0 comments on “Happiness is Contagious”

Happiness is Contagious

Guest post by Silvia Mordini

In 1948, scientists and doctors began the most comprehensive study on heart disease ever conducted. Over 60 years later, the Framingham Heart Study still continues. Because the study involves so many people and spans such a long time period, there are many different aspects that scientists continue to study. One of their key findings relates to the happiness theory.

Scientists found that we experience happiness through social connections.  Therefore, the clusters of people around you strongly influence how you feel. In fact, a positive change in one person affects everyone in their friend cluster. Your probability for increased happiness improves 15% if your most immediate friend is happy, 10% if a friend of your friend is happy, and so on until four degrees of separation.

They have discovered and quantified what yogis have known for thousands of years: happiness is contagious.  

Many practice yoga or go for a run because they feel good after. Physical activity releases endorphins into your body, which make you feel good. By feeling better and being happy, you influence others to feel better, too.  What you do to manage your thoughts to create happy cells impacts those around you. In this way, we are creating our world thought by thought. We can influence more people than we ever realized, simply by being happy.

The Yoga Sutras spell out that if we are not balanced mentally, physically, or emotionally, then we are not living our true, naturally happy potential. To remedy this, we are taught to practice Pratipaksha Bhavana (Chapter 2.33) to eliminate negative thoughts by denying them our attention. Instead of wasting energy by engaging or resisting our negative thoughts, we replace them with positive ones. Over time this process of substitution sublimates negative thinking. Engage happy thoughts and try this breath meditation when you need to reframe your outlook.

Inhale: I welcome happiness
Exhale: I am grateful
Inhale:  I welcome inspiration
Exhale:  I am grateful
Inhale:  I welcome love
Exhale:  I am grateful
Inhale: I welcome hope
Exhale: I am grateful

In a world where almost anything can go viral, why not inspire happiness? Knowing that Happiness is contagious means that happiness benefits more than just you: those around you reap the benefits as well. Let’s join together in a happiness movement, where joy, happiness, and peace spread to everyone around us!

Love yourself, love your day, love your life!
Silvia

—————–

_LAB9523Editor’s note:  This is a guest post by Silvia Mordini, CEO, Transformation Leader, and Author. With contagious enthusiasm Silvia encourages everyone she meets to love their life! Her expert passion connects people to their own joyful potential. She has been teaching happiness, global awareness, & mindfulness for 20 years. Silvia, born in Ecuador, proud of her Italian heritage and raised as a world traveler, is a well-loved internationally recognized Motivational Speaker, Love Alchemist, and Mindfulness Teacher at conferences worldwide. Her classes holistically integrate various styles of yoga, primarily Vinyasa, Kundalini, and Anusara. You can’t help but leave her workshops, RYT200 Alchemy of Yoga teacher trainings & Alchemy Tours retreats spiritually uplifted!

Before becoming a serial Entrepreneur, Silvia had a thirteen-year Human Resource career including as Director for an international Fortune 100 professional services company. She founded and owned Total Body Yoga Studio with over 9,000 clients for ten years. In young adulthood she was run over by a car—a life changing accident that led her to discover the “Alchemy” of Yoga and Meditation to heal and transcend. She is the Founder of the fifteen year old world renowned Alchemy of Yoga Teacher Training School with over 29 graduating classes of Alchemist Alumni. In 2009 she founded Alchemy Tours, an International Retreat company specializing in Personal Development. With over 12,000 hours of yoga teaching experience she makes yoga approachable, fun, and inspiring for everyone. She has been inspiring happiness, global awareness, and joyful living in students for more than fifteen years.

Tune into her motivational “Loving Your Day” Podcast. Read her popular blog “Happiness Prescriptions”, and learn to love yourself, love your day, love your life along with enjoying her “Loving Your Day” YouTube channel.

