Six Simple Habits of Happiness

happiness1-300x284All of us who walk this earth, share one deep-rooted desire, the desire to be truly happy. Cultivating certain habits and patterns within our day-to-day lives, can help us experience a happier and more fulfilling life.

Be Kind. Scientific studies have shown that when we focus our thoughts and actions on showing kindness to others, this actually promotes our own personal feelings of happiness. Expressing love, compassion and a genuine care for those outside of ourselves, influences the release of oxytocin, a hormone that is important in social bonding. Small acts of kindness are really easy to include into your day-to-day life. Why not pop a card in the post to a friend to simply make them smile, buy a colleague a coffee on route to work, or knock on an elderly neighbours door and offer to pop to the shops for them. Little acts of kindness really do go a long way, whilst helping to boost our happy hormones.

Build good relationships, and then nurture them. It is so easy to take friendships and relationships for granted, but when we remind ourselves to focus on who is important in our lives, and then make a conscious effort to make time and effort for those people, this builds solid foundations for long-lasting, fulfilling and happy connections.

Balance and Rest. Take time to honour your physical and emotional self.  We lead busy lives, keeping a job, running a household, looking after the family, these are just a few of the things that occupy our time and our energies.  Take time out to rest and recharge. When we are tired, stressed and choose to forget that our body and mind needs good quality sleep and rest to function properly, feelings of frustration and unhappiness can arise.

Be grateful. Gratitude is associated with optimism and it has been determined that grateful people are happier, receive more social support, are less stressed, and are less depressed. Recent research indicates that optimists and pessimists approach problems differently, and their ability to cope successfully with adversity differs as a result. Gratitude can be found in the smallest things, all it takes is for the mind to be trained to acknowledge the little things we are grateful for, even during times of frustration or discontent.

Forgive. Harbouring feelings of bitterness, resentment, jealousy or betrayal only inhibits our own happiness, and does not serve us well. Learning to let go and move on from such emotions can increase our sense of personal worth and happiness considerably. At some point in our lives we have all felt we have been wronged by another, but acknowledging that these are simply feelings we need to process, experience and then grow from, can help us put perspective on such situations and move on more quickly from.

Acknowledging you are in control of your own happiness.  This is one of the most profound lessons I learned from my own spiritual tutor. Learning to acknowledge that I was in fact the one and only, soul person in control of my own inner happiness, was one of the most empowering lessons of my life. When we learn to accept, that no matter what life throws at us, we have the option of choosing to be happy or choosing to be unhappy. We can choose to let the actions of others or challenges control our own personal happiness, or we can choose to view those situations and people as moments of great teachings and wisdom, and subsequently learn and grown from them. Of course, sometimes this can seem to be easier said then done. And remember, everyone is on a different and very personal journey. What may be easy for one person to do, can seem almost impossible for another. But if we at least try to remind ourselves in times of frustration or sadness, that we have a choice to be bitter for having a particular experience, or we can be grateful for the life lesson gained. Just simply knowing we have that choice, may in fact help us to choose to grow from that experience, and in time, who knows, it could even provide us with a life lesson that will enable to help someone else in the future.

 

6 Tips On Dispelling a Negative Mind

Kim-Kardashian-Happy-Positive-Thinking-Day-Quotes-010-491x491We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves” – The Buddha

When I was a teenager, I was a real worrier. I’d often spend my Sunday evenings, working myself up into a complete frenzy about how certain situations at school would work out. My little brain would go into over drive, imagining things that hadn’t even happened. I’d convince myself I would fail the math exam coming up, or my drama presentation would be a complete flop and everyone would laugh at me. I look back now and realise that I was in fact a prisoner of my own negative thoughts. Many a Sunday evening would be clouded by my worries, and in turn cause me a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety. A little cloud of anxiousness, created by a fear within my own head.

