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Date: 2/12/2017 10:02 PM UTC

Love is in the air! It’s that time when many people make plans to demonstrate their feelings of love to others. Some are romantic gestures and others are actions to express appreciation to loved ones for being a meaningful part of their lives. The month of February can also be a trying period for many when they realize that some of their deepest needs for love and companionship are not being met; and a sense of sadness can set in.

As social beings, we thrive on sharing time with one another; and it is understandable if there’s a feeling of emptiness when we cannot express our love to others in a satisfactory way. Sometimes we look to others to feel good about ourselves, but doing so sets us up for disappointment and hurt feelings. No-one, no matter how loving they are, is able to make us feel good all the time. However, that does not doom us to frustration and unhappiness. All it means is that we need to find ways to feel loved and loving regardless of what is happening around us. In this week’s blog, I want to share five ways in which we can practice self love so that we have control over how we feel and how we demonstrate love to the people in our lives.

1. Eat well. This may not seem like a way to practice self love at first glance, but think about it carefully. When you take the time to put healthy foods in your body, you prove to yourself that your physical well-being is important; and taking care of your body leads to improved mental and emotional function. Consider how you’d feel if you went through a day without eating or eating only junk foods. You would probably not have enough energy to take care of your children or your brain would not have enough nutrients to help you make wise and intelligent decisions. Relating to others would be less effective simply because you’d have very little energy and patience to deal with them. So when you eat well, your body gets nourished; your brain functions better; your patience increases; and instead of feeling moody and lethargic, you’re better able to express love and appreciation to those around you.

2. Rest well. This seems the opposite of what the superwoman mentality that you may have wants you to believe. With your busy life, you are often strapped for time to get enough rest. However, resting well is one of the best ways you can practice self love. I know that when I try to live on less than the amount of sleep that my body needs, the immediate feeling is a massive headache. My brain seems to go to sleep; my concentration lags, and I move slower. Sleeping well is important in practicing self love. If you accept that you cannot be all things to everyone and you will not be able to help others effectively while disregarding your own health, then sleeping well will become important to you. Get the amount of sleep your body is asking for and see the difference that makes in how much love and appreciation you feel toward yourself.

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3. Engage in a hobby or find another way to relax. Did you just say, “Yeah, right!”? The thought of using your already limited time to paint, play a board game or go ice-skating probably fills you with anxiety, because your to-do list will not get done. However, imagine how differently you will feel after an hour of relaxation in whatever way you choose. You give your brain some much needed rest; you relax physically, and you get the time to re-connect to your inner desires and abilities that go beyond taking care of others and feeling rushed and unfulfilled about living. You feel much stronger and you remember to connect to the real you often. Nourishing your inner being is an essential way of showing self love, and participating in a hobby or a relaxing event can certainly do that.

4. Spend time with people who lift your spirits. I know it’s not always easy to do this; but it’s important that when you have a choice about who to spend your time with, you choose company that you enjoy: people who make you laugh; those whose views about life complement and strengthen yours; others who appreciate you for who you are rather than how you can be an asset to them; and individuals who make you feel, after your time with them, that it was really beautiful to have spent the time together.

Sometimes you may have to firmly excuse yourself from situations and people who are negative; and other times you will need to stop yourself from behaving in a negative manner. For others to appreciate the beauty that is you, you need to cultivate your beauty; and getting rid of negativity is a great way to attract like-minded people to you and repel negative ones from you.

5. Practice introspection. One of the keys to self awareness is to practice introspection. You are the expert on you, so spend time reflecting on what makes you happy, what pushes your buttons, how you relate to others and where improvements can be made to your life. When you look for the meaning in the situations you face rather than react in fear or desperation, you harness your internal strength to create your life just as you want it. Taking these actions releases others of the responsibility to live to please you. You know where you are going and the steps you need to take to get there; and you also choose who you’d like to accompany you on the journey.

With physical strength from eating and resting well; practicing a hobby and deliberately choosing who you spend time with, you will realize that you’re well on your way to not only loving yourself but also enjoying your life.

I trust that you will take the time to love yourself first so that you show up in the world as the best version of who you are up to this point.

Have a great week and a wonderful Valentine’s Day if you celebrate it.

