Three Tips to Make 2019 the Best One Ever

Three Tips to Make 2019 the Best One Ever

By Debbie Lyn Toomey, RN
Author of The Happiness Result

Happy New Year to you!

Are you ready to make this year one of the best years of your life?

I am!

I know 2019 is going to be one of the best years ever. I can just feel it in my bones! I am serious. Do you know how I know that? It’s simple and it all boils down to one word, manifestation. Nope, I am not on drugs. I am just high on life. In my 52 ½ years on this planet, I realized early on that we have the power to create, attract, and receive good things in our lives. We are manifestors. Our thoughts do create our reality.

While some might call it the law of attraction, I call it the law of manifestation. I love teaching manifestation in my workshops because it is fun and powerful. Last year, I held an online Manifest Tribe meeting and by the end of the four weeks of manifestation everyone met their goals. How? Because I taught and coached them how to believe in their vision and to expect it to happen. While we did cover more during our group calls, the essence of our time together was to teach the group how to take control of their lives by being active manifestors.

You see, while we cannot control everything that happens in this world, we can control how we choose to view things and how to respond to things. Here are three tips on how you can begin to manifest good things in 2019 so that it can be one of the best ones ever.

  1. Want – Know what you want. If you don’t know what you want, how do you expect to find it? Too many people are walking aimlessly around, looking for something that might peak their interest. Stop “window-shopping” in life. The best way to get the best deal is to know what you are looking for.
  • Need – Know why you need it. Ask yourself if you really needed it. What is lacking. What will happen as a result of you getting what you are asking for. Be honest with yourself. The more you can be honest with yourself, the more you will learn why you need it.
  • Manifest – Know that you have the power to manifest. You can make things happen. Once you determine what you want and why you need it, then you can play with the energy of manifestation. Visualize what you want and how it will feel to have it. Believe that you can have it and you are worthy of it. Expect for it to come into your life. Do this exercise as often as you can until it becomes a routine.

I hope you enjoyed these three tips. I also hope that it helps make this year one of your best ones ever. If you need a way to keep motivated this year, get my book Goals, Gratitude, and Success Journal. This was the book that my Manifest Tribe group and I used during our time together. You can go to to get your copy. Now is the perfect time of the year to get this life changing book.

Good luck!

3 Super Simple Tips to Help You Succeed with Your Bucket List in 2017

3 Super Simple Tips to Help You Succeed with Your Bucket List in 2017
by Debbie Lyn Toomey

Happy New Year to you and yours!

I love this time of the year because it is the time for new beginnings. It’s the time of the year when we can fill our clean New Year’s slate with our bucket list of goals. It’s a time for reflection and intention.

Questions for You

1. What do you want for yourself this year? Once you get an answer. Go to the next question.

2. What do you really, really, really want for yourself this year? Take your time and dig down to discern what you want. Once you get your answer, imagine what that will look like and how you will feel once you have it. Repeat questions 1 and 2 until you have your bucket list of goals for this year.

Regardless of what your goals are for this year, I have learned and experienced that there are 3 super simple ways to ensure that you not only reach your goals but also sustain them.
Like so many people in the world, I have my own New Year’s goals because I am passionate about growing into the best version of myself.

I Fell in Love

I reached many of the goals that I set for myself last year. One of them was having a regular yoga practice. My mind and body fell in love with yoga after just a few classes. I felt less stressed and my body became stronger and more flexible. I wanted it to become a part of my life, and I wanted to go to yoga classes more. Unfortunately, I found no sessions that fit my ever-changing schedule. My schedule was tight. I didn’t want to waste my time driving to and from classes in addition to committing to an hour yoga class. That’s when I got creative.

A Newbie

I realized that there was another way to add a yoga practice into my full day. It was doing it at home! I wanted to give it a try. “Why not? It was better than nothing,” I thought. I challenged myself to do a 30-day yoga challenge that I found on YouTube. I chose Yoga with Adriene. I liked her vibrant energy and her philosophy of yoga. What initially was an intimidating challenge for a newbie-yogini like me, eventually became something that I looked forward to every morning. When the 30 days finished, I started venturing out picking and choosing the yoga practice that worked for me and my schedule. Yoga has since become a part of my life.


Curious about how I was able to create a sustainable home yoga practice? It’s easy. I used the KISS principle of “keeping it super simple” to avoid setting myself up for failure. I wanted my practice to work for me and not the other way around. In order for it to support me, I had to anticipate and accept the fact that there would be days that I will miss due to unexpected life circumstances. Understanding this made the process nicer for me because I didn’t feel guilty when I did miss a morning ritual.

