Health

Detox Lessons

As my 10 day detox draws to a close I’m reflecting on what I’ve learned and how I might take some lessons forward to make sustainable tweaks to the way I live.  To keep it going but in a more moderated way, some middle ground – both with food and technology!

The detox has been like pressing pause and a kick start for healthier habits but beyond this it’s made me so much more aware.

It wasn’t as hard as I’d imagined and at times I found myself actually enjoying it – and other times I’d wish I’d never thought of the idea!  Particularly the first few days before the headaches wore off and my body ached liked I was getting the flu – apparently though this was just the toxins working their way out.

Admittedly there’s been a few breaks in the 10 day detox, a treat cup of tea with milk – the caffeine high lasted all morning and left my feeling like I was a bit drunk!  And a couple of healthy meals when I needed that extra boost.  But the strange thing is despite thinking about pizza so often I don’t actually want any.  My cravings now are for the simple things I missed; a cup of tea with milk, a piece of cheese on a cracker, toast with butter!  It seems the more healthily we eat the less junk food we crave and I suppose the reverse is also true.  That’s why it’s so easy to get stuck in unhealthy cycles.  That’s been my main lesson from this experiment – the power of habits and our ability to form new habits, press reset.

So I’ve lost a few kilos but that’s just a bonus in terms of the real benefits, the way I feel – which is somehow just brighter and lighter, how my body functions and the lessons I’ve learned.  So what have I learned and what might I do differently now?

To create some healthier habits around my device, not having it in the bedroom so it doesn’t become the last thing I do at night and the first thing I reach for in the morning.  Resolving to check it only at certain times of the day to reduce that habit of constantly reaching for it.  Removing the notifications from apps so each time I use my phone I’m not distracted by these little calls for attention and promises of social validation.

The food detox has really increased my awareness around my relationship with food.  We’ve been brought up to clear out plates, don’t leave the table until you’ve eaten all your dinner.  Even when we’re out for dinner there’s a feeling of eating more to get value.  I’ve become much more mindful about what I eat and why.  Stopping when I’m full and knowing that that’s after less food than my brain often believes.  Being more aware of emotional eating and not just reaching for food because its midday or we’ve been invited to a party and there’s snacks.

It’s been an interesting experiment and one that’s benefited my health but I’m also keen to return to something more balanced and moderated – that will be the big test!

The Detox Continues

This is the week of detox.  Following on from this weekends impromptu digital detox I’m now trying the food version, it’s the end of day 3 of a 12 day detox.  They say the first few days are the hardest so I thought it’d be a good time to share my thoughts.
 
It’s true I’ve been indulging over the past few months and have picked up some unhealthy habits I feel I need to address.  By doing this detox I’m hoping to kick start a new healthy routine and give my health some much needed attention.  It’s a first for me, whilst I’ve had yoga ashram diets and lived very healthily at times I’ve never done a detox so I’m intrigued what I find.
 
I have a love of food (bread in particular) and knew I’d been getting into unhealthy habits.  I also knew this would be a real challenge for me given my attachment to food but I’ve surprised myself by sticking to it religiously so far and not kicking and screaming anywhere near what I was expecting!
 
It mainly involves eating nothing but raw fruit and veg, mostly blended.  Three meals and snacks but no caffeine, meat, dairy, wheat, sugar or alcohol.  Gentle exercise of 30 minutes a day is recommended which even for me is achievable and what’s more it recommends I stay out of the gym and away from high intensity workouts (a bonus!)  The bits I love most are the rest days, saunas and massage on the schedule though.
 
I have always loved food and am aware I often eat for reasons other than being hungry.  I have attachment issues with food.  It’s not just the steady weight gain though that forces me to action but the drain on my energy, the clarity of my skin, my concentration levels and how fit I feel when I exercise.  I’ve been aware for a while that all of this needs improving and there’s a bigger issue at play but it’s easier not to bother sometimes and reach for those foods and habits that comfort us.  But eventually I am at a point where action is necessary and I am ready.  Especially as we head into winter.
 
So I’ve taken the plunge and so far surviving well.  Yes there’s been cravings and temptations but there’s not been as much hunger as I’d imagined, however that’s not always the reason that we reach for food I know.
 
It’s amazing how much time we spend thinking of food, what we’re having to eat, buying the ingredients and then preparing meals.  Once we’ve done our morning juice that’s it for the day (aside from some raw veg snacks and nuts and seeds).  There’s much more time in the day.  However, much more time spend day dreaming about food since I’ve been detoxing – mostly pizza!
 
