12 Tips On Staying Inspired

We often think that inspiration is that special magic that comes to us from time to time. And maybe, it is. We also think that inspiration is only for a few. That it is most definitely not.

We are all inspired – and inspiration is all around us. There are times we get stuck – but there’s inspiration for those times too. I believe that we can train ourselves to find inspiration and to stay inspired.

Here are 12 tips on staying inspired

These are simple things that we can incorporate into our daily life.

Stay healthy to stay inspired

1. Drink water on waking and make sure you drink enough of water through the day.

2. Get moving. Here are Vidya Sury’s 100 reasons to make exercise a habit, if we need a reason at all! I might have been able to give you a 100 excuses why I don’t exercise, but that’s changing, thankfully!

3. There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep to get one energized and ready to have an inspiring day. We all need to cultivate good sleeping habits.

 

Plan to stay inspired
Plan your 3 Most Important Tasks (MIT) for the day- As Leo Babauta says:

It’s very simple: your MIT is the task you most want or need to get done today. In my case, I’ve tweaked it a bit so that I have three MITs — the three things I must accomplish today.

Having a work/ break balance – Making sure to follow the 50/10 rule every hour is a good way to keep your mind fresh and inspired. Perhaps, it’s a good idea to use a timer – work for 50 minutes on one important task – then take a break  for 10 minutes. You could use this time to walk away from your desk, grab a glass of water, call a friend or just be.

Reflection at the end of the day is important – asking yourself what went well and what didn’t is such a good way to stay inspired.

12 tips for staying inspired

Keep learning – I can’t tell you how important that is to good health and well-being. If my Dad could start learning to operate a computer at 81 and at 89 continue to enjoy his time on the internet, then we have no excuses for not learning. Studies have shown that keep our mind occupied and agile will go a long way in preventing or postponing dementia. Read, play, argue even, but work that brain.

I’ve written time and again about the value of gratitude and how it’s linked to our happiness quotient. Living a grateful life is truly the key to staying inspired.

Decluttering can go a long way towards making us feel good about ourselves. I’m planning a series on this soon

And finally learn to relax and unwind. Get a dog. Listen to music. Take dancing classes.

Be happy. Stay inspired!

Daring Daily #MicroblogMondays

I know I’m going to sound like a broken record. There are two things I want to do every single day – walk and write. I’ve tried again and again to do this.  I confess that I lack the discipline to stick to my plans. Is there something in my mental makeup that keeps me from being commited to this, I wonder? Not motivated enough? Wrong strategy?

I really have no clue. I’ve promised to dare greatly in 2015 – a promise to myself in my 50th year. It sounds wonderful to say, but it’s got to translate into actions.

I need to think about daring daily.

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As I thought about this today, the Universe sent me a loud message from a very wise man.

There’s a fundamental difference between the things you do every day, every single day, and the things you do only when the spirit moves you.
One difference is that once you’ve committed to doing something daily, you find that the spirit moves you, daily.
Rather than having a daily debate about today’s agenda, you can decide once that you will do something, and then decide every single day how to do it. ~ Seth Godin

Doesn’t he make everything sound so much simpler and achievable? Now to put this into action and allow the spirit to move me daily!

Do you have similar struggles? What do you think of Seth Godin’s advice?

Today I’m linking in to #MicroblogMondays #17 on Stirrup Queens. Join us there?

#MicroblogMondays

Know Your Mantras #MicroblogMondays

Do you know your mantras?

Mantras? What is a mantra?

Mantra” (Sanskrit मंत्र) means a sacred utterance, numinous sound, or a syllable, word, phonemes, or group of words believed by some to have psychological and spiritual power. (via Wikipedia).

‘I don’t have any, I’m not religious’, you say.

But we all have mantras – groups of words that we keep repeating in our minds that have power over us.

Sometimes, these are old tapes playing in our head that aren’t very good for us – but they have power over us. These could be words we’ve heard others say to us – ‘You’ll amount to nothing’ or ‘You are a problem’ or ‘You will never find love’……. And we store these until they become our mantras. Crippling us. On and on they go, eating into the fibre of our beings, becoming self-fulfilling prophecies.

But these can cripple us and impede our growth only to the extent we allow them too. We’ve go to move forward and take responsibility for our own growth.

You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul – Swami Vivekananda

We must begin to create our own mantras. Words and phrases we repeat to ourselves that mirror our beliefs. Words that empower us to move forward. Phrases that become the anchors we hold on to in stormy times. Powerful words that become the building blocks of the life we wish to create for ourselves. Our mantras – our rocks.

know your mantras

As I write this, I recall the mantras that have seen me through these past few years as I’ve been focussing on my growth:

  • God’s plans for me are for good.
  • I am open and receptive to the abundance of the Universe.
  • Everything works together for good.
  • Things happen at the right time.
  • I am responsible for my own happiness and well-being.
  • I am grateful for everything in my life.
  • I attract the kind of people I need for my growth
  • Love, faith, hope and gratitude is what I choose.

