objections beforehand. The more we start letting people know what we believe, the easier it becomes.


It is so easy to take on a project or do a favor for a friend that is in direct conflict with a goal we’re working towards. Our first instinct is to help others, and while noble, it can detract us from the things that matter in our lives. Always keep sight of the things that really matter, the things that support a happy life. Sometimes it is necessary to say “no” to stay on track for our big goals and stand up for what we believe in.

Bullying doesn’t just happen on the playground; it happens everywhere. Any time someone becomes adamant that we should do something or think a certain way; we are being bullied. Like most bullying, the real damage is to our emotional well-being. We must learn to stand up for ourselves and others by calling out the behavior and not allowing the loudest or most persistent person to control the outcome of any situation.

Time is one of our most valuable assets, and it is a finite resource that can’t be taken back once it’s given. We need time to do the things that are important to us, the things we are called to do. We need time for the people that matter most to us, to take action towards achieving our big goals, and to practice gratitude and be appreciative of all that we are. Every time we say yes, we are saying no to something else. We must make sure we aren’t saying “no” to something that will help us grow into who we are capable of being. It’s okay and even required to say no to protect our time.

Some people just don’t understand the boundaries of what is acceptable to one person and what’s not. It’s important to let people know what our personal boundaries are. Let’s create a dialog around what we are comfortable talking about and what we’re not, what we are comfortable doing and what we’re not, and most importantly, what we are comfortable feeling and what we’re not. When we have a clear picture of our boundaries, it becomes easier to honor and stand up for our truth.

Standing up for ourselves won’t guarantee that we’ll get our way, but we will feel like have more control over the direction of our life.

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10 Everyday Habits To Make You A Calmer Person

Have you ever taken the time to observe a naturally calm person?

They’re a sight to behold — the way they glide through the day with ease, not rushed and exuding quiet confidence. I imagine you envy them as I do.

Truly calm people are a rare and exotic species that you can learn a lot from. Learn their common behaviors and attitudes, and you too can become an expert in responding to everyday stress and frustrations.

Here are 10 habits of naturally calm people:

1. They choose to walk.

To meetings across town, the shops up the road or to exercise their dog, calm people walk every day.

Get off the bus or train a stop early if you have to. This simple leg-stretching, head-clearing activity is mandatory for serenity.

2. They forgo rushing.

They leave plenty of time to get where they’re going, and they don’t cram too much in. If misadventure strikes, they drop something off their list, reschedule it, or they get there when they get there and apologize graciously.

Rushing disturbs the peace and has no value. Be determined to quit this noxious habit.

3. They prioritize self-care.

Sufficient sleep, good nutrition and physical activity are nonnegotiable for them. These essentials are not sacrificed for a deadline or anything else.

Make them the backbone of your day and you stand a good chance at the composure you crave.

4. They use routines.

Calm people minimize the strain on their working memory by doing some things the same way every day. Morning rituals, weekly wardrobe, meal plans or whatever, much of their day is predetermined.

Operating on autopilot will minimize decision-making and ease day-to-day pressure.


5. They practice being in the moment.

Most calm buffs meditate, do yoga, tai chi or other formal meditative practice. Others are able to pay attention and be fully present in their own chosen mindful activity.

Choose surfing, gardening or reading with your kids, but be diligent and practice regularly to get the stress reduction effect.

6. They use their phones judiciously.

Calm people are not at the mercy of their phones. They relegate them to their appropriate use as an intermittent tool for work and communication, maybe a source of music or news.

You will not achieve peace or poise in your life while your phone continues to dominate your day.

7. They self-regulate and exercise healthy boundaries.

They are self-aware and responsive to their mental, physical and emotional state. They take breaks, stretch and snack, or let off steam as required. Self-discipline and assertiveness enables them to say no, to ask for help and to stop work at a reasonable hour.

Practice tuning in and asserting your needs within yourself and with others, and enjoy feeling more in control.

8. They expect things to go awry.

Their unflappable nature comes from a deep knowing that life is unpredictable. They do not expect things to go to plan and they are ready to adjust to whatever the day throws their way.

By all means have a plan but be ready to change it at any moment.

9. They connect with the world authentically and meaningfully.

The calm person engages at some point each day in activity that is not about success, money or mere time-passing. An exchange with a stranger, a call with a parent, somewhere, there will be worthwhile connection. In cooking, gardening, any creative pursuit (including parenting and relationship development), somewhere there will be passion and care.

Remember what matters to you and honor it daily.

10. They embrace their small place in the world.

Their greater contentment is borne of their knowing their tiny place in the universe. They remain aware of the world beyond themselves — this prevents self-absorption.

They take their work and responsibilities seriously, but not themselves. They do not carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.

Along side meditation, service to others (through work, volunteering or caring for another) is a common way to gain this healthy perspective. It breeds self-compassion, gratitude and resilience.

Dedicate a good portion of your day to focusing on others and emulate their steady outlook.

