Today’s Extra: Survival Guide for Empaths and Highly Sensitive People

Survival Guide for Empaths and Highly Sensitive People

By: Jordyn Cormier

Being an empath or a highly sensitive person (HSP) in the modern world ain’t easy. Everyone is stressed—and empaths and HSPs are the emotional sponges, soaking it all up.


To clarify, being a empath doesn’t just mean you care and feel for other people. It means you actually feel their emotions in your body. It can be sometimes difficult for true empaths to discern whether an emotion they’re experiencing is their own or someone else’s—which can be incredibly overwhelming and depleting.

While being highly sensitive to the needs of others can be a truly wonderful quality, it takes some dedicated effort to manage. It’s ironic that empaths are so good at being there for other people and making others feel better—but it’s often to their own emotional and energetic detriment.

Empaths can easily become oversaturated with emotions, leading them to believe they are depressed, ill or flawed in some way. But that’s not usually the case. A sensitive person just needs time to recenter.


If you’re an empath, you really need to prioritize your self care. Here are a few basics that every highly sensitive person should have in their toolkits.

Practice breathwork

You know that dramatic friend you have who is always in a crisis? As an empath, it’s important to realize that they can be an energy suck—no matter how much you love them. If, while spending time with them, you can feel your energy being drained, focus on your breathing.

Holding your breath only allows negativity to fester and grow, so breathe deeply to ground yourself. Maybe also treat yourself to a little time out. Take a stroll around the block, a reprieve in the quiet bathroom or a relaxing drive to get away from the contagious drama.

Create physical space between yourself and perceived negativity.

Social situations can be really challenging for HSPs and empaths. Highly empathetic people deeply experience others’ negative energies. In fact, they tend to absorb them.

If you find yourself at a party in a conversation with energy-sucker, make an excuse to take a walk outside to balance and reground yourself. Then, keep your distance as much as you can for the rest of the event.

Social situations are already challenging enough. Create a bubble of safe, positive space around yourself to hold onto your own energy.


Know your boundaries.

As an HSP or empathic person, you probably tend to try to help people in need, no matter what. But when it comes to being there for people and sharing your positive energy, don’t be an overgiver—it’ll only deplete you.

Be polite, but let people know when you’ve reached your limits. Yes, you want to be there for the other person, but you need to honor your needs.

Try to become aware of when your emotional energy is reaching critical levels, and prioritize yourself. Place your oxygen mask on before assisting the person next to you.

Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’.

You simply can’t always be there for everybody. You need to prioritize your own needs, too. So practice saying no.

For instance, one day you’re wiped, but a friend wants to grab a drink and talk about their absolutely horrible day at work. Be polite and honest. Say, “Sorry your day was so rough, but I can’t tonight. I can grab coffee tomorrow and talk all about it, though.” You could even suggest that maybe it’s best for your friend to stay in, take a hot bath, and treat themselves, too!

Saying no isn’t mean. It’s being open and honest. You need to make time for your own needs, too.

Being a highly sensitive person means you need to guard yourself a little more than others. Your powers of sensitivity are a wonderful gift that can really benefit those around you, but you want to make sure that you are not suffering as a result. It may be tough for you, but start putting yourself first.


Today’s Extra: Tidying Up Is Trending. Why Not Apply It to Your Life?

Tidying Up Is Trending. Why Not Apply It to Your Life?

As delightful as Marie Kondo appears, the KonMari Method isn’t for everyone. Sometimes a little clutter can be a good thing, right? But the place where decluttering can potentially be most effective is in your life. That’s right, it’s time to ditch those thoughts and habits that don’t “spark joy” and declutter your life. Here are a few ways you can mindfully start Marie Kondo-ing your cluttered mind palace!


Many of us fritter away our time on things we don’t really care about, which is why it’s important to determine what you truly value. Do some journaling and meditating on what you care about most in life.

