Tag Archives: energy

Fourteen Reasons to be Grateful

iGnite -gratitude changes everything

Point to Ponder:
Do you regularly acknowledge what you are grateful for?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As you have likely noticed, during the month of November we are celebrating gratitude! Not only are we eager to blast out our gratitude in our social media #ignitegratefulgram contest, but we are fired up to wear our gratitude loud and proud with our NEW ‘Grateful’ fall apparel.

We are not at all suggesting or asking that you post or wear your grateful spirit to be boastful about your “things”. Instead, the motivation behind our Grateful Campaign is to encourage the daily action of giving thanks for our amazing lives and blessings…because when life gets inevitably tough, a grateful spirit can change a bad day into a good day, and a good day into a great day, because gratitude changes everything. I’m hopeful that our Grateful Campaign will inspire and reignite a grateful spirit in everyone.

There is no denying that acknowledging our blessings on a daily basis leads to a physiological reaction that creates a happy and peacful state in the body. To go a step further, based on the findings from a fascinating gratitude experiment conducted by two psychologists, writing down what we are grateful for leads to even greater results. Check this out:

“Two psychologists, Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis, wrote an article about an experiment they conducted on gratitude and its impact on well-being. The study split several hundred people into three different groups and all of the participants were asked to keep daily diaries. The first group kept a diary of the events that occurred during the day without being told specifically to write about either good or bad things; the second group was told to record their unpleasant experiences; and the last group was instructed to make a daily list of things for which they were grateful. The results of the study indicated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of 1. alertness, 2. enthusiasm, 3. determination, 4. optimism, and 5. energy. In addition, those in the gratitude group experienced less 6. depression and 7. stress, and 8. were more likely to help others, 9. exercised more regularly, and 10. made greater progress toward achieving personal goals. In addition, Dr. Emmons’ research shows that those who practice gratitude tend to be more 11. creative, 12. bounce back more quickly from adversity, 13. have a stronger immune system, and 14. have stronger social relationships than those who don’t practice gratitude. He further points out that “To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.” – The Change Blog

Something that I am experimenting with in our family is a gratitude jar. The jar sits in the middle of our dining room table and each evening at dinner, we talk about one thing we are grateful for, followed with writing it down on piece of paper and placing it in the jar. Because I have small children who can’t write, I have been writing what they say as as well as including the date. It has become a sweet and focused time which stirs up great conversation (even with a two and a four year old). My personal goal is to revisit the jar of notes during our Thanksgiving meal and to continue writing down what we are grateful for throughout the month of November and the remainder of the year.

Another idea is to print and cut out our Grateful Printables. Then, place your jar, printables and pen in a high-traffic area in your home and anytime you or your family members pass by it, drop a gratitude note in the jar. From a good nights rest, a warm a cup of coffee to the blessing of good health, family and friends, it all counts and taking the time to acknowledging your blessings will make a positive impact in your health, relationships and overall quality of life. And, several months from now or anytime you need a pick-me-up, all you have to do is read what’s in the jar and you are guaranteed a good laugh, happy cry and/or mood booster. Why? Because gratitude changes everything!

Action Item:
Print out our Grateful Printables. Place your jar, printables and pen in a high-traffic area in your home and anytime you or your family members pass by it, drop a gratitude note in the jar. Or, at dinner each evening have each family member write down and discuss what they are grateful for and place in the jar.

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Creating Your 61-Day Plan

iGnite - how do you spend your time

Point to Ponder:
How will you spend the last 61 days of 2015?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Whew, It’s November! And who doesn’t love November? Delicious temperatures, daylight savings (more sleep-YAY!), fall clothing, colorful foliage, and of course, time with family during the Thanksgiving holiday. While all of this makes my heart really happy, I get heart palpitations when I think about having only two months, i.e. sixty-one days left in the year, yet so much to do! How did that happen?!

I subscribe to several blogs and recently Austin-based Life Coach and Speaker, Renee Trudeau posted an excellent article on not only defining our life vision, but more realistically defining a vision for the next 90-days. In our case, that is the next sixty-one days, and because last week we determined what we’ve had enough of and will not include in our 2015 finale, the next step is to define and be intentional with how we spend our time throughout the next sixty-one days. Renee suggests these two questions for helping define your vision:

  1. What is uniquely mine to do? and
  2. What is the best use of my energy and talents in the next sixty-one days?

What I appreciate about Renee’s intentional strategy is the practicality of focusing on ninety or sixty days. It’s not overwhelming because I can actually see, feel and touch this time frame. In addition to answering those 2 questions and getting in the right frame of mind, Renee also recommends setting aside time in a distraction-free peaceful setting where you can create the following lists:

