The Best New Year Resolution?

It’s the first morning of the New Year and here we are!  Fresh from the previous year and ready to take on the 12 months to come.  It’s a time when the traditional practice is to make the so called “resolutions” toward the New Year.  Usually folks will focus on self improvement ideas such as quitting smoking, losing weight or eating a more healthy diet.  These are endeavors that are certainly worthwhile and what I would call “commitment worthy”.  However, I often here that people have a varying degree of success with some of these resolutions.  I attended a workshop once where I heard that something in the order of 80% of “diets” meet with either noncompliance or plain old failure.  It could be that some of the programs that people try are not sustainable in real life, are not realistic or the individual sets standards that are not realistic.

No matter what the resolution is, I think that it is important to commit  to positive change and goals that truly fit into our lives and personal styles.  The belief in ourselves as we are and the faith in our resolve to be our best in everyday (I know it sounds like an army recruitment ad)  is a goal in itself.  If we can get to this – I think all of the rest will follow.

If we also take the focus away from exclusively ourselves, it allows us to look around at the world and the people in our lives.  A positive focus on the people around us, even strangers, gives a better chance of paying it forward, spreading the positive vibes and being happy.  This all comes back to building and improving ourselves.  I wish you all a Happy New Year!

 

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4 Ways to Leave a Yoga Class

working-cobra-yoga-pose-cute-hispanic-women-practicing-their-class-gym-35911698I wrote about the preparation for your Yoga Class last post.  It’s one of those things where there’s truly a “before, during and after”.  The “after” of a Yoga practice is important.  You’ve recovered from lying on the floor in savasana and here you go back out into the world. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you do this.

1. Be happy and thankful to yourself for making the effort to be there and challenge yourself.  This extends to everyone around you.  It’s always nice to bid others good bye or even a nod of acknowledgement since they were part of the experience.  I remember being taken completely by surprise after a class when young female friend of my gave me a huge embrace after the class.  She wanted to just share the moment.  Sure – not everyone wants a hug – especially strangers – but a little kind acknowledgement goes a long way.

2.  If you made an intent or goal at the beginning of the class, give some consideration to how you might take it away and continue to use or consider it.  If the goal is living your intentions and growing, well why not take it with you.  There is a philosophy about “leaving your yoga practice on your mat” but I think that the strength and insight that we sometimes achieve are worth taking with us.

3. Thank the teacher and be sure to let him or her know how much you appreciated and particular parts of the class.  It’s always a good opportunity to ask a question.

4. Nurture your body with water.  Many classes are dehydrating if you worked hard and sweated.

These are some of my suggestions and I’d be open to your comments.

 

Namaste

The Best Way to Deal with Stress and Anxiety: Some Important Parts of Your Approach

The important part of the title is “your approach”.  Just like your own finger print, your stress is unique and the approach to deal with stress and anxiety is as individual as you.

  1. Thinking is an important aspect of any approach to daily stress or anxiety.  The style of our thought patterns often plays a role in how we deal with challenges such as stressors or symptoms of anxiety.  One of the Best approaches is seen in the Centre for Positive Psychology that is directed by Dr. Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania.

2. Physical Activity remains an important part of any approach to the management of daily stress and symptoms of anxiety.  There is quite a lot of research to support the benefits of regular exercise for mental and physical health.  Especially exercise that you enjoy.  I previously reviewed an article posted by the American Psychological Association.

 

Your Approach to Taking Care of Yourself is as Unique as your Fingerprint

 

3. Getting Help   . Help can come in the form of a good book that you find to have the information that you need , such as Kabot-Zinn’s Full Catastrophie Living or a therapist who is trained in the area in which you need help.  Psychologists and other mental health professionals, especially in private practices, are able to list the areas of specialty in their public listings.  You can also see what organizations and licensing bodies they are affiliated with.   If you feel that you need the assistance of a professional – it’s important to get someone suitable for you.  Most will even answer questions before you make a commitment to refer yourself.

These are some key features that I recommend considering.. I’m interested in your views.

The Best That You Can Be. Sometimes Only You Know It

I recently read a story in the Globe and Mail about a remarkable achievement of four adventurers in the Canada who completed what was called a “dangerous and unprecedented” ski trek between Jasper and Lake Louise, Alberta.  They skied across mountains, ice fields and extreme terrain on wooden skis without GPS, Satellite Phone or any high tech equipment. They faced extreme conditions and lost up to 22 lbs.  The traverse took 21 days.  When they finished, they ended up on a highway where they had a coffee at a cafe and then simply went home in different directions (I’m sure there was at least a high five). This amazing and “epic” trip happened 50 years ago before selfies and social media  that would chronicle their moves every step of the way and announce their victorious completion the moment it happened.  But they are only being truly recognized in this newspaper story now.  I found it amazing to think that the four young men went about their lives simply knowing that each had accomplished something that was admirable and “award worthy” but kept it to themselves as their own personal victory, with media hype, CNN coverage or a Youtube post.

 

Sometimes it’s simply Enough for Only You to Know that You Have Accomplished Something

I think that there is some wisdom here for those who climb their own personal “mountains” in life.  Whether it’s an epic hike or dealing with a difficult situation, problem, relationship or challenge. Whatever our achievement is, sometimes it’s enough for on YOU to know that you have done it.

There are times in life where our challenges are ours to face on our own.  It’s sometimes a very lonely and isolated feeling.  And, sure, it’s always great to have support and share our accomplishments, but sometimes it doesn’t happen that way – sometimes it’s just you.

I think that one of the greatest challenges is to have enough self respect and acceptance of ourselves to recognize our own courage, commitment and ability without the approval or recognition of anyone else.