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This holiday week, I wish you and yours moments of memorable connection, laughs, hugs, and lots of cheer!
I also wish you moments of mindfulness and peace, so that you may cherish yourself and renew your unique spirit.
To help you do that, here’s a 60-second Moment of Mindfulness, from our beautiful FIU campus, and below it, a holiday poem by Henry Wadsworth LongfellowCherish both the loud and quiet moments this magical season!

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=114989187&force_embed=1&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=00adef&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0


The holiest of all holidays are those Kept by ourselves in silence and apart; The secret anniversaries of the heart, When the full river of feeling overflows;– The happy days unclouded to their close; The sudden joys that out of darkness start As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart Like swallows singing down each wind that blows! White as the gleam of a receding sail, White as a cloud that floats and fades in air, White as the whitest lily on a stream, These tender memories are;–a fairy tale Of some enchanted land we know not where, But lovely as a landscape in a dream.

It’s your life. Lead it well,
Monique

I’m in awe of you! Yes, you!Once for each thing. Just once; no more.

And we too, just once. And never again.

But to have been this once, completely,

even if only once: to have been

at one with this earth,

seems beyond undoing.

–Rainer Maria Rilke

 

Since having attending Oprah’s the Life You Want weekend, I’ve become very clear on the one thing that I am uber focused on for a period of time until I begin to sense a positive change within me. And should that happen (which I’m fully intending for!), at that moment I hope that I won’t need to make a conscious decision to keep it going, but I will become aware that it already has become a new habit. That I have, indeed, already changed. That I am that.

Now, as I would have questioned in the past, some of you may be questioning in this moment, “Just one thing, Monique?”  Yes, that’s right. So many of us have this tendency to try to make MANY changes at once, only to exhaust ourselves, or notice that what we had decided needed changing really is not something we’re eager to change, if at all. I have lived in that pattern of “The more I do the more I am.” You feel me? Yet, if I could FOCUS; truly FOCUS ON JUST ONE THING, well I get excited about how life changing that could be.

What would focusing on JUST ONE THING do for you? How impactful could that be for your life? Do you have moments of feeling scattered and disconnected, or feeling your purpose fleeting? I’d love to hear about those moments for you.

I know you’re curious about my ONE THING! Okay, I’ll tell you. My ONE THING is to be my purpose in EACH MOMENT. This requires not planning so much. Not setting extraordinary goals to “be something”. Not checking off lists just to feel accomplished. I know you’re freaking out reading this! I kinda am too! It’s a big change, you see, and big changes sometimes require a proper freak out! BREATHE DEEPLY. Instead, in each moment I will ask myself, “What is my purpose in this very moment? What do I want to achieve right now? What do I want to be right now? How do I want to feel?” and I will listen for my answer. I will be guided by my answer and take the appropriate next step, whether that is to write my blog, call my mom, go for a walk, draft a proposal, organize my office, make a follow up call, play with my daughter, create a new program, etc. I will choose to be that which I am in that moment and make the very most of it! I may just even sit still and breathe.

I know you’re still freaking out! Just chill out! I promise you that I will feel on purpose. I promise you that I won’t need to read a definition daily of who I think I am or who I think I want to be.

I’LL JUST BE.

So what does my ONE THING have to do with awe and with my being in awe of you? Well, for me, part of truly finding my purpose in each moment is also seeing the awe in every single person I encounter, even if no words are exchanged. Mark Nepo calls this Beholding Others. He writes,

“The truth is that each living spirit we encounter is a depth to gently swim in, a miracle that can quench our thirst.”

Can you imagine how our work and relationships would serve us if we went into every conversation wondering what this person could teach us–being in awe of them even without knowing one thing about them? Or, for those we do know, suspending all judgment and allowing them to re-introduce themselves and demonstrate who they are in that moment. Could we see something about them we never before saw?

How would you feel knowing someone was beholding you? How different would that be from wondering if you were good enough, or successful enough?

BIG SHIFT.

Behold others and you too will feel beholded.

I am grateful for this moment, for each word that is created in my mind and which I type in this moment.

And in this final blog moment, I honor and behold YOU, for the unique and magnificent individual that you are. That is, in fact, what Namaste means.

Namaste,

Monique

 

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I just purchased a book for my husband, The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell, who is heralded as a superb storyteller. This gift is supposed to be a surprise, but I guess it won’t be after I post this blog! In his book, Campbell recounts his conversations with many amazing individuals he was close to about their life’s quests and explorations. When I heard about it, it reminded me of my husband’s journey, which he’s still living out fully today. In fact, as I write this he’s incommunicado, on a live-a-board ship, diving with Tiger sharks! He’s all about exploring and creating his story in every moment, so I thought it was a perfect gift for him. Taking this leap was not easy for him–for any of us. Leaving a solid 15-year sales career to live his childhood passion of being the next Jacques Cousteau could never be easy. But, what a ride! It’s an exhilarating story, one with a lot yet to be written. I tell him all the time, “This is another chapter in your autobiography!” He laughs and responds, “Yep, our grand kids will get a kick out of this chapter!” This is an invested, deeply meaningful journey, and I do hope he does write about it one day!

