As part of my series on gratitude, I thought it would be useful to include some videos from TED.
TED talks on Gratitude
These are my 5 favourites:
Want to be happy? Be grateful by Brother David Steindl-Rast
Nature. Beauty. Gratitude by Louie Schwartzberg
How a penny made me feel like a millionaire by Tania Luna
Remember to say thank you by Dr. Laura Trice
A story about knots and surgeons by Ed Gavagan
Before I die I want to… by Candy Chang
One of my goals has been to create a healing space, both for myself and my clients. I’ve been using Pinterest to get lots of ideas and created a vision board for what I want it to look, feel, sound and smell like. So here are my 10 must-haves for my mediation room.
10 Must-haves for a mediation room
- Colour. Some of the rooms I’ve come across are very simple and very white. I love colour, so for me it’s a must. Golds, purples and cream colours seem to be what I’m drawn to. I have a fabulous tapestry to hand on one wall.
- Cushions. There is one common thing in each of the rooms that I love, and that’s cushions. Lots of them, scattered on the floor to create a space where you can relax in comfort. I’ve also ordered a nice pale rug.
- Black-out blind. The garden room is well lit, with a big window looking out, however, I’m looking to create more subdued lighting, so a blackout blind will help reduce the amount of light coming in.
- Candles. To create the soft lighting I’m looking for, then candles are a must. With safety in mind, I’ve got some tea light holders that can be scattered around the room.
- Incense. I love the smell of incense, and there are so many of them. I’ve bought lots of different types of incense that clients can use and perhaps buy later.
- Mediation CD’s. In a couple of weeks, i’m going on a course to become a certified mediation teacher, but in the meantime, I have a couple of mediation CDs that I can play.
- An indoor foundation. I love the sound of water, so I’ve sourced a gorgeous little indoor fountain.
- A singing bowl. Singing bowls and hand bells create relaxing sounds.
- Crystals. I love crystals, so will have loads of them, both for the room and to sell. I’ve sourced some chakra crystal sets to give to crystal healing clients, so that they can use it with distance healing.
- Plants. Adding some greenery to the room just adds a different dimension to the space, making it feel more comfortable.
I guess my room will combine a number of elements from India, Tibet and Denmark, the home of hygge.
What this space, and I’ll share photos when it’s done.
Take care for now
Why review your goals?
In this post, I’m reviewing the goals I made in July and setting some goals for August. Why? In Leonie Dawson’s My Shining Year workbook, she uses a quote that says:
80% of people don’t think of goals
16% of people don’t write their goals down
4% of people write their goals down
1% of people write down their goals AND review them regularly. These are among the high achievers.
For this reason, it has always been important for me to set goals down in writing, and to check in on them. That way, you can make sure that you’re focusing on the right things, and get back on track when things don’t go the way you expected.
Reviewing July’s goals
In July I set myself a number of goals around homeschooling, health, spirituality, business, money and fun. I did achieve some of the things:
- my son did attend the summer camps. We did work on knitting, reading and some experiments around centrifugal force and robotics.
- in relation to health, I started working with a nutritionist and am setting weeks goals to change habits and increase my activity levels. I did however, have to have another set of steroids for my asthma and use a steroid inhaler long term now.
- during July, I attended the bio energy workshop and have signed up to do the diploma from September.
- With my business, I become much clearer on what my business looks like and who my client base will be. I realised that with all the loss I have experienced in my life, I am well placed to help mum’s dealing with grief to get back to themselves. I’ve packed up much of dads things, but there is still some more stuff to deal with. Mainly paperwork around his estate, but it’s more time consuming than I expected. I’ve developed 3 email opt-ins: one for blog updates, one for a discount voucher for the shop and a daily dose of positivity. I’ve scheduled over 260+ emails but there is still more to do before I publish it. I’ve republished my Facebook page and started using Twitter again.
- I didn’t achieve the money goal I set for my business, but I did achieve the goal in different ways, selling clutter on ebay and Facebook.
