The Art of Laughing

English: Watching a comedic television show he...

English: Watching a comedic television show helps provoke laughter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Ah, laughing.”

“Laughter is the best medicine” is good advice, but it’s nothing new. Your doctor or mom or ‘doctor mom’ probably told you many times that “laughter is the best medicine” and how it cures anything from a broken heart (over time) to stress.

If you’re stressed out, you’re not laughing.

But how are you supposed to laugh when you’re worried and stressed out all of the time. How can you laugh?

We have a tendency to take ourselves way too seriously. We also have a tendency to care way too much about what others think of us. This isn’t healthy.

You can’t expect a genie to appear before you and grant you three wishes that will make your troubles disappear instantly. As a result, it’s hard not to be wound so tight that you’re going to spin out of control like a toy top.

I’d like to help change that.

I’ve been studying and paying attention to human emotions, behaviors, and patterns for more than five years. I’ve observed myself, my family, and others, and I’ve created a list of seven techniques that will put a smile on your face and cause a hearty laugh to form in the depths of your belly. Caution! A laugh may come out of your mouth. [Read more…]

7 Steps to Living a Happier Life

How happy are you?

The truth is you may not be that happy. You may be going through life miserable and unfulfilled.

Why?

You probably learned to be miserable from your parents and family. Let’s face it; these are the people we spend the most time with. Yes, a negative mindset and depression are contagious. You can catch another person’s crappy mood like you can catch a cold!

I’m sure you’ve heard over and over again that “happiness is a state of mind” and that “you can choose to be happy now.”

The truth is being happy could be a challenge if your desires and dreams haven’t manifested. The key is to stop thinking you need this or that to be happy. Release your dreams instead of constantly focusing and worrying about manifesting them. Be happy with what you have. You’ll feel better.

Let’s examine the 7 steps living a happier life…

1. Stop seeking approval from others, especially family. I’ll tell you something you probably never heard before: not everyone in your family, this includes your parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents will approve of you and or your dreams. I know this sucks to read because all of us have been conditioned to believe that family is everything and that family will support you. This is a lie. Just ask any teenager who comes out of the closet to their parents. Not all teens are accepted for who they are. The sad truth is that some of them are kicked out of their homes because of their sexuality. The sooner you KICK THE HABIT OF SEEKING APPROVAL from others the happier you’ll be.

2. Choose a career path that works for you. Quit listening to people who say, “You can’t make a living as an artist.” You may have to have a day job to pay the bills, but you can pursue your art at night (or whatever it is that brings you joy). You can paint, write, act, design, sculpt, etc. on weekends and weeknights. Share your art with the world by creating a website and marketing yourself on social media networks. Join groups and network with other artists. You never know who you’ll meet who can help you get noticed. Choose a CAREER that works for you and it will work for others too.

3. Speak words of favor. Try this experiment. Listen to the words that come out of your mouth. Heck, listen to the words that come out of your spouses, partners, family, friends, and co-workers. I’d bet you any money they speak words of defeat. This gets old after a while. Learn to tune-out the negativity and SPEAK words of favor.

4. Be grateful. I know you’ve read and heard about this one. The majority of self-help authors on the planet stress the importance of being GRATEFUL. You could keep a gratitude journal or you can state out loud what you’re grateful for. For example, I’m grateful I have a roof over my head; I’m grateful I have the world’s greatest mother; and I’m grateful that I can see and hear. The list goes on and on. Give it a try.

5. Smile and laugh. How many times a day do you SMILE? I’d bet it’s not a lot. How many times a day do you laugh? I bet it’s not a lot. Look in the mirror and smile. Watch a good comedy and laugh until your stomach hurts. Stop taking life on planet earth so serious. Lighten up. It will do your mind, body, and soul good.

6. Love. Before you can love others, you MUST LOVE you! Give yourself a hug every day. Love unconditionally without any strings any attached. If you ever find yourself in a sticky situation ask yourself, “What would love do?” Be still and listen for the answer. Love has the power to transform your life in HUGE ways. When you transform your life, you can help others do the same.

7. Be you. Just BE YOU! Quit trying to please your mother, father, brother, sister, grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, cousin, teacher, co-worker, etc. You are unique. Embrace your individuality and don’t be afraid to express yourself. Just be you and get on with your life. The sooner you accept you, the happier you’ll be. You’ll be free of stress and anxiety.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d appreciate if you’d share it with others. Email it, tweet it in Twitter, stumble it on StumbleUpon, pin it on Pinterest, and like it on Facebook. Thank you!