(Oh, and since it’s our 18th wedding anniversary this weekend, let me use this platform to wish my husband, Billy, a Happy Anniversary. Love you, honey!)

Though his transition into entrepreneurship was kind of a big deal for us, we all don’t have to have a major transition happen in our lives in order for us to feel or express our story’s power and have it continue to expand us. And, we all don’t just have one story, either! This thought process brought me back to my new program that I just launched this past week, Journey to Wellbeing. I feel so blessed to be walking side-by-side with many individuals who are diving deep into their stories–their journeys to more balanced, conscious, healthy, joyful and meaningful lives. Although it’s only been a week, what I love most is getting a glimpse into their stories, one week at a time. And, since this program’s foundation is journaling, I love the idea that they can begin to capture and/or create their stories, just one sentence at a time. I don’t know about you, but its always a person’s story that instantly connects me to them. It’s what remains when everything falls away. Author, Anne Lamont shares that the thought of writing her first book was terrifying, until one day one of her mentors suggested she write just one sentence every day until she finished. That’s exactly what she did. What would you say is your Hero’s Journey? Have you thought about it? Have you shared it with others? Have you dumped it out of your head and onto paper? Can journaling help you capture it, or would writing one sentence a day be an inspiring starting point for you as it was for Anne Lamont?

We are all hero’s in our own right–in our own lives. Capture it. Own it. Share it.

Namaste, Monique

SUMMER OF WELL-BEING WEEK 9

Are you looking to find some inner insight on your well-being? Have you ever stopped to think that maybe there is more to life than the physical? Sure, staying fit is wonderful and all, but do you ever think about the nitty-gritty of things, through soul searching, or even trying to find that balance in life to make you feel “whole”? Holistic practices have been used for hundreds of years. A holistic practice not only focuses on the body, but the entire body-mind-soul connection to help achieve a greater satisfaction of oneself. Wholeness is just right around the corner, folks.


 Bringing Your Well-Being Full Circle

How we can heal our lives through holistic practices.

Holism means that we are all connected somehow to the world and everything around us. We humans spend so much time bettering ourselves via money and indulges that we forget to thank ourselves in personal and natural ways. We need to allow ourselves to access peace and harmony to better help our spirit remain in the state of bliss and tranquility that we deserve. We can do this through holistic practices.

yoga-pose2Caring for the mind and soul are equally as important as taking care of the body. The metaphysical components of wellness should be taken into account and not be set aside. We can all benefit from getting that ol’ yoga mat out more often instead of waiting for that rainy day Yoga, one of the more practiced types of holism, not only helps to stretch the muscles, it decreases stress, eases depression, and even helps keep blood pressure in check.

Meditation is also a spiritual awakening practice that can put us in a relaxed state of mind. When meditating, we clear our minds and focus solely on slow, balanced breathing. For a beginner, it may take a few meditations before he/she can fully relax and forget those pesky daily woes that trouble us all. Meditating, even if for 5 minutes, can benefit us in the long run. So, the next time you find yourself thinking there aren’t enough hours in the day, believe that there are, take a seat, relax, and ‘om’ your way to a better, happier you.

These are merely two well-known types of holistic practices. There are many other ones that you can easily try at home, or at a studio with a teacher or professional. And, they can also support any illness you may be working through. Sometimes, medication is not enough. Holistic exercises and rituals can help heal your soul and awaken you to your true self and true needs.

The forces of our minds and our transcendental connection to the universe can make miracles! I believe holism can help anyone, if they’re willing to open themselves up to the universe—mind-body-and-soul.

I created I AM Equilibrium because holism has been in my life as long as I can remember! My grandmother taught me to always to look at the root of a situation or illness for the blockage or obstacle, and try to find the “why.”  The surface of anything tells a different story than its root. Looking for the answers within helps you evolve spiritually.

beach-yoga-holiday-fuerteventura

My tip for you is to try and do the same. This week, when you feel stress or pain, instead of masking it with pain killers, cocktails, or other quick fixes, take a few minutes to breathe deeply and ask yourself questions that can help you find the root—the spiritual cause of the stress or pain.

And, I invite you to consider expanding your well-being horizon and trying out a new and unique holistic method. Regardless of the method or practice you try, be patient and be in the moment with it, releasing any judgment for the activity and for yourself.