She has written hundreds of lifestyle, travel & wellness articles for publications such as MindBodyGreen (USA), Elephant Journal, DOYOU (Hong Kong), Wanderlust (USA), Mantra Wellness Magazine, Gaia, Yogi Times, Daily Cup of Yoga (USA), and is a wellness expert as seen in HuffPost and Medium.

Most importantly through personal experience she knows it’s possible to transform your trauma to dharma and transmute your drama to dreams.

You can reach her by email at silvia@silviamordini.com

Inspired Yoga, Love, and Travel for a LIFE Inspired
Personal
: https://www.silviamordini.com/  Twitter/Instagram @inspiredyogagal

Yoga: https://alchemyofyoga.com              Twitter/Instagram @alchemyofyoga
Travel  https://alchemytours.com               Twitter/Instagram @alchemytours
Love: http://lovingyourday.com              Twitter/Instagram  @lovingyourday

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2 comments on “3 Ways to Overcome Self-Sabotage”

3 Ways to Overcome Self-Sabotage

Silvia 138

Don’t you just love all the positive “SELF” compound words: Self-Love, Self-Confidence, Self-Awareness, Self-Esteem, Self-Acceptance, Self-Worth, Self-Care and so on. I appreciate these because of the experience I’ve had with that other self-word. Self-Sabotage.

New York Times #1 best selling author Debbie Ford writes,“Overcoming self-sabotage…is one of the most important conversations you’ll ever have with yourself. Honor it and know that it will change your life.”  The question is, are you ready to overcome self-sabotage once and for all?

Doing this one thing will change your life and grow your happy.

Living as the best person you can be means understanding that in spite of your highest intentions, each of us will sometimes sabotage ourselves. When this happens, it is important to remember that growth is not always orderly and even: Sometimes you take a couple steps back before taking three forward.

Do you have an upper limit problem? This phrase created by Gay Hendricks, author of the book, The Big Leap, discusses how we each have a lifetime of stories, habits, and fears based in self-limiting belief that hold us back in subtle and not so subtle ways.

We have a familiar internal success setting that feels comfortable. This self-regulated meter measures how we are doing towards our goals. When we are living into our highest potential there may come a point where we get uncomfortable, outside of the normal zone. This can trigger us to hold back from the fullest expression of our abilities, thereby causing us to self-sabotage.

Time in self-inquiry through meditation and yoga opens our eyes to see the mental, emotional and physical ways that hold us back. Here are 3 Ways to overcome self-sabotage:

1.  Know Your Unhealthy Habits

Only once you acknowledge the old pattern can you change that paradigm and create something more life affirming. Yoga is cognitive behavioral therapy. You get immediate feedback on where you hold tension in your body and how you speak to yourself. These patterns (samskaras) become ingrained into our psyche. The first step is awareness. Then you can do something about it. You can release unhealthy habits that no longer serve your spiritual happiness. That’s part one. Believe it or not Part 2 is harder. That’s where you know what you want for your life and you have to stand up for what your intentions are. You’ve recognized you do have an upper limit problem and can do something about it.

Gaining mastery over our destructive propensities, through the exercise of awareness and self-discipline with regard to our body, speech, and mind, frees us from the inner turmoil that naturally arises when our behavior is at odds with our ideals. In place of this turmoil come confidence, integrity, and dignity – heroic qualities all human beings naturally aspire to.” ~ The Dalai Lama

2.  Are you living as a Victim?

Letting go of the mind’s identity as victim clears the space necessary to see that we are accountable for our own happiness.

In yoga we know this as sadhana, and it means we work daily as a practice on our own inner evolution. This anti-victim evolution is where we take responsibility moment by moment for what we say, how we act, how we breath, what we think. Being accountable for one’s life takes work. Yoga’s strength lies in its ability to empower you from the inside out to accept the challenge.

Time on the mat allows you to stop identifying as a victim. You stop blaming others. You no longer require constant validation and attention, but instead take responsibility for your own happiness. Today, break the blame cycle. Stop being a victim and stop self-sabotage.