I know I will keep adding to this list.

Do you know your mantras? Do share in the comments below.

 I’m linking into Stirrup Queen’s #MicroblogMondays today.

 #MicroblogMondays

Tips On How To Breathe

As part of our 7 Days To Rediscovering Your Blogging Groove challenge on Write Tribe, today we write a tips post. Who better to ask to do that than the lovely, Vidya Sury. She’s here with her easy-to-do and necessary-for-survival tips on breathing. Thank you, Vidya!

Vidya Sury

Vidya Sury is a professional copywriter, editor and blogger. In a previous life, she was a corporate powerhouse. She now works from home crafting connections between businesses and their target markets, but prefers to focus on collecting smiles, playing with her dust bunnies, showing her diabetes who’s boss and celebrating the little things. She loves coffee, people, cooking, reading, writing, photography and travel. Vidya blogs at Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles, Coffee with Mi and Your Medical Guide. She enjoys writing for Blogging Betties and Write Tribe.

 

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Tips on how to breathe

yogic-to-do-list

 

No I am not joking. I’ll bet that you all use a keyboard and mouse every day. (and I’ll win that bet). If you said yes, then I must ask you – did you know that our breathing rate increases when we work on those devices? And yes, it is the same for children who are crazy about computer games. What this accelerated breathing leads to is a series of problems that, beside the time-waste, include a pain in the neck, tension around the shoulders and an “unexplained tiredness”. Ha – not really. We all know what we’re doing, it is just that we put “relaxing” at the bottom of our priority list.

I have an app a solution for that.

It is called “breathing”.

Really.

When you breathe in a certain way, you automatically relax and…problem solved.

How do you do that?

Here are my tips:

Step 1 – Observe
How is your breathing rhythm and movement a) when you sit quietly? And b) when you work?

Observe whether your chest moves more, or if your abdomen moves more.

If you’re wondering where this is going – most of us, while working, tend to breathe faster and in our chests…and this is what causes the pains and the breathlessness and fatigue. The tension builds up and invites stress in.

tips on how to breathe
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Step 2 – Breathe
Now that you know what’s up, (not whatsapp!), you must learn to breathe easy. Slow down your breathing rate consciously. You want to make that abdomen, not your chest move. Visualize a pair of balloons sitting in your abdomen. Inhale, and let the balloon expand. Exhale and let it deflate.

Step 3 – Practice
Practice breathing where your abdomen moves. While practicing, remember to loosen that belt to let your abdomen move freely. When you exhale, smile. Concentrate on the “exhale” time and let it be double your “inhale” time. Pretend that when you exhale, the air is passing through your arms, via your wrist, hands and out, through your fingers.

Step 4 – Make it a habit
Repeat the breathe-easy routine consciously every day as many times as you can, when you sit and work at the computer. When you exhale, allow it to happen slowly so your abdomen moves.

tips on how to breathe
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Bonus Step 5 – What my physiotherapist taught me
Recline on your back. Put a pillow under your knees. Let your feet be shoulder width apart. Palms upwards, rest your hands a foot away from your sides.

Now take a 2.5 kilo weight – could be a bag of grains) – and place it on your stomach.

Inhale – pushing the weight up as your tummy expands.

Exhale – letting the weight bring your tummy back down

As you breathe, (you can’t stop, right? Ha, ha) let your “exhale” be slow – and concentrate on your abdominal movements. Focus.

Keep doing this for 20 minutes – and feel the difference. Your lungs become stronger and you feel fitter.

That’s it.

I just taught you how to breathe properly. You’re welcome!

 

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31 days of inspiration

I’m linking into Write Tribe’s – Rediscovering Your Blogging Groove – Day 3

Deep Sleeps

Is there anything more stressful than struggling to fall asleep? When you’ve run out of farmyard animals to count, and the hour can be numbered with a single digit, it seems the longer you lie, the harder it becomes to surrender to unconsciousness. While the first consideration is often physiological, environmental factors could be at fault, and making a few adjustments to your surroundings could make all the difference between sweet dreams and calamitous insomnia.

deep sleeps

Deep Sleeps and Diligent Days — Creating a Peaceful Resting Environment

Tire out your eyes

Your brain secretes melatonin, a sleep hormone triggered by natural darkness, so ensure the shades or curtains over any bedroom windows are thickly lined and artificial sources of light have been extinguished to benefit from its full effect. It might be tempting to curl up and indulge your latest TV addiction on your tablet or phone with a little bedtime binge-watching, but it’s not conducive to quiet repose, so make your room a retreat from the stresses of email, missed calls and that latest high score on Angry Birds. Your shuteye is, from now on, a strict no technology zone.