- Fun kind of fell by the wayside.
Why July’s goals got derailed
In many ways July was a good month, however, one of the reasons many of my goals got derailed was that my husband had a heart attack in the middle of the month. He was obviously hospitalised, but the hospital was 2 hours away from us, so visiting took up much of the days.
He was very lucky. Long story short, he had two stents inserted, was discharged home after a couple of days, is on loads of medication, can’t drive or work for a few weeks and starts cardiac rehab next month. Having been through something similar, but much worse with my father, (who went into total systems failure and needed to stay in hospital for weeks) I was so grateful that there was minimal damage to his heart, and the long-term prognosis is very good.
But it threw me.
For a while, I wouldn’t let hubby be left alone, in case anything happened. It’s taken time to trust that he’s going to be ok. Having just lost dad, the thought of losing yet another loved one was too much. I’ve needed some time to process what happened, support hubby and start to make changes to our lifestyle.
Goals for August
So for August, I’m keeping my goals simple.
- keep working on little ones reading
- attend adventure camp
- meet up with other homeschooling families
- clear dads room and get it ready so when funds become available, we can turn it into a study/office
Continue working with the nutritionist. Goals we have set include eating breakfast everyday, eating 3 meals and 2 snacks each day and going for a walk with hubby.
- Complete the Angel Practitioner course
- Attend a meditation teachers course
- order new business cards
- complete daily dose of positivity messages for 365 days
- clear dad’s garden room
- start photographing items for the shop
- write letter to money and check in with it
- get business accounts up to date
- set goals for selling clutter on eBay and Facebook
- go to the cinema with my son when hubby goes back to work
As part of my series on gratitude, I’d like to share 30 of my favourite powerful quotes on gratitude
30 Quotes on Gratitude
“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” ~ A.A. Milne
“This a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” ~ Maya Angelou
“In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. “~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“Instead of being discouraged by how far I still have left to go, I choose to be grateful for how far I’ve already come.” ~ Rosetta Thurman
“Just an observation: it is impossible to be both grateful and depressed. Those with a grateful mindset tend to see the message in the mess. And even though life may knock them down, the grateful find reasons, if even small ones, to get up.” ~ Steve Maraboli
“Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be grateful for your troubles and they can become your blessings.” ~ Unknown
“A grateful mind is a great mind which eventually attracts to itself great things.” ~ Plato
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” ~ Maya Angelou
“Research shows that people are happier if they are grateful for the positive things in their lives, rather than worrying about what might be missing.” ~ Dan Buettner
“It’s a funny thing about life, once you begin to take note of the things you are grateful for, you begin to lose sight of the things that you lack.” ~ Germany Kent
“Start each day with a positive thought and a grateful heart.” ~ Roy T. Bennett
“What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it. Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
“We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count.” ~ Neal A. Maxwell
“Dance. Smile. Giggle. Marvel. Trust. Hope. Love. Wish. Believe. Most of all, enjoy every moment of the journey, and appreciate where you are at this moment instead of always focusing on how far you have to go.” ~ Mandy Hale
“We can choose to be grateful no matter what.” ~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf
“The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Focus on the positives and be grateful.” ~ Katrina Bowden
“Each day brings new opportunities, allowing you to constantly live with love – be there for others – bring a little light into someone’s day. Be grateful and live each day to the fullest.” ~ Roy Bennett
“Never regret a day in your life. Good days give happiness, bad days give experience, worst days give lessons, and best days give memories.” ~ Unknown
“Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.” ~ John Wooden
“Happiness isn’t about getting what you want all the time. It’s about loving what you have and being grateful for it.” ~ Unknown
“Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life.” ~ Joel Osteen
“Don’t focus on what’s wrong. Things may not be perfect, but be grateful for the opportunity to experience each day. Live each day like it could be your last.” ~ Joel Osteen
“One can never pay in gratitude; one can only pay ‘in kind’ somewhere else in life.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh
“No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” ~ Alfred North Whitehead
“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” ~ Frank A. Clark
“If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily.” ~ Gerald Good
“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” ~ Willie Nelson
“One can never pay in gratitude; one can only pay ‘in kind’ somewhere else in life.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh
“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” Oscar Wilde
As I’ve said many times, practicing gratitude has helped me be happier in my life and get through some tough times. Practicing gratitude is really easy. Its just saying thank you. Thank you for the gifts you have received, in whatever packaging they came in, whether you need them or not, whether you deserved them or not, say thank you.
