Wednesday, March 30, 2016

When You Look In The Mirror, What Do You See?

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? That you’re too short, too tall, too fat, too skinny? That you somehow grew a pimple overnight, or a new set of crows feet, or maybe it’s time to go shaved-head considering that ever-expanding bald spot?

Or do you see your wonderful smile, the sparkle in your eyes, the confident set of your shoulders? What do you see?

And then the $1,000,000 question: Do you like what you see?

There’s the rub. Most of us don’t like what we see. We find fault with so much of ourselves, mentally, physically, emotionally, that it’s no big surprise that we are riddled with self-doubt, flagging self-esteem, and a general sense of unhappiness with ourselves, and by extension, with life.

It’s really hard to give your all to your work, to your relationship, to your dreams, to life itself when you think that you’re flawed. No, this isn’t a call to rampant narcissism; the “I'm too sexy for my everything” parade. There is a world of difference between simple acknowledgement of who you are (a very good thing), and believing that you’re somehow better than everyone else on the planet (narcissism, not so good).

You are unique. There never has been someone just like you, ever before in all of time, and there never will be someone just like you, ever again, in all of time. You are truly one of a kind; isn’t it about time you realized how utterly fantastic that is? No one else thinks quite like you, no one else sees the world quite like you, no one else has quite the same combination of skills and talents as you.

Which means no one can respond to life quite the way you do.

I just read a phenomenal article about Blake Pyron, a 19-year-old young man with Down Syndrome, who is about to open a snow cone shop, making him the youngest business owner in Sanger, Texas. If all Blake dwelled upon were what some would call his flaws, if he refused to be the unique individual he is, he would never have embarked on such a venture.

So, get a grip. On your uniqueness. On those skills, talents, quirky ideas, whatever it is that you can harness in the service of your wonderful life.

Be like Blake, who ignores his Down Syndrome, and simply forges on to manifest his dream. Ignore your fat/skinny/too short/too tall, pimply, crows nested, hair-losing self, and get your fabulous self in gear.

Your life will thank you!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Celebrate International Day of Happiness--Every Day

March 20 is International Day of Happiness. Instead of feeling good for just one day, why not take the steps to make every day the happiest and most fulfilling it can be?

If doing what you can to be happy sounds like too much effort, the alternative can literally shorten your life. In a 2011 study, researchers at University College, London, gauged the happiness levels of people ages 52 to 79 by monitoring their feelings several times over a day. Then, five years later, the researchers examined how many of those people had died. The result? Older people who are happy have a 35 percent lower risk of dying over a five-year period than unhappy people. Even after the researchers controlled for medical conditions including cancer and diabetes, and health risks such as smoking, being happy was still linked with living longer.

Besides being happy, those who live longer are also grateful. Research out of UC Berkeley found that, regardless of life circumstances, grateful people are more satisfied with their lives than people who aren’t grateful. Highly grateful people have stronger immune systems, are sick less often, have lower blood pressure and experience less depression and anxiety, all of which are strongly linked to greater longevity.

Add a healthy dose of appreciation and optimism and you are well on your way to seeing the world in a happier light. Start by making a list of all that you appreciate. It may take you a while if you’re not used to this exercise, but it’s well worth the effort in terms of the value-add to your long-term well-being and future happiness.

For example, you can be grateful that you are living on this amazing planet, that your health enables you to be active or that you have the love of family and friends. Whatever it is you are grateful for, embrace it.

Do this on March 20 and then try it again the next day, and the next. With not a lot of effort, you’ll see a positive change in the way you look at the world and those around you.

To learn more about the mind-physical body connection, go to