5 Activities That Promote Inner Peace and Tranquility

Would you like to achieve more inner peace? Are you exhausted by the guilt, pain, and resentment you have carried through life? Are you tired of responding impulsively, negatively or overreacting? If we are honest with ourselves, we realize that we are all influenced by negative moods and emotions occasionally.

These negative moods and emotions can cause roadblocks to happiness and inner peace. Having a habit of negative thinking can cause problems when coping with life stressors. Finding inner peace can help you deal with those stressors and maintain a more stable mental and physical state.

Below are 5 activities that can promote inner peace and tranquility.

1. Meditate

The power of meditation cannot be underestimated. While experts may spend hours in meditation, benefits can be gained from even a few minutes a day. Create a daily schedule that dedicates 10 to 15 minutes to meditation. Meditation is all about clearing your mind and learning to be present. As you meditate, your focus should be solely on your breath. As thoughts come into your mind, just push them gently aside. Don’t be discouraged when thoughts do arise, as you practice meditation more you will gain control of those thoughts but it does take practice.

When you focus on your breath, it allows you to push everything else out of your mind. With every inhale/exhale, push negativity from your mind and embrace the inner peace and tranquility. Meditation is a great solution when you’re feeling stressed out. It’s something that you can do anywhere and everywhere. However, It is best when first learning how to meditate that you find a quiet area with as little distraction as possible. When it is new, meditation can feel foreign. We are used to having a million things going on at once. such as TV, Radio, kids, dogs, spouses… meditation is your time to focus and center your mind. If you can find a way to give yourself just 10 to 15 minutes of quiet time daily, you will begin feeling the difference in your stress levels.  

2. Mindfulness

While it seems to be very similar, mindfulness is not the same as meditation. When you are mindful, you are fully present. You become completely aware of your sense of smell, touch, taste, hearing, and sight. Mindfulness incorporates the here and now of whatever you are doing.

You can practice mindfulness when you eat, when you listen to music, when you take a hike. It’s simply about engaging all of your senses to push everything else out of your mind. There is less time to worry when you are focusing on your environment and the present moment. Mindfulness puts you in a living state rather than thinking about all the “what ifs” and worries.  

3. Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is an activity that promotes inner peace and tranquility and is similar to and sometimes in conjunction with meditation and mindfulness. There are a wide variety of deep breathing exercises that you can use. However, there is one that you may find helpful to promote inner peace and tranquility. Imagine your breath as colors. Assign a color to positivity and one to negativity.

As you inhale, see yourself drawing in blue air for instance and visualize it as positive energy. When exhaling, imagine a rush of black air being expelled from your lungs. So, you inhale positivity and exhale negativity. This simply adds an extra layer of stress relief to the deep breathing practice. The purpose of deep breathing to promote inner peace is that your mind is drawn to the process of breathing and the life-enhancing properties of the breathing cycle.

Take a deep breath in through your nose, focus on your diaphragm and lungs as you do and hold it for a few beats before you expel it from your mouth. Repeat this five times.  You can do this throughout the day whenever you find yourself feeling stressed.

4. Be True To Yourself

How can being true to yourself be an activity? When you are in harmony with yourself you will behave in ways that match your thoughts and feelings.  You will take actions that are harmonious with your true nature.

The problem comes when you see yourself as one thing but are portraying something else. This is called incongruence. You can use a notebook to keep track of incongruence to develop self-awareness and then take actions to align yourself more with your values.  

5. Gratitude

If you want to promote inner peace and tranquility, then you need to focus on all of the positivity in your life. A gratitude journal is an excellent way to remind yourself of everything you love in life. Once you start writing out all the things in your life for which you are grateful, you will find it easier to see more positives. It’s all about training yourself to be more aware of the positive things in life.

If you want more inner peace in your life, select one of these activities and begin using it on a daily basis. Do it for at least a week before you decide if it works for you or not. If that one doesn’t help, try a different activity. The more you focus on calming your mind and making yourself aware of the positives in your life, the more you will be able to feel a sense of inner peace.