Posted by jasminhepburn | Post a Comment

Date: 2/10/2017 4:01 AM UTC

Mindfulness. Does the term bring up an image of someone sitting in the lotus position meditating for hours? And does that leave you feeling that you have a life to live and no time for such luxury? If so, then you’re not alone. When I initially heard of mindfulness, I could not fathom stopping my busy life to meditate. After all, I had numerous responsibilities and insufficient time to fulfill them all; so how could I add something else that wasn’t going to produce any immediate, tangible result in my life? However, as I became open to the idea, I realized that we can put “mindfulness,” “responsibilities” and “stress” in the same sentence and create harmony from them. But first we need to understand what mindfulness is.

Ideas about mindfulness abound; and for someone new to the practice, it may seem like a challenge to even get started let alone do it consistently. So let’s clear up one of the myths about mindfulness. It is not just meditation. According to Jon Kabat-Zin, Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, mindfulness is ”...living your life as if it really mattered, moment by moment by moment by moment.” That immediately debunks the idea that mindfulness is meditation in the formal sense. On the contrary, mindfulness is a habit that we can practice under any circumstance, including when we’re stressed.

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Our modern lifestyle is often so busy and pressured that we either see stress as normal (and therefore something we have to live with) or we desire a better way of living but have little idea of how to make it possible. There are, however, ways to use mindfulness to reduce stress so that we can create a more meaningful life. The following steps show us how:

1. Recognize the triggers that lead you to feeling stressed. Those could be work related, unsatisfying relationships, parenting challenges, health concerns, societal expectations or issues related to personal growth and development. Having identified the triggers, you then pay attention to the negative thoughts and emotions you have about the triggers, then you decide on advantageous actions to take to deal with the situation. These steps help you to realize that whatever you think and feel can change in each moment and those thoughts and feelings do not define who you are. They are just that: thoughts and emotions; and as such, you are free to choose a more positive thought which will lead to a better feeling and ultimately to a more satisfying action. Taking the time to do this process is a form of mindfulness.

2. Express yourself in a manner that promotes awareness of your challenges and a deliberate effort to find relief. Many times you experience conflict between doing what your heart truly wants and living up to societal expectations. Consider being in an unhappy relationship and not wanting to get out of it because of fear of what others may think or say. Although you are the expert on our life, it is sometimes stressful to take the next step toward your happiness. However, you can use mindfulness to support yourself in the form of expressive writing. To do this, a. Find a quiet place where you’re not likely to be disturbed. b. Choose an emotional challenge that you can handle now (not a recent traumatic event). c. Write down your deepest thoughts and emotions about this challenge. Don’t be        concerned about grammar or spelling, and just let your thoughts flow. (This is one time you don’t have to worry about being graded for your work!) d. Write continuously for five to no more than 20 minutes. e. Do this 2-3 times per week.

This exercise will help you to explore how the event has affected you, enabling you to choose different thoughts and ways of relating to others and the world. That is mindfulness at work.

3. Laughter. you can do it at any moment, and it lightens your heart and puts levity in a moment. When you laugh at yourself, you feel energized and inspired to take life less seriously. You also connect to others through laughter. Looking for a way to do that? Try this today: Instead of becoming serious and stressed as you rush about your daily activities, look for occasions to laugh at yourself and with others. That is an effective way of practicing mindfulness.

4. Acceptance. As you interact with others, you can face situations that affect you so strongly that you struggle for control over your life. You may try to control how your children behave, what our politicians do, what is happening globally--the list is endless. A constant effort to control everything leaves you stressed. However, practicing acceptance is one mindful way of dealing with such stress. We all have different opinions and priorities; and our experiences, ideals and desires vary. Therefore, it’s helpful to accept that we will not always agree on everything; and things will not always go the way we want them to go. Similarly, accepting that situations continually change, as do our responses to them, helps us to focus on a given issue with more interest and openness and with less desire to control it. This mindfulness technique will make a world of difference.

