Loving What Is

What does it mean to you to “Love What Is“?

I serendipitously rediscovered an insightful passage I had written down in a journal two years ago from Bryon Katie, author of Loving What Is, encouraging me to ask the four questions of any stressful thought that surfaces:

  • Is it true?
  • Can you absolutely know it’s true?
  • How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  • Who would you be without that thought? 

I personally love Katie’s last question, “Who would you be without that thought?” , because it conjures up the image of chain-breaking, freedom, and lightness of being.

As you venture into the new year, how will you choose to address stressful thoughts in your life? Have they become your master, or will you render them unfounded?

 Excerpt from “Loving What Is”
To think I know what’s best for anyone else is to be out of my business.

Even in the name of love, it’s pure arrogance, and the result is tension, anxiety, and fear.

Do I know what’s right for me?

That is my only business.

Let me work with that before I try to solve problems for you.

-Bryron Katie

In loving connection,

Jennifer xxx

5 Ways to QUIET the Mind

It’s no secret.  I am, admittedly, a learn-a-holic.  I derive ridiculous amounts of pleasure from the mere absorption of information.  The unknown becomes known.  That may explain my insatiable appetite for Anthony Bourdain’s traveling series, Parts Unknown.  His distinct gift of documenting the lives, flavorful fare, and vibrant cultural traditions of  the world’s unrevealed places bolsters my intense passion for and longing to understand the world and the nearly 7.5 billion people in it.

Inquiring minds ask a lot of questions, and yes, I am without question, a questioner.

This morning while enjoying a quick walk in the outdoor inferno, I listened to an insightful  Kwik Brain podcast.  Jim Kwik is an expert on all things brain-related, particularly accelerated learning.  You may recall his name from the 6-part series I shared on Brain Health and essential oils last spring.   You can find them here, in case you missed them.    I had the pleasure of meeting Jim in Las Vegas at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, thanks to an introduction by a dear friend and behavior design expert, Linda Fogg-Phillips.

In this morning’s bite-sized dose of brain-expanding learning, Jim shared tips for calming the mind by way of the user-friendly acrostic “Q.U.I.E.T.”, (which by the way happens to be an awesome book on the power of introversion by Susan Cain), to help listeners turn off their incessant internal chatter.   He said, “Your brain is not designed to work at full steam all the time.  Regular simmering down with these tips and hacks is a brilliant move for your wellbeing in life and career. ”  

Q: Question

By asking ourselves questions like, “Who am I right now?” and “What do I live for?“, we are able to tap into the present moment and help focus the mind.  Try asking, “What do I really need right now?“, or “What is the most delightful thing I have seen all day?”  Ask yourself better questions. Asking questions, Jim says, directs our focus and helps us concentrate on what’s most important.

U: Unplug

Get into nature. Opt outside.

There is plenty of scientific evidence showing the positive effects of spending time in the great outdoors.  Surrounded by nature, our bodies naturally relax and our brains release feel good chemicals like serotonin.   A tip I picked up on another Kwik Brain podcast suggested using the first and last hour of each day to our advantage.  These are the hours we are typically less distracted, and have the highest ability to control.  (Hint:  avoid grabbing your phone and reacting first thing in the morning as well as responding to work emails late at night when you could be reading/ relaxing in your bed setting your brain up for much needed time recovering).

I: Integrate

By integration, Jim is referring to the integration of our 5 senses: touch, taste, sight, sound, and smell.   He notes, ” Scientists can now show it’s possible to regulate how aroused you are through the five senses, as well as through the vestibular system.”  The vestibular system is our sensory system controlling things like our forward and backward motions, as well as working in tandem with our body awareness sense, proprioception, to provide a sense of balance and spatial orientation.  These are often referred to as our sixth sense.  By activating any one of our senses,  we are able to step out of our minds, and into our bodies.

Here’s where aromatherapy shines!  By activating our olfactory system (sense of smell), we are able to get our of our heads, and into our bodies!  As I write this post and share with you, I am diffusing Cilantro essential oil and am enjoying the steady mist of this fresh, herbaceous, and incredibly cleansing essential oil.  Cilantro essential oil is used to help support the body in detoxing from heavy metals and free radicals, and is especially helpful in reducing anxious feelings.   Here are some other key benefits of using Cilantro essential oil. 

In addition to activating your sense of smell to initiate a quiet mind, you may try integrating other senses by:

  • dimming the lights
  • sitting under a weighted blanket ( this is a ritual for me)
  • listening to nature sounds
  • forward folding postures
  • balancing on 1 leg
  • rocking in a chair
  • deep breathing
  • sipping essential oil flavored water
  • inhaling your favorite essential oils in the palms of your hands
  • and for the guys out there… try fly fishing, or swinging a golf club!

E: Exercise

Movement.  Shakes things up and gets blood flowing!  According to a Harvard Medical School Journal, aerobic exercise may boost the size of the hippocampus- the part of the brain involved with verbal memory and learning.   You can read the full story here.    In addition to supporting your heart and lungs, exercise boosts endorphins and is a form of meditation in motion.   The effort given to a particular motion, whether it’s hiking, cycling, walking, running, fishing, golfing, or playing tennis helps take our minds to a different place and often frees us temporarily of our troubles.   I find that chopping fresh vegetables has a similar relaxing effect on the mind, and of course, so does enjoying my favorite sweet treats at night!