As I grew older and under went my own spiritual training, I began to accept, that if I wanted to live a positive, happy and fulfilled life, I needed to learn to control my own negative thought patterns. For I believe, like the Buddha once taught, the energetic vibrations of our thoughts, attract experiences to us and therefore we become what we think.

Become truly aware of your thought patterns – There is nothing wrong with having negative thoughts, we are human, lets face it, it’s going to happen. But when it does, try to really acknowledge that thought and take time to explore it, replacing it with a positive action. For example, you are due to give a presentation at work, and you realise you are thinking that it is all going to go wrong. You are going to slip up, forget the words, not get your point across and the boss is going to hate it! As soon as you truly acknowledge that thought. Stop. Breathe and explore the that it is in fact totally pointless convincing yourself this is going to happen, as in truth, when you really look at the situation, you actually have no clue how it is going to turn out! You are simply falling into the pattern of your own negative thought process.  Explore the possibility that it could in fact go marvelously well, you may deliver a presentation that everyone finds interesting and enjoyable. Your points are seen as strong and encouraging, and your boss in fact loves it!  Don’t allow your negative thoughts to own you, acknowledge them, but don’t attach yourself to them. When you refuse to give them power, they will dispel on their own accord.

Every time a negative thought arises write down 3 things that are positive in your life – My own spiritual tutor gave me this task when I first started teachings with her. It was a gracious way of teaching me the art of being thankful. When completed properly, every day, it really is helpful in keeping your mind focused on all that is good in your life. The trick is to think of 3 different things every time.  It can be as simple as being grateful that your train was on time, you wake up and the sun is shining, you are able to enjoy a fresh sandwich and a cup of coffee at lunch time. Or you can explore more meaningful reasons why you are happy. You are grateful for your loving partner, your clean bill of health, your beautiful kids or the roof over your head.

The Power of Positive Mantras – During times of challenge or turmoil, I love to write mantra’s on little post it notes and I stick them around my house and office. A will say them in my mind every time I see one. For me, they act as a gentle reminder that I am in fact completely in charge of my thought process.  I use sayings such as “Everything is always as it should be, I grow with every challenging experience”, “Positive thought is positive action”,  “Challenges are what make life interesting, and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful”  You can obviously make up your own.

Be mindful of playing the victim – For some, life is a complicated journey of stresses, strains and constant challenges. For others, life is a wonderful adventure, full of exciting opportunities to grow, experience and develop. When we truly start to accept that our thoughts have a direct and powerful effect on the world around us and the experiences we face, challenges suddenly become a learning tool, rather than an opportunity to dwell in self-pity, sadness or worry.  When something challenging happens, truly step back and take the opportunity to explore that experience in a completely different light. Acknowledge how the situation is making you feel, and explore how those feelings are showing you or teaching you something. I truly believe, every experience is sent to teach us something, that in itself, helps me embrace both the good and the moments that take a little more insight to accept.

Create a positive vision board or personal journal – Positive thought needs to be backed up with positive action. During quiet times I like to write down in a journal what I want to achieve in my life or where I see myself in the next 12 months. This applies to personal goals, emotional well-being, career path and family life. For me, writing it down actually reinforces it my mind. I am putting out to the universe through my thoughts and actions, of where I want my life to be heading. In my office I have a vision board, on it I have pinned various photographs, magazine cuttings and sentences or words. Each give me inspiration every time I look at them, reminding me of the things that make me happy and keep me motivated. I change it every 6-12 months.

Embrace the silence – In the west in general, we find it exceptionally difficult to embrace silence. To simply be present in pure wholeness, with no noise, no distractions and no interruptions that are constantly demanding our attention. To just simply sit, and be comfortable with the healing light of ‘nothingness’, is actually one of the most positive actions you can honour yourself with, every day. Stillness forces us to be comfortable with ourselves in our truest form. It enables us to be present in the moment, with everything else stripped away, things that usually pull us in every direction. Stillness, invites you to truly discover yourself, including your thought patterns and subsequent emotions. If you find silence too overwhelming to begin with, you may find your mind chattering away too much (which is fine by the way), then try listening to a short 10 minute meditation for positive thought. There are many on Youtube, or various mindfulness websites. Try and do this at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and in the evening. Learning techniques that will help you to tap into your deeper nature and explore the reasons behind your thoughts, will help you to gradually view them in a more productive light.                     