It’s a good chance to rest too as for the first few days I didn’t feel like doing much else.  It’s funny that I’m eating more healthily than ever yet I feel worse!  It’s those initial few days whilst your body starts getting rid of the toxins and withdraws from things like sugar and caffeine that are the worst.  I'm glad to say my 2 day headache has now gone though :-)
 
The energy levels are much improved once the body has adjusted, not to mention better skin, a flatter stomach and just that feeling of health.  Healthy food tastes better and the cravings for junk food are diminishing (although I do still spend a lot of time thinking about pizza).
 
Support has been an key ingredient.  My partner and I are on this journey together which when you live together makes this so much easier, it also gives me someone to compare notes with, encouragement and a feeling of not being alone in the challenge.
 
So I’ll keep going and let you know what next week brings at the conclusion of this challenge.

Digital Detox

It’s not the first time I’ve done digital detox but it’s been a while so I decided on Friday night when I turned off my phone I’d put it away until Monday. Now I tend not to go into my office to be on my laptop over the weekend anyway as that is family time but it’s amazing how much work I can do on my phone! The news feeds, information gathering, social catching up and sometimes just mindless scrolling. Especially on quiet weekends I’ve lost count of the number of times I reach for my phone; for some information, social interaction or validation of some kind.

So what did I miss? Initially it felt like I was missing something as my actions shone a light on the habits I’ve formed with technology. First thing in the morning it is common for me to reach for my phone, it wasn’t there. When I wanted to see when it would stop raining, the weather app was not available even my meditation app made me think twice about having to meditate without my device (ironically). It made ordering a curry difficult and choosing what movie to watch but nothing we could not get around!

What did I gain? More time and a more clear mind not to mention a certain sense of calm that comes from switching off from the outside world for a while and just being. There’s a natural inclination to turn inwards, especially on a quiet weekend at home nursing a cold!

Instead I was able to spend time being present, with those I loved, being aware of my surroundings, reading a book, walking the dog and being 100% present when doing those things not distracted by what photos I could take or what posts I might create and how many likes they’d get.

Now my business relies on social media and having friends and family around the world, so do I but I am aware of the habits it forms and the impacts its use has on our brain. I'm aware of the impacts of information overload and the addictive nature of our devices but it’s less about the device and more about our relationship with them. It’s not something I’d give up completely but I am a fan of the digital detox and it is something I plan to do more often to keep me aware of this and to be mindful of some of those no so healthy habits we form with our devices.

The detox theme has continued and this week I'm trying it with food! Stay tuned for more about my food detox tomorrow

The Art of Mindfulness

The Art of Mindfulness: Busy Life, Peaceful Mind.  Staying sane in a crazy world, keeping calm amid the chaos.

Click here to download 

Master the art of mindfulness.  Stop worrying and start living.  Learn how to bring Mindfulness into your life to make you happier, calmer and more effective.  Achieve better stress management and resilience and realise the benefits of mindfulness and how we harness the power of our mind. 

Develop a regular practice to tame your monkey mind, achieve a more positive mindset and free yourself from worry.  Discover skills that help you bounce back from the tough times, stay in the present more often and achieve balance.  Create more space in the mind and train the brain to be more clear and focused and a more positive place to be.

Understand how Mindfulness aids our effectiveness, the impacts of emotional intelligence and how we can use this skill at work.https://youtu.be/FE5IqFHRzIs

A Mindfulness teacher with a daily practice of 7 years.  Training from teachers from around the world in many cultures and countries.  Without any religious affiliations, I bring eastern techniques to benefit our western world modified in a way that is easily applied to modern life.  Experienced course instructor, described by others as authentic, uplifting and inspiring.

Discover the basics of meditation and how to deal with a busy mind or negative thoughts.  Achieve the skills to apply Mindfulness into your daily life and work to become more focused, clear and effective and develop a regular practice to sustain you well beyond this course.

Suitable for beginners to mindfulness or those who have done some before and are looking to learn new ways to bring this to life and create a regular practice

Over 2 hours of content, one lecture per day and some practical exercises to download as well as bonus material and resources.Available online and through your device with lifetime access once purchased

Volunteering; why it’s not just others that benefit

Compassion and kindness are key ingredients for happiness.It leads us to want to do good without expecting anything in return, to look after each other and our environment.

When I hit 30 I was unfulfilled and unhappy, despite having every material I could ever have wished for.

I had a good upbringing, climbed the corporate ladders, earned good money, had a company car and a house by the beach so why was I unhappy?At this point I set off on a journey that lead to understanding there was another way, the path to happiness and how to create a life we love.

I discovered what I valued, how to balance life, learned a new relationship with money and rediscovered what mattered. During this journey which I wrote about in my first book A Rough Guide to a Smooth Life I discovered my authenticity, made life more simple and rebuilt my life around my passions to find meaning and purpose.Part of this involved quitting the corporate world and volunteering overseas.