Here’s are my 3 Super Simple Tips to Help You Succeed in 2017:

1. 20-Second-Rule
Every evening, I placed my yoga clothes next to my bed so that when I woke up; it was the first thing, besides my husband, that I saw in the morning. This technique is based on the 20-second rule that Shawn Achor shared in his book, The Happiness Advantage. By taking a few seconds to put my yoga clothes by my bed the night before, this crucial step ensured that I would not miss my morning practice. Once I put on my yoga clothes right after getting up, there was only one thing to do, and it was…yoga. “Set yourself up for success. Prepare and take a small action the night before.”

2. Create Your Rules
After the 30-day yoga challenge, I decided to allow my mind and body to choose the best yoga practice it needed that day. If my neck and shoulders were tight, then I chose a practice that focused on those areas. I made sure that this home practice was practical for me. Because I work long hours on certain days and have other days off, I defined my yoga practice as “any purposeful stretching or movement” that I can do in the morning. I created the rules that worked for me. While sometimes it was a 60-minute practice, other times it was a 5-minute practice that involved a couple of forward bends, stretches, and a few deep breaths. “It’s your practice. Define it on your own terms!”

3. Self-Compassion
Life happens, and it derails us from our normal routine. I know that I am not alone in this. Every time I noticed myself getting side-tracked from my morning yoga ritual, I gave myself a break and practiced self-kindness. I gave myself self-compassion when I didn’t have the time to commit to my morning yoga practice. There were times last year where my personal practice needed to take the back seat because my family needed me such as when my father had his heart surgery, when my mother needed someone to talk with, or when my kids got sick. That is life. In order to make up for the lost day of practice, I made sure I did a yoga practice the following day and a longer practice on the weekend. “When you get thrown off the track, give yourself permission to be human then jump back on.”

Applicable to Anything

I hope these 3 Super Simple Tips are super simple enough for you to be successful at achieving the goals in your 2017 bucket list. These tips can be applied to anything that you want to manifest this year. Remember to keep it super simple so that it will be easier for you in the long run. My goal this year will be sleep. I want to add 30 more minutes to my sleeping hours a night. What is yours? Please share below.

Need Support?

If you need support in how to reach your goals this year, contact me at today. I’m here for you. If you want an “awesome” journal to manifest with, get my new book, The Happiness Result- Goals, Gratitude, & Success Journal. This powerful journal will help you create more positive habits to train your mind and heart to dream big, expect goodness, and have fun! In the meantime, I wish you a happy and healthy 2017!



Have you ever failed at something so miserably that the thought of attempting to do it again was the last thing you wanted to do?

If your answer is yes, then you just passed this pseudo-captcha test. You are “not a robot.” Unlike robots, we human beings have feelings, emotions, and dreams. We are all meant to grow and stretch despite our circumstances and our limitations. This unique trait sets us apart from other living beings. Flourishing and trying to make our dreams come true is great when life is going our way. But what happens when it’s not? What happens when you fail despite all of your hard work? Do you stay down and accept the defeat or do you get up again and again until you are satisfied? If you have a tendency to persevere and keep going then you have what experts call, grit.

Human Experience
Falling down or failing is one of the most agonizing, embarrassing, and scariest human experiences. But it is also one of the most educational, empowering, and essential parts of living a successful and fulfilling life.  The old saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again” pretty much sums up what we should do in order to get better and better until we get the results that we want.

Nitty Gritty of Grit
Did you know that perseverance (grit) is one of the seven qualities that have been described as the keys to personal success and betterment in society? The other six are: curiosity, gratitude, optimism, self-control, social intelligence, and zest. Studies have shown that people who follow their passion and are determined to do the hard work to get “the job” are more likely to become successful in life. Grit is studied by many researchers. One of the leading researchers is Dr. Angela Duckworth.

Passion and Perseverance
Dr. Duckworth’s study on grit showed that people who have passion and perseverance in what they do are more likely to be successful. Thomas Edison is a model for grit for trying 1,000 plus times to invent the light bulb. If you are reading this with the lights on in your room, you know darn well he succeeded. When asked why he kept going despite his hundreds of failures, he merely stated that what he had were not failures.  They were hundreds of ways not to create a light bulb. This statement not only revealed his grit but also his optimism for looking at the bright side (literally!)

Grit is very important in life. Grit makes the impossible, possible. Grit takes the “grrr” to a new level of success for those willing to work for the “It”. Maybe that is why “grit” is called grit. It takes a combination of “grrr” and having the passion for “It” to reach the goal that you’ve been working towards.

Grit and Mindfulness
Grit can be learned and developed to help you become more successful. One of the techniques that helps is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice that helps the individual stay in the moment by bringing awareness of his or her experience without judgement. This practice is a technique that many have used to quiet the noise of their fears and doubts. Through this simple practice of mindfulness, individuals have the ability to stop the self-sabotaging downward spiral of hopelessness, despair, and frustration. According the Dr. Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology, mindfulness is integral in stopping the mind’s inner critic and insecurities to rule the mind.