The art of allowing is never easy! When I began my holistic journey I decided to take it slow. I realized that to develop the habit I needed to take baby steps. First, I set a time, even if I wasn’t going to do yoga or meditate, I’d have the alarm sound ‘meditation time’ and I would be ready with some affirmations or thoughts that I wanted to manifest as detailed as possible.  For one week, it was just that! The following week I wanted more, so I would actually sit up and meditate for 5 minutes and put on some yoga clothes, never pressuring myself to do more. These small baby steps helped me incorporate these and other practices into my life, all while running two companies! I also realized that how I thought about my time was critical. Did I feel I had no time at all, or all the time in the world?  Believe you have the time and you will find it.

I wish you much success on your well-being journey, and a lifetime of mind-body-soul practices that bring you into the wholeness you deserve.

Thank you!

 


Mary P
Ivette Agusti
Founder of I Am Equilibrium
Ivette Agusti is founder of I Am Equilibrium, a Holistic Gym in South Miami focused on helping others integrate Holistic practices into their everyday lifestyle. IAE offers classes, one on one treatments and weekend workshops for the mind, body and spirit, ranging from prosperity classes to the latest healing modalities like Sound healing, etc. Recognizing always how you are your first and only healer, IAE provides simply the tools to assist in your evolution and growth.

 

SUMMER OF WELL-BEING WEEK 7

I’m particularly excited about our guest blogger today, because she addresses a subject I speak about, train about, and is at the foundation of my personal beliefs, which is taking responsibility of our energy. Below, Mina offers us a simple, yet very powerful practice for giving us back so much of the energy that is ours to direct toward productive and joyful tasks. I hope you accept her challenge!!

Mina refers to her Mastermind program, of which I am a member. I just love surrounding myself with like-minded women who want to create meaningful and powerful lives for themselves and for others. I was not able to take on her challenge during the Mastermind, due to my vacation, but I will take the challenge now! Please join us both in doing so!

Need to catch up on Summer of Well-Being posts? You’ll find them all here.

Here’s Mina!


MinaShahEnteC40a-A05aT04a-Z_iconAhhhhh Summer……….

When I hear the word summer I am reminded of clear skies, images of kids laying in the grass looking up at the sky, and the freedom of 3 months without school to do whatever my heart desires. At least as long as my parents agreed.

It would be safe to say that for most of us as children summer brought the feeling of being carefree and fun. Today for most adults, it doesn’t feel that way. The year-round responsibilities are still there and they have to be handled. Just because the kids have 3 months off doesn’t mean that you do, and if you don’t have children, the year-round responsibilities are still there in the summer.

So how does one experience the feeling of being carefree and having fun with all these responsibilities? How does one have a Summer of Well-Being?

If you look at the definition of Well-Being it is the state of being happy, healthy, or successful.

Happy.

Healthy.

Successful.

As a coach I have helped my clients experience happiness, health, and success. I’ve helped them do everything from lose the 35lbs they have been carrying for over 20 years to helping them hire an entirely new rock star staff and making their business more profitable. Having worked with thousands of people over the last 6 years creating happiness, health and success in their lives, there are quite a few things I could share with you today that would help you have a Summer of Well-Being.

However, I have a strong belief that less is more, so today I am going to share with you 1 Simple Thing you can do now to experience more happiness, health, and success in your life.

One thing that you may be doing without realizing. One thing that is affecting your life in a bigger way than you can possible imagine.

What is that, you ask?

It’s simple.

Stop Complaining.

What?

Yes, Stop Complaining.

Now, I don’t know you and I don’t know if you are someone who complains a little, a lot, or if you are just someone who is surrounded by complainers.

If you complain a little you will want to read further.

If you complain a lot. As in, you could land the gold in the Complaining Olympics – you definitely want to read further. You may even want to read this twice.

And if you rarely complain but are surrounded by complainers, read on and then find the share button on this page to send this over to the complainers you know with a smile and a wink. They deserve a Summer of Well-Being, right?

Now Why Stop Complaining?

Let’s go back to being a kid during the summer. Imagine you are with your best friend. You both have been playing outside and now you are laying in the grass, looking up at the sky, the breeze blowing, and you are trying to make shapes out of the clouds when all of a sudden you hear:

“The grass isn’t comfortable!”

“I think I wore the wrong shoes! These are too tight and they are hurting my feet!”

“Why is the sky so blue? It’s almost too bright!”

“Move over you are too close to me!”

Huh???

Immediately the blissful picture you have in your mind is gone. This is what happens when we complain, we prevent ourselves from enjoying all the awesomeness that is around us.

Go to any network or social gathering and you will find that complaining has become the #1 way to communicate. It can be as innocent as complaining about the weather, the traffic, the city you live in to all the way to complaining about your job, business, co-workers, spouse or a past relationship. The challenge is that this robs you from the very happiness, health, and success that you desire. Is this true? Is complaining actually that damaging? Absolutely.

