Tag Archives: social media

A Different Kind of Cleanse

jan22_2017

Point to Ponder:
What is there from 2016 that you do not need to bring into the New Year?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Whether you are iGniting in Austin or in San Diego, both cities have experienced severe and very scary droughts as well as incredible recent rainfalls. For Austin, a fierce drought that started in 2011 ended in May, 2015, and in San Diego, off and on the city has been bone dry, but especially since 2014. When my family moved to San Diego in August 2015, I vividly remember driving to our neighborhood that sits in a valley of rolling hills and canyons and being confused. What I thought was going to be lush, green fields of Birds of Paradise, was instead brown, hot, dry and dusty terrain. What I didn’t realize was that San Diego was in a drought, which is what makes the current rain so extraordinary. Amazingly, the drought has been lifted!

For sure, too much of anything is too much: too much rain can be depressing and too much sun can also have a similar effect, but there’s one thing that’s certain, and it’s that the weather is wonderfully unpredictable, which leads me to the opportunities that the recent rainfall and somewhat crazy weather has given each of us (especially the extreme winter highs and lows in Austin).

For starters, weather always serves as a brilliant reminder that as much as we might like to be in control, we never are, and to quote Austin Meteorologist Troy Kimmel, he said, “I’m convinced that Mother Nature likes to remind us that we don’t know everything.” And thank goodness for that! As much as I often times wish I had a crystal ball so I can be adequately prepared for everything that comes my way, one of the sweetest parts of life is seeing how it reveals itself and the necessary lessons, opportunities and surprises that unfold. Like weather, the surprise can be a gorgeous sunny day or much needed overcast cloudy and rainy day to force us indoors to rest. Thanks to the rain in San Diego, excitingly we’ve been able to wear our rain boots and use our umbrellas- Whew!! Furthermore, thanks to the heavy rainfall on Friday, class was moved indoors and I was able to teach one of my personal favorites that I haven’t taught in San Diego yet– Cardio Kickboxing. It’s always good to mix it up!

Next, weather shows us that like in life, there are fruitful times of great harvest and times of substantial scarcity. It’s never always one way or the other, but instead, life is a constant ebb and flow of “Amazing, we did it, give me a high-five!”, to my toilet not working because Barbie was flushed down it. Yep, that recently happened in our house, because anything goes when you have a sassy and unpredictable three year old who out of the blue makes Barbie her archenemy.  As a dear friend recently coined, at times our lives can feel like a flat-out disaster, and then within minutes, things can shift and we can experience our best day ever. And so, what I feel like weather teaches us is to be flexible, open to change and to manage our expectations. This is not at all to suggest that we should have low expectations, but instead, we should expect highs and lows and rain and sunshine. Weather gives us the refreshing perspective that change can be good, change is inevitable and nothing is permanent. Some days will be fruitful while others not–and that’s the consistency of life.

Finally, rain presents two important roles: it’s cleansing and nurturing. Like a baptism, rain gives us an opportunity for renewal and growth and as a result of the recent rains that we have received, I feel like Mother Nature has given us the ideal opportunity to cleanse ourselves from anything that we cannot control and/or things that do not serve you. Some examples are: a relationship, unrealistic expectations you have placed on yourself, people’s opinions and actions, assumptions, unrealistic expectations that other people have placed on you, guilt, pride, resentment, negativity, control, trying to please others, taking things personally, social media, gossip, busyness, comparison, and anything obligatory that is left over from 2016 that you transferred to your 2017 list that doesn’t excite you. It’s all your choice, which is the best part!

I can only speak for myself, but I am amazed that we are only twenty-two days into 2017. Normally, time feels like it flies by, but for me, I love that it’s only Jan 22. Technically, it’s still the New Year, which means that I have plenty of time to set my 2017 intentions and goals, but for now, I’m going to create space for 2017 surprises by following Mother Nature’s lead and spend time determining what I need to let go of–the unproductive thoughts, behaviors and actions that need to be washed away with the rain and will allow my body, mind and spirit to be cleansed, nurtured and refreshed. I sure hope you will join me! (If you’re interested in a physical cleanse that will also benefit your mind and spirit, I encourage you to join us in our 10-day Self-Care Body Re-Boot, taking place in Austin from Feb 2 through Feb 13. Couples are welcome!!)


Action Item:
Make a list of the behaviors, thoughts and actions that do not serve you and work on letting them go.


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Operation Spread Hope, Love & Joy

makesomeoneslifebetter 2

Point to Ponder:
Where does spreading hope, love and joy fall into your Christmas festivities?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Each year and upon entering the Christmas season I always set out to be more intentional and purposeful than in the previous years. Inevitably, my goals are always the same: don’t overspend, stick to the Christmas list, avoid perfection, resist shopping for myself while I am shopping for others (how does that always happen?!), and most importantly to live outside of myself by giving and sharing the spirit and meaning of Christmas: to spread hope, love and joy.

