The 4 R’s

R R R R

Rest – This is one of the hardest things for me to do, as evidenced by this post at 11:00 PM on a work night. I find that I don’t need a ton of sleep every single night, but 4 out of 7 nights, I really need my 7-8 hours of sleep to feel completely refreshed and recharged. Your mileage may vary, but 7-8 hours should be enough. One thing that I find really hurts me is oversleeping to try to catch up. These 10 hour power snoozes don’t help, and in fact they end up making me more tired than before. I’ve found that focusing on the 7-8 hours is enough for me. You’ll find your sweet spot, and once you do, do everything you can to stay in it!

Reflect – I find that taking the time to reflect on what’s happening in my life every few days helps me keep things in perspective and stops negative thoughts before they get out of control. Contrary to what some think, my life is not perfect, I have bad days too. I just try to make time to think about why they’re bad days, and try to make sure I keep those things out of my life as much as I can. Of course some days are easier than others, but taking the time to reflect will at least help understand how you’re feeling, and hopefully why you’re feeling that way. It takes practice, to be sure, and it’s worth it!

Read – I read as much as I can, some for pleasure, mostly for self-improvement. I couple this with some reflection time, and I find that this is some of the best part of my day. You don’t have to read a novel to get away; find a blog you enjoy, an online newsletter that pumps you up, or just an old e-mail from a friend. Think about the words and really immerse yourself in whatever you’re reading. It will help you de-stress and re-charge!

Relax – We all relax differently, some by reading, some by reflecting, some by resting, and some by doing something altogether different. Whatever you find is your most relaxing thing, or is your most relaxing place, make time to do this or get there at least once a week, and you’ll notice a difference in your energy level.

Phil Gerbyshak leads a team of IT help desk professionals in Milwaukee, WI, and finds that sharing his knowledge is a crucial component in his success as a leader and as a person. Phil’s personal philosophy is paraphrased from Tim Sanders’ fantastic book Love is the Killer App: “Share your knowledge, your network, and your love. The rest will follow.” Read more of Phil’s ideas at http://makeitgreat.org

Self Pity reading by Mitzi Chandler

Do you ever get the blues? No, I give them!

Self-pity stifles. It’s like holding the brake down while trying to move forward, going nowhere fast.
A person stuck in this gear finds solace in making others suffer with them.
Self-pity is an attitude that makes growth impossible. Until we can accept that it isn’t what happened to us, but what we do about it, we will wallow in past grievances and create new ones each day.
We deserve better. Why be our own worst enemies? Why stay bogged down when there are better ways to deal with pain and disappointment?
It is scary to give up this defense and face what needs to be faces in ourselves, but it is better than singing the “Poor me Blues”.

I will stop dwelling on the misfortunes in my life and see what I can do about them.

Taken from Gentle Reminders for co-dependents

Self Care Daily Recovery Reading

“If I am not for myself, who will be?” -The Talmud

In recovery we can begin to care for ourselves again. Begin to look after our own best interest, speak up on our own behalf, stand up and be counted.

Until we reach that point in healing, there are things we can do to encourage the emergence of our authentic child. When the old negative tapes start to whirl in our heads, we can drown them out with positive affirmations. We can begin to as “as if” we already believe in our self worth. And we can accept the genuine love and support of others who have traveled this same journey of rediscovery.

I am a worthy human being created by the hands of a Higher Power. I have a right and an obligation to be all that I can be.

*from the book, “Gentle Reminders – Daily Affirmations of CoDependents” by Mitzi Chandler. copyright 1989

Unexpected ways to find joy and serenity

5 Steps That Could Change Your Life
Unexpected ways to find joy and serenity

By Salley Shannon

Inner peace. A tranquil mind. Serenity. How do you find the way to
your inner quiet retreat when days are full of to-do lists, searches
for misplaced sneakers, exasperating coworkers and nothing much to
start supper with in the fridge? Consider the following.

Step 1: Pay attention to your physical health. We all go through
periods when an illness, a bout of being overscheduled or even
having a new baby in the house means operating for weeks with little
sleep and spotty nutrition. But if you’re eating meals standing
up
and getting by with too little rest, any quest for inner peace is
almost impossible.

David L. Felten, M.D., Ph.D., the prize-winning scientist whose work
first demonstrated the mind-body connection, says seeking serenity
while neglecting the basics of good physical health is like
beginning an exercise program “and then having a junk-food feast
every day.” While embracing yoga, guided imagery or spirituality
might do you some good, he says it won’t entirely reverse the
damage
done by failing to take care of yourself.

