Smile to Look Better and Live Longer

Smile to Look Better and Live Longer

Debbie Lyn Toomey, RN
Author of The Happiness Result

Smile!

Smiling is my favorite yoga pose. It makes me feel better and puts a smile on others’ faces, too.

It’s a natural mind-body and body-mind happiness booster. When you’re happy, you typically smile and your whole body responds by releasing a cascade of feel-good hormones. What’s also interesting is that even when you are not happy, and you smile, you can trick you brain into thinking that you’re happy, and will start releasing the same feel-good hormones as if you were truly happy. That is why smiling is both a mind-body and a body-mind technique that we can use to add more positivity into our daily life.

Smiling, as you may know, is contagious and conveys so many nice feelings to others who are lucky enough to see it. The words to an old song said it all. “When you’re smiling, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.” There is research on smiling that has revealed many interesting bits of information that will surely make you do it more often.

Here are five simple facts about smiling that can help you look better and live longer.

  1. Smiling boosts your mood and increases your sense of well-being. Dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins get released and make you feel very good. Next time you want to feel better, smile. This action will trick your brain into thinking that you feel happy and it, in turn, will start releasing feel-good hormones to match it.
  2. Smiling makes you look younger. People who smile are perceived as looking years younger than those with a frown on their face. If you ever want to look younger than your age, smile more.
  3. Smiling makes you look thinner. People who are frowning are also perceived as looking heavier than those who are smiling. Smiling seems to portray people as healthier and thinner. If you want to look slimmer, be sure to smile more.
  4. Smiling can predict your life span. Researchers studied old baseball cards. It was found that baseball players who had big smiles on their face lived longer than those who did not have big smiles on the pictures. Professional players who had beaming smiles lived approximately seven years longer than their counterparts.
  5. Smiling makes you look friendly and kind. Experts determined that people who smiled were perceived as being better natured than those who didn’t. People who did not smile were thought of as being unwelcoming.

These are just a few fun facts about smiling that I hope will brighten your day. Next time you want to feel happier, look younger and thinner, and appear friendlier, flash your pearly whites. Because if you do, you might just live longer. Smiling can make someone’s day, too. If you are around people who are stressed and overworked, try giving a nice warm smile to show your support and concern. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. Best of all, it’s free! Who knows, your smile could just be the best thing that could happen to them that day. To learn more about how we can work together visit www.HealthandHappinessSpecialist.com.

Seven Mindful Ways to Add More Love & Kindness into Your Life

Seven Mindful Ways to Add More 
Love & Kindness into Your Life

By Debbie Lyn Toomey, RN, author of 
The Happiness Result

 

Happy February!

Did you know that this month is not only a month for celebrating Valentine’s Day but also for performing a Random Act of Kindness?

In the spirit of love and kindness this month, I want to share with you some wise words of wisdom that were given to me by my mindfulness muse during a meditation. I suggest that you read it a couple of times and think about the phrases that speak to you. Once you are done reading, pick a phrase, and play with it for a day. Be creative and have fun with it.  As you practice one of the mindfulness techniques, notice how it makes you feel. If you like what you have chosen, repeat it for another day or two.  When you feel ready to try another one, read over these Words of Wisdom again and repeat the same process. Here are seven mindful ways to add more love and kindness into your life.

Words of Wisdom

By Debbie’s Mindfulness Muse 

Breathe and… 

Watch your words

Breathe and…

Listen to your gut 

Breathe and…

Question your mind 

Breathe and…

Speak from the heart 

Breathe and… 

Turn up your lips 

Breathe and… 

Extend your hand 

Breathe and… 

Move your feet

This month, I encourage you to give it a go and tune into how much more love and kindness it brings into your day. There is such depth in these seven phrases that each one of them can become a month-long mindfulness practice in itself. Here is what they mean.

1. Watch your words – Think about what you are going to say before you say it. Use your mental filter to avoid hurting someone’s feelings and regretting what you have said.

2. Listen to your gut – Tune into your gut instinct and intuition. They are the radars that keep you informed about everything and everyone.

3. Question your mind – Just as your gut tells you the truth, your mind can play games with you. Ask your mind what is really, really, really so. You are not your thoughts.