I cringe to think how extra self-centered my holidays would be without my attempted annual goals. Frustratingly, I always spend more money that desired, I get caught up in materialism and commercialism, and I exhaust myself by trying to make everything perfect which in turn stresses me out! Shamefully, beyond my immediate family members, friends and neighbors there is very little thinking outside of myself, no extra sharing of love, hope and joy and therefore no additional lives impacted. Really, it’s nauseating that I live in this perpetual state of insanity (setting the same goal and taking no additional action yet expecting a different result), therefore to end this ridiculousness and attempt to really spread hope, love and joy and make a difference in at least one life during the Christmas season, I’ve come up with a plan of action entitled “Operation Spread Hope, Love and Joy”, and I hope you will join me!

The goal of Operation Spread Hope, Love and Joy is exactly as it sounds: to spread hope, love and joy by putting a smile on someone’s face, being a source of encouragement and light and continuing to express gratitude which will in turn positively impact lives.

Starting today and throughout the next four weeks leading up to Christmas I will announce the weekly action. For this week, the suggested action is to print the provided note card printable, cut out the individual notes and give to as many people as possible. If you are like me, you will experience some fear and hesitation when handing out the cards, especially to a total stranger. You may likely make an assumption that the potential recipient isn’t going through anything, doesn’t need a pick-me-up and/or will think you are weird. Repeat these words: Nonsense! Everyone is going through something, everyone can use a little light and iGnite in their lives and if spreading some hope, love and joy by means of positive note cards make us weird, I gladly welcome the label! After all, the worst thing that can happen is the card gets thrown in the trash, but what if it makes somebody else’s life better?

Finally, share how you are spreading your hope, love and joy note cards by posting pictures via your favoritie social media outlets, using the hashtag #spreadhopeloveandjoy and tagging iGnite. This is not at all to be braggadocious or draw attention to your or iGnite’s actions. Instead, it’s an opportunity to let social media do what I believe social media has the greatest potential in doing, which is to be a catalyst for uplifting messages, positive change and spreading good around the world.

Action Item:
Print the provided note card printable, cut out the individual notes and give to as many people as possible. If you are able, share how you are spreading your hope, love and joy note cards by posting pictures via your favorite social media outlets, using the hashtag #spreadhopeloveandjoy and tagging iGnite.

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Dear Me, Thank you!

Fall Folaige pic 2

Point to Ponder:
How often do you acknowledge and give thanks for all that you do and all that you are?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springman

Throughout the month of November we have focused on expressing gratitude in various ways. We encouraged making gratitude jars and everyday writing what we are grateful for and then placing it in the jar to then look at at a later date. Then, we took the time to physically write gratitude notes to the people we are grateful for, we continue to post what we are grateful for in our social media #ignitegratefulgram challenge, and we are wearing our gratitude, as ‘grateful’ is printed across the chest of all of our new fall apparel.

We believe that gratitude changes everything and of course our efforts were put in place to inspire attitudes of gratitude, but we were also hopeful that it would ignite attitudes of abundance, blessings and fun! Also, our big picture mission is that our gratitude campaign has made a positive impact on you and in your life, starting with your family and then being contagiously caught by thousands of other people.

Finally, there’s just one more gratitude request and call to action, and that’s to thank yourself by filling out our “Dear Me, Thank You!” worksheet. You may think this is totally narcissistic and weird, but stick with me. Typically, when we express gratitude it’s towards the people we love, our health, time with family and friends, things, our work, food, clothing, etc. All of these are wonderful, however what you must not neglect and absolutely must acknowledge and celebrate is everything you do and all that you are, which includes: your commitment to countless people and relationships; how incredibly hard you work on so many things; the impact you make in the lives of others; your dedication to your health and wellness, family and relationships; your beautiful and unique God-given talents and features which allows you to be you and do what you do, and so much more!

I realize this may seem like just another task during a busy holiday week, however I encourage you to take ten minutes to celebrate yourself, because ultimately when you acknowledge and express gratitude for all that you are and for all that you do, it’s simply saying “thank you” for what you’ve been given, which opens your spirit to receiving more, giving more and becoming more. And, becoming all that we were created to be is one of our greatest callings and life’s missions, and in doing so, our impact is extraordinary.

Action Item:
Print the “Dear Me, Thank You!” worksheet, gratefully fill it out and place in an area where you can frequently see it and give thanks.

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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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Happy Talk

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”
Philippians 4:8

Point to Ponder:
Do your words tell the story of who you are and how you view life?

Action Item:
Choose a word to eliminate from and/or add to your vocabulary to better portray who you are and how you view life.