Grit and Strengths
Another way to strengthen your grit muscle is through using your top strengths and allowing them to help you rise to the occasion. In fact, grit is one of the 24 Character Strengths in the VIA Character Strengths Classification. The 24 character strengths were studied for over 3 years by leading positive psychology researchers, Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson. They along with many other top experts found these virtues have moral and cross-cultural significance in helping people live happy and successful lives. Using your signature strengths is a wonderful way to herald your top qualities to help you get your job done. My strength-based and solutions focused approach to coaching has been extremely helpful for all my coaching clients. Top strengths can help you see things under a different lens.

How about you?
When was the last time you failed at something? What did you do to overcome the negative and self-sabotaging feelings of failure? Reflect on what you did, and try to use those same powerful resources to help you today. If you need a coach and a cheerleader to help you reach your goals, contact me at today. Together we can make your dream come true.

3 Ways To Listen To Your Inner Voice For A Happy And Successful Life

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Have you ever woken up to a voice that came from nowhere?

It has happened to me many times. In fact, it has gotten to a point that when I do hear it, I know enough not to complain but rather listen when it wakes me up in the middle of the night. No, I’m not crazy. I’m a believer. That’s right. I’ve become a faithful student of this all-knowing voice, my intuition. What I found when I stopped arguing with it is that the guidance it gives me always leads me onto my highest and best path.

A Voice
I recall being woken up by a Voice that seemed to have come from nowhere. Half asleep, I thought I was dreaming. When I turned over to my side to try to switch the channel of this bad dream, the voice repeated. Again it said, “Do stress management workshops.” This happened for a few weeks. When I stopped resisting it and started listening to it, my life became happier and more successful.

Do Stress Management Workshops
After a few weeks of being woken up with the same instructions to “Do stress management workshops,” I went from saying, “No” to the Voice to “How?” Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve always loved making people feel good and the idea of teaching. This passion led me to becoming a nurse. As a nurse in the Boston area, I was able to help many people feel better. But after taking care of hundreds of patients with stress-related ailments, I knew that health prevention was important. I believed that it was integral in helping people feel better, but the only way to do that was through doing workshops in the community. This passion seemed to make sense, but I felt it was too farfetched for someone as introverted and afraid of public speaking as me. My long list of reasons why I couldn’t achieve this aspect of my dream triumphed until the voice started waking me up in the morning.

Why Me?
I remember mornings when I would hear “Do stress management workshops” from the Voice, and I would try to silence it by putting my pillow over my head. Not surprisingly the pillow did not offer any sort of a sound barrier. Eventually, I stopped saying, “No, I don’t know how” or “Why me?” and started saying “How can I do it?” and “Where can I do it?” Although my heart somehow knew to trust this inner voice, my insecure mind wanted to challenge it.

I Started to Believe
I would start testing the Voice by asking questions of how I can make this come true. Every time I would ask one, it would give me a simple answer. I started to believe it. Despite my nervousness about the whole idea, I knew that it was going to happen. Further, the more I believed, the more I really wanted it to happen.

My Answers
When I asked The Voice who I should contact and where can I offer the stress management workshops, it gave me the answers. At first, I could not believe it when it would answer me, but eventually, I got used to it. The Voice said, ask “Father O’Brien.” Also it said, “the convent” for the location. Coincidently at that time, the church was looking for a nurse practitioner to volunteer to take people’s blood pressure. I thought I could offer my workshop along with taking other parishioners’ blood pressure as a way to do my workshop as well as build engagement in the church. I told myself that if Father O’Brien declined my offer then I would be done with trying to do any stress management workshops. Later that day, I hung up the phone in disbelief that Father O’Brien said yes, and I was on my way to start realizing my dream.

Today’s Workshops
To this day, I smile when I think about what happened and how it has led me to where I am now. Presently, I am the owner of Ultimate Healing Journey, a company that I founded almost 5 years ago that specializes in offering “happiness management” workshops. Instead of the stress management workshops that focuses on how negativity impacts our health and performance, my company focuses on the positive. My company purposely applies happiness skills to boost positivity. Positivity has been proven to enhance peak performance and productivity. I love what I do and I am so grateful that I followed the guidance that The Voice gave me.

