Freedom from Stress to Be Your Best

This weekend we celebrate the 4th of July in America and our freedoms.  How about adding freedom from stress to be your best?  Especially during this time of the Coronavirus, maybe it’s time that we also allow ourselves the freedom to just BE.  Think about that for a moment.   What if we could stop doing, doing, striving to do more, and let ourselves just BE, knowing that we are enough?  What freedom could that bring to our everyday stress and tension?

Sometimes we go round and round with our thoughts spinning out of control.    We become so distracted by our thinking brain that we lose focus.   We also lose connection to what’s most important.  It is during these times that we need to step away from the things that occupy our minds. Taking time out to connect with our inner self gives our mind, body, and spirit time to heal and reenergize. 

Learn more about how to unleash your inner spirit at InnerPowerMindset.com/Breakthrough.

Have you ever noticed when you are stumped on a project, getting away from it, taking a walk or a shower, is when our best ideas seem to come?   Rest from all that mental chatter, allows flashes of insight to emerge.

Taking time to walk outside, doing a few yoga poses, meditating, or to simply rest and just be, allows us to open up to our true source and let go of worries. As we begin to get in touch with the oneness of nature, we will find that our troubles become lighter.  Giving ourselves freedom from our daily concerns is a gift to ourselves and allows us to be more open to the wisdom that the universe has to offer.  It also allows us to be more present to our own life and the people we love.  Take a break and let the sunshine in.  Take time to celebrate our freedom of wellbeing.

Wishing you and your family the best!
Vicki 

Vicki Atlas Israel is the Author of “Inner Power NOW.” As a Mindset Coach and Certified Guided Imagery Specialist, Vicki’s purpose is to bring more love, joy, and healing to parents and children.  Freedom from stress to be your best.  She’s offering a complimentary “Breakthrough Anxiety” session.  You can connect with her at InnerPowerMindset.com.

 

Stress Relief for Teachers

Wonder what stress may be doing to our favorite teachers?    Do you know that the stress levels of teachers are tied with nursing?   A recent gallop poll finds 46 percent of teachers and nurses are both tied with high levels stress on a daily basis.  Many of us owe a great deal to teachers who have impacted our lives and those of our children.  We may help teachers cope better by providing more support and ways to help them de-stress.

 

What Are Major Stresses for Teachers?

Teachers face enormous pressure from developing academic lessons to handling classroom behavior and administrators who demand high academic performance of students.  Then, there are children who come from trauma, or with behavior problems, special needs, and the threat of school violence.

Chronic stress impacts a teacher’s mental and physical health—from headaches, to high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and anxiety.   Stress also depletes mental stamina. Common symptoms include irritability, mood swings and exhaustion.  In the latest research by the University of Pennsylvania, teachers reported these symptoms of high stress.

One teacher told me the majority of teachers she works with are on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds just to cope.  More consideration needs to be on how this high stress affects our kids, educators, and learning in the classroom.

 

Schools Can Provide More Stress Relief

More school districts could help teachers’ stress levels by providing more professional development keeping “Wellbeing” in mind.  One of my favorite groups to train with my Empower a Success Mindset programs are educators.  I give handouts so that all breathing exercises and mindful activities can be passed on to students and to their families.  In the teacher trainings I’ve conducted, educators report they’ve used these helpful mindful breathing in their classrooms, and it’s really helped their students to chill, especially at test time.

Students learning to visualize can also benefit their imagination, self-esteem, and learning.  And mindfulness has been shown to help build focus, compassion, and emotional resilience.  In my next article, I’ll focus on the benefits of creative visualization with children.

 Contact us if you’re interested in scheduling a Professional Development Day, bringing “Inner Power Learning:  Empower a Success Mindset” to help educators and students thrive.  Let’s chat!

 

5 Great Ways to Reduce Stress

These stress relieving tips are great for teachers.   Let go of perfection and enjoy more peace!

  1. Take time for you.  Make sure to do something that will recharge your soul and your energy.  Take a bubble bath, listen to music, or phone a friend
  2. Do some deep breathing.  I teach the Box Breath which is also used by the elite Navy SEALs for calm and focus.  Just like the four sides of a box.  Breathe in for 4 seconds.  Hold for 4 seconds. Breathe out for 4 and hold again for 4 seconds. It’s that pausing in between the breaths that send a signal to the brain and body to relax.  Keep repeating this breathing for a few minutes.
  3. Find a sympathetic ear. Talk to a colleague or friend who you can share your burdens to lighten the load.  It helps to vent and release feelings.
  4. Laughter can help relieve stress. There’s nothing like a good belly laugh to boost endorphins, the feel good chemicals.  Share laughter with your students. Schedule joke time once a week.   Also, find ways to not take yourself so seriously.
  5. Take a little breathing space. Close your eyes for a few minutes each day and visualize a relaxing scene by the beach, or by a crackling fire in the mountains, or inside your warm comfy bed–any place where you can feel a sense of getting away from it all. (Listen to one of my guided meditations.)