Aim to create a list of three to five guiding principles that you generally live your life by. Some examples are:

  • wellness
  • aesthetic design
  • movement
  • creativity
  • love
  • optimism
  • making a difference
  • mindfulness

To get the juices flowing, you can find a list of core values to help inspire you here, courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University.

Now, take stock of how you spend your day. What percentage of your day do you spend thinking about and doing things that are fully in alignment with your values? If a portion of your day isn’t, then let’s be honest, whatever it is probably isn’t sparking joy. It may be time to consider making some serious lifestyle changes.

Life is too short to spend on things that aren’t in line with your core pillars—you deserve to be happy.


Stop trying to figure out multiple problems at the same time. When you’re multitasking, you’re actually getting less done.

Researchers at the University of Michigan discovered most people feel productive when they multitask, estimating that they are getting twice as much done. However, in reality the inverse is true. They were only getting half as much done in the same timeframe as subjects who weren’t multitasking.

Be here now, and focus on one thing at a time. Practice mind minimalism—stay steady and focused. The easiest way to practice this? Daily meditation. It’s like giving your mind a good sweeping.


A lot of the time we load our plates with meetings, chores, and tasks that just distract us from what we truly want/need to spend our time doing. Don’t be afraid to say no.

Overscheduling is a little addictive. Stuffing your bloated schedule may make you feel like you’ve achieved some modern semblance of success, but you haven’t. You’re just hurting your health. Think of all the stress, multitasking and mental anguish that comes along with it.

Being busy isn’t as cool as it seems. You’ll feel so much calmer, happier and clearer if you only say yes to things that fuel your core values.

So, is it time to KonMari your home? Maybe, maybe not. While it’s definitely good to clear out clutter, it might be a little drastic for some. After all, a little clutter can be good for creativity and learning. But should you KonMari your life? Absolutely. Get rid of the junk that isn’t serving you. Meditate, practice mindfulness, do some journaling.

Sure, it’s not as easy as tossing things in a trash bag, but with a little practice and effort, you can keep your mind clear, high-functioning and blissful.



Today’s Extra for March 5:Why Do We Dream (and Does It Really Mean Anything)?

Why Do We Dream (and Does It Really Mean Anything)?

Why we need sleep is pretty obvious. The brain needs (and deserves) time to shut down and reset in order to function at its highest. But have you ever wondered why we dream? What role do they play in our lives?

The average person has four to six dreams a night, each lasting between five and 34 minutes. Dreams generally occur during deep sleep—in the REM phase. During the REM cycle, the chemical associated with memory and recall (norepinephrine) is at its lowest levels. That, along with the fact that our memory-supporting frontal lobes become inactive while we sleep, is why we are generally unable to remember most of our dreams in the morning. In fact, the only time many of us are actually able to recall a dream is if we are awoken from it.


So, what’s the point of dreams, if we can’t even remember most of them? The truth is, no one really knows for sure. But, there are a few widely-accepted theories as to the underlying purpose of dreaming.


If you’re experiencing a lot of drama or have experienced trauma in your life, your dreams may be helping you to process those stressful events in unique ways.

Dreams allow you to make emotional connections that you simply cannot make consciously and help you to work through the challenging thoughts, emotions, and events of daily life. Think of them as built-in therapy.

Yeah, the brain is pretty cool.


The part of the brain, known as the amygdala, is highly active while we dream. Interestingly, it’s also the part of the brain that is associated with “flight or fight” responses. Some researchers theorize that the amygdala becomes active when we dream to help train us for dealing with potential threats, which would explain those universal chasing and falling dreams.

Think of it as a dry run for survival scenarios. There’s no real danger in the dream space, so we get to test how we would instinctively react. And for more modern-day issues, it’s a way for us to rehearse and sort out solutions to our daily problems.


Creativity is one of the defining factors of being human, and dreams might play a massive role in that process.

Think about all of the famous songs that have been inspired or delivered through dreams—like Yesterday by The Beatles and Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones. It’s tough to explain scientifically, but time and again, dreams have served as powerful creative inspiration for artists and intellectuals alike.

