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Cultivating Contentment

According to Swami Sivananda, the cravings will always try to place themselves at the forefront of our minds. We are flooded with marketers, friends, family, our culture, and our own ambitions , to do more, be more, see more, acquire more. So long as we can recognize the bombardment and not fall prey to it, we will open the door to observing how magnificent contentment can be. And the magnificent realization is that contentment can be found in  our every day reality. Thus happiness can be found readily at our fingertips no matter how outstanding, or lack thereof, our lives look to the outside world.

“There is no end to craving. Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. Develop contentment.” Swami Sivananda

The next question then, is how do we find this contentment and how do we maintain it?
Below I share 8 live coaching tools for cultivating contentment:

1) Practice gratitude
Being grateful for our lives exactly as they are right now, provides a mindset of knowing that things are not nearly as bad as we sometimes make them out to be. It allows for the realization that, although things could be better, they are manageable for the time being. It is impossible to develop contentment without gratitude—they are inseparable. focus on the good things in your life, not the things you lack. The simple discipline of engaging in gratitude will undoubtedly shift your focus back to the many good things you already have.

Make a commitment to practice gratitude by letting gratitude be the last thought before you fall asleep, and your first thought when you wake up in the morning.

2) Ask yourself what is going well
So much goes well in our lives, each and every day, that is easy to become desensitized and accustomed to how fortunate we are. Recognize the countless details you take for granted. What is working well in your life today?

3) Be content with what you have, while you continue to grow.
Do something that keeps the flames of your dreams and hopes alive. Take pride in your person-hood and the progress that you have made so far, and continue improving. Contentment is not the same as complacency. Contentment invites you to always keep growing. learning and discovering.

4) Shift your perspective
Develop the habit of seeing the positive side of things – specially of all the bad things that happen.
Start by recognizing negative thoughts as you have them. Then, take a step back and ask yourself these key questions:
• Is the situation, really as bad as I think it is?
• Is there another way to look at the situation?
• What can I learn from this challenging experience that can help me evolve as a person?

5) Find your purpose
Are you engaged in something you love? If not, ask yourself these questions to discover how you can find your purpose:
• What excites and energizes me?
• What are my proudest achievements?
• How do I want others to remember me?

6) Take control of your attitude.
A person who lacks contentment in their life will often engage in “when… and… then” thinking – “when I get _______, then I will be happy.” Instead, take control of your attitude. Contentment is finding satisfaction in your life as it is in the present moment, regardless of the circumstances.

7) Stop comparing yourself to others.
Comparing your life with someone else’s will always lead to discontentment. “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”. There will always be people who “appear” to seemingly be living the perfect life. You are unique. You are special. Affirm that your life is awesome in its own way.

8) Live in the moment
Focus on the positives in the present moment, instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Don’t postpone joy waiting for a day when your life is less busy or less stressful.
Instead, look for opportunities to savor the small pleasures of everyday life.

Living in Gratitude

Gratitude is easy when we are in love, or we receive a big check, or a special gift, or the baby is sleeping through the night. It’s all good and easy to give thanks when the food is on the table, we feel healthy and pain-free.  However, it can be challenging to see the goodness when we are living in the shadows of life. But that is exactly when we need gratitude the most. That’s when we must go looking for it.

In the words of Melodie Beattie: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today,  and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Below Find 5 Action Steps To Start Living in Gratitude:

1)  The Mental Gratitude List.  You can go over a mental list as you do the things that relax you, such as working in the garden, walking in the park, or whatever relaxation activities that you do. You’ll find that doing your mental gratitude list work is much more effective if you can do it while you are in a more relaxed state of mind. The key is to get into the habit of reminding yourself what was good about today so to help you create a better tomorrow.

2) The Written Out Gratitude List (AKA  “Gratitude Journal”). This is the most basic and powerful practice in all of Positive Psychology. There has not been a single text on happiness published in the past decade that does not mention this exercise. Every day, write down 3 to 10 blessings from the past 24 hours. Think deeply about each area of your life that you are grateful for, and begin to write in detail the good things that come to your mind as you write. Make sure that you are finding and writing things that you are sincerely grateful for.

3) Offer a Prayer of Thanks. Robert Emmons, in his 2007 book, “Thanks!” says that 70% of people surveyed pray daily (all religions combined). Those who say ‘thank you’ more often than ‘please give me….’ experience higher life satisfaction.

4) Include others into your expression of gratitude. By focusing our gratitude on individuals that we are thankful for, we enhance the benefits of our gratitude. Give a detailed description of what this person did for you, and what impact they have created in your life.