  • List all activities that fuel you (activities that give you energy, nourish you, and make you feel alive)
  • List all all activities that drain you (create physical tightness or discomfort in your back belly or neck every time they cross your consciousness). Often these “drains” are things like a financial issue that must be handled, a touchy conversation that you’ve been avoiding having, a disorganized office space at work or home, or a career issue that needs to be addressed

Address the ‘drains’ with an aggressive housecleaning mindset, giving yourself three options for handling each energy zapper:

1) “Just do it:” Set a deadline for when you can complete the project
2) Delegate It: Ask for help if needed, or outsource the task
3) Dump It: Walk away from the task or decide it isn’t going to happen (at least not in
the next sixty-one days)

Ultimately, the goal within the next sixty-one days is to not let life “just happen” or be filled with random action, enery-suckers and unfulfilling activities. Instead, let’s get the most out of it and make it great by striving to be prayerful and intentional about how we use our time, energy and talents. We can do this!

Action Item:
Create your 61-day plan by completing the activities suggested by Renee Trudeau:
1. Answer her 2 questions for defining your vision
2. Create your “fueling” and “draining” activities lists
3. Assign your “draining” activities one of the 3 categories above

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‘Enough is Enough!’

iGnite - remove the unnecessary

Photo from this summer’s iGnite Escape in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Point to Ponder:
What have you had “enough” of? What are you wasting your time and life on?
What keeps you running on the treadmill to nowhere and is keeping you from living your life, being fully present and feeling great?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Recently I ran across a motivating radio show series called “Enough is Enough,” and as I listened, I became more inspired to also declare what I had had enough of in my life.

In last week’s journal I shared my realization that my current purpose/mission changed from what I originally thought it would be at this time. Prior to this, I was running myself ragged and trying to live up to the ridiculous expectations I placed on myself, which led me to declaring that ‘enough was enough!’ of letting my ego be my north star. ‘Enough was enough!’ of giving into the lie that my controlling ways were better than turning everything over to God in prayer. ‘Enough was enough!” of screaming at my kids and not being a present mom because I was stressed out of my mind due to believing that I needed to do more and was not enough unless I was multi-tasking and focused on accomplishing a million things.

So, what have you had “enough” of? What types of things are consuming your time and energy? What keeps you running on a treadmill to nowhere and is keeping you from living your best life, being fully present and feeling great? Because women share similar heartbeats and the human experience is not unique, here are some ‘enoughs’ that instantly came to my mind and might resonate with you too:

Do you struggle with living up to the expectations of others and are too hard on yourself? Are the people you are spending the majority of your time with life-suckers rather than life-givers? Do you live on an emotional roller-coaster because you are too involved in your children’s lives, care too much about the opinions of others, make too many assumptions and take everything personally? Have you neglected your needs and are not getting enough sleep, healthy food, adequate hydration and exercise? Have you busied yourself, are completely stressed-out and therefore your words, interactions and body language are negative, cold and argumentative? Do you no longer attend church or have a day off for faith, family and rest because your children’s extra-curricular activities have taken over or you’ve replaced it with more work? Do you wrestle with control and worry too much? Is your financial situation and spending out of balance? Have you placed a higher value on work and outside commitments and as a result neglected the needs of your spouse or the people you love? Have you bought into the lie that God didn’t create you “enough,” and therefore you have low confidence? Do the destructive emotions of shame, fear and doubt control your life? Do you reject the love of others or can’t trust others because someone didn’t love you back or violated your trust? Do you procrastinate or keep putting off what is necessary and important in your life?

With only a little over two months left in 2015 (EEK!), I want us to be intentional with the way we spend the remainder of our year by declaring and writing down the “enoughs” in our lives on this printable worksheet. By doing this, your spirit will give you valuable knowledge and information about what you are willing to accept in your life. This level of awareness and information will minimize the chances of transferring negative actions and emotional garbage into 2016 and will promote healthy progress by adding what’s necessary, rich and wonderful into your new year and life!

Action Item:
Be intentional with the way you spend the remainder of your year by declaring and writing down the ‘enoughs’ in your life on this printable worksheet.

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Member Spotlight: Susan Palombo

      Susan with her sweet father

                Susan with her sweet dad

Roots:
I was born and raised in Tulsa, OK, went to UT Austin for undergraduate (Plan II), then moved to Minneapolis, MN and lived there for 30 years. We have been back in Austin for 1 year and are loving it!

Basic Family Stats:
I have been married for 32 years to John Palombo. We have three children. Nick, 26, is a middle school science teacher in St. Louis. Michael, 22, and his twin sister, Megan, graduated in May — Michael from Vanderbilt and Megan from UT Austin. Michael has moved to Austin for a job with GLG Consulting, and Megan is interviewing.