If you’re wondering whether or not your health habits are sound,
ask
this question: If my best friend had these habits, what would I tell
her? Then follow your own advice. We usually know what we ought to
do to be healthy; the trick is doing it.

Step 2: Envision the person you’d like to be on the inside. Then
begin living “as if.” Are you who you always hoped to become?
We’re
not talking about your weight or the fact that you wanted to go to
nursing school, but whether you like the woman you hold
conversations with in your head.

We all need a mental photo of the person we’d like to be. If you
don’t have one, ask yourself which person you most admired as a
child. Perhaps you were inspired by an aunt who had a kind word for
everyone, and you wanted to grow up to be genuine and caring like
her. Maybe you’ve always admired people with faith, like your
grandmother, because it helped them weather life’s problems.

For many people, the path to serenity begins with a daily prayer
asking for guidance. But inner peace isn’t just for those with
defined religious beliefs, says Robert C. Solo-mon, Ph.D., a
philosophy professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author
of Spirituality for the Skeptic. Dr. Solomon says peace of mind can
be found by deliberately choosing to be virtuous in all of our
dealings: by telling the truth, being just and fair and striving to
be kind. “Caring about the right things becomes a kind of
spirituality in itself,” he says.

Once you have an inner model, start living today as though you were
already that person.

Step 3: Get rid of anger and blame. We all carry around bundles of
hurts and grievances, many of them caused by things other people
have done, believes Fred Luskin, Ph.D., author of the bestseller
Forgive for Good and director and co-founder of the Stanford
University Forgiveness Project, a research program that shows
clients how letting go of grievances makes them happier and
physically healthier.

“By carrying around these hurts, you are letting the person who
harmed you continue to inflict new bruises. You are renting space to
him in your head,” he says. Aside from wrecking your inner peace,
just thinking about these grudges gives your nervous system a jolt.
Your blood pressure, heart rate and arterial pressure actually rise.
If these responses continue day after day, they can literally
“break
your heart.”

Forgiving someone doesn’t mean condoning bad behavior or
necessarily
reconciling with the person who hurt you, says Dr. Luskin. What it
really means is not letting the memory upset or control you.

One way to get rid of inner anger is to mentally “change the
channel” by turning your mind to something else. If you find
yourself replaying the mental video of an argument with your mother,
stop. Replay a happy moment instead. Likewise, don’t keep talking
about old grievances. If you hear yourself begin telling a new
coworker about how you were unfairly deprived of a promotion five
years ago, stop. Talk instead about something that makes you feel
good.

Step 4: Create a life you enjoy. Many of our regrets center on
things we haven’t done, especially as we grow older. Barbara
Sher,
the guru of midlife changes and author of It’s Only Too Late if
You
Don’t Start Now, advises, “Find what you love and find a way
to do
it.”

If you always wanted to sing, you probably can’t quit your job
and
join the opera, but you can start taking singing lessons. If
you need practical inspiration to help you pursue what you want,
visit Sher’s online bulletin board, www.barbarasher.com.
You’ll be
inspired by stories of women who have taken up everything from
raising gorillas to hairstyling.

Among Sher’s best suggestions: Gather a group of friends who are
supportive and will help each other pursue their dreams, then
brainstorm with them to find practical suggestions for making money
or finding time. As for the critics who tell you that what you love
is irrelevant or crazy, ignore them. “One of the best things
about
growing up is that your inner satisfaction becomes more important
than status or praise,” says Sher.

Step 5: Let go of trying to be perfect. Trying to do everything
right is impossible. Even when a task is finished, there is always
something you could have done a little better, so your mind stays
stirred up and peace eludes you.

Perfectionism “is a pretend way to make you believe you have the
power to control things no one can control,” Sher says. Trying to
be
perfect becomes the way to prove you are worthy, get approval or
force your critics to admit you’re good. Since perfectionism is a
habit often developed in childhood, you may be trying to please a
person who isn’t even in your life anymore. Also, keep in mind
that “critics want to criticize,” says Sher. “They have
their own
reasons for doing it that have nothing to do with you.”

Awareness of others (Timothy Freke)

AWARENESS OF OTHERS

Often the simplest of all spiritual practices are the most profound. The most obvious way of escaping the prison of the ego is simply to reach out to others.

Decide today to be particularly conscious of the needs and desires of those around you and to ask yourself what you can do to contribute to others’ happiness and well-being.

This does not have to entail grand gestures. Everyday we are surrounded by people in need of just a kind word, a helping hand, or a friendly smile.

Be aware of how reaching beyond yourself affects your relationship with others and how it changes your experience of yourself.

Practice small acts of compassion

Spiritual Traditions essential teachings to Transform your life
by Timothy Freke