Start The New Year With Gratitude

Start The New Year With Gratitude

Gratitude is expressing thanks. This can be done internally in quiet moments of prayer, or meditation, or it can be spread out in to the world. Either way, to express thanks, can be the basis from which to live your best life. As we begin another New Year, consider starting a practice of showing or expressing gratitude daily Do you want to feel happier? Would you like to increase your sense of well-being, your energy and optimism? Are you motivated to decrease your stress level? Cultivating a daily discipline of expressing gratitude can reap these rewards. Get started by writing in a journal all the things you are grateful for, or by consciously reciting in your mind all the things you are thankful to have in your life. One can get creative with practicing gratitude by setting a gratitude jar in the kitchen to drop notes into, or record them on your smart phone for later reference. When thinking of things you are grateful for, move beyond the expected such as family and friends. If you broaden the scope of things you are grateful for, in time, even the smallest thing such as a new bud on your rosebush, or your pet learning a new trick, will bring you peace and joy and reduce your stress levels. It’s easy to feel grateful for the good things you have in your life, what is hard, is to feel grateful for the challenges that life has delivered. This is where the notion of discipline comes in to play. Discipline is the exercise of self-control. You have the choice to see things in a negative light, or to give them a positive spin. Practice and discipline yourself to feel, think and express thanks. Making the conscious choice to live in gratitude will be

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The Secret To Motivation, And The Yoga Lady Story

If you can find the magic formula for motivation, I will help you put it in to pill form and market it. Then, together, we can buy our vacation home on the beach and spend our days sifting sand and sipping tropical drinks that are colored blue, peach and yellow…with garnishes of strawberry and pineapple. I’ll even let you eat my garnishes! Motivation is elusive. Don’t believe me? Just ask the many people who’ve started diets and failed; or began that exercise program only to quit after a few weeks; or are still writing their first novel after 10 years. While I don’t proclaim to have all the answers to how to get and stay motivated, I have learned a few things through trial and error and from others. Those smart research-people-types, who teach this kind of thing, will tell you that it’s important to set goals. If you don’t set a goal, you don’t have a target to shoot for. I call it “having your eye on the prize”. Setting goals is a science unto itself. And to do it right and improve your chances for success, set S-M-A-R-T goals: S: Specific. Break the goals down in to what we like to talk of in Life Coaching circles as “baby steps”. Make a list of all the little steps you will take to get started. Keep them as clearly defined and precise in their descriptions as possible. The Yoga Lady Story I know of a lady who wanted to start doing Yoga, so she wrote down the process of getting started very specifically. I think she was overly specific, and maybe a little batty, but she found it helpful to write down that she would get started by simply getting out her yoga mat. She would lay it on

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Strategies For Battling Negative Self-Talk

How could I be so stupid? My life sucks. I’m a failure. I never seem to do anything right. I’m not going to be able to pull that off. There’s no way I can get all this done. No one ever appreciates what I do anyway. And on the story goes… Are you a negative Nelly or Ned? Are you sick of hearing the negative talk that constantly rolls around in your head? If this is the story playing out in your head, it’s time to consider hitting the OFF switch on the negative self-talk! First, see if you identify with these 4 most common distortions of thinking: 1. Filtering – No matter what happens, you only seem to dwell on the negative. Even if you got the promotion at work, it’s your fault you didn’t get it months earlier. 2. Personalizing – You always blame yourself. It’s your fault that things don’t always go as planned, or someone in the family is fighting, or people at work are unhappy. 3. Catastrophizing – You anticipate the worst. You spill coffee on yourself first thing in the morning so expect that the whole rest of the day will be a disaster. 4. Polarizing – Everything in your world is either good or bad. Black or white. You’re either perfect or a total failure. If you battle with negative self-talk, try these strategies for turning it OFF: • Identify the things you usually think negatively about • Choose one of those things to work on • Practice thinking positively instead of negatively in that one area • Stop yourself during the day to monitor your thoughts • Evaluate objectively what you’re thinking • If you catch yourself in negative thinking, turn it in to a positive statement • Using humor, laugh and smile at yourself and

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4 Strategies For Losing Those Last 10 Pounds