5. eXercise. You know that exercise helps to lower stress, but that benefit can be at a deeper level. Sometimes you jog with ear-buds on as you talk on the phone or listen to music; or you read the paper while on the treadmill without paying attention to the movement of your body. You can exercise mindfully by focusing on the activity you’re doing: how your muscles work; how your feet hit the pavement; the flexibility (or lack thereof) of your limbs; as well as your form and posture. This type of focus can prevent injuries and help you monitor your progress deliberately rather than exercising out of a sense of obligation. You also forget about what is stressing you and live in the moment with awareness and appreciation of what is happening in your body.

You may notice that the highlighted letters above spell RELAX -- an easy way to remember how to practice mindfulness. When you relax and are non-judgmental, you will find that your stress level decreases considerably. And as you develop the habit, you learn to decide and act with awareness even in the most stressful situations.

(A version of this article was published in the November 2016 issue of Natural Awakenings Magazine.) 

Posted by jasminhepburn | Post a Comment

Date: 12/16/2016 9:59 PM UTC

This year is quickly coming to an end along with (hopefully) the seemingly insurmountable challenges that we were gifted with. It has certainly been a stressful and disappointing year for many people; and I believe all of us are looking forward to a new year with its new opportunities, hopes and dreams.

The joy and excitement of the holiday season is a great way to end the year and begin a new one. Although you may be quite expectant about 2017, it is helpful to have an idea of the changes you’d like to see in your life so you can be prepared to welcome the new year with a positive outlook.

I truly believe that introspection leads to self-awareness and ultimately to self-growth. For that reason, I think it’s a good idea to consider the changes you’d like to see and the ways in which you’d like to grow. Perhaps you have resigned yourself to a situation that you think will not work out the way you’d like it to, yet you have a nagging feeling that things could be better. That feeling of desiring something better is the one you need to focus on going forward, not the disappointment you have been feeling about it in 2016.

It is not a coincidence that you desire great things and experiences in life. The longing that you have to achieve any of your goals is proof that you are able to make it happen, so stay the course. One way to do so is to reflect on what prevented you from being successful before. Do you need to do more research or get more experience and support? If so, how can that be possible in the coming year? Developing supportive relationships and asking for help may be the area you need to work on next so that you can reach your goals.

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What beliefs have you been holding on to for years that are preventing you from living your best life yet? Do you think your age is a factor in reaching your goals? Have you experienced one bad experience after the other that have left you feeling tired and frustrated? If you’re entering 2017 with the belief that you are limited in any way because of a physical ailment, your age, race, gender or any other issue, then I invite you to consider whether you’ll be satisfied living another year with those beliefs. Might you feel more productive and fulfilled trying a new, positive belief?

Take time to reflect on how you have been shaped by your beliefs and experiences so far. You can grow from any situation you face in life. If the experience is “bad” it can serve you by helping you to clarify what you would prefer instead; and if it is “good” then, of course, you’d want similar experiences. An unpleasant situation or experience can also help you to be firm about your values and how you choose to live your life going forward.

If you believe, for example, that you have been treated unkindly and you feel hurt by the incident, you can choose to believe that people are unkind and never interact with them again. Or you can make a deliberate decision to treat others with loving kindness because you recognize yourself as a loving and kind person. That one incident can reveal your negative beliefs and/or personal strengths.

The year 2017 holds opportunities for you to be confident, positive and successful in your endeavors, and you have the keys to open those doors (as opposed to windows) of opportunity. For you to capitalize on what your future holds, however, it’s important that you give up whatever has been hindering your progress; and use the wonderful gifts, talents and abilities that you have to create the life you want.

arrow-945272_640Can’t identify your gifts and talents? Well, try this: Take time to reflect on all that you do well; the ways you’ve shone brightly this year despite your challenges; the times you’ve been there for others, giving them hope and comfort through your words, presence and actions. What qualities can you identify in yourself? Those are the ones to focus on to help make the coming year wonderful. Be yourself and see how easily your life flows.

I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season and abundant blessings in 2017. And remember that just as a drop of water from the ocean has the properties of the big, expansive ocean, you, too, as a child of the Divine, have divine qualities. You are an amazing creation of God/Source and you are worthy of every good thing and experience you long to have. May you end 2016 with that reassuring thought and begin 2017 knowing that Divine eyes are always on you, eagerly waiting for you to ask for what you need. Expect that it has been given to you, and joyfully wait for it to become a reality in your life.