4. Speak from the heart – When you speak, allow it to be heartfelt. Words that come from the heart, speak volumes about your intentions.

5. Turn up your lips – Smile – period – Smiling can brighten everyone’s day. Smiling is very appealing and attractive too.

6. Extend your hand – Help others. One of the best ways to make yourself and others feel better is by doing a kind deed.

7. Move your feet – One of the best ways to decrease stress and improve your health is by being active. Call a friend or family member and ask them to go for a walk with you.

I hope you enjoyed the Words of Wisdom from my mindfulness muse. I certainly do. To learn more about ways to gain more love in your life, get my book, The Happiness Result. I created my book for today’s busy people to help them pick and choose seven simple techniques to create an awesome life. Go to www.TheHappinessResult.com to get your copy.

Much love and gratitude,

Debbie

Top Five 2018 Tips for Healthy and Happy Holidays

Top Five 2018 Tips for Healthy and Happy Holidays
by Debbie Lyn Toomey RN, Author of The Happiness Result


I love the holidays, don’t you?

Have you started your holiday shopping yet? I have. I started last August.

Why?

Why not. (smile)

I am a planner and love to stay on top of my holiday shopping so that I don’t feel pressured to do it at the last minute. I hate feeling overwhelmed by doing something that I love. There’s no fun in that at all. Just in case you are starting to feel panicky that the holidays are around the corner, don’t worry. I got your back! I have taken regifting into a whole new level by giving you the top five 2018 tips that I sent you this year. I hope that this small package of practical tools can help you have a healthier and happier holiday season.

Drum roll, please…

Starting from the bottom. Here they are.

Tip # 5 Self-Compassion (April, 2018) – Give yourself kindness, love, and compassion this holiday season. If you had goals that you did not reach this year, give yourself a break and allow them to be goals for 2019. Instead of reflecting on what you didn’t achieve this year, think about the goals that you did reach. Give yourself a pat on the back and a hug for all that you have achieved this year.

Tip # 4 List (May, 2018) – The best way to have a successful day is by planning ahead. Creating a wish list of things-to-do can become overwhelming. Once you have allowed yourself to go crazy writing down your items. Look at them again and ask yourself which ones you will really do that day. Asking yourself this powerful question is a game-changer. You’ll be happy to see your list go from daunting to doable.

Tip # 3 “I Get to” vs. “I Have to” (March, 2018) – It’s amazing how quickly our attitude and experience changes when we switch inner talk from “I have to” to “I get to”. This simple and strategic change can help you do something that you didn’t feel like doing to doing it with more gusto.

Tip # 2 Gratitude (June, 2018) – One of the quickest ways to boost your happiness is through gratitude. Gratitude can help you clear the holiday blues by thinking about all that you have such as, clothes on your back, a friend to talk to, or food in your fridge. If you can’t think of what to be grateful for, then you are not looking hard enough.

Tip # 1 Contentment (October, 2018) – If you don’t feel like striving for a holly jolly holiday this year, don’t worry. Try going for contentment instead. There is great peace, grace, and blessings when you are feeling content. Think of activities, people, places, and food that can bring about contentment for yourself. Try doing something different for yourself every week and notice how you feel.

I hope you enjoyed these regifting tips. I know I will. They’re fantastic reminders for anyone who can get caught up in hustle and bustle of the season. If you find a practice that you like, continue it for 30 days. That way you can ring in the new year on healthier and happier note.

C’mon, Get Happy

If you need coaching to help you reach more goals, contact me at info@HealthandHappinessSpecialist.com. If you are looking for a book that can bring about many happiness results, get a copy of my book, The Happiness Result – More time, More health, More love, More success. Go to www.TheHappinessResult.com to purchase your copy today.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Much love,

A Gratitude Visit

A Gratitude Visit
By Debbie Lyn Toomey RN, Mindfulness Educator
Author of The Happiness Result

Don’t you just love getting snail mails from people you care about?

I do.

It makes me so happy!

Here’s a no-cost way to make this Thanksgiving a truly happy one for you and someone special in your life. It’s a gratitude practice that not too many people know about. It’s called a “gratitude visit”.

