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Stop. Breathe. Appreciate.

Feeling a little negative or down?

Been there, done that, and still go back there every once in a while. But the difference now is that I don’t settle into those feelings for too long anymore.

Take last week for example. I had been swimming in the murky waters of Benadryl for days, battling allergies and a painful sinus infection (which also turned out to be a horrible tooth infection as well). Then my computer crashed, taking with it six months of work (even though the “cloud” was supposed to have my back). And then, well, other smaller annoying things invited themselves to the party and crawled across my field of vision.

But as I started to tumble and lose control, I remembered that I still had a choice.

Yes, even with the pain and frustration and technology rage, I still had a choice on what to focus on.

I reached for a journal and did an activity that always helps me to refocus: I started making a list of all the things I appreciated in the moment. I didn’t focus on trying to look at the bright side of an infected, swollen mouth/cheek/face, but instead turned away from that and found the good. I wrote slowly at first and then faster and faster. I put down the names of everyone I was grateful for, like my husband who was taking care of me and making my “soft” dinners and picking up all those prescriptions. And my oldest daughter who called from work wanting to know if I needed her to bring me some chocolate pudding. (I did.) And my youngest daughter who gave me a gigantic hug and wanted to come to the dentist office for moral support. And my son-in-law who struck up a conversation about Bitcoin because he knew that would really get my mind going away from the pain. And the two white giant family dogs who were always there, offering their fluffy fur to pet.

Before too long, I was on the right path again, so full of appreciation and gratitude for my life that I knew I could weather the dental storm. The pain was still there. But so was a lot of beauty.

So the next time you find yourself feeling frustrated (or any other negative emotion), do these three things as soon as you can:

Stop.

Breathe.

Appreciate.

And make a list. I promise that within the 10 minutes it takes to do this exercise, you’ll feel at least 10 times better.

Love,

Jools

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Valentine’s Day: A Day For Loving Your Life

Valentine’s Day: A Day For Loving Your Life

I agree with Hallmark and See’s Candies.

February 14th really is the perfect time to celebrate love.

But while companies that cater to Valentine’s Day would want you to wait on flowers, candy, and cards from your favorite prince or princess--real or imagined--I would suggest taking a slightly different approach.

This Valentine’s Day, why not begin to fall in love with your own life and start celebrating all the beauty that surrounds you right now? Why not acknowledge and appreciate all your many blessings, the ones that regularly give your life joy, meaning, and excitement? Start rejoicing in those golden sunsets that follow you along the highway after a long day at work, your happy dog wagging his tail as you walk through the door, that delicious pizza you ate while binge-watching a new riveting tv show.

Our lives are filled with so much beauty. Each day we walk on this earth, we encounter magic and mystery. Just breathing free and easy is a blessing when you think about it. And that’s just the very beginning.

So I suggest using this official month of love, with all its red and pink and purple hues, to start falling in love with your own life.

It's worthy of a celebration.

Have a beautiful month!

Love,

Jools

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Five Ways to Allow More Beauty into Your Life

January 12, 2018

Okay. So you’ve finished packing up all that glitters into the last of the holiday storage boxes, and you are living in a state of appreciation at the supermarket because you can finally shop without hearing about sleighs, Frosty, or reindeer. You might have even taken it a step farther this year by abolishing New Year resolutions, vowing instead to take a more intrinsic approach toward your goals instead of one big (and often short-lived) leap that was fueled by a hangover.

But…

These short days we are in now are sometimes a little dreary.  And maybe as you look out into that winter landscape, you are coming up a little gray.

Don’t worry, there’s an easy fix to feeling better. And you don’t have to buy anything or learn about investing or pulverize and swallow green things. You only have to open your eyes and start focusing on the beauty that surrounds you.

Here are five ideas that will help you bring beauty a little more in focus:

  1. Slow Down and Look Around.  It’s hard to see any beauty when you’re racing around, thinking about what to make for dinner or that awkward meeting you had with the boss. So make it a point to jump off the hamster wheel and for five minutes, look around and notice everything that is beautiful. You don’t have to write it down or enter it in your journal, just spend some quality minutes taking in deep breaths and noticing the beauty around you. The sky, trees, your children, your dog, the log burning in the fireplace, the smell of rain. Take it all in as if it were a deep, cleansing breath, and do it again for at least five minutes, noticing more and more.

  2. Do Something New.  That new funky gallery you’ve been going by every day for the past year? That one that usually makes you think, “Hey, someday I gotta go in there and look at the art.” Well, it’s time. Stop in today and smell the paintings. Step out of your usual routine and dive into beauty.

  3. Make a See the Beauty Playlist.  We all put together playlists for the gym so that we can pump ourselves up and get inspired, why not make a playlist that will help you see more beauty in your life? Put together a group of songs that will get you jazzed and inspire you to see the beauty in your life.

  4. Do Some Art. Doing art is a beautiful form of expression and a great chance for you to relax a little and release some stress. Spend some time today drawing, painting, or coloring things that you find beautiful. Or go with the flow and paint a “gloomy” winter scene. Chances are it will make you feel better than just staring out the window wishing it were spring.

  5. Go on a Walk. Take yourself on a walk and set the intention of noticing all the beauty that surrounds you. Not only smell the roses, but smell the trees, take in the snow, see the clouds, feel the breeze, touch the long reeds glazed in ice. (Wear traction devices on your shoes if necessary.)

Seeing beauty in your life is only a matter of shifting your attention. And when you do this, you can’t help but start living in a state of gratitude and appreciation.

Love,

Jools

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