5) Find Gratitude Within Every Problem. No matter how bad things might seem, the problems we face can be of tremendous value; our problems are there to help us make progress in life. However, if we resist these problems by blaming, complaining, making excuses, or feeling victims, then we are doing ourselves no favors. The most wholesome way to embrace all the problems we face is through gratitude. To do this, ask yourself:

  • What are the true benefits of this problem?
  • What can this problem help me learn?
  • How will it allow me to grow as a person?
  • What insights can I gather from this problem that can help me?
  • How could it change me as a person?
  • What value is there in all this?
  • How will these benefits help me right here, right now?
  • How could I benefit from working through this problem in the future?
  • How does all this make me feel?

Our problems are only what we make them out to be. And it is only through an attitude of gratitude that we will successfully unmask the true value of what they have to offer.

Have faith that you will learn the lessons that must be learned; you will grow from the experience, and that progress will eventually be made.

“Everything that happens to us has a blessing built into it.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

May Your Gratitude Practice Increase the Abundance and the Joy in Your Life.

In GRATITUDE,

Veronica

How to Live “One Day At A Time”

By Veronica Vidal

What does it mean to live one day at a time?

One-day-at-a-time-thinking reminds us that, by limiting our horizons to tonight, we will do, feel, say, or think ONLY what we are able to manage for the next few hours.

This principle of living in the moment is very much embedded in yoga philosophy, and it is the absolute best, most rewarding, most effective piece and quickest way of relieving stress, depression, and anxiety. This way of thinking allows us to live with more creativity, more ease, and less worry less stress, and less self-inflicted pressure.

Taking it day by day means reducing the degree of control we expect to be able to bring to bear on the uncertain future.

Start from today living one day at a time, even if you are not particularly enjoying it, even if you are living through difficulties. Facing your reality just one-day-at-a-time will enable you to cope with it much more easily, thus moving into the future with strength, dignity, and hope.

Resolve to do this each day. Remember this is a new beginning. Start now. The time is now.

This is your present!

Here are 6 practical steps for living “One Step at a Time”

1) Stop the thoughts that don’t belong in the present. The past has gone and the future is not here yet, so prepare responsibly and positively for the future by living positively in the here and now. Focus on everything that you do, no matter how mundane. Attempt to concentrate on each moment as it presents itself to you. Be mindful of checking frequently that your thoughts are not dwelling on the past or racing ahead to the future. If you find that they are, STOP – and gently bring your attention back to the present, focusing on where you are, what you are doing, and what is happening in the here and now.

2) Do your best to remain positive, especially if your reality “here and now” feels unpleasant. Remind yourself that nothing lasts forever, nothing ever stays the same; life is constantly changing programs. Stay open to the fact that every day is different, every day something new happens. Affirm that things can get better.

3) If you failed today, try again tomorrow. If you didn’t fail, give yourself a high five and do it all again. So, if you’re taking it one day at a time, is there room for mistakes? There will have to be, you’re a human. Maybe you’re taking things ten minutes at a time, and you failed. Try again for the next ten minutes. If you failed to get things done today and instead watched a full day of TV and wallowed, then forgive yourself and move on tomorrow to your task list. It’s all about a fresh start every day.

4) Instead of focusing on the end result, focus on the next step. There are times in life where we have to really break things down to simple increments. When we are trying to change our lives completely, we may need to do just that. It’s much easier to focus on a piece of the puzzle than looking at all the pieces at once and having them put together in one fell swoop. We put together puzzles piece by piece, such is the way of life as well.

5) Make a list of Things That Aren’t Worth Worrying About. To help live one day at a time you can make a list of things that are not worth worrying about, and then do your best to avoid those thoughts during your day. If you do feel that you need to think about a worry then write it down and let yourself consider it for 5 minutes at the end of the day. After those 5 minutes, discipline to put it out of your mind. Remind yourself that worrying about what might or could happen will do precisely nothing to change the future, it will only make you miserable now and divert your attention from being able to be present on what you need to do today.

6) Block Out “What Ifs”. Along with worry come to a lot of “what ifs.” To avoid all these “what ifs” avoid having a “tomorrow focused” mindset. If you focus on the day you’re in then most what-ifs become obsolete.

Learn to live one day at a time and it will bring more productivity, joy, and calm, into your life.

Continue to stay safe, strong, and serene as we transition to our new normal.
Your loving support, referrals, and loyalty fill me with immense gratitude.

With Infinite Love

Vero Vidal
www.VeroVidal.com

4 Tips For Working On Acceptance

By Veronica Vidal

Acceptance is a very active process, there is nothing passive about it, it’s not passive resignation but an act of recognition that things are the way they are.

Acceptance doesn’t mean we can’t work to change the world or circumstances, but it means that unless we accept things as they are, we will try to force things to be as they are not, and that can create an enormous amount of difficulty AND pain.

Acceptance is about the courage to look at a situation right in the eye and say:” Yes, I have this problem”.

