Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Positive Psychology’ Category

live-in-the-moment

“Remember then:there is only one time that is important – NOW! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.” – Leo Tolstoy

There are two ways to live life: consciously or unconsciously. Conscious living, or “mindfulness” means being an active participant in your life, choosing the experiences you get involved with, and taking responsibility for the decisions you make. The opposite, living unconsciously, means allowing circumstances to dictate your life, remaining passive, and taking little to no ownership over what life brings. When it comes to living consciously or unconsciously, which one sounds more appealing to you in this one and only life? I thought so 😉

When you live consciously, you become intentional in the things you do. You put yourself in the drivers seat, and instead of waiting for things to happen, you MAKE things happen. You get more done, are more mindful of what you do, and are more focused. All of this gives you the ability to accomplish the things you set our to do and to be more successful in life. The best part is that holding yourself accountable for the life you have has a direct and positive impact on self-esteem, attitude, and belief in yourself.

Studies have shown that conscious living also provides numerous health benefits. It helps reduce and manage stress, chronic pain and blood pressure, and increases immune function and ability to cope with disease. Individuals who live consciously tend to be happier and have a more positive outlook than those who don’t. They tend to take themselves less seriously, are less impulsive or reactive, and accept their own weaknesses without self-judgement. Further, they’re able to take criticism more easily, and suffer less from depression and other emotional and behavioral issues.

Living consciously also means focusing on the present and not dwelling on the past or obsessing about the future. In other words, you live life in the moment. This translates to experiencing more positive thoughts and feelings as most of our anxiety and fears are rooted in past disappointments or regrets and the worry we feel about the future.

Finally living a conscious life helps you develop closer relationships. You’re more in tune with your emotions, thoughts, and reactions which helps you to be more sympathetic and understanding toward others. And you can more easily understand the impact of your choice on you life as well as those around you.

Ready to be an active participant in your life and live in the moment every day? Conscious living encompasses all aspects of life. Everything from what you choose to eat at dinner to the way you treat people can involve intentional thought and action. Living consciously can occur at any moment, on any day, just by actively being present during your experiences and being aware of your feelings and emotions. All it takes to get started is a commitment to be present in your life. Here are my guidelines for living in the moment (and actually enjoying it!)

always-live-in-the-moment--source

Caroline’s Live In the Moment (and ENJOY it!) Suggestions For Success

  • Stop and Smell the roses. Throughout the day, take time to pay attention to what is happening around you. Become mindful of your environment and how you personally fit into it. Observe colors, sounds, light, smells, and textures. Savor moments by allowing all of your senses to fully experience them. Make a habit of noticing new things in every situation, even for those repetitive actions like walking to work and making breakfast.
  • Experiment: Every day find something new to try. Take a class. Attend a seminar. Read a new book. Play a new game. When opportunities present themselves, embrace them openly and look for the potential that they may bring. Say YES instead of no and do one thing a day that scares you. Trying new things keeps you engaged, youthful, and living to the fullest.
  • Stop Thinking: Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and former executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School tells us, “Ordinary thoughts course through our mind like a deafening waterfall.” Part of our inability to live consciously is that we let our thoughts overtake our minds, precluding us from living in the moment and experiencing life. Instead, allow yourself to “just be”. Focus less on your thoughts and more on whats going on around you at the moment. Actively take part in the present while shutting out negativity of the past or future.
  • Breathe: When you feel the urge to be impulsive of have a knee-jerk reaction to something, stop and take a few deep, cleansing breaths.  When it comes to building a conscious life, deep breathing helps you hit the “restart” button. Instead of reacting hastily or irrationally, you’re able to gain self-control and have more rational and appropriate responses to situations and circumstances. Best part is deep breathing is free, easy, and can be done ANYWHERE! Inhale, Exhale, REPEAT!
  • Accept Challenges, Pain, Worry: When something is uncomfortable, we often feel compelled to avoid it. Instead of pushing these feelings away, simply allow yourself to feel them and accept them for what they are. When we don’t acknowledge negative feelings, our minds deal with them in indirect ways. This can manifest in unhealthy behaviors, or worse cause us to do things we may regret. Accepting negative feelings, however, helps us understand our stressors, anxieties, and reactions, giving us the power to move forward and create new feelings and reactions so we can move past negativity instead of dwelling on it. I always say you have to FEEL in order to heal!
  • Switch from Autopilot to Manual: You know your inner autopilot is at work when you feel like time has passed you by, yet you have no idea what you did or what happened during that time. You are going through the motions instead of actively engaging in your life. Maybe autopilot kicks in during a commute or while running errands. Or maybe its at work for longer periods of time. To get the most out of life, its important to be an active participant. Shut off autopilot by increasing your awareness of your thoughts, actions, decisions, and experiences. Don’t defer to others to make decisions for you or allow circumstances to dictate your life. Doing so will only lead to disappointment and frustration. As pilot of your life, you have ultimate control of where you go and the direction you head. Constantly look for ways to engage in what life has to offer…. you never know what may come your way.