These tips are especially helpful at holiday time when we feel overloaded by demands and things to do. Maybe do a little less this holiday season and find time to take a few deep breaths to center yourself.

Warm wishes,

Vicki

Organizations hire Vicki to conduct Inner Power Mindset Training to help teachers, health care providers, and families thrive.  If you’re a teacher or health care provider needing help with stress, anxiety, or better sleep, contact Vicki for a FREE Empowering Session, “From Stress to Be Your Best” at Vicki@InnerPowerMindset.com. 

Mindful Parents May Raise Less Troubled Kids

We’ve all heard how being more mindful can benefit us individually with more wellbeing, happiness, and emotional resilience.  According to recent research, children who experience mindful parenting tend to be less likely to do drugs or become depressed and anxious.  One study out of the University of Vermont surveyed over 600 parents who participated in a mindfulness program for parents.  Their children ranged in ages from 3-17.  In an article out of Mindful Magazine suggests “encouraging more mindful, responsive parenting—and less harsh punishments or yelling—may indirectly help kids to avoid some of the at risk behavior of adolescence—like anxiety, depression, acting out, and drug use.” 

 

What are some takeaways?

It’s not just about being more positive.  It’s more important for a parent to be emotionally attuned to their child than to be either positive or negative in their interactions The research suggests the following three key factors to keep in mind about mindful parents.

  1. Noticing your own feelings when you’re in conflict with your child,
  2. Learning to pause before responding in anger,
  3. Listening carefully to a child’s viewpoint even when disagreeing with it.

Sounds like good advice for all of us to remember when in conflict. 

 

Why Mindful Parenting?

Being more in tune with our feelings or reactions — pausing before overreacting — may make a difference.  Justin Parent, lead author of the study says, “To bring mindful attention and awareness into your interactions with your child really seems to set the stage for you to be a good parent.”  The research also shows more mindful parenting engaged in more positive and less negative parenting behavior which then linked to more positive behavior in their kids.  This tended to result in their children showing less anxiety, depression, and acting out.  The researchers don’t exactly know why this has occurred and has suggested more study in this area.  In fact, their next research will compare a conventional parenting course with mindful parenting.

Vicki Atlas Israel is passionate about helping you and your family thrive.  She’s a Mindset Coach, Certified in Guided Imagery, a Consultant at a pediatric hospital, and the author of National Bestseller “Inner Power NOW.”Contact Vicki for a FREE Inner Power Discovery Session at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com.  Vicki also conducts Inner Power Mindset Training for teachers, therapists, and those who work with children. 

Which Voice Will Win?

Two Voices Inside:  Who will Win? 

When you set a huge goal like writing a book or other dreams—resistance will show up in a big way.  Steven Pressfield who wrote the book War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle, points out that your biggest dream will be met with the most resistance.  There’s an old parable that illustrates how to listen to the two voices inside.

An elder Cherokee Indian is teaching his grandson about life and says, “My son, a fight is going on inside people.  He goes on, “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves that live inside of us.  One wolf is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

 

Energy Flows Where Your Attention Goes  

Feed the voice of expansion and do more to contain the voice of fear and doubt.  Both wolves will always be there.   I’ve noticed as I was getting ready to launch my new book Inner Power NOW and new website, I had a tendency to feed the dark wolf of fear and it became paralyzing.  “What if I fail?  I don’t know what I’m doing?”

If you keep giving into the first dark wolf, it may stop you in your tracks.  But what if we act in spite of those negative feelings or doubts.  Keep moving forward and begin feeding the right wolf, which is also your higher self.   Plant more positive expectations like, “All is well and will be well,” or “I’ll learn from this, no matter what.”  When we act “as if” and expect great things, despite these fears, worries, and doubts you’ll be feeding the white wolf.

Feeding Both Wolves Is the Best Approach

In the Cherokee tradition, there’s another version of this story, where the older Cherokee tells his grandson:

“If you feed them right, they both win.” and the story goes on.  If you only choose to feed the white wolf, the black one will be hiding around every corner waiting for you to become distracted or weak and jump to get my attention. He’ll always be angry and fight the white wolf. But if you acknowledge him, the dark wolf will calm down and be happy.   The white wolf is happy, and we all win.”

“The black wolf has many qualities like tenacity, strategic thinking, and being strong-willed,” explains the grandfather. These are the qualities the white wolf lacks. But the white wolf has compassion, caring, and recognizes what’s in the best interest of all concerned.”

