Kindness : Good for the Giver & the Receiver

You Can Touch Lives with One Small Act

It’s World Kindness Day and that’s a great reminder that being kind can change lives, in small but powerful ways.  Indeed, research shows that kindness is great for both giver and receiver and it tends to multiply and expand.

I remember being in line in the grocery store and a woman and I chatted about a specific cookbook for sale.  She looked at it longingly and said her children would love making those recipes.  I saw her count out small change for her limited groceries, and decided to buy her the cookbook. She was stunned, but very grateful.  I told her to have a wonderful time with her children – that thinking about it made me smile.  It made us both feel good.

Kindness is also good for your health.  Here’s how:

  1. Empathy towards strangers increases the oxytocin (feel good hormone) in your body by 47%! (Claremont Graduate University study)  This lowers your blood pressure and helps your heart function better.
  2. Being kind at least once a week increases your happiness.
  3. Kindness and empathy reduce inflammation in your body, by its impact on your vagus nerve.
  4. Kindness is contagious.  People tend to pay acts of kindness forward, such as when someone pays for your toll on the highway.  The tendency is you pay for the next person, etc., etc.
    A poignant example in the NE Journal of Medicine: a 28 year old donated a kidney at a clinic.   It created a ripple effect where the loved ones of kidney recipients donated one of theirs to others waiting for a kidney. The ‘domino effect’,  spanned the entire United States, with 10 people receiving a new kidney thanks to that anonymous donor.

Here are a few ways you can demonstrate kindness:

Pay for someone’s parking meter, buy someone a cup of coffee, put a post it note with kind words on someone’s desk, sweep your neighbor’s walkway, give sincere and specific praise, carry an elderly person’s groceries to their car, let someone into traffic, cuddle animals at a shelter, say thank you to the maintenance crew, smile.  There are infinite ways to be kind to others, and it can make your day as well as theirs.

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Are You Giving Yourself Enough Credit for Completion?

Celebrate and Acknowledge the Big Steps to Success!

celebrating completionLast week had two major milestones for me.  I finished the full draft of my 7th book on women and overwhelm.  And I experienced the completion of my book proposal as I sent it out to my book scout and agent. (That has to happen before it can be shopped with publishers.) Whew!!!  That was a year and a half of work there and it felt amazing.

Those of you who have heard me speak know that I talk about the power of completion, how everyone gets excited when they start a new project but tend to slow down momentum in the actual doing.  Some never get to completion, and that’s a shame.  Because there’s a special energy and momentum that comes forward when you do complete, when you do finish, when you come to a milestone.  And that energy fuels future projects and gives you an enormous sense of satisfaction.  Most of you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Celebrate the Milestones

I celebrated most of Labor Day weekend.  My husband and I went out to dinner and watched the sunset on the Intercoastal waterway.  The next day, I did three of my favorite things, I went to yoga, went to the beach (my favorite place on earth) and out to dinner and board games with dear friends.  And on Sunday, I rested in a way I hadn’t in months.  I watched movies at home, read a novel and napped.  It was a great weekend and a wonderful way to acknowledge progress.

Your Why Fuels Completion

And now I’m on to the next phase.  When the changes came in (which I knew they would) to my proposal and I had to cut over 40 pages (eek!) I got busy.  But I’m almost done with that, too.  That’s because I have a bigger goal driving me.  That goal is to liberate women everywhere from overwhelm and help them embrace their magnificence.  It fuels me as I move forward on this book.  It fires me up everytime I meet an exhausted, amazing woman who is overloaded with responsibility.  It’s my Why.

What’s yours?  What’s driving you? What completion can you achieve and celebrate this week?  You have so much wisdom, talent and ability inside.  You are unique and no one else can bring your rare and special perspective to what you do.  You touch so many lives, whether you realize it or not.

Give yourself the gift of completion and celebrate each milestone. It’s powerful and you will feel fantastic.