I trained to be a yoga teacher, practiced mindfulness daily and did my life coaching certificate.

I now write books and run my own business and still enjoy volunteering.In celebration of volunteer week I’d like to share why it’s so important as well as give thanks and gratitude to all those volunteers out there who give their time to good causes.Vietnamese Zen Monk Thich Nhat Hanh said “The word compassion is a verb”.Just think back to the last time you performed the action of helping someone in need.How good did you feel?Buddhists have a saying; “All the happiness there is in the world comes from us wishing others to be happy.”

Our natural response to seeing someone in distress is the impulse to help, we care about the suffering of others and we feel good when that suffering is released.This applies if we do it ourselves, see it in a movie or witness it in real life.

It makes us feel good.Feeling like we’re making a difference in the world and helping those who need it brings us joy, it gives us meaning James Baraz quotes statistics on why giving is good for you in his book; ‘Awakening Joy’.“According to the measures of Social Capital Community Benchmark survey those who gave contributions of time or money were 42% more likely to be happy than those who didn’t.

Psychologists even have a term for the state of euphoria reported by those who give, it’s called ‘helpers high’ and is based on the theory that neuroscience is now backing up; giving produces endorphins in the brain that make us feel good, this activates the same part of the brain as receiving rewards or experiencing pleasure does”.

You may say, that’s easy if you’re happy, have money and the time to help.But when you’re busy, worried and burned out it’s not so easy to find the space in your heart or mind to be compassionate.Yes, it does make it harder but not impossible and can in fact be the opening to more joy in your life at a time when you need it most.

I must admit that when I’m working full time and trying to run my own business I don’t get the time I’d like to volunteer but when I have periods between contracts and can focus on one job I make sure it incorporate a day to volunteer.

Not only does it give me a break from writing it gets me out mixing with others and that feeling of contributing to the community, being of service and doing some good for others.It’s not just for others though, it’s good for our souls, our sense of meaning and purpose, learning new things, social connection. All the things that are fundamental to our health and happiness.

It helps us think more positively about the world and our own contribution to it too.It’s the voluntary work I’ve done over the years that I’ve enjoyed most above any paid job, no matter what the salary or benefits.I spent time in Thailand teaching English to Buddhist monks, worked at yoga ashrams and Buddhist centres as well as doing the soup run for the homeless and volunteering to teach IT to the over 50’s and coordinate activities at elderly day care centres. I enjoy the company and get a sense of satisfaction from this work.Studies are also showing there are physical health benefits of compassion and giving through the form of voluntary work.United Health Group commissioned a national survey of 3,351 adults and found that the overwhelming majority of participants reported feeling mentally and physically healthier after a volunteer experience.·76 percent of people who volunteered in the last twelve months said that volunteering has made them feel healthier·94 percent of people who volunteered in the last twelve months said that volunteering improved their mood·78 percent of them said that volunteering lowered their stress levels·96 percent reported that volunteering enriched their sense of purpose in life·Volunteering also improved their self-esteem

Researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School in England analyzed data from 40 published studies and found evidence that volunteers had a 20 percent lower risk of death than their peers who do not volunteer. The study also found that volunteers had lower levels of depression, increased life satisfaction and enhanced well-being.It doesn’t have to be money, it doesn’t have to be a lot of time if you’re short on that.

It can even be as simple as starting with some random acts of kindness throughout your day.When we think of giving we often think of charitable donations but it doesn’t have to involve money.

Donating items to charity collections, baking cakes for local events, helping out at a local animal shelter or using some of your skills to help others are all forms of giving.Giving is not always about your time or money.We all have skills and strengths we can share with others, we can all choose to be compassionate.

Even if we have very little material wealth, we all have infinite non material wealth we can share.Take the project ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ for example.They have many ideas of acts of kindness we can perform for complete strangers and at the same time encourage those who have been the recipient of an act of kindness to pass it on and do something kind for someone else.This can be as simple as helping an elderly neighbor with their shopping, paying the toll fee for the car behind you, holding the door open for a stranger or making coffee for a busy colleague.

It doesn’t have to be hard or take up a lot of time, there are so many ways to help and by doing so we’re not just helping the recipients we’re helping ourselves too.

In a world where we’re increasing too busy for kindness see if you can make space to volunteer yourself in some capacity – your health and happiness will thank you.#NVW2107

Permission to fail; slowing down

I don’t know about you but towards the end of the year I get jaded.  The last few weeks always seem a bit hard and I find myself counting down to a break over Christmas and the lure of the reset a New Year brings.  A chance to regroup and a clean slate to push on into another year.It’s also a point I look at what I’ve achieved over this year, I’d set some lofty goals and being ambitious always want to ensure they’ve all been ticked off the list by the end of the year. Usually I’ll make sure of it, in the past even at the cost of my health, juggling many balls in the air making sure none dropped.These days I try to spend more time being and less time doing, we live in such a busy, driven, over achieving world that it’s all too easy to lose our balance.  This might be why so many of us reach the end of the year longing for a break and limping over the finish line.