We need to feed both sides of our internal voices.  Acknowledge the black wolf by saying thank you for sharing and trying to keep me safe.

Here goes.  Are you listening — my two internal wolves?  Let’s work together to help bring more stress relief and peace with my new book and programs for Inner Power NOW.  I need both of you on my side, working as a team, to create the highest good for all concerned.

Wishing you and your family the best!
Vicki 

Vicki Atlas Israel is the Author of #1 Amazon Bestseller “Inner Power NOW.”  Order the book at InnerPowerMindset.com. Contact Vicki if you’re interested in having her speak at your next event.  As a Best Mindset Coach and Certified Guided Imagery Specialist, Vicki’s purpose is to bring more love, joy, and healing to children and families.  You can connect with her on Facebook or email her at Vicki@InnerPowerMindset.com

Top 7 Stress Busting Tips

April is National Stress Awareness Month 

In honor of my book being published this month during National Stress Awareness Month, here are 7 great tips from my new book Inner Power NOW to help you and your family thrive.  Are you ready to release stress and worry?

When you take time for calm, you’ll be more available for yourself and your family. It’s that airplane warning to  put the oxygen mask on yourself first and then your child.  Please enjoy my favorite  7 Stress Busting Tips for you and your family.

1. Breathe slowly and deeply. 
Before reacting to the next stressful thing, take three deep breaths and release them slowly. If you have a few minutes, try out a relaxation technique such as a brief meditation or guided imagery.

2. Get outside for a break 
Feel the healing power of fresh air. Feel the vibration of being alive and the beauty of nature or the bustle of city life. Don’t be deterred by foul weather or a full schedule. Even five minutes outside can be rejuvenating.

3. Move your body 
We all know exercise can provide an outlet for frustration. Even a quick burst of exercise can help. These may include a quick run up several flights of stairs, doing gentle stretching, or dancing to a favorite tune.

4. Include a joy booster
Plan something rewarding for the end of your stressful day. Enjoy a relaxing bath or read a good book. Turn off your screens and cell phone 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. Avoid thinking of your to do list for tomorrow. Let yourself fully relax.

5. Give yourself a good laugh 
Laughing helps you feel better in a matter of minutes. It boosts endorphins and other feel-good hormones. It can also put things in perspective. It’s hard to feel fear or anger when we’re laughing.

6. Count your blessings. 
Gratitude is a great way to raise your energy and open your heart.  Think of three good things, even if this day has been full of stress or disappointments. Close your eyes and focus on your heart when you think of three good things.  Make sure you also write them down.

7. Love yourself more!
This is the best medicine. Do the things that make you happy and add more joy. This is a great way to take care of your needs and reduce stress long-term.  Sometimes we become more stressed when we forget about self-care. Spread Loving Kindness to yourself first and then to others.

Wishing you and your family the best!
Vicki 

Vicki Atlas Israel is the Author of #1 Amazon Bestseller “Inner Power NOW.”  Order the book at InnerPowerMindset.com. Contact Vicki if you’re interested in having her speak at your next event.  As a Best Mindset Coach and Certified Guided Imagery Specialist, Vicki’s purpose is to bring more love, joy, and healing to children and families.  You can connect with her on Facebook or email her at Vicki@InnerPowerMindset.com

 

Laughter Is the Best Medicine

 Wonder what a big belly laugh can do for you?

Laughter can enhance your mood, your health, and your happiness.  Everything from a slight giggle to huge laughter feeds your spirit and also builds connections and friendships.

You may have heard of the book Anatomy of an Illness by Dr. Norman Cousins published a few decades ago.   Dr. Cousins was almost on his death bed, when he took up watching funny comedies and shows all day long for pain control.  He wound up reversing his illness.    Dr. Cousins later won numerous honorary degrees for writing his book, including the UN Peace Medal.

Laughter Yoga is based on this concept of healthy laughter that can be fun to do in group.  Start laughing and see how contagious it can be.  Keep the laughter going for 15 to 20 minutes.  I have a few exercises to try in a group later in this article.

A daily 15-to-20 minutes of laughter can do wonders for your health.  Researchers Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan at Loma Linda University in California studied the benefits of laughter and found these results. Start watching comedy shows or cartoons to begin reaping benefits.

 

Blood Pressure Drops

They found laughter lowers blood pressure.  People who lower their blood pressure also reduce their risk of stroke and heart attack.

Reduces Stress Hormones

Researchers found it lowers stress hormones, like cortisol.  By reducing the level of stress hormones, you’re cutting anxiety that impacts your body. Also, it helps build a higher immune system. Laughter, even in the midst of difficult times, releases pressure and helps you cope.