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Could a Cold Shower Prevent Depression?

cold showersCold Showers Have Amazing Benefits

Cold showers and ice baths?  How could those help me?  About a month ago, I attended a 5 day workshop with one of the world’s leading personal development coaches and speakers, Brendon Burchard.  He coaches Oprah and her team.

In sharing various techniques for maintaining energy and vitality, he explained how he took ice baths every night during the training, to reduce his inflammation and revitalize.  He said it made him feel twenty years younger.

Anthony Robbins plunges in a 57 degree pool for one minute every morning.
Famous athletes and performers like Lebron James and Usher use the same technique after events.

A bit horrified and intrigued, I decided to investigate.  I must say, I’ve been taking cold showers for a month and they really make a difference.  There’s no question that you have to get used to them, and some days, all I want is a hot shower.  But even then, I finish with the bracing cold to get my energy up.  It works.  It takes a while, but it works.  Here’s why:

How Cold Showers and Ice Baths Heal Your Body

1. They reduce inflammation.  Most all of us have it, believe it or not.  Pain, soreness, tense muscles, illness- all of that usually has inflammation associated with it.  Just like you put ice on a swollen ankle, cold water and ice baths lower inflammation levels significantly.

2. They get your circulation going, really.  Ask anyone who’s done the Polar Bear dip in the middle of winter into freezing water.  Cold showers and ice baths boost circulation and reboot your system.  They help you be clearer and more alert.

3. They clear out lactic acid and toxins in your body, according to Dr. Ben Kim.  LeBron James says his legs feel much better and fresher the day after.

4. And yes- they do relive symptoms of depression. Cryotherapy releases endorphins, the feel good hormones, and creates an analgesic effect.

Check with your doctor before you start a cold water  shower or ice bath regimen.  Im still not ready for an ice bath, but I do derive great value from my cold showers.  Try it yourself.  You may well find that it becomes one of the most valuable tools to start your day.

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photo from Aweber library

5 Out of the Box Ways to Cut Your Stress!

Dramatically Cut Your Stress !

Yesterday was National Stress Awareness Day  in the United States. ( It probably has something to do with taxes being due.) And April is Stress Awareness month.  There’s no better time to tackle stress, which is still rampant.  Over $300 billion is lost annually in American business due to stress, in terms of poor productivity, absences and illness.  Over 80% of all doctors’ visits are due to stress.  So what can you do to cut your stress?

5 Out of the Box Ways to Reduce Stress

flowers cut stress1. Flowers in the workplace benefit everyone! Women who receive flowers unexpectedly are happier, even 3days later. Women with flowers have less anxiety and and are more innovative at work, whether the flowers were sent to them or not! (

2.  Listening to music 1 hour a day a week reduced symptoms of depression by 25%. Music, especially classical music, can cut stress dramatically. Anxious about an upcoming meeting or project? Listening to Pachelbel’s famous Canon in D helps avoid anxiety and lowers heart rate and blood pressure. Music can also elevate mood, improve immune system function, reduce fatigue and improve self-acceptance in people. (Journal of Advanced Nursing study)

3. Screaming kids in the car? Vanilla oil soothes restless children. It has a positive impact on the limbic center of the brain, which controls emotion, according to Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. A few drops on the wrists of a child can transform a cranky, whiny child into one who is happy and laughing. Try this on your next road tri .

4.  Eat walnuts to cut your stress and treat depression. Harvard Science Review published a study citing that walnuts are powerful antidepressants!  Pistachio nuts cut inflammation, lower cholesterol levels, and improve your body’s response to stress. Just 1.5 ounces of pistachios provides a boost of energy and can slow the absorption of carbohydrates when eaten together.

5. Soak your legs to cut your stress and sleep better. A study from the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that women who soaked their legs up to their knees in hot water for 30 minutes slept better than those who did neither. No time for a bath? Try running warm water on your wrists.