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How to Let Go of the Past and Move Forward: Get a Pedicure

After all, don’t all of us want to learn how to let go of the past once and for all?

Your feet carry a lot of energy. How do I know this? Keep reading.

When I lived in Chandler, Arizona (heaven), I attended the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts free Gifts and Graces event which is held on the first Friday of every month from 6 pm – 7:30 pm. Attendees, like me, were treated to various motivational speakers who spoke about topics ranging from life coaching to connecting with your angels.

KC Miller, the founder of Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, would often speak during Gifts and Graces. KC is also a toe reader. Yes, your read that correctly. She’s a certified toe reader. Cool, huh?

According to KC, “the toes are windows to your soul.” By reading a person’s toes, a toe reader can tell if they’re on the right path. By looking at a person’s feet, a toe reader can tell if they’re on the right path and what type of life they’ve had thus far.

You may have read about cell memory. Well, your feet and toes are made up of cells. If you neglect your mind and body, your feet will tell the story. If you’ve had a hard life, your feet and toes will tell the story.

You can run, but you can’t hide! Your feet take you everywhere.

This got me thinking about my own feet and toes. I never had a pedicure.

Crazy, right?

I think I watched too many videos on manicures and pedicures gone wrong which held me back from getting a pedicure.

Anyway … I decided to treat myself to a ‘Spa Pedicure’ and see what the fuss was about. I booked an appointment at Studio Zia. They’re in Parma, Ohio. If you’re in the area, book a pedicure. It was unbelievable!

I watched Chelsea (nail technician) work on my feet, I remembered what KC Miller said about our feet and toes. I wondered; could a pedicure help all of us let go of the past and move forward in our lives?

Keep reading to find out…

How to Let Go of the Past with a Pedicure

how to let go, how to let go of the past, how to let go with a pedicure

A pedicure can help you let go of the past.         Photo credit: Stock Exchange

When you get a ‘Spa Pedicure,’ your feet are treated to a warm bath in a bubbling foot massage tub. The vibration from the foot tub is wonderful. You’ll unwind in no time.

FYI: What I liked at Studio Zia is they have one pedicure station. I was able to relax and fully appreciate the pedicure. You may want to look for a salon that has one pedicure station. This way you’ll have the full attention of the nail technician and won’t be distracted by other clients.

Chelsea worked on one foot at a time.

My feet were rubbed and my toes were trimmed, filed, and cleaned. Luckily, my cuticles weren’t that bad. At least, I didn’t think they were.

The best part of the pedicure was the exfoliating and foot mask. Who knew there was a mask for your feet?

As my feet were being cleaned with the foot file, I was amazed by the dead skin that was falling off. It made me think that I was releasing my past and letting go of that which did not serve me anymore.

After all, if you hold onto the past, how can you move forward?

My feet were exfoliated with a great smelling product, and again, I couldn’t help but think of everything that I was releasing. The gunk from my past was being removed — it was being rubbed out. After I rinsed my feet, Chelsea applied the foot mask, and I felt as if my feet were being sealed and protected with positive vibes.

After the foot mask was removed, it was time to polish my toe nails. I chose a pretty gold color (my other choice was green). Gold symbolizes happiness, power, strength, success, true friendships, wealth, and prosperity. Some believe wearing gold everyday increases courage and promotes personal power and willpower.

Choosing the gold color for my toe nails was my way of sending my feet a message that I want them to carry me forward onto the path of health and wellness, courage, wealth, success, true friendships/relationships, prosperity, and abundance.

There you have it! A pedicure can help you let go of the past and move your life forward.

Don’t believe me?

Try it for yourself.

Get a pedicure.

Book an appointment today. 

Can You Catch Depression?

Depression can be a peculiar disorder, especially for those who’ve never been depressed a day in their life. What happens when you’re feeling depressed? Are the feelings truly yours? Or, do they belong to someone else? Can you ‘catch’ depression like you catch a cold?

Below are some tips to help you deal and interact with the depressed people in your life:

7 Steps to Interacting with the Depressed People in Your Life
Depression (emotion )

Depression (emotion ) (Photo credit: Andreas-photography)

Notice when your feelings are off.

If your home environment has been turned upside down, and you find yourself living with someone who’s depressed, you could experience emotional highs and lows. Step back and ask yourself, “Are these my feelings?” You may be surprised to find out that they’re not your feelings.

