Kindness Matters: Pass it On

Today is International Kindness Day.  In a day and age where civility seems to have gone by the wayside, what can we do to create more kindness? Do you know that there’s a direct correlation between showing kindness and receiving kindness? The two acts feed off one another and lead to a perpetual cycle of giving. Your kindness does matter as it ripples out into the world.

Scientists have also discovered a certain hormone called oxytocin which increases when we are empathic or generous. When the level of oxytocin increases, the circuit in the brain that controls fear, anxiety and rage shuts down. That is why practicing kindness leads to greater empathy and morality. It is also difficult to hold a grudge.

It is important to teach children about kindness—what it is, how to identify it, and how to practice it. We develop empathy following rules for expected behavior in the classroom, preventing bullying and developing compassion. Children learn by playing. When children are role-playing, they are also learning about perspectives and skills to stand in another’s shoes. We learn about our differences and similarities.

If we have not learned basic kindness skills by the time we are around 8 years old, it is very difficult to teach. This lack of empathy leads to anti-social behavior.

Without empathy, we have no chance at civility. We need that connection to feel human. We also need to be connected to a purpose greater than our own. Our inner power helps to create the best mindset through meditation and connecting to our heart.

Model civility, practice kindness every day, whether opening a car door, helping a lost puppy find its home, or helping a senior citizen cross the road safely. The very act of kindness creates more kindness, more empathy, and self-respect, and more “feel-good” hormones.

Engaging in kindness and compassion is what makes for a grateful society. And who doesn’t need a little more gratitude in our world? Here’s a way to begin your day in kindness and gratitude with this morning six-minute meditation. Click here to download for FREE this meditation and join my Inner Power Circle!

As Comedian and Talk Show Host Ellen DeGeneres always says, “Be kind to one another!”

Vicki Atlas is a Best Mindset Coach and Certified Guided Imagery Specialist.  Vicki is passionate about helping children and parents feel less stressed, more calm, and happier  Find her at HeartTalkNow.com and CalmingCorner.comfor kids. You can connect with her on Facebook and Instagram or email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com.

Challenge: Would You Go Over the Edge?

What challenge have you faced lately?  I have just returned from an Advanced Meditation Conference in Toronto with Bestselling Author Dr. Joe Dispenza of “You Are the Placebo.” As an international speaker, author, researcher, and educator, Dispenza is passionate about helping people reach their potential.  Upon arrival, we are told that our group will be the first to take on a challenge. I say to myself, “What challenge? I don’t remember reading about any challenge. What does that have to do with meditating?”   So, there we are, one-thousand participants from over 20 different countries being tested to face our fears.

Then our team leader says that we are going to repel down a 33-story building tomorrow.  What did she say?  Repel down a skyscraper?  All the fear begins. I’m not doing that! Are they crazy? I’m not in the greatest physical shape.  When I think of mountain climbers, they train for this!

At this point, I am quite upset. What a way to begin the conference! So that evening, I decide not to sign the release but to think about it overnight. After talking with my husband, who is also concerned, I look up the company on the Internet.  Over the Edge has a good reputation for team-building and fundraising. My team leader had said that over 78,000 people have gone over the edge, without injuries.

The next morning, I sign the release–off to face my biggest fears.

As we wait for our turn on top of the Westin Hotel in Toronto, we encourage each other. I keep doing my mindful breathing, barely looking over the edge at the 33 stories below. Then it’s finally my turn for the challenge. My stomach churns.  I say a prayer, and keep doing my breath work.

At first when I go over the edge in my harness, it’s quite scary.  This is the hardest part. I go sideways, then had my knees dangling against the building. But soon I have enough rope to stretch out my legs.  Soon I get into a rhythm, releasing more rope, jumping to the next level.  At one point, I feel like Spiderman scaling down the building.   In the end, I successfully go “over the edge” and make it down the building safely.  I credit my mindfulness training and breathing with helping me surpass my edge.

The majority of attendees did repel down the Westin. Some did not, for a variety of reasons, but all learned from this experience.  The company said we may have broken a world record for the most people to repel down a building in such a short time. I am so grateful to have overcome my fear, with the help of my Over the Edge crew member who was part trainer and part life coach.

This conference was an amazing experience and I will be sharing more in later blog posts.  You never know what edge may come up in the future—but because of overcoming this challenge, I’ll be more confident  that I’ll be successful with my next life challenge.

Vicki Atlas is a Best Mindset Coach and Certified Guided Imagery Specialist.  Vicki is passionate about bringing more peace and wellbeing to parents and children.  Find her at HeartTalkNow.com and CalmingCorner.com, for kids. You can connect with her on Facebook and email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com.

