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!

Simple Pleasure of the Week: Fallen leaves underfoot

Does anyone else love the crunch of dry, fallen leaves underfoot as much as I do? There's something incredibly satisfying about crunching leaves as you take a step. Sometimes I go out of my way just to walk on leaves. I might even cross the street for them, as I did when this picture was taken. Fallen leaves also represent the change of seasons, the beginning of nature's hibernation. It represents the start of nature's rest as winter creeps up, of the fact that even though you don't see change on the surface, even though nature seems bare, and asleep, internal change is happening in anticipation of spring. I digressed, but the point is, with fall comes this week's simple pleasure of fallen leaves underfoot. Happy Weekend!

Top 10 Reasons to Become Part of a Yoga Tribe

  1. Everyone is zenned out as fuck
  2. Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten-free meals are the norm, not the exception
  3. Yogis make the best lovers
  4. Birkenstocks are actually cool
  5. Green juice dates
  6. The dress code basically consists of socially acceptable pajamas
  7. You get to hang out with your friends every time you exercise
  8. You aren't judged for having body odor
  9. Your likelihood of being an asshole greatly decreases
  10. We're all just here for the savasana

Matt and I have realized that our favorite vacations involve yoga destinations. The entire yoga lifestyle is definitely our jam. Yogis seem to be the nicest people, the food is out of this world, and there's sure to be good vibes. We've met some of our best friends at yoga, and we love our yogi tribe. Hope you liked our top 10 reasons to become part of a yoga tribe. 

Happy Weekend!

Love, if we're lucky, changes us, but if we are truly loved by someone, we should never be asked to be someone other than who we are. Love others so that they feel free. Support those you love to live a life true to who they are, and demand they do the same for you. It's already hard enough to live a life of authenticity, to walk our own path, because this world can be scary and unforgiving. True love should be a shelter, a cocoon.  Happy Weekend!

How to use what you have to get what you want

It's been a long week, and I'm stretched thin with work, and yoga teacher training but I wanted to write a short post on a subject that's been coming up a lot lately. The yoga teacher training process has introduced new postures to work on, and, of course, the bigger goal to be able to teach yoga at the end. One thing I love about yoga, is the process of working towards something that seems impossible, and then, one day, you're able to do it. Showing up to class, practicing the postures, putting energy towards the changes you want to see consistently is the path to your goal. I think it was Pattabhi Jois who said ashtanga was about 99% practice, because the magic happens with the consistent work. I like to think of it all as energy. The world is made up of energy. Every action gets a reaction. We spend so much time focused on the result, on what we want. We suffer when the goal seems so impossible, or overwhelming.

If you can let go of the result and just focus on the present process, on the expenditure of energy, on what step you can take today towards what you want, the journey becomes so much more enjoyable. Can you let go of your attachment to the result, and trust that as long as you're putting consistent energy towards what you want, it will happen? The more energy you put towards your goal, often, the faster you reach it, but again, it's simply about figuring out what step you can take today, what feels doable, what is within your control, and then doing it. Take the pressure off yourself with whatever it is you are hoping for, and move into action. Break up your goal into small steps. If it's yoga, often just consistent practice, and honest effort towards postures will eventually make them possible. One day, you will simply be able to do that posture you've been working towards for so long. If it's something else you're working towards, it's about breaking up your large goals into smaller, less intimidating steps, and getting to work. Want to decrease anxiety? Start a daily stress reduction exercise (e.g. meditation, breathwork, yoga). Want to write a book? Just start with the introduction, then introduce a new character or concept. Write one paragraph a day, and eventually, you will have a book. Honestly, the thought of teaching yoga at the end of this training seems impossible, but I have faith in the process, and in my own personal transformation. Use what you have to get what you want. Use energy, consistent effort, action, to get you to where you want to be. Most people feel so overwhelmed, they are defeated before they even start. Just start. 

Simple Pleasure of the week: the fall season

Today's simple pleasure is the fall season. Fall is my favorite of all the seasons. It happens to be the season when I met my husband, the season we got married. It's the season when the air gets a little bit crisper, and over here on the Monterey Peninsula, also when we get warm summer nights. Fall is a season for sweaters, boot wearing, apple picking. It's the season for scarves, giving thanks, gathering with family while you eat stuffing and pie. Fall is the season for fallen leaves, orange and brown hues, for cuddling with blankets, warm apple cider, pumpkin carving and trick or treating, wrapping in scarves, cozy socks, and long walks with warm drinks in hand. The worst part about fall is it passes us by too quickly. This weekend I hope you enjoy some of this season's simple pleasures! Happy Weekend!