If you’re empathetic, you become like a sponge and absorb the feelings of others. It’s important to clear yourself and energy field every day. You could meditate; take sea salt baths, etc. to rid yourself of lower energies that are not yours.

Stay positive.

There’s no reason for you to stifle your upbeat, positive attitude. Be who you are, even when you’re around those who are in a state of depression.

Send them love and light.

You don’t have to totally cut-off the depressed people in your life. Send them lots of love and light and try to uplift their spirits.

Don’t take anything personally.

This can be easier said than done. But try not to take things personally. If someone says something nasty to you, know that it has nothing to do with you. People usually say things out of aggravation and frustration.

Laugh!

Laughter really is the best medicine. Watch comedies or listen to comedy records. Watch funny YouTube videos! Do whatever you can to laugh and shift your mood when you’re around someone who’s depressed.

Have an attitude of gratitude.

Be thankful that you’re not in a state of depression. You probably have no idea what the depressed people in your life are going through. Be as understanding as you can and don’t fall into the trap of trying to ‘fix’ everyone’s problems. You can’t fix it.

Consult with a psychologist or counselor.

It wouldn’t hurt to speak to a professional if you’re surrounded by people who are depressed. You could learn how to deal the people in your life who are depressed and learn more about depression. The more you know the better you’ll be able to understand why and how someone becomes depressed.

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Turn Your Life Around Now in 3 Easy Steps – Get Out of the Elevator to Hell

 

Positive180 will turn your life around

Image by Laguna3DGuy via Flickr

You can turn your life around now. The question is, “Do you want to put in the time, effort, and work to do so? You can choose to leave the drama where it belongs … on the pages of a novel or on the movie screen. It’s up to you!

If you want to turn your life around, look inside of yourself and you’ll find out why you’re unhappy, in debt, keep repeating self-sabotaging patterns, etc. What’s at the ‘root’ of the issues you face in your life? Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and do the work to heal anything in your life that needs it. 

Turn your life around now in 3 easy steps

1. Stop blaming others! It’s easier to blame your parents and childhood; society, teachers, etc. It probably was tough growing up within a dysfunctional home but you could look on the bright side. You now have a choice to dis-associate from your past. Bless and learn from it and move forward with your life. The situations you face made you stronger than you know. They can help you turn your life around now.

2. Take responsibility for your life. The fact of the matter is you’re responsible for your life. Of course, it would have been useful if someone would have told you that you are the co-creator of your life. It would have been helpful if someone spoke to you about the ‘laws of life’ such as the law of attraction, law of cause and effect, and others. Luckily, you can turn your life around now by focusing on that which makes you happy. You can turn your life around by surrounding yourself with positive, supportive people. Turn your life around now, and you’ll turn your future around for the better.

3. Examine the people in your life. If you want to turn your life around, you may have to make ‘life’ changing decisions such as cutting ties with certain people. Do the people in your life add value to yours? Do you add value to their life? Do they mirror your thoughts and beliefs? Jim Rohn has often said, “You’ll be able to tell how much you earn by looking at the five closest people to you.” This is true. If you’re not earning what you desire or believe you could be earning, listen to the way those around you speak. Do they speak favorably about their career and income? Or, do they complain and blame others? 

If you want to turn your life around now, it can be done. Sometimes, you have to  fake it until you make it. Imagine yourself living the life you’re meant to live. What are you doing? Where do you live? Who’s in your life? How does it feel? Using your imagination can be used turn your life around now. If you’re not certain on how to do this, volunteer at a children’s organization. You’ll learn how to use your imagination in no time.

Amandah 

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Interview with Farouk Radwan of 2 Know Myself — Part II

Here’s Part II of my interview with Farouk Radwan, owner of 2 Know Myself.com, a website that offers visitors practical solutions to most life problems. 

About Farouk

Farouk Radwan is the founder of 2knowmyself.com, the one who wrote all the 2000+ articles found on the website and the author of all 2knwomyself.com’s books.

He’s a motivational speaker and trainer, he is studying psychology since he was 17, in addition he is the owner of the company Empowerment (based in Egypt) which is specialized in delivering personal development courses to individuals and corporations.

Learn more about Farouk Radwan at 2 Know Myself.com.

Interview Questions

1. I noticed the article category titled “Attraction Psychology.” What is it? How does it work? 

All research findings have shown that attraction, like any other process, is governed by rules. If someone managed to know these rules then certainly he will be able to use them to attract others to him.