The Visit

Gratitude is more than saying thanks. According to the study by Martin Seligman, past president of the American Psychological Association, a gratitude visit is a moving way to express your deep appreciation and gratitude to someone who has made a big difference in your life. The gratitude letter gives you a chance to write down the positive feelings that you have always wanted to share with a person. When you are done writing this heart-felt letter, personally deliver it and read it out loud. Taking the time to write, deliver, and read your gratitude letter has been proven by Seligman’s research to have positive results for many months.

Here’s How

Both you and the receiver will benefit greatly from this unique and powerful exercise. Here’s how you can get started in your very own gratitude visit during this holiday season.

1. Think of someone that positively influenced you in your life.

2. On a piece of paper, write down how grateful you are about having him or her in your life. Write down what you’ve always wanted to say to that person.

3. Continue by writing down what has happened.

4. Write down as much as you can.

5. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation.

6. Notice how you feel after writing the letter.

7. Call the person and let him or her know that you want to stop by.

8. Deliver the gratitude letter in person.

9. Read the whole letter slowly to that special someone.

10. As you are reading, pay attention to the reaction of the receiver.

11. Notice how you feel afterwards.

12. Pay attention to your level of positivity in the coming weeks because of the gratitude visit.

I encourage you to try this exercise during this holiday season. Do as many as you can. As my positive psychology professor, Tal Ben-Shahar, used to say, “when you appreciate the good, the good appreciates.”

Contact Me

If you need coaching support in how to add more happiness and gratitude into your life, contact me for at info@HealthandHappinessSpecialist.com. Also, if you are looking for ways to live your best life, be sure to visit my website www.TheHappinessResult.com to get a copy of my book The Happiness Result – More time, More health, More love, More success. You’ll be happy you did.

Gratitude, a Gift that Keeps on Giving

Gratitude, a Gift that Keeps on Giving

Debbie Lyn Toomey, RN

Author of The Happiness Result

Happy November!

I was recently one of the keynote speakers for the Vermont Reiki Association. I had a fantastic time. The people at the conference were all so wonderful and I got to talk about my favorite topics.  In my keynote, I discussed how positive psychology and character strengths made me happier and how they enhanced my Reiki self-practice. Later on, in the breakout session, I shared with the attendees how my top strength, gratitude, helped me cope with stress and how it deepened my relationship with my family. Gratitude is such a powerful practice. It’s like a gift that keeps on giving.

Gratitude

What is gratitude? Robert Emmons, considered the father of the science of gratitude, defines it as “a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life.” In other words, it’s more than just saying thanks. Many studies have proven that gratitude can help with physical and mental health, increase self-esteem, and improve sleep.

Grace

I have experienced that the grace of gratitude can fill you up with a rich blend of positive emotions. What’s amazing about that is that not only does it make you feel good, it makes others feel good, too. How? Well, when you are in the state of gratitude, a warm and heartfelt feeling of appreciation bubbles up inside you making it easier to do kind deeds for others. The “just because” nice gestures happen naturally, making you happier and more social.

Gift

The precious gift of gratitude and all it has to offer makes it an inviting practice to do. Now that we are about to enter the holiday season of Thanksgiving, I challenge you to find as many things to be grateful for. Here’s how you can start a simple gratitude practice, one that is a gift that keeps on giving.

  1. At the end of the day, think of 3 good things that you were grateful for.
  2. Write them down in a notebook or a journal.
  3. Explain why you were grateful for each of them.
  4. Notice how you feel after you are done writing.
  5. Pay attention how your practice benefits others around you.
  6. Try this for 30 days and be prepared to receive all the blessings that come with this special practice.

While anytime is a good time to start this life changing habit, this month of Thanksgiving is a perfect one. Try it today and see how much happier you are just because you started a gratitude practice.

Contact

If you need more support and coaching on how to live your best life, contact me at debbielyn@healthandhappinessspecialist.com today. To get more ideas on how to boost your level of happiness, get a copy of my book, The Happiness Result. This book is the perfect holiday gift for anyone you care about. Visit www.TheHappinessResult.com today.

Boost Happiness Instantly with Gratitude

Boost Happiness Instantly with Gratitude
By Debbie Lyn Toomey, RN, Mindfulness Educator

I am a founding member of Thrive Now Boston, a non-profit organization that “designs ‘WOW’ experiences that bring people together and make them feel happier.” We just had our first event at historical Boston Commons. We called this special event, Grati-Tuesday.

