Unabashedly Optimistic

My days feel much like this antelope that we passed while driving in Montana—On Top of the World! Unlike Pollyanna who was blindly optimistic, I’m unabashedly optimistic—not embarrassed to build a net before I leap.

And lest you ask… no, I don’t gargle with bong water, and yes, my balloon does land.

The difference between optimists and pessimists is not simple cheerfulness: it’s how we cope with stress. Psychology Professor Michael Scheier of Carnegie Mellon University explains that optimists consistently outlive pessimists because optimists cope better with adversity. Optimists deal with stress and take action to handle it, while pessimists often deny problems or disengage.

These coping mechanisms affect people on a cellular level. Optimists not only live longer, but they also live better, having better mobility, circulation, and cognitive faculties into old age.

Optimist or pessimist—which side of the coin do you fall on?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Gratitude – It Does a Body Good

I’m incredibly grateful. Not only the part of the globe we live on—the Pacific Northwest in the United States—but for our specific town, Boise, Idaho. It’s quite possibly one of the friendliest places on earth.

Boise is quite possibly one of the friendliest places on earth

The words “gratitude” and “grace” share a common origin: the Latin word gratus, meaning “pleasing” or “thankful.” The Association for Humanistic Psychology defines gratitude as “Orientation towards noticing and appreciating the positive in the world.”

Boise – the home of free beer

University of California Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons’ research revealed that grateful people tend to be more optimistic, a characteristic that literally boosts the immune system—a clear PHYSICAL benefit.

Boise offers free smells (good ones) too

Dr. Alex Wood, a postgraduate researcher in the Department of Psychology, University of Warwick, said that  “Gratitude is an integral part of well-being”—a distinct benefit to our MENTAL and EMOTIONAL faculties.

Gratitude boosts whole health

Gratitude helps to open the heart, the seat of compassion. It helps us to see the good in our experience. It enhances trust and helps us to forgive—a benefit to our SPIRITUAL aspect.

How do you weave gratitude into the tapestry of your life?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

A Heavy Load

For Note to Self book events, it’s important to find a commonality that levels the playing field and places all of us on the same page. That’s why I typically talk about non-forgiveness. It’s one of the heaviest loads (emotional baggage) we can carry or drag with us. I usually start by saying:

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Hint #4 — There’s no commuter train service in my sabbatical location.

Every single person in this room, without exception, will need to extend forgiveness to someone at some point in their life for something the other person did or failed to do. 

Likewise, every single person in this room, without exception, will need to receive forgiveness from someone at some point in our lives for something we did or failed to do.

Then I read a passage from Note to Self that begins on page 116. If you have a copy, you may want to check it out.

Has extending forgiveness, or the lack thereof, played a role in your health and wellness?

Reminder, the caveat of the Looking for Laurie game stipulates: “The first person to type the accurate city and state of my sabbatical location into the comments section of the Mar 28 post will receive a personalized copy of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth for themselves or as a gift to someone else.”

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Breathe

Boatloads of exciting behind-the-scenes things are taking place as we—publisher, publicist, and author—ramp up for the November 1 release of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path for Gratitude and Growth. It’s exhilarating. One might even say, breathless.

With this in mind, Crystal—my publicist at BookSparks—sent me a visible reminder to breathe. In turn, I’m sharing a breathing exercise from Note to Self that has never failed to produce calm for me:

4-7-8 BREATHING

  • Place a hand on your lower belly to ensure that you’re breathing past your chest.
  • Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose while mentally counting to 4.
  • Hold that breath for a mental count of 7.
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth while mentally counting to 8. Notice that the exhalation is twice as long as the inhalation.
  • Pause briefly, without inhaling, and then start another round. This natural pause is therapeutic and relaxing.
  • Once you’ve established a rhythm, identify a replacement attitude. Imagine that with each inhalation, you’re breathing in the color orange and the feeling of that new attitude—increasing joy.
  • When you exhale, imagine that you’re releasing the toxins associated with the unwanted emotion—offloading baggage.
  • Repeat for several minutes, drawing the orange breath and replacement feeling down into your lower belly to anchor the new feeling.