Studies have shown that when individuals take the time to enjoy the moments of their lives, they experience more joy, happiness, and positive emotions, and fewer of those that are negative or depressive. But you don’t need research to tell you that conscious living is worthwhile, being an active participant in your life just FEELS better!

How do you practice mindfulness and “live in the moment” on a daily basis? Heres to living and loving every second 🙂

Caroline

Information for this post provided by 52 Small Changes: One Year to A Happier, Healthier, You by Brett Blumenthal. Great read, check it out!

Other Things To Check Out This Week:

l_dab92760-82c1-11e1-81f5-fdfd88800001

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

IMG_0820 

“Getting older is the best thing that ever happened to me. I wake up every morning rejoicing that I’m still here with the opportunity to begin again and be better.” –  Oprah.

On December 27, 2012 I joined together with 13 cousins and 6 aunts and uncles to celebrate the life of one woman: My Grandmother. Grandma stands as an inspiration to us all, the walking proof of a life well lived. She is  glowing, full of health and vitality. Celebrating 90 years of life with my family was a memorable, meaningful night for me. I set a new personal goal: to live to 90 (and THEN some) just like my Grandma Joan.

What can you do to age gracefully and increase your longevity? Luck and genetics are a piece of the puzzle, but you can’t control that. To increase your odds of reaching 90 and beyond, it’s about focusing on what you can do. Loading up on fruits and veggies, working out five days a week, and cutting down on stress are just a few habits to help you age well. Here are a few other suggestions from one woman who knows, my Grandmother!

IMG_0818

Lessons on living till 90 (and THEN some!) from Grandma Joan

Move Your Body. Regular exercise is one of the strongest predictors of a long life. Thats because being active is like turning up a car engine. It keeps systems running better so even if there’s a decline with age its less severe. Unfortunately, many of us are stuck behind a desk most days with a sedentary job, which can negatively affect longevity. To add years to your life, make exercise part of your daily routine. Even a little bit goes a long way: try walking 30 minutes a day and a few times a week add on something else like a dance class or lifting weights. Research shows that people who perform even the most basic movements (walking just 3 to 5 days a week) live longer than those who don’t.  Especially the older you get—stop moving, stop living.

Have Meaningful Relationships. Having meaningful relationships is critical to your health. Partly because the reverse – being isolated – can lead to depression and even dampen the immune system. My Grandma knows this all too well, she had SIX kids after all! Her one tip of advice? Just make sure to surround yourself only with people who can lift you higher. You want to be around those that positively influence your life and encourage you to reach your goals. Establish regular dates to be social with your those you love. Go to happy hour, visit a museum, savor a meal, enjoy life together!

