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Have an Inspiring Life Everyday
by On April 18, 2013

Saving the best post for laugh. No, this is not a typo… In Part 1 of this Inspiring Life series we discussed 3 Steps to an Inspiring Life, and in Part 2 we covered how we coach ourselves utilizing our Internal Coaching System (ICS). In this last part we dive into what it means to Fill your Daily Laugh Quotient. Science proves that in many instances laughter IS the best medicine. According to Web MD and healthguide.org laughter has been proven to reduce your stress, lower your blood pressure, boost your immune system, improve brain function and protect your heart. The business benefits of laughter are huge as well. It helps connect us to others, such as our clients, co-workers and helps reduce sales resistance.

Most of us understand this concept and often need to be reminded. I have been asked how did I get so funny and I usually reply, “I don’t know, it just came along with my amazing good looks.” Truthfully, I have made it a point over the past many years to consciously follow my own personal 3 step process to bring more laughter in my life and I am happy to share my wisdom with you. These steps comprise what I like to call my Daily Laugh Quotient Checklist and it works like a charm. Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to a inspiring life everyday.

1) Schedule Laughter – Pretty amazing first tip, huh? You are probably taking out your notepad and writing this one down… But, no matter who you are it is always a good idea to find time to laugh. The best times I found to be sure you get some good laughs in are first thing in the morning when you wake up and some time before you go to bed. Book ending your day with some joy and laughter can really create positive momentum in your days and you’ll pleasantly find yourself laughing much more often during the day as a result. Hint: Listening to babies laughing is almost guaranteed to cause joy and laughter.

2) Lose Your “Cool Card” – We all have a metaphorical “cool card” and some of us take ourselves so seriously that our cards are enormous. So of us have been card carrying members of “Too Cool for School University” since puberty. Individuals who live an inspiring life are gifted at taking what they do seriously, but NOT taking themselves seriously. Life is funny and it is important that we consciously look for the funny moments in all the seriousness of the day. Make it a goal to find at least one funny, hilarious or joyful experience in your day.

3) Spend Time with Other FUNny People – If it is true that you become like those you surround yourself with most of the time, then many of you may need to find some new friends. They don’t all have to be comedians, but they do have to have an uplifting view about life. Look for those people who can find laughter and even joy in the mundane or challenging experiences in everyday life. Those are the kind of individuals I love to be around.

I am so grateful for the many years of laughter that has been created by just spending time in the company of some of the funnest and funniest people in my life.

I hope you find joy and laughter in the day to day activities of life, because if you can do that then you will most definitely be on your way to an inspiring life!

Have An Inspiring Life Everyday
by On April 11, 2013

In Part I: 3 Steps to An Inspiring Life I touched on what I like to refer as our Internal Coaching System. First of all, each of us has our own ICS. Think of it as an internal GPS System that helps us to move in the right direction, when we listen to it. Some call it intuition, others call it a gut-feeling. However you personally define it, the fact is when we have our ICS working at full capacity, life seems to be much easier and enjoyable.

Through our ICS we have the ability to mentally program ourselves to either succeed or fail, experience joy or sadness based on the thoughts we put into our head on a daily basis. So, first and foremost, it all begins with a thought. That thought has a belief and attitude attached to it and will then create a feeling and finally the thought will produce a result. Whether that result is positive or negative is within your power to create by how you have coached yourself. Two tools that are instrumental in helping to improve the effectiveness of your Internal Coaching System are:

1) Positive Response Loop

Think about it, if you tell yourself you are going to miss a deadline, screw up a presentation or fail it’s almost a certainty that you will because you have coached yourself to believe that. However, if you tell yourself you are up to the challenge or that you can do it, many times you will find yourself rising to the occasion for the exact same reason. What I am saying is by training yourself to respond in a positive way to challenges and your feelings your results can only be positive. When you respond consistently in a positive way you will create what I call a Positive Response Loop. What I mean is that when experience a challenge we, in that moment, have choice to make. To make it simple, we can respond positively or negatively. When we react to the challenge positively it will create a chain reaction in our physiology that results in overall good feelings about ourselves or the situation. This, in turn, solidifies our beliefs and feeds our next response to a challenge. Thus the Positive Response Loop is born. Our ICS, how we coach ourselves, directly influences the effectiveness of our PRL.

