7 MINDFUL GIFTS: “The Present IS the Gift”

7 MINDFUL GIFTS: “The Present IS the Gift.”

How to Reduce Stress and Save Money this Holiday Season.

By Debbie Lyn Toomey

just-for-you

Stop!

Look.

 Listen.

Breathe this holiday season.

Just because it is the busiest time of the year, it doesn’t mean you have to be hustling and bustling. Don’t you do enough of that the rest of the year anyway? One of the best practices to do this time of the year is mindfulness. What better way to fully enjoy the spirit of the season than to combine this graceful technique with gift giving?

New Tradition

This year, I invite you to start a new tradition. I call it “The Present IS the Gift.” This simple tradition will help you reduce the pressure and panic that comes from little time or energy when getting ready for the holidays and buying gifts. Why not “bag” that old negative feeling and shift to a positive one? Replace stress with savoring the moment. And instead of buying expensive gifts that will lose value after a few weeks, try giving priceless ones that will be treasured by both you and the recipient for many years to come. Too good to be true? Not really. In fact, this tradition is guaranteed to be fun for you and those who are lucky enough in your life to receive this special present. This new practice will help you end the year merry and begin the new one with prosperity.

Fun and Free

The practice of mindfulness is about being in the present moment and savoring the experience. So why not add an element of mindfulness to the way you think about the gifts you are going to give? Be creative with your gifts and challenge yourself to make if fun and free. In this day of instant gratification, many people can get what they want 24/7. It’s getting more and more difficult to buy something special for someone. That is why the more unique you can make your gift, the more enjoyable and exciting it will be for both you and the other person. Mindful gift giving ideas are activities that have the power to boost your communication, increase your level of happiness, and enhance your relationships. In other words, a mindful gift is a gift that keeps on giving.

 The Presents

 Here are 7 Mindful Gifts that will get you started in “The Present IS the Gift” tradition.

  1. Date: Dedicate a day for the lucky recipient. If you can, take a day off from work just to spend quality time with him or her. This will give you a break from your normally busy life and make the recipient feel extra special.
  1. Declutter: Out with the old. In with the new. This invites new and positive energy into your special someone’s life. Got friends or family who have been trying to declutter but are too overwhelmed and busy to do it alone? Present them a homemade card that says you will be there to help get the job done.
  1. Donate: Instead of buying gifts for each other. Suggest to your core group of family and friends to donate and adopt a family. Help others in need.
  1. Deed: Create a homemade coupon that promises to do a nice deed. They can pick from any of the following: to look after baby, ailing parent, house, pet, or plant. This will allow your special family member or friend a way to go away without worrying because they know you are looking after who (and what) they care about most.
  1. Deal: Make a deal with your family member or friend to start a mindful practice. It could be doing a 30-day challenge of some sort that will keep you connected daily for a month. This is a win-win deal that will make both you and the recipient motivated to keep moving forward towards your ultimate goals.
  1. Deliver: Write a gratitude letter to someone that inspired and supported you in the past. Deliver this letter to that person and ask the person to read it out loud. This practice has been proven to have lasting feeling of happiness and wellbeing for both the writer and the receiver of this wonderful letter.
  1. Dish: Dedicate a special evening for your loved ones and make a full course homemade dinner for them. This is a great way to spend quality time with the awesome people in your life. Also, you can make and freeze one of their favorite meals and wrap it up. Your special dinner will surely be appreciated after a hectic day at work.

It’s not too late to begin “The Present IS the Gift” tradition. This practice will help you and those in your life feel less stressed, and more connected to you in the coming year. Remember, mindfulness starts with awareness. The more aware you are of the stressful and wasteful “same old ways” of doing things, the more mindful you can be in giving a more heartfelt and thoughtful gift this year.

If you need support with how to add more mindfulness to your life for stress reduction and productivity, email me at INFO@HEALTHANDHAPPINESSSPECIALIST.COM today to find out how we can work together. Until then, I wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season.

 

 

Gratitude: A Simple Way to Accept Appreciation and Recognition

Gratitude:  A Simple Way to Accept Appreciation and Recognition
By Debbie Lyn Toomey, Health and Happiness Specialist™

gratitude

Have you ever been given a compliment that you turned down by saying something that completely negated the great gesture?

 You are not alone if you just nodded your head. There are so many people (myself included) in this world who are not used to receiving appreciations easily.

For some reason, although this positive gesture is expected, many think the following:
“Oh, they were just being nice.”
“They said that because they had too.”
“They didn’t really mean it.”

