Live With Intention

When I woke up this morning, as many other mornings, the first thoughts I had were of course my to-do list.  While I was having my cup of coffee, I started thinking about how easy it is to let the day pass by while just living passively.

I decided that I wasn’t going to do that today!  Instead, I was going to make sure I was living with intention.


You’ve probably hear this saying before … it was made famous by Mary Anne Radmacher years ago.  Her entire quote is:

“Live with intention.
Walk to the edge.
Listen Hard.
Practice wellness.
Play with abandon.
Choose with no regret.
Appreciate your friends.
Continue to learn.
Do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is.”

Did you live with intention today?  If you did, that’s awesome!  If not, think about what living with intention means to you and what you can do differently tomorrow to really make it count


Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I was filming a video today that demonstrated exercises to release tension in the hands, wrists, and forearms, and I started to think about emotional stress and tension.

I was talking to a friend yesterday about how difficult it can be to stand up for yourself when you are a people-pleaser by nature.  How is it that the fear and anxiety that comes from saying “no” to someone else can be greater than the stress and anxiety that we are placing on ourselves by saying “yes”?  I have wondered this for many years.

I decided to do some research on the “fight or flight” response.  While these days we aren’t typically running from wild animals who want to make us their dinner, emotional stressors such as being forced to work 60 – 80 hour weeks for fear of losing our jobs can illicit the same response — rapid heart beat, a surge of adrenaline, stress hormones pumping throughout our body.  All of the same things that would prepare us to fight or run away from a predator are engaged, and we lose the ability to thinking clearly and rationally during that time.

In most situations today, once our fight or flight response is activated, we can’t fight or run from these threatening situations.  We have to figure out how to regain control and deal with it.  In fact, there are so many of these modern day stressors – feeling overworked, missing a deadline, sitting in awful traffic every day – that our fight or flight response can stay triggered for days on end.  This leads to aggression (like road rage) and overreaction; every little thing feels like the LAST straw!
So what do we do?  How do we deal with this emotional stress?
I have to say, I absolutely learned this lesson the hard way.  As far as traffic is concerned … let’s just say I’m still working on that one. 🙂
One thing we can do is give ourselves a time-out.  Change your environment.  If possible, remove ourselves from the situation by going for a walk or stepping outside for a few moments until we feel calmer and our rational thinking returns.
Another option is to surround yourself with positive people, people who are grounded.  Discussing the situation with people in the same boat adds fuel to the fire and keeps your anxiety level high.  Try talking with someone you trust who is removed from the situation and can offer perspective.  Maybe you DO need to change jobs, so “no” to a new assignment that is going to keep you away from your family or go against your values.  A reality check from a positive supportive person can be just what you need.
When your nerve cells are not firing out of control, practice mindfulness.  Try techniques like taking deep, relaxing breaths or a short meditation.  Finding ways to promote relaxation are helpful, as you can cue them during stressful times.  You can read more about mindfulness in my post, “Multi-tasking vs. Mindfulness: The Science of Stress.”
How often do you feel your “fight or flight” response kick in?  Do you ever wonder if you should stay or go?  
I’m sure you have found other ways to deal with the anxiety-provoking feelings.  Tell me about it in the comments below — I want to hear from you!

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Five Steps to Bring Wellness Into Your Life


Me and the Dalai Lama

One of the key elements to true health and happiness is an uncluttered mind. Do you ever notice that when someone tells you to breathe, you actually pause and take a full and deep inhale/exhale? This is how we should be breathing all of the time, though few of us actually do.

Most of us (including me!) engage in frequent stress-breathing that leads to tightness in our neck and shoulders. Add a few hours at the computer every day, and the result is pain! No wonder massage is nearly a 20 billion dollar/year industry!

The term meditation is used in many ways. For me, the word meditation used to bring to mind something spiritual or ritualistic. Don’t let the word itself scare you! It wasn’t until I spent a week at the famed Golden Door Spa in Escondido, California that I realized meditation can simply be about pausing for as little as sixty seconds to close your eyes and breathe.

Here are a few tips for beginners.

Start S-L-O-W-L-Y. Really, start with just one minute a day. You can be in line at the grocery store, sitting in your car in a parking lot… it doesn’t matter where you are. Sit, close your eyes, clear your mind as much as you can, and just take a few deep, slow breaths in and out. Try and focus on your chest expanding and contracting. You may want to add another minute the following day, find a quiet spot at home in the morning or just before bed. Do what is comfortable for you.

Stick with it. If you want to see a difference, consistency is key. Whether you feel like it or not, do it! Just think, it can be as little as one minute and you WILL see the health benefits from a relaxed mind. Sometimes, you can learn what is REALLY bothering you by sitting through a moment or two of uninterrupted time.

Don’t punish yourself. The goal of meditating is not to stop thinking altogether. It is to be aware and present with your thoughts. My trip to the Golden Door Spa was actually years ago, but I will never forget the wise words of a very wise woman at the Door, AnnHarriet Buck. While explaining how to meditate to a group of over-worked women, she shared a story about a conversation with the Dalai Lama. He shared that even HE had experienced his thoughts drifting from time to time while meditating. He said when this happened, he just laughed a little, forgave himself, and continued on. I’ll never forget AnnHarriet’s advice to us in the room. When she feels her mind wandering while meditating she simply smiles, forgives herself, and thinks, “me and the Dalai Lama.” Years later, I still remember this when I am in a yoga class and having trouble concentrating. I always have a private laugh with myself and keep going.

Good luck! I’d love to hear about your experience with yoga or meditation. Share them below this post in the Facebook comment box!