Practice

Our intention was to inspire the practice of gratitude by asking people who passed by what they were grateful for. While some had no time for us, there were many others who were more than happy to write down their gratitude, get their picture taken with the gratitude they wrote on a piece of paper, and to add what they wrote to our huge gratitude banner.

Why did we kick off our first event with gratitude?  Easy!

Research

Gratitude is an instant happiness booster that has lingering results according to a Harvard research study. Gratitude has also been linked to better relationships and also longer life.

It was an amazing time for the other “Wow-ers” and me! That evening the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Boston Common was filled with people from all walks of life. There were people kicking a soccer ball around, children chasing a dog, tourists marveling at the rich history that Boston has.

Powerful

Although making this event happen took months of preparation, the hours that we put into putting this event together was worth it. My group and I witnessed the power and grace of gratitude in action. It was wonderful to see people’s faces light up as they shared their gratitude and to see them walk away with a big smile on their faces. Some of the gratitude notes that people wrote were:

FAMILY

FREEDOM

KINDNESS OF STRANGERS

DIVERSITY

… and so much MORE!!!

Try It!

Practicing gratitude is one of the simplest happiness technique there is. Here’s how you can get started. All you have to do is finish this sentence stem and keep writing until you have fully explained why you are grateful.

I am grateful for… (fill in the blank) ______________________________
because … ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I suggest that you continue this gratitude practice for one week. Notice how you feel after you do each daily exercise. If doing this simple gratitude technique boosts your level of happiness, then keep going. The longer you do this practice, the more you benefit. “Thank you” so much for taking the time to read this article.

I wish you all the happiness in the world!

To learn more about how gratitude can help you begin a new chapter of your life contact me for life coaching at info@HealthandHappinessSpecialist.com.

Five Simple Steps for a Successful Day

Five Simple Steps for a Successful Day

Debbie Lyn Toomey RN, author of The Happiness Result

Whether you work from home or not, what you do before you tackle your day can either make you or break you. These five simple steps will keep you from drowning due to feelings of frustration and overwhelm.

Just as you would pack an umbrella or wear a raincoat due to predicted rain, there are also simple steps to take to prevent you from sinking like the Titanic. It is possible to stay afloat despite knowing that you will have a crazy busy day.

Below are five simple steps for a successful day. They are:

  1. List – Set yourself up for success by writing down what your to-do list is before going to bed. This is a fantastic way to empty your mind and help you begin the next day with a solid plan. While it’s tempting to create lists within your list, keep your to-do task items to five or less. Begin by asking yourself one question. This principle is based on Steven Covey’s time management system of focusing your time and energy on the quadrant that you deem as being non-urgent and important to you. The topics that fall under this quadrant are building relationships, reevaluating priorities, planning, and prevention. Ask yourself this question. 

“What are the three non-urgent but important tasks for me tomorrow?”

  1. Star – Once you’re done creating your list, take a deep breath and ask yourself which of the five items is one that will create the greatest ripple of opportunities for you. Put a star next to that item and do it as soon as you can the next day. Doing this will help you feel ahead of the game and set in motion a more focused, organized, and successful day.
  1. Time – Once you’ve made your short list and placed the allotted time you want to spend on them, gamify your to-do list by trying to beat the clock. After you put the amount of time you want to spend on each task and stick to it. Doing this will keep you from dragging your feet and getting distracted. Beat the clock and do the task as fast as you can. Your prize is time. Use your extra time for self-care during that day.

Feel like a winner the rest of the day by completing your task list and having extra time to slack. Having time for slack in your schedule is something that Herminia Ibarra, author of Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader talks about that every great leader does. Slack is time that you spend doing something that is purposely unstructured to help you gain a new and fresh perspective in what you are supposed to do. This well-earned free time will help you go back to work with greater clarity and productivity.

  1. Celebrate – Once you are done with all of your to-do items, give yourself a high-five, hug yourself or shout out a big “Woo-Hoo!” It’s important to celebrate successes throughout the day so that you are able to feel that your efforts have been effective. Don’t wait for others to recognize your great deeds. Do it yourself. The more you do this, the happier you will be.
  1. Gratitude – While there is always something to do, it’s also very important to practice gratitude by appreciating all the good that you have done. A wonderful gratitude practice to do at the end of a busy day is asking yourself what are the three good things that happened that day. This will help ensure that your day was not only productive but also positive.