Self-deprecating
Our own self-deprecating thoughts can cause us to end up missing out on a gift of appreciation. We quickly respond by saying:
“I could have done better.”
“No. You were much better.”
“Oh, I was just lucky.”

Deserving
While it is better to give than to receive, we cannot throw away the kind gesture of appreciation or recognition when it is given to us. We stand the chance of hurting the feelings of the person who took the time to give us appreciation and gratitude. It is important to recognize the balance of expecting to receive negative feedback and positive feedback. Positive feedback given in a form of appreciation boosts our sense of well-being. This wonderful gesture reinforces the value that you offer to others.

Give and Take
Here are three gratitude “truths” that I love to teach in my positivity in the workplace workshops. They cover the powerful “give and take” art of gratitude nicely.

  1. Gratitude is an instant way of boosting your levels of happiness.
  2. Both appreciation and recognition are important in the workplace.
  3. When appreciation or recognition is given, simply say “Thank you.” Then keep your mouth closed.

The Practice
Today’s busy professionals must not only work hard to get ahead in this world but they also must work hard to accept a genuine gesture of gratitude that is given to them. Doing this will help you feel more valuable in the workplace and an important part of the team.

Keep practicing by saying “thank you” to yourself so that when the time comes and someone gives you the gift of appreciation you will be prepared to receive something that you well deserve.

To learn more about my coaching services and my positivity in the workplace programs, contact me at info@HealthandHappinessSpecialist.com today. Until then, thank you for just being you.

Fresh, Fun, and Fabulous Tip for the New Year

Fresh, Fun, and Fabulous Tip for the New Year
By Debbie Lyn Toomey,  Health and Happiness Specialist™, Speaker, Coach

if you're not having fun-21761.
Happy 2016 to you and yours!

How’s your New Year’s Resolution coming along?

Does the thought of having to do your New Year’s Resolution make you want to say, “Yay” or “Yikes?”

Are your old habits slowly creeping back into your routine sabotaging your good intentions towards a new and better you this year?

Alas, you are not alone! The traditional New Year’s Resolutions needs to be eliminated or evolve as a person gets older. Isn’t it time to begin the year with excitement and fun instead of exhaustion and frustration?

Satiated and Satisfied

As the great Groucho Marx says, “If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong.” There’s so much to be said about having fun and doing what you love to make your activities more meaningful. By starting the year in this positive mindset, you can continue along the year feeling satiated and satisfied with goodness instead of grudges (towards yourself and others). In other words, instead of feeling heavy with physical weight or life’s burdens, try something different that will surely make you feel good about yourself and have fun doing it. I call it 2 Weeks of Fresh, Fun, & Fabulous. It’s a 14-day challenge that will help you boost a greater positive outlook, motivating you make healthier and happier choices during the rest of your year. Instead of the old traditional New Year’s Resolution mentality which focuses on the “what-we-have-to-do” in order to feel better, the 2-week challenge will get you started in the “what-I-want-to-do” outlook that will naturally make you look healthier and happier.

Happy Note

Start this year on a happy note so that the rest of the year will become more harmonious for you – both at home and at work. Stop being amongst the statistics of well-intended people who were not able to achieve their own New Year’s goals and punishing themselves year after year for their failure to achieve (or remember) their original resolutions.

Fresh, Fun, & Fabulous

The 2 Weeks of Fresh, Fun, & Fabulous Challenge is a wonderful way of starting this year. This positive approach to living a healthier and happier life encourages the participants to be creative, courageous, and consistent in our actions, yielding great results. Try something different this year. Allow it to be the year you step out of your comfort zone and enjoy more of what life has to offer. Big or small, any fresh, fun, and fabulous action will make you feel alive. We all know New Year’s Resolutions are traditionally not sustainable and become a monumental task leaving many feeling conquered by their own well-intended goals. We don’t need any fancy statistics to prove what we have come to know year after year. This year, why not take it easy on yourself by doing for something that will not only boost your happiness and also your wellness?

When we are happy, I have found that we:

  • make better and healthier choices
  • are more productive
  • relate with others
  • look and feel younger
  • sleep better
  • and so much more.2 weeks of (3)-23931You deserve it!