As I looked at the things I’d not quite done yet and the time left this year, my over committed schedule and the nice to haves I’d like to fit it (yoga, time with my girlfriend, Christmas shopping) I felt a little overwhelmed.  I also felt so short on energy that I lost all motivation to even want to do things nice to haves. I couldn’t even get excited by Christmas and the impending opportunity to visit my family, even buying them gifts seemed like an effort I didn’t have the time for and for me this is unusual. 

I was so close to launching my online course, my last goal for 2016, and felt pressure to do this to coincide with the New Year and time was quickly running out. I’d had so much else on of late though and a packed travel schedule that I also felt like I didn’t have the energy to even know where to start.I had one free weekend left so I figured I could work 12 hour days to cover some of this off, but then how good would it be, I really ought to be spending more time getting prepared and getting this right I thought.  But that would mean not completing this in 2016 as I had set in my goals – this would mean failure!

This is something that’s not normally an option for me but for the first time I allowed myself to fail and be comfortable with that, knowing I’d made the right choice.  I made peace with not having to get this done now, the fact that I’d overpromised and not allowed myself time for everything I’d wanted to do. I also remembered that without energy, rest and health how was I going to achieve any of my goals?  Self-care and balance really are the foundations for everything we do thereafter.I’d had a lot of travel of late and needed to reground, I also knew I felt very tired and needed some rest.  I’d spent so much time doing that I’d left little time for being and this is so important to my health, not to mention my creativity and focus.  So I didn’t work 12 hour days, I let go of the notion of having to do everything and achieve all the goals I’d ambitiously set.  I allowed my overflowing schedule to relent for the weekend and spent the time on what I needed the most – rest, recharge and balance.  I used that time to go for walks, sleep in, meditate, rest and recharge, read and catch up with friends and family, I also got some Christmas shopping done and post recharge I feel excited about Christmas and am looking forwarding to spending time with my family overseas, I also feel slightly more prepared!Balance is the key and knowing when to reprioritise and ensure we always do the things that matter first. 

Whilst I’ll set more goals for 2017 I’m sure, as is my habit I’ll be over ambitious and need to re-tweak as we go through the year but this is less about failing and more about balance.  Knowing what’s important and ensuring we look after ourselves in the process of achieving our dreams.  Understanding that whilst we can do anything we want we can’t do everything and it doesn’t all have to be done now!I’ve also taken the time to reflect on all the things I have achieved this year, rather than just dwelling on the misses. 

I suggest you do too as we are always inclined to focus on what we missed rather than all of the little wins along the way.We do have a tendency to over estimate all we can achieve, particularly in the 24 hours we get in a day!  I’m learning (slowly) that whilst we can do anything we want, we can’t do everything we want. Realising this helps me reprioritise what’s in my overly ambitious schedule to make it more manageable and realistic.So as we prepare to enter into another new year I have set my goals but I’ll also know my priorities and when things get busy (as they do) I’ll make sure I manage them, even if that means some have to get reprioritised and pushed down the list. 

The good news is the online course will be out next year and it’ll have had the time and effort put in that it so deserves which I hope brings a better product. I certainly feel like I have the energy required to put into the project now and have also learned another valuable lesson for balancing our busy over achieving schedules with what’s most important

.It’s ok to take time out, to say no, to admit something can’t be done and relook at our to do list and reprioritise.  In fact it’s often necessary to us being able to carry on effectively and not burn out, particularly at this time of year.  It’s critical we prioritise the things that matter and that we find time to look after ourselves, otherwise it’s very difficult to get anything done.

Happiness Life Hacks

12661808_965565320158288_1820903136093652989_nLife seems complicated these days.  We’re all busy pursuing happiness, yet how many of us ever reach that goal?Success, money, and busyness are top of our priority list, yet deep in our hearts we’d prefer time, love, and security.It’s the age of making a living, but perhaps at the cost of making a life.  What really makes us happy, and how do we find it?Read the full article; here and watch the video blog here

How to be beautiful

sunflower fields

Beauty isn’t about having a pretty face. It’s about having a pretty mind, kind heart and most importantly a beautiful soul.