IMG_0816

Set the Table and Share Home-cooked Meals. Making it a priority to share meals with those you love not only helps build meaningful relationships (see above) it improves your nutrition. Cooking your own food means having control over the ingredients, so you can make sure there are no chemicals or preservatives and no extra amounts of sugar or salt. Plus, using fresh vegetables and fruits from your own garden is a huge bonus. The more recently the produce was picked, the more nutrients it has, which means more antioxidants and vitamins to keep your body and brain young. My Grandma makes dining an event: the table is set and  we sit down (distraction free!) to enjoy a mindful, nutritious meal together.

photo-2

Have a Hobby. Having a pastime reduces stress and provides a sense of accomplishment. Its even more beneficial to have a hobby that allows you to be creative. Creative hobbies take you out of your daily patterns and ignite your inner spirit. Make a vision board, take a cooking class, and engage in a creative projects as often as possible. You’ll find that time spent in creativity heightens your happiness and gives you more energy for the other areas of your life.

Always dress as if you are meeting the Queen. My grandmother would never let me leave the house without brushing my hair at least 100 times.  Good thing too because research actually confirms that a little vanity is good for you. In a Harvard study, people who thought they looked better had an actual drop in blood pressure. And as much as I LOVE spending all day in stretchy pants, there is something to be said for getting yourself together. Feeling confident about how you present yourself will increase how you feel now AND later!

Maintain a Healthy weight. If you keep your weight in a healthy range for your gender, age, and height, it keeps your organs healthy, there’s less need for medication, and it enables you to maintain a healthy lifestyle longterm. Most health problems in America can be correlated to lifestyle and bad habits. Eating right along with exercising and not smoking are the key habits that slash your disease risk by 80 %. Choose good for you foods and aim to keep your weight in a healthy range (click here for a healthy weight assessment).  The healthier you are, the better you feel. The better you feel, the longer you live.

DRINK water, don’t smoke, and moderate your alcohol intake. Well you knew that one already!

Be in good spirits. I truly believe in the power of positive thoughts to heal, energize, and help us enjoy life. What we tell ourselves and the messages we take in from others affect our ability to live long, happy lives. They help the health of our mind, body, and soul. Recognize that you create your perceptions from the inside out. A person’s mood in the moment creates his or her experience; a person’s experience does not create his or her mood. Those who understand this live a smooth and stress-free life and do not play victim to external circumstances. Moral of the story: the quality of your thoughts creates the quality and longevity of your life! 

Make Downtime a Priority.  Skimping on leisure time can raise your risk of heart disease eightfold. Not to mention the very REAL negative health effects of stress and working too much. The simple solution? Schedule regular downtime.  I like to practice what I call Personal Protected Days (PPD). PPD’s are all about learning to take time for yourself and incorporate balance into life. When you don’t get enough downtime, then you can’t appreciate or enjoy the time you have with others.  Book leisure time into your schedule and don’t let anything else get in the way once it’s on the calendar. We all need different amounts of alone time based on personalities, schedules and family commitments. Even if you live with a friend, a spouse, a partner or kids its important to find some space for yourself. Do whatever it takes to find this space and protect it. Learn that taking  time for yourself is NOT selfish, but an essential part of living a long life!

Experience the World. Being engaged in the world gives life meaning. That is a good thing for your mental health and seems to lower your overall risk of dying. It’s better to look back on life and say, “I can’t believe I did that,” than to look back and say, “I wish I did that.”  So take the trip, learn a new language, try something new and enjoy all that life has to offer. Even if you live till 100 life is STILL too short. Go for what you want and don’t wait to experience life!

Have an attitude of gratitude. Practicing gratitude can center you, help you live in the moment, enhance your relationships, help you overcome hurdles, improve your health, and motivate you to reach your goals.  Feeling grateful for what you have can produce the good feelings that keep you moving towards the happy life you want. Look around and count your blessings. Clear your head of all the little things that won’t matter down the line, when you’re looking back at all the times you cherished the most in life, and find a reason to make every moment one of them.