“Stress spelled backwards is desserts.” Loretta Laroche

Yes, we live in a stressful world.  But there are dozens of small things you can do today to cut your stress and the stress of others. Try these and let me know how they work for you.



photo credit:©Valerie Titoval/

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Posted in Success | Comments Off on 3 Out of the Box Ways to Boost Productivity | Edit

Laughing Your Way Out of Stress

“Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors.” Norman Cousins

Laughter and Laughing to relieve stress in a business meeting
At his recent birthday party, my husband was on painkillers for his back issues.  While playing a game similar to Charades, he moved in such slow motion that it totally tickled me.  I burst out laughing and had tears streaming down my face.  I laughed hard for a good 5 minutes and everyone around me laughed.  It released so much stress!  And there’s a good reason for that.  Laughter is healing on so many levels. A study showed that one good belly laugh is worth 45 minutes of stress relief!

Laughter Reduces Pain

A new study by Clarkson University in  New York examined patients with the chronic pain condition Fibromyalgia.  Those who find humor in everyday situations are much more likely to have a positive state of mind and less pain.  The University of Maryland Medical Center shows that a good hearty laugh jogs your internal organs, gives your body a workout and reduces pressure.  Laughter also improves your immune system function by increasing
the level of infection-fighting T-cells.

How to Increase Your Laughter

• Listen to Comedy  Have a long commute?  Turn on satellite radio’s comedy channels and laugh your way to work.  I did this in traffic for years and it made all the difference. Or pop in a CD from your favorite comic.
 Lighten Up We all have a tendency to take ourselves very seriously, and really, there is such much to laugh about.  Some situations are inherently funny and some can be viewed that way later.  As a wise man once said, “If it’s going to be funny later. you might as well laugh about it now.”
• Watch funny videos  There’s a reason those animal videos are so entertaining- they make you laugh.  Funny movies can do the same thing.
• Encourage laughter in meetings  Start with a positive and then tell a funny story that is not offensive to anyone.  Laughter sets a tone and communicates subtly “We’re going to have a good time here.”  The healthiest organizations encourage laughter and stress relievers.  Promote that in your organization.
Try to consciously insert more laughter into your life.  I guarantee it will make you feel better.

Celebrating Our Tribe

Mindy Baker imageMindy Barker of Mindy Barker & Associates does a fantastic job providing entrepreneurial business owners and non-profits with Fortune 500-level CFO services. A positive,  intelligent woman who loves to give back to her community, Mindy just celebrated her daughter’s wedding!. A community leader and business advocate, Mindy serves companies nationally, but is based in Jacksonville, Fl.  Learn more at

Stressed? Get More Sleep

You can learn how to sleep better by takinga few simple actions.

The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.
~E. Joseph Cossman

Sleeping Well Can be a Puzzle

Exhausted woman from Stress Express!That you can put together. Most of us are sleep deprived, which can lead to all sorts of dangers to your health and the health of others (when you drive tired.)

The World Health Organization says less than 7 hours a night may cause cancer and you are likely to carry an extra 20 pounds of weight. With less than 7 hours, you are functioning at a cognitive disadvantage and are 3x more likely to get a cold or flu. Neurobiology of Aging says those who get less than 6 hours of sleep are 4 times more likely to have a stroke. Check out these practical tips to sleep well tonight!

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Turn off all computers, cellphones and screens an hour before bed. Stop looking at them. The blue light from these devices interferes with your body’s ability to relax and keeps you hyper. Be sure your alarm clock is red light. Lower the temperature in the room and make sure it is cool and dark.

No electronics in your bedroom. Your bedroom is for sleeping and making love. That’s it.

Get ready for bed an hour before you go to sleep. Actually get in bed 30 minutes before you want to sleep and read something uplifting on paper. (Not an electronic reader.) Reading helps relax you.

Take a hot bath with epsom salts before bed. Or get your legs wet up to your knees in warm water.

Try all natural sleep remedies at health food stores. Check with your doctor. I have used these successfully at different times- most are herbs: passion flower, valerian root, holy basil, L’theanine, calcium, magnesium, etc.

Exercise is a great sleep inducer, if you do it several hours before bedtime.

Sleep better and perform better in every area of your life!

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