3.  Change Your Self-Talk

If you change the way you talk to yourself, your perspective will change, and you will transform your life.

Allowing critical talk to sabotage you is a deadly pattern. In the Yoga Sutras 1.30, Pantanjali outlines self-doubt (samsaya) as one of nine obstacles to our happiness. It is fed by negative self-talk and thrives on self-sabotage. On the mat—pose by pose—we get stronger and begin to believe we are capable in new ways. This confidence travels with us off the mat. We drop negative reactions and respond to life’s challenges with more positivity. It takes practice to achieve this, which is why we come back to the mat—and also why we call it yoga practice.

Today, embrace the positive self-words in your life. Say to yourself for five minutes of breathing or for the duration of an entire yoga class the positive self-word you need the most in your life right now. Repeating the mantra strengthens its energy and that conversation with yourself gets louder until you are living your best life ever, no holding back.

Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia

—————–

_LAB9523Editor’s note:  This is a guest post by Silvia Mordini, CEO, Transformation Leader, and Author. With contagious enthusiasm Silvia encourages everyone she meets to love their life! Her expert passion connects people to their own joyful potential. She has been teaching happiness, global awareness, & mindfulness for 20 years. Silvia, born in Ecuador, proud of her Italian heritage and raised as a world traveler, is a well-loved internationally recognized Motivational Speaker, Love Alchemist, and Mindfulness Teacher at conferences worldwide. Her classes holistically integrate various styles of yoga, primarily Vinyasa, Kundalini, and Anusara. You can’t help but leave her workshops, RYT200 Alchemy of Yoga teacher trainings & Alchemy Tours retreats spiritually uplifted!

Before becoming a serial Entrepreneur, Silvia had a thirteen-year Human Resource career including as Director for an international Fortune 100 professional services company. She founded and owned Total Body Yoga Studio with over 9,000 clients for ten years. In young adulthood she was run over by a car—a life changing accident that led her to discover the “Alchemy” of Yoga and Meditation to heal and transcend. She is the Founder of the fifteen year old world renowned Alchemy of Yoga Teacher Training School with over 29 graduating classes of Alchemist Alumni. In 2009 she founded Alchemy Tours, an International Retreat company specializing in Personal Development. With over 12,000 hours of yoga teaching experience she makes yoga approachable, fun, and inspiring for everyone. She has been inspiring happiness, global awareness, and joyful living in students for more than fifteen years.

Tune into her motivational “Loving Your Day” Podcast. Read her popular blog “Happiness Prescriptions”, and learn to love yourself, love your day, love your life along with enjoying her “Loving Your Day” YouTube channel.

She has written hundreds of lifestyle, travel & wellness articles for publications such as MindBodyGreen (USA), Elephant Journal, DOYOU (Hong Kong), Wanderlust (USA), Mantra Wellness Magazine, Gaia, Yogi Times, Daily Cup of Yoga (USA), and is a wellness expert as seen in HuffPost and Medium.

Most importantly through personal experience she knows it’s possible to transform your trauma to dharma and transmute your drama to dreams.

You can reach her by email at silvia@silviamordini.com

Inspired Yoga, Love, and Travel for a LIFE Inspired
Personal: https://www.silviamordini.com/  Twitter/Instagram @inspiredyogagal

Yoga: https://alchemyofyoga.com              Twitter/Instagram @alchemyofyoga
Travel  https://alchemytours.com               Twitter/Instagram @alchemytours
Love: http://lovingyourday.com              Twitter/Instagram  @lovingyourday

28 comments on “5 Steps to Unleashing Joy, Opening Up, & Being More Yourself”

5 Steps to Unleashing Joy, Opening Up, & Being More Yourself

 

 

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

How much of the time is the authentic YOU showing up in the world?

Do you have a different persona for your work, home life, friends, strangers, and the check-in person at the airport?

Stress, grief, past or current pain or trauma, illness, or anxiety can cause us to retreat inward.

