Get more living in your life!

 

Hello, Welcome to Zen Woman, Today I am going to talk to you about making sure you have as many truly positive, or perfect days as you can throughout your life.

Lets consider for a moment how fast your life often seems to pass, right before your eyes and you can wonder what you did with your day, week or even year. Think about how many great days you had in the last month, or year. Probably not many, but why?

Life is about those days, they are the definition of living, to enjoy the day, the life in your days.

Yet we let them slip by, often uncherished. We let the moments pass, sometimes even wishing them away, too busy looking to the future or whining about the past to truly enjoy them. We forget that moments make days, weeks and years.

We use excuses like time, work, commitments to hold us back, but really is one day a month going to change that, in fact its been proven that taking time out to do something you enjoy can revitalise the mind and body so effectively you could become massively more productive for the rest of the time.

So, we say goodbye to time gone by with no perfect days, we will bring them back, or increase the. Get some life into our existence and be a more positive and powerful version of ourselves.

I have a task for you.

You are going to need some crafty goodies or at the very least a pen and some paper, we are going to tackle this lack of living and bring some perfect days into your life!

To begin with, I want you to sit quietly in a nice calm room and close your eyes.

Visualize for a moment all the things that make you happy, all the things that could make up the perfect day. Set a timer for 2 minutes and for that time, just sit and think, imagine. Every littler detail coming into vivid colour, remembering every little thing, no matter how small.

Once your two minutes are up, open your eyes and start to write them down, all of them.

You can categorize the by size, activity etc…and you can use them later to make some vision-boards or dream-boards. You can even dedicate a whole notebook to pages of perfect days!

Then once a month AT LEAST I want you to take a day out from the usual life, choose a perfect day and make it happen. Plan it in advance, prepare for it, get excited for it and most importantly, tell other people so everybody knows not to disturb you on that day, unless they are a part of the perfect day of course!

If you can try for once a fortnight or once a week even.

This idea of a perfect day was something I picked up from Brendon Burchard, and added the visualization and planning to it this way to ensure we have a whole list of ideas we can action. No excuses.

You can plan your days alone, with friends, family, however you like and they can be as busy and action packed or calm and relaxing as you like. This is YOUR life and these days are for you to live it. Fully, mindfully and positively.

So, if you feel open to it, share your perfect days, maybe we can inspire others to get more life in their years too.

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Self Massage to release tension and regain energy

 

Hello, Welcome to Zen Woman. Today were doing a little self massage. Too often we put everything else before ourselves, costing us our health, energy and productivity, this simple practice is a great first step to taking back a little time and effort for yourself, to increase your vitality and the positivity in your life.

Massage has been performed in cultures worldwide for centuries, why? Because it is incredibly beneficial to mind and body. We have created many different styles to create different benefits today, everything from Swedish for relaxation to Thai to realign the body, Shiatsu to access the reflexology points for health and Ayurvedic for health and balance to sports deep tissue to prevent injury and promote recovery from exercise.

There are many more as well, and we can, of course, go and have a massage in any of these styles to help us feel better. But we often don’t.

They can be expensive, time consuming, and for some people uncomfortable.

So I am bringing to you a little self massage, its a version I learned in my Daoist practice and its all about opening up energy channels, releasing stagnant chi, energy, and hitting some reflexology spots to increase health and vitality within the internal organs. Its a short version, you can extend or shorten it but here we’ll do about 10 minutes.

You can include tapping into this practise, working on your mantras and affirmations, increasing your focus and positive mental energy. Choose your affirmations first, either something you need at that moment, or general affirmations you use in your life. I prefer to go with different ones at different times to ensure were not just doing this habitually.

So we will start at the top and work our way down. There are tools you can use but today we will just use our own hands to keep it simple.

So follow through the video, make notes if you like to do it by yourself next time and enjoy this time to yourself. Practice this as often as you can or want to, I advise daily but its up to you, see what feels right for you.

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Improve Relationships with Mirroring

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Hello, welcome to Zen Woman’s blog. Today were talking about mirroring.

Mirroring is a term we use in psychology when two people find themselves copying each others non-verbal messages via body language and facial expression.

It is often something we do subconsciously with people we feel connected to and it is a sign that we are in sync, interested in and feeling safe with the other person. You will often see people in relationships mirroring each other, particularly in the honey moon phase.

But this honey moon phase can wear off, and not just in relationships. Sometimes we find ourselves feeling distant from loved ones of all kinds, whether they be friends, family, children or yes, our partners. Particularly parents, partners and siblings with whom we tend to spend more time and can often end up bickering and harbouring negative emotions towards.

So what do we do when we go through phases of losing this connection? We all go through hard times and rough patches with people and we know were meant to put in effort to keep things going well, but what effort?

