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What?  It’s a new year?  Let’s work together to do something different!

Have you noticed there have been a lot of lists for starting something in the new year?  Lists that tell you…..what to do, when to do it, why you do it……10  steps to a better _____, the first 3 things to do to have a better____, what your spouse needs from you, what you need from your job…..and many more.  Are your inboxes filled, newsfeeds rolling with ideas, tweets, retweets, posts, reposts and on and on.  Have you found yourself asking – But what to work on first?  What area to focus on?  What is going to be the best for you?  Who is going to do it with me?  Should I do it all alone? And then finding yourself yelling, “STOP, I can’t make up my mind, so I’m not going to do any of it!” You are not alone.

What I love about this time of year is the strong intention we all have to make an improvement.  Whether that improvement is in our physical, spiritual, mental, relationships or emotional areas of life, we want to have “it” be better or at least different than it is now.  I’ve heard from some that the options are too many, the work is too hard or the project is JUST TOO BIG.  So, they just won’t do any of it!  Why even try? They tell me, I will be doing the same thing over and over again without getting any different results.  Well, that may be true if we continue to start but not finish, if we don’t have anyone to help us along the way, or if we have started to work on something that really doesn’t fit with our values, life or situation.

If this sounds familiar maybe you need a little guidance.  I would welcome the chance to explore what you want to change, improve or stop doing.  Over this past year I have been privileged to coach people in many different areas of life.  We’ve worked through job changes, job loss and career changes.  I’ve been able to coach couples to learn new communication skills and practices to deepen their relationship.  Several are working through past belief’s that have held them hostage to ways of behavior that are not honoring who they are or who they desire to be.  Others have felt a nudge to do something in their life, but had difficulty clarifying that “something”, together we worked through finding their gifts, values and what they have been called to do.  It’s been an exciting year of growth, discovery, challenges and changes!  Are you ready?  I would be honored to coach you through changes, improvements, challenges and new discoveries, let’s do this together. Let’s make 2015 different!   Please go to the Speak To Me page and we’ll start together.  We can work together in person, by phone, through SKYPE, individually, as a couple or even as a group.  The first step is to reach out!

Blessings to you on this new year!

Looking for a way to feel better?  SERVE someone else!

Have you thought about why you feel so much better when you are serving someone else?  Have you ever felt the warm “fuzzy’s” after blessing someone with a favor or kind deed?  Have you found yourself the recipient of someone else’s gift of serving?  What is it that they have?  Why do they seem happier and/or healthier?  It has been studied and proven that when we are serving others, giving, caring, doing for another…not only is the recipient blessed but we feel better too!

Do you realize it’s not just the way we think that is impacted by serving, it’s physical and emotional too!  Several studies have found that not only does serving others cause mood improvements but it has health benefits as well.  Giving helps you overcome stress – your body releases a hormone called oxytocin, which helps you buffer stress while increasing social trust and tranquility – the “compassion hormone” as it has been labeled helps limit exposure to the stress hormone cortisol, says Stephanie Brown from Stony Brook University, New York.  Stacey Curnow, creator of Midwife for Your Life, says about experiencing a release of oxytocin, “It’s a self-perpetuating cycle! After a positive exchange, more oxytocin is released and we are even more likely to reach out and interact with others in a cooperative and nurturing manner.”

Other studies have found that those who serve live longer. A study by Elizabeth Lightfoot, PhD at the University Of Minnesota School Of Social work, showed that seniors who gave 100 hours or more annually lived 22 percent longer than seniors who did not serve others.  And one of the beautiful findings is that it’s not just seniors or adults, but young children, even toddlers.  A study by Aknin, Hamlin and Dunn: Giving Leads to Happiness in Young Children, found that given a choice toddlers are happier when they share with others, even if it is at a cost to themselves.  WOW!!

Additional health benefits are pain relief, lower blood pressure, reduced anxiety and discomfort.   If you want to manage your pain serve others dealing with the same or similar pain.  A study done by Paul Arnstein, PhD, specialist in pain relief at Massachusetts General Hospital found when people suffering with chronic pain helped others with the same ailment, they reported feeling less discomfort themselves and recognized the positive effect they had on others in the same situation.  Which then gave them a greater sense of purpose.  I know this is true from personal experience in the MS world.  A group of 20 and sometimes more of us who battle MS work out together at a gym.  We all come with differing levels of physical ability, we raise the level of JOY in the room simply by cheering each other on and/or challenging each other to try new things.  It’s amazing and very heartwarming!  Each of us are improving our health by increasing our stamina, challenging our bodies to do more AND having fun being supported by each other.  We have a group of dedicated volunteers that come weekly to record our progress, encourage and challenge us.  Ask any of those volunteers why they serve – you get an answer of how they are inspired and motivated by those they are serving.

Another study in the journal of Psychology and Aging found adults over the age of 50 who reported volunteering at least 200 hours in the past year were 40 percent less likely than nonvolunteers to have developed hypertension four years later!  Researchers believe that the stress-reducing effects of being both active and altruistic helped the volunteer’s lower blood pressure. And we find from another source that, raising our oxytocin hormone level limits our exposure to the stress hormone cortisol, from Stephanie Brown, PhD Stony Brook University, New York.

