Simple Pleasure of the Week: Holiday Baking

My mom and I used to bake all the time when I was little. We baked so many cookies. I even had my own special apron, with pockets long enough to fit my barbies. The time I spent working as a child and family therapist taught me the importance of rituals and traditions for children, for families, for us all. I still think fondly of the time I spend holiday baking with my mom and those experiences are something I will pass onto my children. There's something special about holiday baking. It's a full sensory experience as you mix the ingredients, smell the scent of the treats as they bake in the oven, and then finally get to bite into them. Holiday baking is this week's simple pleasure. Happy holidays!

The Law of Attraction and How you can Harness it's power today

The law of attraction states that like attracts like. Our emotional vibrational energy attracts more experiences to match with that emotional vibrational energy. Thus, if I'm constantly complaining, feeling like I don't have enough time or enough money, my emotions will draw in more experiences to continue that feeling of not having enough. Thus, I will never have enough. Wayne Dyer said "You don't attract what you want, you attract what you are". Meaning, I don't attract what I want, I attract how I feel. If you want abundance, you must first feel abundant. If you want to attract a relationship which makes you feel whole and secure, you must first feel whole and secure. The concept of the law of attraction focuses less on our thoughts, and more on our emotions. Yes, thoughts affect emotions, but your emotions are the most powerful tool to attract what you want. Nothing is too big to attract according to the law of attraction. It's only the impossibility our mind assigns to big dreams that make them impossible. If you focus on what you don't have, you'll continue to have less than what you want. If you focus on the negative parts of life, you will continue to attract negative experiences, objects, and relationships into your life.

You can't focus on your wants with a "wanting" feeling, because that wanting feeling will only reinforce the emotional vibration that you don't have it, and thus won't have it. People always say the moment they stopped looking for something be it a husband, job, or opportunity, it found them. This is not a coincidence. This is actually in alignment with the law of attraction. This, however is easier said than done, because the concept doesn't mean you stop working towards goals, it simply means you change your emotional relationship to the goal. While I don't allow my life choices to be dictated by the law of attraction, I have cultivated some specific rituals to harness its energy because, it can't hurt.  Below are a few practices to get started harnessing the law of attraction:

  • Create a vision board. Matt and I made a vision board about two years ago on New Year's Day. This is a fun activity to do in general, but also a great way to begin thinking about future goals, and what you want to attract into your life. The idea behind a vision board, is that simply by looking at the images/words you've placed on your board, you increase your focus on those things, thus attracting them into your life. It is a little freaky, looking back at our board we made and thinking about how our lives have already fulfilled some of our visions. Check out my vision board tutorial here
  • Practice a gratitude meditation. Every morning, Matt and I burn palo santo in our home, set our meditation timer for 10 minutes (we use the insight timer app) and practice a gratitude meditation. My meditation consists of thinking of the relationships, things, experiences I'm grateful for, one by one, truly conjuring up that feeling of gratitude and/or love for the object of my focus, and then saying a "thank you" in my mind. After I've finished feeling grateful for the things I currently have in my life, I imagine myself living what I want to attract into my life (e.g. waking up in the home I want to own one day with Matt, our dog, our child, taking walks as a family). I also practice conjuring up feelings of gratitude for those future relationships, experiences, and things. After those 10 minutes are up, at the very least I feel truly grateful, and full of positive energy. At the most, I'm actually drawing in more abundance in my life. Either way, it's a win win. 
  • Practice positive affirmations. Affirmations are commonly used in psychology to reframe negative thinking. For example, if I'm always criticizing my body, I may use an affirmation which celebrates my body such as "I'm grateful to my body for carrying me through yoga", or "thank you body for carrying me through life". The use of affirmations can be an effective tool to improve depression and/or anxiety, but we can also use it to attract what we want into our lives. First rule of affirmations is they must be believable. If you feel hopeless and you just say "I can do anything" as your affirmation but don't believe this, it doesn't work. Sometimes affirmations can simply be little reassurances. For instance, if you are working hard to achieve your goals, simply saying something like "I am attracting abundance into my life everyday", or pairing it with gratitude "Thank you universe for providing me a job I love" may be an effective affirmation. You may post inspirational quotes in places that relate to your goals and say them out loud or write them repeatedly as an affirmation practice. You might choose an affirmation and meditate on it using a mala, repeating the affirmation 108 times. 
  • Write about a day in your life. The life you want that is. Write a few pages in as great of detail as you can, chronicling a day in your life, and include every aspect of your life you want to attract. For example, write about getting ready for your job, the one you dream about, waking up in your beautiful home, how you will feel in the ideal world, what you will do, who you will hang out with etc. Don't leave out any details. Seal it up and don't open for 5-10 years. I still need to do this, but I've heard too many stories swearing by this method not to give it a try. At the very least, it will help you clarify what you want in life, and may be a fun writing exercise. At the most, it will all happen. 