5 Tips for More Happiness

Where Are You on the Happiness Scale?

Can you choose to be happier?  Psychology professor David T. Lykken believes we each have a “happiness set point.”  Yet, other Psychologists who study happiness believe we can improve our state of emotions.  Try focusing on gratitude and appreciation and creating the intention to be happier.  Here are a few Best Mindset tips to help you expand your happiness.

Tip # 1: Choose Happier Thoughts

Choose to make happiness a top goal.  Author of The Happiness Hypothesis Jon Haidt teaches positive psychology and for homework, he assigns his students to make themselves happier during the semester.   Some of these include: being more forgiving or more grateful. They also learn to challenge negative thoughts.

Tip #2: Make a Gratitude List

In his book, Authentic Happiness, University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman encourages readers to perform a daily “gratitude exercise.” It involves listing a few things that make them grateful. This shifts people away from bitterness and despair, he says, and promotes happiness.  I also keep a gratitude rock by my nightstand and before bed, I remind myself of 3 to 5 things that I’m grateful for.

Tip #3: Continue to Forgive

Michael McCullough and Robert Emmons, researchers who edited The Psychology of Happiness claim holding a grudge can affect your health.  One way to curtail these kinds of feelings is to practice forgiveness. This reduces the power of bad events to create bitterness and resentment, and add stress to your body.

Tip #4: Build Friendships

There’s nothing like a good laugh with dear friends, and this also promotes happiness. Author of The Pursuit of Happiness David G. Myers found one Australian study that showed people over 70, who had the strongest network of friends, lived the longest. Myers claims the “social ties that bind also provide support in difficult times.”

Tip #5: Find Meaningful Activities

People are seldom happier than when they’re in the “flow.” This is a state in which your mind becomes thoroughly absorbed in a meaningful task that challenges your abilities. Psychology research has found watching TV ­­produces some of the lowest levels of happiness. It turns out that to get more out of life, we need to put more into leisure time.  Choose activities that you most enjoy doing.  They’re good for your mental health and your happiness.

Vicki Atlas is a Best Mindset Coach and Certified Guided Imagery Specialist.  Vicki is passionate about bringing more peace and wellbeing to parents and families.  Find her at HeartTalkNow.com and CalmingCorner.comfor kids. You can connect with her on Twitter and email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com

Ask Empowering Questions for Results

You may be familiar with affirmations.  Why not try asking empowering questions instead?  Let’s say you set a goal of making more sales.  Many success leaders say to keep saying an affirmation like, “I am increasing sales easily and effortlessly.”  You are told to keep repeating this affirmation and to put sticky notes of this affirmation all over the place.  These powerful affirmations then should reach your subconscious mind to help make it happen.  For some, this method works beautifully, but many are not seeing results.

For a lot of us, when we say the affirmation, there’s a little voice inside our head that doesn’t believe it, “Yeah right, this is just a terrible sales month, nobody wants what I’m  offering.”  So, what do you think your subconscious is believing?  That you do not believe it’s possible to increase sales, and that’s what shows up.  It’s the power of belief, that feeling inside, that wins

Author Noah St. John in his book The Secret Code of Success has a method that he calls “Afformations,” which is taking your goals and asking empowering questions.  Like in the example from before about boosting sales, you would ask, “Why am I increasing sales easily and effortlessly? The brain is wired to give you better outcomes when you ask empowering questions.

There are two types of questions: empowering and disempowering questions. Disempowering questions normally come from that negative voice inside: “Why do I feel so bad today?” “Why can’t I lose more weight?” Asking yourself these kinds of negative questions will give you negative results.  So, turn it around.  Ask empowering questions, like, “Why do I feel so good today?”  Or Why am I losing so much weight so easily?  When you ask better questions, your mind automatically focuses on getting results

If you want to learn about this and other ways to increase the best mindset, check out my custom sessions.

“Empowering questions cause your mind to focus on the positive. The only answers to empowering questions are answers or experiences that produce feelings of self-esteem and a positive self-image! Empowering questions lead to answers that tell the Truth about Who You Really Are,” Noah says in his book.

Take another example.  I am rich, would then become “Why am I so rich?”  Here are few more empowering questions:

  • Why am I so happy?
  • Why am I more than good enough?
  • Why do I know my life purpose?
  • Why do I attract only good things in my life?

Here are the steps after you have a few empowering questions:

  1. Write down your Afformations based on your goals
  2. Meditate on one of your empowering questions
  3. As you receive answers, take action

 

Remember, If you want to learn more about this and other ways to increase the best mindset, check out my custom sessions with The Best Mindset for Success. So, my empowering question?  “Why are so many new clients signing up for my Best Mindset” course?”

