Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Can Meditation Support You to Eat More Healthily?

Are you overweight or underweight?  Could you honestly put your hand on your heart and say that you have complete control of your eating habits? Most of us are guilty of over-eating whilst on autopilot or of eating when bored or stressed. Some of us see food as the enemy and become upset and negative around food.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could find a way to eat simply when hungry and to make healthy choices when deciding what to eat, without feeling deprived? Think about the people you know who meditate regularly. Would you say that the majority of them are a healthy weight, with a positive attitude to good nutrition? There just might be something in it. Research has shown that certain types of meditation can help us to control our emotional eating. There is also evidence that meditation can be helpful in treating binge eating disorder. So if you’ve tried every diet known to man and still have weight issues it might be that the answer lies in using meditation to help you change the way you think about food. 

Noticing what you eat

If you meditate regularly you are likely to find that your approach to food changes. You will begin to eat more consciously. Quite a few meditation courses include a session in which participants are asked to eat a piece of fruit or other food in a way which encourages full engagement with the experience. You might try this simple exercise at home. Take a small piece of simple food. Hold it and spend a few minutes looking at it like you’ve never seen that food before.  Notice any “imperfections.”  Explore the colour and feel of the food. Gently squeeze it. Does it make any sound? Now bring the food closer and smell it. How does it smell? Does the smell change? Finally take one small bite. How does the food feel on the tongue? What sensations do you experience in your mouth and the rest of your body? Now slowly bite the food. Close your eyes and experience the taste and texture of the food. Swallow and then pause to think about how your body feels before taking the next bite. 

Didn’t eating in that way change your experience of eating? You will most likely have felt more satisfied with what you ate than you would have if you’d eaten it without thinking while staring at your computer screen or watching TV. If you eat more consciously you are likely to eat less than when you eat on autopilot whilst doing other things. And here’s the good bit: every mouthful of food you eat will become more delicious and more satisfying. You are likely to feel full sooner.

Why might meditation help you approach food with the right attitude?

People who meditate regularly start to experience a range of positive changes in their daily lives. Meditators often find themselves starting to exercise better self-control in their approach to many aspects of their lives, including their eating habits. One of the most widely reported benefits of meditation is that meditation can cause changes in the brain which affect the way we perceive stress.  These changes are likely to help us control our emotional eating patterns.

How to get started

So if you’d like to give meditation a try, a good place to start might be to find some meditations which will give you a taste of how you might incorporate this wonderful healing practice into your life.

The Corporate Jungle - A Place for Meditation?

So you’ve worked hard all your life, beaten all the competition and finally found that well-paid job. You already know that big business can be a pretty cut-throat place. You’ll need to have all your wits about you to successfully navigate the political machinations of others and to cope with the relentless long hours, not to mention actually getting on with doing your job.

A new breed of successful executive is emerging. This 21st-century business leader is the type who doesn’t seem to make enemies. Even rivals admit that they’re good at their jobs. They are likely to believe in clean living and manage to tactfully avoid the pitfalls of heavy drinking and partying which often form part of the corporate culture. The chances are strong that this person meditates. Here are some of the reasons why meditation can help you survive and achieve your goals in the corporate jungle without losing sight of your soul.

What meditation can do for you

Have you noticed how some individuals don’t seem to let stress get to them? They see situations which others would regard with horror as positive challenges to be faced with enthusiasm. One of the most immediate effects you’ll start to experience once you start practicing meditation is a decrease in your stress levels. This is because regular meditation has been shown to affect the regions of the brain that trigger the “fight or flight” responses to stress. Starting your day listening to a guided meditation will clear your head and strengthen your cognitive function.
You’ll also find that you become more focused and much less likely to fall into the trap of excessive multitasking. A study at the University of California in Santa Barbara found that participants who had practiced meditation for as little as 2 weeks were more focused whilst completing cognitive tasks.
If you practice regular meditation you might begin to find that you start waking up earlier in the morning feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead. It appears that meditators need less sleep than others.  Think how much more you could achieve in life if you felt fully refreshed and alert after six hours sleep.  It would more than make up for the time you set aside each day to practice.

Will I lose my edge?