All of these behaviors and attitudes are within your grasp, even though it may not be easy to make them a habit tomorrow — start small and start now and enjoy all the calm you deservedly achieve.

by Jacqueline Stone      March 5, 2015        source: www.mindbodygreen.com

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12 Commandments for a Happy Life and Soul

Posted: 08/18/2015    Elyse Santilli

1. Choose happiness. Radiate it.

Happiness is a choice and an energy you can cultivate on a daily basis. Do your best to live in high vibration energy like love, peace, fun and joy — for your own wellbeing and fulfillment, and for the positive ripple effect it has on those around you and the entire world. Bring a sense of play, delight, awe and enthusiasm to your daily life and tasks. Decide that no matter what happens, you will keep your heart open.

2. Enjoy the pleasures of life.

You are the Universe experiencing itself through you. Show it a good time. Give it to yourself to enjoy earthly pleasures. Get up early and watch a sunrise, swim in the ocean, devour fresh salads and juices, put on your favorite tunes, throw a dinner party, try a new recipe, relax in the park with a great book, have a second coffee, and do the things that make you feel fully alive.

3. Make empowered choices.

You don’t have control over everything in life but you do have control over your choices. Make choices that are loving and kind to you. Feel good about your choices. Make them with the right energy – wholeheartedness, joy and permission. Use permissive verbs – I can do this; I choose this.

4. Live in gratitude.

Gratitude is deceptively simple yet incredibly powerful. It makes what you have today enough, while also attracting more great things into your life. Say thank you numerous times a day. Thank you for fresh air, blue skies, rain drops, nourishing food, warm clothes, loved ones, and life itself.

5. Own your gifts.

You are the only you in the history of humankind. There will never again be anyone else like you – with your unique and magical blend of talents, passions, quirks, ideas and energy. When you think of how many sliding doors moments and events in history had to happen for you to be here today, you may realize for a moment how incredibly precious and worthy you are. Shine your light. Own your gifts. Share your true authentic self with the world.

6. Listen to your heart.

Become less centered in your circling thoughts and more centered in your heart and soul. When you can listen to your own soul instead of the noise of the world, you’ve mastered your life. Your inner guide will always tell you where to go, what to do, what to say, and to whom. Your soul knows exactly what is needed for your own highest good, growth and happiness. Following your bliss is a reasonable action plan for your life, because when you do, you open the floodgate to ideas, energy and inspiration.

7. Be creative and curious.

Make time for soul journaling, dancing, art, creating, adventuring, and solo dates to get to know yourself better. Mix up your routine, try new activities, walk the untrodden path, and open your circle to new people. When you do, you become more present and alive, because you can no longer rely on your default autopilot half-asleep mode. Have endless curiosity towards life, and positive expectations.


8. Take care of yourself.

You are a worthy, divine spiritual being. Treat yourself accordingly. The more you take care of and support yourself, the more you can take care of and support others. Nourish yourself with nutritious foods, water, movement, meditation and sleep. Fill your cup until it overflows onto others.

7. Commit to self-love.

Your relationship with yourself is the most important one of your life. How you treat yourself will have a profound impact on your relationship with others, as well as your level of success and happiness. Treat yourself like you would a best friend or loved one. Place your hand on your heart daily and tell yourself you are loved and accepted. Remind yourself ‘I love you’ whenever you are feeling anxious, ungrounded or inadequate. Remember you are always enough.

8. Be present and mindful.

The only time you can truly experience life is now. Leave those circling thoughts, worries and daydreams alone for a minute and check out what joys and opportunities are surrounding you in the present moment. Give each task your full love, energy and attention. Connect with your senses throughout the day as a window into the present. Drop into your being and make presence your natural state. Give yourself wholeheartedly to each moment. Hold nothing back.

9. Remember measure and balance.

The sage walks the middle path, away from the extremes. There is a time for action and a time for rest. A time for giving and a time for receiving. A time for speaking and a time for silence. A time for indulging and a time for holding off. Balance the areas of your life – calling and career, love and relationships, wealth, leisure and lifestyle, wellbeing and spirituality – in line with your values.

10. Creation over reaction.

You are a powerful creator. Spend less time complaining about how things are and more time deciding how you would like them to be — and then take inspired action to make it so. Embody the energy of having what you desire in advance of it arriving. Act, dress, walk, talk and make decisions as your ideal self. Keep your eyes on your vision, not the illusions around you. They are yesterday’s creations.

11. Adopt Namaste consciousness.

Bless others and soul-salute them as you pass by. Remember the light within you is the same light within them – we’re all just souls wearing different costumes. We’re also operating at different levels of consciousness, so show compassion and practice forgiveness. See everyone as a flower — unique and beautiful in their own way. Replace judgment with acceptance, respect and love.

12. Think give.

Wake up and ask yourself: how can I serve today? How can I embody love? How can I bring joy? How can I leave this world a better place? Have a spirit of service as you go about your day. Be a blessing, good company, an inspiration to others. You get more of what you give, so if you lack love, joy or abundance, find a way to help others find it. It will return to you a hundredfold.

Elyse is a writer, life coach and happiness teacher at NotesOnBliss.com and the creator of the Beautiful Life Bootcamp online course. She teaches people to align with their inner spirit, design a life they love, and expand their happiness and inner peace.