Thanks for teaching me how to live well just by being YOU Grandma. Looking forward to enjoying year 90 (and THEN some) with you!

483266_10101509749666393_670607368_n

Is longevity one of your goals? How do you work towards living a life that is long and FULL? Leave a comment below with one habit you have that increases the amount of years in your life. Heres to enjoying a healthy, happy life and increasing our longevity simply by doing it.

Caroline

15604_10101509849306713_1775609293_n

“It’s not the amount of years in Your Life….but the amount Of LIFE in your years!”

Other Things To Check Out This Week:

Read Full Post »

As we approach the new year, there is one thing on everybody’s mind: GOALS. One thing I find extremely effective in setting goals that have lasting power is creating a vision board.  A vision board is a visual representation or collage of the things that you want to have, be, or do in your life. It works to activate the law of attraction which is the idea that your mode of thinking, be it positive or negative, directly affects what the universe puts out there for you. In other words, if you think negatively, your life will only result in negativity. But if you put positive mental energy into the universe, positive outcomes—getting that promotion you wanted or getting out of debt—will happen. It’s kind of like the little engine that could, “I think I can I think I can”.

21040323229378776_apJLtT2b_c

Creating vision boards is considered by many to be a vital step on the road to success. Since positive, focused thinking is the key to achieving goals, pinpointing what those goals are and having something tangible to symbolize them is an essential part of the process. Vision boards remind us what we should and should not be doing in order to achieve our goals. The images and phrases that make the board should represent the highest priorities in your life. It reinforces what you truly want in your life and helps keep you on track in living it.
202732420696098239_mdFNwQo5_c

A vision board usually consists of a poster or foam board with cut-out pictures, drawings and/or writing on it of the things that you want to manifest in your life. It’s simple.

By selecting pictures and writing that charges your emotions with feelings of passion, you will begin to take action towards making those things happen.  Your personal vision board is only limited by the extent of your own creativity. Vision boards are whatever you create them to be – I’ve seen everything from simple to those that could probably sell in an art gallery. Having artistic ability is not a prerequisite for creating a functional vision board and the procedures I’ve outlined below can be used by anyone.

The general elements that a well-designed vision board should include are:

  • Visual. Your subconscious mind works in pictures and images, so make your vision board as visual as possible with as many pictures as you can. You can supplement your pictures with words and phrases to increase the emotional response you get from it.
  • Emotional. Each picture on your vision board should evoke a positive emotional response from you. The mere sight of your vision board should make you happy and fuel your passion to achieve it every time you look at it.
  • Strategically-placed. Your vision board should be strategically placed in a location that gives you exposure to it. It’s helpful to look at it often and give your mind a reminder of your desires.
  • Personal. Negative feelings, self-doubt, and criticism can damage the delicate energy that your vision board emits. If you fear criticism or justification of your vision board from others, then place it in a private location so it can only be seen by yourself.

1774_10101513189827283_1750832609_n

Supplies Needed

    • Big piece of cardboard or poster board
    • Large selection of magazines (preferably in color)
    • scissors
    • Tape/ glue (i prefer double sided tape)
    • Printer (for images off the internet you want to include)
    • Ribbon

Ready to get crafty? Here are my Steps To Create Your Vision Board:

    1. Decide the main theme of your board. It may be based on something specific you wish to accomplish or obtain, or it may be a general idea of everything that makes you happy. (and yes you can make a vision board just specifically of the man/woman of your dreams 😉 )
    2. Find pictures that correspond with your theme, either from old magazines, photographs, or from the Internet.
    3. Print (if necessary) and cut out your pictures.
    4. Type or write some affirmations or empowering words that correspond with your theme.
    5. Glue your pictures and affirmations to your poster board and pin them to your cork board.
    6. Hang your vision board somewhere you will see it often.