Of course there are a million little things we can do, really its the little things that make the big difference and today I’m going to give you a little practise you can do that will really help, but first, let me explain why I recommend this.

Like any couple, after being together 4 years and having a lot of ups and downs, financially and with regards to moving home and in fact country, my partner and I were not the closest we had ever been. We still loved each other and had some good times, but there was some distance between us and personally I am not one to just settle. I feel life is for living and making the best of everything so for me, we needed to work on things, I wanted the magic back.

So, we discussed this several times because my partner is more of a bury your head in the sand type so it took a few conversations to really get it out there that we could be better and should make some effort to make this happen.

Add this to the fact I LOVE psychology and we both have a deep love for learning and for self development, we decided a good step would be to buy some books on relationships, some on issues people have, some on psychology of why and how we need and maintain them and some just on basic therapeutic advice. I think if we were somewhere where therapy is more readily available I would have suggested couples therapy but here in the countryside in the UK its not exactly something you come across.

Basically we read some books and took up some new habits, we discovered things that made us laugh together, things that instigated some serious and deep conversations, some caused a few arguments as we worked through things but we came out stronger and happier and continue our research.

One method we found particularly fun is mirroring and I have since done a little research into the psychology of it.

We have all heard the term “fake it till you make it” and the like, well as it turns out this is true. Although our body language will often reflect how we feel inside, it works in the reverse as well, we do adjust our moods to suit our body language.

I read about an experiment where participants were split into two and each person has tasks to complete, half the group were asked to do so with a pencil in their mouth, which causes the mouth to form a smile shape. Afterwards they were all asked to fill a questionnaire asking about their mood, how they enjoyed the task etc and low and behold those with the pencil were remarkably happy, enjoyed the task and felt generally much more positive about life.

I forget the details so I apologise for not naming the place/people involved.

But it goes to show, we can adjust our moods.

Think about it, does it really make you feel better when your feeling sad to sit about in slouch pants? To say bugger it and go out in your slacks? Or does it make us feel better to put some respectable clothes on and walk out there pretending to be confident and happy?

How often do we get into our zone by changing our body language? When we put on our work clothes, stand taller, fix that smile on our faces and prepare to be confident? It makes us feel more in control and it actually adjusts us internally!

So, back to mirroring.

As I said we do this naturally when we feel connected, and as I’m sure you can predict now, recreating this can bring back some of that connection. Yes, it works plus when done how I am going to explain, its so funny you cant help but laugh together which is good for anyone!

You can do this with anyone you want to feel closer to.

There are three basics:

Hands-

Sit facing one another quite close, raise your hands and place them almost palm to palm with the other person and take it in turns to be in control, this person moves their hands around and the other has to try to follow the movement.

Face-

One of the funniest, Sitting again close and face to face. Look into each others faces and this time try to mirror their facial expressions as they run through them. Again take it in turns. This helps you not only connect via mirroring but makes you really look, and see the other person, to notice their facial expression and helps you to learn to interpret these again.

Body-

Lastly stand face to face, similar to hands, use your whole body to copy what they are doing, relatively close, particularly if it is your partner, its great. It feels almost as if your dancing, the challenge is fun, the shared experience and laughing is great for lifting the mood and mirroring will help you feel closer as well.

So, I hope mirroring can help bring some magic back into your relationships with others, its one we found to be a breath of fresh air, fun, light-hearted and so simple and easy to do. It doesn’t take lots of time, or overemotional sharing and talking.

Let me know how you found it.

Thank you for reading/watching and I can’t wait to see you again in the next video!

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Breath for stress relief

Hello, Kirsty here.

So how are you feeling right now? Nice and calm? Ace!

Me too, but its not always like this, is it?

You know what I mean, those days where things just see to go wrong, or people just annoy you and the more the day goes on, the more stressed you get? Yep, I get those too, who doesn’t right?

But there is a really simple way to stop it on the spot, or at least reduce the depth of stress.

The ancient Daoists believed that we store our hottest energy in the tan tien, or sexual centre, the warm energy at the heart and cool energy in the head and we circulate our energy naturally with each breath and each action. Now we an purposefully do this circulation, but honestly that’s a much more in depth practise and not so simple, so….What can we do NOW??

One of the techniques the Daoists use is healing sounds, there is one specific sound and movement, which focuses on bringing the heat down from the heat, lowering the heat energy to the tan tien and restoring calmness of the mind.

The vibrations from the sound massage the tendons and ligaments which hold tension and the movement helps us to visualize and focus on bringing the energy down, the breath focus brings us into the now and away from all that has been and all that could be, I.E the stressy things in the past and future.

You can repeat this just three times, or as many times as you like. It really is like a mini time out, a reset to get you back on track to have a positive, more controlled and therefore successful day!

I hope this helps you guys, It certainly has helped me in some of my tough times and I personally do this every night before I go to bed after my other meditations, just to make sure I release everything and slow right down to rest. It is said to help with insomnia too, so if your having trouble sleeping, get your healing breath going…maybe not in bed if your partners there, the sound can be annoying for them! Ha ha.

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Top 10 Tips for Being a better Listener

Hi, Kirsty here and today were going to talk about listening.

Do you ever get into a discussion which suddenly turns into an argument because someone wasn’t listening? Yes me too, and I usually blame the other person but if I’m honest there are a lot of times where it was my fault too.

Sometimes we listen with the intent only to respond. Or we listen to what we want to hear, mishearing anything that doesn’t fit in with the argument our Ego is trying to have.

We all know when we stop and think, how to listen, what we should do to show our respect to other people in conversation but, as Brendon Burchard often says “ Common sense is not always common practise”.

If you think hard, do you ever truly listen, totally committed to what the other person is saying, or do you get distracted or caught up in your own reactions to their words?

Well whether you listen ell sometimes, never, a lot of the time or rarely there is always room for improvement right?

Being able to listen completely can and will benefit all relationships in your life, whether its friends, family, a partner, colleagues or even your boss, it is definitely a worthwhile skill to learn and here I have 10 pointers to being a better listener:

1)Prepare.

Before you see the person, prepare for what you may have to hear, for the tone, mood and general theme. Get yourself into a listening mindset, be ready. Of course sometimes there is no time to plan, but even then taking a few breaths early on with the intent of remembering the following points will really help you out.

2)Assess Expectations

What is going to be expected of you. What sort of mood will they be in, or are you in. How are you going into the conversation, be ready to adjust energies so you are in sync and ready to be open and on their level.

3)Pay full attention

It sounds obvious but you need to give someone your full attention. We all get distracted with thoughts of our own or things going on around and quite frankly its rude. So be there for them and pay attention to them. Turn off the phone, make sure your not fiddling with something else.

4)Eye contact

Make eye contact when talking, not constant as that’s intimidating but 3 or 4 seconds of direct eye contact works well and then glance away, look at other facial features and come back to their eyes, make sure you are focused on their eyes at the more substantial parts of the conversation, as they get to the point or to an area of excitement, be sure to connect then.

5)Listen with your body

Body language says a lot, be sure to be open and accepting, ready to accept and receive their words, this allows them to feel comfortable and able to express all they need. Also check their own body language and be aware of signals they may need encouragement or just a few moments to get themselves together. You don’t need t fill the silence, let them gather themselves.

6)Listen more than you talk.

We are made to listen twice as much as we talk that is why we have two ear and one mouth. Again here we often listen with the intent of talking in return and that’s not what listening is about. But be aware that you are trying to listen, give them the space to talk, don’t interrupt or over talk, especially if its an emotional or touchy subject. Again don’t feel the need to fill the silence, silence can mean they need a breath to reassess their thoughts, not you jumping in, adding more to the melee.

7)Don’t fix it.

A lot of the time people need to talk, to express and get it out, they don’t usually need your input or opinion confusing things, unless they actually ask for advice. You are not them, in this situation and you shouldn’t assume to know exactly what they are going through, even if yo have been through the same thing, you are a different person with different perspective and strengths and weaknesses, it is not the same.

8)No Judgement.

Just because you may have been through it and found it easier, it doesn’t mean their pain isn’t hard, or worse or maybe their choices came from a different place, from a different mental state, so no judgement. This person is someone you care about so be patient and understanding and try to see if through their eyes.

9)Awareness

Be aware of your impact on that person. They have come to you for a reason, they may be in a vulnerable position, your opinion could really affect the and their decision and like e said earlier, you are not them, it is not for you to decide what they should do in your eyes. Just be aware of the input you could have even with an off hand comment or gesture.

10)Be Trustworthy

Be trustworthy, people don’t talk to you so you can take that information and file it away too use with someone else, Its not your job to share stories, even if you feel someone would benefit fro knowing this story, maybe you connect them to talk, its not for you to share the information.

So after all this amazing listening, good job!

Now there may come a time at the end of the conversation where it is your turn to talk, this is an ideal time to ask questions to really show you were listening and are showing interest but be careful.

Don’t ask questions because you are feeling nosy, if an aspect is going to be painful or hard for them to say, let it be unsaid.

Don’t ask questions your not willing to listen to the answer, only ask what you are able to show interest in.

Think if this is going to be helpful for them.

And remember, generally people can only talk intensely for about 20 minutes before they burn out. Do you remember a time in your life where being able to just talk helped you, where it made a massive impact and really helped you out, where you were moved and felt so connected and positive because of someone else listening?

Don’t you wan to be that person to someone else?

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Woman of the Week – Mother Teresa

OK so we’ve all heard of Mother Teresa, but few of us know much about her and actually WHY she is an inspiration to mankind as a whole, not just for us women.

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Part of the credit must go to her family. Agnes, Mother Teresa, was brought up in a strong Catholic family and her father was an entrepreneur and construction worker, trading in medicines and other goods. He was an inspiring father, clearly a clever man and did whatever it took to bring means to the family table, unfortunately he died when Agnes was only 8.

Agnes grew very close to her mother, a compassionate woman who instilled in her daughter, a deep commitment to helping others, although they were far form wealthy, Drana, Agnes’ mother opened up the house to invite the city’s destitute to dine with them. She told Agnes “My Child, never eat a single mouthful unless you are sharing it with others”.

So you see her parents were instrumental in instilling qualities worthy of our praise from a young age.

At the age of 12, she went with her convent run school on a trip to the church of the black Madonna and first heard her calling to a religious life. 6 years later she joined the Sisters of Loreto in Dublin and took the name Sister Mary Teresa.

Mother Teresa travelled to Darjeeling India and Calcutta making her first profession of vows and teaching girls from the poorest families.

On 24th may 1937, she took her final profession of vows to live a life of poverty, chastity and obedience and took the title of mother, as was customary.

In 1946 Mother Teresa experiences a life changing second call, which instructed her to abandon life as a teacher to work the slums of Calcutta, aiding the poorest and sickest people. She was not allowed to just leave her convent without official permission, but after lobbying and working hard she was grated the freedom and after 6 months of medical training she voyaged into Calcutta slums wt no specific goal than to aid the unwanted, unloved and uncared for.

She soon put this vague calling into action and began making change. She began open air schooling, established a home for the destitute and convinced the city’s government to donate to the cause. As the cause grew, so did her charitable activities, he then established a leper colony, an orphanage, a nursing home, a family clinic and a number of mobile clinics!

Wow, right?

She later travelled to New York and opened up a home for those infected with HIV/AIDS.

Despite all her good work, mother Teresa did not get away without criticism, she did voice some of thee Catholic Churches more controversial doctrines on such topics as contraception, abortion and divorce.

Of course!

Nobody is perfect and this is something to remember. She was an amazing woman, she changed so many lives, lives nobody else valued and she managed to do with with no resources. She did so much good in the world and yes, she had opinions which some didn’t like, hell, I don’t agree with those concepts myself (and probably shouldn’t use the word hell there but hey, I’m not perfect either), she rubbed many the wrong way and got some negative responses, but she didn’t let it stop her! She did what she felt needed doing and she had such a positive impact on so many lives.

I feel she is such an inspiration of what can be achieved if you believe in yourself and your purpose enough, to ignore the opinions of others and stick on your course, to do what you feel is right and to aid others in such a way, she is worthy of more praise than I give her here and her story is motivating me as I type, I am now willing to push past the fact someone just scoffed at one of my prices and realize there are many more who value what I do, I am motivated to keep going, to keep reaching out and helping those that are ready to change, grow and achieve and most importantly, I am motivated to improve myself and my teachings. If she can do all that…What can I accomplish?

Painting Meditation

Today were doing a little art meditation. Literally spending about 5 minutes throwing some paint on the paper, not making art but instead focusing on the process, the state of mind that is induces when we really let go and paint like a 3 year old!

I am using children’s cheapy cheap water colours, with non-watercolour, canvas paper and feeble old paintbrushes…but that’s what makes it fun and what stops us getting too caught up trying to produce perfection.

Its really about having a play, releasing the mind and focusing purely on the joy of painting, no thoughts on whether the lines or shading work, whether the colours will clash or the paint run, no… are going to just stick paint on the page and go for it!

Beginning with some water, just start choosing colour and put it on the page, whatever shapes, lines, or blobs you find works for you, experiment and work at speed so you don’t have time for that pesky brain to take over too much.

No criticisms, no worries.

It doesn’t matter what it comes out like, its really quite freeing once you accept you are not making art and it really doesn’t mater what you paint or how it looks.

You can, if you choose to use this as a background for something else at a later date, for instance I will go on to use this background with a gel pen to create a nice mandala pattern. Again the mandala is also meditative and fun to do so its like 2 x meditation on the same page!

If you like the idea of using yours to use as a mandala background, there us a relating Zen Woman’s Cyber Tribe gathering ‘art part’ is about mandalas, a few tips and a draw along with me step by step guide to drawing a non-perfect but totally fun, simple mandala. Check that out here:

I got inspired and influenced on my art meditation work by the following ladies, so be sure to check them out as well:

Whitney Freya

Alena Hennesy

Chris Zydel

Tamara La Porte

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