    It’s time to be kinder to yourself and realize that beginning the year by failing at self-made resolutions leaves a lasting negative tone for the rest of your year. It’s time to give yourself permission to be human and realize that you have been doing your best. Isn’t it time to add more fresh ideas, fun time, and feel fabulous? Don’t you deserve it? If you just nodded and said, “yes,” please continue to read. If you shook your head and said, “no,” please go back to the top of this article and re-read again until you say, “yes, I do deserve it.”

    Don’t you owe yourself more than that?

    2 Weeks of Fresh, Fun, & Fabulous Challenge

    Ready to give the “2 Weeks of Fresh, Fun, & Fabulous” challenge a go?

    Here’s how:

    1. Dedicate: Mark 2 weeks on your calendar for this challenge. Tip: You can do this longer than 2 weeks if you want. If you forget a day, no problem. Just keep on doing it for the rest of the 2 weeks. The key is to stay true to the original challenge of doing something “fresh, fun, & fabulous.”
    2. Decide: Every day for 2 weeks, decide which aspect of the challenge you want to take on. Whether it’s fresh, fun, or fabulous, think of what you can do with it. Would it be food, family, friends, finance, faith, or frills? What does it look like? Who will you do it with? Where will you do it? How will you go about it in doing it?
    3. Document: Write down in a journal what fun activities you did and how they made you feel. Tip: journal at the same time and place daily. Create a routine out of this. Reading your journal posts will make you feel happy when you need that extra boost.
    4. Declare: Let others know about what you are doing. Share with friends to further fuel the positivity around you. Tip: If you need more people to keep you on track, join us on Facebook. There is a group called 2 Weeks of Fresh, Fun, & Fabulous that has been participating in this easy and enjoyable challenge.

    Have a Fun-Fabulous Time!

    This year, why not try something different, radical, and fun? Why not begin the year with something easy, engaging, and exciting?  Instead of attempting to do something that will take weeks and weeks until you see an improvement, such as losing weight or getting organized, start doing something that will make you good from the start. Doing something different daily for 2 weeks will be enough to get you feeling good about yourself. Isn’t that the ultimate goal of all New Year’s Resolutions? By trying this new spin on resolutions, you will add more excitement and enjoyment into your life. I wish you a fun-fabulous time as you play along with this challenge!

    Need coaching support in how to be consistent with your goals, visit www.healthandhappinessspecialist.com today.

     

 

Mindful Moment

Are you becoming more and more absentminded lately?

Multitasking

My answer is “yes.” This has become a busy and fast paced world, and many of us have taken on a habit juggling and struggling. According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, when we are multitasking, we are paying attention only partially from one task to another. A study conducted on multitasking while driving showed that the driver’s attention decreased by 37% when he/she listened to sentences while driving. How many times have we listened to sentences either from the radio or another person in the car? This important study shows that multitasking is not as efficient or safe as we once thought it was.

Les Miserable

Multitasking spreads our energy thin. Chronically multitasking can make us feel overwhelmed, out of control, and overly tired. When this happens, concentration and clarity become a challenge. A negative ripple effect of unhealthy habits arise such as mindlessly eating comfort food in front of the TV to “veg-out,” consuming endless cans of high energy drinks in order to “pull an all-nighter,” and a taking anti-anxiety medications to counteract the guilt and worries of not getting enough done.

While some people thrive under this fast-paced and demanding lifestyle, their mind and body will eventually show signs of “wear and tear” in the form of chest pain, depression, obesity, gastric reflux, etc.  There is good news! With mindful awareness, we can turn this misery into magnificence.

Mindful Moments

I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t tell you that I don’t multitask—the truth is I still multitask. But after many years of making mistakes that cost me more time to correct, I’ve decided to become more purposeful in my multitasking. I’ve learned to only do it when doing simple tasks. And it works. While it did take some time for me to get rid of the temptation to multitask, the results have been profound. I went from multitasking everything to multitasking with some things.  I made mindful choices that made my day more enjoyable and effective.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness in a nutshell is purposefully paying attention and becoming aware of what you are doing at that very moment. It’s a way of noticing (without judgment) the thoughts in your mind and emotions that you are feeling. Mindfulness also provides a time, however short it may be, to quiet our mental chatter. The more we apply this simple practice, the more we will feel calm, confident, and in control in the midst of our busy day.

Try This

Here’s a mindful practice that will help you begin to cultivate this positive habit – learn to do less and get more done. I call it Mindful Moment: Take 5 & Take a Break

  1. Close your eyes.
  2. Take a deep breath.
  3. Imagine you are in your special place.
  4. Let go of your tension.
  5. Enjoy.