Just like preparing a house to survive the impact of a hurricane, we can close the shutters, protect fragile points of entry, conserve resources, stock up on necessities, and retreat inside.

If you have found yourself hiding the real you from the world, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Unless you are age four or under, crafting an ever-shifting-persona is a natural protection mechanism.

We learn as we grow-up that opening up and being authentic can lead to a slug of pain and a slap of heartache. Intuitively we find out what psychologists have tested to be true: people like those who mimic or mirror their body language. People also find it easier to like those who are similar or share the same interests and passions.

So is it any wonder that all at once everyone is wearing the same color of teal or using the same slang? Is it a surprise that individuals in a group can converge in dress, tastes, interests, and values?

The question is: do you want to open up and be more yourself at the risk of getting hurt and losing friends?

Step 1: Find Your Joy

Can you name five concrete experiences that bring you joy?

Joy is delight fused with serenity and evokes a sense of connection to others, nature, or the divine. Joy is playful and generous.

The first step towards opening up and being authentically you is to uncover what brings you joy. List at least five experiences which bring joy into your life on a daily basis.

Next, you can explore and remember what caused a flash of unexpected joy in the past few months. Recall moments of bliss from your life and write them down too.

List at least five surprises which bring joy into your life sporadically.

Be warned against ascribing to your cultural or familial imprinted definitions of delight. Whereas joy for everyone around you could be a rainbow sprinkled ice-cream cone, for you, it could be a cup of tea and dramatic rain clouds shifting across the sky.

Looking for some daily joy-list inspiration? Here’s my daily joy-list:

1. The first sip of espresso in the morning.
2. Strolling barefoot through the dew-covered grass and examining my garden.
3. Laughter or delight (anyone’s around me, or mine).
4. An unexpected bright dash of color and white space.
5. A smile from a someone I don’t know.
6. Hugs.
7. Listening to the rhythmic breath of my sleeping children.
8. Writing.
9. Chocolate and a captivating book.
10. The last ten minutes of yoga.

Looking for some irregular joy-list inspiration? Here’s my sporadic joy-list:

1. Breathing fresh air and taking a break from the digital while hiking up a mountain, or skiing down one.
2. A day spent swimming in the lake and then picnicking on the shore.
3. Seeing someone I love who lives far away again.
4. Dressing up to celebrate someone.
5. Mastering a new skill.
6. Connecting with someone new, or someone dear, in a deeper way.
7. Going dancing.
8. Cutting and arranging fresh-cut flowers or greenery from my garden.
9. Giving the perfect gift or crafting the perfect experience for someone.
10. Spending a day walking and playing in the woods.

Ready to make your own personalized joy-lists?

Step 2: Schedule in More Joy Moments

It turns out, you can actually add more joy to your life at little cost. Who knew?

By scheduling more of what brings YOU joy into your life, you will be illuminating the authentic you; you’ll begin to be more of you with everyone, everywhere you go.

The truth is that joy is contagious. The positive energy bounces off you and out into the world. People around you will feel your ‘good vibrations’ and respond with a smile.

Unless they are grumpy sour-faces. Then they will resent you like hell until of course, they ask you why you are so dang happy.

In which case, you can tell them. You can even show them your list, and ask them for their Joy Top Five.

Step 3: Relate in a New Way

When you meet someone new, which YOU do you present? What is the first question you ask?

The first question a lot of people ask is, ‘so, what do you do?’ or ‘what do you study?’ or ‘where are you from?’

It is natural for all of us to be comparing. The ego likes to rank where we stand. We can have the very best intentions, but when we ask about someone’s job, it will be challenging to resist ascribing judgment based on their profession. The same is true for where they come from.

Try it. If I say that I’m an award-winning artist living in New York City, what happens? If I shift to telling you I’m studying astrophysics in Russia, what is your reaction? What about if I answer I am a housekeeper in England?

Now try asking someone about their sources of joy in their daily life. What will happen?

They will most likely answer honestly.