Trusted My Intuition
So how did I change from a “Nervous Nelly” of a nurse who was afraid of speaking in front of large groups to a happy-go-lucky international speaker? Well, I remained true to my heart’s desire and trusted The Voice inside of me—my intuition. Although it took me years to be a speaker, author, coach, and facilitator, I believe that it all stemmed from my willingness to follow my dream and listen to my inner voice. My intuition is The Voice. As I wrote in my new book, The Happiness Result, “your inner GPS will always steer you towards your own North Star.” This book combines self-help, with science, and the power of intuition to inspire today’s busy people with ways to create the life of their dreams.

How About You?
Do you have a dream that you would like to come to fruition and just don’t know where to begin? I suggest you begin with following your own intuition. The Voice, your intuition, will steer you on your own magical path. If you have not had any experience with being woken up by The Voice, you can still follow your own North Star by tuning into the your still small voice from within.

Here are 3 ways to get started:
1. Trust- Have faith that you have The Voice inside you.
2. Exercise- Build your intuitive muscle by talking to it, testing it, and tuning into its answers.
3. Love- Trust that your intuition is love-based. It speaks the language of your heart’s desires.

Try following these 3 techniques to help learn how to trust and follow you own inner voice. The more you do it the more natural it will become.

To learn more about how follow your heart’s desire and cultivate your inner voice visit today to pre-order your copy of The Happiness Result. More time, More health, More love, More success. 7 Simple Techniques to Create You’re A.W.E.S.O.M.E.™ Life today.

3 Myths on Work/Life Balance

“Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.”

James Allen

3 Myth Busters on Work-Life Balance (1)-82422
What does work/life balance mean to you?

Does it mean a perfect work and life situation with no stress or worry?
Does it mean you have more than enough time to do what you want on your schedule?

People in pursuit of this illusive idea of work/life balance are often left disillusioned, disappointed, or depressed. Frankly, it is unrealistic for us to strive for this work/life balance when life delivers so many unexpected situations that can ripple into all areas of our lives such as lay-offs, health crisis, and divorce to name a few. Work/life balance should not be a way we measure our success but rather the tool we use to check in with ourselves so that we can make the best choices.

Stillness and Happiness

What I have learned is that work/life balance begins inside of us, not outside of us. I liken it to the stillness of deep waters underneath stormy waves. Similarly, our stillness and happiness are at the depths of the oceans of our being. Knowing this can help us withstand any storms that try to sink our boat. In other words, when we are happy, we feel centered and in control. We make purposeful and powerful decisions that allow life to work for us every moment. In this basic framework, the work/life balance is not an end goal but rather a tool for us to decipher how to steer and command ourselves, maintaining our course of our living our best life.

Tug and Pull

As a business owner, a part-time nurse, a mother of 3 boys, and daughter of aging parents, I am mindful of the constant tug and pull of work/life balance. There are times where I purposely burn the candle from both ends in order to help my company grow. It’s a choice that I make in order to be able to make my dreams come true. It’s a choice that I happily make in order to be the change that I want to see in this world — our world.

North Star

From time to time, I have people in my life that view me as a hypocrite for teaching about harmony, health and happiness because they feel I’m not living up to my own message. I would get comments such as, “Debbie, I don’t know how you do it all?” or “I don’t think you are living up to your message” or “Your desk is not Zen at all and you teach about mindfulness.” While these hurtful comments have knocked the wind out of my sails, I have found that they have made me stronger inside. I’ve become even more determined not to let their judgment take me off course from following my inner North Star.

Life Force

What I’ve come to realize, as I’ve mentioned in my new book, The Happiness Result, is that work/life balance not only starts from within us but it is constantly occurring. Balance is the life force that is in all living things. Balance is what we living beings naturally do in order to grow and flourish. It’s no different from when we are listening and following our calling; working extra hours to make our dreams come true. I believe that resisting our calling by listening to our fears and insecurities is the primary cause of the imbalance within and the cause of the work/life imbalance that we hear about.

Balance Happens

Balance happens when there is no resistance towards growth and flourishing. Balance happens when we allow ourselves to break free from our limiting beliefs and comfort zones. Balance happens when we are happy and clear about what we want. Lastly, balance happens when we feel in control of our lives.

Here are the 3 myths on work/life balance that I have discovered:

Myth #1: Balance means 50/50 all the time. This is impossible because we spend most of our time at work and less at home.

Myth #2: Balance can’t happen when we are busy. Balance is always happening even when we are busy. It’s up to us to trust to our gut instincts when we start feeling off-balance in anyway.

Myth #3: Work/life balance means success. Work/life balance has been overrated leaving way too many people feeling like failures because they can’t get it. Work/life balance needs to be reframed not as the measurement of success, but rather a tool that we use and a habit that we must cultivate in order to give voice to the treasures in our heart. When we do this, we can make healthy, happy, and harmonious choices that will lead to a rich and fulfilling life.