Here are 3 Things that Happen when you complain.

1)  You give an inordinate amount of energy to the problem. The very thing you don’t want more of you are giving your energy to. Do you ever feel happy when you are complaining? Highly doubtful. Complaining is usually accompanied by the emotions of stress, frustration, and aggravation. You are giving your emotional energy to something you don’t want.

2)  You burn your time. Ever been cut off in traffic or have a client or vendor wrong you and then tell the story of what happened to 15 people over the next 24 hours? What could you have been doing with that time? Complaining burns your precious time and kills productivity.  Part of being successful is spending your time wisely. Where could the time spent complaining go?

3)  You lower the energy of those around you. You know those people in your life that you LOVE to be around? That light up your day? When you see their number on your phone you pick it up no matter what you are doing? Do they complain very much? Not likely.  People who lift us up are using their energy on things that are positive and uplifting, not replaying a recent horrible incident for anyone within ear shot. By complaining you become one of those people who lower others’ energy and you lower your own. Not exactly healthy.

So what happens when you Stop Complaining? What’s the upside?

SWMMMeme132I’ll share with you a real life example. Recently at a Mastermind group I lead we had 40 women from 2 groups participate in a 3 day no complaining challenge. The entire group started on a Monday and committed to not complaining for 3 days.

For some the challenge seemed daunting, and for others they thought it would be no big deal as they didn’t feel like they complained that much.  As part of the challenge they would post in our private Facebook group about their experience.

The feedback poured in.

“I think I complain more than I thought because my boyfriend was really excited when I told him I was doing a no complaining challenge!”

“I thought I never complained and after only 30 minutes of being at work I realized I had called the AC guy and been complaining the entire time on the phone!”

“I thought I was the negative one in my house and my husband was the positive one, but after not complaining for 3 days I realized he complains just as much as I do if not more!”

When the women came back at the end of the month each one had the opportunity to share what happened as a result of not complaining.

Across the board the biggest distinction was:

“When I couldn’t complain it caused me to think about what was actually bothering me and I realized the things that I have been complaining about, I complain about all the time, but I haven’t been doing anything about it!

and

I realized that I was using complaining as a way of avoiding dealing with the issue. When I couldn’t complain anymore I actually did something about it!”

I actually did something about it.

They say that for something new to come into your life, you must make space for it. A question I posed to the group in our Mastermind was, “When you are not complaining, what will you find yourself talking about instead?” By eliminating complaining these women now had the energy to solve their problems and focus on moving their life forward!

Here are the top 3 things these women experienced and the 3 Great Things that Happen when you Stop Complaining!

1)  You recognize what the actual “problem” is. Often complaining is usually a way to avoid actually dealing with a specific problem.  Most of the time people complain about the same 3 things. This could a number of things: work, their body, the diet they are on, the government, a family member, or that they “don’t have enough time”. By eliminating complaining you have the opportunity to be with the situation and see what you would like to do about it. You allow the space for a solution to come to the surface.  So let’s take a look in your own life. What would you say are the top 3 things that you complain about?

2)  You experience less stress and less tension in your body. Imagine if you were watching a 3 minute commercial where the entire time it showed the person complaining. At the end of it how would you feel? Probably tense, annoyed, and wanting to get away from it. When you complain, although you are not as annoyed as if you were watching someone else, you still experience the effects in your body. If you catch yourself complaining take a moment to check in. First, stop talking (just cut yourself off) and check in with your body. Are your shoulders scrunched up around your ears? Is your body tense? Is your face all contorted? Have you stopped breathing? If so relax your body. Your shoulders, arms, face, jaw… and then count back from 10. 10……..9……..8……..7……..6……..5……..4……..3……..2……..1……..

Then ask yourself the question: “What’s really important?” When you have the answer ask yourself. “How can I focus on that right now?”

3) You connect more deeply with those around you. This means, when people walk away from a conversation with you they feel neutral or great. Not drained. I shared with the women in the groups that eliminating complaining is one of the quickest ways to create a closer connection with your spouse. It’s important for women to know that because of the ingrained need that men have to make their woman happy and to fix things, when you complain to your man it makes him want to stab himself – in the eye – with a shrimp fork!

Seriously. If you are in a serious relationship there is nothing your man wants more than for you to be happy. If there is a problem he wants to “fix it” for you. When you are complaining there really is nothing to fix because it’s simply venting and clearly you are not happy. The man in your life feels helpless to help you and few things are more frustrating for a man. Please note, I am not saying you cannot express your day or concerns to your man. I am talking about the ongoing, non-stop complaining that is exhausting for both parties. When you stop complaining you get to have a more pleasurable experience with the people closest to you and create a greater connection. Most people have a person they dump all their problems on. What if you stopped dumping on that person? How would that change your relationship with them?

