Mark Twain’s Top 9 Tips For Living A Kick-Ass Life

I actually came upon this article on Facebook, where some of my favorites come from The Mind Unleashed. I’ve always been a fan of Mark Twain, and he has some pretty good quotes regarding Self-Care. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! Namaste – Stacey

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mark-twainYou may know Mark Twain for some of his very popular books like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. He was a writer and also a humorist, satirist and lecturer.

Twain is known for his many – and often funny – quotes. Here are a few of my favorite tips from him:

1. APPROVE OF YOURSELF. “A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”

If you don’t approve of yourself, of your behavior and actions then you’ll probably walk around most of the day with a sort of uncomfortable feeling. If you, on the other hand, approve of yourself then you tend to become relaxed and gain inner freedom to do more of what you really want.

This can, in a related way, be a big obstacle in personal growth. You may have all the right tools to grow in some way but you feel an inner resistance. You can’t get there.

What you may be bumping into there are success barriers. You are putting up barriers in your own mind of what you may or may not deserve. Or barriers that tell you what you are capable of. They might tell you that you aren’t really that kind of person that could this thing that you’re attempting.

Or if you make some headway in the direction you want to go you may start to sabotage for yourself. To keep yourself in a place that is familiar for you.

So you need give yourself approval and allow yourself to be who you want to be. Not look for the approval from others. But from yourself. To dissolve that inner barrier or let go of that self-sabotaging tendency. This is no easy task and it can take time.

2. YOUR LIMITATIONS MAY JUST BE IN YOUR MIND. “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

So many limitations are mostly in our minds. We may for instance think that people will disapprove because we are too tall, too old or balding. But these things mostly matter when you think they matter. Because you become self-conscious and worried about what people may think.

And people pick up on that and may react in negative ways. Or you may interpret anything they do as a negative reaction because you are so fearful of a bad reaction and so focused inward on yourself.

If you, on the other hand, don’t mind then people tend to not mind that much either. And if you don’t mind then you won’t let that part of yourself become a self-imposed roadblock in your life.

It is, for instance, seldom too late to do what you want to do.

3. LIGHTEN UP AND HAVE SOME FUN. “Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.” “Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.”

Humor and laughter are amazing tools. They can turn any serious situation into something to laugh about. They can lighten the mood just about anywhere.

And a lighter mood is often a better space to work in because now your body and mind isn’t filled to the brim with negative emotions. When you are more light-hearted and relaxed then the solution to a situation is often easier to both come up with and implement. Have a look at Lighten Up! for more on this topic.

Read quotes 4 – 9 here…

Credits: Written by HENRIK EDBERG of www.positivityblog.com, where this was originally featured.

Simply Self Care

By Diane Sanford, PhD
photo1I took a break last week from posting. I needed it. The holiday weekend had me “holidayed” out. I didn’t do much but I felt like it after weeks of too much doing and not enough being.

Instead, I spent the afternoon relaxing in the thirty dollar wading pool (for adults), my daughter and I got at Sam’s Club earlier this season. I was so happy sunning and doing nothing. It reminded me (once again) that I need to stop more often and experience life with “ease and joy” as one of my mindfulness teachers says. Likewise, it doesn’t take a “special” situation or circumstance for this to occur. In mindfulness we call this as “informal” practice. Simply, paying attention to what you’re doing.

This week, I encourage you to take 5 minutes a few times each day to pause and become fully engaged in the moment you’re in. Then take 15-20 minutes once or twice during the week to intentionally choose an activity that eases stress and brings you joy. Your to-do list will still be there when you’re done but it may not seem as urgent or oppressive. A little “time-out” can go a long way.

Namaste

Rough Seas Ahead

I have been working with a certain client for a few years now. For simplicity, let’s call her Sarah (not her real name). Sarah is debating a common issue: what to do with a loveless marriage. Since divorce is no longer taboo these days, more women are considering it as an option than ever before. There are still women like Sarah, who believe that marriage is for “forever,” but at what cost?

I have to say something straight-up: I am not an advocate for divorce. Many couples still have a strong foundation that the rest can be supported upon and fixed. In my practice, it is always my intention to help two people salvage their marriage if both are willing to work at it. That being said, I am also not an advocate for the stagnation and lack of self-care that can come about when two people really don’t need to be together.

Sarah has only recently included divorce as an option for herself. She’s been married almost 20 years and has two children with her husband, Bryan (not his real name). She has cited history, children, not wanting to “fail” and not wanting to hurt “anyone” as her reasons for staying. She has not really loved Bryan for 2 or 3 years now, and they have grown apart, each focused on paths that don’t intersect any longer. Bryan is a good man; he is not abusive or adulterous. He is also not present in the relationship until Sarah brings up her discontent (usually after Bryan asks for sex). Then, he may focus more on the marriage for a week or two. But Sarah always ends up in the same place: alone, despite another person being there.