For further learning about how you can add more of what you want to your life, get your copy of The Happiness Result — coming out early July 2016. For coaching on how to create your awesome life, contact us at

How to Get More Energy and Reduce Your Stress with Awe

How to Get More Energy and Reduce Your Stress with Awe

by Debbie Lyn Toomey
Author, Speaker, Coach

Santa Barbara


“You only lose energy when life becomes dull in your mind.
Your mind gets bored and therefore tired of doing nothing…
Get interested in something! Get absolutely enthralled in something!
Get out of yourself! Be somebody! Do something…
The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself,
the more energy you will have.”
Norman Vincent Peale


Have you ever woken up 3 hours before you were supposed to and just couldn’t fall back to sleep?

I did about a month ago. I woke up 4 AM and no matter what I did, I just could not go back to sleep. After adjusting and fluffing up my pillow to get comfortable and getting up to take a sip of water, I still laid on the hotel bed wide awake with thoughts of what I had to do that day. Although my body needed the rest, my mind was ready to go to work. It was the last day of my colleague’s retreat for speakers. I was there to assist and support her to make sure her first event was a success. Knowing that I needed my rest for my full day’s trek of wrapping up the retreat, a two-hour bus ride from Santa Barbara to LAX airport, and the red eye to back to Boston, I got more and more concerned that I couldn’t fall asleep. Nothing worked!

Awe, a Study
Resigning to the fact my good night sleep was going to have to be only 4 hours that night, I decided to get up. I got up at 4:30 AM. Not knowing what to do with myself, I decided to check my email and became inspired by one of the ones I got from Greater Good Science Berkeley. One particular article peaked my interest. It was about the art and science of awe. Scientists like Dacher Keltner have found that this new science can improve our mental, physical, and social well-being. In other words, being in awe or what I also call “wonderment” in my book, The Happiness Result, can shift our mental, emotional, and physical state from boredom to bliss. Wonderment is a combination of anticipation, awareness, and appreciation.

Energy Booster and Tension Reducer
In fact, what I and thousands of others have experienced is that being in a state of wonderment and awe can actually reduce stress and tension as it makes us curious, excited, and happy. According to “awe“ expert, Dr. Kirk Schneider, being in a state awe uplifts us, which temporarily buffers the effects of stress and worries. I found this to be true when I got dressed and headed out of the hotel at 5:30 AM to go for an “awe” walk. I needed to get rid of my feelings of tension from thinking about my full day. I wanted to find a way to shift from being worried about not having enough sleep to having fun. And what happened next caught me by surprise.

I repeated to myself that I was going on an “awe” walk to help me focus on anything that would catch my attention. With my iPhone in my hand I walked around the hotel grounds across from the beach and I was ready to take any photo that peaked my interest, took my breath away, or made me smile. With wonderment as my intention for this particular walk, I saw things that I overlooked the previous days. I saw an old palm tree branch laying on the side walk that must have been 8 feet long. Being from Boston, I was used to seeing maple leaves or twigs on the ground not palm tree branches. I must have taken 2-3 pictures of that palm tree branch just to keep it as part of my Santa Barbara trip.


A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Then I came across two beautiful Bird of Paradise flowers growing behind a big tree and when I got closer to them, they looked like they were playfully peaking around the tree to say “hi” to me. Across the street on the beach were more surprises. I took my shoes off to feel the cool Santa Barbara sand on my bare feet. The shock of the cool sand made me giggle as it made me feel more energized. The beach was so beautiful as I watched the sun rising off in the distance. It was like a picture perfect scene with the sun rising, gentle waves, and a couple walking along the beach. It was definitely a “Kodak moment” as we used to say growing up. The scene took my breath away! Of course, I took many pictures of that beautiful moment on the beach to bring back with me. The pictures that I took in my “awe” walk are definitely worth a thousand words.

How about you?
Next time you need a bolt of something different try adding more wonderment into your life. Here’s how:

1. Create an intention to add more “wonder” or “awe” into your day.
2. Decide how long you will do it for.
3. Bring your smartphone or camera to view people and things through a new lens and fresh eyes.
4. If you have are having a difficult time looking for something interesting, then you are looking too hard.
5. Start by noticing what is in front of you and lean in to get a closer look.
6. Once you find someone or something that makes you say “Ahh…” or “Awe” or “Wow”, take a photo of it.
7. Then look at the photo and compare it to what is actually in front of you.
8. Ask yourself if you really captured the feeling that you wanted to with your photo. If so, move on and look for the next thing. If not, re-take your picture until you get an image that makes you smile inside and out.
9. Optional, show others your picture to spread the good vibe.