So, why is a properly functioning Internal Coaching System so important? Firstly, it is better than the alternative. You may be saying, “I can see how you can have a great Internal Coaching System Mr. Motivational Speaker Guy, but I’ve tried that positive thinking garbage and it didn’t get me anywhere”. Have you ever had this thought? My response to this is always “Well, try it the other way. Use negative self-talk and see how far that gets you. The fact of the matter is you’re much more likely to achieve great things if you frame your thinking towards the positive.

2) Ask yourself the RIGHT Questions

Another programming tool that can aid in the implementation of our Internal Coaching System is to ask yourself the right questions. Another way to look at it is to change the way you phrase things in your mind. In Noah St John’s book The Secret Code of Success he talks about the use of Afformations versus Affirmations.

Affirmations are statements of something you want to be true. There is nothing wrong with affirmations and they can be very useful from time to time. Some of the most successful people in the personal development industry promote them and experience great things as a result of using them. However, often times when we, the everyday person, use them we are trying to convice ourselves of this truth, but our mind doesn’t actually believe it is possible. For example, if we look in the mirror and see someone who is overweight or “fat” no amount of affirmations will help. We can say things like, “I’m in great shape.” Or “I’m beautiful, skinny and lovely”, but if we don’t see it in our mind we won’t believe it in reality. Our mind will respond by saying, “Yeah, right, who are you looking at?!” Until, we can change the picture in our mind the vision in the mirror will continue to be overweight. This is where the right empowering phrase of question can make the difference.

Afformations, as explained by St John are empowering questions that focus on what you have and NOT what you lack. I see it as another way to express gratitude. If you look at your state of being when you are expressing gratitude for what you’ve been given all you are focusing on is what you have. By asking empowering questions you are also strengthening your Positive Response Loop because they force us to focus on what is right and good about us. Our mind is always coming up with answers to our questions. It is continually looking for confirmation of our beliefs and comments. So, by telling ourselves we have “horrible memory” or asking ourselves “Why can’t I remember that?” our mind comes up with the responses like: “Yes, you do have a horrible memory and here are 3 reasons why.’ Or, You can’t remember that because you are stupid and always forget things when your stressed.” In our memory courses, I suggest that instead of saying, “I have terrible memory”, you rephrase it by saying, “My memory is getting better and better.” It’s a small change, but it is empowering and can make a big difference. Other great empowering questions and afformations:

Why do I have all the money I need? Why am I in great shape? Why do I always meet the right person at the right time? Business consistently comes to me in unexpected ways. I am experience abundance in everything I do.

Empowering Phrases Exercise

Use your ICS to focus on something that you would like to see yourself improve on in your business or your personal life. Create an Empowering Phrase list on 3×5 notecards specifically focusing on the areas in your life that you would like additional encouragement on. I have approximately 20 empowering phrases collected and read it 2 times per day (sometimes more if I need the extra motivation) By doing this you will continue to reinforce your Positive Response Loop and strengthen your Internal Coaching System.

In Part 3 of this series I will talk about probably the most important element in our ability to have an inspiring life everyday and that is daily filling our laugh quotient. See you next week.

Have An Inspiring Life Everyday
by On April 4, 2013

How many of us have got to the end of a week, month or year and had the feeling “Man, where did the time go?”  Or, you even had the thought “Time sure does fly by when you’re having fun?” Well, Ed Cooke, considered a Grand Master of Memory according to World Memory Championship has an interesting take on the passage of time that I personally love. Mr. Cooke mentions that he is trying to EXPAND “subjective time” so it feels like he is living longer. Subjective Time being how each of us individually perceives the passage of time in our lives.

You’d think it would be opposite. You’d think, if time does fly when we are having fun that in order to slow time down our life needs to be boring. Not true, “…the more we fill our lives with memories the SLOWER time seems to fly.” So, what Mr Cooke is saying is, by remembering more we are providing more chronological landmarks. In essence we are lengthening our lives and by doing this you are packing life with adventures so, as you look back on your life, you have a lot more memories to draw from. In other words if you could remember more events, happenings & experiences in a given year, that as time progresses you will have expanded your time on this earth.