The little time you invest in doing these five steps will pay off in the long run. The more you do them, the more you can feel victorious in being able to ride the waves of your busy work day. To learn how to work more effectively and successfully, contact me for 1:1 coaching support at info@HealthandHappinessSpecialist.com today.

Self-Compassion for Work / Life Success

Self-Compassion for Work / Life Success
by Debbie Lyn Toomey, RN, CIPP

Have you ever quit on a project because of a mistake?

Did that mistake make you doubt your own ability to complete a task? 

Did your inner critic feast on your blunder and allow your old thought patterns and belief systems to hijack you?

Instead of persevering, did you throw in the towel and give up?

You are not alone.

I’ve been there and done that! Situations like these have knocked me down for months, leaving me feeling insecure and incompetent. I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and thought I was the only one who could make such a blunder. They shook my self-confidence and faith. Fortunately, I learned about the practice of self-compassion. Self-compassion lifted me up and helped me shake off the lingering “I’m a loser and leave me alone” mentality.

From what I discovered this feeling is not uncommon. Many of us have experienced this and while some stopped their projects all together, others gave themselves permission to be human and press forward. The latter group used self-compassion which helped them continue through until completion.

What is self-compassion?

I define this powerful practice of self-compassion as a commitment to accepting, befriending, and loving yourself, despite what you think about yourself. Simply put, it is compassion that you would give to someone you care about, turned inwardly towards yourself. It’s accepting all aspect of who you are no matter how imperfect you see yourself.

 

Kristen Neff’s research on self-compassion has found that this practice leads to a happy life and helps us cope and become resilient.

Recently Tufts Medical Center’s interim CEO invited me to speak at the Tufts Medical Center 1st Nursing Grand Rounds. I spoke about self-compassion and how it can help with self-happiness, resilience, and wellbeing. During one part of my speech, I explained that self-compassion can help us become more resilient when doing a task because it can be a source of inner strength that fuels us instead of one that frustrates and stops us. The grit and willingness to forge forward comes from knowing that trial and error is part of the creative process. Further, it is within these instances that we gain the sense of mastery over the process.

On the other hand, when a project is tackled with perfection in mind, any mistakes or delays can quickly be conceived as incompetence, ignorance, and a waste of valuable time. In this instance, the pressure to perform flawlessly adds to the stress which increases the chances of a flood of unwanted negative emotions that can increase the chance of more mistakes to happen.

To gain more success instead of more stress, next time you begin a project, try the practice of self-compassion. Not only will you complete the task, you will also enjoy the process along the way. The practice of self-compassion has helped me tremendously by stopping the self-punitive dialogue that gets triggered when I fail or make mistakes.

One quick self-compassion technique that can help you is to notice how you soothe or comfort yourself when you are stressed. Do you like warmth, a soothing touch, or comforting voice? The more you recognize what you do for yourself during these situations the more you can do for yourself in the future. Because we are human beings, we respond to the mammalian care-giving process of warmth, touch, or soothing voice. Next time you are stressed and need extra tender-loving-care (TLC), try any one of these three interventions to give yourself the self-compassion that you need to be a success at work or in life.

For coaching support and to learn more about self-compassion and how you can use it to gain more success in both your work and life, contact me at Debbielyn@HealthandHappinessSpecialist.com today.

How to Use Gratitude for Stress Reduction and Resiliency


Next time, you find yourself in the middle of a project that is too stressful or tedious to do, think of gratitude. Gratitude can help you “hack” into your happiness so that you can reduce your stress and boost your productivity.

What exactly is gratitude?

Gratitude is not only a virtue, it is also a science, one of the 24 Character Strengths in the VIA Classification of Strengths, and a way of living a resilient life.

Researcher Robert Emmons, defines gratitude as a “felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life.”

Gratitude trains the brain to look for the good. This heart-felt practice reminds us that we are connected to something bigger and greater than ourselves. It helps us realize that there is also something to be “thankful” for in every moment of our life no matter what or how we are feeling.

