Think Positive Monday: Live The Life You Imagine

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

“Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming.” Alice Walker

We all have hopes for what our future will look like. I’m a big day dreamer and one of my husband and I’s favorite things to do on Sunday evenings is to reflect on the weekend and talk about our hopes for the future. I like to think of it as our own unique type of church. It allows us to feel connected, fills us with hope and motivation, and ready to conquer a new week. 

But what about right now.

When you think about it, it’s truly tragic that most of us waste so much of our time hoping and pining for the near and distant future while we are ignoring the life we are currently living. 

Yes, hope is an important part of life. It’s spectacular to have goals and things to look forward to.

But let’s try not to pin all of our thoughts on the future. I’m guilty of saying things like, “When Ryan graduates”, “When we have a family”, “When we buy a house”, “When we live here” or even tinier things like “When the holidays are over”, “When it is warm out again”, “When I’m not so tired”. 

In order to reach those dreams I need to start the foundation of them now. It will take time and action. It will take more than sentimental thoughts and simple hopes and dreams shared over the sunset and a glass of wine. 

Yes we are all busy and yes we are all stressed. But happiness does not lie in future endeavours and plans, it lies in your present thoughts.

Don’t put off happiness. Only you can take charge of your hopes. Turn them into more than just dreams. Or else you will be continuously striving for something that is just out of reach. That happiness will elude you time and time again.

I’m going to start taking positive actions every day. I have to be happy now in order to be happy in the future. I want to paint my present life to look like the beautiful piece of artwork that is the star of my hopes. 

 

 

 

Think Positive Monday: How a Smile Can Change Your Day

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Smile. By just reading the word the sides of my lips start to form themselves into a grin. Try saying “smile” out loud. It always evokes a positive image. A feeling of happiness. It has the ability to not only brighten the day of those around you your own as well. 

A smile. A free accessory that is never going to go out of style. So why don’t we use it more often?

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We all can recall the overpowering joy we feel when we’re laughing uncontrollably with a group of friends or while watching a hilarious TV show or movie.

But what about when we’re not having a grand ole time? What about when a smile is the furthest thing from our mind?

Whenever I’m in bad mood and sporting a frown, the last thing I want to hear is, “Smile, things can’t be that bad, can they?” Usually they’re not. But that’s not for an outsider to decide. Or is it?

As I grew older I began to think, why not try out a smile when I’m feeling down? At least other people won’t bother me. What could it hurt? It’s just a smile. The results created a philosophical question. I’m not kidding.

After a rough afternoon, I decided to throw caution to the wind and spread a big smile on my face. Soon my mood began to lift. Almost…magically. I began to look at the brighter side and could almost laugh off a few of the bad elements of the day. This sparked the ago old, chicken or the egg questions:

What came first: The Smile or the Good Mood?

Turns out, the basic act of smiling has very effective powers over our mental and physical health. After doing some research, I found some neat facts about the benefits of smiling.

5 Benefits of Smiling:

1. Smiling Lowers Stress and Releases Endorphins 

It has been reported that stress is as bad for you as obesity or high blood pressure and that nearly 3/4 of Americans suffer physically from daily stress. Not good, right?

But those same researchers are learning that one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to relieve stress is by smiling. When you smile, your body releases endorphins, the chemicals that make you happier. These are the same chemicals released during physical activity.

Get that same beneficial high by smiling throughout the day. Feel you body calm down. Happy people do live longer!

2. Smiling strengthens your immune system and lowers your blood pressure

Proving that a smile can lengthen your life, studies also show that smiling strengthens your immune system stronger by making your body produce more white blood cells to help fight illnesses. It’s also been proven that smiling will lower your blood pressure. Try it out at home, if you have a monitor. Take a blood pressure reading. Then pause for a few minutes smile for an entire minute and take a second reading while you are still smiling. I bet you’ll see a difference!

3. You’ll be more approachable

First impressions are immeasurable. You know the phrase, “Put your best face forward”? Use your smile to attract new friends, put people at ease, get people to trust you and be a better leader. 