Acceptance is coming to terms with things as they are. Acceptance is facing reality as it is, which allows the possibility of moving in the direction of change or to be at peace with what is.

1) Avoid judging yourself, others and/or your circumstances.

Emotions are natural and everyone has them—acknowledging them can help you understand yourself better and move forward. Choose not to judge what happens to you. Instead, believe that everything happens for a reason and that better things will always follow. That’s the beginning of true acceptance. Develop awareness of your judgmental inner voice and cultivate a non-judgmental attitude.

2) Stop pushing away unpleasant thoughts and feelings.

Stop resisting. So much of our anguish is created when we are in a resistance state. Repressing our thoughts and feelings will not make them disappear. Resisting the reality makes us depressed, and eventually depressed.

Resistance and denial will not move us forward, nor will eliminate the undesirable. We don’t achieve acceptance in a moment. We often have to work through a mirage of thoughts and feelings – sometimes frustration, anger, outrage, shame, self-pity, fear, or sadness. Think about what you have to think; feel what you need to feel. Be mindful of what crosses your mind and heart, then, release it. A thought or feeling is not forever. The more quickly we can accept a feeling the more quickly we can move on to the next. Acceptance is the magic that makes change possible. Acceptance opens the door to growth, change, and moving forward.

3) Practice letting go.

How can you accept a devastating loss or change? We have two choices:

One is to hold on to the way things were. But if we can’t accept life the way it is, we have a big problem, because we cannot change what already has happened. Resisting the flow of life will only make us even more unhappy.
The other choice is to have the courage to accept life the way it is, which even though challenging, this process will empower us enormously.

4) Let beauty in.

When you’re focused on everything that’s lacking, it’s hard to fully notice, appreciate, and enjoy what’s present in abundance. Choose to appreciate what you have as opposed to giving too much attention to what you’ve lost.

Practice mindfulness, look around you; there’s beauty all around. Beaches and mountains, birds flying across the sky, music, and culture, blueberry ice cream, kissing in the sunset, and lifelong friendships. There is so much to live for; open up to what is truly beautiful and important in life.

Most of us keep the blinds shut, closing off to life. Take on the curiosity of a child. Open up and explore life as if it were your first day here, regardless of what you’ve had or lost. You can choose to focus on either. What’s your choice?

Yes, acceptance is a choice—a hard one most definitely, but a choice nonetheless. I know it’s hard to practice acceptance when you deeply wish things were different. But the truth is, sometimes we can’t change our reality, even if we try.

So instead of staring at the closed door in front of us, or getting tired and bruised while we try to break it down, let’s turn around and see how many other windows we have open.

WHAT ARE SOME ASPECTS OF YOUR LIFE THAT NEED ACCEPTANCE?

Build Your Mental Muscles by Doing Your Mental Push-Ups

BUILDING MENTAL STRENGTH

By Veronica Vidal

Most of us understand how we can develop physical strength but are not really sure over the steps to take to build mental strength. Building mental strength is similar to building physical strength. Everyone has the ability to build mental strength, and just like building physical strength, it requires dedication and hard work. With practice, anyone can develop the ability to regulate negative thoughts, control destructive emotions, and behave productively despite the circumstances. Learning how to flex your mental muscle is key to reaching your greatest potential in life. Whether your goal is to become an elite athlete, or you strive to be a more patient parent, mental strength will help you reach your goals.

1) PRACTICE MINDFULNESS: It’s impossible to stay strong when you’re going over and over again at something that happened yesterday, or forecasting that horrible things are going to happen tomorrow. Mindfulness is about staying present in the moment. With regular practice, you’ll be less distracted by yesterday’s problems and tomorrow’s worries. and you’ll increase your ability to focus and to enjoy the present moment.

2) BE IN CONTROL OF YOUR EMOTIONS: While there’s nothing wrong with being in a bad mood sometimes, staying stuck in a negative rut can be a slippery slope: Sadness can lead to self-pity, anger can turn to bitterness, and mild anxiety can become paralyzing fear. Decide that you’re going to be in control of your emotions so they don’t control you.

3) PRACTICE GRATITUDE: Focus on the good things in your life, not the things you lack. The simple discipline of engaging in gratitude will undoubtedly shift your focus back to the many good things you already have.

4) LET GO OF SELF-LIMITING BELIEFS: It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true and then back that up with some positive affirmations:

“I’m not smart enough to…” REPLACE BY SAYING: “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”

“I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…” REPLACE BY SAYING “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”

When we allow negative self-talk to flood our minds, we’re effectively working against ourselves.

If you want to keep your mind strong, you have to remember one key truth: self-limiting beliefs are thoughts, NOT facts.

5) TOLERATE DISCOMFORT FOR A GREATER PURPOSE: Mentally strong people tolerate discomfort when it serves a greater purpose. Whether they’re exercising when they feel tired, or they’re delivering a speech when they feel terrified, they use their discomfort to become better.