The Attraction psychology section in the site attempts to explain how attraction works. It also contains practical advice that can help people attract friends or even lovers to them.

2. The book How to make someone fall in love with you (Based on the psychology of falling in love) sounds intriguing. If someone doesn’t want to fall in love with you, how healthy is it to make someone fall in love with you? How effective is it for long-term relationships? If someone brain washes another into falling in love with them; wouldn’t the relationship be considered fake or false? What happens when ‘reality’ sets in? 

People always ask me that question because it touches an important ethical point. Any kind of knowledge can either be used in a good way or a bad way. For example, if you really love someone then you will have to change personality in order to appeal to him instead of fooling him just to let him believe that you are the one he is looking for.

The previous advice covers half of the techniques in the book. The second important point is that sometimes the main reason people fail to attract others is that they do behavioral mistakes. By changing their behavior permanently in such a way that makes them more attractive they will manage to attract the person they love and they won’t be fooling anybody.

3. What do you hope visitors gain from visiting to 2 Know Myself? 

I really wish to make people live better lives. If someone was feeling really bad, and I managed to life his mood even a little bit then I will feel really happy.

I want people to learn how to deal with their emotional problems so that they can live happier lives.

4. What is your personal philosophy?

Life is like a battle, only those carrying swords cut their way through.

In other words, life is not simple. It was not designed for the lazy or for the coward. If you want to reach what you want in life then you must be brave and start fighting back.

5. Anything you’d like to add? 

Well it’s not about me but it’s about you. I think your blog, MisticCafe.com is really helping people as well and that’s why it caught my attention. I am really happy that I got this chance to know you. Just keep up the good work. 🙂

I’d like to thank Farouk for his interview. I found his website to be very useful and refreshing because it offers practical solutions to life’s problems. I love science and like how Farouk ties in psychology and science within his materials.  ~ Amandah

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Interview with Farouk Radwan of 2 Know Myself — Part I

Here’s Part I of my interview with Farouk Radwan, owner of 2 Know Myself.com, a website that offers visitors practical solutions to most life problems. 

About Farouk

Farouk Radwan is the founder of 2knowmyself.com, the one who wrote all the 2000+ articles found on the website and the author of all 2knwomyself.com’s books.

He’s a motivational speaker and trainer, he is studying psychology since he was 17, in addition he is the owner of the company Empowerment (based in Egypt) which is specialized in delivering personal development courses to individuals and corporations.

Learn more about Farouk Radwan at 2 Know Myself.

Interview Questions

1. What as the motivation behind creating 2 Know Myself? Why did you create the website?

I was passionate about psychology and after reading for years I felt that I have something to deliver to people through my writings. Honestly, I had the intention of making it an internet business since the first day I started.

2. What makes 2 Know Myself different from other personal development and or self-help websites? 

2knowmyself offers practical solutions to most life problems. You can hardly find an advice on 2knowmyself that is just based on a theory or my personal analysis, but instead you will only find practical advice that is backed by research findings and real life experiments.

2A. What do you think of the ‘new age’ movement in the 21st century? Can people really transform their lives by reading popular books like The Secret and others like it? Is it that easy to ‘think a thought’ and change your life? Or, is there actually work involved? 

Of course, I believe people can dramatically change their lives through books and personal development. However, when it comes to The Secret I strongly believe that positive thinking that is not backed by hard work and real life actions will not lead anywhere. Let’s suppose a person wants to lose weight, if he lied in bed and started imagining his ideal body he will only gain more weight unless he starts moving!

So … positive thinking, optimism and all of these factors can help the person who takes actions and not the one who lies in bed waiting for miracles to happen.

3. What is NLP and how can it help people change their lives for the better? 

NLP in fact is not a new science; it’s just a collection of information that was already available before in the form of complex psychological principles. The people who came up with NLP simplified this complex information into simple techniques in such a way that allowed the average person to apply them and make impressive changes to his life.

4. What would say is the “Number 1” obstacle in peoples’ lives? How can people overcome the obstacles in their lives?

False beliefs! A human being can do whatever he believes he can do, that is the only weak point in the chain is his own belief system. Let’s suppose that I had to lift a heavy object in order to keep moving in the same direction. If I was a very powerful man but believed that I am weak, I will never try to lift the weight that is standing in my way and will become helpless.

In short, without false beliefs you can do miracles.