This concept fascinated me. I thought if I am going to be remembering more than I want those memories to be inspiring. And then I thought how do I make my life more inspiring? And it came to me: CHOICE – I need to choose to do this everyday. Because all an exciting life is: a series of great days built upon each other.

In Part I of this 3 part series I am going to introduce you to 3 Steps to an Inspiring Life and in parts Two & Three I will elaborate and expand on specific elements. Much like building an airplane, it is important to add each piece to ensure your plane flies. Here, following any one of these steps will help, but if you really want to soar with the eagles and experience a truly inspirational and exciting life (for you – NOT what anyone else says is exciting) than you should apply each of these 3 steps:

Step ONE: Plan Exciting Adventures

We know from memory training that the brains ability to recall information is dramatically linked to the emotional attachment we place on it. The Glue of our memory (what helps us recall information) is Action & Emotion. If you don’t believe me than try and think about what you were doing on September 22nd, 2001. Most of you can’t, but if I asked you to recall exactly where you were on September 11th, 2001, those of you who were old enough to experience this can remember in vivid detail where you were, what you were doing, who you were with, what you were eating etc…. Why is that? Because you provided your brain with more than enough action & emotion to store it in the long-term part of your brain.

All this being said, if you want to have an “inspiring life” you MUST plan for at least some of it. Most of us don’t just wake up and decide “I’m flying to Uganda, Africa to provide relief for the Karamojong Tribe and than the next moment purchase tickets and start setting up the trip. Although it seems super exciting and will provide an amazing service, most (I emphasize most) people aren’t wired that way. Most people are wired to have an exciting thought and think “That would be cool, someday!”

So, when I say plan, I mean put it in your calendar. Circle & highlight it and tell others about it. When I say “it” I mean anything that you would truly like to experience. If skydiving is your thing, than put it on your calendar and tell others you are going to do it than watch the support flood in. If someone asks you to compete in a triathlon or climb a mountain or travel to Egypt and provide love and supplies to orphans AND it is something you truly would like to do than say “YES” and figure out a way to make it happen. (By the way, the 3 examples above happened to me) What is holding you back?! How long are you going to wait on the sidelines of life and watch other people doing what YOU should be doing? Say yes, and put it on your calendar. That is the first step.

Step TWO: Start With Your Thoughts

At my company, we define Attitude as “The way you choose to view your world”. If that is true, than most of us really have to work on, what I like to call our Internal Coaching System, which I will elaborate more on in Part 2 of this series. Our ICS is a term I came up with to define what we say to ourselves and how we regulate the thoughts we experience every moment of the day.

We know from polygraph (lie-detector) tests our body react to our thoughts. Thoughts affect us physically. Noetic Science, or the study of human consciousness looks at our thoughts from a different viewpoint. As I understand it, noetic science looks at our beliefs, thoughts & intentions & how they affect our physical world.

The Law of Attraction states, that “like attracts like.” Or, put another way, what we focus on most of the time, is what we will receive.” The pictures we see in our mind about our lives, tend to be the things we spend the most time thinking about. At Freedom Personal Development we understand it as “What you see is what you look for.”

The Bible even refers to the power of our thoughts in Proverbs 23:7 “As a man thinketh, so is he.” And additionally in Mark 9:23 “According to your faith, be it done unto you.” But, whatever your belief there is no arguing that if we simply changed the thoughts we have from negative to positive (Or switching our focus from what we lack to what we want) it will have a profound impact on our productivity, belief and excitement about our life. Our thoughts have the power to seriously influence our success.

So, all that being said, in order for us to change anything in our lives we must first start with our thoughts! We must consciously make a choice to think positive or by default we will focus on the negative.

Step THREE: Fill Your Daily Laugh Quotient

You have all heard that laughter is the best medicine and some of you even believe it is true. The fact is, and there is nothing I can find to dispute this, laughter has profoundly more positive benefits then negative. If you’d like to find out more than revisit my blog on Laughter and Your Brain. Gelotology, the study of laughter and it’s effects on the body from a psychological and physiological perspective has much to support these claims. In Part 3 we will dive more deeply into 3 great ways to fill your daily laugh quotient, but in the meantime start up your laughing muscles and get healthy.

