Your Personal Mission in the World

2112133-Farrah-Gray-Quote-I-believe-that-my-personal-mission-in-life-is-to-1To have a personal mission in the world.

What could you do??

461768-Mahatma-Gandhi-Quote-If-you-want-to-change-the-world-start-with-1.jpgYOU: Make a personal difference in your own life to better it. One person at a time, begins with YOU. Until you take care of you, you are not going to be your best self & show up for those in the world who need you.
How to Take care of yourself physically, emotionally & spiritually.

Here are some ideas for YOU: Take long, warm showers they are good for the whole. Get grateful–write a daily list of five things or have your family send each other a short list of things to share with one another. Get outside for the sunshine, nature, the healing effects that are all connected. Read, journal, do something that utilizes and focuses the mind. Listen to beautiful music that seems to move you, calm you, connects you. Coloring calms the mind (its not just for kids–try it). Practice saying ‘NO’ to things or people that drain you or that you may just not want to do. Take a nap. Make a list, whether it is a ’99 things I Love List’ a ‘bucket list’ or a ‘goal list’…to help you tap into some of your personal desires or things you enjoy or want to do. Meditate and clear your mind. Do yoga. Smile. Exercise your mind and body. Give puppy loves & enjoy some pet therapy. Go to sleep earlier. Volunteer. Make time & activities for family time. Get creative by painting, doodling, art journaling, paper folding, etc. Garden or just pull weeds & enjoy being in the sun and dirt. Laugh by watching funny videos or a hilarious television series. Breathe. Avoid social media because it can steal your time & your joy. Disconnect. Declutter to create room and space. Get inspired.

2031865-C-S-Lewis-Quote-You-can-t-go-back-and-change-the-beginning-but-youTHE BIGGER PICTURE: Start with small steps

Be present with people. I recently met a young girl who works with my daughter at our local aquarium. My daughter has told me many sweet conversations about how this girl makes her laugh, feel included…so, when I met her face to face, I lit up, reached my hands out & grabbed hold of her hands & affectionately shared my thanks for her genuine kindness to my daughter. It was a sweet exchange.
Afterward, my daughter mentioned how she noticed this girls positive reaction to my affection & thought she was genuinely touched in a good way.
I smiled at my daughter & told her to just be present & share love with people. It’s all good.

Give longer, more meaningful hugs—my mom recently had brain surgery & it has been a tough journey seeing her in such pain & struggling. I find myself giving her longer hugs. I’m sure it’s just my way of being grateful she is still around to hug. It has shown me the greater power of hugs.

Let someone else SHINE—my daughter works at the our local aquarium & she is very passionate about educating kids. Just the other day we were visiting the aquarium with some family & friends & my daughter was at a glass tank that had zebra geckos inside. My daughter began to tell her little cousins about them, when all the sudden one of her co-workers jumped right in the middle of everyone & started telling the kids all about the geckos. My daughter stepped back irritated. But, when her co-worker was done, she had everyone clap for him & his great presentation.
My daughter was so irritated & I had to explain perspectives. I told her he obviously needed some Shine time!! I told her she handled the situation beautifully by having everyone give him some shine & celebrating the job he did.
Sometimes we just need to step back & let others shine to make the world a little brighter.

Compliments go a long way—who doesn’t like a compliment?? Everyone enjoys hearing something nice, so spread a little love with a kind word, or a compliment.

Just smile—a smile breaks barriers, connects with kindness, it says ‘I am open’  It is a universal language that just lingers and spreads good.

Remember the ‘Golden Rule’—treat others as you would like to be treated. We learn this at a young age, but sometimes we forget. When a car cuts you off or someone doesn’t smile back at you—just remember to be kind. Don’t get mad or angry.

I have a sweet friend that has grown up in various tough situations, so her exterior is a bit rough sometimes, but her heart is so good. Whenever I drive with her she gets mad at other drivers that don’t wave back if I give a friendly wave of thanks. She gets mad if I open a door for someone & they don’t say thank you. She will literally raise her voice and say, “Your welcome.” I always have to remind her that as long as I am sending out the good vibes of love and care than it is alright. If you are always treating others the way you would like to be treated, then you are doing good in the world. It may not be reciprocated, but as long as you are sending out good, then you are doing good.

Energy–There is energy in all things. Are you being a force of positive or negative energy? Just check in with yourself on this each day. See how you are FEELING and work on being a force of positive goodness.