Want to Create New Habits During the Pandemic?

“Humans are creatures of habit.” How many times have you heard the saying? Since we’re creatures of habit, it would be a breeze to create good ones, right? Err, no. It takes more than knowing what habit you want to form to actually develop and make them stick.

Because we are creatures of habit, it can be very hard to change a behavior that has become second nature to us. But changing is necessary when those habits have consequences that are impacting our lives. If you have identified some habits that you need to break, you need to replace them with better ones.

Before you can make a change to any of your behaviors to create a good habit, it’s necessary to examine your existing habits. What do you need to add or subtract? For example, if you want to create the habit of exercising every morning, you need to identify what you are currently doing in the morning that you would no longer do. Discover your triggers and obstacles. What usually triggers your behaviors, and how do you react to them?

Here are some tips that will help you get started towards a better you:

Develop a Plan

Decide exactly when and where your behavior will take place. Intentions like “I will exercise more starting next week” is too vague. You have to set your intentions clearly and specifically. Then you need to device a strategic plan on how you will work on your new behavior. Give it a  real slot in your schedule so it will be done when it should.

Creating a laundry list of the habits you want to do all at once is a recipe for failure. Instead, pick one habit that you want to change before you attempt to do another one. Creating a good habit requires effort, especially if you’re replacing a bad habit that has been established in your system for so long. Start so small that you hardly need willpower to do it. For example, instead of running on a treadmill for 30 minutes, you can start with 5 minutes. This will help establish the actual behavior first; then you can move to increase the effort once you get used to doing the new behavior every day.

Use Visualization and Affirmations

Visualizations and affirmations are great tools that make it easier for you to adopt a new behavior. They allow you to feel and imagine yourself already enacting the new habit, which helps your subconscious accept it and become automatic. This programs your subconscious to adopt the habit faster.

Make a conscious commitment that you will develop a new habit. That means that if you plan to eat a healthy breakfast every day, you should commit to doing it as scheduled, never missing a day. Invest effort and really get hooked on your habit. Mark your calendar every time you accomplish it, and soon, you will find a chain that you don’t want to break.

Reward Yourself

We develop bad habits because at some point they make us feel good, or they give us comfort. So when developing a good one, find a way to reward yourself for your small wins. Treat yourself to a movie or a spa. Buy something that you’ve always wanted to buy for yourself.

Make the reward appropriate to the goal – don’t use food as a reward for dieting! Rewarding yourself for doing well reaffirms and reinforces the behavior, so your subconscious soon begins to associate it with the pleasure of the reward.

Enlist support from your friends and family members. When the going gets tough, they are the ones who will motivate you to push forward. Surround yourself (metaphorically) with people who are on the same page as you, so you will be inspired to keep doing the behavior that you want to develop. This could be done with a conferencing tool during present quarantine limitations.

Developing a new good habit can really be difficult. There are times that you fail and think that you can’t do it anymore, but keep going and be consistent with your efforts. The longer you do it repeatedly, the better that the good behavior will stick. Once it becomes a habit, the good thing is that it will no longer require willpower or much effort as it already becomes automatic. Just keep going.

Read more about creating new habits here.

25 Ideas For Self-Care

Ever feel like the more you give the more people want from you? 

We live in a society that rewards selfless behavior from women. Women are the care givers and many of us often neglect our own needs. We are too busy taking care of everyone else.  At some point, however, this self-sacrificing tendency begins to take its toll. We become irritable, resentful, or even ill.

With the additional stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is time to start taking care of yourself, for your own well-being and those for whom you care. The world is having to take a break right now through social distancing and quarantine. What that means for women is you could be bombarded with the needs of your family and the stress of the world’s illness. In order to stay sane and well, some new habits may be required.

Your health and your sanity depend on it and if you are to be any good at taking care of others, you have to be able (physically and mentally) to do so. The “law of reciprocity” states that in order to give, you must receive; the following list are some ways you can take a little time to receive.  

Here are 25 delightful, yummy, fun, and sensuous ways you can begin to take good care of yourself, so you can keep on being there for the ones you love.