Watch the video blog How to be Beautiful hereIn today’s society body image is given such importance, fuelled by the media it fuels worries from guys and girls in their teens right through to middle age. The media present us with unrealistic expectations of body image that we’ll never achieve. Much of what we see has been airbrushed and perfected until it’s no longer possible to recreate naturally. We are being set up to fail.It often leads to self doubt, lack of confidence and not feeling good enough. Our obsession with self image can often get in the way of self love which is critical to our happiness. So many of us want to change our body in some way or dislike what we see in the mirror. Even when those around us think we look fine and perhaps envy the very bits we’re wanting to trade! It’s all relative, if you’re size 18 you may envy a size 14 yet they are envying size 10’s and even they are envying someone smaller/prettier than them! It may also be true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what we dislike, others can love. Like art or music, we all have different tastes. Some of us prefer brown eyes, others blue but really it’s less about the colour of the eyes and more about what they tell us when we look into them.As far back as I can remember in my teens I was conscious of how I looked. I was short, ‘stocky’ as my grandad would say. My thighs were too big, my nose stuck out, I never felt comfortable in heels and I had a constant battle with my weight, even though most of the time my weight was fine! It wasn’t until I matured I began to realise there’s so much more to it than this. All those things I’d spent hours agonising over and trying to change ignoring the positives within just because they were not as visible. Throughout school I wanted to be like the pretty girls but as we’ve all aged some may not be as pretty anymore and those things on the surface that I’ve worried about for so long have changed over time and will continue to do so. The difference is my acceptance of who I am and the comfort in my own skin, what ever that looks like because it feels good.It sounds like a cliché “your beauty is on the inside” but think about it. We’ve all met people who look good on the outside but as soon as they speak we take an instant dislike to them, based on the fact that if they are unattractive on the inside we see they are not beautiful at all. Our beauty does not lie in what we can see. As people we have inner beauty, our bodies are just a container for our soul, this is the bit that matters and it doesn’t appear in magazines, it is not vain and it does not need plastic surgery.You know that body that we obsess over so much, the one we put so much of our time and effort into trying to look beautiful. The workouts, the clothes, the beauty products, the diets. The constant worry that we’re too round, not tanned enough. The comparison to others who seem to always be fitter, slimmer and better in some way. The worry that eating that piece of cake might just mean that extra pound we’re trying to shift will stay put – yes that body!Well it’s going to change and it’s not always going to look like this and for some, this may be the best it ever ‘looks’! This is true of everyone, even the rich and famous age. But why do we worry? It is after all just our body. It is not our kindness, our love, our courage, our empathy. It is not our intellect, our strength, our creativity or our wisdom. All the things that make us special and all the things that really make us beautiful.Do you know when you look most beautiful? Regardless of if you’ve just stepped off the beach or you’re dressed to kill? It’s when you’re comfortable in your own skin, accepting of yourself, at home with who you are and this is evident whether we are in our jeans and t-shirt or our Sunday best, without the hair cut, the make up the fake tan or anything else on the surface, it comes from within and is a deep unmistakable beauty.If this is not yet your current state then stop worrying about all the things you’re not and start celebrating all that you are. There are people out there that love you, probably for reasons you don’t even know. Often they see what we don’t, our inner beauty.We should look after our bodies, yes, this is a measure of our self respect. This means loving what we have, treating it right, feeding it well and resting it often. After all it is the container for what is most important and most beautiful about us all. Our soul, our essence, the parts of us that make us the person we are.

Success: reach your potential

Click here to see the newsletter in full; Newsletter April 2016We’re capable of more than we thinkI hope you’ve been able to enjoy some rest over the Easter break. Life always seems so busy and we achieve so much yet so often we under estimate our abilities and this stops us reaching our potential.We feel we might just be too ordinary to achieve great things yet those who succeed begin as ordinary people, the difference is they realise their potential, the potential that is within all of us because nobody is really just ordinaryI was stuck in a life I needed to change but frozen by fear; of the unknown, of failure. What if I’m just not good enough to realise these crazy dreams that live inside my head? But by taking small steps towards my goals and changing my life to revolve around my passions and authenticity, I discovered extra ordinary things I’d never thought I was capable of.Never stop dreaming and don’t put limits on what we can achieve. “Inside every ordinary person there is extraordinary potential”Quote2Recent InspirationUnleash your hero within [click to view] No-body is just an ordinary person, realise your potential [read now]5 ways to tap into your inner wisdom [read now]When it gets tough, how not to give up on your dreams [read now] Disconnecting to reconnect [click to view] How to stay sane in a crazy world [read now] Be in with a chance to win a free e-copy of my book to gift to a friend by leaving a review on Amazon http://amzn.com/1504343816book stubs  