6) STOP ALL- OR – NOTHING THINKING: There is always room for improvement, but be careful not to start thinking you’re a complete failure just because you’re not a complete success in all the ways you hoped to be. You win some, you lose some. That’s life.

I hope you can use these tips to assist you in building mental strength. Paying attention to these steps on a regular basis, eventually, it will become second nature to you.

Bringing Positive Energy Into Your Life

By Veronica Vidal

All over the world, there has been a serious energy shift these past few weeks. The pandemic, the senseless violence, and the riots touched many of us at a more profound level than we even realize. It is so easy to look around and notice what is wrong. It takes practice to see what is right. We’ve become skilled at labeling what’s wrong with ourselves, our life, our work, our day, our relationships, our conduct, other people, our world.

We want to be realistic, and our goal is to identify and accept reality. However, this is often not our intent when we practice negativity. The purpose of negativity is usually destruction.

Negative thinking empowers the problem, it takes us out of harmony, sabotages, and destroys. It has a powerful life of its own. So does Positive Energy.

Positive Energy is the acknowledgment of the negative but then choosing to focus on the positive. At its root, it is simply the belief that despite the current circumstances, things will work out favorable in the end.

A positive mind comes from a heart full of faith.
Positive Energy heals, conducts love, and transforms. Choose Positive Energy.

To stay positive when facing challenges and negative situations, here are 9 things you can do to help revive your positive energy:

1) CHOOSE TO FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE: Each day, ask yourself what’s right, what’s good- about other people, your life, your work, your day, your relationships, yourself, your conduct, our world.

2) STAY PRESENT: “Don’t worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself” – Jesus Christ

3) PRACTICE GRATITUDE: Focus on the good things in your life, not the things you lack. The simple discipline of engaging in gratitude will undoubtedly shift your focus back to the many good things you already have.

4) HELP OTHERS: When you begin helping others, sharing your talents, time, and money, you will find yourself shifting into positive energy right away. The practice will give you a finer appreciation for what you own, who you are, and what you have to offer.

5) LAUGH EVERY DAY: Purposefully find something to laugh about. When you laugh, you release a happy hormone called oxytocin. It’s the hormone that uplifts us as we share experiences with others. Even just making yourself smile will put you in a better place.

6) GO ON NATURE WALKS: Getting enough sunlight fuels the brain, and boosts the production of serotonin. Make a habit of doing nature walks, listen to your footsteps, breathe in the fresh air, marvel at the wildlife. and focus on sounds outside – hearing nature sounds promotes positive thinking. Focus on all of your senses. This will instantly bring calmness and ease your mind.

7) PRACTICE MINDFUL BREATHING: Follow the sensation of your soft breath as it goes in and out your nose. Don’t judge yourself nor obsess over the content of the thoughts. Just keep coming back to observing the sensation of your slow breath.

8) STOP ALL- OR – NOTHING THINKING: There is always room for improvement, but be careful not to start thinking you’re a complete failure just because you’re not a complete success in all the ways you hoped to be. You win some, you lose some. That’s life.

9) PRACTICE COMPASSION: Clinical studies show that compassionate feelings, activities, and tasks perpetuate gains in overall well-being, higher levels of happiness, and self-esteem, as well as a marked decrease in depression.

I hope you can use these reminders to help you stay connected with your Positive Energy, and commit to greater awareness and management of your own emotional state. You won’t regret it, it is such an important task for living a healthy and happy life.

Cultivating Mindfulness ~ Staying in the Present

By Veronica Vidal

Why Focus on Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment.

Mindfulness is now being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in stress reduction and overall happiness.

Mindfulness can help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties, treat depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Mindfulness improves overall well-being!

Here are 6 simple steps to practice mindfulness anytime, anywhere.

1)    FIND A PLACE that feels calm and quiet to you
2)    SET A TIME LIMIT. Use an alarm or your smartphone to set between 2 and 10 minutes. (beginners do just 2 minutes)
3)    REMAIN STILL. Commit to a comfortable and stable position during your meditation.
4)    FEEL YOUR BREATH. Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and out your nose.
5)    NOTICE WHEN YOUR MIND IS WANDERING. When you notice your mind is wandering, simply return your attention to the breath.
6)    BE KIND. Don’t judge yourself nor obsess over the content of the thoughts. Just keep coming back to observing the sensation of your breath.

Note:  In addition to formal meditation, you can also cultivate mindfulness informally by focusing your attention on your moment-to-moment sensations during everyday activities. This is done by single-tasking—doing one thing at a time and giving it your full attention. As you floss your teeth, pet the dog, or eat an apple, slow down the process and be fully present as it unfolds and involves all of your senses.