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

A few days ago, I read an article in SUCCESS Magazine titled “Happy Talk.” The author Patty Onderko, a busy mom who writes from her home in Brooklyn, NY, instantly grabbed my attention with her subtitle: “Why you should–like the song from South Pacific–“keep talk’in’ happy talk.” As I’d hoped, the article was thought provoking, research based and made the important connection between the words we speak and the effects they can have on our overall health and well-being. Clearly, it was “iGnite material” so I thought I would share it with you.  So even if you don’t use social media (which is referenced in the article), I encourage you to read it anyway, as it’s a good reminder that the words we speak about ourselves, as well as how we speak about others and life in general, are either working for us or against us:

You got to the town parade on Sunday and want to share your weekend adventure on Facebook. Which of the following is more likely to be your status update?

A. “I’m loving the marching bands! So blessed to live in this wonderful town!”
or….
B. “Drinking a bottle of beer at the parade. I hate bagpipes!”

It’s no surprise that different people can have vastly different experiences at the same event; or that people who are negative pick up on the downsides, and vice versa. But recent research suggests you pin down someone’s personality traits–and how positive they are–by the words they use on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

Psychologists from the World Well-Being Project (WWBP), part of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, examined 700 millions words, phrases and topics in status updates from 70,000-plus willing Facebook users who also completed a personality test. Participants’ personality traits were plotted on the five-factor model, or Big Five, which measures levels of extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism/emotional stability and openness to experience/intellect. Using computational linguistics, these traits were then matched with distinguishing words and phrases that can effectively predict personality–and hopefully, levels of overall well-being.

Past studies have highlighted the connection between language, personality and health outcomes. Facebook and the like, however, offer a new playing field for computational linguistics. “Before social media, we didn’t have the data size to fully leverage language associated with people in a data-driven fashion,” says H. Andrew Schwartz, lead research scientist at the WWBP. “There are so many words in our vocabulary that it really takes an enormous database to find statistically meaningful patterns.”

The goal, ultimately, is to track the psychological and physical well-being of humans through their language. “Behavior, psychological states and traits, and health manifest themselves so well in language” Schwartz says. Do people whose social media utterances reflect their emotional stability live longer? Are they healthier? Happier? That remains to be seen, and it’s what’s next for WWBP, headed by the famed positive psychologist Martin Seligman, Ph.D, from the University of Pennsylvania.

In the meantime, the “meaningful patterns” that they found can help you convey a more positive online image and possibly boost your outlook.

1) Count your blessings. Did you pick “A”, the first Facebook status? According to your word choices, you are highly agreeable (meaning cooperative, trusting, modest and altruistic), conscientious (thorough, careful, efficient, organized) and emotionally stable. Blessed in the hallmark for all three traits. You’re also likely to be quite extroverted, with most forms of the word love being strongly associated with the trait.

Even if some things about the parade bugged you, choosing to talk about the positive parts can not only alter people’s perception of you, but also your own perception of your experiences, says Todd Kashdan, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA., and author of Curious?: Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life. He subscribes to the theory that language dictates consciousness. In other words, the more you mention things you like, the more likely you are to focus on those things and find them in your future, which is why, regardless of your religion, the quote from Philippians is good advice.

2) Recognize your themes. Is the second Facebook status more your style? If so, you are probably more extroverted than introverted, Schwartz says. While you may not have loved the parade, the fact that you mentioned a social, community event is evidence enough, according to his research. Introverts don’t write about parties, sports or parades. While you may be extroverted, though, you may not be particularly agreeable. More than that, though, Kashdan advises being aware of what we regularly mention: “The real patterns are seen overtime. The themes you talk and write about most often become your life narrative. If someone were to write a biography of you based on what you talk and write about, would you like it? Would it be accurate? If not, change the way you communicate.

3) Avoid absolutes. Those inthe “B” camp might also score low on emotional stability. Emotionally unstable folk tend to swear and complain more, using phrases such as “I hate”, “so annoying,” “tired of’,” fed up,” and “for once.” Absolute statements such as “I hate bagpipes” or “I am terrible at math” are language traps, Kashdan says. The more you connect the words terrible and math in your conversation, the more wired together the ideas become in your brain. While you may have trouble understanding complex algorithms, you can probably manage your personal budget. But your verbal absolutism may convince you otherwise over time, and your language can have real-life consequences: You begin to believe your repeated “bad-at-math” slogan and avoid balancing your checkbook, leading to late payments or overdrafts.

4) Be inspired. Other words that positive, open, emotionally stable people use are: universe, dream, music, writing, and books. So if you heard about a great band recently, why not share it and talk about it? Talking about new things (if, say, you always post about your kids or your business) opens up your world to expand your opportunities, Kashdan says.