People don’t tend to lie about what brings them delight. You can sense a genuine answer by the way their eyes light up when they talk about their source of joy.

Then you will either find out that you:

1. Share a common source of joy
2. Discover something new and authentic about the person
3. Could try the idea on for yourself

Step 4: Be Brave. Control the Conversation.

Perhaps it’s time to shift the conversation.

The pressure of kicking-butt at work and adding being a source of support and joy to those we love can get intense.

Most of the time, we have a feeling that we are letting someone, or something important in our lives, down. We just know we could or should be a better parent, partner, friend, daughter, son, sibling, employee, entrepreneur, artist, cook, or [insert what matters to you most].

The problem is that the world today is so loud and so busy, that it can all feel overwhelming.

It can feel overwhelmingly negative.

Sure, we’ve all read that optimists live longer, enjoy better health, and attract more friends and success. The problem is that when stress, anxiety, illness, or just pure bad-luck kick in, that extra dose of negative news or interaction with your boss can pitch you into negativity.

Just like joy vibrates outward and is contagious, so too is a dark mood and outlook. Get one person complaining bitterly and watch the conversation take a turn for the worst.

The next time those around you are in a stressed out funk, try shaking them up a bit. Ask them about their favorite time of day, or the last time delight flooded out the noise of pressure and expectation.

Step 5: Yoga Yourself

Why does yoga boost your self-esteem? You start to build an inner fire when you show up every day on your yoga mat. You will feel proud that you commit to practice and follow through, even if this commitment is just ten minutes per day.

With time you will master poses you never thought possible, achieve flexibility you only dreamed of, and gradually slim to a healthy weight. There will be a surge of confidence the first time you kick up into a handstand, or your heels touch the floor in downward dog.

When you start a regular yoga practice you begin to show up for yourself by taking responsibility for your physical, mental, and perhaps spiritual wellness too. By engaging in self-respect, if not self-love, you will raise your self-esteem.

Step 6: Give Dark Emotions Space to Be.

Yes, you read that correctly. First I told you to write out a joy-list, to add more of those experiences into your life, and to talk more about joy with everyone you meet.

Now I’m telling you to sit on the ground and do nothing.

Yes, I mean literally.

Meditation is a way to open yourself up and to be more of yourself by feeling connected to everyone and everything.

Meditation will unleash your joy in a way nothing else can.

Sitting and watching your thoughts glide past as you focus on your breath will unleash some negative emotions.

The noise and business of life can block out the anger, sadness, shame, and fear. All of those emotions can bubble up while you sit still, in silence. You may have been unaware they were just below the surface.

Do you know what is gorgeous about giving dark emotions space to surface? It may take weeks, or months, or years, but the fear will seep away.

With time, the negative emotions will roll through you without invoking a knee-jerk reaction to smother them with food, entertainment, noise, achievement, work, or positive experiences.

You will be able to allow anger, sadness, pain, and fear to flow in without losing your balance.

You will be able to stop running and to stop grasping, knowing all things pass, and this, whatever it is, will move too.

TAKE ACTION:

Step 1: Write your daily, monthly, and year JOY-LISTS.

Step 2: Schedule JOY into your daily life, as well as mini-month joy-cations.

 Step 3: Relate to people in a new way by asking and sharing sources of joy.

Step 4: Turn the conversation to sources of happiness instead of negativity, gossiping, or complaining.

Step 5: Yoga Time: Find a YouTube video or head to your local yoga studio.

Step 6: Meditate. You can start with just five minutes a day to make a difference. 

——————

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Heather Lenz, a writer, yoga instructor, wellness coach, and CEO of the wellness company Delicious Glow. She wishes you to feel empowered to live your definition of a healthy, happy, and more purpose-filled life.

