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.

Authenticity: A Simple Way to Boost Happiness

Authenticity: A Simple Way to Boost Happiness

By Debbie Lyn Toomey RN

Author of The Happiness Result

Last Saturday was a typical bone chilling and drizzly October day in New England. My family and I committed to attend a friend’s surprise 40th birthday party. Unfortunately, instead of the party being indoors, it was held outdoors in a medieval attraction park. Surprisingly, the parking lot was filled with cars. Coming out of some of them were kings, princesses, and fairies who traveled far and wide. As we entered the park, the gloomy day quickly turned in to a great one. I saw people proudly walking around dressed as their fantasy characters. Although they were in a costume, their real selves shined through. It was as if their make-believe outfits allowed them to embrace their authenticity.

Free to Express

It was a magical wooded scene. Everyone was having fun and freely expressing themselves as their favorite medieval persona. The shops were bustling with both first timers wanting to find the perfect piece to wear and old timers looking for yet another article to add on to their already elaborate attire. While I saw some men who wore armors and capes, others wore tiaras. Likewise, while some women wore gown and tiaras, others wore pirate outfits with swords. The customs transcended gender, age, and culture. Everyone was accepted. Everyone became a part of the theme. Everyone was free to be themselves.

Basic Tips

It’s easy to pretend and express who we are by wearing costumes especially when everyone is doing it. But how can we do that in real life without playing a character? That’s easy. Here are some basic tips on how you can unleash your authenticity and become happier.

  1. Wear your favorite colors. Color is a powerful tool that effects our minds and bodies. Color psychology dates back to the ancient time of the Egyptians and Chinese.
  2. Notice how it makes you feel.
  3. Pay attention to your energy level.
  4. Note your confidence and productivity level that day.
  5. Be aware of how others approach you.
  6. Listen to how you talk and respond to others.
  7. Try this for 7 days and notice how much happier you feel by just allowing your inner self and authentic-self to shine through.

My Book

If you need more ideas and inspirations on how to express yourself, get my book, The Happiness Result. My book contains seven pillars that can help you lead a happier and more meaningful life. To learn more about it, visit www.TheHappinessResult.com .

An Overlooked Fall Prevention Tip for the Aging Adults

An Overlooked Fall Prevention Tip for the Aging Adults

Debbie Lyn Toomey RN, CIPP

 Author of The Happiness Result

 

 

Do you remember the last time you fell and got up quickly?

While most people instinctively get up as soon as they fall, seniors are not so fortunate. Many aging people have a difficult time getting up after they have fallen because they are too weak or they’ve injured themselves.

It’s Staggering!

Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal and fatal unintentional injuries by people age 65 and up (CDC, 2016). According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention there were 27,000 seniors that died as the result of falling in 2014. Further, 1 in 4 elderly report that they have fallen. This number is staggering!

Changing Body

Our body is always changing. The population that is impacted the most are the elderly. As we age, we unfortunately get slower, more frail, and weaker making it more and more difficult “to do the things that we used to do.” For these reasons and many others, it’s no wonder that the elderly develop a fear of falling.

Fear of Falling

While the physical factors that I just mentioned may contribute to a senior’s fear of falling, there is also a mental factor. The belief that falling is inevitable. This powerful fear also contributes to falling. The more someone is afraid of falling, the less they want to move around. The less active they are, the more deconditioned they become. The weaker they are, the higher likelihood is that they will fall. In other words, the fear of falling becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy!

My Dad

My 83-year-old father got into the habit of walking with a cane. It happened as a result of needing an easy-to-use device to help him move around due to swelling of his legs. Soon enough, he became dependent on the cane and lost his confidence in walking without it. Even though, the swelling stopped and his leg condition improved, he still held on to that cane for fear that he might fall without it.

Ask the Doctor

During one of his doctor visits, I suggested that he ask his physician for a physical therapy consult so that he could strengthen his body and build endurance. After weeks of exercises with his physical therapist, my dad became stronger and steadier. He’s become more active and more confident about his ability to move around by himself without a cane. It worked!