As for new things, talking about new things is great, but doing new things is even better! And so, during the month of July (only one week away) and in the spirit of summer, we will be encouraging you to shake things up and suggesting new things for you to try in iGnite and around the city. After all, and as the article says, “new things open up your world.”

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Power Off & Look UP

“When you’re too busy looking down,
you don’t see the chances you missed.”

This is a quote from this viral, MUST-SEE inspirational video, which passionately proves why we need to power off, look up more and contemplate our amazing lives.

So without further adieu, check out the video (warning: there is adult language), power off, and spend more time with the people you love, doing what you love.

Video not showing up? Watch it here on YouTube

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The Antidote for Exhaustion Is NOT Rest, It’s…

Retreat dance party – the ultimate in letting go & wholeheartedly enjoying the moment

“It’s a journey… no one is ahead or behind you.
You are not more advanced or less enlightened.
You are exactly where you need to be. It’s not a contest, it’s life.
We are all teachers and we are all students.”
(Unknown)

Point to Ponder:
Does comparison play a role in stealing your joy?
Action Item:
For this one week, eliminate the behaviors (possibly social media)
that cause you to compare your life with the lives of others.

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Two weekends ago at our Intentional Renewal Wellness Retreat at the T Bar M Resort in New Braunfels, our Saturday morning opening speaker was Dave Sunde. Dave is a pastor at Riverbend Church and leads the adult Sunday School class I attend. Every Sunday he leads us in a thought-provoking, interesting and heartfelt conversation, and his presentation at the retreat was no different. Dave spoke on the topic of renewal: renewal in the sense that we need it on a regular basis, but that we are created for it too. Dave referenced a book called Midlife & the Great Unknown, and went on to say that the author, David Whyte, suggests that the antidote for exhaustion isn’t rest, it’s wholeheartedness. Did you read that?  I’ll say it again: the antidote for exhaustion isn’t rest, it’s wholeheartedness. HO-LY COW! Is that blowing your mind like it blew mine?! Honestly, I can’t type my thoughts fast enough and have been thinking about it ever since I first heard it.

My first conclusion is this: no wonder why our society is  such an exhausted and stressed group of people. We’re over-committed, over-involved, over-stimulated and over-worked. And, it’s simply not possible to be wholehearted when we’re pulled in eighteen million different directions. It’s an unsustainable pace and a lifestyle that sets us and our children up for personal and professional burnout and failure. I believe the way we begin living a more wholehearted life is by saying “no” more often and “yes” less often. In other words, we need to be very selective with the things we choose to give and spend our time on.  Just imagine if we chose a minimum of one and a maximum of three things to pour our whole heart into (and family definitely counts as one). The value and meaning we would add to our lives and our relationships would soar! It’s the whole notion of “less is more” or “addition by subtracting.” I think we would all be better off and less exhausted if we put this into action.

My next wholehearted conclusion is based upon a Teddy Roosevelt quote: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” This one is huge, so here it is again: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Maybe it’s just me, but I think this is a game-changing quote that has absolutely  everything to do with living a wholehearted life. Here’s why: I think we’re all trying to keep up with one another — and that is exhausting. I also think this links back to my first conclusion, as could it be possible that we are over-committed, over-involved, over-stimulated and over-worked because we are trying to keep up with too many people (society) and we’re not living our own life?

Unfortunately we live in a world where nothing is off-limits or sacred, and thanks to 24-hour television access, the internet and social media, everyone’s everything is in our face, and it’s almost impossible to avoid continually comparing our lives.  And where there’s comparison ,there is always judgement — thinking someone or someone’s life is better (either you or the other person). All in all, we’re inundated with everyone’s airbrushed highlight reals, and it’s pretty much impossible for that to not have an effect us. As a result, I think we must strive to live a counter-culture life and live our own lives without the fear of judgement or acceptance of any one else. It’s then that I think our ability to live wholeheartedly, instead of exhausted, is possible.

This week, as one of the many components of iGnite’s 7-Day  Cleanse, iGnite will be taking a break from social media, and we encourage you to do the same. While we do think that social media has a place in the world and we are proud that the iGnite social media presence is building community and sharing a positive, encouraging and inspirational message, we feel that an occasional social media cleanse is healthy and necessary for us all. The purpose of our cleanse is to evaluate what types of unnecessary things we might be addicted to and to analyze the effect of eliminating them. Maybe social media only adds value to your life, or maybe it’s sucking time out of your day, preventing you from doing more of what you love, seeing more of the beauty in the world or living your best life. Comparison and societal approval rob us from living an authentic and joyful life, and we suspect that social media plays a role in this. Ultimately, we expect fantastic results, and we invite you to join us on round one of the “Antidote for Exhaustion Challenge.”