Tag Archives: emotional well-being

Share, Share Again, and Share Some More

Living in Community Part 1

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Point to Ponder:
Do you open up regularly and share your life experiences, advice or wisdom?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Really, I love our iGnite community for so many reasons. The list is infinite, but to name a few: I work with amazing women, I meet and am around wonderful women all of the time, I get everything I need and am looking for out of our fitness classes, and I learn from everyone. With 150-ish members (all women), iGnite is not only a network of brilliant resources, but more than anything, it’s a brain trust of wisdom — which I am a total sucker for! There’s not one situation or dilemma (that I can think of at least) that I couldn’t get several spot-on advice nuggets for. As similar as we may seem, we are oozing with diverse upbringings and life experiences. How do I know? Because I’ve been a wisdom sponge for the past 8+ years and what I’ve learned from just being around so many women and asking questions and listening is greater than any set of self-help books I could purchase at Barnes & Noble.

I’m not sure if you had the chance to read it yet, but last week we shared our February Real Women, Real Stories article featuring two young and healthy Austin women who unbelievably both had heart attacks: Darby Denison and Jennie’s Covert Stewart. Darby and Jennie knew one another for many years, and after Jennie’s heart attack, Darby memorized the symptoms which allowed her to identify her own heart attack symptoms- just a few months after Jennie had hers.

After visiting with both Darby and Jennie, I am both thankful and inspired. I am thankful they are both alive and able share their heart attack stories with us. Their stories will save lives — maybe my own?! Then, I am inspired by the way they are choosing to live their lives, post-heart attack. Jennie shared this: “Before my heart attack, I was crazy busy — which was brought on by myself. I volunteered for a lot more than I do now, but now it’s just more about quality and focus now. Not that what I did or who I spent my time with before was not important, it’s just that it took up too much time and took me away from what mattered most.”  “It forced me to re-purpose my life. It empowers me to say ‘no’ when I need to and focus on just having an audience of One. I have an attitude of gratitude and a true awareness of how blessed I am.”

When asked the best advice they’d ever been given, Jennie shared advice that her father shared with her, “Honor one another’s differences. I always fall back on this when I lose my patience. It also helps me have an open heart and an open mind.”

I LOVE this advice and am so thankful Jennie shared it because not only does it inspire me, but remembering it will help me be more tolerant and kind, when I would otherwise be judgmental and get frustrated.

I’m convinced that living in community and sharing life together is no-doubt the design by which we are created to exist. Therefore, throughout this week and moving forward, I invite you to live in community and share your life, your experiences, and your wisdom for the benefit of yourself and others. And if comfortable, please share the best advice or wisdom you’ve ever received by sending me an email at neissa@igniteyourlifenow.com. I will share your wisdom and advice in the upcoming March Journals for others to benefit from.

Action Item:
Live in community and share your life, your experience, and your wisdom for the benefit of yourself and others.

The Compliment Dare

Loving Yourself & Others, Part IV

compliments

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

When I sat down in January to plan what I was going to write about in February, the idea of loving ourselves and others felt natural because February is all about love. As I pondered different actions we could take that would demonstrate love, the one that continued to stir in my head was the ability to receive a compliment with a simple and gracious “thank you.”

Let’s face it, we women are THE WORST at receiving compliments with a “thank you” or without the extra “oh”, “well”, “but”, and “really?” On the flip side, we are THE BEST at giving compliments! We have no problem showering others with compliments, but when it comes to loving ourselves and the person giving the compliment enough to graciously receive it with a “thank you”, as a whole we’re pretty bad.

How do I know this? Because graciously accepting compliments was something I once stunk at, and I continue to struggle with. It wasn’t until a friend called me out many years ago that I became aware of how rude, ungrateful and unflattering it was for me to not to be able to say “thank you”. I thought a lot about why I couldn’t receive a compliment. Did I feel unworthy? Did I not love myself enough to receive a beautiful compliment? Or was it because I was too focused on my imperfections that I couldn’t see or appreciate what others saw? Honestly, it was probably all of the above.

Taking it a step further, my whole life I’ve wished I had long, slender legs. I’ve never been satisfied with my long torso and short legs until Dietitian Anne Wilfong spoke at one of our winter retreats. She too referenced her dislike of her short legs and long torso, and said that it wasn’t until she ran her first marathon that she realized how grateful she was for her short, strong legs. Not only did they carry her for 26.2 long miles, but they allowed her to train all of those miles! It was then that I realized I needed to stop wishing I had longer legs and simply be grateful for what I do have. So, to my short legs: I am blessed to have both of you. You are strong and allow me to run, jump, walk, play, skip, ride my bike and go everywhere I need and want to go. Thank you, and I will never wish you were longer again!

Gratitude. I’m learning that expressing gratitude is the key to living our best life, and while being able to receive a compliment with a gracious “thank you” and complimenting a body part that we are typically critical of might seem trivial, to me it all equals loving ourselves, loving the person who was kind enough to give us the compliment and appreciating what we’ve been given.