Remember:

You are valuable. You are connected to the Divine. You have at your disposal ALL that you need to have the life of your dreams in 2017 and beyond.

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Have a wonderful holiday, a happy New Year and I look forward to supporting you in the future!

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Date: 10/29/2016 4:33 AM UTC

I woke up with the desire to put my hands in the soil. It felt good to be outside in the garden, and I was happy for the fresh rain that made it easier to pull the weeds. I hadn’t planted anything in a while; and the last time I did, I was surprised to find two garden snakes. I expected to find the same two this time. Unlike my son (then seven), however, I was not happy that within 10-15 minutes, he was holding four of them, thinking of making them his pets! I didn’t want to be around them, simply because...well, they were snakes! But I was determined to get rid of the weeds, so I resigned myself to facing them.

My yard had become a safe haven for the garden snakes because I had done no work in it for a while. Seeing them initially made me shudder. But it also made me think of my life...our lives...that reveal “garden snakes” -- seemingly scary discoveries about ourselves that make us want to run away in fear at times.

There is room for growth in each of us. Therefore, at some point, you will encounter qualities and situations in your life that make you shudder in fear. After all, who likes to admit that they have a weakness; that their existence would be better if they behaved differently; or that their beliefs are limiting their quality of life? That is what happens, however, when you don’t take care of your personal growth. Less-than-desirable habits and situations make their home within you; and when you have an experience that awakens the habit or exacerbates the situation, you get scared and want to run from it.

I believe it is beneficial to periodically “pull the weeds” from our lives so that our being does not become a safe haven for unhealthy habits. If you accept that you have attitudes and ways of being that block the best expression of who you are AND are open to making the necessary changes to be your best, then no “snakes” will appear to scare you. A willingness to get professional help in any area that is restricting your growth will also help to address the fears that you have. And don’t forget to listen to your intuition and follow your heart!

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Now, how is the garden of your life? Is it overgrown with weeds that stifle the growth of your most beautiful flowers? Is your innate beauty showing itself or is it buried underground like a garden snake? Your beauty can be gracefully expressed in different ways even in the face of life’s challenges and you can be triumphant instead of running away from them.

The qualities within that do not serve you can become as harmless as a gardem snake when you determine to get rid of them and keep your “garden” free from weeds. That’s a wonderful way to show off your beautiful character. I trust that you decide to make your beauty shine by boldly facing the “garden snakes” of your life.

So how will your garden grow this week?

Today’s thought: I make choices that show that I’m growing each day.

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Date: 9/25/2016 2:01 AM UTC

I believe that we ought to do whatever it takes to ensure that we have a happy and fulfilling life. When the way you’ve been living no longer satisfies you, you need to decide what to do next: stay in your discomfort or find a way that’s more satisfying. The latter, however, often comes with challenges, as do many things that require growth and change.

Although you might sometimes wish that changes would magically happen in your life, the reality is that it requires effort on your part to find solutions to your challenges. You then need to create a plan to make sure that the solutions actually come about. And that is the crux of the matter: creating a plan and sticking to it.

I guarantee that you know deep in your heart what needs to change in your life; but for any number of reasons, you find it difficult to effect the change. Sometimes you start out with the best intentions of creating a different experience for yourself, but you seem to fall by the wayside. It is when you fall or feel like giving up, however, that you need to be more determined to move forward.

Lasting changes rarely happen overnight; otherwise there would not be so many self-help books, coaches and counselors in the world. Such authors and helpers know that it requires persistence to make lasting changes. In the same way that you need to exercise consistently to keep your muscles flexible, you also need to work consistently to achieve your goals. Those who do physical exercise sporadically will not become as healthy as they could if they did it frequently. Similarly, if you don’t consistently make the effort to improve the way you live, you will not have the life you are longing for.

Let’s say, for example, that you realize that you get impatient with your child because he/she does not make the bed as well as you would want it to be done. So you decide to be more patient with your child, with the goal of having a healthy reaction to his/her efforts at making the bed. It is important that you flex your patience muscle until you achieve your goal, and not expect the bed to be made to your satisfaction until you do all in your power to teach the child how you want the bed to be made. It may take three days or three months; but it’s important not to stop until you achieve that goal.