Current/Previous Occupation:
I love my career, which is helping individuals and families feel better about their path to reach their family, foundation and financial goals through our Wealth Management practice with Merrill Lynch.

Biggest lesson learned through iGnite experience:
Working out with positive trainers and friends outside in the Austin sunshine with iGnite is such a fabulous experience. Working out doesn’t have to be “bootcamp with pain and suffering!”

Best advice I’ve been given:
Through his wonderful examples, my 90 year old active and healthy father has taught me so much. One particularly pertinent lesson is: Listen more, talk less.

In my free time, I like to:
Be outdoors in nature, read and get together with family and friends.

If I were a pair of shoes, I would be:
I still have my hiking boots from 5th grade, and I think I would be them. They are long-lasting and reliable, strong and functional, outdoors-loving, well-loved leather
with beautiful patina and comfortable and sturdy boots. They have traveled a lot of miles, covered a variety of terrain, scaled some altitude, grown up and matured, made some mistakes, saved my life and witnessed a lot of conversations by hundreds of bonfires. These boots have lots of energy and endurance. They have been a good friend to me. I hope that I can be that good of a friend to others.

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Finding Mindfulness…on the Mat

Finding Mindfulness…on the Mat

iGnite leader Amy Younkman

by Amy Younkman

In the day and age of quick fixes, constant fads and “7 minute workouts,” it can be hard to slow down and ask ourselves, Is this really what’s best for my body?   In our American culture, there seems to be an ongoing obsession with ‘new forms’ of exercise; for example, the latest, greatest form of functional fitness, performed in an efficient, short period of time, giving you the most “bang for your buck,” and relying on external sources to guide and motivate you.

While these forms of exercise are effective and do lead to a fit, strong body, they are only part of the picture if we are truly seeking a healthy lifestyle.  By relying solely on these forms of fitness, we risk creating a vicious cycle of continually striving to be faster, stronger, look younger, be more ripped, track more daily steps…etc.  We never actually “arrive”, because there’s always that next level to strive for.  And that can get exhausting!

iGnite Yogalates on Lady Bird Lake

Yogalates on Lady Bird Lake

It’s important to balance these forms of exercise with what I like to call “mindfulness on the mat” so that we can continue to enjoy a variety of activities and pursuits, and most importantly, so we can prevent injuries and be more mindful of our existing ones.  When we step onto our yoga or Pilates mat, our first priority is tuning into our body and tuning out our goals, expectations, what we did yesterday, and what we need to do tomorrow.  If we pay attention, our body will tell us what it needs.  The ego is not invited onto our mat.  With time, practice, and patience we begin to notice imbalances and places we hold tension and resistance.  We learn to practice compassionate observation and tolerance for ourself so we are in a better place to extend it to others once off the mat.

Yoga and Pilates are two wonderful practices that teach mindfulness on the mat so that we can be more self-aware in our over-stimulated, consumer-driven world.  Yoga is over 5000 years old.  Pilates is nearly 100 years old.  These time-honored practices have much to teach us!

Pilates is a form of strength training with little to no impact.  It emphasizes alignment, core strength, muscular rebalancing and joint strength.  It is a very safe way to stay fit, prevent injury, and rehabilitate from injury, while increasing balance, body awareness, confidence and better posture.  While we use props during class to keep it interesting and fun, the classical Mat Pilates series is a total body workout using your own body as your guide.

Yoga has become so westernized that it’s hard to define what yoga is today.  In its truest form, yoga teaches us about ourselves and our relationship to the world.  It ignites awareness about how we respond to difficulty and ease, to consistency and change, to the way we face our universal human struggles of avoiding difficult situations (hard yoga postures, tough life issues), or the way we cling to the familiar and comfortable (postures that we can do, habits we grow accustomed to).

iGnite Power Pilates at Rollingwood Park

Power Pilates

Besides reducing stress, yoga also teaches us balance between sthira (effort) and sukha (ease) both in our yoga practice and in life.  It teaches us to balance stability with mobility, and strength with flexibility, so that we can balance setting boundaries in our relationships with creating the space we need.  Yoga teaches us to feel the poses rather than force them.  The postures are questions, not answers.  We ask ourselves, “How can I create more ease in this pose?”  which then translates off the mat to “How can I create more ease in my life?”  Yoga is not about doing the poses; it’s about undoing what gets in the way of the poses.