So I invite you!!!

I invite you to experience a Summer of Well-Being by starting off with a 3 Day No Complaining Challenge on Monday!

Call a few of your friends and decide to do it together. When you start to do this you will experience less stress, more connection, and solutions to what you were complaining about will finally have a chance to pop into your head.

I would love to know if you decide to do it and how it goes! Comment below and if you have any questions about how reduce complaining post them below. I am happy to answer them!

Wishing you a wonderful summer. One of sunshine, well-being, and no complaining!
Mina


Mary P
Mina Shah
Speaker, Trainer and Founder of Smart Woman Making Money
Mina Shah is motivational speaker, trainer and the Founder and CEO of Smart Women Making Money. Through Smart Women Making Money she teaches women of all ages the skill set necessary to confidently and courageously speak up for what they want and create the life they have always desired.
Website: MinaShah.com

 

 

Welcome Back to our Summer of Well-Being awareness program! We are nearly half-way through the program, and already I’ve received feedback on how so many of you are enjoying the blogs/vlogs and choosing to make your well-being a priority through small, attainable steps. If you’ve missed any of the blogs, you will find them here.

ChiaLynn

Have you heard this popular new expression, “Shut the front door!”? It’s so catchy that I find myself using it often instead of saying something like, “No way!”, or “You must be kidding me!” In the context of my blog today, however, as well as in preparation for Sheena’s blog on Thursday, I’m thinking of it in this way…

  • Our minds are so darn busy that we consciously have to “shut the door” to our mind to intentionally focus it toward something meaningful, And…
  • Life sometimes feels like we are on warp speed that we have very little consistency and change is ever-present, keeping us from achieving a sense of balance. Our plans keep escaping out that front door and we want to shut it!

Is is realistic to keep shutting the door, or should we proactively keep it ajar doing a little dance with it?

I am a fan of Kabbalah wisdom, and today’s message couldn’t have been more spot on for me in thinking of this door in my mind’s eye. It says:

When the Israelites were in the desert, they were given food one day at a time. They were told not to create a stockpile; the manna would fall from the sky everyday.

The message in this is actually quite simple and clear: Today is the day that counts. The Creator will provide for us each day. There is no such thing right now as “tomorrow.”

If we aren’t capable of giving of ourselves today, if we aren’t able to establish a connection to the Divine love that each of us has within, then we have yet to understand this important lesson—that each day is in itself the fulfillment.

No person on earth has a guarantee that tomorrow will happen.

The simplicity of this message excites me! All the planning in the world won’t matter if we cannot connect with what’s important, purposeful, and divine in this moment. When all of our wellness plans go flying out the door, how do we achieve a state of well-being in this moment? If you happen to be very excited about achieving a greater sense of well-being, but are having difficulty being consistent, why not try dancing in the moment?

This morning was one of those mornings when my door flew open! We just brought home a new puppy, and as joyful as it’s been, it’s also been exhausting and unpredictable! I found myself struggling with trying to control this little ball of energy (yeah, right!), as well as making plans–all of which flew out the door as well! Just like having a new-born baby, my sleep has come and gone. If you’ve been following my blog and read those I wrote about Arianna Huffington’s, Thrive, you know that one of my critical wellness levers is sleep! Not only was my “front door” open, I was sleep walking out of it!

The truth is that our path to well-being will be most solid, I believe, when we have the capacity to make the appropriate “well” decisions moment-by-moment, leaving behind the complaints and excuses. On this more hectic day, some of my moment-to-moment decisions were:

  • 5 am: Drink warm water with lemon to detox while I play with the puppy!

  • Grab another glass of water to drink while driving my daughter to camp.

  • Starving by 7 am, but no great options at home! I chose to wait until 9 for breakfast with a friend so I could choose a healthy snack and small cup of coffee (instead of large!).

  • Pick up a salad on the way to the office so my exhaustion doesn’t cause me to pick something “easy” or “quick”.

  • Run up the stairs to the office to get my heart moving.

  • And the dance continued!

I am a planner by nature, but I have to admit that leaving the door ajar and dancing in the moment sometimes just feels right. The stress of planning it all and knowing it all can also hinder us from feeling well. And, as the message above indicates, there is a divinity to trusting in the moment–what is revealed or given to us, or what we choose to make happen today. In the same, if our wellness plans failed yesterday, we still have today!!! When it’s not empowering, this dance certainly provides us with a great opportunity to learn and to forgive ourselves if we happen to not choose wisely.

When it comes to your well-being, is dancing in the moment hard for you, or do you thrive on it?

Do you want to shut the front door? How can you benefit from leaving it ajar?

Wishing you an amazing week of wellness!

