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,

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.

Mindfulness and Happiness Through Art Making

Mindfulness and Happiness Through Art Making
by Debbie Lyn Toomey

 

Are you a doodler or a dabbler of any arts?

As a visual learner and self-taught artist, I’ve always turned to some form of art making activity to help me quiet my mind and soothe my spirit. I love creating anything with my hands. I love to draw, paint, take pictures, etc. I remember many years ago, in nursing school, I used art to help me study. I used to draw what I learned in my science classes to help me remember what I was learning. For me, using art this way provided me with a positive outlet to help handle my stress. The mindfulness and happiness I experience through art has always been a game changer for me.

Flow

Any form of arts therapy based exercises put me in the state of flow. The concept of flow according to positive psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is the secret to happiness. When you are in the state of flow, you are in “the zone.” The zone is where you are fully immersed in an activity and your whole being comes to life. It’s mindfulness in motion at its best! Being in flow, makes you lose track of time because of the combination of doing something you love and pushing yourself to the next level. Art making is one of my favorite mindfulness practices because it helps me get into the zone and makes me happier.

Participants

As a workshop leader and mindfulness educator, I introduce arts therapy based exercises to my participants. I use art making as another form of mindfulness to help people reduce stress. Mindfulness is being in the present moment purposely and with no judgment. And what better way to explain that definition than through art. I use art therapy based interventions as an avenue for people to add play to their day and to feel better.

Workshops

My signature workshops incorporate positive psychology, the science of happiness and mindfulness, for people of all ages. There is something magical about taking time for art that makes everyone excited. When I pull out the colored pencils and paper and explain the art making technique that I am about to cover, the room is silent and all eyes are on me. It’s a class that everyone absolutely loves! There is a general sense of relief when I explain that not only are they creating art but also experiencing a mindfulness state that reduces stress, increases focus, and boosts their sense of wellbeing.

Creative Process

Art making is not about having a perfect and professional looking master piece. It’s about the creative process that gives way to self-healing, personal transformation, and mindfulness. The process of creation is as important as the end product that reveals so much of what you are not able to put into words.

How to

Here’s how you can access mindfulness through art making and become happier.

1. Preference – Determine what form of expressive art you love. If you don’t have a preference, try doodling. Doodling is spontaneously drawing lines on a piece of paper. Doodling has been found to help with remembering and retaining information.

2. Supply– Have your supplies readily available and accessible. If it is out of sight, then it is out of mind. Keep it visible so that you will remember to do it when you need it most. Have extra supplies at work and in your bag. Set yourself up for success and keep your arts therapy based tools handy.

3. Exercise– When you are doing your arts therapy based exercise, notice the feelings and emotions that you have before, during, and after the practice. What did you learn about yourself and the situation that might have upset you.

4. Masterpiece– Study your art piece and non-judgmentally observe what you did. Are you getting any insights or inspirations? Are there any surprises from what you are seeing?

5. Write– Journal about your experiences to learn more about the art piece you have in front of you. You may start the journal by completing this sentence:

“This art piece is about…” Write for a few minutes until you feel you have flushed out as much hidden meaning as possible from what you just created.

6. Read– When you are done writing, read what you wrote. You will learn more from doing this.

Permission

If the pen is mightier than the sword then, next time you are stressed, pick up a pen (or colored pencil) and make your mark on a piece of paper and express yourself. Give yourself permission to take the time to do this. Pour your feelings and emotions in between the strokes. Notice how you feel during the whole process. The more you do this, the more you will gravitate to it as a stress reducing activity that makes you feel better and happier.

Great News!

If you love to color, my latest book is going to be ready soon! The Happiness Result Art Therapy Coloring Book – Express and Enjoy Yourself is going to be available on Amazon early next week – just in time for the holidays! Get one for yourself. It will be the perfect stocking stuffer for your friends and family.

For instant arts therapy ideas and inspiration, my online course that I created with master trainer, Patrick Howell is ready for you to access at a special price. It is called, Therapeutic Arts: Art Therapy Based Practice for Self-care, Stress-reduction, and Mindfulness. This comprehensive course will introduce you to more art therapy based practices. Here’s the link to help you get started https://www.udemy.com/artstherapycourse/?couponCode=NEWSLETTER .