10 Simple gratitude practices
Begin a gratitude journal. This is so easy. You can use a simple notebook, or go all out and buy yourself a beautiful journal from Etsy or Amazon. Take a few minutes each day, either in the morning or last thing at night, to think about what you have been grateful for. You can choose 3, 5 10 or however many things you can think of, but get into the habit of taking the time to think about them and write them down. Also, try and think of different things. You may be grateful for your family and friends, but you’ve been given so many more gifts. Notice and celebrate them. If you’re artistic, then get a bullet journal instead, and decorate each day. Pinterest has loads of ideas. Just search “gratitude bullet journal” and take a look.
Think about what you say. I’ve noticed that when I speak I use words like, grateful, blessed, thankful, lucky, fortunate and gifts. So many things have come my way, so it’s only right to acknowledge them.
Say thank you. Whenever you receive something, whether it’s a card, present, hug, your cup of coffee or meal etc. Say thank you to the person who gave it to you. It’s good manners, but so many people don’t even acknowledge the giver any more, especially those providing a service.
Go one step further. Sometimes, you can go one step further than saying thank you. You can write a letter to the person, write a letter of praise to the person’s boss, give them a shout out on social media, write a good review and so on.
Write a thank you note. When we were growing up, and we were old enough, we always wrote a thank you letter for birthday and Christmas presents.
Look for the positive in a negative situation. Sometimes, when things are rough, it’s really hard to see the positive side of a negative situation. But there is usually something to be grateful for. When my dad was dying, I was grateful for the doctors and nurses who made him comfortable. I was grateful for the opportunity to be there holding his hand when the time came, and I was grateful for the time we shared in the last few years.
Donate what you don’t want. One of the things you realise when you practice gratitude is how much you have. Pay it forward, and donate some of the things you don’t need, that someone else would be grateful for. There are so many people in need these days who would appreciate what you no longer want.
Pay it forward. Make someone else’s day by paying it forward. Whether When someone does a good deed for you, then pay it forward, and do it for someone else. Whether its buying a cup of coffee, or helping someone else in the way you were helped, paying it forward spreads joy as well as gratitude.
Random acts of kindness. Instead of responding to someone else’s good deed, why not just do a good deed yourself. Here are 10 ideas to get you started.
Practice forgiveness. Sometimes the lessons we learn are learnt the hard way, and they can be very painful. By forgiving the person who hurt you, you are not absolving the person from their guilt, but you are releasing yourself from the pain that you’re holding onto. Acknowledge the lesson and be grateful for it, but in a positive way. Sometimes the gifts we are sent come in unusual packages!
Sometimes the person you have to forgive is yourself, so this can be a very powerful way of helping you move forward. One way of doing this was suggested by Carolan Dickinson in her Udemy course: “(your/persons name) from my heart to yours, I forgive you for anything real or perceived you may or may not have done to hurt me, from this lifetime or any other.” Repeat three times.
There are lots more ways you can practice gratitude and if you’d like to read more, then check out this article from Lifehack. You may also want to read Roberts Emmon’s article. He’s a scientific expert on the effects of gratitude.
As a busy mum and carer, the one thing I always wanted was more energy. When I had more energy, I was better able to cope with what life threw at me, my vibration was higher and I was a nicer person to be around. When I was tired, everything felt harder. It was harder to get started in the morning, harder to get motivated and harder to focus.
It easy to deplete your energy stores, especially when you’re putting everyone else’s needs ahead of your own, so here are some simply ways to increase your energy levels that I found work for me. At heart, it’s a series of self care practices that helped me get through the last couple of years.
