Mindfulness Comes to St. Louis Schools

Before school begins this fall, teachers at McKinley Classical Leadership Academy in St. Louis will learn mindfulness and meditation.  They will be trained on how to relieve stress and tension so they may pass this on to their students.  All will be learning tools and breathing techniques for calm and focus.   As a Best Mindset Coach, and Certified in Guided Imagery, I’m excited to be collaborating with McKinley in St. Louis to train their teachers.  We will be helping their team and students build emotional resilience to be more successful in learning and life.

As you may know, many of these students may come from poorer neighborhoods, where they witness more crime, violence, and trauma.  From new research, we’re learning that a traumatized brain makes learning more difficult.  Studies show when we calm the mind and body through yoga, meditation, and other mind-body practices, the brain develops new neural pathways that enhances the creative areas, and shuts down the Reptilian “fight or flight” that’s stuck in fear.   Other schools leaders throughout the country have discovered that mindfulness and meditation may be a better way to handle detention and conflict.

It’s obvious students need new tools to help with stress and anxiety.  New research published by the American Psychological Association shows teens may experience higher levels of stress than adults (during the school year.)  Yet, teens don’t have great ways to relieve stress. Most popular are video games or surfing the internet. While these may be stress reducing, they may not be building resilience to help teens cope better with difficulties in life.

This is where meditation, guided imagery, and mindfulness can help. Research shows that when teens practice meditation and guided imagery, it can lower rates of anxiety and depression, and may help with sleep. It can also help with schoolwork and focus, as well as build stronger relationships.

Help our children succeed in life and build emotional resilience! If you’re a teacher or parent and want your schools to build Inner Power Learning and use these breathing and mindful techniques, let your school leadership know about our services.  Contact us at Heart Talk Now for a free 30-minute Strategy Session

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 families.  Find her at HeartTalkNow.com 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

Are You Connected to Your Inner Guide?

Have you reached out to your Inner Guide lately?  It’s the part of you who is eternal, unlimited, and knows your potential. Your wiser self is forever patient and enlightened.  It understands your life and knows it could help, if you would simply call.

Remember that your higher self is the part of you, who wants only your highest good.  But many of us feel disconnected from our inner power.   Due to stress, depression, illness, or just the busyness of life, we feel out of touch.

My soon-to-be released book called Inner Power NOW will help us connect to that light source within to feel more empowered.  I’m including a few chapters for teens, because there’s a huge need to help them with anxiety and stress.  According to a recent survey published by the American Psychological Association, teens experience even more stress than adults.

As you may know, teens face enormous pressure these days.  The drive to get good grades and get accepted into elite colleges.  They also feel pressure to excel in athletics and lead school activities.  That’s why there’s a growing popularity to offer meditation and mindfulness to teachers and students in education.

I salute this effort.  Teens and young adults will gain enormous strength from connecting to their Inner Guide that will help them when times are tough.  Meditation and Guided Imagery also will help creativity, build focus, compassion, and self-love

Several of my Guided Imagery programs at my store will help with stress relief and connecting to a loving source.  I also work with teens and families in coaching for the Best Mindset for Success.

When we go within through meditation or Guided Imagery, we lower the stress hormone cortisol.  That’s a physical change and in terms of our mind, meditation and Guided Imagery will help teens to become more aware of their thoughts. They can witness a worry thought, without getting caught up in the fear.

It’s helpful to remember that we are resilient. Meditation and Guided Imagery will help us better cope with life on life’s terms with more ease.  You will open up to the more compassionate and creative parts of your brain.

One area that remains vital to success is compassion towards ourselves.  How often do we beat ourselves up that we’re not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, or thin enough?  We can learn to manage that inner critic, by refusing to listen when it starts to criticize.  Do not beat yourself up.  Instead, relax, go inside to your heart, and connect with your Divine self. To help you connect to your higher self, check out my store and the Best Mindset for Success.

 

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

 

How to Recapture Wonder? Try Guided Imagery

This Guided Imagery may help you recapture that sense of wonder.

During this time of year, we often see the classic movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  On the brink of suicide, a Guardian Angel saves George Bailey from ending his life. The angel helps George rediscover how important his life has been and how many lives he had touched with love and kindness.  George returns with new appreciation and wonder for life and his many blessings.

So how do you recapture that childlike wonder?  In order to cultivate more wonder, it’s important to stop, take a breath, and appreciate your life and the miracles that surround you. You have touched many lives and will continue to do so. We are very much interdependent.  During the next few weeks, take a few moments to be the observer, who does not judge, but sees with compassion.  You are a miracle and you will continue to be a miracle to all of the lives that you have touched.  That’s what will help make the holiday season more special.  This Guided Imagery “Welcoming Wonder” may help.

Guided Imagery: Welcoming Wonder

Let’s recapture a feeling of childlike wonder.

Close your eyes and take a couple of deep breathes in and out.  Slowly breathe in on the count of 4…1,2,3,4 hold it…then let it out on a count of 4.  Do a few more deep breaths like that, letting the air in through your nose, expand down into your belly, pause, then slowly let it out through your mouth…

Feel your heart space and let it expand… (Pause for a few moments.) Now, see yourself as an observer…Be like a child who is watching a colorful rainbow.   Or, spinning in the breeze because you feel so alive. Or, lying in the soft cool grass watching magical clouds float by.  What do you see?  What do you hear?  What do you smell?  Let that feeling gently come into your being.  Be in wonder at the process of life. (Pause again for a few moments.)

Now expand this wonder, this feeling of joy for life, expand this feeling even 10 times stronger than what it was before…this sense of awe that your life does matter and we are connected.  Stay in this feeling for several minutes, or however long you’d like, opening and appreciating.  Feel a compassion for yourself and others.

When you are ready to return from this Guided Imagery, gently bring yourself back, opening your eyes.  And bring this sense of wonder and awe back with you into the rest of your day.  Wishing you peace and a holiday season filled with wonder!  If you like this, check out our store page for more Guided Imagery.

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

 

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