Wishing you peace!

Vicki Atlas is a Best Mindset Coach and Certified Guided Imagery Specialist.  Vicki is passionate about bringing more peace and wellbeing to children, teens, and adults.  Find her at HeartTalkNow.com and CalmingCorner.comfor kids. You can connect with her on Twitter and email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com

4 Signs You May Have Anxiety

How do you know if you are one of the 40 million adults who may suffer from anxiety in the US?  And what to do if you show these signs of anxiety? Most of us experience anxiety at one point in our lives.  Perhaps it’s before an interview or before a “big day.” This is normal stress and to be expected. Anxiety disorders go beyond the normal jitters.

For years, I had suffered from worry and sleepless nights. About eight years ago, I rediscovered meditation and Guided Imagery that has helped me live with more ease.  That’s why I began teaching meditation and Guided Imagery and other tools because these helped me release the worry.

I know there may be others who want relief, as well.  Let’s explore some of the signs of anxiety, and then talk about better ways to cope.

  1. Poor Sleep

Most people who have generalized anxiety disorder also suffer from poor sleep patterns.  If you have difficulty getting or staying asleep on a regular basis, then this could be signs of anxiety. If you are constantly worried about everything then it could be a sign of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

  1. Constant State of Fear

Fear of heights, fear of flying, many of us feel these, but if it’s getting in the way of you living a normal life, like leaving your house, then this is probably an anxiety disorder.  Sometimes this fear takes over leading to nausea, headaches, stomach cramps, or all over tension in our stomach or throat.

  1. Compulsive Behaviors (OCD)

Obsessive compulsive disorders fall into extreme rituals and a sign of anxiety.  This can include overthinking or repetitive cleaning actions. Once these actions start to interfere with daily life you may find relief through treatment.

  1. Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is more common than you think.  If you are regularly feeling self-conscious going out, especially with close friends, your anxiety is getting in the way of living a more satisfying social life.

 

What Are Treatment Options?

The most important thing to know is that you do not have to suffer in silence.  For one thing, being in a constant state of anxiety raises your cortisol levels, which can lead to weight gain, brain fog, and stress-related illnesses.  Treatment varies for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  You may need to see a doctor to be prescribed medicine that may help you relax or sleep, and possibly combine this with talk therapy.  There are also natural supplements and homeopathic remedies that may help.

Learning to meditate and using Guided Imagery can be extremely helpful. That’s what has helped me the most.   In fact, hundreds of studies point out that being in a deep meditative state calms the fear and flight part of the brain and over time rewires the brain for more calm.  Learning to breathe in deeply and letting it out slowly, sends a signal to the body through the parasympathetic nervous system to be calm.

I have two helpful Guided Imagery programs for anxiety:  Embrace Love Release Fear and Stress Buster.  There’s also Blissful Sleep.  Private coaching and learning other stress-relieving tools like Emotional Freedom Technique or Tapping may also be helpful.  Check out my services, or find another holistic coach, therapist, or doctor.  The most important thing is to feel better.

You deserve to lead a fulfilling life.  There’s a better way to live than living in constant anxiety and stress.  Your family will love the change in you and so will you.

Wishing you peace!

Vicki Atlas is a Best Mindset Coach and Certified Guided Imagery Specialist.  Vicki is passionate about bringing more peace and wellbeing to children, teens, and adults.  Find her at HeartTalkNow.com and CalmingCorner.com for kids. You can connect with her on Twitter and email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com

Relaxation Tips for Busy Brains

How do you relax during the day?  Here are 3 relaxation tips to help.

 

If you want to remain focused, calm, and productive, take several 10-second relaxation breaks throughout your day. According to Neuroscientist Mark Waldman, the decision-making processes in your frontal lobe gets exhausted after 10-to-20 minutes of concentration. We need a few time-outs to be more productive and centered.  These are helpful hints to help you stress less and be more calm.

Scientists have discovered special neurons in your brain that give you greater perception and more awareness.  To shut off the fear or flight part of the brain and enhance these neurons, we need to fire and wire new connections in the brain.  When we keep engaging our brains in Guided Imagery, meditation, and mindfulness—to be more present—compassion increases toward ourselves and others.  You also invite in more calm.

So here are three great ways to relax and refresh your overtaxed brain.  You probably do some of these already:

 

1.    Yawning—believe it or not—yawning slows down excess activity in your brain that causes stress.  Who knew yawning will make us smarter?