You were successful in getting close to your weight loss goal, but those last 10 pounds just keep hanging on. John has already lost 40 pounds, but he’s on a mission to lose those last pounds to hit his goal weight. This weekend on The Joan Jerkovich Show, we explore ways to recapture the weight loss mindset, and recommit to losing those stubborn, last few pounds. We came up with some creative ways to get back on track. If your treadmill has become your secondary clothes closet where it gathers clothes and dust, try these 4 things experts in weight loss agree will take off those last 10 pounds. 1. Review your diet. Often, the lack of progress toward weight loss, or worse, gaining what you’ve lost back, is a result of your cheating on your diet plan. Where you were once so faithful and diligent, you’ve convinced yourself that cheating a few times won’t hurt. It does. Failing to monitor what you eat by either writing it down on putting it in a diet AP lets you fall into the habit of unconscious eating. Unconsciously eating what you want, when you want, is what probably led to your weight gain in the first place. Review your diet and monitor your eating to get back on track. 2. Reduce your calories. As you lose weight, your body needs fewer calories than it did when you were 50 pounds heavier. I know this stinks, but to maintain your weight at a lower level, you need to eat even less than you ever have. 3. Increase your activity. Take the stairs at work, or wear a pedometer and focus on walking more. Tackle those household chores or home fix-up, clean-up projects as a way to get moving. Volunteer to help an elderly

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3 Questions To Help You Get A Grip On Procrastination

Procrastinating is more common than one might think. Who hasn’t taken a look at that dreaded “to-do” list, only to decide it can wait? Who hasn’t fallen away from the “drudge” list, right onto the couch or easy chair for an afternoon of mindless net surfing, or Netflix streaming? Even if you’re a get-it-done type of person, when haven’t you tackled your list of “tasks” by prioritizing the easiest, most unimportant ones first? All of these habits have one thing in common. They are your unique way of procrastinating. Ask yourself these 3 questions to get a grip on procrastination. Listen to “The Joan Jerkovich Show” podcast where I talk about procrastination and discuss ways to address this habit with 2 of my callers. Also, just for kicks, listen to my caller, “The Trust Fund Bartender” and hear “Confessions of a Trust Fund Kid”. Question 1: What are your procrastination habits? Damnit! No one is going to tell me that on the occasional day when I take a break from work for mindless net surfing, or streaming the latest documentary, or playing Candy Crush that I’m procrastinating. Yes, I’m the girl who has the occasional fall into my favorite easy chair! And, damnit, I’m here to say that infrequently diverting from the tasks at hand is not procrastination. In fact, it could be categorized as good time management. We all need down time to rest and regroup. That said, procrastination becomes a problem if it’s your first response to getting things done. Answer these questions to see if you find yourself in the habit of procrastinating: Do you always put off doing the priority items on your “to do” list? Do you busy yourself with menial tasks? How long has your priority item been sitting on your “to-do” list? Do

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A Doctors Near Death Experience, Proof Of Heaven

When a man of science finds reason to believe there is a God and Heaven, it breaks barriers. Scientists want facts. Believers embrace mystery. When the two meet, it is often a battle of wills as to who is right and who is wrong, with the ultimate battle being the debate over whether or not God and Heaven exist. As a neurosurgeon, Dr. Eben Alexander fell in to a coma after contracting a very rare bacterial meningitis. He writes about his experience in, “Proof of Heaven: A Doctor’s Experience With the Afterlife.” While laying in a coma for seven days, the bacteria were eating away his brain until the “human part” of his brain, the neocortex, was inactivated. Although there is no scientific explanation for how the part of his brain he calls his “conscious, inner self” was “alive and well”, it was in this state that Dr. Alexander “journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe: a dimension I’d never dreamed existed and which the old, pre-coma me would have been more than happy to explain was a simple impossibility.” The new world dimension Dr. Alexander described is one of mystery and revelation. The revelations contained a message of three parts, and a universal message for all. He tells of how in this state of consciousness he found himself in a place of clouds. “Big, puffy, pink-white ones that showed up sharply against the deep blue-black sky. Higher than the clouds-immeasurably higher-flocks of transparent, shimmering beings arced across the sky, leaving long, streamerlike lines behind them.” He wrote that, to call them “birds” or “angels” would not do justice to the beings themselves. They were more advanced. Higher forms. As the creatures soared along, they made a noise that was like a glorious chant. It was as if the

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A Talk While High on Heroin

She wasn’t making sense and her words were slurred and garbled. After she talked about her trouble with drug abuse, I asked her if she was high. She was. On heroin. Heroin is the most abused, fast acting and popular of all opiate drugs. Almost immediately upon using heroin, users experience euphoria, warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, heaviness in the arms and legs, and poor cognition. Cara exhibited poor cognition when she wasn’t really tracking with our conversation. It was disjointed and, to be honest, I almost hung up on her. It was frustrating trying to talk to her. Yes, I was trying to talk to someone in the throes of a heroin high. Other signs of heroin and opiate abuse include: • Shortness of breath • Disorientation • Sudden changes in behavior or actions • Cycles of hyper alertness followed by suddenly nodding off • Droopy appearance, as if extremities are heavy • Constricted (small) pupils Opiate abusers, even those pill poppers who abuse Oxycontin, Vicodin, Lortab and that class of medications, may initially be able to hide their drug abuse, but one sign they cannot hide is the constricted pupils. If you suspect an opiate addiction, one sure sign is if you see that their pupils are small, even in dim light, where the pupils in your eyes would normally open wider. Behavioral signs of heroin and opiate abuse include: • Lying or other deceptive behavior • Avoiding eye contact • Sleeping more • Poor hygiene • Slurred, garbled, incoherent speech • Apathy, lack of motivation • Stealing or borrowing money • Hostile toward loved ones • Withdrawal from family and friends While the above signs can apply to all opiate addictions, those specific to heroin abuse include possession of drug paraphernalia such as needles, syringes,