Namaste,

Monique

Photo courtesy of ChiaLynn

SUMMER OF WELL-BEING WEEK 5

The practice of meditation has many benefits when it comes to health and well-being. It is especially helpful if you are a busy professional and you find yourself sometimes caving into your hectic work and life schedule. If you are knew to the world of meditation, don’t worry. This week for Summer of Well-Being, we give you Livia Stabile. In the video below she talks about the benefits of meditation and walks you through a simple meditation that you can do anywhere for as long as you’d like.  Watch her video, try it out, and leave a comment below!



Mary P
Livia Stabile
Certified Vedic Master and Registered Mental Health Counselor at South Florida Counseling Agency
Livia Stabile works as a Vedic Master certified by Deepak Chopra since 2009 and a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern since 2013. She combines the ancient healing powers of meditation with the modern neuroscience and psychology to empower and transform her clients’ lives.
Website: SouthFloridaCounseling.net
Email: livia.yoga@gmail.com

 
 
 

SUMMER OF WELL-BEING WEEK 3

This week our well-being expert is Lina Acosta Sandaal teaching us about Emotional Intelligence. Read her blog below to learn what emotional intelligence is, how to achieve it, and some great ways on how to increase your emotional intelligence day by day!


The Nest Miami2We all experience positive and negative feelings. Most of us want to protect ourselves from negative experiences and avoid negative emotions. However, every time we tell ourselves that our negative emotion is intolerable, we rob ourselves of an opportunity to develop emotional intelligence and a way of walking through our emotions into taking intentional decisions. Most importantly, neurologists know that we best engage, learn, and make meaningful decisions when we are in a receptive state. A receptive state  is when someone feels seen, soothed, secure, and safe. The alternative is a reactive state  where we are constantly looking for danger and reacting by fighting, running away or freezing. If we work on our emotional intelligence, we move towards being in a receptive state more times than not. Ask yourself these two questions:

WHAT EMOTIONS DO YOU GUARD YOURSELF FROM FEELING? WHY?
WHAT EMOTION DO YOU TRY TO AVOID FROM FEELING? WHY?

Take the answers to these questions and the next time you feel them, go through the process that I will walk you through next. If you practice handling these emotions with emotional intelligence you will no longer need to “react” to the feeling, and will become more “receptive” to the information these feelings give you.

Emotional Intelligence is being able to:

  • •Feel an Emotion
  • •Tolerate Emotion
  • •Recuperate from Emotion

This is learned by:

  • •Naming and labeling emotion
  • •Physically experiencing emotion
  • •Seeing and empathizing with others   (REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT)

 

Tools to Build and Increase your Emotional Intelligence

FIRST – FEEL THE EMOTION:

  1. Label the feeling. (“I am scared of this new job hunt. I am embarrassed what my friends will think.”)
  2. Pause (try 90 seconds) and remind yourself that this emotion is transient and not permanent and no action needs to be taken while experiencing/labeling  the feeling.

“It takes less than 90 seconds for an emotion to get triggered, surge chemically through the blood stream, then get flushed out…..anything beyond that is of your own choosing.” —Jill Bolte Taylor  (http://www.ted.com/talks/view/lang/en//id/229)

SECOND- TOLERATE EMOTION:

  1. Narrate to yourself what is happening:
    1. Describe the feelings in your body.
    2. Wonder what the feeling reminds you of.
    3. Check in with expectations or “shoulds” that may be helping you to feel this particular emotion.
    4. Walk yourself through what happened right before you started feeling this way and how you have walked yourself out of this feeling before.
  2.  Make a choice to breathe, move (i.e. walk, jump or simply pump your fists) or embrace yourself until you feel the emotion begin to pass (placing one hand over you heart and another over your stomach while breathing soothes most people.)

THIRD-RECUPERATE FROM EMOTION:

In the moment:

  1. Continue to tell the story of “the FEELING event” – this time observe yourself and tell yourself, as if you were a lawyer, the facts of the event.
  2. Reinforce how you were able to calm down – tell yourself several times what you did to calm down.

 

Day to Day

  1. Learn to breathe and calm down, most of us hold our breath more often than we think.  Just one deep breath will reboot our neurology. (i.e. Yoga, meditation, Simply Being app)
  2. Journal or get used to speaking regularly to a close friend/partner about your emotional state allowing yourself time to process and understand your emotions.
  3. If you find that when you ask yourself “what does this feeling remind me of?” you remember past hurts, you may want to work with someone who can help you understand and know your history and how you make sense of your own emotions as it is influenced by your past history (eg. therapists, personal coach, clergy)

“Anyone can become angry-that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way-that is not easy.” —Aristotle

 


Mary P
Lina Acosta Sandaal
Lina Acosta Sandaal, MA, program director of The Nest in Miami, is an expert in child and adolescent development and infant and early childhood mental health, having worked and trained at Vista Del Mar in Los Angeles, Yale’s Minding the Baby, National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and Child Trauma Research Programs.
Website: thenestmiami.com
Facebook: facebook.com/TheNestMiami
Twitter: twitter.com/thenestmiami

 
 
 

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WELCOME TO WEEK 2 OF SUMMER OF WELL-BEING!