You might worry that if you start meditating you’ll lose your edge. In a world of survival of the fittest, might there be a risk that meditation will make you less thrusting and more detached from what’s going on around you? Actually nothing could be further from the truth. Whilst it’s true that meditation might make you more empathic and incidentally kinder to yourself, it will actually increase your mental strength and resilience. So on balance, there’s nothing to lose. It’s really time for you to learn how to do meditation. Your long-term career could benefit in all sorts of unexpected ways.

How to Improve Your Decision-Making at Work with Meditation

Nobody wants a work colleague or, even worse, a boss who cannot make effective decisions. In today’s hectic and unpredictable work environments we need to be able to make decisions quickly and to get the decisions right. Wouldn’t it be great if there were techniques out there which we could use to improve our decision-making powers? Well the good news is that research over the last 20 years has found proof of what many of us already knew. Regular meditation really can improve your ability to act incisively and effectively at work.

Make better decisions

Activities such as meditation are likely to make us better able to cope with stress. We are more likely to make the right decisions, without letting negative emotions influence our decisions, if we have trained our minds to work in a more disciplined, focused way. This is exactly what regular meditation achieves.

Avoiding the sunk-cost trap

We now know that people who meditate regularly are better able to focus their attention on the present moment and are less likely to be distracted by ruminating over what has happened in the past.  Research shows that a group who listened to a series of short breathing-focused meditations and were then asked to make a decision were less likely than a control group to let sunk-cost factors influence their decisions. An example of the sunk-cost trap is when an investment company continues to pour money into a disastrous project simply because they have already poured millions into it, rather than because it is a good idea.

Meditation changes the way we think

A study published in 2011 by a group of neuroscientists found that experienced meditators were better equipped to stop negative emotional responses influencing their decision-making. This was because the meditators were found to activate different areas of the brain to the control group when faced with decisions.

How to incorporate meditation into your life

The good news is that getting started at meditation has never been easier.  With a whole range of guided meditations just a click of the computer mouse away, you’ve no excuse not to start immediately.  They reckon that to get the full benefits of meditation you should aim to meditate for at least 30 minutes every day.  That may seem like a big ask, but once you start to experience the positive life-changing effects of regular practice, you’ll agree that it’s time well spent. If you can’t manage a full 30 minutes to begin with that’s not a problem. Even spending 5 minutes every day focusing on your breathing and recognizing when your thoughts drift away and gently bringing the mind back to your breathing is better than nothing. After just a few weeks of regular daily meditation you’ll probably start to find your decision-making powers are sharper and that you have the confidence to speak out in meetings and follow-through your decisions.

Friday, October 7, 2016

6 Ways in Which Meditation Will Improve Your Life

Have you ever looked into the face of a newborn baby and marveled at the expression of inner-wisdom in its tiny face? When you were born, you were naturally endowed with a host of inner resources. You were born with self-confidence, determination, natural curiosity and the ability to listen to what your body is telling you. All too often, our life experiences chip away at these inner strengths. Luckily meditation is always available to help us to reconnect to our inner wisdom. Here are six ways in which meditation techniques can significantly improve your experience of daily living.
  1. You will be healthier. Meditation has been proven to improve your general health in many different ways. A study from Harvard University found that meditating regularly helped the genes that work on metabolism and insulin secretion and suppressed the genes that cause inflammation (which causes the immune system to weaken).
  2.  Meditation makes you happier. Research has found that people generally reported being in a better mood after being trained in meditation. Countless other studies have found that meditation helps fight depression.
  3.  Meditation improves focus and attentionMeditation actually seems to thicken the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with cognitive ability. This means that people who meditate are less likely to waste time being distracted by things that are not important and perform whatever tasks they must do as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  4.  Meditation improves emotional intelligence. High emotional intelligence is an indispensible attribute, generally being correlated with success more significantly than a high IQ. Increased emotional intelligence will improve your ability to tune into the emotions of others and will improve your relationships with the people around you, both at home and in the workplace.
  5. You will be more aware of your unconscious mind. Research has found that people who frequently meditate experience a longer pause between impulses that come from the unconscious mind and taking action. In other words, they are able to think before they act, rather than blindly following impulses.
  6. Meditation helps fight stress. This is something which most of us have to deal with every day in our modern, hectic world. Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that meditation actually reduces the grey-matter density in areas of the brain connected with anxiety and stress. Less stress means that we are free to make clear decisions and to enjoy our lives.