How to stay sane in a crazy world

Calm-Woman“You can’t calm the storm so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself and the storm will pass.” ~Timber HawkeyeAfter another driver pulled out in front of me and narrowly missed a collision, I put on my brakes and waited for the car to stop. As the other driver sailed off ahead of me, my hysterical passenger screamed, “What an idiot! Didn’t you see him? Why didn’t you blast the horn? These people shouldn’t be on the road!”I realized my reaction, or lack of reaction, was out of the ordinary, and I also noticed that despite the circumstance I had remained equanimous—I hadn’t let it disturb my peace of mind.I wasn’t angry with the driver, my blood pressure hadn’t increased, and no damage had been done. I was at peace.It hadn’t always been this way. I inherited a short fuse from my dad (at least, that’s the excuse I used for years).Imagine a day where very little upsets you and in the face of annoyances you just sail through, calm, peaceful, and happy? It may seem like an impossibility, but when I look at where I was and where I am now, I can assure you it’s not.It’s a long journey, it doesn’t happen overnight, and like with everything it takes practice.Before I could do anything about controlling them, the first step was just to notice them. I spent a long time at this point prior to progressing! But with awareness comes progress and just noticing the emotions arise is a huge step in the right direction. I used to think it was an unattainable goal. I’d look at monks and nuns being zen and think, Well surely it’s easy to be zen if you live on a mountain top away from the world. But as one old monk (who looked very young) told me, while they may not have the outside pressures like traffic jams, shopping, and emails to test their equanimity, they still have human internal pressures.He explained to me about his separation from his mother when he was a young child, living through a war, the death of his brother, and his overcoming cancer. There’s enough there to make any human mind an unpeaceful place!Our minds are so precious and powerful it makes sense we should keep them as peaceful as possible. Not only does it impact on our mood, our relationships, and our effectiveness, but also our health.Imagine how different life could be if the ups and downs and little annoyances didn’t affect us anymore, if our brains were trained to not react, not suppressing anger but not having the to need to supress it.Imagine what a different place the world would be if we could all learn equanimity. Well, be the change you want to see and start today! Bringing stillness to our mind also brings peace, and when we are at peace nothing disturbs our equanimity.Watch the video blog here and read the article in full at Tiny Buddha

Motivation & Inspiration for February 2016

View the full newsletter as PDF here Time FliesSo we are one month into 2016, it goes so fast doesn’t it. It only feels like 5 minutes since we were setting our intentions and considering what this clean slate, New Year will hold.  How are those resolutions going?Time can go so quick it’s easy to get side tracked with the busyness of daily life and forget about our goals and dreams (until the next New Year comes around). Life can happen whilst we’re busy making other plans, but only if we let it. Check out my video blog to help keep us on track and ensure we’re always taking steps to create a life we love despite the busyness of daily life.It’s hard to believe that my six months in England has passed in the blink of an eye. I had a lovely time with family and friends and even managed to see some snow before leaving. I am now back in my resident New Zealand and enjoying catching up on all the things I missed.Best wishes for a fabulous February!Jessquote52Recent InspirationNEW! 5 things you can do to make life better [read full blog here]Life is our greatest teacher [read full blog here]Video blog: Equanimity: How to stay sane in a crazy world [click to view]If you’ve not picked up a copy of the book yet, click here to find paperback and e-book versionsInfo & EventsThanks to all those who came out to support the launch of the book last month.For anyone who missed the events. A special online launch was recorded and can be viewed hereI was recently interviewed by BBC radio on the journey that lead to me writing the book, for those who missed it listen again herebook tour4

