Sunday, May 31, 2015

Phrases That Will Change Your Life In 2015


Giving ourselves a mental makeover could be just as important as giving ourselves a physical one. But accomplishing that doesn't just lie in changing our thoughts -- it's also dependent on changing our words.
How we speak -- to others and to ourselves -- has a huge impact on our overall outlook. So isn't it about time we started paying more attention to what we're communicating?
Below are 15 phrases that will transform the way you think, feel and act in the coming year. Using your words to change your life? Now that's a resolution worth keeping.
"Please."
receiving help
It's among the smallest of words, but it suggests the biggest of manners -- which, quite honestly, need to make a comeback. There are a host of benefits that come with practicing good manners, from increasing social connection to helping you unplug. And think about it: Are you more likely to fulfill a favor if someone asks you nicely? There's power in "please."
"Because."
It's a simple word, but it could help you get what you want. According to research published in the new book Magic Words: The Science and Secrets Behind Seven Words That Motivate, Engage, and Influence, those who reasoned with "because" in a sentence were more likely to receive what they asked for than those who made a request without the word.
For example, when asking to cut a line, study participants who said, "Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I'm in a rush?" were given more access than those who didn't give a reason for their request. Why? Because science says so.
"Thank you."
thank you
According to Binghamton University research, only a third of people accept a compliment graciously, Psychology Today reported. It's no secret that many of us get squeamish when receiving compliments -- and as a result, the response is usually laced with self-deprecating humor that brushes off a genuine statement. Saying "thank you" not only acknowledges the other person's kind words, but hopefully it'll help you believe them, too.
"How can I help you?"
If someone you love is going through a hard time, sometimes the best way to support them is just offering to do so. "If you really want to help somebody, then the way you should go about it is to ask yourself if you can be supportive of the individual in a way that allows them to tell you about what they're experiencing and why they may be experiencing that," Todd Farchione, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University, previously told HuffPost Healthy Living.
Helping others isn't just good for them, it also can give you a boost. Research shows that giving back can increase self-satisfaction and a sense of purpose, while volunteering can improve longevity.
"Can you help me?"
helping friend
Asking for help also carries weight. There's nothing wrong with admitting that you need a little assistance. In fact, it can be transformative. We're often worried that asking for help makes us look stupid, but one study found that seeking advice can actually make you appear more competent.
"I'm too busy."
This one is incredibly important. Put this phrase in your memory -- then completely erase it. In the past year, we've been more burned out than ever, and our constant busyness is standing in the way of our capacity for joy. As author Agapi Stassinopoulos put it in a HuffPost blog this year, "[H]ere's to the end of glorification for our culture's busyness, getting things done on little sleep, and feeling like we have to catch up with the race -- because ultimately there is no race except for the one we assign ourselves to." In 2015, let's eliminate the word busy. And actually mean it.
"Goodnight."
sleeping
This phrase by itself isn't as important as when you say it. Hint: Say it as soon as you're tired. Too often, one of the first things we neglect is sleep, when we really should be prioritizing it. According to a recent survey, more than half of American adults say they need at least eight hours of sleep -- but nearly three quarters say they get less than that. Time to start hitting the hay earlier!
"I don't."
Tempted by those leftover holiday cookies while working on your healthy resolutions? Swap "can't" for "don't." A study published in the Journal of Consumer Researchfound that people who used phrases like "I don't eat cookies" had more self-control and positive behavior changes than those who said "I can't eat cookies."
"I'm sorry."
sorry
It's hard to admit when we're in the wrong, but doing so can drastically improve our lives (not to mention our relationships). Research shows that guilt can physically weigh us down -- so let it go with a heartfelt apology. Not sure how to go about it? Try these tips.
"No."
You can do anything, but not everything. Sometimes it's simply OK to just say "no" if you're too overwhelmed, especially if it means you'll avoid burnout.
As HuffPost President and Editor-In-Chief Arianna Huffington pointed out at a women's business conference in 2013, sometimes the best way to complete a project is by dropping it entirely. "That doesn't mean ignoring my other needs, but it means when I'm in it, I'm really in it. And that means often saying no to good things, to things that you might want to do, but get in the way of sleep, or get in the way of being with your children, or whatever it is that's also very important to you," she said.
"I'm grateful for ____."
happy gratitude
Research shows that expressing gratitude can make us happier and healthier -- both common resolutions at the start of the new year. Keep a gratitude journal or just reflect on what you're thankful for at the end of each day. Want to dig a little deeper?Try our 10-day gratitude challenge.
"Oh well."
Not everything is going to turn out the way we planned -- and that's more than OK. Accepting life as it is instead of worrying about how it "should" be can be a freeing feeling. Stressing over the little things can negatively impact our lifespan, take a toll on our bodies and more. As one of 2014's most popular songs advised, let it go.
"Let's go."
adventure
When was the last time you embraced a little adventure? Statistics show that newexperiences are at the top of our bucket lists, yet we rarely go out on a limb. Research also suggests that experiences -- not things -- make us happier. Why not travel off the beaten path this year?
"Thank you for your message. I am currently out of the office."
OK, so technically you're not saying this, your inbox is -- but this typed phrase is still vital to your well-being. Statistics show that Americans are too stressed and too scared to take their vacation days, and instead surrender to burnout and overwhelm at work. Planning a vacation -- whether it be a real one or just one from your email -- can boost your happiness and reduce stress. So let your Out of Office do the talking, and plan to take some time for yourself this year.
"Just breathe."
relaxing outside
This may be the most basic yet most important thing you could tell yourself in the coming year. Pausing to breathe, to live in the moment, to let go of stress, is crucial to your well-being. If worries start to creep in, remind yourself to pause. You'll feel better for it.