So what are you waiting for?  Try some meditation for beginners today.  You’ll be amazed by the changes you start to experience in your career as well as in your general health and well-being.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day 12 of Clutter Cleanse & Zen Habits for a Peaceful Home

I’m on day 12 of my 30 day ‘letting go of clutter’ cleanse, and I’m loving it! I thought it might be hard to let go of something everyday, but I’m finding such joy and freedom in letting go of my stuff. Each day I can’t wait to find a new drawer, shelf, or corner in my house that I can purge the numerous things I have collected over the years. It’s as though because I’ve declared it an ‘official cleanse’, I now have permission to be ruthless in letting go of what I once thought I was attached to. Clutter be gone!

To keep the inspiration going, below is another great article on creating and maintaining a beautiful and peaceful home. Leo Babauta, author of the popular Zen Habits blog shares the habits that support him in keeping a stress free home.

Keeping a stress-free, clean house
by Leo Babauta

Yesterday I cleaned my house a little, tidying up, cleaning the bathroom a little, cleaning the kitchen, and generally making the place look nice.

It is simply beautiful. There is a tremendous pleasure I get in being able to relax in a clean house.

Of course, with six kids, it never lasts long, but there are things I can do to keep it generally clean and tidy.

Here are the habits I will try to maintain to keep a stress-free house:

1. Never leave dishes in the sink. Or counter. Clean up any messes in the kitchen after I’m done. Wipe the counters, keep the sink clean.

2. Tidy the bathroom as I go. After I use the bathroom, clean the sink, the toilet, spray down the shower, real quick. It only takes a couple of minutes, and the joy of a clean bathroom is unmatched.

3. Pick up as I go. There are little things the kids leave around the house. I’ll just pick them up throughout the day, or keep a basket for their stuff and just dump them in there, for them to put away later.

4. Never leave clothes out. I have a tendency not to hang my once-used but still clean clothes in my bedroom, leaving them out to clutter the place up. No more. They either go in the dirty clothes, or they get hung in the closet.

5. Take the trash out every day. It’s cleaner, and even if the trash isn’t quite full, this is a good habit.

6. Tidy up before I leave the house. It’s wonderful to come home to a clean house. Just pick up a little before I leave.

7. Make my bed in the morning. I’ll do this either before or after I shower. I love a made bed.

8. Tidy up before I go to bed. Waking up to a dirty house is stressful. Waking up to a clean house is an incredible way to start the day.

9. Don’t let clutter pile up. There’s a place in the kitchen where we pile books and papers. That needs to go. Piles are stressful. I will clear this counter daily, along with the inbox we have for all incoming papers.

10. Get rid of the papers on the fridge. I can pretty much put all of that info on our calendar. They leave a very cluttered appearance.

11. Teach the kids to put their stuff away. By far the greatest source of stress and messiness. This will also be the most difficult task, and I don’t know if it can ever be accomplished. But it’s worth a try.

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn, Robbie Caponetto 

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Clear Clutter Out of Your House – and Relax!

When you have a cluttered home, it’s hard to de-stress and decompress. Try these tips to clear clutter from your home.

The mind is a terrible thing to clutter. But when you have a cluttered home, it’s hard to de-stress and decompress.

“Think about it,” says Lisa Jacobs, a certified home organizer and the founder of Imagine It Done, a lifestyle consultancy in Roslyn, N.Y.

“When you get up in the morning, if you have clutter right there in your face, it starts your day off on the wrong foot. When you have to start your day by looking for your keys or your phone or your toothbrush, it makes you anxious and you haven’t even left the house yet!”

If you think you don’t have time to clear your clutter, think again. With an action plan from experts, you can bust the clutter in your home in 15-minute chunks every day -- and build yourself an oasis of calm that’s also less of a haven for dust, dirt, and allergens.
Before you de-clutter any space, prepare. You need bags or boxes for four purposes, says Ellen Delap, a professional organizer in Houston:
  • Things you will donate to charity
  • Things you want to sell at a yard sale, or on Craigslist, Ebay, or freecycle
  • Things that belong in another room
  • Things headed for the trash  

Now you’re ready to de-clutter any room.