This concludes Part I of my interview with Farouk. Part II of my interview with Farouk will post tomorrow.

I’d like to thank Farouk for his interview. I found his website to be very useful and refreshing because it offers practical solutions to life’s problems. I love science and like how Farouk ties in psychology and science within his materials.  ~ Amandah

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A Lesson in Self-Sabotage from ANTM’s Angelea

I’m a fan of Tyra Banks and America’s Next Top Model. I can’t believe it’s been 17 seasons already. My favorites from this season were Allison, Laura, Lisa, Dominique, Kayla, and Angelea. Unfortunately, the latter self-sabotaged her and was disqualified from ANTM. According to online sources, she was disqualified for ‘tweeting’ and posting ‘spoiler alerts’ on her Facebook page. Another speculation is that she was pregnant. Others are saying she was crowned the winner but posted it before ANTM’s finale aired. Who knows what the ‘truth’ is? Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter. Angelea, the girl from Buffalo, NY, who’s desperately trying to put her past behind her and cultivate a better life, seems to self-sabotage herself. In fact, Lisa predicted it. She said, “I don’t think Angelea’s ready for this.” I think she’s right.

I was rooting for Angelea because I felt her pain and understood where she was coming from. However, Ms. Preston would probably benefit from therapy and life coaching if she really wants to move forward and succeed in life. I believe if she would face her ‘inner demons’ head on, she’d be able to see her family’s pathology, heal from it, and move forward in a new direction that’s right for her. If she continues to ignore the ‘self-sabotaging’ signs, she’ll continue to repeat self-sabotaging behaviors and patterns until she learns from them. Speaking from experience, I advise her to face herself in the mirror and heal her life.

I give Lisa props because she was very honest about the abuse she suffered in her life. She had the courage to seek therapy and continues to heal herself. Angelea would benefit from staying in contact with Lisa who could help her work through the issues in her life. It will take great courage on Angelea’s part to reach out and ask for help. Again, speaking from experience, I know this isn’t easy. But it can be done and people are willing to help, if you let them.

I wish Angelea the best in life; whether or not she’s a success is up to her. If she’s serious about being an All-Star, it would behoove her to find a good therapist and life coach who could help her process her life experiences so she can learn from them. She could take her knowledge and experience to help other girls who’ve been in her shoes so they too can heal and move forward in their lives. Good can come from Angelea’s disqualification but it’s up to her to recognize it.

Amandah

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Interview with Vanessa Lee from Smile Inside

The following is an interview with Vanessa Lee, owner of Smile Inside, a personal development organization that advocates for the wellbeing and personal development of youth.

Vanessa Lee graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Education from Ohio University and was selected for an advanced program that provided extensive experience and training in innovative methods of teaching. She has over 300 hours of professional development along with additional training that has contributed to her knowledge in the field of personal development. 

Ms. Lee developed and co-facilitated a mentoring program and developed and facilitated a grade 7 girls program at Debney Park Secondary College. She also worked with students and groups at The Grange Primary, Newport Gardens Primary, and Derrimut Primary and continued working for Mackillop Family Services on a freelance basis with individuals on social, emotional, and academic levels.

Vanessa’s experiences inspired her to develop and provide resources for professionals who work with youth as well as for parents and their children ages 5-12. Visit Smile Inside to learn more. 

Interview Questions

 1. How did you come up with the idea for Smile Inside? What was the inspiration for it? 

I started out teaching in Kansas City, Missouri and saw how social problems affected families which had an impact on learning in the classroom. I wanted to contribute to the world and thought if young people had all the tools they needed to deal with life then the social problems wouldn’t be so bad, families wouldn’t fall apart as much, and kids would embrace learning and follow their dreams. I believed that an ideal way to do this is through education in schools, but was disappointed when I learned over the years that the things I thought should be considered priorities were shoved to the side to make way for test preparation. How can a child be expected to learn if they are struggling emotionally? Another huge hindrance is that teachers just don’t have enough time, support or resources to manage to the best of their ability.

I was really inspired by the courses and camps that taught me about myself and made such a huge difference in my life in middle school and high school. I was disappointed to learn that these sorts of experiences weren’t accessible to everyone and that it just wasn’t a priority in the school curriculum. I feel it is in everyone’s best interest to have access to these types of programs and activities.

Smile Inside is about advocating for personal development in schools and providing the services and resources that schools’ and those who work with youth deserve and need.