When was the last time you focused on your breath?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Book Trailer

Created by the award-winning talent of Rucinski & Reetz, I’m excited to share with you the book trailer for Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth.

Available for pre-order on Amazon

Transforming intention into action, Note to Self equips you to shed your baggage, bridging the gap between where you are and where you want to be—body, mind, and spirit—empowering you to step into joy-filled living now!

“Laurie Buchanan has a knack for helping others find positive, creative, and clear solutions to life’s challenges. Reading this book was like watching the sun rise for me; every page had bright rays of wisdom that made me smile. Delightful indeed!”
Christine DeSmet, author, screenwriter, and writing teacher at University of Wisconsin-Madison Continuing Studies

What book are you currently reading?

Available for pre-order on Amazon.

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

Book Cover Reveal

 

Save the Date - Note to Self announcement

Baggage! We all carry it with us through life. It comes in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and colors—more than enough to accommodate the stuff that we accumulate through life. And no matter how we dress it up, it’s frustrating, inconvenient, and slows us down. In fact, it’s downright disruptive.

This book is about offloading emotional baggage—something that’s especially important when we realize that we don’t just pack for one; we pack for seven. Each of the seven selves—self-preservation, self-gratification, self-definition, self-acceptance, self-expression, self-reflection, and self-knowledge—has characteristics, wellness types, and shadows. Each plays a vital role in harmony, overall health, and well-being.

Chock full of real-life emotional examples, as well as “keys” at the end of each chapter offering actionable tips, techniques, and exercises designed to help you unlock baggage, examine it, and offload it permanently, Note to Self will help you discover a lighter, joy-filled you!

Here’s what two of the advance readers had to say:

“While we are all passengers on a planet called Earth, we can choose to enhance the way in which we travel: emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, and physically. In fact, we can, through the pages of this book, discover new ways to travel that are lighter, more fluid, and life-enhancing. The author, a wise and dedicated traveler, is also the right kind of kind of guide—caring, inspiring, uplifting, knowledgeable—for your journey of self-discovery. I recommend this tremendous book to anyone seeking the companionship of good energy and joyful presence. A five-star read in every way!”
—D.A. Hickman, author of The Silence of Morning: A Memoir of Time Undone

“What a dazzling rainbow of wisdom Laurie Buchanan has assembled into one volume! Drawing on a wide range of spiritual teachers and scientific discoveries, Buchanan guides the reader on an exciting journey of self-discovery. She is a modern oracle at Delphi, and this book a modern temple with ‘Know Thyself’ written on every page. Highly recommended for daily spiritual practice (a list of 365 questions at the end will guide journal writing). Leaders of retreats, and spiritual seekers will be sharing well-thumbed, dog-eared copies soon.”
—Shirley Hershey Showalter, former president of Goshen College and author of  Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World

I’m looking forward to November 1, 2016—the publication date of Note to Self.

What’s the next date/event that you’re looking forward to?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com

This Is Your Brain On Mindfulness

During recent travels, a walk on the beach had me looking at seaweed as a visual metaphor for the brain…

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN

Much like a pinball machine, the mind bounces from one thought to the next: positive, negative, past, present, future.

Much like a pinball machine, the mind bounces from one thought to the next: positive, negative, past, present, future.

 

Psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, MD, director of the Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health tells us that:

“People shift their attention from one task to the next in rapid succession [commonly referred to as multi-tasking]. This reduces the quality of the work on any one task because you’re ignoring it for milliseconds at a time.”

 

THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON MINDFULNESS

Separating out a single thought strand, mindfulness is present moment awareness.

Separating out a single thought strand, mindfulness is present moment awareness.

 

An article in Psychology Today defines mindfulness as:

“A state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

 

Do you live in the moment?

© Laurie Buchanan

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