I hope that you take advantage of the great resources that I provided for you to help you add more mindfulness and happiness to your day. See you in the class.

Appreciate the Good: Five Reasons to Start a Gratitude Practice

Appreciate the Good: Five Reasons to Start a Gratitude Practice
By Debbie Lyn Toomey, RN, CIPP

 

 

Next week in the United States, Thanksgiving will be celebrated. Thanksgiving symbolizes the start of the holiday season. Thanksgiving is a special day when Americans give thanks. This special holiday feeds the body with delicious food and the heart with sincerity. While it feels good to give thanks on that day, giving thanks daily will make us feel better in the long run. One of my favorite sayings when I was studying Positive Psychology was from professor and author, Tal Ben-Shahar: “when you appreciate the good, the good appreciates.”

What is gratitude?

Gratitude is more than an attitude or saying thanks. It’s a science that has been proven to have significant benefits. Robert Emmons, considered the father of the science of gratitude defines gratitude as, “a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness and appreciation for life.” This definition opens us to endless opportunities to be grateful. The challenge is remembering to do it every day, especially during the tough times.

Why is it important?

The best way to start the exercise is to know why it is important and how it can benefit you. Here are 5 reasons that caught my attention and inspired me to begin adding the gratitude practice into my life.

1. Resilience – Gratitude fosters resilience. A 2003 study found that gratitude was the main contributor to resilience following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York.

2. Relationships – Gratitude is the antidote for failed non-abusive relationships. A studyfound that couples who express gratitude for each other are motivated to maintain their relationship with each other.

3. REM – Gratitude before bedtime helps with sleep. A study in the Applied Psychology: Health and Well-being found that 15 minutes of writing in a gratitude journal before sleep promotes better sleep.

4. Rich – Gratitude cancels out envy. According to Robert Emmons, gratitude blocks toxic emotions such as envy, regret, and depression because gratitude makes you feel rich and feel you have more than enough.

5. Rejoice – Gratitude is linked to a happiness booster according to Harvard University study. If you need a quick way to cheer up, start listing some things you are grateful for to turn your emotions around.

I hope one or all of these reasons inspired you to begin a gratitude practice. If you have one already, thank you. If not, try any one of these techniques.

1. Journal – Start a gratitude journal. This was the first gratitude exercise that I did and it helped me during the good and the bad times of my life. This exercise trained my brain to look for the good in all situations. It was extremely helpful when I was coping with my mother’s three cancer journeys.

2. WWW? – What Went Well? Is a question that helped me teach my husband and three boys the practice of gratitude without being too “mushy”. This question has helped me and my family cultivate the practice of gratitude. Next time you are with your friend or family ask, “What went well?” and notice all the goodness that come out of this powerful question.

3. Walk – As you walk from one place to another, find as many objects to be grateful for. This helps increase my level of energy and happiness when I feel tired or anxious. It can definitely turn your “frown upside down.”

4. Jar – Collect moments of gratitude in a jar. This is a great practice for you and your group. This exercise is a positivity booster and it’s fun to watch as the gratitude fills the jar. Reading gratitude from the gratitude jar is another way to deepen relationships in the group and improve communication.

5. Letter – Writing a gratitude letter to someone you love and has greatly influenced you is a proven gratitude technique that has shown to create lasting positive emotions. Once you write your gratitude letter, deliver the letter in person and read the letter to that special someone.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope that it has inspired you enough to begin a gratitude practice. Try one of the gratitude practices that I shared with you for the next 30 days and watch your appreciation grow.

I am grateful for…

This year I have so much to be grateful for. Besides my awesome family and friends, I am grateful for publishing my coloring book, The Happiness Result Art Therapy Coloring Book – Express & Enjoy Yourself. This book is going to be available next week on my website, www.TheHappinessResult.com.

Also, I am grateful for doing my first online course called, Therapeutic Arts: Art Therapy Based Practice for Self-care, Self- healing, and Mindfulness. This is terrific course that I created with master trainer and colleague, Patrick Howell. Here’s the link for you to get your special price and immediate access to the course https://www.udemy.com/artstherapycourse/?couponCode=NEWSLETTER.

Lastly, I am grateful for you and your continued support and interest in my health and happiness message.

Thank you!

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.