Conclusion

I hope you found these steps useful and I look forward to sharing more on this topic in the next couple weeks. Good luck as you begin to build your airplane, expand your horizon with subjective time and soar to more exciting days ahead. If you’ll simply Plan Exciting Adventures, Start With Your Thoughts and Fill Your Daily Laugh Quotient you will be well on your way to having the inspiring life you deserve. Catch you next week.

30 Day Experiment: No Facebook
by On April 3, 2013

I know what your thinking as you look at this title? ” No Facebook, are you crazy? How could you not be on Facebook?” That was my first reaction when I made the commitment to spend an entire 30 day stretch of time away from the ultimate social network.

According to studies the average Facebook user spends nearly 12 hours a month sailing the virtual world. With my competitive nature, I was worried that I was above average and definitely eager to see if I could survive a month without checking to see what my friend from high school that I have yet to see or talk to in person for 20 years is doing or more importantly following all the extremely thoughtful and highly impartial political opinions. So, as you can see, this was going to be tough.

My intention in embarking on this challenge was to:

1) See if I could do it and  2) Learn whether or not I would be more productive as a result. Well, as I look back at my 2 intentions when beginning this exercise I have learned  these lessons:

Could I stay away for 30 days? Obviously, yes I could do it because 30 days later I was still alive. In fact, when the experiment ended I found myself wanting to stay away for several more days. As a result I will be giving myself several self imposed Facebook breaks to help clear my mind from all the mental noise (metaphorically) that Facebook provides.

2) Was I more productive?  I did not observe a massive increase in productivity until the end of my experiment. At first I simply substituted one unproductive activity for another. I found myself checking ESPN, YouTube and my email more often in order to fill the time that would have been taken by surfing on FB and I was (on some days) even less productive than had I been pre experiment. It wasn’t until I made 2 specific decisions that I experienced a radical improvement in productivity and surprisingly my social life.

Decision ONE  –  Anytime I had the desire to hop on the computer and navigate the exciting world of Farmville I would TEXT or CALL a FRIEND instead. As you can imagine, I sent a ton of texts, caught up with so many friends and as a result felt much more social and connected than at my most “social” on Facebook.

Decision TWO  –  During the early morning and late evening times that would normally be spent learning about the latest FB cause I would READ a BOOK instead. This proved to be a most enjoyable benefit since I was able to complete nearly a book a week in that short span of time.

My main discovery was that what I thought I was getting by being on Facebook was not nearly as powerful as what I experienced while off. That being said, I am not completely shutting down my account, but I will be reaching out to friends via phone more often. For some I might even write and mail a letter to them (gasp)!!

Try it out for yourself and let me know how your own 30 Day No Facebook Experiment went. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Finding Time to be Silent
by On February 11, 2013

I find so much goodness in simply being silent.  Here is a quick video i shot on the beach watching the sun rise.

Video Link

One of my favorite quotes is “The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.” Paulo Coelho

Finding some time to be silent each day is about as simple as it gets and the results ARE extraordinary.

Here are some fun benefits you can look forward to by simply being silent each day:

A. More Creativity – Many pieces of research are showing how different types of mindfulness and meditation practices are clearly linked to improved creativity and better problem solving skills. I know anecdotally, that this is true for me.

B. Health Benefits – I’m the first to point out that maintaining optimal health does NOT have one magic cure-all. The majority of the western, alternative and homeopathic physicians are certainly in agreement that heightened stress comes with health challenges. Taking some quiet time to relax and ‘do nothing’ has tremendous ability to lower stress. This might take a little time and practice. Occasionally someone tells me “every time that I sit in silence for 5 minutes, all I think about is all the things I’m not getting done right now and I become more stressed than I was before!” Zoiks huh? If you are in that situation – you might REALLY benefit from getting good at getting still once and a while, and it might take some practice. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

C. Better Communication Skills – A consistent practice of being silent will not only make you a better listener … but it will also sharpen your ability to speak clearly. By getting good a remaining silent (and make no mistake this is a skill) you will have more control and focus over where you mind travels. This is a critical part of being able to ‘think on your feet’ and will help you to organize your thoughts into succinct points which are readily understood.

Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.” That is certainly the case with this. Set an intention to find some time this week to do nothing and notice all the goodness that bring to you.

be free!

eric

Create Your Own Dream Book
by On February 6, 2013

 

How did you make your Dream Book? I have been asked that question so many times over the past 13 years ever since I designed “My Life Goals” Book and am surprised I didn’t think to post this sooner, but as they say “better late than never”.

It is flattering that most everyone who sees it wants to have a book just like it. When I tell them how much effort was required to make it, very few are willing to put in the time to make it happen. So, with this understanding I am going to condense my process into 4 steps to help you build and designed your own Dream/Goals Book.

Warning: For those who have done this, happiness and success has followed. If you are prepared for this then please read on…. 🙂

1) Create a Be, Do, Have List – Before you create a book you will need to determine what it is that you want. It is important to decide what you’d like to truly BE, the activities you’d most like to DO and the possessions (emotional and material) you want to HAVE. Take all the time you need as this list should be very expansive and have little regard for what is “realistic”. I mean, this is DREAM Book, right?

 

Here are a couple examples:

BE –  father, basketball coach, millionaire, healthy….

DO – climb mountain, skydive, watch Sumo wrestling match, visit Egypt etc….

HAVE – Mercedes, million dollars checking acct, 3 kids, all my teeth for life…

2) Highlight Your Top Picks – Once you have this massive and unedited list created the next step is to then pick the ones that really “feel right” with you. Hopefully, if you are really diving into this you will have created such a list that it will probably take 2-3 lifetimes to complete. This is great ’cause it allows you to go over the list again and sort through the items that most resonate with you. So, simply read over what you created and start highlighting the ones that stick out the most to you, the things you could see yourself in THIS LIFETIME accomplishing and getting super excited about.

(3) Gather Images for each Dream – Now that you have your starting list it is time to find images through magazines, internet, or personal photos that represent each of the items you highlighted on your BE, DO, HAVE lists. Once you have images for each one you create a book. However you’d like to create the book is up to you, but I bound mine together in a way that it was durable so I could carry it with me wherever I’d like to go.

4) Stamp it a Success – You could certainly leave it at that, but I take it one step farther. If I have the ability I take a picture of me accomplishing the dreams/goals in my book and substitute the old image with my pictures. I then use my red stamp titled SUCCESS on each of the items I have accomplished. It is so awesome to go through the book and track all the DREAMS I am accomplishing and fill my book up with successes.

 

I wish you all the best as you create the life you want and strive towards your dreams. The fun is in the journey so happy travels…

Your Story About You
by On January 7, 2013

Everyone has a story about themselves.

In fact, you have many stories about yourself.  You are good as this… Bad at that… Love this… Don’t like that…

Nothing influences your experience more than the story you tell you about you.

View Video

Most people don’t know how to identify which of those stories are serving them, and which are not.

Your story of yourself is ALWAYS a story of the past or the future; oftentimes it’s of both.

It is a great thing if your story is positive and constructive. I’m always on time.  People can count on me. I’m good with computers. etc   That self identification is terrific, because it brings you into situations with self confidence and the picture of a good outcome.

The problem is that not all of your stories serve you.

I’m not good with money.  I have a terrible diet. I make decisions out of fear. I’m not a disciplined person. I’m not good at sales. etc

There are two things that help me to identify and overcome stories like these.

1. If you want to find your harmful stories, start by looking for your negative statements. Catching yourself saying negative things is an invaluable skill. For me, as soon as i realize what I’ve said, I grab a piece of paper and write it down. When it’s on paper,  it is no longer personal.  I can look at what I’ve said as an observer and see what is true for me.

2.  Understand ALL stories are a story of the past or the future. When you say anything about yourself, you are either referencing something that has already happened or that you are picturing in the future.  Whether something happened a second ago, hour ago or ten years ago; it is in the past.  The past is over.  Observe the difference between I am not good a speaking in public  and In the past, I have not been good at speaking in public.   The sooner continues into the future and seems like a matter of fact (of course it is NOT a fact unless you want it to be) and the later is more true, and it  leaves the future open to possibly.