6 comments on “Three Powerful Ways to Hit The “Pause” Button”

Three Powerful Ways to Hit The “Pause” Button

For many of us, life seems to dash by at breakneck speed. Like a game character jumping through hoops, solving puzzles and facing challenges, it can sometimes feel as if we are being propelled forward with little agency or control, thoughtlessly rushing from one thing to the next; then realising that months have disappeared and we’re not entirely sure what we’ve done with them. Luckily, however, we don’t have to rely on someone else to press pause and give us some much-needed breathing space – we can do it ourselves.

These are just a few of the ways we can empower ourselves to put everyday life on hiatus, and enjoy a moment or two that’s entirely our own.

Meditate at least once a day

Meditation has an extraordinary number of benefits, and is recommended for everything from alleviating anxiety to improving our creativity. A hugely important yet often overlooked benefit, however, is that at the most basic level it gives us some time to ourselves. By committing to 25 minutes where we simply aren’t allowed to take phone calls, sort out lunch for our kids, get stressed reading the news or scroll through emails, we are giving ourselves much needed “time out.”

While benefits like reduced anxiety and improved performance are key to a meditation practice, it also gives us the discipline to not constantly engage with whatever flighty worry our brain throws at us. And what’s more, it teaches us that it doesn’t matter how urgent something seems or how busy we think we are, there’s always time to take a breath and withdraw from everyday cares – which is an extremely powerful lesson.

Plan periods of rest

In the past and in many cultures, a “day of rest” was codified in religious law. While this can still be surprisingly strict in small pockets of society (for example in traditional Jewish communities), somewhere along the line the idea of setting aside a day to rest was lost to the majority of us. Work takes up a huge amount of our time, and once that’s finished, we have everything else to contend with. The result is that it can be surprisingly difficult to slow down, because there’s always another chore, commitment or social engagement to attend to.

The best place to start is to plan periods of rest – even if it means putting them in your diary a week in advance, and deliberately turning down invitations or obligations during that time. You may have to call in support to make this possible, but there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. For example, if you plan to rest on a Monday afternoon, you may arrange for a family member or partner to take on the responsibility of picking up the kids from school on that day, and return the favor another time.

You also have to be strict with yourself, to make sure you don’t find yourself thinking “oh, I’ll just sort out a couple of things on my to-do list.” If you find it difficult to switch off, try leaving the house and going somewhere you find relaxing, like the beach or cinema; or commit the time to a restful task you really enjoy. You might love cooking, and could spend that Monday afternoon leisurely preparing an elaborate meal. Or perhaps you could spend the time journaling, walking or painting – as long as it’s something you love, but don’t usually get enough time for.

Remember that not everything needs to be productive

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves, in a world where our day is so dominated by the idea of being on the clock, that not every action has to be productive. In fact, it’s perfectly acceptable to while away time doing things that aren’t productive at all. We place so much value on efficiency – to the point where even our sleep needs to become “optimized” – that we completely miss the main point of life: to have a nice time, and try to make sure other people are having a nice time as well.

This doesn’t mean you can’t have goals, of course, or want to achieve things. But it also doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be busy 24/7, and work flat out all the time. We’d still be ploughing fields with oxen and working 16 hours a day if we hadn’t invested thought in how to make our lives easier, and fought for our right to leisure time. Rest isn’t only important; it’s completely necessary to our wellbeing – and you could argue, when you look at all the repairs our body is busy with when we’re at rest, that being unproductive is actually a very productive way to spend the day.

While there is value in hard work and pushing yourself, there’s equal value in saying “you know what, today I’m doing exactly what I want to do.” Getting over the mental block that tells us there’s always something we need to be stressing about is a vital factor in hitting the pause button. And with rest at the top of our to-do list, life in general will suddenly feel just that little bit more chilled.

—————–

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Holly Ashby. Holly is a wellness writer who works with Beeja Meditation, a meditation centre that teaches a form of transcendental meditation in London, and has written extensively on the benefits of meditation. Will Williams’ (the founder of Will Williams Meditation) first book The Effortless Mind is now available, and explores the inspiring stories of people overcoming issues such as poor mental health through the practice of meditation.