The same is true for new attitudes and behaviors that you want to have in your life. When you identify why you want to live differently and how you’re going to do so, you need to make a determined effort to reach your goal even if it takes longer than you were hoping. For it is only through persistence that you are going to reach your destination, regardless of the circumstances around you.

So go ahead -- exercise those muscles of persistence more often and see the transformation that takes place in your life!

If you need support in making positive, long-lasting changes in your life, I’m only an e-mail away.

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Date: 7/26/2016 10:04 PM UTC

Berries are in season again! They are one of my favorite things about summer, because I find wild berries in some unlikely places. A few days ago I was invited to my friend's house to pick blueberries. It took a little maneuvering to get to the berries though, because the branches and berries are smaller than the blackberries I pick so easily.

I marvel at the fact that those shrubs can produce such nutritious berries despite being surrounded by branches that scratch and scrape your body if you're not careful. Raspberries, too, are surrounded by prickly thorns that test your determination to enjoy them. The faint of heart will find it easier to buy them than feel the pain of reaping them.

Berry-picking makes  me think of one of my clients who needed support in working through a number of issues that were causing her stress. I admire her determination to create the life she wanted by taking charge of her situation. It was no surprise that her hectic job was one reason for her stress, and it actually contributed to her experiencing a major illness. But she sought support, followed my recommendations, and found ways to live a more satisfying life. One of the reasons why she was successful was that she is a flexible person.

Flexibility. You risk living a sub-standard life if you do not have that quality. Yes, you are always surrounded by circumstances (and people) that play the role of branches and thorns that scratch and prick you if you let them. But you need to find ways to get around them without hurting yourself unnecessarily. Many times you do not get out of situations unscathed, but it's important to make the effort to get out nonetheless.

You see, you are like a berry--beautiful on the outside and "nutritious" on the inside, in terms of the value you have and how you can share it with your family, friends and humanity on a whole. You do not live in perfect environments, and neither do the blueberries. But your beauty and value can still be shown despite the imperfections.

You need not become discouraged by what surrounds you; because just as berry pickers find a way to get to the berries, you can find a way to get out of your trying circumstances to live a more satisfying life. That is what my client did. She looked beyond her immediate situation that was dissatisfying and uncomfortable (the branches and thorns), and with determination, worked toward having her berries (her ideal life) that she knew would nourish her body and spirit.

Life is challenging, but you are resilient. Many times what can be most helpful to you is having someone to walk with you and remind you that you can overcome if you choose to do so. I encourage you to be strong enough to recognize when you need help and be determined enough to find it. There is no reason to face life's "thorns" alone. Seek support in creating the dream life you're yearning to have.

As a reminder, I support women in getting rid of stressful living. You can reach me at 203-296-2497 or at http://www.noneedtostress.com/Contact.html. It will be my pleasure to guide you.

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Date: 6/27/2016 2:29 AM UTC

Those who have been following my blog for a while know that I’m a nature lover, and I receive inspiration from being outdoors and observing the natural world. This week’s blog is along the same vein, and it focuses on beliefs that we hold that lead to a stressful life.

In my experience and with my work with women, I’ve found that many of the areas that are stressful for us have an underlying emotional issue that has not been resolved. Until and unless those issues are addressed, stress will continue to be a challenge for us.

In a recent radio interview on WLNK, I compared stress management to gardening, having observed the similarities between life and my experience in my garden. A few days ago I was clipping the vines that had become intertwined in the fence at home. The fence is silver and the vines were grey, so they were able to camouflage themselves nicely with the fence, following the formation of each piece of wire. Had I not looked closely, I would not have realized that there were vines; and they would have continued to spread until they became one with the fence.

Sometimes in your life you have patterns of behaviour or ways of relating to the world that you are so accustomed to that they become second nature to you. Those patterns and ways of living can be so intertwined in your life that you hardly notice that they are there; and you cannot see the effects that they have in contributing to stress in your life.