2.    Slow stretching in your neck, shoulders and torso which send calming signals throughout your body and mind to relax.

3.    Rubbing your hands together or gently stroking your arms with your hands.  This helps you calm down with the sensation of touch.  Fingers and hands have a lot of acupressure points, so no wonder this helps you feel more serene.

Try any of these throughout your day for short brain breaks. Use my Guided Imagery programs at HeartTalkNow.com to enhance your brain breaks.  You may also want to download a mindfulness bell to your smart phone, as well.  Then set a few reminders throughout your day to yawn, stretch, and go for a brain break.

 

Vicki Atlas is a Best Mindset Coach and Certified Guided Imagery Specialist.  Vicki is passionate about bringing more peace and wellbeing to children and adults.  Find her at HeartTalkNow.com and CalmingCorner.com, for kids. You can connect with her on Twitter and email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com

3 Tips to Self-Love and Being Mindful

During this week of hearts and love, shower a little more loving acceptance on YOU!  It’s often easier to be kind and gentle toward someone else than ourselves. Here are a few mindful tips that may help with self-love and self-acceptance.

1. Allow Love IN!

Be willing to pause and allow love in!  That’s the true meaning of mindfulness…being aware of a loving presence and being in the NOW of the present moment.  That’s why a brief pause into stillness, a little deep breathing, or even a short meditation can lift your spirit.

What does it mean to let love in and love yourself? It means loving your history and the messes. Loving ourselves means experiencing our feelings just as they are and also accepting what is without resistance—because as they say,  “What we resist… persists.”

Even if we do not like our current situation, let love in.  Maybe our health is suffering, or there’s an addiction, or financial struggles.  We still need to let love in so we may move beyond the hurt and pain.  Staying stuck in negativity will prevent more helpful solutions from breaking through.  It means pausing enough to trust that the right answers will come.  Try pausing in stillness and asking yourself, what would “Love” have me do? My Guided Imagery  meditations feature opening more to love, so enjoy 20% off any MP3 downloads through February 28th.  (Use coupon code love2018.)

2.  Let go of judging Yourself

You have spent too long trying to measure up to an unrealistic ideal of who you think you should be.  When really, you just have to say to yourself,  “ I’m doing the best that I can.” Then, accept that you are doing your best.   it is time to release all judgements.

What does that mean?  It is now time to see yourself as the brilliant person your truly are!  For you are special and unique.   It is now time for you to realize that you are loved unconditionally.  You deserve to be loved for exactly who you are.   You do not need to do anything to feel this love.

3. Honor Your Feelings–both the Good and the Bad

Welcome your feelings.   We need to find a way to be with feelings and let them go.  Emotions such as grief allow us to release pain so that we may move forward in our lives. Other feelings may be more unclear, such as tightness in our stomach or around our chest. As we bring an attitude of gentleness toward it, and sit with the feeling with compassion, we may open more to understanding and our true needs.

Feelings often contain wise messages. If we can cultivate a warm and friendly attitude toward our feelings, they’re more likely to become allies on our journey. New insights open up and our lives move forward in a more fulfilling way.

Many of my meditations feature love, so enjoy 20% off any MP3 downloads on LOVE at my online store.  Now through February 28th.  (Use coupon code love2018.)

To sum up, be willing to pause and let love in!  Then, allow in compassion for yourself and for those areas of your life that you are still seeking to change.  This is true self-love.  When we come from love, we can better uplift ourselves and our world!

 

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Ignite Your Morning Power with Meditation

Time for A Mini-Meditation?

Do you have a time that you set aside for meditation?  Motivational success coaches, like Best-Selling Authors Jack Canfield and Tony Robbins, suggest meditating first thing in the morning.  It helps set the tone for the day.  If you do not have much time, try this six-minute mini-boost in the morning which is outlined below.

If you want to learn more about how to ignite your inner light and create your best life, join my six-month online member program Unleash your Inner Power which starts February 7th.

Now, here are simple directions for my mini-meditation.  Find a quiet spot where you will not be disturbed.  Sit in a comfortable chair and close your eyes.  Begin with a minute or two of gratitude.  Think of someone you love or who loves you.  Or, think of other things that you are grateful for. Maybe you appreciate a hot cup of coffee, or the morning quiet, before everyone is up.  Opening your heart in gratitude brings us in a higher state of appreciation.

Follow that with two or three minutes of receiving a loving presence from above and all around that connects your Divine spark.   Know that this higher power can heal and solve problems in your life.  Raise this awareness and connection.  Allow the Divine, Source Energy, or God, whatever you call this power, to help you in your life.  But in order to receive, it is helpful to be in a state of appreciation.