Memory Support

Perhaps the most popular theory about why we dream is that dreams allow us to store new memories and sort through old ones to reduce mental clutter.

Sleep itself has been shown in studies to improve memory retention, but could this be the result of our dreaming? Perhaps.

Regardless of why we dream, dreaming is wonderful. Paying more attention to the dreams you do remember could bring you greater insight into yourself and the world around you. So grab your dream journal and prepare for a wild ride into your brain!

Today’s Extra for Feb. 13: Best Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Someone Based on Their Love Language

Best Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Someone Based on Their Love Language

Valentine’s Day. Love it or hate it, it’s almost upon us. (I know, wasn’t it just Christmas?) A lot of people think it’s just another excuse for retailers to get us to part with our moolah. But done right, it can actually be really special.

Rather than yet another heart-covered Snoopy card or stuffed animal (yawn), let’s put some thought into celebrating the day of romance this year. Let’s gift our significant other with something that speaks their love language.


If you’re wondering how on earth you’re supposed to figure out your partner’s love language, not to worry. Gary Chapman wrote a book called The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts.

When the initial head-over-heels-ness of a new relationship wears off and life resumes a sense of normality, we forget to do the small things that let our spouse know we care.

Oftentimes, when we do remember, our efforts fall short of the mark. Not because we didn’t try, but because we used the wrong language. When we learn to express love in our partner’s language, our efforts will almost always be appreciated.

Helpfully, discovering your love language is as simple as taking a quick online assessment. Based on your responses, it then identifies your primary love language, explains what it means and helps you use it to connect more intimately with your person.

Your love language essentially sums up what you value most in a relationship. For some people it’s receiving a gift or token of appreciation, for others it’s spending quality time with a loved one. When you know your partner’s love language it’s suddenly a lot easier to understand why your last gift wasn’t a hit with them.

Words of Affirmation

As it implies, this language uses words to affirm other people. Whether you express your love verbally, via text message or in an old school letter, doesn’t matter. The important thing is to choose your words thoughtfully.

Gift idea: Grab a sheet of paper or open a new Word doc and get writing. Don’t worry about being a literary genius or anything. Just focus on saying how you feel in an honest and heartfelt way. List the things you love most about them, big and small. Let them know you notice these things even if you don’t always say as much.

Then, roll it up, tie it with ribbon and add a wax stamp. You could also wrap it in tissue paper or put it in an envelope covered in geeky stickers. You can give it to them as is, but going the extra mile with the presentation will knock your home run right out of the ball park.

Acts of Service

For these people, actions speak louder than words. There’s no point buying them roses or telling them how much they mean to you, they want you to show them. Something as simple as taking on the lion’s share of the housework when they’re stressed at work will mean the world to them.

Gift idea: Make a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner for the two of you. If you can’t cook, make something basic. The fact that you made the effort is what counts here. Also, and this is important, make sure you do the washing up afterwards.

Not feeling your inner-Nigella? What about making them a ‘Get Out of Housework’ free voucher to be used at their discretion? The fact that you’re willing to risk having to vacuum  and wash dishes at a moment’s notice is going to score you a bunch of points.

Receiving Gifts

For some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift. The trick is to give them something that shows how much you care. Take the time to make or buy a gift that’s personal, speaks to their tastes and shows you put a lot of thought into it.

Gift idea: Anyone can go to the store and buy a box of chocolates. You need to raise the bar a little higher than that. If hand making chocolate is too much of a stretch, then at least visit a quality chocolatier and put together a collection of their favorite flavors.

If you’re married to an earth-warrior, then make sure your gift is eco-friendly and if your spouse is vegan be sure to give them something that’s vegan friendly. A little effort and forethought goes a long way, is all I’m saying.

Quality Time

This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention. They love the idea of the two of you hanging out together with no chance of being interrupted. The simple act of putting your phone away when you’re together will speak volumes.