Now I know what you are thinking… how can a board full of magazine cut outs REALLY get you what you want out of life?! I understand many skeptics may never get crafty with their goals and cardboard. But there’s no harm in creating something tangible to inspire you. If it does help you get that much closer to your goals, more power to you.  Just don’t forget the essential secret to success is to put forth the effort and take action to make what you want out of life happen. A compelling vision combined with focused action is the key to a positive outcome.  

What is your vision for 2013? 

Leave a comment below if you chose to create a vision board this year. Better yet, send me a photo of your vision board at carolinejordanfitness@gmail.com . Looking forward to sharing a bright and beautiful New Year with you. Put what you want OUT THERE. I believe this will be our best year yet! A Compelling Vision + Focused Action = Positive Outcomes and I am POSITIVE about that one 🙂

Happy New Year to you ALL!

Caroline

Looking for more ways to make your goals a reality in 2013? Check out these posts:

53621051784176446_LacjG26Y_c

Read Full Post »

 

Some people spend all their lives on a boring little island called, “Someday Isle”. “Someday I’ll be happy. Someday I’ll hike in Nepal. Someday I’ll run a marathon. Someday I’ll have a great adventure”. But life is NOT a dress rehearsal. Life is HERE and NOW. Reach out and seize it, you deserve it!

 

Challenge yourself this week is to list five things you’ve been procrastinating about and plan to take at least a little bit of action towards them. A small step forward makes a difference and you’ve got nothing to lose but time. Waiting to learn how to swim? Holding back to send out your stellar resume? Trying to find a reason to ask that special person out? Just do it!. DO IT NOW!!

After all I am getting older..

 

Have a great week and hope to see you soon 🙂

Caroline

Other Things To Check Out This Week:

Read Full Post »

 

Herein is my formulation of the good life: using your signature strengths everyday in the main realms of your life to bring abundant gratification and authentic happiness.”  – Martin Seligman

Want to increase your life satisfaction instantly? Play your strengths. Using what  positive psychologist Martin Seligman calls “signature strengths” in all domains of your life can tremendously enhance your degree of happiness and fulfillment.  “Signature strength”s are our best, immediate resources for high level performance.  In multiple studies, research has shown a direct relationship between the engagement of a person’s character strengths and his/her effectiveness, as well as happiness, in both life and work. The more we play to and come from our strengths, the more powerful and happy our lives will be.

In order to fully engage our character strengths to live our best lives, it helps to know what they are. The purpose of the Signature Strengths Exercise is to encourage you to own your signature strengths by defining them and finding more frequent uses for them. A signature strength has the following hallmarks:

    • A sense of ownership and authenticity (this is the real me)
    • A feeling of excitement while displaying it
    • A rapid learning curve as the strength is first practiced
    • A sense of yearning to find new ways to use it
    • A feeling of inevitability in using the strength
    • Invigoration rather than exhaustion while using the strength
    • The creation and pursuit of personal projects that revolve around it

The Values-In-Action (VIA) Signature Strengths Questionnaire is one of the most popular surveys in the world and is available (for FREE!) through the University of Pennsylvania (http://www.authentichappiness.com). To date over 1.8 million people have registered on the website and taken the tests and between 500 – 1,500 new people register every day. This model identifies 24 character strengths, grouped into six large categories called virtues that consistently emerge across history and culture. The virtues are wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. On the website, results from the survey are immediately generated with a report that identifies a person’s character strengths in rank order (from 1 to 24). The top five strengths are called “signature strengths,” which interact with each other and most influence a person’s presence in the world.

Here’s my challenge to YOU: Take the strengths survey. As you complete the questionnaire, pay most attention to the rank order of your strengths. Were there any surprises for you? After you have completed this test, perform the following exercise: Leave a comment on this post below with one of your signature strengths and one new way you will use it at work, at home, or a leisure this week. For example:

    • If your signature strength is creativity, you may choose to set aside two hours one evening to begin working on a screenplay
    • If you identify self-control as a signature strength, you may choose to workout at the gym rather than watch T.V.
    • If your strength is appreciation of beauty and excellence, you might take a longer, more beautiful route home from work, even though it adds twenty minutes more to your commute.