Build Strong Abs

One of the benefits of laughter is that it can help you tone your ab muscles. When you’re laughing, your stomach expands and contracts.  It’s like exercising your abs, but so much more fun.

Improves Your Cardio

Get a great cardio workout with laughter.   Even those who are incapable of doing other physical activity due to injury or illness, may benefit.  Researchers claim laughter burns a similar amount of calories per hour as walking at a slow to moderate pace.  So, laugh more, stress less.

Boosts Your Immunity

When you laugh, you activate T-cells that immediately begin to help you fight off sickness. Next time you feel a cold coming on, add some laughter to make it go away.

Releases Feel Good Hormones

Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers. By laughing, you can release endorphins, which can help ease chronic pain and make you feel good all over.

Helps WellBeing

Laughter can increase your overall sense of well-being. People who have a positive outlook on life tend to fight diseases better than people who tend to be more negative.  Doctor’s order—smile, laugh, and live longer!

LAUGHTER YOGA

I have presented these exercises in my teacher trainings on mindfulness and they’ve been a hit!  You may feel silly at first, but try these exercises in a group of people, as laughter is contagious. Make sure participants can look around the room and see others laughing.  This is important and adds to the fun!

Exercise 1: You may stand or sit.  As you take a big breath, bring your arms over head arching back a little.  Then bring your arms down with laughter (Ha-ha-ha), having others join in and do the same. Keep doing this for several minutes.  Bringing your arms up overhead, and then down with laughter (Ha-Ha-Ha.)

Exercise 2:  Clap your hands in front of you 3 times, as you say:  “Very good, Very good,”  after the last “Very good,” lift your arms overhead, like the exercised before, and come down laughing.  (Ha-ha-ha.). Keep doing this same exercise for several minutes.

Have a good laugh and pass it on!

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

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.

Practice Attitude of Gratitude

As the saying goes “practice makes perfect.”  Having an attitude of gratitude remains one of the best ways to boost health and happiness. This notion of gratitude is something we need to nourish to feel the benefits.  According to Dr. Robert Emmons, author of Thanks!, he cites recent studies on how a gratitude practice has a physical effect on the body:

  • A gratitude practice reduces perceived stress by 28% and depression by 16%
  • Gratitude is related to 23% lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol
  • Writing a letter of gratitude reduces feelings of hopelessness by 88% of suicidal inpatients and increases levels of optimism in 94% of them
  • Gratitude is related to a 10% improvement in sleep quality in patients with chronic pain.

An increase in well-being happens as you make a regular practice of gratitude.  Simply believing you are grateful for all of your blessings does not bring more happiness.  The beautiful thing about  practicing gratitude, it’s a reminder of what’s going right in your life.  When you focus more on what’s going well, you will notice and attract more good in your life.   As bestselling Author Deepak Chopra says, “Gratitude opens the door to the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the universe. You open the door through gratitude.”  — Deepak Chopra

Try one of these three ways to practice gratitude.

Gratitude Meditation –Settle into a quiet place and get comfortable and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and begin to release any tension in your body.  Now place your attention on your heart. Breathe in and out a golden light in your heart. Be thankful for your heart center.  Keep breathing in love and breathing out gratitude. Feel your heart expand to someone you love or loves you unconditionally.  Stay here for a few moments. Now feel in your heart some of the things you are grateful for:  like the abundance of nature, the beauty of life, so many blessings. Just breathe in love and breathe out gratitude. While in this stillness, spread gratitude to your loved ones… then expand out into the community.  Continue to sit in stillness for a little while, saying “thank you.” After several minutes gently bring your body back to the room where you began.  Remember to carry this gratitude for yourself and to all you meet throughout your day.

Gratitude Journal –I remember how Oprah Winfrey had shared this practice on her popular TV show and how this one thing shifted how she viewed herself and the world.  Keep a special journal of gratitude.  Write down three things you are grateful for every day.  You may include a loved one, a beautiful sunrise or sunset, appreciation for material possessions, opportunities that came to you, gratitude for yourself and others. Include things that may have touched your soul or made you smile and appreciate.  Some believe you should write down new things each day, but others say that’s not necessary to reap benefits.

Gratitude Jar– Liz Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love has written about her personal practice of gratitude. For years she has kept a jar where she would jot down on scraps of paper things that made her happy that day and put them in a jar. This could be a fun practice that you could do with your children for feeling happier.  Another bonus is that the jar can serve as inspiration when you want to feel more alive and connected.

Please try these and let me know how it goes or share what ways you have found to practice gratitude.   I am so grateful to you who continue to read my blog posts!  In fact, as my thank you click here to join my Inner Power Circle and receive a FREE Guided Meditation.

Wishing you peace,

Vicki

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.comfor kids. You can connect with her on Facebook and email her at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com.