 Physical Therapy

What’s a physical therapist? It’s a highly trained licensed health care professional whose job it is to “help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility”, according to the American Physical Therapy Association. Depending on your needs, a physical therapist may be able to work with you to a point that you may be able to reduce your pain medication needs or even avoid surgery all together.

 Overlooked

There are several fall prevention tips that are useful and practical. However, the one that is not often used is requesting one’s doctor for a physical therapy consult. I believe it’s an overlooked and underutilized specialty for prevention because it is usually associated with rehabilitation. It’s worth noting that physical therapy has an important place in fall prevention. It’s not to say that aging adults should not join a gym or an exercise group. Of course, they should. As long as they have the consent of their doctor.

Prevention Tip

If you know a senior who is afraid of falling, one of the best tips is to inform that person that he or she can ask their primary care physician for physical therapy. This request will notify their doctor of their concern and will make it a part of their routine evaluation every visit. If physical therapy is not indicated, then ask for information on an exercise program that can improve their condition.

National Awareness

The first day of the Fall season has been named Falls Prevention Day. This year, it is September 22, 2018 in order to bring increased awareness and education to the seriousness of falls for the aging population. To find out more about resources for the elderly, contact your local Council on Aging.

It’s good to note that while the elderly do fall, it doesn’t have to be a part of aging. There are many ways to prevent it from happening.

Contact Me

It’s never too late to set goals for yourself, no matter how old you are. If you need professional coaching on how to live a healthy and happy life, contact me at info@HealthandHappinessSpecialist.com.

Mindfulness and Injury Prevention

Mindfulness and Injury Prevention
By Debbie Lyn Toomey, RN, author of The Happiness Result

What does mindfulness have to do with injury prevention?

Almost everything!

Most accidents are preventable.

For example, have you ever tripped and fallen because your mind was elsewhere and you were not paying attention to what was in front of you? 

Or have you ever closed the door on your finger because you were stressed and overwhelmed from what you have to do.  

Or have you ever hit another car “by accident” because you were distracted.

As a Mindfulness practitioner and injury prevention professional, I tripped and fell on my hands and knees recently. It happened during a hike. My husband was pointing out another possible hiking trail to me to and before you know it … BOOM! I was on my hands and knees on the dirt and old fallen leaves. Instead of paying attention to where I was going, I looked away. I should have stopped and looked at what my husband was showing me. Doing this would have allowed me to appreciate the other path while maintaining my footing on the hiking trail. In other words, I should have been more mindful. If I was, I wouldn’t have the bruise on my right knee right now.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is purposely paying attention to whatever it is you are doing, seeing, and feeling -without judgement. Some say that it is being in the present moment or being in the “now.” Mindfulness is a research proven practice that can be taught to both the young and the old. 

Why is it important when it comes to injury prevention?

Mindfulness, when applied in the workplace setting, can reduce work-related injuries tremendously. When stress goes up, our ability to concentrate goes down. Stress from many factors such as lack of staffing, lack of team support, lack of time, and lack of self-care time impacts concentration that can increase the risk of mindless actions that can impact the health and safety of the worker and those around them.

Likewise, mindfulness, when taught to high school athletes, can help reduce sports related injuries, such as traumatic brain injury. When mindfulness is practiced as a daily habit, it has a self-regulatory way of helping the person feel more in control, more centered, and calmer. All traits that are important during any games.

What’s a good mindfulness tip for people on the go?

Next time you catch your mind running around like crazy or even jumping around from one thought to another, stop and take 3 slow deep breaths to get back to the present. Reclaiming your sense of presence through breathing is an easy and powerful skill that anyone can develop no matter how old they are.

Need more support?

If you need coaching on how to add more mindfulness into your life, contact me at info@healthandhappinessspecialist.com. If you need a great summer book to read, get my book, The Happiness Result. You can get my book on www.TheHappinessResult.com. 

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.

Mindfulness: How to Gain a Sense of Freedom by                                 Living in the Present
Debbie Lyn Toomey, RN, Author, Mindfulness Educator

 

“By being totally immersed in the present moment we allow both the past and the future to stay where they are supposed to be.” DLT

Last week, I saw an old colleague and after catching up he excitedly told me about an audio book he just finished listening to called, Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright. Knowing that I’m a mindfulness educator and researcher he eagerly shared with me what he learned.