Decorate for dreaming
Bright colours and patterned wallpaper are too hectic to introduce into the bedroom; they only stimulate your mind and draw the eye. Powder pastels and neutral colours work best. It’s harder to sleep when things feel unfinished, so keep the room pristine and clutter free for utmost chill potential.

Make a list of demands
Often, we’re kept awake by the worries that occupy our thoughts, whether rational, or in the form of chance mental ramblings that will seem irrelevant come morning. Keep a pen and notepad somewhere close to the bed, and if an amplified worry comes to mind, write it down as a promise to yourself to deal with it in the morning.

Feed your senses
The soft scent of cotton linen, a gentle breeze through an open window, a cup of herbal tea; quality sleep is not about just closing your eyes and hoping for the best, it requires the cooperation of all your senses. Stock up the bedside table with an emergency sleep kit; this might include scented hand cream, a face mask to block out the light and, crucially, a cold glass of water in the event of mid-slumber dehydration.
Though very easy to neglect, sleep is critical to your health, and lack of it can cause hypertension, impact hormone levels, decrease your immunity and even make you gain weight! Make it a priority to get the most out of your eight hours a night, and you could see more visible benefits than from changing any other aspect of your routine.

Food Affects Mood and Performance

We are what we eat! Food affects mood and performance more than we’d like to acknowledge.

Most of us now live rather busy lives and food, even if prepared at home, is often made in a rush and eaten at an even faster pace.  We tend to settle for easy and available stuff rather than quality and health.

There are three things we might want to look at when we’re making food choices:

1. What we are eating

2. Where what we are eating is sourced from and

3. How we are eating

What are we eating?

Take a moment to think about what you eat and how it makes you feel. How do you feel after you eaten fruits, or a handful of almonds or a good balanced meal consisting of high-quality proteins and vegetables and carbohydrates eaten at the right time? Compare this feeling with how you when you’ve been drinking copious amounts of caffeine and sugary sodas and loads of fast food?

I know from experience, that when I was working the caffeine, sugar and pizzas while perking me up for a short while, did nothing to improve the quality of my work or how I felt. On the contrary, when I took the trouble to take home-cooked food to the office, I felt and worked considerably better.

Some of the best foods to keep you in a good mood and performing well are:

Foods that contain soluble fibre – barley, brown rice, pears and peas. By slowing the absorption of sugars into your bloodstream, soluble fibre prevents mood swings and keeps you on even keel through the day.

Proteins  slow the absorption of carbohydrates and thus keep you in a good mood for several hours after eating. Some sources of good proteins are – eggs, yogurt,  poultry and seafood.

Studies show that Vitamin D (low-fat milk, soymilk and egg yolks)  might prevent SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and other mood disorders, while Vitamins B+ (salmon, cottage cheese) and Folate (oatmeal, lentils, broccoli) might prevent depression.

Avoid foods with high sugar content and processed and refined foods. Attempt to include fermented food like lassi (Indian butter milk) and fermented vegetables (such as sauerkraut) to improve gut flora (read an interesting study on this here).

happy and healthy

 

Where what we are eating is sourced from

As lay people, we can only guess what pesticides and fertilizers that are used to grow vegetables and fruits must do to our mood and performance when we ingest them based on increased allergies and illnesses.  For meats and poultry we need to know that livestock have been raised in healthy, humane environment and are not pumped with antibiotics and growth hormones. Click here to read more about this.

It’s important that we should be aware of where our food is sourced from and that we buy from outlets that share this information clearly.

How we are eating

I’ve talked at length about No.3 – how we are eating – in my post on mindful eating. Eating slowly and mindfully will certainly put you in a better frame of mind.

Eat healthy, stay happy!

Ways to get a Good Night Sleep

Do you toss and turn a lot at night? Good, sound sleep is very beneficial for your health and well-being. It can provide increased energy and productivity during the day. Good sleep can improve your mood and improve your heart and immune system. Many conditions cause difficulty sleeping. The following information explains reasons for the lack of sleep with recommendations to improve your sleep.

Talk to your physician: Your physician can assess you for the reasons you are not sleeping well, such as if it is due to snoring and the reason you are snoring. Your doctor may order tests to diagnose sleep difficulties, such as a sleep study to diagnose sleep apnea. Your doctor may review your medications and make changes to those meds that might cause insomnia.

Stop Snoring: Snoring can cause restless sleep. Snoring is a result of a blockage of the airway during sleep. The blockage can be from nasal congestion, enlarged tissues of the airway, and the tongue or mandible falling back into the airway. Snoring frequently is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (pauses in breathing due to blocked airway passages during sleep). The following are ways to help reduce snoring:
1. Clear nasal passages. Take a shower and use saline nose spray before going to bed. Take a nasal decongestant.

