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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

Practicing Self-Compassion

By Veronica Vidal

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” – Jack Kornfield

Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail or feel inadequate, rather than punishing ourselves with self-criticism (Neff, 2003a). We cannot always achieve exactly what we want. When this reality is denied or fought against, suffering increases in the form of stress, frustration, and self-criticism.

Self-compassionate individuals are those who recognize that imperfection and failure are inevitable, and thus tend to be more gentle with themselves when confronted with distressing or unpleasant experiences rather than getting angry when life falls short of self-imposed ideals (Neff, 2015).

With self-compassion we mindfully accept that the moment is painful, and embrace ourselves with kindness and care in response, remembering that imperfection is part of the shared human experience. This allows us to hold ourselves in love and connection, giving ourselves the support and comfort needed to bear the pain, while providing the optimal conditions for growth and transformation.

5 Ways to Practice Self-Compassion

1: Practice Forgiveness ~ Stop punishing yourself for your mistakes. Accept that you are not perfect and be gentle with yourself when you are confronted with your shortcomings. There is no sense in punishing your future for the mistakes of your past. Forgive yourself, grow from it, and then let it go.

2: Employ a Growth Mindset ~ Self-compassionate individuals understand that there is potential for learning and growth in every mistake they make (Neff, 2003). Do you view challenges as impossible obstacles or as opportunities to grow? Employ a growth mindset, and embrace rather than avoid challenges, persist in finding meaning in them, and don’t give up on yourself.

3: Express Gratitude ~ Feeling gratitude is very powerful (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). Rather than wishing for what we do not have, there is strength in appreciating what we do have, right now. You can choose to write a gratitude journal. By focusing on our blessings we employ a gentler inner voice and move the focus away from our shortcomings and outward to the world, with all its beauty.

4: Be Mindful ~ Mindfulness has been found to have a positive impact on self-compassion, as it has a tendency to lessen self-judgment (Kabat-Zinn, 2014). Strive to always be in the moment and to be aware of what is happening right now, without judgment and labeling. Allow what you think or feel to have its moment. Don’t give it the microphone or hide it in the corner. Allow it to come, and then, without attachment, let it go.

5: Make Peace with Your Inner Critic ~ Self-criticism is a common problem, and not one to be overlooked. The way you talk to yourself plays a vital role in well-being. Luckily, the problem of the harsh self-critic is fixable. So, next time you do not rise to the expectations you have for yourself, take a moment to pause and reassess.

Be mindful of the difficult emotions that arise. Forgive yourself and recognize that you are only human. See if you can identify how to do it differently next time. Be grateful for the opportunity you had in the first place and for your persistence to try again.

Finally, accept yourself. You are not perfect. And yes, you likely could have done better. But chances are, you did just fine. And often, that’s more than enough.

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

5 Ways To Shift Your Perspective

By Veronica Vidal

Shifting Your Perspective

There’s a well-known saying that perception is reality. How we see something becomes our truth, which can be self-limiting and self-defeating.

Perceptions are influenced by a number of factors: experience, personal values, judgments, information (as well as lack of information), and our needs and desires. Yet, it is possible to expand our perception of situations, events, and behaviors by changing our perspective.

Changing perspectives is relatively simple, but not necessarily easy. Every day we face challenges that trigger our stress levels to escalate. The ability to step back and take a different view of a situation provides us the power to change our minds. What if by changing our perspective on situations that upset, or frighten us, we could be happier, more confident, and less stressed?

Here are some coaching tools to shift your perspective

1) Stop Thinking In Terms Of “Should: Thinking in terms of “should,” and how certain things should be, can lead to disappointment. We all tend to see things from our limited perspective, but our view of how things ‘should’ be causes most of the suffering in our lives,” Avoid this perception for greater happiness.

2) Think Of The Bigger Picture. By widening our lens to the bigger picture we begin to see the panoramic view of a situation, which allows us to take into consideration aspects that we did not see before.

3) Ask yourself the question: “What can I learn from this? What’s the opportunity right here?” Sometimes, life isn’t smooth-sailing. You hit a bump and things don’t go according to plan. Train yourself to instead of fixing your mind on how hard things are, to shift your perspective to that of LEARNING from the situation. Shift your mind from disaster and drama to learning, rebounding, and opportunity-seeking. Doing this raises your mood and energy, and trains you to rebound faster and become more resilient. Remind yourself, that amidst the greatest difficulties lie some of life’s greatest opportunities.

4) Stop Complaining: Whatever the issue is, whenever you feel like complaining, fold your thumb, bite your tongue, do something, and make sure it stops you from letting out that complaint. When you listen and try to understand more than you complain, you are beginning to see things from different perspectives.