Spring Cleaning Tips for Body, Mind and Spirit


SPRING CLEANING HOME

An extended winter throughout much of the U.S. and Canada really cut into the enjoyment of the spring season this year for many. One of our coaching students sent me photos of over a foot of snow this past May weekend in South Dakota, which just doesn't seem fair!
Spring is considered a time of cleansing, renewal and potential new growth. The yearly ritual of spring cleaning need not be limited to sweeping out the accumulated debris of long months indoors in inclement weather; It can also be a global cleanse, where you clean out your closets, both virtually and metaphorically.
I often do an internal cleanse or eating revamp in spring or fall. When I have entered the zone of feeling the need to detoxify my body, I am also generally in a phase of wanting to clear more unnecessary stuff -- be it getting rid of old clothes or releasing emotional debris and non-productive habits.
A colleague, Dr. Mary Bryant, gave me a simple and concise definition of psychotherapy: The process of creating order out of chaos. In the Western school of feng shui, one of the main principles is to get rid of clutter as the number one priority for creating a healthy, productive and supportive working/living space. The deeper implication of this "space-clearing" school of thought is to provide comfort to the mind and spirit by releasing what no longer supports or serve
Here are ways to align your physical spring cleaning with the goal of creating order on a multitude of levels:
Set intentions -- I have always found it powerful to state intentions for those acts that I perform in the service of my well-being. You can devote your spring cleaning to fulfillment of a certain goal or life transition or sanctify your fast or detox to a higher purpose
And you can break it down into smaller components by stating intentions for each task:
Clean out closets and dresser drawers -- Remove items that you no longer use or switch out a seasonable wardrobe. Clear out any debris that has accumulated and discard old hangers or plastic bags. Prepare a donation box or bag.
On a mental and spiritual level consider that you are releasing anything that no longer serves you for your highest good.
Go through file cabinets, desk drawers, junk drawers or bins -- See where you can eliminate paper and unneeded items. When possible, recycle or donate.

On a mental and spiritual level consider that you are clearing out clutter so that your thoughts are more focused and creative.
Go through your email inbox -- Delete any spam, emails that you no longer need or items that you have already responded to. Unsubscribe from any mailings that you are not reading or using on your computer, phone or tablet.
On a mental and spiritual level consider that you are cleaning out old files that block your productivity and that are taking up useless space in your energy field.
Reconsider Toxic Relationships -- Are there people in your life that you may be giving your energy to, consciously or unconsciously, that are only draining you and not giving back? Maybe it's time to let go as part of your overall cleansing regimen.
Do a "Data Dump" -- Just as you might periodically clear out your computer's hard drive of embedded cookies, broken links, corrupt files or potential threats, you can use your cleansing period to clear your mind and emotions. Maximize your cleansing process by vowing to release outmoded attitudes, beliefs, behaviors or emotions that no longer serve you.
Are you holding onto anger, fear, worry, resentment, disappointment, regret, frustration or anxieties that could be blocking you from expressing your highest potential? Each and every one of these emotions can cause chemical changes in the body as well as poisoning your spirit and blocking you from holistic (aka mind/body/spirit) well-being.
Data Dump Exercise
The best way to start any intentional mind/body exercise is to practice deep, conscious breathing. This fully oxygenates your brain and allows for between the conscious and subconscious minds, as well as creating full cooperation between all levels of your being. Here is a simple, yet powerful breathing exercise called 20 Breaths

After taking at least 5 deep cleansing breaths allow any thoughts about the past or future to evaporate as you focus on a sense of relaxation and willingness to be free of mental chaos and any attitudes that no longer serve you for your highest good.
Imagine that a small portal to your mind is opening and through this opening you release any emotion, thought, belief or feeling that you suspect may be holding you back. Simply ask them to leave, just as you would hit the Delete button to get rid of bad files. As you breathe out, imagine that they are being permanently deleted -- simply disappearing from your programming.
Spend a few moments sensing the clear spaces in your mind and spirit. Get in touch with the feeling of satisfaction and relief that one feels when they have done a thorough cleaning.
May this season be one of renewal and self-growth!