5 things to do to create a life you love

NEw Year1Have you ever thought “it shouldn’t be this hard” or “there must be more to life than this”? What do those who are happy and fulfilled do differently and how can we get a piece of the action?Start by asking yourself these questions; When do you feel most alive, what inspires you and makes your heart sing?Life often feels harder than it should be, we’re left thinking, what’s it about, how do I change things and how can I find a way off this wheel? It doesn’t have to be this way, we should not be so busy making a living that we forget to make a life.We can be rich and ‘successful’ (and many of us would like to be) but this does not necessarily leave us feeling fulfilled. Being happy and living with purpose is very different from society’s model of ‘success’ we’ve been led to believe holds the key to our happiness.Try these 5 simple tips to create a life you deserve; 1.  Learn something newContinuous growth is important, we all like to have something to aim for. Our ambitions and goals gives us a sense of direction and satisfaction when we achieve what we set out to do. Whether it’s a dance class you’ve wanted to start, learning to draw or a language you want to learn it stimulates your mind and soul and stretches you to challenge yourself and achieve.2.  Let go  Lao Tzu said “To become learned each day add something, to become enlightened each day drop something”. Clearing clutter, removing blocks makes room in your life for the things that matter. When you clean your house it feels more orderly and balanced, in the same way, letting go of what no longer serves you makes room for things that do.We live in a world where we feel we have to have things to be happy, it leads us on an endless pursuit of material possessions, upgrading the car, extending the house, buying more accessories. We feel we have to ‘have’ things to be free when it’s the opposite, our struggle to hold onto things brings the very pain we are trying to avoid, we are terrified of letting go for fear we’ll have nothing but this is the true path to living.If you have been hurt by someone and you still hold anger and resentment because of it, you are letting them hurt you again. Forgiveness sets you free, let go of resentment. “Holding onto anger is like holding a hot coal with the intention of throwing it at someone else, you are the one that gets burned” Buddhist saying.3.  Give  It gives us a sense of purpose and that warm feeling that we’ve helped someone in need. It doesn’t have to be big money donations to charity, helping an old lady across the road with her shopping or letting a car in front of you in a traffic queue and other small random acts of kindness are equally importantThe root of all happiness comes from giving to others and wanting them to be happy. Studies show that giving to others makes us happier, when groups of people were given the same amount of money to spend on themselves or on others it was those who spent it on others that reported feeling happier. Researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School analysed data from 40 published studies and found evidence that volunteers had a 20 percent lower risk of death than their peers who do not volunteer.4.  Find your purposeFinding your purpose, why are you here, what’s it all about, what makes your life worth living. What’s important to you, what would you do and who would you be if money and other barriers were no object, what sort of person would you be, how would you like to be remembered?We often get our sense of self from what we do (eg. I’m a mother, a lawyer, a widow). You are more than your job title or your social status, this should not define you or be who you are, it is just what you do.Work is something we spend so much of our time doing we should ensure for a happy life that we enjoy it and it brings us a sense of purpose and satisfaction. Yet so many of us leave our souls behind when we go to work. Don’t ask ‘what do I want to do’ ask ‘what kind of life do I want to have?’5.  Do what you loveIt can be the small things like a walk along the beach, playing with the dog, visiting your favourite coffee shop, sitting down to read a good book or bigger things like travelling the world, skydiving or simply a night in with the family. Think about what makes your heart sing and incorporate things you love into every day. If you do what you love you will be successful.Read more in my new book; A Rough Guide to a Smooth Life

Happy New Year: What's your goal for 2016?

NEw Year1View the full newsletter as a PDF by clicking here; Newsletter January 2016I have been reflecting on my first year in business, as we tend to do at this time of year. This time a year ago I was teaching myself how to build a website and writing my first blog. I’ve achieved a lot since then but it’s easy to forget.There’s still part of me that looks at the success of those who’ve been before and I think; why don’t I have thousands of followers or media appearances yet! We often feel we should be further along than we are. It stops us realising how far we’ve come and celebrating the successes along the way.We are often left thinking, why can’t tomorrow be today! The impatience of wanting it all now and feeling we should be more successful than we are. I am often reminding myself it’s not an overnight thing. It’s important that we celebrate small successes along the way and appreciate the journey.Remember your successes from 2015 and have a great start to 2016 Recent InspirationMeaning and Purpose: Call off the search [read blog here] Redefining success based on what matters [read blog here]Video blog; 10 ways to make 2016 great [click to view] Tis the season to be grateful, guest blog [read] Video blog: Celebrating Success [click to view]If you’ve not yet accessed the free resource on making 2016 great [click here]book cover finalBook Launch Info & EventsView the official book trailer here and find out how you can support the launch [click here]There are a series of events to celebrate the launch of my first book, including an online event on launch day accessible all over the worldTuesday 5th January 2016 - Latest Music Bar, Brighton, UKWednesday 6th January 2016 - Launch Day Event - ONLINETuesday 12th January 2016 - Bottesford Library, LeicestershireThursday 14th January 2016 - Guildhall, Grantham, UK Download the event flyerSupport the launch with a thunderclap here#RoughGuideSmoothLife  

The Power of Intentions

xmas4The power of intentions I’ve been reviewing 2015 and having a look at my goals list that I set at the beginning of this year. At that time I was still writing my book and one of my goals was to give a copy to my parents for Christmas 2015.As the year has gone on and the publishing process has evolved it was clear the book would not be ready in time. The publishers advised a launch date in the New Year and the final approvals were only just complete a few days before Christmas.As I took the train up to my Mum and Dads on Christmas Eve I was surprised to find on my arrival 150 copies of my book delivered to the door. It had been printed and was ready for distribution prior to Christmas. So this is a picture of me (a little weary following a massively delayed train trip to my parents) on Christmas Eve holding my book in my hand for the first time.  I also got to share the experience with my parents and what’s more they got a copy of the book for Christmas after all.When we set our goals at the beginning of the year we are setting an intention which providing we continue to focus on it and work towards it over the year just may materialise as we planned.Wishing you all the best for the New Year. If you’d like help setting your goals for 2016 or reviewing those of 2015 my 2 recent short video blogs may help; see them on my YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt9EbBAOAuh3J2MkJo9m1sgThe book, A Rough Guide to a Smooth Life is out now and available from the likes of Amazon etc.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rough-Guide-Smooth-Life-Living/dp/1504343816/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450794349&sr=8-1&keywords=a+rough+guide+to+a+smooth+lifeI am also trying to raise awareness through this Thunderclap and grateful for any support over the next few days; https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/36036-a-rough-guide-to-a-smooth-life

