Thoughtful Thursday Hygge

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I’m sure you’ve seen the word hygge in more and more publications. Hygge is a Danish word, pronounced “HEW-guh.” It refers to coziness and peaceful and comfortable surroundings that invoke a sense of inner wellbeing and contentment.

Most of us may start the holiday season on a slow, joyful note and end up completely frazzled, letting out a sigh of relief that we survived. But it would be so much better if we would allow ourselves the time to just be in the moment. Don’t bite off more than you can chew this holiday season by obligating yourself for too many things. It’s ok to say no and take a little time for yourself.

Why not grab a blanket and cozy up on the sofa reading a nice book while sipping a cup of tea. Or relax in front of a nice, warm fire. Imagine how great it will feel to simply slow down and take in these wonderous moments. It will make your holiday season much more Merry!

A few years ago I came across a publication by Stampington, called the Cozy Issue. It’s an annual publication filled with stunning images and beautifully written words that magically drift off the pages. There are no advertisements in it all. It’s one of my favorite reads to get into that state of hygge. You can find the Cozy Issue on the Stampington.com website, I highly recommend it.

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“Hygge is like a compass, steering us towards small moments that money cannot buy you, finding the magic in the ordinary.” ~Unknown

The Cozy Issue Volume 4 – New!
Stampington Cozy Issue 4

Thoughtful Thursday – Mirror Neurons

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What are mirror neurons? Mirror neurons are the part of the brain that cause us to mimic or reflect back what we are seeing in another person. For example when you see some one hurt themselves, you may winch and feel their pain. Or when some one yawns, you’ll have to yawn yourself even though you’re not tired. The same also holds true for when some one is in a bad or good mood. Their mood may rub off on us. This is because of the mirror neurons in our brains.

When I first started my morning walks I’d smile at strangers and most often I didn’t get much of a response, much less a positive one. But I didn’t let this stop me because I was determined to share my happiness.

As I continued my walks day after day, I’d smile bigger and longer. If that didn’t work I’d follow that with a twinkling wave and a cheerful “Good Morning!” I completely understand that not everyone wants to be happy and that’s ok.

But smiles are contagious and are universally understood. If you smile at some one long enough, you’ll most likely get a smile back due to the mirror neurons. Whether you’re in a good mood or not, the fact that you’re smiling instantly raises your energy and you can’t help but feel uplifted.

After a couple of weeks something magical started happening. These strangers who were not the happiest little campers suddenly became friendlier. I began to get big smiles, twinkling waves and morning shout outs of “Good Morning!” So much so that some would go out of their way to greet me. It made me feel even happier that I was able to share my positive energy with others. I may not have changed the world, but I changed my corner of it, just a bit.

Imagine if everyone tried to “Share the Happy” with those around them. Life isn’t always perfectly happy but when we put more of that positive energy out there, it will surely come back to us ten fold. So what are you waiting for, get out and share a great big smile with some one today 😊

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“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” ~Buddha

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Thoughtful Thursday – Earl Nightingale on Goals

Quote of the Week: Earl Nightingale - Authentic Medicine
Earl Nightingale

I was listening to Brendon Burchard the other day when he recommended Earl Nightingale. I hadn’t heard of him before so I did a little research.

Earl was at Pearl Harbor on the Arizona during the attack which thankfully he survived. Shortly after the war, Earl was obsessed with learning how the mind works and how one person can create wealth while the next is penniless and stays that way. In 1956, Earl recorded one of the first ever life coaching sessions called “The Strangest Secret” which can be found on YouTube. There’s also a book on Amazon.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on Goals. The reason I bring this up again is because Earl makes an excellent reference in his recording about goals. Here’s a snippet of what he says:

“Have you ever noticed that a man who becomes successful tends to continue to become successful? And on the other hand, have you noticed how a man who’s a failure tends to continue to fail?

Well, it’s because of goals. Some of us have them; some don’t. People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.

Now think of a ship leaving a harbor and think of it with a complete voyage mapped out and planned. The captain and crew know exactly where it’s going and how long it will take. It has a definite goal. 9,999 times out of 10,000 it will get to where it started out to get.

Now let’s take another ship, just like the first, only let’s not put a crew on it, or a captain at the helm. Let’s give it no aiming point, no goal, and no destination. We just start the engines and let it go.

I think you’ll agree with me that if it gets out of the harbor at all, it will either sink or wind up on some deserted beach, a derelict. It can’t go any place because it has no destination and no guidance.”

Earl puts it in very simple terms but he’s 100% correct. Goals are the foundation of your life because without them, how do you know where you’re going? It’s so important to set your goals, focus on them and work towards reaching them however big or small they may be. You don’t want to spend 10 years of your life only to find that you’re still at the starting line and have gone nowhere in all that time.

Think about what it is that you really want out of life. What is your passion? What makes you come alive? What gets you excited and eager to start your day? Then set goals and work towards them. (If you need a little more help on goal setting, you can read my post on Goals and hopefully that will steer you in the right direction.)

Live your life with passion while expanding your mind and soul, and have fun in the process!