2. What do you think about the increase in bullying among today’s youth? Does Smile Inside educate youth about bullying? What about educating parents and educators about the short and long term effects of bullying? How can bullying be avoided in the future?

I find bullying heartbreaking, especially among young people. I was a student welfare coordinator in a 7-12 high school in Australia for 3 years (similar to a counselor) which gave me a greater insight on how bullying affects lives. Victims need support and coping strategies which is a part of Smile Inside’s method, but this is only a band-aid approach. There is a disturbing lack of empathy in bullies, but there are also emotional issues which cause their behavior. One of my intentions in developing the Smile Inside programs and resources was to eliminate bullying behaviors. There are a number of reasons why bullies act out and they, along with everyone else, can benefit from support, guidance and positive attention. Some of the activities emphasize that everyone deserves respect by focusing on the development of empathy. Participants are also given the opportunity to express themselves, explore their self-talk, and learn coping skills. Other activities give individuals the confidence they need to battle insecurity which is often a cause of bullying.

I would hope that all parents and educators understand the importance of dealing with the bullying issue, but this is not always the case. In schools, most teachers do their best to stamp it out but again, lack of time, support and resources work against them. Parents sometimes get involved but they can go about it in the wrong way. Smile Inside’s main aim is to educate youth, but the anti-bullying strategies are communicated to teachers, and parents in most cases.

I think a reasonable way to abolish bullying is through focused detection and intervention efforts using a Restorative Justice approach. I also think a prevention/intervention effort using a “heal the bully” approach is effective. These kids are hurting so much on the inside that causing others suffering is one way they cope with what’s going on internally. One activity I do with youth is called, “The Problem with Villains”. It gets participants working out how to rationalize bullies’ behaviors and brainstorming solutions to solve the problem in a group situation where bullies are present, but not targeted. Once bullies realize their behavior may be coming from a problem in their life they are more likely to soften and be open to help and healing. This indirect approach is more effective than the confrontational, negative attention they receive when they ‘get in trouble.’ Schools need more support and resources to tackle this issue properly. This could be done with more government funding and by creating strong partnerships with organizations that specialize in this area.

3. According to the website, “Smile Inside trains Educators, Student Welfare Coordinators, Youth Workers, Camp Counselors, Secondary School Nurses, and Chaplains to increase their effectiveness when working with groups of youth via peer observation.” What benefits have youth received as a result from Smile Inside working with people in the above fields?

Professional development is a never-ending process to become the best we can be in our field. Gaining inspiration and new ideas from fresh approaches helps these professionals to hone their skills and try new things. The youth benefit because the ones they trust are enhancing the style of their interactions with them. A new tactic just may work with a child who before, they had problems reaching.

4. How does Smile Inside help young people be true to themselves when parents, peers, society, etc. want them to be something they’re not? 

The Smile Inside philosophy maintains that an individual with an authentic sense of self, social skills, and resilience will be well-equipped to face life’s challenges and find success in all aspects of life. In other words, if they know and feel confident in who they are, they can remain true to their convictions and stand up to adversity when it comes their way whether that be in the form of a parent, a peer or an employer.

The soon to be independently-published resource, Smile Inside: Experiential Activities for Self-Awareness, Ages 14-15 specifically gives youth the space to develop their sense of self. It helps them to explore their mind, needs, values, morals, perception of self, emotions, abilities, interactions with others and interests through activities, reflection, and discussion.

5. Is it easier for youths to master their behaviors and minds versus adults? What can adults learn from today’s youth in this area?

This is a difficult question to answer as everyone is unique. I am not so sure that age is a factor; some are more ready than others depending on many conditions. I do believe if young people are given access to techniques that will support their ability to master their behaviors and minds they have a definite advantage in succeeding in life.

Adults can learn so much in all areas from youth if they are willing to listen. Young people have a lot to offer and there is much to gain from their perspective. As far as learning to slow down, focus and follow our hearts, let’s hope we can be inspired by whoever is doing so, child, teen or adult.

6. What is your ‘personal philosophy’ for life? 

Love, peace, and happiness. 🙂

7. Anything you’d like to add? 

I am very excited to finally be publishing two resources that I have been working on since the age of 14. I have been collecting all the activities that have made a positive impact on me and have been testing, revising and creating even more since. They are in the form of handbooks for those who work with youth titled, Smile Inside: Experiential Activities for Self-Awareness Ages 12-14 and Smile Inside: Experiential Activities for Self-Awareness Ages 14-15. I am also in the process of trialing a resource for parents which is a positive reinforcement system for children, ages 5-12.