I recommend that you do this practice for about 5 – 10 minutes a day in order to feel your tension release. The more you release and let go of you stress the more you will be able to make mindful choices towards a healthier and happier day.

Gratitude & Mindfulness Experience. More on the program


Need Help?

Contact us for more support in cultivating mindfulness in your life. Email us at info@ultimatehealingjourney.com to begin your journey towards health and happiness. You don’t have to do this alone. We are here to guide you towards your highest and best goals.

Easy Motivation Tip

Have you ever had a day off that you filled with lots of activities?

I recently had one of those days and I had such a fantastic time doing everything on my list, including a task that I have been putting off for the last 3 weeks.  That task was switching my winter wardrobe to my summer one. I don’t know what it was about this particular task, but I always feel like I have to be in the right mood to do it, otherwise I’ll be spending half the day trying on all the clothes, losing track of time and feeling guilty for not making any progress.

On my day off, I challenged myself to get as many things checked off my list and completed as possible. And that was exactly what I did. I checked everything off including my long awaited wardrobe switch that I had been neglecting.


WOOP

Here’s what I did. I applied Dr. Gabrielle Oettingen’s technique called WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan.)  Dr. Oettingen’s and her fellow researchers found that when positive plans are visualized along with the obstacles, people are more likely to become motivated to take action towards the direction of their goals. They found that positive visualization was not enough and that adding the perceived obstacles into this equation allows the person to become more prepared to overcome the obstacles they felt were keeping them from going forward.

woop

I did it!

Here’s how I applied WOOP to help me tackle my wardrobe switching task.

  1. I determined my “wish.” It was to switch my winter wardrobe over to my summer wardrobe. I visualized what it would be like when it was done.
  2. My “outcome” was to have my favorite summer clothes ready to wear and to donate a bag of clothes that I hadn’t worn in a long time. I also visualized what this would look like and got very excited about it.
  3. My “obstacle” was lack of time. I challenged myself and decided to make it easier and fun for me in order to make the task less monumental.
  4. My “plan” was to make a game out of it. I decided to just spend 1 hour doing this and to try to get as many clothes donated as possible during that time. I did this so that I was less likely to try on clothes after clothes after clothes and lose track of time.

I decided to give it a go and it worked! Not only did I get motivated into doing this seasonal task, I had fun doing it.  It felt good knowing I was doing something that I’ve been meaning to do, and lastly I was able to get 2 bags of clothes instead of one ready for donation.

The WOOP technique is easy and effective. Next time you just can’t get started doing something that you’ve been meaning to do, I suggest you try the WOOP technique.

 

If you feel you need extra help to reach your goals, contact me for coaching so that we can create solution-focused plans to make your dreams come true.  Email me at info@ultimatehealingjourney.com today.

 

Forgiveness is…

This week I had the pleasure of teaching about forgiveness in my mindfulness class with 5th and 6th graders. I was amazed at how well they understood the concept of forgiveness and the way they approached hurtful incidences. While some said they cried and talked about it, others used sheer determination to prove the other person wrong, and the rest confronted the others and stood up for themselves. The common thread that I noticed in the 3 approaches was the courageous and self-compassionate choices that were taken to let go of their pain.

Let’s Learn from the Kids

Whether through tears or talking, the kids naturally had a way of taking action to feel better.  We can learn so much from them. We adults tend to have such a difficult time at forgiveness that it’s costing us our mental and physical health.  According to the 2011 study in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, people who hold on to hard feelings have been shown to live a shorter life compared with those who make the choice to forgive. As a stubborn and proud person, I know that I am not perfect and can hold on to a hurt feeling like there’s no tomorrow. What I’ve came to realize, though, was that I was the one suffering and not the other way around. I was the one losing sleep, waking up with bags under my eyes, feeling cranky, and being miserable all day. It was I who was using this pain as an excuse to sabotage my diet or to use this ugly state to pick on the little things that I would normally tolerate. Practicing self-compassion has helped me tremendously. It’s helped me heal old wounds and made me healthier and happier.


Permission to be Human

As mentioned in previous newsletters I am certified in Positive Psychology, the science of happiness. One of the greatest techniques that I learned while studying this amazing field is self-compassion. Self-compassion has a way of helping us feel the pain while also giving ourselves a break. Self-compassion doesn’t mean that we are weak and the other is strong. It doesn’t mean that we don’t feel any pain—it’s quite the opposite. Self-compassion is all about awareness, forgiveness, and self-love. It gives us the time to make the best choice that will make us feel better. It also reminds us that we have the choice to take the control back into our lives by letting go of what no longer serves us.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the Best Call to Make

While forgiveness may not be the easiest thing for many of us to do, it is important to remember that it can possibly be one of the best acts of kindness and love that you can do for yourself. In other words, forgiveness is a choice that can set you free — it is the best call that you will make to become healthier and happier. Nobody can do this work for you. This is something that you and you alone must do to become happy.