Gift idea: Send the kids to grandma and have a romantic picnic in the lounge. Put on some music and just enjoy each other’s company. Without being too show-offy about it, make a point of letting them know your phone is not only on silent, but in another room entirely. It’s the little things.

Physical Touch

To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch. Getting physical means the world to them. Sex is great, but so is holding hands, hugging and scooching up close on the couch to watch a movie.

Gift idea: Give your love a Valentine’s Day to remember with a massage that shows exactly how you feel. Set the scene with scented candles, soft music and romantic essential oils. Remember, it’s about touch more than technique. Take your time and really get into the experience. Whatever you do, don’t cop out and give them a massage voucher for some fancy spa. That’s not the point.

Today’s Extra for February 12: How to Be Alone and Treasure Every Second of It

How to Be Alone and Treasure Every Second of It

Being alone is often confused with being lonely, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth! Being alone — it’s just a fact. You’re on your own, with no one else around. Lonely, on the other hand, is a feeling. You’re unhappy or discontent because you are alone.

Learning to enjoy spending time alone is a skill — one you can learn and strengthen over time. Sure, you may still feel lonely every once in a while, in the quiet hours after a lovely time with family, after a breakup, in the first weeks after a move; but with a little practice, alone-ness can become synonymous with contentedness — an emotional state we should all be seeking.

Spending time alone, in your own company, gives you time to recharge, identify your feelings, find your voice and improve the quality of relationships that you have with people when you’re with them. Let’s take a look at how we might develop this in ourselves.


Many of us live in worlds saturated with communication and media. It’s rare that we have a second to ourselves completely free from the pulls of social media or other people.

Your first quiet moments with yourself will probably feel strange — a bit too quiet, a bit too intrusive — but lean into it! You need to get a little more comfortable being in your own skin.


One of the most rewarding aspects of learning to enjoy one’s own company is rediscovering your thoughts and feelings. Are you feeling cooped up or uneasy? Address this internally. Do you need a little more space? Do you need to declutter?

Are you feeling anger bubble up seemingly out of nowhere? Where is this stemming from? What triggered this feeling? What can you do, now, to address it? Complex feelings arise in the quiet. Let them be and take notice.


Alone time doesn’t need to be dull or meditative. Give yourself the space to spend time on solitary activities you enjoy, whether it be reading a mystery novel, plucking out melodies on the guitar or researching a new skill. Sing in the shower. Dance in your PJs! This is your time. Use it how you will!



Today’s Extra for February 10: Doctors are Finally Prescribing Nature for Chronic Disease

Doctors are Finally Prescribing Nature for Chronic Disease

Think about how you feel after spending the day outside. Tired, maybe, but also deeply satisfied. Our relationship to nature is primal—we thrive on it. Spending time in green spaces is absolutely crucial to human wellness. Luckily, doctors are finally starting to realize how powerful nature can be—especially when it comes to those with chronic health issues. Yep, they’re even prescribing it.

Doctors in Scotland’s Shetland Islands are now issuing ‘nature prescriptions’ as an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs. And it’s not just doctors telling people to get outside and go hiking/biking/swimming or do some hardcore outdoor exercise. These aren’t high intensity prescriptions. Doctors are telling patients to get outside into forests, appreciate passing clouds, feel the exhilaration of wind on their face, skip stones on ponds, and go birdwatching.

Yes, birdwatching is now a doctor-issued prescription.

In the Shetland Islands, if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, depression or even diabetes, odds are you’ll get a nature prescription. Of course, doctors are not prescribing time in nature as a total alternative to traditional health care, but they’re prescribing nature supplementally.

Spending time in nature is a subtle treatment—compared to traditional meds, the only side effects are dirty fingernails and a feeling of profound serenity—but it really works.

Countless studies have shown that concentration improves, attention span increases, risk for depression decreases, stress hormones go down, inflammatory markers decrease, and blood glucose levels even drop. Nature is an incredibly powerful balancer of the body.

Scotland isn’t alone in accepting nature as a conventional medical treatment.