 Freedom

Our conversation led to what we know about mindfulness and how practicing awareness in the moment can bring about a sense of freedom from our anxieties, fears, and worries. Freedom that brings enlightenment by simply being in the moment without distractions from our filters. Filters are the way we view life. They are created from our culture, family, and society.

In the Present

Both of us agreed that mindfulness is the practice of being in the present and that this awareness is more than consciously acknowledging the moment. Fundamentally, it’s allowing our senses to fully awaken to what is going on and observing what is happening without attaching any thought, feelings, or emotions to it.

Definitions

Two definitions of mindfulness embrace the mindfulness philosophies that my colleague and I were describing. The first is Jon Kabat-Zinn’s, definition of mindfulness as, “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present, nonjudgmentally.” The second, on the other hand, is Ellen Langer’s definition, “actively noticing new things.” Ellen Langer is considered the mother of mindfulness.

Get Started

Interested in how can you gain a sense of freedom from living in the present? Here’s how.

  1. Open: Be open to the mindfulness practice.
  2. Time: Set aside some time. Even 5 minutes can help transform anyone from being a sceptic to a believer.
  3. Begin: Start the practice by purposely paying attention nonjudgmentally.
  4. Observe: Be a spectator of your mind and notice what comes up.
  5. Notice: How did you feel not having to spend any extra energy on the past or the future? How did it feel to just be in the moment? How did you feel afterwards?

Be Patient

Trust that the more you practice mindfulness the more you can feel the freedom from feelings and emotions that we have about the past and the future.

Think of mindfulness as another muscle that you can exercise and strengthen that will give you more health and vitality.

Try this practice for the next 2 weeks and journal your experience.

Contact me

If you need 1:1 coaching in how to begin and sustain your mindfulness practice contact me at info@HealthandHappinessSpecialist.com today.

“I Get to” vs. “I Have to”: How to Add Meaning to What You Do

I recently met with a CEO of a hospital to discuss a program that I want to do for health care professionals for stress reduction and wellbeing. In the 30 minutes we spent together, I got a sense of how passionate he was about being a doctor and a hospital administrator.

As he reminisced about the past and how he learned about leadership, he said something that struck me. He said that no matter how busy the day may seem, he “gets to” make a difference by doing something that he loves. While I left the meeting excited knowing that he fully supports the program, I also felt inspired by his work ethic. He said something that I don’t hear many leaders or manager say and that is “I get to…”

Whether it is at work or at home, the idea of having to do something can be tiring and frustrating, right?

How many times do you say to yourself, “I have to…”? 

“It’s Monday and I have to go to work today.” This mindset feels heavy and sad which makes the rest of the day drag even more.

I have to go to a lot of meetings today.” There is powerlessness and frenzy in this way of thinking which will make you less effective when joining these meetings. 

“My room is a mess and I have to clean.” There is no sense of importance in this way of thinking. That is probably why many procrastinate doing this chore. 

Next time you feel like this, stop and think about the difference it will make in those instances to say “I get to.” No matter how big or small. Make a mental list of what can’t be done without you. Once you have your list add the words “I Get to” in front of it so that you will feel better about your role. Whether you are a farmer, a cashier, or a nurse, remember that what you do matters and without you, your community may not thrive.

Notice the difference in the sentences below.

“It’s Monday and I get to go to work today.” There are many unemployed people out there who would switch position with you in a second.

I get to go to a lot of meetings today.” When you shift from the “have to” to “get to” mindset, you will be at your game in all your meetings instead of feeling lost.

“My room is a mess and I get to clean it.” Cleaning and decluttering are physical activities that allow you to burn calories and create room for abundance.

I invite you to play with these three words this week and notice how happy and fulfilled you feel at the end of the day. This is a great exercise that can add more meaning to your life.

If you need coaching on how to add more happiness and meaning into your life contact me at info@HealthandHappinessSpecialist.com . Also, if you like to color, be sure to purchase a copy of my latest book, The Happiness Result Art Therapy Coloring Book. It’s a great book for focusing, relaxing, and inspiration www.TheHappinessResult.com.

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.