If you have enjoyed this post you may also enjoy ’11 things to give up to step closer to happiness’. 

10 Tips on Healing – A Holistic Healers Approach

healing 1“The pain you feel today, is the strength you feel tomorrow” – unknown 

Healing is a very personal process,  acknowledging that we are wholeheartedly in control of our own individual healing journey can be a frightening and difficult concept to grasp, especially if we have undergone something quite traumatic and sad. In time however, If we are able to do this, we are often in a better position to regain a little control and understanding of this deep process.   Healing starts from our thoughts, actions and how we honour our own needs during times of pain.

As a qualified healer and spa owner, I welcome people onto my treatment couch daily, many of whom are amidst their own personal turmoil and walking tenderly on their own healing journey.  Every time, without fail, I want to make things better for them. But one of the most important lesson I learned early on in my career, is that, as a healer you have to accept and honour the fact that you cannot control someone’s own healing process, you cannot heal them, they have to walk the healing path themselves. Each individual will heal when they are good and ready to, and when they have learned what ever it is they needed to through the whole experience they have faced. All you can do is support them during the time they are in your treatment room. Providing them with a safe and secure space to relax, breathe and maybe let go a little.

I like any other person, I have undergone periods of deep healing. I have been the victim of  domestic violence in a dark controlled relationship, lost loved ones to terminal illnesses and had moments in my life, where I have truly struggled to regain just some element of normality.  When I look back I realise I needed to experience such deep, uncontrollable pain, to enable me to empathise with others, in my new healing role. I believe a healer that has walked a deeply healing path themselves, is one that can share elements of wisdom that they have gained from their own healing process.

Do not force the healing process, healing takes time – Healing is a deeply personal experience, every person and every event is different. Do not rush your healing journey, it doesn’t matter if it takes weeks, months or years. Only you will know when you have truly healed, and only you can decide when this happens.   When we are consumed with fear and worry, we tend to run scenarios in our heads of how life is going to turn out. This actually just increases our fear and worry. Try and take each hour and day as it comes, live fully in the present moment, not the past or the future. When we successfully manage to get through that hour, and then that day, slowly little by little, we can start to release some of the pressure and control that we are unwillingly placing on ourselves. Healing takes time, honour that process wholeheartedly by taking baby steps every day.

Embrace the pain, do not fight it – to really work through something we need to feel it fully. Breaking down into a sobbing bundle of tears, is sometimes what we need to do to work through our feelings of sadness and grief. I remember when I lost a dear loved one three years ago, I literally walked around in a blur of sadness and tears for weeks afterwards. I honestly felt completely numb, like a part of me had actually died with that person. I couldn’t function properly at’ll, it was as if I was on auto pilot, and I didn’t care about anything in this world apart from this huge hole that was suddenly in my heart. People told me that in time it would get better, but I didn’t want to hear that, I didn’t think they could possibly know how I was feeling. Of course in time it did get better, but I needed to fully feel the pain I was experiencing for myself, I needed to allow every inch of my mind and body to wallow deep within it’s sadness, to finally enable me to work through it, slowly one day at a time.

Bathe in or diffuse essential oils in your home – as a holistic healer, I have had the pleasure of witnessing over the past 15 years, the incredible power that essential oils can play during someone’s healing process. Many scientific studies have now proven that essential oils can actually make both emotional and biological changes to the human body.  Essential oils can effect brain chemicals, which in turn can promote feelings of peace and relaxation.    I have actually recently devised a skincare range (which is launching later this year), that has been 100% inspired by my clients, people I have had the pleasure of supporting through their own healing process.  My favourite oils to use to enhance relaxation and promote feelings of calm are Vetiver, lavender, geranium, jasmine, orange, benzoin and bergamot. (Please always check you are able to use any of these oils topically prior to use).  You can purchase many pre blended bath oils too, I love Aromatherapy Associates range.