When in Doubt About Clutter, Psych Yourself Out

Many home organization experts say “When in doubt, throw it out.” Colorado psychotherapist and organizing consultant Aricia LaFrance isn’t so strict. “It just slows you down and makes you hate organizing,” she says.
Instead, if you have something you don’t wear or use, but are on the fence about parting with it, stick it in a box. Put the box in your garage or attic, and write a future date on it -- one year or six months from now.
“If you really need something from that box, you can go out and get it,” says LaFrance. “When the date comes -- and you need to write it in your calendar -- don’t open the box. Donate it or throw it away.”

Try 15-Minute Clutter Workouts

Get yourself a timer -- a stopwatch or a classic old egg timer. Don’t just use the one on the stove or microwave; you won’t necessarily hear it in the basement or your bedroom.
Set it for 15 minutes. Choose the worst, most cluttered area of your house. It doesn’t need to be a room. It can be a corner, a shelf, the top of the microwave. Jacobs likes to start with the kitchen counter, where everything from bills to magazines to kids’ school projects often pile up. “If you clean up your counter space, you will breathe,” she says.

Buy Organizing Bins for Clutter

Before purging yourself of unneeded clutter, you may need to buy some needed things: clear plastic bins, of various sizes, along with white first-aid tape.
“These bins are a lifesaver,” says Jacobs. “Proper containers are the #1 remedy of organizing. If they’re clear so that you can see what’s in them, and clearly labeled, you know what you have and where it is.”

Sort quickly: bills that need to be paid and kids’ art to be put in their rooms goes in the distribution basket. Three-month-old baby announcements, party invitations, and pieces of fast-food toys go in the trash.
When the timer beeps, you’re done. Once you’ve done this baby step a few times, you can take on bigger spaces and set the timer for an hour to tackle tougher challenges like closets or basements.

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

30 Days of 'Letting Go of Clutter' Cleanse

by Margalit Ward

As a way to restart my efforts at writing and posting to our Get Up Girl blog, (I know, I’ve missed you… it’s been a few months) I've decided to pick a theme that will prepare me for the New Year... embarking upon a 30 day cleanse of letting go of clutter. Things, stuff, clothes, books, magazines, emails, kitchen items, and broken pieces of things I don’t even remember what or where they belong. It's amazing how much a person (me) can accumulate. So it's time. Time to purge, release and let go of things I don't need or want or use.

I’ve wanted to try this since I heard about it from my inspirational mentors, Doctors Ron and Mary Hulnick. They’re my teachers from the University of Santa Monica who shared with the class years ago about their 30 day de-cluttering challenge and how much energy, clarity and fulfillment they derived from the process. I thought, what a great idea, I’m going to do that… one day.

So starting today, December 1, I will give away, recycle or throw away at least one item a day. My intention is to get rid of A LOT more than that, but I wanted to make this journey do-able and fun!

I will also post articles from other experts on the subject throughout the month as way to enlighten and inspire you and me! And, if you would like to join me on this quest for clean, please share your comments or email me. I would love to hear from you and how the experience of lightening your load is changing your home and life.

So here we go… ready, set, THROW!

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Top 10 Ways We Give Away Our Power

Here are the top 10 ways people give away their power:

1.   Asking others what they should do.

2.   Thinking God decides who gets what.

3.   Worrying about how their dream will come true.

4.   Thinking they have dues to pay.

5.   Attaching to unimportant details and outcomes.

6.   Believing in soul mates.

7.   Thinking karma or spiritual contracts are absolute.

8.   Fear of anything, especially falling in love.

9.   Waiting for their ducks to line up before acting.

10. Choosing to be unhappy.

Understand the truth, little bird, and you will soar.

From Fearless Women

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Time to Get REAL! Is It Hard for You to Say No?

