Fixating on thoughts and emotions, day in day out, affects all aspects of our lives. Learning to be mindful of our “internal dialogue” helps us recognize thought patterns and how they may be affecting the way we handle the situations of daily living. Many people have found that, when they tune in to their internal dialogue, much of it is negative. Thoughts like, “I could never do that” and “What if I fail?” can seriously impact the way we behave. Stress, apparently associated with attachment to this negative internal dialogue, in turn, affects every aspect of our lives. When we are stressed, specific hormones circulate in the body. Released infrequently, these hormones are harmless, produced continuously, they are associated with serious damage. Cardiovascular disease is related in part to continuous bombardment of stress hormones and arterial damage caused by free radicals created in the process. Letting go of attachment to these negative thoughts and emotions is liberating. This is a process in itself that is well worth the effort. Very effective methods to help to place the mind at ease have been developed over thousands of years. Perhaps Meditation would benefit. Realizing a Life of Ease and Well Being Be still. Look within. See the mental restlessness, dissatisfaction and uncertainty? There are apparent causes of this view of unease. Know that within there is the potential to be at ease. Finally, attaining mental openness is associated with full knowing and ease. The following tips will help you along the way to freedom from the habitual tendencies of mind that hold you back from experiencing true happiness and ease. Inevitably it is your own personal journey. Sleep more soundly! Sleep appears essential to improve and maintain energy levels, immune system effectiveness, mental and emotional clarity and overall well-being. When you feel good, you function better. The following tips are very useful if you need to sleep better! Try Meditation Minimize attaching to mental activity in the evening. Make appropriate preparations for the next day. Take a hot bath before bedtime to promote ease. Soothing fragrances, lights, and music may help as well. Limit activities in bed to sleep and intimate encounters only – avoid TV. If you have trouble sleeping, try sleeping in another area of the house. Try listening to repetitive soothing natural sounds (waves, wind, waterfall, stream, etc.) from a selected high quality sound device. Natural homeopathic, nutritional and herbal support may prove useful (e.g. calcium, melatonin, passionflower or valerian before bed). Turn off all the lights. *Melatonin (key hormone involved in sleep/repair cycles) production may be inhibited if you sleep with the lights on. Develop your positive attitude! Here are some ways to help you cultivate a positive attitude and ease in your life: Listen to internal dialogue. Divide one or more sheets of paper into two columns and, for a few days, jot down in the left column all the negative thoughts that come into your head. Rewrite each thought in a positive way in the second column. Practice doing this in your mind until it becomes a habit. (For example, “I’ll never get this finished by the end of the day!” could become, “I will probably get most of this finished by the end of the day.”) Learn to communicate. Not saying the things we feel can lead to a sense of frustration, hurt, anger or anxiety. If you find communicating difficult, or are afraid of arguments or bruised feelings, take a course in communicating effectively always having the intent of non-harm. Get back to basics. Reconnect with old friends, take the dog for a walk, visit an art gallery or listen to your favourite music. Enjoy a long, relaxing bath, read a great book, tell your child a story, or ask an older relative to tell you one! The simplest things in life give us the most pleasure. Help someone out. The simple act of helping others (humans, animals or Nature in general) helps us to feel joy. Pick up groceries for an aging neighbour, volunteer at your local hospital or read a book to someone with failing eyesight. If you are unsure of how to help out in your community, call your nearest volunteer centre. Find your spirituality. Research has shown that those who have developed their spirituality through associating with other spiritual individuals or having cooperative mindful beliefs, live longer, more satisfying lives. The secret is practising those beliefs, either through organized worship, or simple meditation (openness) in a quiet place. Try Meditation. As the Beatles and many sages of the spiritual and philosophical traditions have expounded, “Let It Be, Let it Be” Allow love in your life. The ability to love and be loved is a most basic human trait. We, as a society, seem to have become disconnected – fear-based emotions (depression, loneliness, guilt, attachment and anger) are symptoms. Finding cooperative and harmonious ways to reconnect with others is extremely helpful in developing a positive attitude. Laugh at yourself and find humour in the simplest of things. Laughter is a powerful mood elevator. If you are feeling down, read some jokes, watch a funny movie or just act “silly” once in awhile. At times, let yourself see through a child’s genuine eyes. Simplify. Participate in new physical and mental activities to improve confidence levels and coping mechanisms. Building confidence could be as easy as learning the meanings of new words, learning about new topics or if you are right-handed using instead your left hand more frequently (left hand connects with more spiritual, intuitive and creative right side of the brain). Follow the principles of holistic health – enlightened body, speech and mind in harmony (better nutrition and exercise appear to be associated with positive mood and attitude) Remember that the mainstream media focuses on information that leads to attachment to fear, negative thoughts and emotion. Perhaps instead focus on positive things to do with your precious moments. Learn to communicate your needs more effectively. For example, instead of using common language of subordination expressed by such words as “no”, “don’t”, “should”, “stop”, “good”, “bad” and “have”, you could instead try expressing your needs by stating “I need you to…”. This peaceful language expresses needs and does not judge. For more on this refer to the book Non Violent Communication.