Be an angel for random acts of kindness–Give someone a water bottle who is working out at the gym, say something nice, give a candy bar to a drive-up attendant, leave a plate of cookies on a strangers doorstep with a note that says, “You are loved.”  Leave quarters in a child’s quarter toy machine, hand out flowers at a nursing home…Do something small that will make someone smile.

Research the companies you get your food or goods from to see if they are environmentally friendly (helps or hinders the planet)—My daughter has an app that she can scan food or goods and tell if they use a lot of palm oil, which is ruining & cutting down our jungles. She can easily scan & determine what products are good or bad & what we should not buy.

Put your phone away when you are around others—I have teased my friends and family when we are together and someone is “hiding” out on their phone. I have genuinely asked them if they are hiding out. It usually instantly helps them put away their phone. Be present when you are with people.

Always use your manners–just the basics help everyone feel good. Smile. Say Please and Thank you. Hold gratitude in your heart and be an instrument of good.

Always strive for good things in your life–I smile whenever I see a car sticker that says, “Feel Good” or “Life is Good” or “Good vibes” or “Be the good” because I know that the people driving that car are trying to put out good feelings into the world.

Whether it is good music, good movies, good conversations, good people, good vibes, good notes you send to others, good stickers or good, positive words you say…make it good. Whenever I pull up to a drive-thru for a sandwich or something & the worker says, “How are you doing today” I always say positives like “I am fantastic or fabulous”—it sends a good, positive message & the people are usually really happy to see me. Strive to have good things and spread good things in your life & those around you.

Invest in your relationships—when you ask people how they are doing, genuinely wait, listen and strive to go deeper with your relationships with people. Really connect, ask questions and be interested. We have way too many shallow and meaningless relationships. Take the time to talk, listen and go deeper with your connections.

My husband has been traveling for work and meeting and spending time with a lot of different people he works with. Whenever he comes home, I ask him, “What did you learn about so and so.”       Take the time to invest in others.

Always have a growth mindset & be willing to learn and grow in all you do. I think it is when we become stagnant that we get off track to becoming our best self. If you are striving to learn new things, experience things that scare you, challenge yourself to get better each day, and are pushing yourself to become better—even just a little, then you are going forward. You are becoming a little better each day for yourself and the world around you.

f683c10ff13b3a512ef75d08f0e2f800--one-tree-motivational-thoughtsBe an example of someone who is a light in the world. Be Someone who is striving to do a little better each day. I hope you can begin with these ideas to help you follow your heart & begin living your life mission. Begin small, but begin.

Peace, Love and JOY to you today.  -H

 

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LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.

2dgfpaq6Since the month of LOVE is quickly approaching, I thought it would be a good idea to post about LOVE. Not just “Love YOU” sentiments or valentine hearts and kisses, the LOVE that begins with YOU.

I think on some level every single one of us have moments where we struggle with loving ourselves. You may be on one end of the spectrum where you just have moments of self-doubt or maybe you truly dislike many things and suffer through life. On any level, it begins with YOU. You truly cannot love others or give love without beginning with the person in the mirror.

I love how John Lennon puts it

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This made me want to find further information to prove that LOVE truly can conquer all fears and help us begin to love ourselves and others. We need to kick the fear, insecurities, shame, sadness, low energy feelings and begin to replace them with higher frequency thoughts and feelings. When we are able to begin to change FEAR (self-doubt, self-hatred, depression, envy, all the negative emotions) and replace them with LOVE (joy, happiness, self-love, trust, all the positive emotions) then things truly begin to change.

When we begin with ourselves LOVE and light will then radiate in all we do. We can then reach out and LOVE others. We can then have something to give to others. The beautiful circle begins.

THE SCIENCE BEHIND THIS:

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In a joint study with Stony Brook University, Rutgers University, and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, researchers performed brain scans of people in long-term relationships. The couples studied were in a loving partnership for an average of 21.4 years. The researchers found significant activation in the medial orbitofrontal cortex.1 That is part of the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain involved in regulating behavior and decision-making.

If we take a look at the brain, we can break the brain up into three major parts. The first part or outside layer is the neocortex, or new layer. This is the last layer to evolve. Going deeper we find the limbic system or emotional brain. Then at the core we find the reptilian brain. This houses our automatic responses such as breathing and instinctual actions.

