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Little Girl Experiences Rain for First Time

http://www.mymetaworld.com/Creative/All?status=1&creativeUserID=1069

Love this- a little reminder to enjoy the little things 🙂

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Three Small Tweaks that Create a Big Difference

unnamed-1The following tips may seem rather simple and obvious to most of you. However, I have found that often when people want to make a change, myself included, we think we need to begin with grand, bold moves. This ends up being really overwhelming and we usually throw in the towel before we have even started.

I have slowly adopted these three principles into my life and have gradually started to see a shift. For example, I decided I wanted to start waking up earlier. So instead of setting my alarm for hours before my normal wake up time (which I tried and failed miserably), I began waking up simply a half hour earlier. Eventually I triedout an hour earlier. Gradually I reached my time goal and did so in a manner that wasn’t so extreme.

So start small with these tweaks and see where it takes you.

1.) Switching up the morning routine

The first thing many of us do after rolling out of bed (or perhaps even before getting out of bed if you keep electronics within an arms reach) is switch on our computers to check e-mail, turn on the television to get caught up on the morning’s depressing news, or check our cell phones for any social media updates (who doesn’t love waking up to a facebook friend request)? So many of us are guilty of these daily habits that it is difficult to see how detrimental they can be to the rest of our day. The coffee has not even begun to brew yet and we are already overstimulated! The effects of this media overload are often subtle, making it difficult to even be aware of it. This chaotic routine though can create an element of anxiety that will linger into your daily commute, that big business meeting and the rest of the day’s activities. Instead of switching on the computer and television first thing in the morning, turn on music that will set the tone for the rest of your day. Nothing says a happy, anxiety-free day like a little Bob Marley in the morning. It sounds simple, but it is amazing how the effects last throughout most of the day. Save the e-mail checking and facebook stalking for when you feel mentally relaxed and ready.

2.) Doing one thing for another

Again, this one seems simple and a bit of a no brainer. It is common knowledge that doing something for another will bring us happiness, but can you remember the last time you gave of yourself? It is so easy to get caught up in the daily hassles of work, bills, and numerous other responsibilities, that giving to someone else are easily overlooked. Whether it is volunteering for an hour a week or over tipping the morning barista at Starbucks, the smallest of gestures will be as rewarding to you as it is to the one on the receiving end. Be conscientious throughout the day of opportunities where you could lend your time or resources to improve the day of another. The irony is that your day will be equally improved.

3.) Try one thing outside of your comfort zone

Trying something out of the ordinary can help to broaden your horizons and expand your worldview. I’m not necessarily suggesting taking up sky diving or anything too extreme, but sometimes even the smallest of activities that stir up feelings of minor discomfort, can leave you with a renewed sense of self and awareness. For example, I recently attended a meditation class. Sitting Indian style with a bunch of strangers attempting to quiet my brain was certainly an unusual experience, but it was accompanied with a sense of accomplishment for trying something different. Trying new things can make you feel like a more rounded person and instill confidence. Whether it be taking up baking or training for a 5k, the feeling that you have mastered something new will not only make you more interesting but also happier overall. And isn’t that the ultimate accomplishment?

Achieving that pesky happiness goal

The past few days I have been contemplating why people (myself in particular) do things that they KNOW will make them LESS HAPPY.

Gaining weight and waking up with a mind-numbing hangover certainly do not improve the quality of our lives so why do we eat at McDonald’s and consume alcohol?

Aren’t humans supposed to be smarter than this?

I ask this question because my actions lately have had me contemplating just how much I sincerely want to be happy.

I have recently FULLY (or so I thought) committed myself to health and happiness so it seemed odd to meet that I would suddenly resort to old, unhealthy patterns.

I had to dig DEEP below the surface to discover my reasoning behind this but think I may have figured some of it out.

Our old patterns, as self destructive as they may be, are incredibly comfortable. They are familiar, safe, and provide us with security. Sure, in the long run our habits are damaging to our health, happiness, and well being but I’ll be damned if they don’t feel like a warm, fuzzy teddy bear in the moment!

