The power of forgiveness

When I went through a divorce after years of a struggling marriage, my ex asked if I forgave him. I was confused. I didn’t feel that forgiveness was in my power. I didn’t feel any judgment toward him – I just needed to not argue anymore. But forgiveness was important to him so I said I didn’t hold anything against him and wouldn’t have changed a thing – we had had a great life with lots of friends and two wonderful little girls. We were just too different to stay together and it was time to part friends – but definitely to part.

When I walked away, I felt no bad feelings toward him. I just felt free and ready to get back into the world again, to get back to a positive, high-energy place.

Throughout my life, I’ve known plenty of people who are bitter about relationships and about splits and I see the bitterness weigh on them. It’s heavy. It steals their energy and their focus and holds them to part of the past that’s done. It makes them miserable and it can make them kind of miserable to be around. Continue reading

Time to go plogging!

I know from running my DNA with 23&me that I don’t have any Scandinavian blood, but I’ve found another Scandinavian trend I’m totally loving: Plogging. Plogging is a mix of pick-up + jog.

Here’s the idea: You go out for a nice run keeping an eye out for trash, and on the way back you pick it up. This adds bending and twisting to your run, and adds to the total calories you burn. Continue reading

The Olympics and DNA

We’re watching the Olympics on a pretty regular basis (at least until 10:00 PM or so). While I love seeing incredible performances, the practical side of me can’t believe the amount of physical effort that’s needed to carry out Olympic feats. And I can’t comprehend how you put that much work into something that has mostly a negative impact on your finances, where the smallest error takes you out of the running, and where you only get to compete every four years!

That being said, look at these folks! Those who succeed have incredible physical abilities built into their DNA. AND I love hearing about the incredible habits that got them this far.

Coinciding with the Olympics, I got results from my 23&Me spit test this week, supplemented with additional info from a site called Promethease. I am amazed at some of the stuff that’s hard-baked into my body. Do I have the genes of an Olympic athlete? No! But here’s a bit of what I learned: Continue reading

Making a new habit a priority

When you’re working on something you really connect with, you get more done. It’s weird to think that adding something to your “to do” list helps you do more – but it does. When you work on stuff you love:

  • Your energy goes up.
  • Your focus improves.
  • You manage your time better because you want to make sure you have time to get to your good work.
  • You’re more interesting to be around.
  • You feel better.

Quiet, mid-Winter days are a great time to ponder a new habit. Successful new habits start with intent – why do you want to do this?

Then you have to figure out how to make this new habit a priority. Doctor and author Lissa Rankin has a great exercise to help you figure out your priorities. Take a plain piece of paper and draw a stack of circles. Each circle is a core part of who you are. Each is something that makes you tick and makes you happy. Continue reading

Ode to brain power!

You know how important it is to exercise your body, but do you know how important it is to exercise your brain? One of the coolest ways to take care of your brain is to meditate. AND if that sounds really intimidating, help is on the way.

Sharon Salzberg, one of my favorite teachers for her practice around loving kindness, is hosting a 28-day meditation challenge starting on 2/1. It’s free to take part, so there’s no risk trying it… And if you love some or ALL of it, well, hurrah! Your brain will thank you. Here’s a link to sign up for Sharon’s Real Happiness Meditation Challenge. Continue reading

The importance of JOY

George E. Vaillant, a psychoanalyst and research psychiatrist at Harvard, directed a 30-year study on adult development. According to Vaillant, joy, love, compassion, happiness, and delight “help us to broaden and build. They widen our tolerance, expand our moral compass and enhance our creativity,” as well as help bind us to others. Vaillant’s experiments document that while negative emotions like shame, guilt, anger, and hate narrow our attention, positive emotions, especially joy, make thought patterns far more flexible, creative, integrative, and effective.

On the flip side, when you dwell on negative feelings, you damage your physical and spiritual well-being. Negative emotions cause stress on your body – and you’re less pleasant to be around so they can have a huge effect on relationships. Continue reading

Nat Geo on happiness

I read a great article in National Geographic about places where people are happier than most. The article looks specifically at the effect of “place” and how your environment shapes you. But it’s never really the place, is it? It’s a package. And what Nat Geo was looking at was long-term happiness – not a simple “good time” vacation get-away.

In Costa Rica, happiness comes from strong family bonds, universal healthcare, strong faith, lasting peace, equality, time spent outdoors, and generosity. In the 1940s, Costa Rica elected a teacher as president. This resulted in a decision to provide free education for all, to eliminate the army, and to set up a universal healthcare system with a goal of keeping people healthy rather than trying to cure them after they’re sick. Continue reading