I reflect on one period of my life when I was very involved in church. I had learned along the way that it was my duty and responsibility to use my God-given gifts whenever the opportunity arose. As long as there was a need and I could fill it, especially if nobody else wanted to do it, it was mine. And if I didn’t, I was committing a grave sin and God would punish me and take away the gifts and talents from me.

I’m sure you can imagine how much pressure I placed on myself trying not to “sin”. That included maintaining an insane schedule of full-time employment, being on the church board, teaching the young people, completing my master’s degree, doing my internship, going through one of the most emotionally stressful periods in my entire life and being pregnant...all during the same period. Now if that was not a recipe for a stressful life, there never was one!

The vines of erroneous beliefs had become entwined with my life and were causing unnecessary stress for me. There came a time when I knew that something had to give, but that was after months of exhaustion, fear, disappointment, grief, hospitalization and untold emotional turmoil. Stress had consumed my life, and the only way out was to face my fears of divine punishment; judgment and rejection from my church community; and give up some of the activities that honestly were not helping me to feel better about myself although I did them well.

Brain, Mind, Ok, Question, Zen, Inquiry

So I started on a long journey of introspection and examined my beliefs to see where changes needed to be made. It has been more than ten years since that period in my life, but I still remember it vividly. Now I smile, because nothing about that time stresses me anymore. I have been able to decisively cut the vines of harmful beliefs about God, “my responsibility,” and the societal expectations that I was trying to live up to; and now I operate from a place that is liberating, enjoyable and stress-free.

How about you... have you wondered if your exhaustion, frustration, and disappointment about life are due to beliefs that you hold that really are not helping you to live the life you want? What beliefs have you been living by for years that are contributing to your stress? I invite you to take time to reflect on where you are and where you’d like to be in your life, then reach out to me to support you in creating your life the way you’d like to live it.

I promise that although it may not be easy at first, the benefits of going through the process far outweigh the hesitation and doubt you may have about doing it. And you, too, will be able to look back and smile at what you went through; because you will be truly happy at your growth and the freedom you’ll have.

Be bold and take the step to connect  with me for support!

Many blessings!

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Date: 5/27/2016 11:27 PM UTC

Last week we looked at some of the steps we need to take to create a beautiful life garden this Spring. You can scroll down to see part one of the process. This week we’ll continue with our gardening to see how we can ensure that we cultivate our best life. Get your notebook and pen and continue your exploration.

  • How are you watering your garden? Is it a daily activity or do you pour lots of water on it every few days or weeks when you remember? For example, do you exercise most days of the week for short periods or do you do it once or twice per week for two hours?
  • What kind of fertilizer (nourishment) are you applying and how often? For example, do you take the time to nurture yourself daily with positive thoughts? Do your friendships bring out the best in you? Are your activities productive and challenging?
  • How do you ensure that you have a good crop after all that preparation? What “insects” and “pests” are likely to destroy your garden--inconsistency? stress? giving in to the everyday annoyances that you have to deal with?
As you look back on the notes you’ve taken, don’t be discouraged if you find areas that seem to have “thorns”. Remember that this is a time of renewal, so I invite you to take the time to create a new life, or create newness in some area of your life so that you can truly celebrate and enjoy being you.

You are one of the flowers that is “springing up” at this time of year, and your presence is needed in this world in all its uniqueness and beauty. Remember, there is only one you in the garden of life

.Tulips, Flowers, Red, Purple, Yellow

If you find that you would benefit from more guidance in going through this process, please reach out for support. I'm only an e-mail away.

Happy Spring, and here’s to a new YOU!

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Date: 5/20/2016 12:42 AM UTC

Spring is actually here in the North-East, despite the constant fluctuation in temperature. The beautiful tulips are all around; the trees seem to have put on their clothing overnight; and there are robins jumping happily and pecking for food on the ground. One of the most beautiful sounds I’m hearing recently is that of birds singing at dawn – a more welcoming sound than an alarm clock, I think.

Spring is a season of newness and a time of renewal: new growth, new plans, new aspirations and dreams. Many people use this season to plan for a happier and healthier life. In this blog, I want to focus on Spring as a time for new growth in our lives, using the analogy of gardening.