  • Take a hot aromatherapy bath at least 3 times each week. This practice promotes relaxation and reduces stress.
  • Learn how to love yourself: Give yourself credit and say, “I love you” to yourself, in the mirror and as you go about your day.
  • Carve out a few hours per week, that are just for you. Your choice. “Me time” is an essential part of your self-care regime.
  • Take up a hobby or sport you always wanted to do, and then commit to doing it as part of your self-care routine.
  • Meditate. Just a few minutes a day can bring you a sense of inner peace and relaxation. There are many different methods from which to choose.
  • Focus on your breath. When you feel stressed or overwhelmed, take a few minutes to just breathe. Focus on the in… and the out-breath. This helps calm the nervous system as well as refresh you.
  • Rest with your legs up against the wall. Scoot your butt up close to the wall and lift your legs. Allow your arms to flop out to the sides. Relax. It will get the blood flowing to your head; rejuvenate your legs, your mind, and your whole body.
  • Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel good. It tones your muscles, increases your circulation, improves your heart health, and can contribute to weight loss.
  • Find out what you are passionate about. Many of us, as women, are so focused on pleasing others that we don’t even know who we are or what we love to do! Try out new things and discover who you really are.
  • Practice gratitude. At the end of every day, write down three (or five, ten or 100) things for which you are grateful. Make sure you experience the feeling of gratitude. Keep a gratitude stone. Hold it in your hand as you think of the thing you feel most grateful for this day.
  • Spend time in nature. Nature is a wonderful healer. She calms us down and helps us decompress. It is good to sit by water, feel the breeze on your skin, and enjoy the benefits of sunlight. Nature is good for you.
  • Eat well. Simply start to eat more vegetables every day. Add in some fresh, organic greens, or some crunchy carrot sticks or celery. Add in seeds and a few nuts, and eat more chicken and fish than red meat. Choose organic when you can.
  • Drink enough water every day. There is no hard and fast rule for how much is enough but the experts currently say about nine glasses for women and thirteen glasses for men. That’s a lot! Drinking plenty of water hydrates your skin and helps keep it smooth and supple.
  • Sleep well. Try going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. Drink chamomile or another calming type tea in the evening. Put a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow.
  • Laugh. Find a reason to laugh every single day. Watch funny movies, try to see the funny side of a situation, or practice laughing for no reason at all. Yoga laughter is one way to learn this!
  • Let go. One of the biggest keys to a happy, healthy life is in learning to let go. Learn to let go of what you cannot control, of outcomes, of stress, and let go of being right.
  • Sing. Whether it’s in the shower, in the car on the way to work, in a choir or a band, singing makes you feel good. It releases endorphins and oxytocin, which help you feel happy and connected to others.
  • Do yoga. Yoga has so many benefits: A calm mind and a relaxed body; greater strength and muscle tone; improved flexibility and tranquility.
  • Forgive yourself and others. Forgiveness is a practice, which benefits you and your mental health as much as it benefits the one who is forgiven. Practice daily and above all, forgive yourself.
  • Eat chocolate. Chocolate contains anandamide, the “bliss enzyme”. Chocolate was called the “food of the gods.” Why would you deny yourself this sensuous delight?
  • Take action. The key to self-care and wellness is to put some of these ideas into practice. That means taking action. Otherwise, nothing changes. What small step will you take today?
  • Surround yourself with positive people. People who lift you up, encourage, and support you are healthy to be with. Limit interactions with those who drain you or put you down. That means, drop those FB friends who are not positive and pull you down.
  • Take time to smell the roses. Life goes by very fast and stopping to be present enhances the journey. It also keeps you calm, centered, and much less stressed. Caring for yourself means enjoying and savoring each precious moment we have been given. Don’t let life pass you by.

  • De-clutter a room in your home. You will feel so much more at ease when you get rid of all the excess. You may find that you are able to concentrate better, and you will feel more relaxed with less clutter.
  • Create an affirmation and say it daily. Try one of these or make up your own: “I love myself and treat myself kindly.” “My health is flourishing and so is my life.”