Bryan and Sarah have gone to couples counseling a few times and their therapist tells me that she doesn’t see much of a foundation there. Because I agree, I have been questioning Sarah about what her life would look like if she could wave a magic wand. Her magical world doesn’t involve Bryan.

This issue all boils down, as most issues do, to Self-Care. We all know that life is short, so why would we stay in an unhappy situation for one minute longer than we have to? Because we think we “have to!” Should Sarah decide to separate from Bryan, there will be some rough times. If she stays focused on her own needs and doesn’t try to own Bryan’s or the kids’ reactions, she will come through it in a healthy manner, being honest and open with her family.

Because women are raised in a society that teaches us to nurture at the expense of ourselves, the notion of doing what is best for us sometimes is very scary! But as Sarah and Bryan’s couples therapist said, “She needs to put on her big girl panties and do the ethical – and honest – thing for herself.”

What are some things in your life that you’re maintaining the status quo with because you can’t imagine another option? Are there really no other choices or are the other choices just things that you can’t imagine doing? If you don’t change your situation, how do you think this will affect you in the next year, 5 years, 10 years?

Sometimes, we have to weather the storm to get to calm, peaceful seas. Namaste.

at sea

What William and Kate can expect

Like any new parents, William and Kate will go through many ups and downs on their new parenthood journey.  See Dr. Sanford’s interview in USA Today about this here:http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/22/will-kate-baby-parents-emotions/2569033/

Royal Baby Arrives-What Kate and William Can Expect

After much anticipation, Kate and William’s baby boy was born today. Although they’re “royals,” the new mom and dad will likely experience  many ups and downs just like the rest of us. Experts weigh in about this at: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/22/will-kate-baby-parents-emotions/2569033/

See what they’re in for and what any of you expecting can expect. If you’re already a parent, send us comments about your personal ups and downs and joys and sorrows. Whatever, you’d like to share. For those of you who don’t know, Stacey and I specialize in pregnancy and postpartum emotional health and welcome your stories, questions and concerns.

Cheers to the “royals” and each of you.

To Reduce Stress-Simply Breathe

It’s been a while since we’ve posted but finally life seems to be quieting down (I probably shouldn’t say that too loud) and I’ve missed writing and connecting with each of you. Since opening the Midwest Mind Body Health Center in St. Louis last October, I’ve not had much time to “catch my breath” which is an excellent way to reduce stress and the subject of this post.

By learning to focus our attention on our breath “without judgement” we can help settle our bodies and minds which are often tense and overloaded. The breath offers an opportunity for mindful awareness because it occurs without us having to do anything.  All we have to do is “notice” the sensation of breath as it moves through our body. No more. No less.

If this sounds too good to be true it isn’t. Until I started studying mindfulness a few years ago, I didn’t believe these practices which include “breath awareness” could be so effective in relieving stress and tension but they can. In March there was even an article in the New York Times about mindfulness to reduce stress and worry. Seems everyone is catching the “mindfulness” bug.

To help you get started, here’s a link to the YouTube video I made so the students in my May “Mindful Stress Reduction Class” could practice “Simply Breathe”-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWmHn_YMsp8. However, as the NY Times article says, “If you don’t practice, it won’t work.”

So, here’s to your health one breath at a time. Enjoy!

How Our Children Teach Us to Surrender

One of my most challenging life lessons has been surrender-letting go of what I want to have happen and allowing life to unfold naturally. Sound familiar? I imagine it is. Why is this so hard to do? Because we’re convinced that if we “let go” bad things or at least random things will happen, that will be bad for us. But if we hang on really tight, then we can produce the desired outcome. Right?

What often happens though is that we produce the effect we wanted to avoid. Take our children for example, the more we struggle to make them like us, the more they fight to be themselves. I am not talking about teaching them to be kind, respectful and compassionate. Of course, we want to do everything we can to instill these values. What I mean is trying to control who they become like who they choose as friends or the interests they pursue.

Here’s what Kahlil Gibran had to say “On Children”

“Your children are not your children, They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.”

This week, look deeply into your child’s eyes and ask “Who are you? Who are you becoming?” Then listen with your intuition. If you don’t have children, look into your own eyes in the mirror and ask the same questions. Finally, release whatever comes to mind and let the universe fill in the details. Ah, the sweet taste of surrender.

Enjoy!