This week and moving forward, I invite you to join me in the Compliment Dare. The goal is to begin receiving compliments with a simple “thank you”, while also loving yourself enough to say “thank you” to your unique features and characteristics. And as you embark on the Compliment Dare, below are two beautiful iGnite leader examples of complimenting a body part that will inspire and encourage you to start saying “thank you”.

Amy

Amy

“On a good day when I’m feeling confident and self-assured, I call them my “character lines.” On a rough day when I am feeling anxious, worried and insecure, they show up as “old lady wrinkles.” What I realize when I am honest with myself is that every single one of the deep groves in my forehead and furrowed brow carry a lifetime of rich living. The etched wrinkles are complemented by the crows feet around my eyes that light up my face every time I smile and laugh…..which I must have done a lot of in this lifetime if their prominence is any indicator!  I have earned every single one of my wrinkles; a testament to a life well lived!”
-Amy

Catherine

Catherine

“When I get the occasional compliment on my hair, my tendency is always to respond with the bad — “oh really? Wow, it’s so fine and straight and flat and there’s so much of it…and this…and that… but thank you though. ” When really I should just rock it. Why am I responding with negativity when someone is saying something nice to me? The fact that my hair is relatively ‘easy’ to handle is something I should be incredibly grateful for and stop nitpicking about the things I wish were different about it. So, there — thank you God for this crazy head of hair that I should be nothing but grateful for!”
– Catherine

Action Item:
When given a compliment, practice receiving it with a gracious “thank you” and begin complimenting and being grateful for the physical features you are often critical of.

The Antidote for Worry Is…

gratitudetheantidoteforworry

“Gratitude is the enemy of worry and can transform common days into thanks-giving, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
– William Arthur Ward

Point to Ponder:
Does thinking about your Thanksgiving plans make you more stressed out or excited?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

While listening to the radio last weekend, the DJ’s were discussing the topic of Thanksgiving and how “the powers that be” are sadly having success at making Thanksgiving a thing of the past. They were speaking to the fact that as soon as Halloween ends, the focus unfortunately isn’t on Thanksgiving, but the commercialism of Christmas. And the question then posed was, “What happened to Thanksgiving?”

I think most people would agree that Thanksgiving is likely one of the best holidays, simply because it’s simple. To the point of one of the DJ’s, truly observing Thanksgiving — and not passing over it — is a necessity, as this holiday is one of the few opportunities we have to *pause,* actually rest and focus on family, friends, and gratitude. Sadly, most stores are starting “black Friday” on Thanksgiving Day afternoon, as early as 4:00 p.m!  Seriously, this ticks me off, but we consumers are the ones with the control. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, “Just because we can doesn’t mean we should”.

To take the importance of thanks-giving and the Thanksgiving holiday one step further, we physically, spiritually and mentally need this time because too much of our life is filled with the stressors of anxiety, worry and fear. Believe it or not, gratitude is the antidote for all of these!

“Researchers from Harvard found that anxiety and fear destroy the proteins at the end of our chromosomes called telomeres, which dramatically speeds up the aging process. Furthermore, researchers at the University of Chicago found that when people write their positive feelings and what they are grateful for, they significantly lowered their levels of worry and harmful cortisol levels. And, it raised their performance on tests of memory and critical skills by 10-15%.” (Anchor, Shawn. Success Magazine)

Cortisol is a life-sustaining adrenalin hormone that is naturally produced as a result of all good and bad stress. (AdrenalFatigue.org) However, consistent stress produces too much cortisol, which negatively impacts our health and overall quality of life in many ways, including:

  • impaired cognitive performance
  • poor thyroid function
  • blood sugar imbalance
  • decreased bone density
  • sleep disruption
  • decreased muscle mass
  • elevated blood pressure
  • lowered immune function
  • increased abdominal fat (which is linked to heart disease, stroke, and other health issues)

Furthermore, continual stress makes our bodies secrete too much cortisol and adrenalin, and adrenal fatigue sets in. This contributes to:

  • brain fog
  • mild depression
  • blood sugar imbalance
  • fatigue
  • sleep disruption
  • low blood pressure
  • lowered immune function
  • inflammation (which science is learning can cause cancer, heart disease, stroke, autoimmune disease and other health conditions)

Despite the temptations to be busy over the Thanksgiving holiday, I encourage you to embrace it as the holiday of gratitude, spending time with the people you love and giving your body, mind and spirit the necessary time of renewal. When allowing ourselves the time and opportunity to be in a continual state of gratitude, our worries will disappear, your heart will sing and your health, quality of life and the people we love will reap the benefits. Truly, truly our health is our greatest wealth and feeling your best is the most wonderful gift you can give during the holidays and every day of your life.

For a beautiful and emotional display that our best days come from people and not things, check out the video below and Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!

yourbestdayvideo

Action Item:
Over Thanksgiving, resist the temptation to be busy and instead focus on spending time with the people you love and giving your body, mind and spirit a necessary time of rest and renewal.