How Can Vanessa Lee and Smile Inside Help?

I’m a kid coach: In primary schools I get to see them in action in the classroom and work with them in and outside of the classroom on academics, social skills and self awareness. In the past, I have also worked with middle school aged students in relatively the same manner. At the present, I am also being contracted to work with individuals, mostly young people who are having academic, social, and emotional difficulties. Quite a few of them are in foster care or residential units.

Counseling: When I work one-on-one with young people in an academic setting whether it be at a school or private tutoring, I find that part of the job is counseling. I like to empower young people with skills that help them become who they truly want to be. If their goal is negative, I strive to steer them towards a more positive outcome through a variety of methods. Having individuals looking at their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual (if appropriate) levels of self is a wonderful base to help them realize their potential.

Meditation and Yoga: I trained as a yoga instructor and I use what I have learned to help others. Silencing the mind, using a mantra to focus, slowing the breath, creative visualization and using balancing poses to focus are all techniques that I incorporate into helping youth to learn self-awareness.

Visit Smile Inside to learn more about Vanessa Lee and her organization.

Amandah

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What I Learned from Reading Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through

I recently finished reading Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Best-Selling author Iyanla Vanzant. I saw Ms. Vanzant on Oprah‘s farewell season — it was a good show! I didn’t run out and get the book, but months later I ordered it from the library. I admit I started doing this as a way to ‘try a book before I buy it.’ I decided I want to add this book to my library.

I found the book to be very moving, especially when Iyanla spoke about her daughter, Gemmia. I recognized myself in Gemmia; I also recognized my mother to a certain extent in Iyanla. I also recognized my father in Gemmia’s father, even though my father didn’t leave; he was an abusive alcoholic and in a sense, checked out of my life.

Like Gemmia, I threw myself into school and got good grades and was responsible. I was looking for validation from my father that I really didn’t get. He tried to tell me how proud he was when I earned my B.S., Accounting degree; however, I always felt that a part of him was jealous that I did earn a college degree. He wanted a degree and attended college here and there, but never earned a degree.

I also learned that it would be in my best interest to let go of the anger towards myself. I forgave my mom and dad; I realized they parented me based on they were parented. They didn’t know better which is why they didn’t do better. However, I still haven’t forgiven myself for the decisions I’ve made along the way such as pursuing an accounting degree, when I wanted a marketing degree. I also wanted to pursue art and writing. I pursued an accounting degree to please my father. There’s another lesson — people pleasing seems to run rampant in my family.

Getting back to forgiving myself … I need to let go of the anger I have towards myself because my life hasn’t worked out as I thought or planned it to. For example, I moved to Arizona in 2007, and three years later I was living back home with my mom in my home state. I kept beating myself because I know I’m responsible and it should have worked out because I planned everything out. I also allowed certain people to ‘guilt’ me into thinking I made a mistake by moving to Arizona; I left my mom and sister. I now realize I can’t help it if certain family members are scared to take a risk such as moving out of state. I now know — it’s none of my business. I also realized that sometimes family members won’t have your back. It is what it is. I’m now determined to ‘create’ my own family, a family of loving and supportive people.

BTW: I released my hold on Arizona when I read Iyanla’s words about hearing her daughter say, “Let go of the physical.” I re-read those words over and over until it sank into my brain.

I realize that I need to acknowledge my disappointment about my move to Arizona and other things that have occurred in my life — there are too many to list here. It’s not easy for me to wade into disappointment; I’m a fun loving Leo (horoscope sign). I know if I want to continue to heal, it would behoove me to feel the pain and work through it. If I don’t, I could repeat the self-sabotaging pattern. I’d rather work through it.

I also realized that Gen X and Gen Y could benefit from life coaching from their peers. No offense — but most life coaches seem to be old enough to be my mom or dad. I’m not saying I can’t learn from these people, obviously I learned from Ms. Vanzant, but it’s nice to hear from my peers and how they released and forgave their past, parents, spouses, them, etc. It makes think, “Gee, I’m not alone.” This is why I’m glad Iyanla wrote about her daughter, Gemmia, and her life experience.

I would recommend reading Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through. If you’re ready to really get to the ‘heart’ of your family’s pathology and recognize the patterns, this book is for you. If not, that’s alright. Perhaps, one day you’ll be ready.

Best,
Amandah

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