Give a few of these ideas a try and begin taking care of yourself. We all need some tender love and care.

Happy Spring

Little chicks on a flower meadow

Spring is a time of rebirth. As we transition from the cold dark shadows of winter to the bright fresh days of spring it often instills an optimistic feeling. The days begin to lengthen, trees bud, and flowers bloom. With the time changes and extra daylight, many people begin exercising more and spending additional time in nature. Some may take up a new hobby or join a group activity. What do you plan to do with your extra daylight?

Plant A Seed

Time to plant

I have heard it said that when you think times are the darkest, when there seems to be no hope, you may think you have been buried; however, you will undoubtably find that you have not been buried but planted. If you are going through a rough period and things are not flowing the way you think it should, consider this thought. Maybe you have been planted and are in an incubation period.

It takes time for seedlings to sprout and bloom. In order to nurture and protect the seedling we need to provide nourishment, water, and food from the soil. As it begins to sprout it is fragile and may need shelter from the wind or storms.

Storms with lightening

Perhaps your talents and skills are not being recognized at this time. It might be because “those in charge” are blind and unable to recognize your greatness. It could be because you have a little more development to do before you are “ready” for the task. The trick is to realize that what appears to be a horrible, dark, and miserable time may be exactly what you need to transform into the “fully blossomed” you.

Are there aspects of yourself you would like to change?

How might you improve your relationships, finances, health, or occupational skills?

Nurture, protect, and feed your seedling self so that you can develop into that fully actualized individual you want to become.

Can you think of ways in which you can take better care of yourself?

Relax

Maybe it is time to change the way you eat or get more sleep. It might be helpful to take a look at your sleep patterns and sleep hygiene. You might want to begin new habits of healthy living, or simply take time out for thinking, journaling, or meditating. Is this a good time to begin learning something new?

Take Time for Yourself

Set Goals

Consider what kind of blossom you want to become. If you do not know what kind of seed to plant this would be a good time to take inventory of your aspirations. What do you want? What does it look like? What does it take to get there? Create clear goals that are actionable. Think about how you can take steps toward your goal. Remember this is just planting a seed, not time to harvest the fruit. What steps will start you off toward the goal?

Visualize the Final Product

After you have planted the seed set your sights on your goal and begin to visualize yourself as fully developed. This is great incubation time.

What will you do differently?

How will you act?

Who will you be with?

After you get a clear picture of the actionable steps you want to take that will move you toward your goal, begin. Take those first steps. Once you start taking those steps, you will feel the sun on your face as you begin to emerge from the dark damp soil. Continue to nurture, protect, and feed your seedling self as you move into the sunlight.

Spring is an exciting season. Plant something worthy of your time and enjoy the fruits of your efforts when the time comes to harvest.

Reflections on Love

The week of Valentine’s Day seems to be a nice time to reflect on love. If you are in a romantic relationship you may have certain expectations regarding Valentine’s Day.

St. Valentine  was reportedly imprisoned and sentenced to death for marrying soldiers who were forbidden to marry. He also is said to have healed the sight of his judge’s daughter, whom he wrote on the day of his execution and signed “Your Valentine.” Thus, the first Valentine card was a farewell note according to Wikapedia.

Love comes in many sizes

Today we think of Valentine’s Day as a romantic day full of flowers, chocolates, stuffed animals, and candle lit dinners. However, there are many types of love and relationships that should be celebrated, whether on Valentine’s Day or your day of choosing.

Platonic Love

One of the mainstream types of love is of course platonic love. Platonic Love is a strong yet unromantic relationship. The love between  best friends and the love of a “bromance” are thought of as platonic relationships. This type of love is often celebrated and acknowledged as one tends to cherish the relationship and makes attempts to nurture it.

Love of Community and Culture

Another type of love is that of one’s community or culture. We are proud of our heritage and “where we are from”. We celebrate our ethnicity with special events, dressing in traditional garb, and eating foods associated with our countries of origin. Love of our community or culture helps us feel a part of something. We belong to this group, this tribe. If you are ever feeling lonely, this is a good way to find people with whom you can bond on a broad basis.