In a Vinyasa Yoga class, we become aware of our breath, the life force that pulsates through our body.  From there we let the breath guide us and connect us with movement.  While we get stronger and more flexible practicing weight-bearing and balancing exercises, twists, backbends, forward folds and inversions, we also become stronger and more flexible in our mind.  We tune into the subtle energy body and discover what we have always heard to be true: that the body and mind cannot act separately from one another.  Yoga is a practice because, rather that striving to accomplish something, we continually return to the bottomless well of wisdom and guidance from within.  As Judith Lasater, veteran yogi, says: “Slowing down is the same thing as waking up.”

So, as you plan your fitness program, be sure and schedule time to consistently practice “mindfulness on the mat”  through Pilates and yoga.  With regular practice, you will not only become more mindful and body-aware, you will find more ease and inner strength in your body and in your life.  Best of all, you will bring your newfound insights into everything you do, which will add to your enjoyment and keep you safe and injury-free!


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The Magical Tibetan Twist

by Cary Fyfe

by Cary Fyfe

As we move more deeply into November, and closer to — ready for this? — The Holidays!! — I want to share my yoga “go-to” with you. This magical move is for those moments when, in one minute, your head is spinning wildly off of your body, and in the very next, you fall asleep while standing in line at the post office, still holding on to your packages. This move is called a “Tibetan Twist”, and it reconnects my body and mind every single time that I do it.

How-To:

Twist_w-1 Twist_w-2 Twist_w-3

So here we go…stand up, feet hip-distance apart, lift your arms straight out to the sides, to shoulder height (like you’re pretending to be a bird, one that could fly to Grandma’s house and not have to ride in the car with the kids for 5 hours), and:

  • twist right, twist left
  • inhale right, exhale left, breathe in and out, through your nose
  • twist 21 times on each side, and you will soon love yourself and your life again.

Benefits

If anxiety is poking at you, twist and breathe slowly, for calming. If lethargy is plaguing you, move more quickly, for energy. And if you’ve had too much pecan pie and dressing, twist away and your full belly will thank you. You can do this anywhere — yes, people will stare, but we are entering the Season of Wonder, so who cares? Just put the packages down first, twist and breathe away, and the wonderers will wish they knew what you knew. And now, I’ll leave you with a fun-fact: the magic of 21 times has another story, and there are 4 other exercises in the Tibetan series, but I will stop here and say — a little pre-Christmas gift from me to you — the next time you see Amy Younkman, ask her to tell you more because she is a “Tibetan Five” expert! Happy Travels, Happy Feasting and Happy Twisting!

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Sha’s Day 3: 10-Day Body Re-Boot Detox

ignitelogo_daily_journal-01

by Sha Klatt

by Sha Klatt

Hi Everyone,

For some reason I got off to a slow start this re-boot go around. So after not being as on top of things as I had hoped and letting a day get away without doing all the steps, today is day 3 and I’m finally getting into my re-boot groove!

Got day 3 off to good start with hot lemon water instead of coffee.  Ironically, I think my energy was much higher today!

Got day 3 off to good start with hot lemon water instead of coffee. Ironically, I think my energy was much higher today!

On day 1, I had a pretty big headache. Day 2 — a milder headache. I hadn’t slept that well either, so I decided to make sure to check everything off the list for day 3 to see if it helped. So far, so good! Last night I took my first epsom salt soak, turned off technology and slept like a baby.

I awoke this third day feeling way more energetic. In fact, I have felt amazingly energetic all day. I’m thinking the lack of coffee in the morning is actually giving me more energy, because I’m not getting that dip that I usually feel when the caffeine runs out on me. Whoa! I hate the thought of giving up my morning Joe, but it may be really worth it!!!

I had my lemon water and a KIND bar to start my day.  KIND bars really help me when I need quick energy on the run; I usually eat half before a workout and the other half afterwards.  After my iGnite workout for the day I fixed up a green smoothie with peaches.

Delicious, filling and healthy ruby trout salad from Z Tejas

Delicious, filling and healthy ruby trout salad from Z Tejas

I had to run some errands this morning so I went ahead and fixed a tall iced apple cider vinegar and water with stevia and sipped on that around town.  Meal 3 was a delicious ruby trout salad from Z Tejas.  I’m pleased to say that I didn’t have my mid-afternoon slump today, but I did start getting a slight headache.

Dinner: a yummy filling power bowl from Maudie's.

Dinner: a yummy filling power bowl from Maudie’s

I don’t usually eat out twice a day, but I had an out-of-town guest and that’s what we ended up doing. Soooo for dinner I had a power bowl with shredded chicken at Maudie’s. I avoided the chips and salsa and left feeling very satisfied.

I got my cranberry water ready for day 4 and headed to the tub for a relaxing soak and some spinal twisting before another great night’s sleep!