Interested in more simple ways to add happiness and wonder to your life, contact me at today. Also, if you have other ideas on how to add more “awe” and “wonder” into your day please share your comments below. Thank you.


a-HAHS Tip #5: Easy Yoga Pose

I know you are busy, so I will keep my post quick today and remind you of this powerful tip that can make your day and another’s that much better.

Whether you’ve been doing yoga since the day you were born or not, here’s a pose that will turn your frown upside down.

This movement has been proven to boost levels of positivity within seconds. In fact, it’s so powerful that it can also make other people happy.

It’s a smile.

That’s right! This innate gesture has been proven to make people happy inside and out. This simple movement is enough to trick our brain when we are feeling badly into feeling better.

Try it next time you need a lift.

If you are looking for more ways to feel better in your life whether it’s reaching your goals or having support to gain more clarity in your life. Contact us at today to learn how A.W.E.S.O.M.E™ Life coaching can help you live your best life.

Mindfulness and Difficult People

Mindfulness and Difficult People: Learn 4 Mindfulness Techniques to Deal with Difficult People

By Debbie Lyn Toomey, Health and Happiness Specialist™


Much of what we hear about mindfulness has to do with how it can enhance the stillness of our mind, soothe our nerves, and awaken our senses for stress management and wellness. But rarely do we hear about how mindfulness can help during encounters with difficult people.

No matter how many self-care practices we embrace, or stress management workshops we attend, we will always encounter people in our lives who have complaints in some form or another. I am sure that you have heard these things said to you or someone near you at one point in your life.

I want to talk to the manager!

 You’re not listening to ME!


Mindfulness can help. It has helped me in more occasions than I care to imagine. When faced with difficult people or circumstances, mindfulness allows me to keep present in the moment and feel calm and in control of not only myself but also the situation.

If you are new to mindfulness the techniques shared here will seem like common sense to you especially during those regular days when things are going well. But what if your day is not going well and you are overwhelmed with work and someone approaches you all upset, wanting you to fix a problem. Often, an unexpected stressful moment can make common sense seem not so common. When our fight or flight reaction gets triggered it is difficult for our prefrontal cortex, the rational part of brain to think straight. In fact, the amygdala, the alarm part of our brain, takes over, making it difficult to calm ourselves down. If you are a mindfulness practitioner (or even a mindfulness dabbler) then the skills that you are about to read will be good reminders for you.

What is Mindfulness?

Before I share with you the techniques let me just briefly define mindfulness so as to avoid any misconceptions of what this practice is all about. Mindfulness is not yoga. Mindfulness is not a religion. Lastly, mindfulness is not about emptying our minds. It is more than that! I like to describe mindfulness as the awareness and acceptance of the actual of ebbs and flows of life— without attachment or judgment. It is purposely living in the moment.

Mindfulness Day In and Day Out

Hundreds of studies have proven that practicing mindfulness is effective in lessening chronic pain, depression, stress and so much more. Fortunately for us there are many ways to practice mindfulness in everyday life. We can practice mindfulness day in and day out if we want. In fact, anything we do in life when done with purpose and with full awareness of our senses can be considered a mindfulness practice like, bathing an adorable little baby, eating a piping hot cheesy pizza, or hugging someone you love.

Mindfulness Test

While practicing mindfulness is easy in a controlled and quite setting, it can be a challenge out in the real world. One of the true tests of mindfulness is when someone invades your personal zen-bubble and decides to burst it. I call these situations the true test of mindfulness practice. The reality is mindfulness does not shield us from life’s tribulations. But what it does do is help us become more resilient so we can bounce back quicker and prevents us from taking difficult situations personally.

Safety First

Here are the 4 mindfulness skills that have helped me remain calm, cool, and centered in the midst of heated encounters with difficult people. Please note the intention of this article is to provide you with a mindfulness plan to help you deal with difficult people. Always trust your gut instincts when you encounter a difficult person especially when they start escalating. Always err on the side of caution— safety first!

4 Mindfulness Techniques

The 4 Mindfulness Techniques for Dealing with Difficult People are:

  1. Body– Mindful body is very important during negative encounters. Maintaining a grounded and powerful pose puts you in a state of relaxed attention that will also keep you on your toes. Body language speaks much louder than words. Whether you are sitting or standing, it’s best to position your body so that both feet are on the ground with both feet at least shoulder width apart. Look at the person’s hands to see what they are doing and keep a safe distance away from them.
  1. Breath– Mindful breathing is one of the best practices to do when you are stressed. Taking slow deep breaths during negative encounters has a subtle and powerful effect on you as well as the other person. When possible, purposely and subtly deepen your breathing pattern so that the other person can see what you are doing. Doing this has a subtle way of encouraging the other person to slow down their breathing to match yours and may help them feel better too.
  2. Listening– Mindful listening is also crucial during heated moments. People like to be heard. By giving the other person your undivided and compassionate ear you will help them feel important. Pay close attention to what is being said in order for you to relay the story back. Mindfully listen to your own thoughts during the encounter. Avoid jumping to conclusions before the person is done speaking. This will help you listen more intently.
  1. Seeing– Mindful seeing is very important because this will allow you study the person in front of you. Always keep your eyes on the person so that you can best read whether he or she is distraught or delusional. Notice what the person is doing. Do they seem relieved from talking or are they escalating? If you notice that all of your great mindfulness intentions are not working, ask for help. Remember you don’t have to do this by yourself.