Love for Material Things

Often we find ourselves enamored with the pursuit of money, wealth, big houses, fine clothing, jewelry, or vehicles. While these things bring joy, they sometimes lack the substance we seek and even with success one may feel empty. It is a good idea to review your relationship with “things” every now and then. This is an area that can cause stress and anxiety.

Familial Love

Another type of love is that of Family. You are born with a network of people with whom you are supposed to feel bonded due to blood and often being “stuck” with them for your first X number of years. Whether you like them or not, they are your family and you “love them”. You do certain things because of those relationships…because “they’re family.” Usually those relationships are unbalanced for whatever reason. The relationships of Family members is often the cause of much happiness and much pain. Most families are messed up and have problems of one type or another. So be happy with the love you have and receive from your family, but do not let it be the only support system or  the only love you seek.

Spiritual  / Unconditional Love

Spiritual Love or Unconditional Love is the type of love we see in those who are altruistic or charitable in life. The person who “takes care” of their elderly neighbor or a homeless person without any expectation of recognition. The compassionate, giving moments of one’s day when we smile at a stranger or open the door for someone, are generally unconditional expressions of love.  Some people seem to have a tremendous ability to express unconditional love, yet other’s seem to be so wrapped up in their own lives. Sometimes we are not able to show unconditional love because we have little of the last type of love I am going to discuss today…

Self Love

All the love in the world does one no good if he / she does not have self love. This is the key to having a full enough heart that you can share yourself and your assets with others. If you are afraid of not having enough or you do not feel love yourself it is often because there is a lack of self love.

There are many reasons why one may not have self love. It could be from a perception that one was treated poorly growing up or that other’s have done things that are abhorrible, which leads to poor self-worth. If this sounds familiar to you, it might be time to start taking care of yourself and start believing that you deserve love.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a good place to start if you feel you do not deserve love. Find a professional who can help you work through this because you do deserve love. We all deserve to celebrate our selves, our community, friends, family, success as well as failures, and of course our significant others.

Celebrate Love This  Week

Happy Valentines Day!

Dare to Follow Your Inner Guide

Have you ever just known in your heart that you should do something?

Or avoid something?

Usually you think you know what to do, but self-doubt and other well intended people give their “honest opinion” that rains on your parade.

Such was the case with my book entitled Wiggle: Super Powers You Never Knew You Had.  You see, the title and cover for the book go against most “expert” opinions about what you should name a self-help book or what kind of cover it should have. I had a LOT of opinion coming at me from several directions. The doubters did not like the name because “It sounds like a children’s book.” Then to make matters worse, I used a cartoon looking cover with a dog on it! “And what’s up with those Super Powers?”

The book was written to hopefully help people. I did not have the intention of making a bunch of money or even trying to find a publisher. But being a competitive person, I got caught up in trying to do the best I could with the project and hoping it would be a success to my standards. So I read books about self-publishing and dove into the never-ending supply of “free seminars, books, videos” designed by people who sell “how to write a bestseller.”

I wrote the book. Then when the time came, I agonized over the name and the cover for quite some time and almost buckled under the pressure of “the experts”.

But what made the decision so hard, was without WIGGLE and the concept of wiggling, the book really was just any other self-help book. If I changed the title and used a more conventional name it might sell better but  it was not me. I knew in my heart that it was wrong to go against the original name.

My advice to people is to follow your heart, to listen to your inner voice. So, I stopped listening to the experts and their followers and did what I knew was right for me.

When it launched the kindle book immediately took the #1 spot in several categories as a New Release. It then went to the TOP 100 in New Releases.  As suggested by the experts, I did some free promotions and the downloads were over 3000 topping the charts in the free categories as well. After the promotions the book was able to achieve #1 Bestseller status in one category and top spots in several other very competitive categories.

Now it has tapered off and may bottom out. I am happy and have enjoyed hearing from people who have found my book to be helpful. No matter what happens from here out, it was true to my inner guidance.