Simple ways to increase your energy
Get your bloods checked out.
I have an under-active thyroid, so when my levels are low, I get bone tired. But there are a whole host of other physiological reason that can cause you to feel tired. For women, it could be linked to your hormone levels, (PMT or the menopause). Alternatively, for both genders it could be caused by something like anaemia. Getting your bloods checked out is a good way to rule out any physiological causes of your tiredness.
Get an early night.
One of the reasons I was always tired was my dad would wake me up in the middle of the night for something. Then once I was awake, it was hard to get back to sleep. I found going to bed earlier gave me a little more sleep, and at weekends, when my husband was home, I’d take an afternoon nap.
Poor sleep has been shown to adversely affect not just your physical health, but also your mental health. If your sleep is disturbed, always make time to catch up. Sleep is like a bank account. You can be overdrawn for a period of time, but sooner or later, you have to balance your account and put the money back.
I’ve found meditation is a great way to quiet your mind and de-stress. Practiced regularly, mediation has been shown to reduce stress levels, which has a knock on effect on your sense of well-being, your focus and your physical health. For example, when you’re more relaxed, your blood pressure and heart rate are lower than when you’re stressed.
Have a look on YouTube for some mediation music, lie down and listen to it. Let your body relax and try and empty your mind. I found I get my best ideas after I’ve meditated.
Take a look at what you’re eating
We live in age age where obesity is becoming an epidemic, whilst, paradoxically, we’re more mal-nourished than ever. By mal-nourished, I don’t mean we’re starving, I mean that our diets lack the full range of nutrients that our bodies need. We’ve been brainwashing into believing fats are bad for you, but the body needs fat, for the fat-soluble vitamins i.e. vitamins A, D, E and K.
Eating a balanced diet, with a wide variety of different vegetables will most definitely increase your energy levels.
Take a look at what you’re drinking
Too much caffeine, from tea, coffee and other caffeinated drinks affects your ability to get off to sleep, which then has a knock on effect on your energy levels. Try and reduce how much caffeine you drink after 6pm, and increase how much water you drink. We should be drinking 2 litres of water per day, but usually we drink much less. When I worked in the hospital, we always kept a jug of water and glass on the patients bedside tray.
Go for a walk
It may seem counter-intuitive, but I found going for a walk, especially when its around nature, not just increases your energy levels, but also reduces your stress. Walking the dogs in the woods was like a walking mediation for me. Breathing in fresh air and taking in the sunlight really gave me a boost.
If you’re looking to increase your energy, then any form of exercise will do. Have a look at yoga and qi gong exercises on YouTube, or enroll on a course via Udemy.
I’ve recently taken up journalling to help me unwind. Journalling helps you work through the things that are bothering you, but it also allows me to write down ideas, and clarify my goals.
I bought a bullet journal, so that I can be a little more creative with my journal. Have a look at my Pinterest board for some fun ideas.
Using positive affirmations
I’ve found that thinking positive, and using positive affirmations, are a great way to increase your vibration. Louise Hay has some of the best positive affirmations I’ve come across, so have a look at her affirmations page. I’ve kept a couple of pages in my journal free just to write down the affirmations that appeal to me. I also include them on my vision board.
Choose some affirmations that speak to your spirit. Trust your intuition and repeat these daily.
I’m currently working towards my Reiki Master and Reiki teacher qualifications, and so practice Reiki self-healing regularly. It’s a little like meditating, but focusing on clearly the chakras. I sometimes feel called to add some crystals to my healing practice. These amplify the healing for the targeted area.
Decluttering is very cathartic. Releasing stuff you no longer need or want allows you to make space for other things to come into your life. In addition. your home feels bigger and brighter, and it takes less time to clean and maintain.
You could also sell some of your excess stuff and use the money to pamper yourself.
These are the 10 ways that have worked best for me. If you have other suggestions, I’d love to hear them.