Don’t Take it Personally

It’s very important to remember not to take these negative situations personally.  While it is upsetting to have some yell at you, try to keep your dignity and the others’ intact as much as possible. At times, being respectful is enough to take care of the situation. Try to give the other person the benefit of the doubt when possible.

Once again your safety is very important. If your instincts are telling you to get help, please do so. I hope that this mindfulness plan will help you in the future as it has helped me.

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Please share any other mindfulness techniques that you feel would help during difficult encounters. Thank you!


The Secret Sauce to Savoring the Holidays for Busy People

by Debbie Lyn Toomey Speaker, Author, Trainer

2 Key Ingredients (2)-53277


How many times have you heard yourself or others say any of these statements recently?

“I cannot believe the holidays are here already!”

“What can I do this year so that I can enjoy myself for a change?”

“How am I going to get all my work done and still have time to shop for presents?”

Yes, folks it’s true! It’s the middle of November and it’s officially the holiday season. While it may seem like Father Time sprinted through 2015 (instead of marching), there are ways to have him slow down so we can relax, reflect, and rest and enjoy the end of the year before the new one begins.  My “secret sauce” will help you can gain more time to cherish this wonderful season. 


If you’re like many busy people, you’re probably still trying to remember what you did last month! Realizing the fact that the holidays are suddenly upon us can be enough to make some people cringe and even cry. Although traditionally this is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year,” some people find it difficult to be happy for various reasons such as:  having too much on their plate from work- life responsibilities, lack of financial stability, and lack of support from others. Unfortunately, the holidays can be a bitter sweet time of the year where it can feel like salt has been added to deep unresolved wounds.

Too much!

Time does have a way of escaping us because of our busy work and life schedules. It’s becoming more and more difficult to stop and slow down.  I’ve coached many busy people who fall into the same old trap of doing and planning. The mere thought of sitting and reflecting takes a back seat because it seems like an unproductive use of our time. As mentioned in my forthcoming book on living a productive and positive life, “Our time management skills are constantly being challenged because of the compounding distractions that are coming from all directions as well as our shortening attention span. Our lives are filled with so many distractions both external and internal multi-sensorial stimuli. The external stimuli come from two main sources: technology and team. Our techie toys are so distracting that even the mere presence of them on our desk tempts us to touch them and use them when we don’t need to.  The teams of people in our personal and professional lives can be a source of support or stress.  As if those distractions are not enough, we also get internal distractions that bombard and overload us with negative thoughts that ruminate and keep us from feeling good and proud of ourselves. These inner distractions add to self- sabotage, keeping us from producing easily and effectively.”  We have so much to contend with in our daily lives that for some the holidays can become more of a burden instead of a blessing.

Special for Everyone

Yes, the holidays are upon us and with them come their own sets of stressors such as shopping for “that perfect gift,” having a reasonable financial holiday budget, decorating, and going to parties. While some love this time of the year, studies have shown that there is an increase in depression, suicide attempts, and drug and alcohol use for others. No one is safe from the stress that happens during this time of the year.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), women experience a higher level of stress than men during the holidays. It is because women tend to take on the work burden to ensure the best possible holiday traditions are celebrated.

The Secret Sauce for a Health & Happy Holiday Season- Gratitude & Mindfulness (6)-11180


What’s in that Sauce?

Although stress is unavoidable, there are two ways of adding sweetness to the holiday season that will get even the busiest CEO whistling his favorite holiday tune as he greets his team. These two ingredients create such a rich combination that they can’t help but awaken all the senses. The two special ingredients that make up the secret sauce are: gratitude and mindfulness. When added together they can: turn bitterness into sweet, make the tough into tender, and heavy into something light. This secret sauce combination is the easiest and most practical way for today’s busy professionals to relish and savor the holiday season so that they have more time to celebrate, communicate, and connect with those they care about.