What do we do with all of this? How can we impact our health and mood?  I firmly believe we look for opportunities to SERVE!  To help us remember, give a few more reasons and a couple of simple suggestions, let’s look at serving this way.

SERVE

S – Simply Smile at others.  Anyone can do it and it’s contagious!  Go ahead, give it a try next time you are at the grocery store, in your neighborhood or at church.  Simply Smile and see what happens.  Serving can be THAT easy!

E – Excite others and invite them to serve with you.  If you are getting all the health benefits of lower blood pressure, higher levels of the “compassion hormone” and living longer….invite others to experience the same with you!

R – Renew your HEALTH by serving – Have a chronic issue?  Find a group or organization that serves others like you and SERVE them.  It could be as easy as a phone call checking in with them, leading a group, doing a visit, running errands….but whatever you do for others, you will be surprised how that makes YOU feel healthier – like mentioned earlier….you can step out of your pain, anxiety or mild depression by serving others living with the same issue.

V – Volunteer – Give of your time, talent or resources and just wait to see the results!  If it’s a cause you believe in, you will reap the benefits we’ve listed earlier and others as well!  If you don’t believe results from research, then do your own!  Take time to find an organization, ask at your church, research on-line or stop by a Community Center and see what they need.  Can you fit that need?  Give it a little time and if you are volunteering out of caring – NOT obligation – you will reap the health benefits listed and help others!!

E – Even financial contributions make us feel better.   Remember after 911, the tsunami in Japan, or any big catastrophe that has a way to contribute financially– even anonymously?  People JUMPED at the chance, the mood in the country was of charity.  I would bet your oxytocin hormone level would elevate!  A study done at the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School found that employees who spent a greater portion of bonuses they had received on others or made charitable donations with it reported greater happiness than those who spent more of the bonus on themselves.  Give it a try!

If you are thinking that you would like to find your niche or to discover what it is you are meant to do, I would enjoy working with you!  You can simply go to the  Speak To Me  page and contact me.  We can together help you clarify your values, discover your strengths/gifts and guide you on the road to pursuing your purpose!

I would LOVE to hear your serving stories and how it not only benefited those you served, but how your health has improved.  Please share your story in the comments section.

Until next time, be blessed and BE a blessing!

 

 

Mistakes: opportunity or problem

Mistakes, I’ve made several, we have all made mistakes at one time or another.   Mistakes are so “normal” that songs are written about them.  Here are a few I’m aware of:

Queen – We are the Champions –“And bad mistakes I’ve made a few I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face”

Bob Marley – Mistakes – “I made a mistake, yes, I did, yes, I did”

Smokey Robinson – Oh Baby, Baby – “Mistakes, I know I’ve made a few.  But I’m only human.  You’ve made mistakes too”

If we all make mistakes, do we all react to the outcome the same way?  Do we all change whatever behavior or choices we’ve made to NOT make the same mistake again?   In my life I’ll admit mistakes have been repeated.  Meaning I didn’t learn the first time around, OR, I didn’t stop to find out how my behavior influenced the situations where mistakes occurred.  Do you ever find yourself in a different situation but with the same mistakes being made?  You are not alone and you can change!

Mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow.  Mistakes and the situations they bring are new chances for us to take a different approach!  In this article we’ll focus on dating relationships.  A man or woman find what they believe to be their “perfect” dating partner.  The excitement and anticipation build for this new potential relationship.  However, like their previous dating relationships in a few weeks or months….BAM….”it” happens again!  The “it”, can be different for everyone, but why “it” keeps happening is the same.  If you have not dealt with the “it” from your last relationship, stopped to discover your part in the situation and learned a new way to act/think – you WILL repeat “it”!

Have you thought or have you heard others say, “Why does this always happen to me?” or “Why do all the men/women I date end up doing the same thing as my last date?”  Stop!  It’s time to investigate what is happening, deal with your findings, change your thoughts/behavior patterns and head in a new direction!  How do we do that?! Here are several options.  You could ask a close friend to be honest with you and tell you what they see as a pattern.  You can ask a family member for advice. You can seek out a Life Coach – someone that will help you sort out what is happening, think of other ways to think/act, set a plan in place, hold you accountable and guide you to reach your highest potential.  I would enjoy the opportunity to talk with you to see if we would be a good fit for a Life Coach relationship.  Simply go to the Speak To Me page, fill out the brief form and we’ll be in contact!  One of my favorite quotes of Albert Einstein is “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  Let’s see what I can do to help you have different results!

We have focused here on the dating relationship but this applies to all areas of your life, marriage, job, family, church, work and more.  If you find yourself living with consequences of past or present mistakes, or if you are thinking it will never change, let’s work together.  We will sort through the situation, learn different responses, new thought processes and set a plan in place to change your focus from mistakes are problems to opportunities for growth!!  Go to the Speak To Me page, complete the form and we can talk about what steps to take next!  Here’s to changing mistakes into growth opportunities!

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