This will sound very simplistic to some, but it’s not.  The fix for this takes work.  Sometimes lots of it.  There is no pill for self-awareness.  And even once you are aware of the story that isn’t true or isn’t serving you it takes a conscious effort to make that shift.

Certainly, that effort is worthwhile.  As i mentioned in the video, grabbing out a pen and paper and writing some of these stories down is a terrific starting point.

be free!

eric

PS  Here is a list of stories that I have had about me that have not served me.  I find that making them public also neutralizes them and takes their power away.  These things may have been true in the past.  They may be true in the future and then they may not!

I’m not detail oriented

I’m hard on people

I can’t sing

I’m hard on my body

I never get enough sleep

I’m bad a math

I’m a bad writer

I don’t get technology

I’m a terrible boyfriend

I’m too competitive

I’m not creativ

I’m an extremist

Post some of your thoughts  and see what happens.

Beating Holiday Stress
by On December 18, 2012

It is possible to survive the holiday frenzy without feeling frantic — if you know how. Here are top tips from some of the nation’s leading stress experts.

By Vicki Haddock/WebMD Weight Loss Clinic – Feature

Reviewed By Charlotte E. Grayson, MD

The holidays really are the best of times and the worst of times. Our tidings of comfort and joy can so easily be devoured by the insatiable stress to do it all, be it all, and buy it all.

And that stress is nothing to ho, ho, ho about, either. It increases your risk of illness and even death. One study, published in the Oct. 12, 1999, issue of the journal Circulation, suggested holiday stress and overindulgence help explain the soaring rate of fatal heart attacks in December and January.

Yet it is possible to survive the holiday frenzy without feeling frantic — if you know how. Here are top tips from some of the nation’s leading stress experts:

Stress Master: Psychologist Alice Domar, director of the Mind/Body Center for Women’s Health at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, and author of the book Self-Nurture.

Strategy: Cut yourself some slack!

Tip 1. Shop so you don’t drop. Domar’s ritual is to take a personal day off work in the middle of the first week of December. “I hit the mall as soon as the doors open, carrying nothing but an empty backpack and my credit cards,” she says. “The crowds haven’t yet descended, the salespeople are still helpful, and there’s plenty of stuff on the shelves. When I’ve bought too much to carry, I go back to the car, drop it off, and go back in again. It’s amazing how much I can accomplish.” If she finds something she really likes — say a hurricane lamp at Crate and Barrel — she’ll buy an assortment in different colors and give one to each of several people on her list. “My sister-in-law, my friend, and my co-worker never talk to each other,” she says. “They’ll never know.” And of course, catalogs and Internet retailers make it possible to shop without leaving the comforts of home.

Tip 2. Treat yourself. All that hustling and bustling can drain you. Domar suggests that for every 10 presents you buy for others, you select a little indulgence for yourself. “I might go with a little Godiva truffle or a Dave Barry calendar — nothing expensive, just a little pick-me-up.” She also recommends regular exercise and making time for a movie date with your partner, a soak in a hot tub, or a solitary evening of soothing music.

Tip 3. Skip the Nutcracker. Or if that is simply too much heresy, go ahead and take in the ballet but forgo the big menorah lighting, or the Santa parade, or the holiday ice show. The point is, don’t drag yourself or your family from event to event. Think quality, not quantity. Domar recommends allowing each child to pick two events as must-dos. “The Nutcracker will be around next year, I promise,” she says.

Tip 4. Stretch the season. If December is a hotbed of socializing, the weeks that follow tend to be a wasteland. That’s why Domar proposes people schedule their holiday bashes for mid-January (her own office party is set for Jan. 14.) By then, guests actually welcome the idea of a party, and you’ll have the luxury of time to put it together. And just because the last Scotch pine needle has been vacuumed out of the carpet doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate a holiday theme. Domar suggests asking guests to bring a fruitcake and wear the tackiest present they received.