A Rough Guide to a Smooth Life

CaptureAs we approach the end of the year the last 12 months I've spent trying to get my book published finally pays off and it is now available to buy!You can click on the link to view the official trailer.  Full details are here; www.inspireyourlife.org/bookA practical self improvement guide on surviving modern life. Rediscover the art of happiness, find meaning and purpose and create a life you love. Jess uncovers the key to creating a happier life and leads by example. Her perspective shines a bright light at a much needed time. Let her guide you this book will help.  Shannon Kaiser, Coach & Best Selling Author of Find your Happy & Adventures for your SoulFor those who read the book, please leave a review on amazon and I'd love to hear your thoughts.  You can use the hashtag #RoughGuideSmoothLife when posting about the book.To see how you can get involved and help support the launch click the link; How you can help or click here to support the launch through thunderclapWishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Don't forget to check out the new resources section on the website for free stuff I've posted for you.Keep an eye out for events and give aways as I launch the book officially in the New Year.All the best for 2016Jess :-)

Finding joy in every day; video blog

Jumping-for-Joy“Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect, it means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections”It’s the question we’re all trying to find the answer to; what is happiness and how do we get it? We fill our lives with the business of searching for happiness in many things yet it is possible that the very pursuit is taking us further away from the goal.Check out this short video clip on my YouTube channel for tips on how to bring joy into everyday. https://youtu.be/4aLu7ZMRCcA 

Octobers Newsletter, New Blogs & Forthcoming Events

See this months newsletter for details of forthcoming events and new material.  Including; video blog on creating a life you love and new blogsNewsletter OctoberNew blog out today: Taking the rough with the smooth; sh*t sandwiches!When someone stands in front of us and speaks of inspiration or has written a book, we tend to think they’ve got it all sussed out and their life must be idyllic. This is certainty true of my thoughts about those I look up to. But there is a human element in us all, no-one has a perfect life. Tough times come to everyone and often those who inspire us have had to overcome their own struggles to get there and if they can, so can we.  Read the full blog here:http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/10/shit-sandwiches-the-rough-smooth-of-life/I was also fortunate to speak to the group Action for Happiness recently about Creating a Life you Love.  For those who missed it I blogged on the key points on my You Tube channel; [click here to watch the video] 

Don't wait for Happiness & other new posts

woman_waitingDo you ever feel like life is just passing us by? Do you sometimes feel like life is happening whilst we’re busy making plans?  Life's too short to postpone happiness until conditions are right; maybe when we retire, win lotto, meet Mr Right.  Read the latest article I've published on elephant journal; Happiness - Why Wait?http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/09/happiness-why-wait/Other articles of mine recently published include:How to be at Peace with Uncertainty, published on havingtime.comhttp://www.havingtime.com/how-to-be-at-peace-with-uncertainty/The Art of Self Care published on personalgrowth.comhttps://www.personalgrowth.com/the-art-of-self-care/

Mind your own busyness

busyThe importance of slowing down in a world where busy has become the new blackIn terms of the evolution of man, the measurement of time has not been around very long, but it has become one of the most precious commodities of our age. We never seem to have enough of it.  Everyone is always so busy and, in the age of multitasking, being busy is seen as a must but at what cost?In today’s world we are driven by the need to succeed, to prove our self-worth. If we’re not busy, we’re not successful. We like to feel valued, and the busier we are, the more valuable we become…or at least that’s how it feels.Whilst we’re busy being busy, we risk missing out on life and the things that really matter.See the full article published on elephant journalhttp://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/08/busy-is-the-new-black/

The Power of Positive Thinking

1016717_10153751034515612_355861016_nCheck out the latest video blog a short 7 minute clip on the power of positive thinking.  How to harness the power of the mind and use positive thinking to make us healthier and happier.http://youtu.be/nZEY87lVHsMOptimists have a 50% lower risk of death (Mayo Clinic Study)“Human beings can alter their lives by altering their minds” William JamesWe can’t always control what happens but we can control how we react to itHappiness is a state of mindPositive minds attract positive experience and the reverse is trueThe happiness in our lives depends on the quality of our thoughts