It is for me sometimes. In fact, 2012 has started with some real tough lessons for me, including what happens when life burn-out hits you front and center. With my health and energy levels at an all time low, I discovered I had been over-giving, over-working, and over-yes-ing. That means saying yes to more than I really wanted to say yes to, and giving more time and importance to what others want and need.

Author and Coach Cheryl Richardson talks about only saying yes to her ‘absolute yes’ list. Similar to the message we share in our Get Up Girl 9 Week program, she suggests putting our self-care above anything else—say no unless it's an absolute yes. The goal is to spend our time and energy on things that bring us joy and make decisions based on what we want instead of what others want. When we don't set boundaries and take care of ourselves, our health and well-being are at stake.

It might sound selfish to some (I know I have that voice in my head at times from past limiting beliefs), but how well can we really take care of others if we are constantly feeling depleted and running on empty? Not only will our health and well-being be affected, but it also becomes more difficult to experience true happiness and fulfillment.

So let’s get real. What is YOUR ABSOLUTE YES LIST?
Here are a few questions inspired by Cheryl Richardson.

Ask yourself:

1. What needs your attention at this time in your life?

2. Think in terms of the next 3 months, not the next year. What needs your attention: Your marriage, financial, health, your physical and emotional heath? Maybe you need to find a babysitter to care for your child so you can have time for yourself each week. What are the most pressing areas right now?

More examples: Spiritual well-being, time with friends, school, work,
volunteering, finances, household chores, home repair, etc.

3. Once you've made your list above, pick the top five priorities.

Does your list need to be reordered?

Cheryl recommends placing yourself at Number 1. Placing yourself at the top may be hard, but ask yourself, "How am I going to take care of others if I am burnt out?" Remember, this is about you. This Is Your Absolute Yes List.

Daily Reminder:  Once your list is complete, print it out and place it where you will see it throughout the day—the bathroom mirror, the dashboard of your car, your computer monitor, etc. This will assist you in staying on track with your list.

by Margalit Ward
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Friday, December 2, 2011

20 Ways to Say Thank You to Anyone, Including Yourself

by Margalit Ward

Tis the season to be thankful. With Thanksgiving behind us, and the December holiday season upon us, it got me thinking about all the ways we can appreciate the many people in our lives, including ourselves.

Here are 20 Ways to Say Thank You to Anyone, Including Yourself:

1. Smile… at a stranger, a friend, someone you love.

2. Draw a picture with a kind word, quote or phrase.

3. Cook dinner for a friend that doesn't get to enjoy home cooked meals very often.

4. Mail a hand-written thank you note to someone you appreciate.  (I know this is sooo last century!)

5. Sing a song when it's least expected. (serenading is a lost art)

6. Bake cookies for your local firehouse.

7. Write a poem or limerick for a child in your life.

8. Write a list of 10 things you appreciate about a person, and share it with them.

9. Hugs! Who doesn't like a hug?

10. Leave a note of thanks for your postal worker for delivering your mail everyday rain or shine.

11. Let the manager know how well your favorite waiter, sales person, or customer service person helped you.

12. Write 10 things you appreciate about yourself, and post it where you will see it everyday for a month.

13. Send a fun postcard to someone you haven't seen in a long time.

14. Send a letter or email of appreciation to any teachers that made a difference in your life.

15. Leave a colorful and thankful note for a waiter who gave you excellent service.

16. Send flowers to your mother on YOUR birthday. (yeah, she's the one that made it all happen)

17. Decorate your dinner table with some extra special touches of love & creativity. Ideas: colorful & personal notes, flowers, candles, special table cloth & table settings, tree lights, crystals, etc.

18. Pick or buy flowers for your next door neighbors & leave with a note thanking them for being a wonderful neighbor.

19. Save a dollar a day for a month, and then treat yourself to a movie and ice cream (or whatever you like).

20. Look at yourself in the mirror, into your beautiful eyes, and let yourself know how much you appreciate the gift and blessing that you are.

With every gesture of kindness and gratitude, we are lifted, blessed and transported to a place where our hearts are naturally joyful. As Mother Teresa has said, 'Gratitude is the Mother of Joy.' Yes it's true, it's hard to be grumpy when we feel grateful. Instead, we focus on what's right in our lives. So jump in, feel the love, the joy, and the gift of being thankful.