I have a list of activities I want to incorporate into my life and goals I want to achieve. And guess what? Just about everything on that list is scary and unfamiliar and makes me want to crawl under my covers.

But my alternative list, the list of things that I am familiar with and that elicit minimal anxiety, are no longer positively serving my life and my purpose.

So the way I see it, we have two choices: either continue on this safe, smooth road that leaves us feeling unchallenged or worse, regretful and unhappy OR create a new path which may feel bumpy and uncertain at first, but will undoubtedly ADD happiness to our lives.

No matter how scary new things in life may be, I always try to remind myself that they are getting me one step closer to reaching my biggest goal in life: happiness.

You would be surprised how much it helps to actually write out a list of the things in your life that are causing you pain and unhappiness along with a list of things that you want to create or incorporate more of into your life. Focusing your time and energy on that second list will allow for less attention to be aimed at that nasty first one.

Contrary to how it often feels, our lives are created by OURSELVES. When we start to hate what it looks like, it is time to question the artist behind it.

(If this doesn’t display pure happiness I’m not sure what does..)
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Happy, Healthy Friday

I set my alarm to go off early this morning (and actually got up instead of snoozing it! small victory) to go for a Fall run down by the lake. I wish I ran with my phone so I could have taken a picture. The sun was out, the water was calm, and the skyline was breathtaking as usual. (No matter how stressed or overwhelmed I become, that skyline always reminds me that I live in the best city in the world). Unfortunately, a weak left IT band that I thought had gotten better had me heading home earlier than I would have liked. But it was worth getting UP and MOVING nonetheless.

I always try to have either a glass of chocolate milk or a smoothie when I return from working out (whether it is running, yoga, or lifting at the gym). Protein post-workout, typically within 30 minutes of working out, is essential. I went the smoothie route this morning using:

– about 1 cup of organic soy milk (honestly, I don’t actually measure it but start with a little then continue to add as needed)

– 1 whole banana

– handful of organic strawberries

– about 2 tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt

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* I highly recommend a blender by Hamilton Beach for simple smoothie making. It costs less than $20 at Target.

About two hours and two cups of coffee later, it was omelette time. (I don’t set times for meals although I think it is a good habit to get into.)

– 1/2 cup egg whites and 2 whole eggs (I buy egg whites premade)

– 1/4 tomato

– handful of spinach

– feta cheese (My name is Emily and I’m a cheeseaholic. I try to atleast go for the ‘healthier’ cheeses)

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I paired this with a cut apple (the fiber will keep you fuller longer) and a big glass of water with lemon.

P.S. I got this guy in the mail this morning. So excited to get started 🙂

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The Starting Point

The hardest part of starting anything is just that: STARTING! I have a hard time starting a work out regime, a health food plan, and now, a blog.

But the first step to making ANYTHING happen is well, actually taking that first step.

I struggle with self-discipline. I haven’t quite pinpointed why but I have an inkling it involves that wonderful four-letter f word: FEAR.

If I was as awesome at self motivating myself as I am at shooting myself in the foot, I would be queen of the universe by now.

It is depressing to think of all the things that go unaccomplished and unstarted (today, that is a word) because don’t believe it will succeed. And you know what? There is always a chance it will fail.

But what scares me SO MUCH more than failure is being an old woman with grey hair reflecting on my life and wishing I had failures. Atleast failures make for a great story. Have you ever heard someone tell an entertaining story where they did NOTHING? Not my idea of a fun cocktail party.

So if I have to choose between being 80 and telling stories of sitting on my rump watching Seinfeld episodes in my youth (does 26 still qualify as ‘youth?’) or putting forth effort that, regardless of success, made me more interesting than the former, well I think the choice is clear.

Attempting to create something new and different and outside our comfort zones is TERRIFYING. But looking back on my life someday with regret and defeat frightens me even more. I always remember that 50 years from now, I will never look back on the memories of keeping it safe. Memories of efforts, attempts, and even failures, are far more exciting.