 

Whats my #1 signature strength? GRATITUDE. My new way to use it is to write one sincere thank you letter every day this week. Oh yeah and to express my deepest gratitude to all of YOU for being a loving community of support from which we can all grow stronger lives.

Looking forward to hearing your signature strength and seeing you continue on towards success. Onward and UPWARD!

gratitude and love,

Caroline

For your reference, the following is a summary organizing the 24 character strengths [Peterson and Seligman (2004)] that encompass who we are and how we show up in the world):

I. Wisdom and Knowledge

Cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge.

1. Creativity[Originality,Ingenuity] Thinking of novel and productive ways to do things; includes artistic achievement but is not limited to it.

2. Curiosity[Interest,Novelty-Seeking,Openness to Experience] Taking an interest in all of ongoing experience for its own sake; finding subjects and topics fascinating; exploring and discovering.

3. Open-Mindedness[Judgment,CriticalThinking] Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly.

4. Love of Learning. Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one’s own or formally; (obviously related to strength of curiosity but goes beyond it to describe the tendency to add systematically to what one knows.)

5. Perspective [Wisdom]Being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that make sense to oneself and to other people.

Courage

Emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external or internal.

6. Bravery [Valor] Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; speaking up for what is right, even if there is opposition; acting on convictions, even if unpopular; (includes physical bravery but is not limited to it.)

7. Persistence [Perseverance, Industriousness] Finishing what one starts; persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles; “getting it out the door”; taking pleasure in completing tasks.

8. Integrity [Authenticity, Honesty] Speaking the truth and, more broadly, presenting oneself in a genuine way; being without pretense; taking responsibility for one’s feelings and actions.

9. Vitality [Zest, Enthusiasm, Vigor, Energy] Approaching life with excitement and energy; not doing things halfway or halfheartedly; living life as an adventure; feeling alive and activated.

III. Humanity

Interpersonal strengths that involve “feeling” and “befriending” others.

10. Love Valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated; being close to people.

11. Kindness [Generosity, Nurturance, Care, Compassion, Altruistic Love, “Niceness”] Doing favors and good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them.

12. Social Intelligence [Emotional Intelligence, Personal Intelligence] Being aware of the motives and feelings of other people and oneself; knowing what to do to fit into different social situations; knowing what makes other people tick.

IV. Justice

Civic strengths that underlie healthy community life.

13. Citizenship [Social Responsibility, Loyalty, Teamwork] Working well as a member of a group or team; being loyal to the group; doing one’s share.

14. Fairness. Treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice; not letting personal feelings bias decisions about others; giving everyone a fair chance.

15. Leadership. Encouraging a group, of which one is a member, to get things done, and at the same time, maintain good relations within the group; organizing group activities and seeing that they happen.

V. Temperance

Strengths that protect against excess.

16. Forgiveness and Mercy. Forgiving those who have done wrong; giving people a second chance; not being vengeful.

17. Humility/Modesty. Letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves; not seeking the spotlight.

18. Prudence. Being careful about one’s choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted.

19. Self-Regulation [Self-Control] Regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined; controlling one’s appetites and emotions.

VI. Transcendence

Strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning.

20. Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence [Awe, Wonder, Elevation] Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in all domains of life, from nature to art, to mathematics & science, and to everyday experience.

21. Gratitude. Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks.

22. Hope [Optimism, Future-Mindedness, Future Orientation]. Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it; believing that a good future is something that can be brought about.

23. Humor [Playfulness] Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side; making (not necessarily telling) jokes.

24. Spirituality [Faith, Purpose, Religiousness] Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe; knowing where one fits within the larger scheme; having beliefs about the meaning of life that shape conduct and provide comfort.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: