Wellness November-December 2012


Pearls of wisdom for 2013

Many people find themselves reflecting on life during the holidays. Sometimes this leads to the “holiday blues” as people look back on the struggles of the past year and sometimes it leads to feelings of gratitude for the many things to be thankful for.

Either way, we can all use some real-life wisdom to guide us into the New Year and to help prepare us for the challenges that may come our way. I have brought together some pearls of wisdom from a spiritual leader, a past president, a musician and Santa Claus. My hope is that these gems will inspire you to keep a healthy perspective and a zest for life in the coming year.

Deepak Chopra (world-renowned mind-body healing pioneer)

“Focus on what is good in your life”

During an interview, spiritual leader, Deepak Chopra shared this from his journey to Thailand: “I went to a monastery in Thailand, we took our baths in the stream, we begged for our food in the streets, I shaved my head and walked barefoot. My head Monk asked how it was walking.  I said it hurt to walk without shoes. And he said: “It hurts on the foot that’s down, but the one that’s up feels really good – so focus on that one.”

All the research supports that the happiest and most exuberant people are not immune to great hardships or serious loss; the difference is they consciously choose what to focus on throughout their life.      

Teddy Roosevelt (26th President of the United States)
“The worst thing you can do is nothing”

Theodore Roosevelt has consistently been ranked by scholars as one of the greatest US presidents. He was also the youngest president in history and is well-known for achievements as a naturalist, explorer, author, soldier and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Here is an excerpt from his lecture at the Sorbonne, in Paris, shortly before he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize: “It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have known neither victory nor defeat.”
His advice: you cannot live life to the fullest unless you are willing to take risks.

Jason Mraz (singer and songwriter)
“Live in the moment”

Jason Mraz wrote an upbeat song about living in the moment, but his words can actually have a powerful effect on our lives if we could follow his advice. In one stanza he sings:

I’m letting myself off the hook for things I’ve done
I let my past go past
And now I’m having more fun
I’m letting go of the thoughts
That do not make me strong
And I believe this way can be the same for everyone

Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddhist Spiritual leader on whose teachings Buddhism was founded, believed that we will remain unsatisfied and unhappy as long as we are missing the most valuable thing in life: our ability to live in the present moment. It’s about living right now, this very second. Not reliving the past or fearing what the future holds, but finding our way to the present where our reality is based…in this moment. 

Santa Claus (needs no introduction)
“Ho, Ho, Ho” 

We all have something to learn from Santa Claus. His deep belly laugh, infectious smile, red cheeks and twinkly eyes draw children in from all over the world. Nothing feels more wonderful than a good laugh and studies on laughter show us why it’s so beneficial to our health and well-being.
Consider these benefits: a good hearty laugh relieves tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes. Laughter boosts your immune system by decreasing stress hormones and releasing endorphins (your body’s natural feel-good hormones). Laugher attracts others to you, enhances team work, defuses conflict, eases anxiety and fear and adds joy and zest to life. And it’s free.

As you move through the holiday season and into the New Year, pay attention to the real-life wisdom offered by those around you. In doing so, you’ll undoubtedly live a richer life and maybe even find yourself laughing your own deep-bellied ho, ho, ho!

Diane Lykes is a Principal of Synergy Counseling Associates in Albany where she specializes in individual and couples counseling, educational training and clinical consultation.  She can be reached at 466.3100 or lykes-synergy@nycap.rr.com


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