Daily Rituals for Nurturing Mind Body and Spirit

Today we're talking about daily rituals, things you can add into your everyday routine aimed to calm the senses, lower anxiety, relieve stress, and improve your mood. Routines practiced daily, help to ensure you're integrating the rituals that nurture and support optimal health mind body and soul. You can develop rituals to support changes you want to make in your life. For instance, integrating the Mantra "I love you, I am listening" with deep breathing would be useful in supporting decreased anxiety, and improving self-love, and/or a deeper connection with self. Dancing when something goes wrong can be helpful if you have a hard time letting things go, or moving on with your day after an upset. Below are my favorite daily rituals for calming and nurturing the mind body and spirit:

  1. Start your day with Gratitude. Seriously, it makes a difference. Wayne Dyer reported he verbally said the words "thank you" repeatedly upon waking every day. I had a morning last week where I lay, listening as Matt ground the coffee in the kitchen and felt pure gratitude for the sounds of our home, for the little rituals that made our home our home. How you start your day matters, and I can think of no better way to start than with gratitude.
  2. Meditation. There's no way this can't help you. If you think you're not a meditator, that you just can't quiet your mind, or you just can't meditate the "right" way, then you have the most to gain from meditation. There's so much research out there supporting the benefits of meditation on anxiety, focus, and mood. Even just a few minutes every morning will make a difference and there are so many free guided meditations available nowadays. 
  3. Coffee or Tea. I like to have my coffee in the morning and some decaf tea at night. Warm beverages, when drunk mindfully can become a calming ritual. Just make sure you dedicate your attention to the experience of your cup to reap the benefits. 
  4. Write in a Journal. Maybe you love to write poetry, maybe you want to begin a gratitude journal, maybe you just need to write about your experience because it is so intense, you need to get it out of you any way possible. Journaling can be a wonderful daily ritual to cultivate creativity, release emotions, and connect with yourself. Journals don't have to be written. If you prefer art, you could create a daily art journaling practice, where you paint, sketch or doodle for a few minutes every day. 
  5. Set an Intention for the Day. I always close my first group of the day with a short guided meditation in which I direct patients to set an intention for the day. Goals, intentions help to guide our energy. This simple practice can bring us back to focusing on what we want, and what truly matters.
  6. Mantras. Using mantras, affirmations, inspirational quotes when we are feeling ungrounded, stressed, insecure, overwhelmed, or simply to maintain good vibes, can become even more effective when paired with deep breaths. When using mantras I like to say half of the mantra with the in-breath, and the last half with the out-breath. Some of my favorite mantras include: "I love you, I am listening" (usually said to myself as I place both hands over my heart), "Peace begins with me", and "What would you have me do today" (to represent my acknowledgment I don't have to figure it all out alone, that the universe is guiding me).
  7. Reflecting on Control. Reminding yourself of what you do and don't have control over can be incredibly helpful. Try, then to let go of all the things you don't have control over, and make a game plan for putting energy into that which you do have control over. So much of this life is out of our control, and when we wonder, worry, lament over the things we can't control, our energy is wasted. 
  8. Essential Oils. I like to rub a small amount of lavender oil on my pulse points at night. I diffuse a different essential oil scent almost daily and I swear it helps to keep me calm and prevent burn-out. Scent connects and calms the part of our brain that does the stressing out, so using it to keep you calm can be a great strategy. Essential oils are so accessible now. You can order them online or pick up a couple at your nearest health food store. If you want to start diffusing essential oils into your home or office, this diffuser is on sale, and this diffuser is portable making it great for travel.
  9. Deep Breathing. The breath is your best means of calming your nervous system. When you're panicked, overwhelmed, reacting, tune into your breath, to regain control. Simple deep breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth should do the trick, but if you want more info on breathing techniques, check out my post on 4 Breathing Techniques to Lower Anxiety in Under a Minute here
  10. Get out for a Sunset or a Sunrise. Okay, so maybe you can't make it down to the beach or top of a mountain for sunset, but even getting out into that lovely dispersed light during magic hour can help calm the senses, and bring you back to a place of grounding. Try to walk outside, even if it's only for a few moments as you take a work break. Taking a few deep breaths while you marvel at magic hour lighting will make it even more magical. 
  11. Move your Body. Nobody else knows this, but sometimes when I get into work, I put on my lab coat, put away my belongings, turn on the music in my office and dance, just a little. Sometimes if I've had an intense interaction, or work drama, I go back into my office and dance it away. I always feel better after yoga, and I've never regretted a walk outdoors. Moving the body, helps to cleanse you of negative energy. Moving your body is the secret sauce because emotions manifest into the physical as cortisol is released, and muscles tense. I don't have time or space to go into the science behind movement but trust me. Movement is important when it comes to calming the nervous system, healing trauma, relieving stress. Find what works for you and do it, it doesn't have to be dancing or yoga. It could be rock climbing, boxing, crossfit, running, or cycling, as long as it involves movement, it's good enough.
  12. Heating Pad. I have a sock filled with rice that I use as a heating pad (Matt loves to tease me about my hot old sock). There's something about warmth that's comforting. Not only does warmth soothe sore or tight muscles, but it just feels good. Anything that signals the body to relax, also signals the brain to relax so you can use heat at night as you're winding down for bed to promote sleep, or in the mornings to help your body warm up. 

That's it guys, these were the best daily rituals I could think of. I definitely practice all of these rituals at least once throughout my week, and some daily. My best piece of advice is to start with developing a morning or nighttime routine and add at least one of these into that routine. The magic comes when you use rituals such as these on an ongoing basis to decrease stress levels overall rather than when you're already in crisis mode. If you want even more tips on lowering anxiety you can check out any of these past posts: 5 Ways to Lower Anxiety in 5 Minutes or Less, 10 Ways to Reset Your Energy, 10 Ways to Relax in 10 Minutes or Less, 4 Breathing Techniques to Lower Anxiety in Under a Minute