Healthy Dose of Forgiveness

Just think about how much brighter and beautiful our world would be if people took a healthy dose of forgiveness daily. I bet that if people were to commit to a daily practice of forgiveness many pharmaceutical companies would be put out of business and doctors’ visits would go down drastically. Basically, forgiveness can put more money into your pocket and add more years to your life. Still not convinced? Here are some facts about people who tend to hold on to grudges. They tend to have higher:

  • Blood pressure
  • Facial muscle tension
  • Heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Loss of control
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia

The Call is Yours

In a nutshell, the call is yours to make when it when it comes to forgiveness. Hopefully, I’ve shown you that holding onto grudges is detrimental to your health. Let’s start learning from the kids and not hold onto the grudges so that we can feel better right away.


Try this!

Next time you feel this frustrating feeling come on, try the following:

  1. Take a deep breath
  2. Go for a walk
  3. Allow yourself to feel the hurt
  4. Notice what your body is doing
  5. Say to yourself, “Permission to be human.”
  6. Repeat 1-5 until you feel better.

Remember to love yourself enough to make this courageous and self-compassionate choice.

Need help?

If you need coaching to help you with forgiveness and self-compassion, contact me at info@healthandhappinessspecialist.com so we can work together to get you to your winning state of mind.

 

Goals and Growth Mindset

This is a wonderful year for me and family! This year my husband and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary and my two older boys are graduating– one from high school and the other from college and my youngest turned 10 years old. It’s a year filled with lots of cheer, celebrations, and changes!

Know what you want to win at.

I heard a great statement from my middle son’s graduation speaker that still rings in my ear. It was, “Know what you want to win at.” This made me reflect back to my own high school goals and dreams. I remembered how bold they were and how determined I was to make them happen. While I had many high hopes and aspirations, I was also realistic. I knew that I would never be a Parisian super model at my statuesque height of 5’4” or get to meet Richard Gere (the officer and a gentleman) and have him carry me off into the sunset or even become a Solid Gold dancer when I only danced at parties or weddings. I knew my limitations and accepted them but I also had a dream and a purpose of having a great life for myself.

We can have it all!

You see I wanted it all! Deep down I always believed that we can have it all – a healthy, happy, and successful life. We make the most of what we have and go for it.

Some of my goals were:

  1. To go nursing school without any student loans — In 1988 I graduated nursing school and had no school debts because of a full university scholarship I won.
  2. To meet and marry the man of my dreams — I met him at my first job working in my local sub shop. We soon became best friends, got married, and had 3 amazing boys!
  3. To have my own company that can inspire people to live the life of their dreams by being healthy and happy no matter where they are in life – I started my company Ultimate Healing Journey, LLC almost 4 years ago. It has brought me so many wonderful experiences and opportunites to deliver my health and happiness mission globally to men, women, and children.

Goals and Growth Mindset

I suppose at a young age I knew what I could win at and focused on what I wanted with passion and zeal until I got it. Although the process wasn’t easy all the time, it made me a stronger person and certainly a healthier and happier one along the way. My comfort zone got bigger and bigger as I stretched myself. This is what author and psychologist Carol Dweck would call having a growth mindset. She calls growth mindset the science of success.

goals and growth word cloud
Goals for Focusing

According to Positive Psychology expert Tal Ben Sha-Har, goals are important because they help us focus, become more resilient, help with our self-fulfilling prophecy, create our world from the words we speak and lastly become a natural step to us when we immerse ourselves in our thoughts, beliefs, and actions.

Goals are the means

Tal Ben Sha-Har emphasized how goals are the means while the present moments are the ends. What he meant by this is lasting happiness comes from what we do every step along our journey to our goals. And that our goals, while they do give us direction, are not the source of our lasting happiness.

How about you?

Do you know what you want to win at?  I suggest picking one goal today and determine when you want it and what you are willing to do to reach it.

Need help?

If you need coaching in ways to reach your goals, contact me at info@ultimatehealingjourney.com so we can work together to get you to your winning state of mind.