We invite you to share with us your ideas of other ways of saying 'thank you', and what your experience is with sharing your gratitude with yourself and others.

Wishing you much Joy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

20 Books to Inspire You

What happens when you invite 23 dynamic women, each with their own unique story, to share with each other about what has inspired them in their lives? In addition to having fun, you find yourself feeling uplifted, touched, and inspired by the beauty and strength of these amazing women.

A couple of weeks ago Get Up Girl hosted an evening called, ‘Inspire, Network and Swap Books’. The women attending arrived with three things: 1- Ready to share a short story or a few sentences about what or who inspired them in their life, 2- A yummy treat to share with the group, and 3- An inspirational book to swap with others.

The evening’s theme obviously touched a chord! The October event was sold out, and we had to start a waiting list. I think it’s safe to say, people love to be inspired, to read, and of course, to eat! We enjoyed mingling, snacking and getting to know each other, before circling up to share our stories and a great variety books.

Below is the list of books the women exchanged at our event (all linked to Amazon). The list includes everything from non-fiction, self-help, to some wonderful memoirs and fiction. If you have books that inspired you, we would love to know the titles and authors. We will start another list of books from your comments and emails. We thank you for your suggestions. Enjoy!

20 Inspiring Books:

3.  Creative Visualization - Shakti Gawain

4.  Diary of a Beverly Hills Matchmaker - Marla Martenson

5.  Eat Pray Love - Elizabeth Gilbert

6.  Excuses Begone! - Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

7.  Gods and Goddesses in Love - Agapi Stassinopoulos

8.  Handbook for the Heart - Richard Carlson

9.  How Starbucks Saved My Life - Michael Gates Gill

11. Letters to a Young Poet - Rainer Maria Rilke

12. Now is the Time - Patrick Lindsay

13. The Help - Kathryn Stockett

14. The Man Who Planted Trees - Jean Giono

15. The Mastery of Love  - Don Miguel Ruiz

16. The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle

17. The Story of You - Steve Chandler

18. Seinlanguage - Jerry Seinfeld

19. Think and Grow Rich - Napolian Hill

20. Your Best Year Yet - Jinny S. Ditzler

If you would like to be invited to a future Get Up Girl event, you can connect with us a few ways. Subscribe to our Newsletter, follow us on Facebook, or join our Get Up Girl Meetup Group. We look forward to seeing you!

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Comparison Trap

by Leo Babauta of zenhabits

I love reading about other people’s work setups, I really do. It’s one of my guilty pleasures.

I’ll read about another blogger’s computer setup, or what kind of notebook and pen he uses, or how he works standing up or on a treadmill or while doing handstand pushups and growing a vegetable garden.

And when I read about some cool setup someone else has, some cool new way of working, I inevitably want to try it. I’m only human.

You’ve done this too, probably. You might read a review of some new software that will help you create, or a new fashion style or some cool shoes or beautiful furniture or the newest iPad, or the latest iPhone app. Or maybe you’re a minimalist and read someone’s barefoot running article, or how they’re living out of a backpack, and want to try that.

It’s a trap.

We’re endlessly looking at how others do things, for inspiration and ideas … but we end up wanting to try those things too. That sounds harmless until you realize that you’ll buy almost anything because someone wrote about it and made it sound amazing. You’ll live a life of an endless series of purchases because of what other people are doing. And it never ends.

Even if you don’t buy stuff, you’ll change your life endlessly, based on what others are doing. You’ll give up your couch, you’ll stop buying Ikea furniture, then give up your cell phone, then give up your computer, then start doing yoga, then become a Zen monk, then create a tech startup. Those things are amazing, sure … but when does it ever end?

When do we ever feel content with the life we’re living?

If you look to the lives of others,

you’ll always find yourself lacking.

Look instead at what you have,

and be grateful.

Reduce your needs,

and be content.

And your life of striving

for perfection, for the future,

will become a life of balance,

of the moment, of inner peace.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

The Wisdom of Steve Jobs

I read this quote by Apple's Co-Founder and visionary, Steve Jobs this week and found it very inspiring, so I decided to make it this week's Get Up Girl blog post.


"Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

-Steve Jobs

It reminds me to take time to listen inside to what truly moves, inspires and lifts me. To pay attention to the little nudges and whispers within. And to keep asking myself, "Am I being true to what my heart and intuition is guiding me to do?" Plus, this man is a living demonstration of expressing creativity and innovation. | Follow us on Twitter | Become a Facebook Fan | Margalit Ward on Twitter

Friday, June 24, 2011

6 Tips To Bounce Back From Overwhelm

6 Tips To Bounce Back From Overwhelm
by Lisa Peake, M.A.

Get Up Girl and productivity pro, Lisa Peake of Peake Productivity, shares with us about how to support ourselves when we're experiencing overwhelm.

I work with a lot of busy women. Each one is doing her best to be a good daughter, friend, wife, sister, mother, and brings a high level of care and investment to her work. The good news is that studies show that wearing these varied roles benefits us: when one area of life becomes challenging, we resource self-esteem and encouragement from other sources. We are more robust because we care about and participate in many different areas.

But what happens when all of these areas demand a lot of your time and focus, leaving little left over for you?

That’s when I remind my clients (and myself) that we women must give to ourselves first before we can give of the overflow. If you’re feeling depleted or overwhelmed, here are 6 tips to restore yourself to productivity relaxed focus:

1. Appreciate yourself and your partner.

Start with yourself, and start simple. Write down 3-5 things you appreciate about yourself at the end of the day. Make sure to include qualities about yourself as well as accomplishments. Then turn to your spouse, best friend, or business partner and share the love. A major source of emotional nourishment comes from feeling appreciated, and you’re the best person to start this trend in your own life. I have all of my clients appreciate themselves at the end of each week as part of their Weekly Review.

2. Take a sabbath day.
It was Rachel Naomi Remen who inspired me to block out a day of rest on my calendar every week. Commit to it! Usually a weekend works best for most people. For the entire day: no chores, no errands, keep cooking simple and nourishing, or ask a loved one to take over. Hire a babysitter if needed. Make it a day to play, pray, rest, nap, primp, gab, meditate, and receive support from the ones you love. Resting in this way allows your mind time to incubate creative ideas. All of the brilliant artists, writers and musicians take time away from their creations to percolate. Take time away from whatever it is that you produce, and recharge.

3. Know when to quit.
When you’re tired, sleepy or “braindead”, your most productive next action is rest. This may sound elementary, but in fact it takes conscious awareness to know when to stop (work, play, chores, etc.) Practice checking in with yourself to find out when you need to stop what you’re doing, or take a break. This can also mean know when to quit dwelling on negative thoughts. By redirecting yourself to something more nurturing or uplifting, you have an opportunity to recreate your day.

4. Don’t confuse sneaky indulgences with true self-nurturing.
A pint of Hagen Daas is probably not true self-nurturing, especially if it leaves you feeling guilty. Recognize those times when you want to “slip up” - that is, any time a convenient justification pops in like, “I deserve this because...” Take that as a sign that you need more true self-nurturing. True self-nurturing creates space for greater awareness, false nurturing pushes aside unpleasant thoughts or emotions. The productive choice is to honor what’s present now, and be kind to yourself as you go through it. There is no going around it, anyway. “The best way out is always through.” -Robert Frost

5. Forgive the day.
Forgive yourself, the people in your day, the situations in your life. Forgive it all. This way, when your head hits the pillow, you go free. You can do this in a simple way by saying, “I forgive myself for judging anyone or anything I judged today.” Do what is necessary to bring yourself into peace, and your night time rest will be more rejuvenating.

6. Set a bedtime intention to get deep rejuvenating rest.
Write in your journal what kind of sleep you want to receive, or just say your intention inwardly. You can include an intention to have meaningful dreams, and to wake up feeling refreshed. This is a simple one to try out and test the results for yourself. It takes less than 30 seconds per day.
We all need to make time for ourselves in a conscious caring way. When we don’t, we find ourselves depleted and wondering what happened. It takes some effort to stay rested in a busy world, but if you make these tools and others an important part of your daily and weekly routine, you may find that you bounce back from those occasional moments of overwhelm a lot faster.

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