5) Keep a gratitude journal: With all the chaos going on around us, it can be really easy to slip into a pattern of negative thinking. Sometimes, the only way out of that pattern is to shift our perspective of things. One very effective way to do that is to keep a gratitude journal, which is a scientifically-proven method of improving your health and wellness. This is a simple and powerful way to change your perspective. Over time, you’ll find that your list expands and that finding things to be thankful for becomes easier and easier.

“It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Change Your Perspective, Change 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

Practicing Self-Care

By Veronica Vidal

Sometimes it seems like we spend so much of our energy taking care of life’s endless details that there’s no time left to focus on our health and well-being. If we really want to make self-care a priority, we simply have to develop certain habits–and let go of habits that sabotage us.

The first step in knowing how to take care of yourself is to learn to identify when you start going off track. The body will tell you this information if you listen. But it’s like learning a new language for many of us who have spent years ignoring the messages our bodies are telling us.

Basically, self-care is taking the time to care for yourself in whichever ways work best for you. What are some of the ways you can take care of your self?

Let me remind you of some ways you can use to take care of yourself:

1) Speak kindly–especially to yourself ~ Speak kind, truthful words, and notice how your mindset changes. Most of us spend a lot of time criticizing or judging ourselves, our bodies, our past, and our experience. Even the smallest incident can bring on a wave of negativity. The way we use speech creates energy patterns that infuse the body and send out signals into the environment. If you are constantly lashing out in criticism–even if it is only in your mind–you are germinating a toxic inner environment. Develop awareness of your critical inner voice and cultivate a non-judgmental attitude.

2) Practice Yoga ~ Yoga postures, breathing techniques, relaxation, and meditation practices keep us centered during times of uncertainty. When we are relaxed, our organs function optimally, which boosts our body’s capacity to fight invaders and heal faster. Yoga can truly help during these times. This isn’t just speculation; countless research shows yoga can lessen anxiety and depression symptoms, lower stress hormones, relieve pain, and improve emotional regulation.

3) Prioritize sleep ~This is such an easy and quick way to introduce self-care on a profound level. It’s amazing more of us don’t do this. Notice I didn’t say: get enough sleep. Most of us can function on less-than-optimal sleep, and convince ourselves that we are getting enough shut-eye. But to prioritize sleep, we start looking at all the ways we sabotage our rest cycle through stimulants, computer screens late at night, unresolved emotional issues, taking on too much, and generally not being aware of our natural rhythms. Try a phase of making sleep your #1 priority and see how your attitude shifts. Rest; Rest is key to keep distressed down and immunity up. SLEEP. SLEEP. SLEEP. 7-8 hours a night – if suffering from insomnia practice Yoga Nidra meditation.

4) Gratitude ~ Start a gratitude journal and write 5 things you are GRATEFUL for each and every day.

5) Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables: PLANTS, PLANTS, PLANTS. 8 to 10 servings – combining vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and legumes is recommended as a minimum.

6) Manage Stressors ~ We pick up habits from the people we spend time with, and without notice, many times, we tend to please others at our expense. To take care of your self learn to say “no.” This benign little word can be very empowering. Get clear on what supports your well-being and what stresses you out. You might want to add “thank you.”. This is key to developing nourishing relationships + setting boundaries with unhealthy ones.

7) Repeat Positive Affirmations  Out Loud or Silently ~ May I be well, May I be happy, May I let go of the past, May I let go of the uncertain future, May I be healthy, May I be protected, May I be at peace.

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.

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.

Reflecting On Gratitude In Times of Hardship

Several studies have found that more grateful people experience less depression and are more resilient following traumatic events. Multiple studies have found that people with higher levels of dispositional gratitude have signs of better psychological health, including higher levels of perceived social support and lower levels of stress, depression, and anxiety.

Let me share 4 coaching tools I am focusing on to cultivate GRATITUDE:

1) Keep a 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 three blessings from the past 24 hours. Pencil and paper or online journal work equally well.

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

3) Accept your situation. See beyond self-denial. Instead, accept your current situation. Sometimes it helps to accept a loss. This means accepting what you don’t have currently, and doing the best you can with what you have. This makes you ready to take in anything life throws at you.

4) Include others into your expression of gratitude. By focusing our gratitude on individuals that we are thankful for (and not material items or specific circumstances) 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.

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

I sincerely hope these reminders are of service to you.

WOHASU 2018 – ‘What Is Yoga?” by Veronica Vidal

Veronica Vidal is a Fellow Founder and  the Chair of  the Global Yoga Community Board  for The World Happiness Summit 2017, 2018 (WOHASU) 

In this video presentation Veronica explains what is Yoga and why practice Yoga as an integral part to find happiness ? 
“Happiness is a choice that one needs to cultivate, and yoga is a powerful tool to sustain happiness, as well as to become resilient to the inevitable vicissitudes of life.”