I’m excited to continue our conversation about achieving increased well-being in our lives on small step at a time. Today, I continue to blog about Ariana Huffington’s new book, Thrive, and the magic of wonder in our lives. And, on Thursday, you’ll meet our next guest expert, Davis Mitchell! You won’t want to miss her vlog, so make sure to subscribe if you haven’t already!


“We forget we’re mostly water till the rain falls and every atom in our body starts to go home.”

This thought provides me with a great way to begin today’s blog about Wonder, one of the ways Arianna Huffington suggests we can achieve the “Third Metric” of success in her new book, Thrive. Arianna believes that,

“Wonder is not just a product of what we see—of how beautiful or mysterious or singular or incomprehensible something may be. It’s just as much a product of our state of mind, our being, the perspective from which we are looking at the world.”

 

Singing in the Rain.

I am honored to be a part of a wonderful mastermind group, Smart Women Making Money, led by fellow speaker and coach, Mina Shahwho also will be one of our featured experts for our Summer of Well-Being. Last month, one of our assignments was to select a person in our lives who we wanted to spend more focused, purposeful time with. I chose my daughter, Nia, who is 9 years old, and not coincidentally, full of wonder!

I realize daily that spending more focused moments with her allows our bond to grow deeper, in a way that we are both seeking. One of the commitments I made to this goal was to say “yes” to her more, rather than hearing the words “not right now” float out of my mouth almost unconsciously. One of those moments in which I said “yes” was last weekend, when she wanted to ride bikes to the park. Instead of reading, or doing more work, which are both very easy for me, I said “yes” and off we were.

I enjoy these times together more and more. I notice how her confidence is building as she rides her bike, which takes me back to my childhood; riding my bike was one of my favorite past times! She rides with one hand instead of two, speeds up and brings her legs up onto the handle bars and says, “look at what I can do, Mom!” She feels strong, and I love that. We notice lots of little things we never would otherwise, like how all the lizards seems to jump out in front of us just as we are about to pass, a scary thought for Nia, since she never wants to harm another living thing. She sees and hears the birds and knows the name of each and every one. I’m supposed to teach her, I think to myself, but she is teaching me. Wonder is everywhere!

The best part of this ride, though, is what came next. We were at the park exercising and playing when it started sprinkling. Little by little all the people in the park disappeared into their cars and left. A downpour ensued and the only refuge we had was a small 3 x 4 space under the dinosaur slide. I don’t know how we fit under there, but we made it work! We took cover for a bit, until we realized the rain wasn’t stopping and our bikes were soaked anyway. Like excited little girls, giggling, we decided to go for it!

Out we ran to our bikes and off we were into the rain, heading back home. The water felt refreshing, and the giggling never ended! We rode through puddles, sang songs, and laughed at all the passerby’s feeling sorry for us. The best part was getting home and hearing Nia say, “Mom, we have to do this again!”

I wondered, “What if I hadn’t said yes?” Our experience was filled with wonder that I would not have had otherwise; an experience I wouldn’t change for the world.

This is just one example of how wonder can fill our moments and give more meaning to our lives. For many reasons, including the personal story I shared with you last week in The Accident that Woke me Up, I continue to redefine what success truly means for me, and create more and more moments to experience the wonder in my life.

The meaning of success also was addressed in this part of Thrive, when Arianna shares what one very expensive study showed about success.

            “And now we have the empirical data to back up what the songs and sacred texts have told us. As Professor George Vaillant, who oversaw the Harvard Grant Study, which followed the lives of 268 male Harvard undergraduates beginning in 1938, put it, ‘The seventy-five years and twenty million dollars expended on the Grant Study points, at least to me, to a straightforward five-word conclusion: Happiness is love. Full stop.’ It is the same conclusion reached without spending seventy-five years and $20 million by the English poet Ted Hughes: ‘The only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.’”

This also reminds me of a video I saw on the Today Show, celebrating D-Day, where the then 18-year-old Coast Guard officer who led one of the ships full of “boys” to Omaha Beach emotionally shared, “There’s a fallacy that when men die they call for God. They don’t, they say Mamma.”

Wow. As a Mom, this was so powerful for me; making me crave more and more wondrous moments with my son and daughter.

Now, when thinking of success, I think no one says it better than Paulo Coelho:

“What is success? It is being able to go to bed each night with your soul at peace.”

 

When vacation causes more stress!

In Thrive, Arianna shares a study by Fierce Inc., which states that 58% of workers feel absolutely no reduction in stress from their vacations, and 28% return even more stressed than they were before they left.”