Even here in the U.S., there are big shifts happening in our relationship with nature. Some doctors in California have started prescribing nature to patients with profound financial or social struggles to help reduce stress and boost happiness.

Meanwhile, REI is donating $1 million to a new academic initiative called ‘Nature for Health‘ to fund research on how to get more people access to green spaces and to fully document the benefits that come with having easy access to green spaces. The study is focusing especially on underprivileged communities or in demographics who are generally underrepresented in the outdoor community.


But spending time in nature hasn’t hit the mainstream just yet. According to the EPA, the average American spends just seven percent of their life outdoors.

It’s clear that we all need more nature in our lives, but you don’t need to fly to Scotland to get yourself a prescription. Just step outside and empower your own health. It’s probably the most life-changing prescription you’ll ever get.



Today’s Extra: These Herbs Can Help Protect You from Pollution

These Herbs Can Help Protect You from Pollution

By: Jordyn Cormier

Adaptogens are substances that help your body tolerate stress, but that doesn’t just mean mental stress—like hitting deadlines or juggling schedules. Adaptogens can be powerful allies in helping our bodies better deal with the stressors of our environment, too.

From growing chemical pollutants to UV damage, here are some of the best adaptogens for serious environmental support.


There are around 80,000 different man-made chemicals infiltrating our daily lives through everyday products and activities.

Cadmium is a highly hazardous and common environmental pollutant, found in car exhaust, cigarette smoke, and even our vegetables. That’s right: years of industrialization have caused this toxic heavy metal to build up in our soil, which poses a serious threat to our produce quality—and our health.

Luckily, holy basil (aka tulsi) bears tremendous potential in detoxifying heavy metals like cadmium from your body. In fact, studies have shown that regular consumption of tulsi can prevent cadmium accumulation and the tissue damage that usually accompanies it.

Other heavy metal-fighting herbs include ashwagandha, ginseng, and gymnema sylvestre.


Intense UV exposure from the sun can result in significant free radical damage, even after just one burn. Golden serpent fern is excellent if you’re looking for a little adaptogenic sun support.

In one study, participants who consumed this herb before exposure to intense sunlight exhibited much less severe inflammation and sun damage than participants who didn’t consume the plant. The evidence is so compelling, some people even call it an ‘internal sunscreen’.

This fern is also packed with antioxidants, inhibits the development of free radicals and may even stimulate collagen production.



The polyphenols found in green tea might actually also bear promise in protecting you from UV damage.

In one study, a group of women was given green tea to drink over the course of a few months, while others drank water. After 12 weeks, the green tea-drinkers experienced a 25 percent reduction in sunburn when exposed to UV light, whereas the water drinkers experienced no change.

The powers of green tea are pretty fascinating. In fact, other research has also shown that it mitigates UV damage to skin cells when applied on the skin as a topical extract.

Of course, adaptogens aren’t going to work miracles if you’re drowning in environmental stressors and pollutants. But, when it comes to fighting the minor, ubiquitous environmental taxes we encounter on a daily basis, adaptogens can provide some much needed support.

Just remember that, when it comes to sun protection, adaptogens are a replacement for a quality SPF sunscreen. Adaptogens can offer tremendous support, but they are NOT interchangeable. (Maybe someday we’ll be eating our sunscreen, but the science just isn’t there yet.)



How to Keep Your Pets Safe During Cold Weather

How to Keep Your Pets Safe During Cold Weather

Are the cold temperatures starting to make you cringe when you go outside? Your pets are likely cringing too. Winter is a time to give your animal friends some extra care and attention to keep the cold at bay. The following tips can help everyone stay safe and warm during the cold season.


This is vital if your pet has particularly short hair. Many breeds and species of pets are from warmer parts of the globe, and they’re simply not equipped to handle the cold. Freezing temperatures can be fatal. Consider pet sweaters, jackets or booties to keep your loved one warm during trips outside.