This small but mighty reptilian brain has the capability to shut down the neocortex and take over. It can literally take the part of the brain where love resides off line. When fear triggers the fight or flight response, brain activity is transfer from the prefrontal cortex in the neocortex to the inner reptilian brain. This can happen when we feel stress or anxiety. In fact, in some people without the behavioral modifying prefrontal cortex keeping their baser impulses in check, can find themselves over-eating, compulsively shopping, gambling, or even turning to drugs and alcohol.

But more importantly to this discussion, stress or fear can weaken the neuro-connections to love. In fact, research at Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that chronic stress or focusing on fear shrivel the connections to the prefrontal cortex.2 Therefor the concept that there is only fear or love is scientifically valid.

To make matters worse, fear is actually stronger than love. When fear pops up, it disconnects the brain from love. However, the good news is that the neuro-connections to love can be regrown. By letting go of fear and anxiety, you get the added bonus of the greater capacity for long-term love.  -Taken from dawnmaslar article

YOUR THOUGHTS: The principle is simple: Throughout your brain there is a collection of synapses separated by empty space called the synaptic cleft. Whenever you have a thought, one synapse shoots a chemical across the cleft to another synapse, thus building a bridge over which an electric signal can cross, carrying along its charge the relevant information you’re thinking about. It’s very similar to how nerves carry electric from the sensation in your toe all the way up to your brain where it’s actually “felt”. 
Here’s the kicker: Every time this electrical charge is triggered, the synapses grow closer together in order to decrease the distance the electrical charge has to cross. This is a microcosmic example of evolution, of adaptation. The brain is rewiring its own circuitry, physically changing itself, to make it easier and more likely that the proper synapses will share the chemical link and thus spark together–in essence, making it easier for the thought to trigger. Therefore, your first mystical scientific evidence: your thoughts reshape your brain, and thus are changing a physical construct of reality. Let that sink in for a moment before you continue, because that’s a seriously profound logic-bomb right there.   -curiousapes.com.   

So, what does that mean: You are strengthening your brain with either LOVE or FEAR. YOU decide every second of every day what you are allowing to grow through your thoughts. You are either nurturing thoughts of LOVE or FEAR.

 

lovevsfearIN CLOSING
It’s true that there are only two primary emotions, love and fear. But it’s more accurate to say that there is only love or fear, for we cannot feel these two emotions together, at exactly the same time. They’re opposites. If we’re in fear, we are not in a place of love. When we’re in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear. Can you think of a time when you’ve been in both love and fear? It’s impossible.

We have to make a decision to be in one place or the other. There is no neutrality in this. If you don’t actively choose love, you will find yourself in a place of either fear or one of its component feelings. Every moment offers the choice to choose one or the other. And we must continually make these choices, especially in difficult circumstances when our commitment to love, instead of fear, is challenged.   –Elisabeth Kubler-Ross & David Kessler from “Life Lessons: Two Experts on Death and Dying Teach Us About the Mysteries of Life and Living”

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Begin today to become more aware of what you are telling yourself and what you are living–LOVE or FEAR. It truly is one or the other. Look at it for yourself. You either FEEL good or bad in anything you do, say or feel. Be aware and begin to truly LOVE yourself. This will then begin the beautiful circle that will surround you and all those in it.

LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.

-Peace and lots of LOVE to you today. -H

To thine own self be true

Over the years I have taken quite a few personality tests and find them very fun. My cute sister sent me one to take & so I enlisted my family to all take it. So fun!!

It is interesting to me that a test that asks various questions can give such accurate output. I announced to my daughter that my personality only makes up 1% of the population. She beamed and instantly piped up, “You are very unique then!” I smiled. Then I was actually shocked that when my daughter took it (she is 13) she had the exact same personality as me! She then felt very special too.

I think anything that makes you look at yourself and helps you to find your strengths, your weaknesses, your characteristics and personality, is a tool that will help you to better yourself overall.  So, I thought this post would be fun to find some tools that would help you to become true to thine own self. Because when you get to a higher personal level, then you will lift others up to theirs.

620-360-smiling-shy-womanPERSONALITY TEST(S): So, go to 16personalities.com and take the personality test. Over 52 million people already have, so there must be something productive. I thought it was great fun!! Enjoy. Make sure you take the test and then look at the detailed personality type (once you know yours). Have fun!