________

Stress Master: Nutritional biochemist Judith Wurtman, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of the book Managing Your Mind & Mood Through Food.

Strategy: Eat to stave off tension as well as hunger.

“Imagine explaining your angst over failing to create a Martha Stewart table to a really empathetic giraffe.”

Tip 1. Carbo-charge your body. It’s 4 p.m. on Dec. 23, and you’re stuck in an interminable line at the post office. It’s time for a snack, but not just any snack. Wurtman says the secret is choosing carbohydrates with low or no fat — maybe a handful of pretzels or, if you crave something sweet, a few Tootsie Rolls or jellybeans. “At least 30 grams’ worth — look at package labels to get amounts,” Wurtman advises. Her research over several years shows such carbohydrates boost the powerful brain chemical serotonin, which helps the body feel calmer. Curiously, one snack to avoid at such times is fruit: fructose is the only carbohydrate that appears not to stimulate serotonin.

Tip 2. Eat mini-meals. When you eat stress-reducing foods, the effects last only about two to three hours. If you’re up against chronic holiday stress, try eating several small meals or snacks throughout the day instead of a couple of big ones. Just be careful to keep your total intake of calories about the same.

Tip 3. Zero in on stress points and fix them. The holidays often generate a vicious cycle: Stress causes people to eat more and richer foods, which causes them to gain weight, which makes them feel even more stressed. “It’s better to prevent or deflect the stress than deal with it,” says Wurtman. For example, say you’re a working mom who comes home at 6 p.m. to begin your second job, and you eat because you feel overwhelmed. Instead, plan ahead. Give your family written instructions on what to do to help you, and give yourself 10 guilt-free minutes of time-out to relax.

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Stress Master: Robert Sapolsky, professor of biological sciences and neurology at Stanford University and author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Disease and Coping.

Strategy: Put whatever’s stressing you in perspective. Chances are your stress level isn’t high because you’re running for your life from an attacking lion. So just imagine explaining your angst over failing to create a Martha Stewart table to a really empathetic giraffe. If your holiday woes would sound like utter nonsense to the giraffe, you’re describing stressors of your own making and you can conquer them.

Tip 1. Ratchet down stress by lowering expectations. Remember, those Norman Rockwell families are strictly two-dimensional — don’t expect them to bear much resemblance to your own family gatherings. “For people living at the other end of the country, this is often one of the few or only times of the year to see some people of great significance,” Sapolsky observes. The result: “this stressful pressure to cram all this emotion and bonding and intimacy into a very hectic few days.” Expect some irritations and imperfections, then relax and have a good time in spite of them.

Tip 2. Don’t go it alone. While the notion of holiday stress conjures up visions of jam-packed mall parking lots and tense dinners with the in-laws, many people suffer stress because they face the holidays by themselves. Sapolsky advises getting proactive by connecting with family, friends, even others who face similar isolation.

Tip 3. Remember the reason for the season. Some people find the holiday season stressful because it seems robbed of its authentic meaning. Instead they are awash in a culture conspiring to crassly cash in on something that once had great personal significance. The antidote, says Sapolsky: “Take the time and effort to reaffirm what this season really means to you, whether it is about family, community, religion. Go help someone in need, to help yourself reaffirm what it is all about.”

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Stress Master: Eric Brown, spokesman for the Center for a New American Dream, a Maryland-based, nonprofit organization urging Americans to shift their consumption to improve quality of life and the environment.

Strategy: Learn how to have more fun with less stuff! (A 1998 poll commissioned by the center and conducted by EDK Associates of New York found that 44% of Americans feel pressure to spend more than they can afford at holiday time, and only 28% report the holidays leave them feeling “joyful.”)

Tip 1. Give the gifts money can’t buy.
By getting creative, you can avoid the stresses of traffic, crowded department stores — and that lingering dissatisfaction that you spend a small fortune on generic gifts. Four out of five people say they would prefer a photo album filled with childhood memories to a store-bought gift. “My 65-year-old mother has all the stuff she needs, so I gave a donation in her honor to the county food bank,” says Brown. “People increasingly are finding new ways to think outside the box — to give gifts that show the relationship between the giver and the recipient.” Other ideas: Adopt a koala bear in a child’s name at the local zoo. Create an audio or video of a family elder reminiscing for their children and grandchildren. Illustrate and write a homemade story featuring your child as the main character. Make coupons redeemable for backrubs or homemade brownies. Or write to celebrities, asking for an autograph dedicated to the recipient.