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“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” ~Buddha

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Thoughtful Thursday – Happy Birthday Chanel

Chanel

I want to introduce you to Chanel, my other Sable Cocker Spaniel who is turning 9 years old today! She is a very special little girl who is my daily inspiration.

At 3 years old, Chanel went completely blind. At first she was upset and frustrated but a few days in, she mapped out the house by following the walls with her nose. She went around again mapping out where the furniture was and used her sniffer to determine what room she was in.

Chanel maintained her status as the alpha and learned new commands like follow me, stop, turn and listen to name a few. She had every reason to wake up unhappy with the hand that life dealt her, but she chose happiness. You see, Chanel never got the memo that she was blind and life should be over because of her disability. The only thing she knew was that life was going to be a little different from here on out. She still plays fetch but instead of looking for the ball with her eyes, she uses sound and smell to find it. It’s incredible to watch.

I know that if this would have happened to me I would’ve had a very hard time adjusting. Everyday I watch in awe as she navigates her day with courage and a heart filled with love. Chanel has a super wonderful attitude that gets her through life.

I wish we all had more of Chanel’s positive attitude. Life will always throw you curves balls and even knock you down sometimes. But you always need to find the positive in every situation, especially the challenging ones. Change doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it just means it’s time to adjust to something new and see where that takes you on this incredible journey we call life. Remember, it is your attitude that determines your altitude.

Happy Birthday Chanel!

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“A positive attitude gives you power over your circumstances instead of your circumstances having power over you.” ~Joyce Meyer

Thoughtful Thursday – Goals

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At the beginning of the year, most of us set goals, our New Year’s Resolutions. Hard to believe that the first half of the year is coming to a close in another week. Where do you stand on your goals? Are you on track, or did you lose sight of where you wanted to be by now?

Life has a tendency to throw you one curve ball after another. But that’s okay as long as you don’t lose sight of your goals. It can get pretty frustrating when you veer off track and if you go off too far, then you may quit. But I’m here to cheer you on! Don’t be so hard on yourself. There’s been so much going on in the world so staying on track towards your goals can be rather difficult.

I know for me, I’ve had my fair share of curve balls thrown my way. But I decided to go easy on myself, it is what it is and I am where I am. I can’t change the past, nor does it do me any good to cry over spilled milk as the expression goes. So I’m looking ahead and making a few changes to help get me back on track. Here are a few pointers:

  • Start by reassessing where you currently are with your goals and where you feel you should be by the end of the year. What do you still need to do?
  • Next break down your goals into smaller attainable monthly goals. Notice I used the word “attainable.” Be honest with yourself on what you can accomplish in the next 6 months. Don’t set yourself up for failure by piling too much on your plate. For example if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t plan on losing 30 pounds in a month. Realistically, women lose an average of 3 lbs a week (12 lbs p/month) while men lose 5 lbs a week (20 lbs p/month). So be realistic with your goals and set yourself up to win, but at the same time still challenge yourself.
  • Next, take it another step further and break down your monthly goals into “attainable” weekly goals and schedule those into your week. Try to schedule 1 hour every day, more or less to work on your goals.
  • Before starting your day, review your schedule and get your mind ready to tackle your goals and cross that finish line victoriously by the end of the day!
  • At the end of the week, you should have made some progress towards your goals. If you went off course, take a look at the why and take action for the next week so it hopefully won’t happen again.

Your schedule will change because that’s just the way life is. So adjust course and keep going. You’re stronger than you thought and you need to give yourself credit for the wins, however small they may be, they all count!!

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“The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in NOT reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.” ~ Benjamin Mays

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Thoughtful Thursday

I thought I would write a post, once a week about something other than art. I love creating with my whole heart, but if you’re not taking care of yourself, if you’re not happy, it’s a lot harder to get creative. 

One of my New Year’s Goals was to get in better shape so I decided I would go on a 2 mile walk every other day. I knew there would be times when this wouldn’t go according to plan so I promised I wouldn’t be too hard on myself. But I really wanted to stick with this plan as best as I could. 

When I first started going on these walks, my time was about 45 minutes for 2 miles. I was okay with that at first, but it didn’t take long and I wanted more. Over time I’ve become more and more competitive with myself, a part of me that I didn’t even know was there. I kept pushing myself and was able to get my 2 mile walk down to 27 minutes. Sometimes I’d even get into the 26-minute range. But that was it, I hit a plateau. 

To break the barrier, I added a few minutes of running and I was able to get my best time down to 24 minutes, 43 seconds so far. I don’t do a lot of running; it’s primarily walking because I’m so not a runner. Nevertheless, I feel victorious when I beat my best time, even if it’s only by 1 second! It still feels like I accomplished something extraordinary and I’m ready to shout it from the roof tops for all to hear!!! 

Bottom line is, to feel good about yourself or anything for that fact, you don’t need a big win. Sometimes it’s the smallest victories that feel like the biggest and have the most impact on your well being and state of mind. You are your own biggest fan when it comes to personal accomplishments.  So, what is your victory worth celebrating today?

Photo by Maria / Sunset in Key West, Florida