I have a flower and vegetable garden, although I am not very dedicated about starting them each year. When I do get into the mood to put my hands in the soil and get involved in the process of gardening, however, I always find it to be quite relaxing and therapeutic. We can learn a lot more from gardening than having beautiful flowers and nutritious fruits and vegetables.

There are some basic principles that we need to follow when we start a garden to ensure that we have healthy and beautiful crops, including preparing the soil, choosing what seeds to plant and when; what type of fertilizer to use and when to apply it; and how and when to water the seeds/plants. A gardener also needs to take care that insects and pests do not hurt the crop.

In a similar way, if you want to have newness in your life this Spring, you need to treat your life as a flower garden that is able to produce beautiful flowers. Those “flowers” can be anything that makes you feel better physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually and make your relationships with others more healthy and fulfilling.

For starters, take some time today to go outside and enjoy the weather. Do so with a new awareness of not only the temperature but also the flowers, trees, grass, the birds with their distinct sounds, the smells…whatever is in nature that is different than the sameness that you are accustomed to noticing. Everything serves a purpose and adds to the beauty of the season.

Osterglocken, Spring Meadow, Daffodils

Now with this awareness, think about your life (garden) and how you would like it to be different this Spring. Get a notebook and pen, find a quiet place and take notes as you reflect on the following questions:

  • What beautiful qualities (seeds/flowers) would you like to cultivate?
  • How is your spirit (soil)? Can those seeds grow in that soil? For example, if you would like to get more support, will that quality improve if you continue to think that nothing will get done right unless you do it yourself? Or will you step back and give others the opportunity to help you even if the outcome is not how it would be had you done it?
  • What weaknesses (weeds) do you need to control? Is it procrastination? Fear? Uncontrolled anger? If those are not dealt with effectively, they will affect the kind of flowers you end up having (if any).
Over the next day or two, come back to your notes and see if there’s anything you’d like to add. Next week we’ll continue the process so you can create your best garden this Spring.

See you next week!

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Date: 4/2/2016 6:16 PM UTC

It's 2:30 AM and you get up to use the bathroom. You settle back under the covers and expect to resume the dream you were having, but that does not happen. Instead, your brain gets into gear, and yesterday's disagreements resurface; an unfinished task from last week rears its head; tomorrow's fears crop up; and you toss and turn, dreading the sound of the alarm that you will hear five seconds after you start to fall asleep again. Sounds familiar?

Research shows that 40 million Americans have sleep problems. Lack of adequate sleep can lead to a variety of health and social problems, including low energy, lack of mental clarity, unstable mood, poor job performance, accidents, and strained relationships. So if you have problems getting to sleep, staying asleep or waking up, it is imperative that you find ways to get regular, unbroken and satisfying sleep every night.

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Here are some tips that can help you sleep better at night:

  1. Daytime worries can lead to restlessness during the night. Clear your brain of the day's activities before retiring through journaling, meditation, or prayer.

  2. Avoid overeating or eating close to bedtime. Evening meals should be light and small so that the digestive system does not over-work while you are trying to get your rest.

  3. Addictive substances such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine have a prolonged effect on you; so when you consume them late in the day, you are more likely to stay awake at nights.

  4. When your body first tells you that you need to sleep, that is when you need to get your rest. Trying to get that last task completed before retiring can lead to interrupted or insufficient sleep.

  5. Replace your mattress and pillow if necessary.

  6. Find a comfortable room temperature (somewhere around 68 degrees for most people).

  7. Wear earplugs to get rid of background noise.

  8. Remove or cover lighted electronics, such as a cell phone, computers or an alarm clock. If that is not possible, use a sleep mask.

  9. Find a bedtime that works for you and stick to it during the week as well as on weekends. That habit will help to create a rhythm that your body will thank you for.

  10. Consume liquids early in the evening to lower the likelihood of having to get up during the night to use the bathroom.

There are various reasons why you may suffer from sleeplessness, and the above tips might not solve all of your sleep challenges. If you would like support in getting better sleep so that you can be energized to tackle your daily activities, don't hesitate to contact me. I'm only an e-mail away (consciousliving@optimum.net).

Many blessings!

Posted by jasminhepburn | Post a Comment

 

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                                    The information provided on this site is for information purposes only and is not meant to be used in place of professional medical advice.