 Yummy moments

Gratitude and Mindfulness are great ways to bring purposeful awareness, attention, and appreciation to your holiday experience. Together they will give you: more time to be productive, an increased sense of purpose in your actions, and greater positivity in your day. Practicing gratitude is a heart-centered practice that can make you feel connected, blessed, and special.  Practicing mindfulness can make you feel more alive, awake, and allowing. Both of these two techniques combined have hundreds of studies that prove their ability to improve health, boost happiness, enhance relationships, and increase productivity during the holiday season. The beauty of these two practices happens during the millions of micro-moments throughout the day. The “practice” happens when we purposely remember what is happening within us and around us—without judgment. Exercising these new habits will deepen your neural pathways and ensure sustainable success in creating positive experiences in your life.

Recipe for a Sweet Holiday Season


  1. Ask yourself what you want this holiday season to look and feel like for you. Just like with any recipe that you’ve never made before you might first have to look at the picture so that you will have an idea of what the dish will look like.
  2. “Prepave” your holiday festivities with the feeling and images of what you would like it to be for yourself. “Prepaving” is a way of creating and attracting what you want through visualization and positive emotions. Feel as if it is happening now. Have fun using your imagination to visualize and tune into what your holiday celebration is going to be like. There’s no right or wrong way of doing this. Picture yourself purposefully being aware and appreciative of what’s going on around you so that you will experience the beauty of the season so much more.
  3. Practice and play with the secret sauce ingredients throughout your days and nights.
  4. Enjoy adding other quality ingredients to this special sauce such as: creativity, courage, and self-compassion.

Key Ingredients:

1. Gratitude:

According to gratitude expert, Robert Emmons, gratitude is defined as a “felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life.” In other words, it’s more than just saying “thanks.”   This year instead of sitting in traffic just to shop from place to place, save yourself some time and lots of misery by staying at home.  Instead of shopping for gifts why not make them in a form of a gratitude letter to those you care about. This practice has been proven to boost levels of happiness for a weeks and weeks for both the writer and the recipient.

Here’s how to get started. Think of that special someone in your life that you need to get a gift for. Get a piece of paper (preferably a nice stationary) and write down how they have impacted your life in a positive way. Write from your heart and elaborate as much as you can. When you are done put it in an envelope and personally deliver it to that person and ask them to read it in front of you. Notice their expression. Notice yours. Notice how this loving practice can turn your holiday into a magical one. Try to do this to for as many people as you can. Schedule a time every evening during this holiday season to write out one letter to deliver in person. If you allow yourself to do one letter at a time, you’ll notice what may seem like a burden in the beginning will become a blessing in the end.  The practice of gratitude will make you feel blessed and blissful. Once you get into your gratitude letter writing routine this holiday season notice how you look forward to doing it each day or night. This delicious ritual will gift you the special time to relax, reflect, and remember so many golden moments that you’ve shared with your loved ones. You’ll thank yourself for doing this!

2. Mindfulness:

According to mindfulness expert, Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness is “paying attention in a particular way on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” Any activity when done purposely and with a beginners mind is considered a mindfulness activity. In other words, activities such as washing the dishes, walking, or watching can be a mindfulness activity as long as the person purposely aims to notice and experience that particular activity fully and without judgment.

Here’s how to begin this practice. During this holiday season, purposely gift yourself about 20 minutes of mindfulness by focusing on one of the five senses at a time. Start with mindfulness seeing and purposely notice all the shapes and colors that you see around you. Once you see something that catches your eye, look even closer. What do you see? Do you see any intricate patterns that make up that particular object? Notice the different shades of colors that meld together to make the colors that you see. Is that object manmade? If so, think about how that particular item made it there in front of you. Look with a beginner’s eye and notice as much as you can in that period of time. The next time you plan your mindful sit, try another sense like taste. Practice savoring when you are eating all the delicious food during your holiday festivities. Imagine as though it was the first time you’ve tasted that food. Notice how long it took you to chew it and swallow it. Try to figure out the flavors that were used in that particular dish. Notice how slowing down and savoring your food helps you stay on track with your diet because you are appreciating each bite and notice when your stomach is full. Practicing mindfulness during this holiday season might just be one of the easiest ways to keep the extra pounds off by mindfully noticing what goes in to your body. Imagine going into the New Year without having to add “lose holiday weight” in your New Year’s Resolution!

Adding gratitude and mindfulness will surely add more richness to your holidays.  This delicious combination of ingredients will kick up your festivities a notch so that you can have your cake and eat it too– without guilt. Once you begin practicing these techniques, you will notice that you have more time for more important things and people in your life. Cultivating gratitude and mindfulness in your busy life will not only make you healthier and happier but also add more harmony to your life.  Begin today and look around you. Challenge yourself to find something new that you haven’t seen before. Have fun and have yourself a healthy and happy holiday season!

Do you have a way of making this holiday season fun and stress-free? Please share your suggestions with me below. Thank you in advance!