A smile is an open invitation to engage and interact with you. Don’t close yourself off from opportunities and experiences.

4. Smiling is contagious

You know how when you see someone in the same room as you take a big long yawn you can’t help but do the same? Well the same goes with smiling. When you see someone else smile, the area in your brain that controls facial movements is activated and your start to grin yourself.

Who wouldn’t want to spread happiness around and draw people in? Especially in bad or stressful situations, one smile can lead others to follow suit, encouraging a more relaxed and healthier way to deal with the communal stress. 

5. Smiling makes you more flexible and comfortable

True, my blog name has the word “adventure” in it, but I more often find myself sticking to things that are in my comfort zone. Although I love trying new things, sometimes my anxiety gets the better of me. But studies show that if you simply smile while doing uncomfortable things or during awkward situations your anxiety levels can go way down. 

Wow, those are a lot of benefits all from one little smile. 

So will you try to smile more throughout the day? Especially in situations where a smile is the last thing on your mind?

Remember, it’s hard to recall all the negative thoughts when a smile is telling our body that life is pretty awesome! 

 

 
 

 

 

The Inspiration Expedition

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Over this past month I was feeling uninspired. The monotony of day-to-day life was wearing me down and I was flat-out tired. Every time I went to write a post I felt empty, I had zero energy to write about my feelings and felt like I had nothing to give or to share. Writer’s block was hitting me hard and I felt like I was abandoning my commitment to this blog.

I needed some inspiration.

In a guilt induced panic I began a desperate search for this elusive inspiration that was going to fill me with all of the ideas, passions, and feelings. I consciously told my inner thoughts to “Be quite! I have some inspiration to go find!”

I took a big breath and set off on an inspiration expedition.

These expeditions aren’t new endeavors for me. I’m a little bit of an inspiration junkie, consuming all articles, books, quotes, podcasts, videos, songs, anything that will fill me with a little hit of inspiration.

I spent countless hours reading the many blogs that I follow looking for ideas or a words that would ignite something in me. I only find myself comparing and thinking , “well I’ll never write something that beautiful” or “I’m not funny like her”. Next I find myself scrolling through Pinterest seeing images of DIY projects I’m not talented enough to create or rooms decorated so beautifully they can’t possibly have people living in them. So then I start stalking celebrity train wrecks on Twitter in an attempt to make myself feel better which leads me to take quizes telling me what country or which Hunger Games district I should live in and soon enough I find myself getting envious over the elaborate and perfect seeming life of a former college classmate on Facebook.

I throw my phone down in disgust and realize that not only did I just waste 2 hours of my life but I was left feeling I’m even more lost  and disconnected feeling than before.

So, I gave up.

I consciously decided to take a break. I was going to stop consuming inspiration. I cut off my expedition and retreated into solitude me time.

I stopped writing a blog 5 times a week, choosing to only write 3 times a week. I took more walks. I read more. Whenever I had a free second I chose to not reach for my phone and concisouly put it out of reach. When I watched TV or a movie I did not allow any distractions and paid attention to the story. I put my phone away. I stopped checking Facebook and twitter hundreds of times a day. I took naps. I journaled more and  I scheduled quiet time before bed each evening, allowing room for reflection.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what the outcome was.

I discovered inspiration everywhere. My soul felt nourished. I felt like an individual with value again.

By choosing to turn up the volume of all of the external noise, the blogs, the social media, the comparison to others, I was consciously telling my own thoughts that they weren’t good enough. All the outside inspiration was so loud that it was deafening all of my own  internal thoughts and feelings. I can’t even bear to think of all those wasted hours spent searching (or procrastinating) on my phone.

I’ve made the conscious choice to make time for internal inspiration. To set aside a little time once a day or even once a week for you to turn off lower the volume on all that external noise and distraction and create your own thoughts and feelings. It goes back to my 2014 goal to respect my own desires and myself more.. Your biggest resource for inspiration is yourself.

We all have it inside of us, it just needs us to pay attention to it.

xoxo Katie