Things You Should Have Done By The Time You're 50

OLDER COUPLE WATCHING SUNRISE

There are some things we are too young for and other things we are too old for. But there are some clear demarcations of things we should have done by the time we hit 50. Here's a list of nine of them. Please add your own in the comments section.
1. Owned a matching set of big fluffy towels.
While we all know that it isn't our material possessions that define us, you need big fluffy towels for the same reason you need your morning barista fix: It's a small luxury that packs a big feel-good punch. For $3, you get to treat yourself to a steaming hot cuppa Joe that someone else made for you, just you -- and they even put your (misspelled) name on the cup. Same theory with the towels. When you step out of the shower and into the waiting arms of an oversized, high-quality towel, you no longer care about the leak under the sink or the boss who walked by without saying "hello."
For those who doubt the magical powers of Egyptian cotton bath towels to make all the bad stuff go away, well, we can only assume that yours are threadbare and you save the good ones for company. Think about that for a minute, OK? Who's worth more? You or your old college roommate when she passes through town twice a decade and wants a free place to crash?
For empty nesters who don't have grandkids coming around very often, we want to encourage you to really go out on the ledge and buy white ones.
2. Burned your candles.
Candles, for most of our 20s, were our go-to dwelling decoration. They were relatively inexpensive, looked pretty, and we would no more think of burning them than we would set fire to any of our poster wall-hangings. Candles weren't functional; they were decorative.
Candles need to be burned. They look pretty and generally smell good -- but even more so when you burn them. They add ambience and set a mood. There's another lesson here too: They, like everything and everyone, don't last forever. They get dusty and can even melt when left in the sun too long. (How's that for a metaphor for life?)
Candles, like pretty much everything else, have a purpose -- a destiny, if you will. Let your candles fulfill their destiny: Use them.
3. Used your good china regularly.
When you inherited your grandma's china, you knew it was because you were her favorite and she wanted you -- not your cousin -- to have it. In doing so, grandma may have launched the family's Cold War, but she had her reasons. Now do her the honor of using those dainty cups and saucers already. Old china, certainly the unchipped variety, has value -- but its monetary worth doesn't hold an unburned candle (sorry, couldn't resist) to the value of thinking of grandma every time you serve your family on the plates she so lovingly bestowed on you.
Keep the service in use, if not for every day, at least for every special occasion -- and certainly more than just once a year when your cousin is in town.
4. Preserved the photo albums and scrapbooks of your youth.
Each time we move, we tend to toss out old stuff. The more moves, the more of our past goes in the dumpster. Sometimes, tales of our early lives benefit from a little documentation. We'd like to make the case for printed photos kept in albums and scrapbooks from our childhoods. You won't believe how important these low-tech conveyances are to your high-tech kids and grandkids -- especially when you sit down and tell them the stories behind that road trip in 1959 in the station wagon or show them photos of what you looked like in high school -- big hair and all.
While digitalizing it all is certainly a good way to ensure its future, no need to willfully destroy the past.
5. Made peace with the past.
Not everyone had a happy childhood, we get it. But at some point, you will be happier to practice forgiveness and develop a more selective memory. Try remembering the happy times, however infrequent those moments were. Rehashing the past, blaming your unhappiness on it -- it gets in the way of moving forward. Do yourself a favor and cross the bridge. Choose to let go of anger.
6. Found a best friend who you can call 24/7.
The rules for adult best friends are vastly different from the ones governing childhood best friends. For one, you can have more than one of them simultaneously without misusing the word "best." You can have a hiking bestie, a shopping bestie, a bestie who you diet with, have spa days with, cry to when you feel like it and gchat for hours, both of you drinking wine. A best friend doesn't need to live in the same state or even the same time zone as you. And you don't actually have to see them on any fixed schedule. But the one thing they must be is there for you.
Some of us marry our best friends; others only wish they had.
7. Learned how to enjoy things by yourself.
The age at which we are most likely to find ourselves alone comes in our later years, but what's the harm in preparing for it now? Women outlive men; children grow up and move to distant places. Sometimes, we find ourselves alone.
Rather than feel lonely, it behooves everyone to embrace occasional aloneness and learn how to handle it. Do you stay inside and binge watch TV series while chowing down leftovers still cold from the 'frig, or do you walk yourself into the restaurant you've been wanting to try and say "table for one, please?" Will you take a yoga class if you have no one to do it with? Will you skip a movie rather than sit by yourself? Everyone has different comfort zone limits, but learning how to be alone successfully isn't a bad idea for any of us.
"The ability to enjoy your own company is a great skill to have," said Kathleen McCoy, psychotherapist and author of "Making Peace With Your Adult Children." Too many people rely on their kids or friends for entertainment -- even to go shopping, she said. "They end up not doing anything and become hermits." It's perfectly fine to practice doing some social things by yourself, she said. When the Huffington Post caught up with her, she had just returned from seeing a movie alone. Her husband didn't want to see it, so she went by herself.
8. Been dazzled by a masterpiece.
Let's just dispose of the Mona Lisa right here and now, shall we? As anyone who has ever seen the painting of the mysterious smile will tell you, it's way smaller than you imagined and that alone leaves a lot of people feeling disappointed. Personally, we will never forget being at Stonehenge mystified and feeling the undeniable presence of something greater than man. We feel that way at each sunrise too.
9. Made a difference.
The good news? You still have time.

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