Strengths Finder is another test that I have taken. http://strengths.gallup.com/110440/About-StrengthsFinder-20.aspx

635957612716911605893600755_ponderingSELF CHECK: Give yourself a ‘self check’ Maybe every once in awhile you need to sit down & ask yourself where you have had success and failure on a personal level. Maybe you have shelved some personal goals that you need to pull out of the closet and work on. Maybe you have been hiding out from your deeper self and avoiding a more purposeful path. Maybe you are not taking care of yourself physically. Here are a few questions in various areas of your life to check in on–Maybe stick with the basics–how are you taking care of yourself (physically)?  [Are you getting enough sleep? Are you exercising, taking vitamins, eating well, drinking enough water, getting outside, etc]   how are you taking care of yourself emotionally? [Are you putting up personal boundaries? Are you sharing feelings? Do you feel heard? How is your self-talk, etc]     how are you doing on a spiritual level? [Are you doing something to feel connected to something greater than yourself?  Have you found a ritual like meditation or yoga to calm your mind? Are you taking time to restore yourself? Are you taking time in nature? Do you have a religious or spiritual practice?]  how are you doing with close relationships? [Are you communicating?  Do you feel any resentments or harsh feelings? Can you share your feelings whether they are good or bad? Do you feel lifted and built up by the relationships you have or do they drain you?  Do you feel connected?]   how are you doing with family? [Are you taking time with your kids? Do you feel like you “know” them to some degree? Do you feel present when you are with them or are you busy on your phone? Do you invest by asking questions, taking time & having special activities you do together? Have you asked them what they need from you? and then truly listen].

learnsomethingneweverydayLEARN SOMETHING NEW: There is no greater way to get to know yourself even better than trying new things and seeing what lights you up!! Even if you just learned something new each day (a few tiny, fun facts) you will feel like you are growing to some degree. Trust me, I have done this. OR you can give yourself a bigger goal of climbing the tallest mountain in your state or maybe you just want to begin with the indoor rock climbing facility down the street. I think when you open yourself up to trying new, different, challenging, out of your comfort zone type of things, there is only one thing you will feel—growth & challenge. You will be able to look at various things and say, “I love that!” or  “I don’t really care for that & I don’t need to try it again.”

636048450500681240-1046652568_yourself-loving-yourself-first-quotes-loving-yourself-first-quotes-03verw-quoteLEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF: This is often a hard one for all of us, but if you don’t take the time to truly try to go within and find the self love you need, you will always be missing something. Can you look in your bathroom mirror and tell yourself, “I love you.”  I did a womens retreat & had small groups of women pass around a mirror and try to say that to themselves. It was overwhelming to see how many women broke down in tears ashamed they could not look in the mirror and say that to themselves. It broke my heart. I think we all have varying levels of self love and sometimes we just need to take baby steps to a higher awareness of the love we have and need within. Begin by finding something you DO love about yourself. Focus on that. Maybe begin to take a fun picture of the style you are wearing or your amazing pedicure. Maybe you love your smile or the way you make others feel. Little steps will help you focus on the little things you like & that will lead to the bigger things that will fill you up with more self love.

e08121407a7375a791e3da09e7170598ENJOY THE JOURNEY: Here is a great article I came across that has some good personal questions and fun analogies about finding purpose. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/how-find-your-lifes-purpose-and-make-yourself-better-person.html

Best wishes in your quest to be true to thine own self. Have a beautiful day. -H

 

 

I Love You

stock-footage-pretty-girl-erases-lipstick-on-mirror-i-love-you-a-beautiful-woman-wipes-off-the-words-i-love-youI was just watching a video clip of Christiane Northrup talk about a personal morning ritual that she does. She mentioned it is Louise Hay’s work. She said she stands in front of a mirror and looks deeply into her eyes and says, “I Love you.”

This took me back to a women’s retreat I did years ago where I had groups of women sit down together and do this same activity. It was remarkable to see a group of strangers instantly have a connection through the emotions of such a task. Women were balling as they looked at themselves in the mirror and then there were questions, stories, people who related to others feelings. The circle connected and lifted and loved one another.

I think this is a great thing to begin to do. If you have never looked at yourself in the mirror. smile. smile. Of course you have, but have you ever really looked? Have you looked deeply into your own eyes and reached a deeper point in to your soul and told yourself, “I Love you.”  If the mind monkeys creep in and begin to see your flaws, your lines, your gray hair, your age…push them aside and tell yourself again, “I Love you.”