2. Reduce the size of the tissues that are blocking the airway. Lose weight. Surgery may be necessary, such as for enlarged tonsils.

3. Prevent the tongue or mandible from blocking the airway. Try sleeping on your side instead of your back. Use a dental appliance. These devices help to hold your tongue forward or to hold your mandible forward.

Have a Regular Sleep Schedule: It is best to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, whether it is the weekend, holiday, or your day off. Having a regular sleep schedule strengthens your body’s biological sleep-wake cycle, which promotes better sleep at night.

Exercise Regularly: Exercise promotes falling asleep faster and boosts deep sleep. Nevertheless, do not exercise within four hours of bedtime. Exercise energizes you, inhibiting sleep. However, when you cool down and rest, it initiates your brain to discharge sleep-inducing melatonin.

Stop Smoking: Nicotine is a stimulant, which can cause difficulty falling asleep. In addition, you could be having nicotine withdrawal symptoms during the night causing restless sleep. Furthermore, smoking frequently causes breathing disorders, which can interfere with sleep.

Limit alcohol and caffeine: Alcohol is sedating. It may help you fall asleep, but it decreases the quality of your sleep. Caffeine, on the other hand, is a stimulant. Caffeine (coffee, tea, soda, etc…) can prevent you from falling asleep and from going into deep sleep. Caffeine effects last up to eight hours so stop using caffeine about 1: 00pm – 2: 00pm.

Snack on Foods that Increase Serotonin Levels: About an hour before bedtime, eat a snack of carbohydrate with either calcium or a protein that contains the amino acid tryptophan. These ingredients cause an increase in serotonin levels, which help to keep us calm. Snacks may include:

1. A single piece of whole grain toast with a slice of cheese or turkey

2. A banana with peanut butter

3. A bowl of whole grain cereal and skim milk

4. Low-fat yogurt with fruit

Relax Before Bedtime: Have a bedtime ritual each night to tell your body it is time to relax and wind down. Suggestions for relaxing include taking a warm bath or shower, dimming the lights, listening to soothing music, or reading a book. Relaxation can promote better sleep by easing the change from wakefulness and drowsiness.

Sleep in a Comfortable, Calming Environment: The temperature, noise, and brightness of your sleeping area can make a big difference on how well you sleep. It is best to have your room cool, dark and quiet. Consider using a fan. Fans help circulate the air making it cooler and they have a pleasant light hum that may drown out other noises in your household. You might want to use room-darkening shades and earplugs. In addition, make sure your mattress, pillows, and bedding are comfortable.

As described above, there are many reasons that can cause sleepless nights. With these reasons, there are counter measures to improve your sleep. If insomnia continues to be a problem, it is crucial to talk to your physician.

Get a good night’s sleep people! :)

 

The Truth Shall Set You Free

“Your mother is evil,” he told her. She listened quietly, not arguing. For the first time in her life, she gave herself permission to agree with this.

His words resonated with her and she sought to process them as she wrote in her journal the next morning. The words flowed – as she wrote of that little girl who had to grow up faster than necessary. The memories came rushing back, the pain, the feeling of being used, and the knowledge that she had been a pawn in her mother’s games. And with the words, came the tears, unshed for many years. Racking sobs – crying for that young girl, that young woman, that older woman – each a part of her and every one of them needed healing.

She was grateful for the man who has stood by her through this process – challenging and cheering her on as she redefined the dynamics of her relationship with her mother.

If he had said those words to her a year ago, she would have fought against them and accused him of being mean. Today, thanks to the journey she had started some months back, she was ready to face the truth.

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The Truth Shall Set You Free

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. ~ Aldous Huxley

Whatever happens to us is stored in our minds and even our bodies. We try hard to suppress the painful memories. We don’t want to face up to our own vulnerabilities and the fact that we have been hurt. This is even more true when the person who has hurt us is someone we love very much – a parent, a partner or a sibling.

We pretend we have not been hurt at all. For to acknowledge our pain, is to paint our loved one as a ‘villain’. This is where misplaced loyalties and wrong notions of what love is come into play. We take on the role of martyrs for the cause of family loyalty and love.

 

the truth shall set you free

And so we continue to suffer. Our hurts continue to affect our lives and other relationships.

It is only when we are ready to face the truth that health and healing can begin.

If we our blessed as the woman in my little piece at the start was, then we’ll have people in our lives who will challenge us to the truth – challenge us to heal. But it’s up to us to want this healing. The process is not easy. But if we want to be authentic, it is the only way.

We can choose counseling, group therapy, spiritual exercises or journaling as ways to begin the healing process. The good news is that it’s never too late to be healed. Even if we’ve been suppressing our pain for a lifetime, if we are willing to release these secret hurts, we can be healed. And the truth that we tried to suppress will itself be our healing!

The truth shall indeed set us free!

the truth shall set you free

 

The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be. – Shakti Gawain