I encourage you to listen to your heart and follow what you know is right for you. It may not be the popular choice. It has a potential to go all kinds of wrong. But then again, it has the potential to be wildly successful and better than you ever dreamed.

Dare to Follow Your Inner Guide!

 

Reinvent Yourself

What if you were the Mayor of a dying town…

What would you do to save the town…all the people depend on you…the livelihood of thousands depend on YOU.

I recently took a long driving trip from Texas to Michigan. Along the way we passed by a little town with an interesting story, Casey, IL.  As is the case of many small towns in our country, years ago, Casey, IL was a dying town. The travelers on  I-70 were passing by and Casey was going unnoticed.

Thanks to the creative genius of Jim Bolin and his family, Casey, IL now proudly boasts several BIG Achievements. That is, Casey holds several Guinness Book World’s Records. The first record was the World’s Largest Wind Chime, located at 109 East Main St. The chime was installed in 2011 and was just the beginning. They now have the Worlds Largest Rocking Chair, Knitting Needles and Crochet Hook, Mailbox, Golf Tee, and Pitchfork. The town also has many large attractions that are not “certified” as the World’s Largest, but fun to see nevertheless: I saw a large bird cage, pencil, yard stick, cactus, minion, ruler, and teeter totter (soon to be certified). Each item must be functional in order to be considered for the Guinness Book of World Records.  Below is a picture I took of the knitting needles and crochet hook, along with the items made during the Guinness certification.

Needles and Hook
Worlds largest knitting needles and crochet hook, located at The Farmer’s Wife, Casey, IL

Besides being Super Sized, this story is a fantastic example of Reinventing something.  It started with one idea… the Windchimes (see below). Little by little,  excitement grew and the town became known for something.  The inhabitants started to feel really good about living in Casey, IL. Tour buses now come to see all of these works of wonder and money flows. The little town is prosperous.

windchimes
World’s Largest Windchimes at Casey, IL

What can we learn from Casey, IL?

Obviously, not everyone can go build a World Record sized object. However, each one of us has talents and abilities that go untapped. You can reinvent yourself. Just like at Casey, you might have to start slowly and make changes gradually. It took several years to build the Windchimes.  We are all a work in progress. If you do not like who you are today, think about what you can do to make some changes.

What would you like to be?

Think about what special talents you have that could be put to use.

How might you start using those talents to help others?

How can you express something you have always wanted to say?

 

Your reinvention may not be large in size. Your change might be something other people might not notice at first. The key is to decide what you want to do and begin taking the actions you need in order to make change happen in your life.

So, right NOW – write down what you would like to change or begin in your life.  Write down on that same page, any ideas you have about the subject. Can you think of a way to actually take the first step toward doing this thing? If not, don’t panic…keep the paper near you and when an idea comes to mind, write it down.

If you can think of something to do…write down how, what, who, all the details you can think of to make this idea happen. Then, wait a day before doing it.

I know, that sounds kind of crazy…I am trying to get you to take action, but I am saying wait?  Yes. Wait. Let the idea ferment in your mind. Sleep on it. Get more specific about what you want to do. Do not jump off a cliff because you came up with a great idea.

After you have thought it over and made your plans more specific. TAKE ACTION. Small actions are usually a good idea, especially when going after a big dream. Why? Because you are making a big change and change does not usually just happen over night. It usually takes work, and time, and sustained effort.

As you progress with this idea, make adjustments as needed. It may take building several “World Record” projects before people start noticing your change. Keep the little town of Casey, IL in your thoughts as you make your changes and develop you plans.

Begin today, what you will be tomorrow.

 

 

New Book by Dr. Cobb

Dr. Carolynn Cobb is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Texas. She currently specializes in clinical assessment, technically driven interventions, and personal growth and development.

She is the author of the  bestselling book:

Wiggle: Super Powers You Never Knew You Had

We are proud to announce, Dr. Cobb’s book was in the TOP 100 New Releases and #1 New Release in several categories and hit BEST SELLER status in one category!   Get your copy today at Amazon:

Self-Help for Real People