Christiane said to try it for at least 30 days and see what happens. I know I am going to. It was a good reminder.

I LOVE YOU. Three little words with a big impact on your heart and soul. Spread the LOVE. Begin with YOU.

What defines YOU?

ImageWho defines who you are? What defines who you are? What do you have to have before you can define the person you desire to be? What do you have to do? Where do you have to go? What do you have to obtain? We all do it!! We all compare, judge, are hardest on ourselves.  Why is it that we talk more cruelly to ourselves than someone we can’t stand to be around? Why is it that 80% of people hate what they do for a living? Why is it that we get lost in defining our right life? The life we are meant to shine!! We are the only ones who have control of anything in our life–it’s your decision what you do with it–good or bad.

“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have—LIFE ITSELF.”  -Walter Anderson

Step out and do something today that will put your course in a direction you want to go—instead of the shoulda, coulda, woulda, if…when…don’t play a victim in your own life. There is always a choice.

ChrisCapre2ndSkiesForexWhatYouNeedtoDotoTradeSuccessfullyI just had a conversation the other day with my brother who has been stuck in a bit of a victim role his whole life. He is at a critical decision to the rest of his life. He is on the tipping point of losing his family & he doesn’t appreciate anything he has. I looked him in the eye & said, “I have one question for you!” He was a little hesitant, but said “what?”  All I said was, “You are at a point of two roads, which one are you going to take? The one that fights for your family or the one that will lead you to a life without your family? What do you think that will look like?” He merely said, “a lonely existence.” I said, “then fight!!”

We all get to different points in our life where we need to figure out something that will define our needs, our strengths, our directions, our thoughts, our actions, who we are or are willing to become…

What is one little thing you could do to define the life you want to live? What could you do today to be a little more loving to the beautiful person you are? Is there a decision you need to make to propel your world in a better direction? Is there something you need to do on a personal level to lead you to a happier you? Do you need a different job? A different perspective? A different attitude? Different friends? You know what you need.

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On a personal level: I definitely could be gentler on my self. I have struggled with weight & body image for years. I have had family tell me “you use to look like that; you use to be a hottie…”   I know this is an area that I am constantly working on, so when I saw the following ad—it spoke to me. It made me well up in tears. We all truly want to love every part of who we are & SHINE!  I am still a work in progress. Thank God we all are.

I hope this ad touches you in some way. That you will not define yourself by labels–of any kind.

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Be gentle with yourself. Do something today that will make your life a little brighter, lighter and better. What defines you is how you live the life you are given. Be grateful, Be gentle, Be a light and your best life will follow.

-Peace and best wishes for you today.

Bring on the SELF LOVE

ImageI was listening to a podcast this morning & the topic of self love came up & the speaker was talking about how much better everything would be if we would LOVE ourselves. I think this has been an ongoing struggle for me. I think it is an ongoing process to find self love and develop it and nurture it. I am going to periodically post different ways to put a little more self love into your life. Here we go!!

Here are my first suggestions for putting a little more self love into your life.

When we are able to LOVE ourselves then we begin to truly recognize our connection to the divine.

Surround yourself with people who enlighten you: surround yourself with the types of people who will lift and build you, enlighten you about higher living, say things that will teach you about becoming a better person, have conversations that stretch and grow your soul then they will be a source of light and inspiration for your life. People you will yearn to be around. If there are people in your life that drain your energy, that are not kind, say belittling comments,  etc. Make a conscious decision to not spend time or surround yourself with these types of people.

Be gentle with yourself: we are often far too hard on ourselves. If you find yourself beating yourself up over past mistakes, eating something you shouldn’t have, talking negatively to yourself, focusing on the lack, etc. Remember, be gentle with yourself, know life is a walk of learning and growth. As long as you are learning from challenges, there is growth. Be gentle, nurture your feelings, be kind with your heart and begin to recognize, see and understand the bigger picture—you are connected to divinity.

Live with a daily prescribed intention: Look at your life & evaluate what you need to fulfill it–do you need to live with more meaning, do you need to feel more healthy, do you need to feel more connection in your life, do you need to feel more spiritually connected…what do you need to feel better about your life?   Then look at a particular area & set a daily intention of something you would like more of in your life. One example of this: I am working on creating an intention of bringing more spirituality into my home, so I am following the steps in Deepak Chopra’s book ” The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents”  it outlines different things you can do each day of the week to instill more spirit in your home as a parent.