However, if your pet has long fur or is clearly tolerant of cold temperatures, such as huskies, it may be fine to leave them undressed. Watch them closely for any signs of being too cold, such as reddened skin, shivering or cracked paws. If you see any of these, cover them up next time they go out.


Bring a towel with you on walks to periodically dry your pet’s feet, legs and tummy as you go. Also make sure to give them a good rub-down to dry them off when you’re back home. This serves a few purposes. Being wet will physically rob heat from your pet. In addition, their fur can pick up road salt and de-icing chemicals that need to be removed before they lick them off.


Never shave your pet down to their skin during cold times. You can trim especially long-haired pets to keep them tidy and prevent clinging ice balls, but having a good fur coat will help protect them against frigid temperatures.

It’s also helpful to trim any hair between the toes of long-haired pets. This will prevent snow and ice from building up on their paws.


Staying warm takes energy, and it’s normal for animals to burn more calories during winter. If your pet doesn’t spend much time outside, this likely won’t be an issue for them. But, if they really enjoy long runs outside during winter, pay attention to how much food they’re eating. If they wolf down their usual serving of food and ask for more, it’s very likely they need it.


Don’t bathe your pets as often during the winter. Wet fur takes longer to dry in the cold, which can chill your pet even more. And bathing can deplete their natural oils and cause dry, flaky skin, which is also made worse by cold temperatures. If they do need a bath, get a moisturizing shampoo recommended by your vet.


Use booties or rub petroleum jelly onto your pet’s paws before heading outside. Not only will these help against the cold, they will also provide an extra layer against salt and other potentially dangerous chemicals.

Remember winter can be hard on your car, too. Keep an eye out for new spots or leaks underneath your vehicle and clean them up as soon as possible. Spilled antifreeze, oil, or other fluids can be toxic to pets if they lick them or get them on their paws or fur.


Many pets still love time outside during cold spells, but stay aware of how long they’ve been out. Whether they’re with you or alone, keep their outings short unless you know they’re alright staying out for a while. And don’t ever leave your pet alone in a cold car. A car can act like a refrigerator and hold in the cold, which puts your pet in serious danger.

Try to spend some extra time indoors with your companions and find activities to keep them moving so they still get their needed exercise. If they live outside permanently, make sure they have good shelter to sleep in for the night, and add an extra blanket to their sleeping space. And, of course, give them lots of extra snuggles. This has the added benefit of keeping you warm, too.



Today’s Extra for January 24: Wait, There’s Herbal Tea for Dogs?

Wait, There’s Herbal Tea for Dogs?

Who doesn’t love a good cup of hot herbal tea to soothe anxiety, calm digestion, and make the world seem just a little more peaceful? Well, you’re not the only one who enjoys a good cuppa. That’s right—dogs can benefit from herbal teas, too!


Yes, it sounds a little odd, but similar to humans, herbal tea for dogs can provide some major health benefits.

Depending on the blend, herbal teas can do a lot to soothe stress and anxiety that some dogs can experience when home alone or traveling. They can also soothe digestive upset, support healthy appetite and encourage better digestion—just the thing for combating those stinky dog farts! And certain herbal teas can sweeten up even the nastiest dog breath.

Doesn’t seem quite so crazy anymore, right?!

Of course, dogs aren’t going to beg for herbal tea in the same way they do for a glob of peanut butter or jerky, but many dogs do enjoy it. Dogs with anxiety often seem calmer and more balanced after slurping up certain herbal concoctions—just ask Emma Witkowski, founder of Barking Mad Creations. Her dogs were incredibly anxious after a big move from England to California. New place. New food. So, she gave them herbal tea. The dogs became calmer, more balanced and happier (and so a new business was born)! And for your pup with the nasty garbage breath, herbal tea can make their kisses a lot more bearable—a major plus.


Of course, not all teas are dog-friendly. You shouldn’t give caffeinated tea to your dog, for instance. And when it comes to herbs, make sure your pups are consuming only veterinarian-approved concoctions or blends specially formulated for dogs.