Yikes! I can relate to this, can you? It just so happens that as this blog posts, I’ll be on a boat with my family—on our way to a week-long vacation. You can bet that on my mind will be WONDER and how I can be open to it and seek it actively while on vacation, ensuring I’m not one of the statistics, this time!

Taking this further, I ask myself, and I ask you, “What’s the point of reading all these blogs and books that will help us live better lives if we don’t take action?”

I believe in action in small bites. Try something new. Assess it. If it makes you feel good, try to make it a new habit. Otherwise, seek the next small bite. For my vacation this week, this is what will be my inspiration,

“No matter where you go, there you are.” –Buckaroo Banzai

 

Life’s Secret Door to Wonder

I love that Arianna discusses coincidences, and being open to them, as a way to seek wonder in our lives. She shares,

“We don’t have to know what coincidences mean, or arrive at some grand conclusion when we encounter them. But they serve as sporadic reminders to maintain our sense of wonder, to stop every now and again and allow ourselves to be fully present in the moment and open to life’s mystery. They’re a sort of forced reboot.”

Because I study strengths and personality traits, I know that some of us are better built for expecting wondrous things to happen. Many of us naturally wake up each morning and say to ourselves, “I can’t wait to see what life shows me today!” I don’t know about you, but that life view certainly will create more wondrous moments versus, “Oh no, not another day!”

What’s your perspective, and can shifting toward expecting wonder and coincidences reduce the daily stress you feel and lighten things up?

This week, I encourage you as a part of your path toward well-being to challenge yourself to seek the wonder…the coincidences and see how your overall energy changes and lifts. I’d love for you to share with me below what you notice and new meaningful moments of wonder you’ve created.

I also invite you to subscribe to our Summer of Well-Being if you haven’t done so already. On Thursday you’ll receive a vlog from our next expert, Davis Mitchell, who will share another great wellness tip with you to consider incorporating into your life. I know you’re just going to love her! She is beautiful inside and out.

Davis Mitchell

I’d love to read your comments below.

Namaste, my friends!

Monique

Tall woman and short man

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. —Tao Te Ching

In this hustle and bustle world we live in, we trick ourselves into thinking that we can only achieve success if we are working on and conquering BIG goals. Worst, sometimes we only set these BIG GOALS because we are competing with others to win, or doing what we feel we “should” be doing in order to move up, “make it,” etc.

A classic example every year in January is what? GETTING IN SHAPE! How many times has the new year rolled around to find us all racing to find the newest exercise or diet craze in order to FINALLY get to our ideal weight or body image? It’s a pattern that is hard to break because it may be coming from a place of good intention and some peer pressure, but in the end we are creating a pattern for ourselves of ultimately failing. And when we fail over and over again (in anything) what we are creating is shame. And, why wait until January to start getting in shape, right?

When I was a young girl I kept telling myself that “Good things come in small packages!” I was always (and still am!) the shortest in the group, and it wasn’t always easy. But, through affirmations and slowly building my self-confidence and realizing my value, it never truly became an issue for me. And, the benefit I reap, is my collection of fine stilettos!

In the same, how could this phrase—Good things come in small packages— apply to you and your ability to achieve your goals in a lasting way? The concept of Kaizen tells us that small and steady is much better and more effective.  In fact, through Kaizen we learn that the smallest possible step is the best one to begin with. Like “stupid small!” Need more reassurance? Here’s a great article by the creator of Dilbert who feels big goals are stupid!

In my daily practices I am dedicated to the Kaizen way. Not only do I believe in it, but it just feels better! So what does it look like? It can look like this…

  • Instead of running for one mile every day (especially if you never run!), try walking a mile first.

  • Instead of eating three servings of spinach, or broccoli a day (especially if you hate them!), try drinking 1 green juice a day (pick a green you like and mix it with yummy fruit!).

  • Instead of becoming a great communicator over night, start with one nerve-wrecking conversation!

Get me?

What happens over time is that you are able to accomplish these smaller goals more consistently and then build upon them. If you are walking up steps today, in a few days you actually may be able to run up them (as I have noticed for me). If you are able to take down a green drink a day, your body may start craving more greens or other veggies because you feel better. And, when you do better than you think with that one conversation, you’ll find yourself having many more!

I’m not knocking those individuals who may truly benefit from intense goal achievement, or intensity in general. Do what works for you and empowers you to feel successful and sustain your success. If that has not worked for you in the past, give this a shot and see how GREAT things can manifest through SMALL actions. And, mostly, don’t fool yourself in believing that these actions are not impactful. For one small drop can create magnificent waves.

Want to give this a fun, easy try?  Here’s a great place to start. K.I.S.S! (Keep It Simple Silly!)

Wishing you a life well led, Monique