You could do this with a variety of areas & take one thing each day if you like. Look at it as a daily dose of self love—prescribe for yourself something each day that would make you feel a little more loved, valued and appreciated.

Don’t look OUTSIDE look WITHIN: The love you need is held within. It is and always will be there. Sometimes the ups and downs of life experiences begin to bury this love, but it is there, patiently waiting for you to look within to find it. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that external things will give you the love you desire. Things can’t buy or give you the LOVE you need.

Take some time to be ALONE: alone time, away from relationships, family, schedules, activities, etc. is nourishment for the soul. Whether you take yourself on a date to the local art museum, go on a walk in the woods, read a book bundled up on the couch alone, have a prayer in your car, or just take a long drive to have some time to be alone in your thoughts. Take some time to be alone in your mind, to go to a place of re-connection, a place where you can hear yourself think, a place where you can pray out loud, take a moment to just be alone—to recharge, to stop, to be still.

Find GRATITUDE: This is always a good thing for self love and self nourishment. You can find gratitude any time, anywhere. You can say it out loud like a prayer of thanks, you can write it down in a journal, you can discuss it with family, you can share it with friends. Gratitude is a great expression from the heart. When we begin to see the little gifts within our life—our life truly changes. The LOVE begins to flow where it is needed most.

LOVE LIST it: We often over look all the gifts we have been given–the talents, the personalities, the things we are good at, the things that make us shine. Over the years I am sure you have heard praises or compliments that brought a smile to your heart. Take a moment and write them all down. Think of anything and everything that people have said about YOU…your beautiful smile, your loving heart, the way you wear your hair, your style, the way you dance, play the piano, the wonderful mother you are, the great friend you have become, etc. Find a beautiful piece of paper and make a LOVE LIST…and list out all the beautiful things people have said about you. Then put it somewhere to make it shine. Somewhere where you can look at it every day and remember the beautiful things that are YOU.

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A couple great links I came across:

A Self Love Quiz—take this quiz and see how you do when the topic is self love. Here is the link   http://www.abundancetapestry.com/self-love-series-take-a-self-love-quiz/

Here is another link to 31 days to Self Love. Check it out and see if it is worthwhile to you.

http://www.beliefnet.com/Inspiration/Galleries/31-Days-of-Self-Love.aspx

Cheers to you and the LOVE you need!!   -Heather

The Quest for CONFIDENCE!

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To me CONFIDENCE is like a tiny kitten, when it is feeling good it can be fierce with personal belief, and unstoppable in determination. But if it gets scared, it may want to run away or hide, so it needs to be lovingly nurtured and comforted, and told that things will be okay. We all have moments of vulnerability, moments where our confidence is shaken and we stand alone and want to run away from different situations.

In moments of reflection it is the little things like confidence that catch your attention and you wonder how to tame it and hold on to it a little longer, so it doesn’t disappear for awhile.

Confidence has been a topic at our house lately. Between my husband questioning why people have not called him regarding job positions, or wondering why my daughter is afraid to talk to her teacher (she has been in her class for over a month & still doesn’t know her name), or why I can’t focus on anything, we are a household in a quest for confidence, so when the Oprah magazine arrived at our house with the word CONFIDENCE in big, bold letters, I grabbed it & began to read. There were some great tips and tricks, so I am going to share some ideas and expand on some others.

Here are a few of my favorite ideas from Oprah’s “The Confidence Kit”…

Sit up straight: Research suggests that people with good posture have more confidence in their thoughts than people who slouch.

Knock wood: Psychologists have shown that embracing superstitions and carrying good luck charms can help you perform tasks better.

Break a sweat: Science long ago proved that exercise enhances your mood, but did you know that a 20-minute workout can sharpen your state of mind for a whopping 12 hours.

Focus on your breathing: Those who regularly practice Buddhist mindfulness meditation report increased self-acceptance.

Strike a pose: Standing for two minutes in a “power pose”–think wonder woman, with her feet flat on the ground, shoulders square, and hands on hips–can help you feel 40 percent more powerful than sitting with your arms crossed.

Grab a cup of joe: One more reason to love your latte: 100 milligrams of caffeine has been shown to increase alertness, energy and confidence.