Some dog-friendly herbs Witkowski uses in her blends include:

  • For anxiety soothing: rose petals, passionflower, skullcap, oat tops
  • For digestion support: oregano leaf, astragalus root, chamomile flower, marshmallow root
  • For bad breath: parsley leaf, fennel seeds, cinnamon chips, sage leaf

You can make herbal tea for your pup the same way you make it for yourself. Steep a bag or two (depending on the size of you dog) in boiling water. The only difference is that it is absolutely essential that you let the tea cool completely before serving it to your canine friend. Otherwise, they can get seriously burned.

Always consult your vet before starting your dog on herbal teas, especially if they’re on any prescription medications. But as long as your vet is on board, herbal tea for dogs can be a healthy and safe way to keep your best friend healthy. And your pup is sure to lap it up.


Today’s Extra for Jan. 21: Release Stress with One Simple Technique

Release Stress with One Simple Technique

Ever wondered what the biggest problem in life is? Yes, it’s the inability to relax! This is a true story: I met John at a stress-release workshop I was teaching in Scotland. He was a schoolteacher in a run down area of Glasgow. As if that wasn’t hard enough, he was a history teacher, a subject that most of his pupils were completely uninterested in.

Teaching had become a source of immense stress; John would regularly lose his temper and was planning to quit. I saw him again a year later at a follow-up workshop. John looked refreshed and radiant, so I fully expected to hear that he’d got a different job. Instead, he told me that he’d become head of the department. The difference? John had done nothing other than Yoga Nidra, an ancient yogic relaxation practice that I had taught him, every morning before going to school. This had led to a state of deep calm. As a result, both his attitude and approach at work had radically improved. Being mindfully relaxed is the ultimate life-changing gift we can give ourselves.

Stress is nothing new. Ever since the beginning of time we have encountered stressful situations, such as the cavemen who had to hunt for food and the resulting fight-or-flight dilemma when confronted with wild animals. The stress-producing factors may be different now but they have the same effect. It’s quite amazing to me that after thousands of years we still haven’t figured out how we need to relax! And in our current world situation, relaxation is vital.

Unless we can look at stressful difficulties with mindful awareness then all we really do is create more stress: a tense mind creates greater tension, while a calm and clear mind creates clarity and positivity. When we are stressed then everything becomes an irritation, no matter how well intended. Friendships are lost and families broken as achievements and possessions become more important than kindness and caring.

We can’t hide from stress, but we do take being stressed for granted without doing anything about it until it becomes unmanageable. We think relaxation can be accomplished by indulging in mindless and distracting activities. At times this is true. But more often they become an escape from our inability to cope in a world of conflicting pressures and prejudices. Stress throws us into regrets of the past and fears of the future and we lose the ability to be in the present moment. Meantime guilt, shame and blame create unimaginable scenarios. As the anxiety becomes too much to handle we begin to look outside ourselves for help, such as to alcohol, drugs, or therapy. Such is our ‘normal’ state of being!

Do you get upset or angry when matters don’t go as planned? Do you need to be in control, or can you allow events to take their natural course? Do you believe you are right and so others are wrong? Are you able to see things as they are without prejudice or bias? Do you bear grudges and hold on to things or can you let go and move on? These are important questions to ask ourselves in order to become more tolerant, kind, and relaxed.

Confusion and misunderstanding make us desperate for change, but we don’t know how to bring about the transformation we yearn for. So we change the superficial things, like our hairstyle or clothes, we even have a facelift or hair transplant. All we want is to be wanted! But if we change our lives from within then the outer will also transform. Being mindfully relaxed has a hugely positive effect on our looks, health, on others, and the world we live in. What more could we want?


Ed Shapiro is the author of The Art Of Mindful Relaxation, The Heart of Yoga Nidra. Award-winning Authors Ed and Deb are mindfulness, meditation and yoga experts. Deb is the author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, now in 19 languages. They have six meditation downloads. See more at