Quieten the mind to allow the body to start to heal – Meditation is a hugely powerful tool when it comes to supporting your own healing process. When our mind is a whirlwind of turmoil and sadness, we are constantly preventing our physical body from slipping into repair and renewal mode. Try and allow yourself just 10 mins of ‘quite time’ every morning and evening. Many studies have shown that meditation actually helps treat depression and anxiety, as well as boosting your immune system.

Get out amongst nature, particularly trees! – Nature cleanses our aura and helps to balance our own harmonic energy field . Taking ourselves outside amongst trees, grass, foliage and nature provides us with a sense of oneness and can instantly promote feelings of calm and healing.  I live right near Greenwich Park, and despite my busy schedule I always try to make sure I have periods of time in the park throughout my week. I personally find it refreshing, calming and it really does give me a sense of reconnection during times of uncertainty.

Affirmations and positive thought – Some of my clients have found the use of affirmations particularly helpful during times of stress.  When I first bought my spa, and we thought we were about to lose everything due to the economic turn-down, including the business and our home,I had a little sign that I put in my office that read “My income is constantly increasing”. Despite how bad it got (sleepless nights on a friends floor as I couldn’t afford the petrol costs to get me home), every time I read that sign it gave me a point of focus and hope.  It drew my sometimes negative mind, back to something positive and gave me a sense of direction.  I also found this scroll written by the Dalai Lama in a shop during the same period it my life (see picture below), it still hangs in my office to this day. A constant reminder that life can be a struggle, but we should never give up.   Occasionally turning our mind to a positive thought, even for just a moment, can help give us a little hope and clarity on our onward journey.

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Tap into the healing power of music – This is something that purely works for me, so I wished to share it in case it works for someone else.  I find music deeply healing.  Sometimes, when I am overcome with grief, doubt or sadness I will listen to some classical, or deeply moving music. I become completely engulfed in everything about it, every note and every chord.  I am still, I am quiet and I just simply listen, allowing the thoughts to come and go in perfect synergy with the piece I am at one with.  It maybe that upbeat music works for you in this way, give it a go and see if you experience any emotional connection or benefit.

Go and book a massage – Massage is clinically proven to reduce the stress hormone cortisol, and increase the mood enhancing hormone serotonin, it also lowers blood pressure and induces a deep sense of relaxation. Many massage therapists are also natural healers, much like some nurses. In my experience, the aura’s of massage therapists are often various shades of blue and turquoise, a healing shade. If you have never had a massage before, ask around for a good, reputable therapist and go and get a treatment booked. Massage is a fantastic way to treat depression and anxiety, and many of my clients over the years have found it exceptionally beneficial to experience a treatment during times of stress.   When cortisol levels are lowered in our bodies, we are able to repair and renew more effectively.

Tap into the healing energy of crystals – As a holistic healer, I am open to the healing benefits of many things, yoga, therapies, food, meditation and also crystals, to name just a few.  It is my belief that everything is energy, and therefore crystals have their own harmonic frequency, just as we do. Many crystals vibrate with a healing energy. There are some fantastic online crystal stores out there, or you can go and visit a qualified crystal healer.  It’s believed when certain crystals are placed on various corresponding points of the body or Chakras, (the energy centres of the body), they in turn can promote a deep sense of healing and overall balance.  This is now a widely accepted therapy found in many high street and larger corporate spas around the world.

Be safe in the knowledge you grow from every negative experience – In my twenties I used to often take the ‘why me’ approach to the challenges of life. Further along my own spiritual journey, now in my late thirties, I no longer have that out look on life. Life is simply that, life. From the day we are born, we aren’t given any guarantees that we won’t ever experience pain, loss or unhappiness. In fact, lets be honest,  it is more of a guarantee that you will experience all of these things at some point on this earth. We all do, every single one of us.  Now instead, with every challenge or period of sadness sent my way, I have been taught by my own spiritual tutor, to go inward, to explore those feelings deeply and thoroughly, and live in the knowledge that in time, through the tears, frustration and unhappiness, I will gain a new wisdom and an inner strength, that maybe in time, will possibly help someone else along their own healing path.

The Birth Of Beautifully Zen

Three years ago I launched myself into the scary world of  self employment with one huge enthusiastic leap.  My vision was clear, to create a sacred space for people to relax, destress and re-connect.  A year before,  my husband (then 38) suffered a massive heart attack.  A fluke thrombosis in his coronary artery that saw him in hospital for 11 days with intense one on one nursing care.  It was the most devastating and scary experience I have ever encountered.   An experience that change my direction in life entirely, life really is too short.

So after thirteen stable years of employment with the Metropolitan Police, and my desire to have a job that would help enable my husband to stop working shifts,  I purchased an exceptionally run down beauty business, in a pretty quaint town in Kent.   The sale wiped out every penny I had ever saved, but we were confident with my experience as a therapist and in management (I had trained whilst in the police), coupled with my  my overwhelming desire to make a go of it, we would be o.k.

Three months after acquisition the worst global recession struck the planet.  To add to this stress we discovered the lady I had purchased the business from was far from honest with her ‘accounts’ and the staff we had inherited could only be described as ‘challenging’. Very swiftly reality kicked in, like a blow to the stomach that makes your knees buckle.   Every ounce of success we had envisaged for my business and our new found ‘calmer lifestyle’ suddenly seemed beyond our grasp.

My working week began to average 80 hours and every waking moment was consumed with ideas of how to simply survive.  I wasn’t sleeping as I was stressed to the hilt and every penny earned simply went straight back into the business.   I was the poorest I had ever been, and I was angry that we had been so naive to believe everyone was a ethical and honest as we tried to be.   To add to my frustration I was also totally and utterly exhausted.   Life suddenly wasn’t fun.

Looking back now, I am surprised I didn’t end up at my doctors sobbing into a tatty old hanky pleading for some magic wand to be waved that would miraciously  ‘make everything alright’.

Three years on, and only through my sheer hard work and determination, I have managed to totally turn the business around.  The same business that we estimate was in fact losing thousands when it entered our world.

Is it still challenging?     Yes of course it is, but the light at the end of the tunnel is definately closer.

I have always believed every single challenge sent our way, is sent to teach us a valuable lesson.  My business journey sent me,  into a space I had only explored briefly in my adulthood.  I found myself vulnerable and whole heartedly exposed.   What I failed to acknowledge at the time, was in order for me  regain peace within my soul, I needed to learn to let go of the all familiar human condition of desiring to control every outcome in life.

For a brief two years I completely forgot to connect, I let the importance of my business consume my every atom.  I didn’t have time to meditate, in fact I didn’t have time to do anything.  Time with my husband was few and far between and when we were together we were either too stressed to have a rational conversation or too tired to speak.  My gym visits vanished, I rarely saw my friends as I couldn’t afford to go out and my life simply became a continuous blur of work and sleep.  In short, I completely forgot about me.

The whole experience brought me a barrage of lessons, but most importantly it taught me the value of never forgetting to ‘simply be,’ even when I’m living within the tornado of life, desperately clinging on to anything to help reground myself.

Beautifully Zen was born to share, muse and ramble about all things beautiful and good for the soul.  Beauty is my business, zen is my way.

I hope you may enjoy sharing some time here with me, and most of all I look forward to walking the journey with you.

Elizabeth xx