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Sociopathic Children

“He killed one of our pets and beat our other animals”, said the mother who adopted a sociopathic child. “At the point that he threatened my life and our daughters life and told us how he was going to kill us, I couldn’t do it anymore”. Mich tells her story on my radio show of how she and her husband adopted a 4-year-old boy who from the start displayed bizarre behaviors, and how eventually his behavior became “very scary and violent”. While we mostly think of sociopaths as being adults, sociopathic behavior in children does occur and is a result of antisocial personality disorders. Let’s start with some definitions. The National Institute of Mental Health provides this definition: Antisocial personality disorder is defined by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV) as “…a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood.” People with antisocial personality disorder may disregard social norms and laws, repeatedly lie, place others at risk for their own benefit, and demonstrate a profound lack of remorse. It is sometimes referred to as sociopathic personality disorder, or sociopathy. According to Mayoclinic.org: Antisocial personality disorder symptoms may begin in childhood and are fully evident for most people during their 20s and 30s. Children at risk exhibit the following risk factors: • Bullying • Conflict with peers, family members and authority figures • Stealing • Cruelty to people and animals • Fire starting and vandalism • Use of weapons • Sexual assault • Repeated lying • Problem behaviors in school and poor academic performance • Gang involvement • Running away from home Although the precise cause of antisocial personality disorder isn’t known, certain factors seem to increase the

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Unplug From Your “Real” World and Risk Withdrawal

If you were to set aside your cell phone, computer, tablet and all connection to the Internet for one day, would you go in to withdrawal? How about if you also gave up television, video games and music? Would we have to peel you off the ceiling? Would you have a panic attack? Would we find you curled up in the fetal position, drooling and babbling incoherently? What would happen if you unplugged from technology for one day? There is a nonprofit organization, called Reboot, that annually holds a National Day of Unplugging. The aim of this event is “to help hyperconnected people of all backgrounds to embrace the ancient ritual of a day of rest”.  The persons who participated talked about unplugging “to be more connected”, “ to reset”, “ to spend more time with family” and “to be in the moment”. Noble reasons. Think about it. When everyone from Justin Bieber, The Pope, and The Dali Lama are on Facebook and Twitter, when and how do we escape the intrusion of being hyperconnected? A bigger question over unplugging might be to consider how this technology has changed the reality of our daily lives. How “real” is the world of technology we live in? How “real” is our world when it is played out in the cloud? I’m speaking of the Internet cloud: the internet-based computer server that stores your computer data, somewhat similar to the electricity grid utilized by the utility companies that supply our electricity. How it works is a mystery to me, but I know it’s out-up-or-around there somewhere. We work in the cloud. We socialize and fall in love in the cloud. We make friends on the Internet.  Some people think of their Internet friends as their closest friends, even though they have never met

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Life Lessons from Joan Rivers

The news was shocking and tragic. Our beloved smile-maker, Joan Rivers, died all too young. Though 81 years old at the time of her passing, she was eternally young at heart. Like many others since, I have been following news stories about her life. I watched the PBS documentary, “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work”, which gave me a glimpse into her life and her personal struggles. I watched the “Fashion Police” tribute on E! where her co-hosts Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne and George Kotsiopoulos paid tribute. I felt much like Kelly and George, who broke down in tears and held hands for support. I admired Joan’s daughter Melissa’s strength as she spoke about her mother. Joan’s life ended abruptly, but not without her rising once again to immense popularity, in part with the show “Fashion Police”, but most importantly as the person who taught us so much about life. So what are the life lessons, gleaned from the life lived by Joan Rivers that we can all learn from? Risk Taking. Joan got her start by sticking her neck out in a man’s world where few women had ventured before her. She was a female comic playing with the big boys. Getting noticed on the Johnny Carson Show was her big break. When she left Carson to start her own show after 18 years of appearances and guest hosting, something several of the male Carson guest hosts had done before her, she was shunned by Carson for the rest of her life. As gleaned from the documentary, this hurt her both professionally and personally. Looking at this today, one has to question what relevance there was to Joan being treated differently than the men. Joan was a trailblazer for all women. I, for one, admire her for taking the

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