Tip 2. Lick overspending. It takes an average of four months for a credit card user to pay off stress-inducing holiday bills, according to a 1999 report by the American Bankers Association. Instead try this: Decide how much you can afford to spend for each person on your list, then put that amount in cash in an envelope with that person’s name on it. When the envelope is empty, you’re done – no exceptions. Or freeze your credit cards in a jug of water, or mail them to a friend until the holidays are history. “The more you can inject a sense of humor and make it a game, the easier it’ll be to live within your means,” Brown says.

Tip 3. Follow your holiday bliss. “My wife and daughter and I actually prefer to just go away,” Brown says. “We rent a cabin for Christmas Eve, Christmas, and the day after. It forces us leave all the distractions behind and just enjoy being together. We get in touch with what the holidays are all about.”

Navigating God
by On December 3, 2012

by Eric on December 2, 2012

Life has it’s way of offering up “curve balls” now and then.

One of my favorite sayings is that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you make of it.

VIDEO

When things go wrong it’s easy to think that the Universe is conspiring against you… What if it was exactly the opposite?  What if there is some cosmic conspiracy, but in fact, it’s all happening for your benefit.

I think one of the most important questions to have a very clear and present answer to is… “Is the Universe Kind?”  My answer is clearly yes.  I know that belief is supportive in helping create forward progress in my life.

If your answers to that question is “NO…”  I’d invite you to see if that perspective is really helping you create a life that you are thrilled with.

Either way … i’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

be free!

eric

ps… for more information about Byron Katie head to www.thework.com

The Power of Positive Attitude
by On November 28, 2012

By Remez Sasson

Positive attitude helps you cope more easily with the daily affairs of life. It brings optimism into your life, and makes it easier to avoid worry and negative thinking. If you adopt it as a way of life, it will bring constructive changes into your life, and makes them happier, brighter and more successful.

With a positive attitude you see the bright side of life, become optimistic, and expect the best to happen. It is certainly a state of mind that is well worth developing.

Positive attitude manifests in the following ways:

Positive thinking.

Constructive thinking.

Creative thinking.

Expectation of success.

Optimism.

Motivation to accomplish your goals.

Being inspired.

Choosing happiness.

Not giving up.

Looking at failure and problems as blessings in disguise.

Believing in yourself and in your abilities.

Displaying self-esteem and confidence.

Looking for solutions.

Seeing opportunities.

A positive attitude leads to happiness and success and can change your whole life. If you look at the bright side of life, your whole life becomes filled with light. This light affects not only you, and the way you look at the world, but it also affects your whole environment and the people around you. If it is strong enough, it becomes contagious.

The benefits of a positive attitude:

Helps achieving goals and attaining success.

Success achieved faster and more easily.

More happiness.

More energy.

Greater inner power and strength.

The ability to inspire and motivate yourself and others.

Fewer difficulties encountered along the way.

The ability to surmount any difficulty.

Life smiles at you.

People respect you.

Negative attitude says: you cannot achieve success.

Positive attitude says: You can achieve success.

If you have been exhibiting a negative attitude and expecting failure and difficulties, it is now the time to change the way you think. It is time to get rid of negative thoughts and behavior and lead a happy and successful life. Why not start today? If you have tried and failed, it only means that you have not tried enough.

Developing a positive attitude that will lead you to happiness and success:

– Choose to be happy.

– Look at the bright side of life.

– Choose to be and stay optimistic.

– Find reasons to smile more often.

– Have faith in yourself and in the Power of the Universe.

– Contemplate upon the futility of negative thinking and worries.

– Associate yourself with happy people.

– Read inspiring stories.

– Read inspiring quotes.

– Repeat affirmations that inspire and motivate you.

– Visualize only what you want to happen.

– Learn to master your thoughts.

– Learn concentration and meditation.

Following even only one of the above suggestions, will bring more light into your life!