Here are some additional tips and tricks to help you on your QUEST for CONFIDENCE…

Look at your LIFE SUCCESSES: What have you been able to achieve, the big things, the little things, the things you may not consider a success (your happy attitude, your willingness to help others, the good sister you are, etc)–count them. What do you celebrate about what you have done with your life (motherhood, fatherhood, volunteering, teaching, medical school, started a campaign for a good cause, made others feel appreciated, beat a personal fear, built a car engine, wrote a blog post, published an article, learned how to cook, home schooled your kids, are an artist, a gifted musician, can tell amazing stories, love animals, etc)

Evaluate your strengths & weaknesses: What do you view as a personal strength and weakness. This is a good starting point in addressing your personal needs and what you can begin to work on. Ask your friends and family what they see as your strengths and weaknesses. Write them down.

Ask yourself, What do I want? right now, in life, my career, my family. Creating goals helps you on a personal level see and achieve what you want to create for your life. When you are able to see small goals and achieve them…personal success, which increases your confidence.

What is stopping you? Your thoughts, money, social confidence, the right exercise routine, time, etc. Ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that can happen?” Begin to use affirmations to eliminate the self defeating mind chatter and rid you of old beliefs and patterns that may be in your way.

Stop the negative self-talk: Confidence is a funny thing, it seemingly comes and goes depending on the day & the self-talk. Yesterday my husband was waiting for a phone call for a potential interview, he was told they would call him the next morning (yesterday), but by noon they had not called. His mind was a furry of concern, worry and wonder if they would call. He went on about how he should have been more assertive and scheduled a time then and there. I stopped him mid-sentence, “Do I hear a ‘shoulda’ ‘coulda’ woulda’? Are you living in the land of should, woulda, coulda? Well, I am not going there with you.” I smiled and kissed him gently. He laughed at me. It broke the pattern of worry, concern & negative chatter. I went on to explain to him that if they did not take the time to find a valuable asset like him, then they don’t deserve him. I told him if they are smart, they will call. We left it at that.

What little step can I take? Create a baby step outline of where you are and where you want to be relating to your goal. Example: If you desire a new job–what skills do you need to begin working on, maybe you need to buy the right suit for an interview, practice talking about the new position, begin to see yourself working for a specific company, doing the job you desire.

What is the worst thing that can happen? ask yourself what you are afraid is going to happen.

Now list if they are REAL fears—can or will they likely happen? 90% of our fears are not true fears. Don’t buy in to the negative thoughts.

Ask yourself again—What is stopping me? (write these reasons down and address them) If you have doubts that continue to rise to the surface, write them down and calmly challenge them.

ACT. Take action. Commit to your personal success. Make a promise to yourself that you are committed to this personal journey…wherever it may take you.

When it comes down to it–you need to begin to give yourself a little credit, be kind to yourself and begin to love who you are!! Your self-confidence and self-esteem stems from how you feel about yourself, how you challenge yourself and how you handle the situations that life hands you.

One last thing…Dawn Breslin is one of my favorite authors and is a coach on confidence, so I wanted to share a little something from her book, Zest for Life…enjoy!

The secret recipe to enjoying life is to have simple little pleasures sprinkled throughout your day. To boost our self-esteem and in turn our self-confidence first of all we need to become aware of the internal dialogue that plays in our minds. It’s a bit like a tape recorder that plays over and over, and if what the tape is playing is negative and critical of you and your life, you aren’t going to feel good each day.

The expectations of society, our parents, our partners, and our peer groups–not to mention ourselves–dictate that we should have more money, more possessions, a bigger house, a bigger car, a better education, a better job, a better partner…Constantly living by these core values, focusing on getting more, and thinking about all the things we don’t have in our lives blocks us from seeing the natural beauty and joy that surrounds us every single day. If this is the belief we are living by, then there are going to be some serious side effects on the journey to succeed. In Eastern wisdom, the foundations for achievement are almost the opposite: Success is about being happy, connected to spirit, fulfilled, calm, energized and content.

Here are a few habits Dawn suggests to improve your confidence: Read personal development books, Pray, Write down ten reasons to be grateful each day, Read inspirational biographies, take up a creative hobby, begin to play a musical instrument, watch the Discovery Channel, watch inspirational movies, read health and fitness magazines, share good news stories, limit your intake of bad news each day and only speak positively about people.

Hope these ideas send you in a good direction for your personal quest for confidence. Good luck and best wishes in all you do.  -Heather

Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”  -Marie Curie