Then, use two-to-three minutes of visualization to imagine the three to five things you want to accomplish in your day or your life.  Imagine what it would feel like to complete those items.  Spend time with each thing that you would like to go well, whether it’s a relationship, a business deal, reaching a health goal.  See the end result as already accomplished.

Join us to begin igniting your morning power! The six-month online member program Unleash your Inner Power starts February 7th. We will also be setting intentions to create what we most want to manifest in 2018.  As a group process, this can be even more powerful.

Vicki Atlas is a Best Mindset Coach and Certified Guided Imagery Specialist.  Vicki is passionate about bringing more peace and wellbeing to children and adults.  Find her at HeartTalkNow.com and CalmingCorner.com, for kids. You can connect with her on Twitter and email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com

 

Thank you! Gratitude Meditation

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for family and friends.  It’s a time to practice gratitude for the little things and bigger blessings in our lives. Here’s a gratitude meditation to practice when you want to feel more connected and in a state of grace. Gratitude raises your state of higher awareness with love.

Settle into a quiet place and get comfortable. Please close your eyes. Take a deep breath in on a count of four, hold it. Then release on a count of four and pause. Do this deep breathing a few more times to relax your mind and body.

Make sure you release any tension that remains in any part of your body. (Pause for a few moments.) Now place your attention on your heart. Breathe in and out a golden light in your heart. Be thankful for your heart center, which is the seat of your soul and also holds love, compassion, and forgiveness.

Keep breathing in love, and breathing out gratitude. Feel your heart expand to someone you love…stay here for a few moments. (Pause) Now feel in your heart some of the things you are grateful for, like your health, the abundance of nature, the beauty of life, so many blessings. (Pause for a minute or more as you imagine each blessing.)

That’s great.  Just breathe in love and breathe out gratitude. (Pause here for a bit.)  Now spread this gratitude to all of your family and friends (Pause.)  Then, expand out into your community.(Pause for a minute or more)

Continue to sit in this stillness for a little while, saying “thank you,” “thank you” for your blessings.”  When you are ready, come back into the room where you began your journey, carrying this gratitude, peace and love.  Gently open your eyes. Remember this gratitude for yourself and others and to all you meet throughout your day.  Please share this gratitude meditation with family and friends.  Wishing you peace!

 

Vicki Atlas is a Best Mindset Coach and a Certified Guided Imagery Specialist.  Vicki is passionate about bringing more peace and wellbeing to children and adults. If you’d like more of this in your life, connect with her at HeartTalkNow.com and CalmingCorner.com, for kids. You can connect with her on Twitter and email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com

 

5 Keys to a Successful Meditation Practice

I recommend beginning a meditation practice with a strong intention.   At my Ignite Your Best Mindset Group, I tell participants that when your desire is heartfelt, your commitment will be much stronger.  This is the first of five steps to make your meditation a success long-term to empower your best life.

If you don’t set a firm intention, you’ll eventually lose sight of the reason you’re meditating, and be off course.   When you are aware of your intention, it’s like you’re the great batter who is consciously aware of every muscle as he moves his body toward the ball to score a homerun.  Be like that athlete who succeeds!

To set an intention, write down your answers to the follow questions:

  • What is my deepest desire for meditating?
  • How many minutes am I willing to dedicate to the practice?
  • How many days a week am I truly willing to meditate?
  • What is my deepest desire to achieve; is it connecting to your higher power, stress relief, more peace?

Now make an intention from your answers.  For example, “I will commit to a practice of at least 5 to 20 minutes of meditating or Guided Imagery each day to wake up and empower my best life.”  Or it could be, “I intend to do five minutes of meditation three times a week for stress relief.” Whatever you choose and say will be just right for you.  The most important thing is to write down your intention and begin.  When you calm your mind, go inside, you are now aligned with your higher self to inspire and expect great things.

Here are the 5 keys to a successful practice:

  1. Set an intention
  2. Align with Your Higher Power or the Divine
  3. Tune into your body and breath
  4. Welcome your thoughts and feelings
  5. Tap into a sense of wellbeing, joy, and compassion

In future blog posts, I will go more in depth with the other keys to a successful meditation practice.  You can also work with a meditation coach to help setup a strong practice.

Vicki Atlas is a Best Mindset Coach, a Guided Imagery Specialist, and Producer.   Atlas is passionate about bringing more peace and wellbeing to children and adults.  Find her at HeartTalkNow.com and CalmingCorner.com for kids. You can connect with her on Twitter and email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com

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