Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Power of Laughter

How many times in a day do you feel sad or hear about sadness in the world around you? Lately it seems every time I pick up the newspaper, turn on the television, or speak to a friend, I hear about some issue that is creating enormous stress in one’s life. Many have lost  theirs jobs, lost loved ones, have health issues or just find life overwhelming. Sounds depressing, yes? It doesn’t have to be!

A quote comes to mind:
“There are only three things in life that are real: God, Human Folly and Laughter. In that the first two are beyond our comprehension, we must do what we can with the third.” JFK

Think back on witnessing a toddler running and laughing. What comes to mind?? Happiness!

The healing power of laughter is so incredibly commanding not just for the toddler but for children of all ages, which includes you. The energy laughter generates moves us into a positive state. Sometimes it is momentary, other times sustaining. We all want to be “happy” in life; we all want to experience good health, joy and harmony for ourselves and the ones we love. Our bodies and mind have a predisposition toward health and energy. Studies have shown how laughter affects the human physiology. It has been shown to reduce pain, strengthen immune function, decrease stress, and help put life’s “trials and tribulations into a healthy perspective by making them seem smaller”. So many of us take ourselves much too seriously. Laughter has a positive impact on lightening us up.

I tried an experiment last week with powerful results. I contracted with myself for a week that regardless of what the day held, I would have the intention to create humor/laughter at least once a day for myself or someone else. It was a fun exercise. I found my laughter to be contagious. It it not only helped be but those I came in contact with. After returning from a busy day instead of watching my usual news programs, I intentionally tuned to Comedy Central, or watched an old clip of I Love Lucy.  Does anyone remember that show? If so you can guess what era I'm from. As I watched these programs, I felt myself smiling. It wasn’t an outburst of laughter but a quiet amusement. I actually could feel my body start to relax. Unfortunately, I was enjoying myself so much, dinner ended up on the table about 1 hour later than normal.. Oh, well,.. you can't sweat the small stuff. The choices I made that week to create and generate laughter , energized me to perform better. It put the small issues and even the big ones in better perspective. I actually slept better that week than I had in a long time..

So tomorrow, if you are feeling overly serious or a heaviness in your relationships, job, or health status, be mindful to create laughter for yourself or some else. So lighten up and have some fun!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Change Your Beliefs to Change Your Life

As a coach, I obviously see many people wanting to make changes in their life. Most know they want to make changes but aren't sure how to. I hope this article gives you some insight and provides a baseline where to start.

I always tell my  clients that everything we do is based on agreements we make with ourselves, so when you want to make changes, you need to make new agreements. Not so easy, right? When we attempt to design a career or create a new path in life, many of us are not comfortable stepping out of our customary boundaries. Our minds and hearts are often set to “comfort.” We want to avoid risks or think that we aren’t qualified for that new dream. Changing your mindset, and committing to a new way of thinking can help you get the results you want. This is what I help my clients manifest.

In his book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz suggests four ways to liberate us from the fear and the illusions that create a belief system that can hold us back from going after what we truly want.

The Four Agreements are:

1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, not yours. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best: Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. It will be different when you are in transition. Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.
After reading Don Miguel’s wisdom, my eyes were opened to the realization that I am the only one in control of my thought patterns. I realized that I can shift my mindset from the assumptions that have produced self-doubt to assumptions that support trying something new. Once this realization was made, I was able to shift my paradigm from a fear-based “what if” scenario to understanding the agreements I create with myself will influence my present and future.
For most of us, we have had habits in place for a very long time. We have learned behaviors that date back to childhood. Our parents rewarded us when we did what they wanted and they reprimanded us when we didn’t. The opinions of others, and their reactions to us, became a very strong force in the patterns we formed. Through this process, we created agreements in our minds of who we should be or who we shouldn’t be. Over time we learned to live according to the agreements of others.

If you decide to make changes in your life, you will be challenging the beliefs learned and the habits practiced since childhood. It seems daunting!! But you can change these patterns.
When you have the intention to practice making agreements with yourself, you can rapidly transition your life by experiencing the freedom to make choices that honor your values. I am a realist and recognize challenging  old fear-based beliefs can be difficult. It takes time and commitment to break free of the fear, inner judgment, and old emotional thought patterns, but this is a minor concern when you realize the long- term strategy of creating fulfillment and satisfaction for your life. Life is short. Why not make it the best you can??

There is almost no limit to what you can accomplish when you are willing to make an agreement to yourself to step outside of your “box.” Get clear as to what you want. Make a commitment to honor your agreement and go for it.
The Best Way to predict the future is to invent it. – Alan Kay