Use the law of attraction to your benefit. Cultivate at lease one daily practice to increase the positive vibes in your life, to increase the positive emotions, and see if you don't start attracting more positive experiences. At the very least say a positive affirmation to yourself 10 times a day (probably totaling 1-2 minutes of your time), or try all of these. The upcoming new year is a perfect time to begin attracting what you want, clarifying your goals, and setting intentions!! 

Happy Weekend!

Sometimes the biggest value of dreams is just in the dreaming. Sometimes, it's just about having the possibility of your dreams coming true that's the best part. I've often heard actors, musicians, people who finally, after years of work, when they get their dream or reach their big goal say it wasn't so big of a deal. Dreams and goals help to give us a purpose, guide our energy, and make life interesting. Keep dreaming. Happy Weekend!

Yoga Flow Playlist Fall/Winter 2017

With my yoga teacher training in full swing I've definitely upped the home yoga practice. Some days it's just sun salutations, but other days may include a complete Ashtanga primary series with handstand/headstand practice afterwards. I ALWAYS practice with music because music makes everything better. Looking back at Happiness | Collective's last yoga flow playlist, I realized how many new songs I have been loving for my yoga soundtrack and decided it was time to create a new Fall/Winter playlist. Let me know in the comments below which song is your favorite from this list and if you have any suggestions. Hope you enjoy:

Holocene - Bon Iver

Lay Down - Son Little

Sound & Color - Alabama Shakes

Drift - Benji Lewis

Cold Case Love - Rihanna

Answer - Phantogram

Naive - RKCB

Feel It - Portugal The Man

Electic Guest - Oh Devil ft. Devin Di Dakta

Temporary Love - The Brinks

Downtown - Majical Cloudz

Up All Night - Oliver Tank

River - Leon Bridges

 

simple pleasure of the week: blankets

With the air getting chillier, blankets are the perfect simple pleasure. I have always loved blankets. There's something nice about being wrapping in a cozy piece of fabric, and they definitely make tv watching, beach days, cold mornings, picnics and cuddling that much better. Blankets make the world warmer, they provide a sense of security, of homeyness. They are also becoming ever so much more necessary as winter gets closer. Bring a blanket with you to the beach to watch the sunset, or sit atop one for a romantic picnic to enjoy this week's simple pleasure. Happy Weekend!

How to Give thanks When gratitude is the last thing you feel

Every year, around this time, I've written a post on gratitude. For the past two years I've written posts on how to practice gratitude here and here. What about those times when you are in such a negative space mentally and emotionally that all your mind can focus on is what's wrong? Sometimes, it feels pretty impossible to practice gratitude and I've been there. I've had those days. How do you get back to a space where you can begin to see through the clouds of negativity to realize how much you do have? Below are 4 ideas for getting you out of the dark side and into a place where you can then begin your own gratitude practice:

  1. Feel your feelings. Sometimes you just have to allow yourself those days to feel like crap. Life is hard, and the more you grow, the more life throws at you. Sometimes what you fight you strengthen, especially when what you fight is within. Honoring and acknowledging your feelings gives them the attention they need to move along. Some days, you just need to give yourself time to mourn, cry, scream, talk it out, etc. 
  2. Think of simple pleasures. When I work at the hospital, instead of gratitude lists, I sometimes facilitate groups about simple pleasures. Thinking of simple pleasures can be easier and less emotionally complicated than gratitude lists. Make a list using words or a picture with images, of the simple things/experiences you love (e.g. avocado, the smell after it rains, a walk outdoors, sunsets). Generating a list like this can flip the positivity switch in the brain and get you over the negativity hump. 
  3. Move your body. It's all energy. I believe negative energy can be moved through and out with movement. Yoga, dance, walking, are all great ways to move out of a place of deep negative. Studies show that exercise in moderation can release feel-good chemicals in the brain and decrease cortisol (the stress hormone). Sometimes negative feelings get stuck in the body, preventing us from moving forward so moving the body is the perfect way to discharge that negative energy. 
  4. Figure out the root cause. Often, we think we're upset about one thing, when we're really upset about something else. Taking pause to dig a little deeper, in search of the true cause of your negative feelings can help to liberate you from their control. Many times, the feelings we're unaware of have the most power over us. I can often feel when we've gotten to the root cause of an issue with a client when the energy suddenly gets calm. There's almost like a psychological/emotional sigh with relief when we realize what we're truly feeling upset about. Figuring out the root cause can get you to a place of calm, a calm that's necessary for any type of gratitude practice.

These are just a few ideas. Try them next time you find yourself in a place of pure negativity. It happens to all of us, and I've definitely been there. If you feel negative, sad, and/or depressed for multiple days in a row, or if your mood begins to negatively affect your biological functioning (e.g. sleep, appetite), that may be an indication to consult a professional (e.g. doctor, psychiatrist, therapist). Hopefully at least one of these strategies will help to pull you out of your funk and get you to a place where you can begin to practice gratitude. 