Here are 5 simple gratitude steps that you can use for stress reduction and productivity.

  1. Take three big deep breaths.
  2. Look around you.
  3. Find three (big or small) things to be grateful for.
  4. State why you are grateful for them. *Hint *If you can’t find anything, you are not looking hard enough. Look for something that if you didn’t have it, your work would be 10 times harder and longer to do.
  5. Notice how much better you feel just after a few minutes of doing this gratitude exercise.
  6. Repeat steps 1 – 5 until you feel better.

If you haven’t guessed by now, this whole “thank you” process is a simple way for you to cultivate the practice of gratitude. Studies have shown that gratitude builds optimism, reduces stress, and boosts happiness. Personally, my life was made even better from practicing gratitude. It’s enriched my relationships, helped me cope during my mother’s cancer journey, and also gave me a positive outlet when I felt overwhelmed. Gratitude is a practice that I enjoy teaching in my workshops and also in my coaching session with clients.

Great news!

I have opened up more slots to coach new clients. If you are looking for coaching to help you live the best version of your life, contact me at info@HealthandHappinessSpecialist.com.

You will be thankful you did.

 

Have an Awesome Year with Your One-Word Mantra

 

At the end of every year I take time to think about one special word that I want to be my guide post for the following year. This one-word mantra is a word I try to commit to throughout the year to help me become healthier and happier. This year my one-word mantra is FAITH. It’s a word that has consistently come to me in my meditations.

Why Faith?

Why not.

I was involved in many projects in the last year and last year’s one-word mantra, SELF-COMPASSSION, helped me more than I could ever have imagined! Last year, I travelled for work across the country. I created a mindfulness training program for nurses at Tufts Medical Center, got my mindfulness study approved by the hospital’s Internal Review Board, recruited 40 nurses for my study and implemented my study. Also, to complete The Happiness Result book experience, I published the coloring book companion and got the support of great institutions and organizations to sponsor this positivity project. I spoke to amazing organizations and trained their staffs on mindfulness. Twice I was part of an all-women’s retreat and offered my first one with a colleague in the Fall. I was also fortunate enough to teach mindfulness to middle schoolers at my son’s school and taught mindfulness and positive psychology for adults in the evening. I led an online manifesting group for 2 months which ended with great results! And lastly, I created an online course with a colleague that was used in over a dozen countries across the globe.  Phew! No wonder I was tired when December finally came around. Remembering my one-word mantra throughout the year helped me create boundaries and kept me from taking on more projects than I could handle. “Self-compassion,” my one-word mantra helped me when I started feeling overly fatigued and stressed.

This year, I want to challenge myself to stop working so hard and have faith that all my hard work will lead to more opportunities and promising outcomes.  This is the year that I allow the Universe to do its part. Last weekend, I taught a Manifesting through Mindfulness and Gratitude workshop to a group of lovely ladies. Part of my message to them was that manifesting is like dancing with the Universe. We take a step and do our part in the dance and then we step back and watch the Universe do its part. This year I will allow the Universe to carry me off my feet and show me what it has in store for me.

Having a one-word mantra has been extremely helpful for me in the past. My past experiences with my one-word mantras has helped me stay true to the promises that I made to myself. They helped me grow and face life’s adversities in a mindful, grateful, and graceful way.

If you don’t have a one-word mantra, I suggest you play with this idea and see what great things happen as a result of having one.

Here’s how you can get started.

  1. Sit down in a quiet room.
  2. Hold your hands over your heart.
  3. Ask the wisdom of your heart for a word that will best support you in the coming months.
  4. Wait in silence.
  5. When a word comes to you, say it.
  6. Notice how that word makes you feel.
  7. You know you got the right word when after saying it you take a deep breath and it makes you feel good inside.
  8. If no word comes, be patient and repeat this process until a word comes to you.
  9. Once you have your word, write it down or do something creative with it so that you can display it somewhere prominent as a reminder for the rest of the year.

I hope you enjoyed this quick tip.

If you need extra help in making this year more awesome, contact me for coaching at info@HealthandHappinessSpecialist.com. To get your copy of The Happiness Result, go to www.TheHappinessResult.com. Thank you and here’s to your one-word mantra. May it bring you all the health and happiness you deserve!

Cheers.