10 Childish Activities to Revisit in Adulthood (Guest Post)

Enjoy the Happiness | Collective's first ever guest post!! There are so many great minds out there, innovative thinkers, and creative voices. Happiness | Collective was always meant to be...well...a collective! It's my pleasure to be able to host an amazing thinker, yogi, like-minded individual below. Scroll to the end to learn more about Morgan, and where you can find her on social media!

Growing up often means growing out - we grow out of our clothing, we grow out of childish behaviors & we grow out of juvenile activities. When’s the last time you ran around the house in your underwear? Or built an epic battleship with your Legos? Or stayed up all night reading a new book under the covers by flashlight? Certain games & behaviors tend to remain firmly in the past. But as I get older, I’m more & more drawn to reverting to “childish” activities sometimes. Revisiting these situations of innocence & adventure can provide a refreshing perspective! So often in adulthood we don’t commit to anything unless we can measure its value. We go to work every day to make x amount of dollars to pay x amount of bills. We go to the gym to burn x amount of calories to lose x number of pounds.

Doing something just because we want to, & for no other reason, is exactly what we need sometimes to rewind, refresh & reset. Try some of my suggestions below or anything else your mind gravitates to:

  1. Twinning - Grab a friend & rock matching outfits for the day! Take some photos to memorialize your BFF status!
  2. Coloring - There’s a reason adult coloring books are so popular right now! In addition to just being fun, coloring has therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety & encourage mindfulness. Google ‘adult coloring book’ for free, printable images.
  3. Hopscotch, Double dutch, Jumprope, etc. - Get outside! Spend an afternoon in the sun playing your favorite childhood game. Just don’t forget to apply sunscreen!
  4. Finger Foods - As a kid, the best meals were the ones that didn’t require utensils. Whip up a culinary masterpiece that you can eat with your hands! Some of my favorite finger foods are tofu spring rolls, veggies with hummus & celery with peanut butter.
  5. Cartoon Themed EVERYTHING - You probably had a favorite cartoon character, superhero or Disney princess as a kid. You probably also had at least a few items with their faces plastered all over them. Revisit that adoration, adult style! Rock some Wonder Woman pajamas or a Captain America phone case. Own that minion Onesie or Star Wars backpack!
  6. Build an Epic Fort - Grab a loved one & enlist their help to build Fort Awesome. Sheets, pillows, chairs, sofas, towels & blankets can help you turn your living room from minimalist chic into adventure extreme!
  7. Movie Marathon - Devote an entire day to watching movies! You could revisit some of your childhood favorites or watch something more recent. The most important part of a movie marathon is to wear your pajamas all day & to order in for every meal!
  8. Karaoke - No, not the bar kind. The nobody’s home, hairbrush as a microphone, guilty pleasure song kind! Bonus points if you slide around your hardwood floors in socks.
  9. Arts & Crafts - Pipe cleaners! Popsicle sticks! Glitter! Beads! Glue gun! Head to your local craft store & pick up a variety of supplies. Then make something! It doesn’t have to be pretty or functional. Just make a mess & have fun doing it.
  10. Take a Bubble Bath - Chances are you’ve probably done this as an adult, maybe minus the bubbles. But bubbles were an essential part of a childhood bath, so throw in that bath bomb & splash around a bit! Give yourself a Santa Claus bubble beard if you’re feeling silly!

 

There’s nothing wrong with taking a day (or a whole weekend) off from adult-ing. You’ll likely feel happier & more relaxed for having done so! Especially with the stressful holiday season coming up, it’s more important than ever to make time for self-care. So pick an activity, grab your supplies & go have some pure, unadulterated fun!

To check out more of Morgan's awesomeness, visit her here!!

 

Happy Weekend!

Sometimes, I forget that I don't have to figure everything out, control everything, will what I want to happen in life. Sometimes I forget that life also gives me a hand, that there is magic in this universe, that what I'm seeking is seeking me. Our emotions are a great source of information for us. When we love something, our emotions are telling us that thing or experience is good for our soul. When we're angry, our emotions are telling us something's wrong, not working, or harmful. Our inner compass finds ways to communicate with us, guide us, keep us safe, connect us with our purpose. Listen. Do more of what you love. Do more of what makes you happy. The happier you are, the happier the world is. The more you feel love, the more love there is in this world. Happy weekend!

Autumn Bucket List

Seasonal bucket lists are kinda a thing here at the Happiness | Collective. It's fun to think of simple pleasures you want to experience, and I find it helps me to set intention to savor each season. In an effort to not let this season pass me by, I created an autumn bucket list, and I realized I'd better get on it because the season is almost gone. Hope you all savor this very special season as well!