T:  Transcendental Meditation

Jim’s final suggestion in Q.U.I. E.T ing the mind is Transcendental Meditation.  You may be thinking, “What is it? and “How exactly do you do this?”  In a simplified explanation,   TM, as it’s commonly referred to, involves the use of a mantra for 15–20 minutes twice per day while sitting with the eyes closed.   This may be a particular phrase, affirmation, or sequence of words on which you choose to focus.    Close your eyes, and repeat the words or phrasing over and over in your mind and allow them to come into laser focus.  Don’t worry if you don’t get it right or if it feels like it’s just not your thing.

Like most things in life that are good for us, quieting the mind is a habit, and according to my dear friend and behavioral design expert Linda,  habits begin as seedlings and  through practice, consistency, and a favorable environment, they grow into thriving behaviors.

 

Here’s to discovering a little more QUIET in your world.

Stand In Love,

Jen

 

 

 

 

5 Essential Oils Every Woman Needs to Reduce Stress

According to recent American Psychology Association research, “women are more likely to report physical and emotional symptoms of stress than men, such as having had a headache (41 percent versus 30 percent), having felt as though they could cry (44 percent versus 15 percent), or having had an upset stomach or indigestion (32 percent versus 21 percent) in the past month. The same survey also reported that women are more likely than men to report that they eat as a way of managing stress (31 percent versus 21 percent).”

Whether you are a naturally high-energy individual, a professional in a high-stress environment, a mother juggling multiple to-do lists, or all of the above, this post is for you.

Turns out, there are two types of stress: positive and negative.  Positive stress, eustress, is produced during heightened states of arousal, and is commonly linked to a specific goal.  Negative stress, distress, is similar to free-floating anxiety, and unlike eustress, which stops cortisol production as soon as the desired goal is complete, sends our body into the proverbial fight-or-flight stress response.  The cortisol has no place to go, and wreaks havoc on our bodies.

If left unchecked, stress can and WILL disrupt the following:

  • memory/ learning
  • endocrine system – mood/ hormones
  • immune system
  • digestive system – gut health
  • cardiovascular system
  • circulatory system- high blood pressure
  • muscular/ skeletal system

Wow, that’s pretty much every inch of our physical bodies, not to mention spilling into  every millimeter of our neurosystem.

Stress Management Protocols

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Understand stress triggers
  • Social Connection
  •  Laughter/ levity
  • Music
  • Aromatherapy

Yes, eat your fruits and veggies, limit fat and sugar intake, and move your body.   Sounds familiar, right?

Well, what about time spent with friends and loved ones?  According to author and friendship expert Shasta Nelson, lacking intimate relationships with friends is equivalent to smoking several cigarettes a day!  If you are interested in learning more about building awesome friendships, check out this post.  Additionally, I highly recommend reading her book full of mind-blowing research Frientimacy:  How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness.    

So that brings us to my area of expertise- aromatherapy and using essential oils to boost mood and reduce stress and anxious feelings.   As a perpetual learner, this subject has been my central focus for the last 18 months and continues to impress upon me fresh insights that I simply MUST share with the world.  (Isn’t that what we do when we LOVE something so much? )

Why use essential oils? The short answer is this:  THEY WORK.

Which ones you ask?

Let’s start with Jen’s Top 5 Essential Oils for Stress Reduction

  1.  Clary Calm– every woman’s best friend.  This proprietary blend supports raging hormones, hot flashes, and extreme irritability.  (ps. Men benefit from this too!) I have a couple of roller-bottles of this blend and prefer to apply topically to my abdomen, wrists, or over the heart for emotional flare-ups.
  2. Balance–  or the “Grounding Blend” mixes peace, harmony, and tranquility all in one!  As the name suggests, this is a simple way to bring balance into each day.  Start with a drop or two on bottoms of feet each day before beginning the day, and use throughout day as needed on pulse points, and back of the neck.
  3. Elevation–  also known as the “Joyful Blend”, this essential oil blend artfully combines mood-boosting florals like Ylang Ylang, Melissa Leaf, Lavender and Osmanthus with deeply calming oils like Hawaiian Sandalwood and Lemon Myrtle. This essential oil is heavenly diffused in the home!  Try diffusing in the kids’ rooms in the morning to promote positive feelings for the start of each day, or diffuse after a long stressful day to help relax and unwind.    I like to proactively use Elevation in situations that would typically activate a stress response by applying a few drops behind my ears and on my wrists.
  4. Neroli–  this prized essential oil sourced from the blossoms of the bitter orange trees of Egypt is a surefire way to reduce anxious feelings and instantly lift mood.  This essential oil has been extensively researched for its ability to provide users with a calming and positive experience.  Bonus benefit, it is great for the skin and blemishes.   Personally, I wear this beauty as fragrance and often mix with Jasmine.  YUM!
  5. Peace–  called the “Reassuring Blend” for its inherent ability to reassure even the most overwhelmed individual.   As someone who struggled for years with anxious feelings, Peace was like discovering that long-lost friend you have waited for your entire life!  This essential oil blend does exactly what the name suggests:  creates a state of inner peace, composure, and gives you a dose of reassurance in each drop.

For all the times we feel overwhelmed, burdened, burned out, or simply at our wit’s end, there are natural solutions to support you.    Think of essential oils as partners in your wellness journey.  Full of chemistry, completely diverse, and always there when you need them!

Jennifer Miller is a Las Vegas-based dōTERRA Wellness Advocate, Speaker, and Marketing Consultant.  She volunteers as a Community Partner for global nonprofit BeadforLife, whose mission is to provide entrepreneurial training to 1 million impoverished people globally by 2027.   Click here for a listing of upcoming events, or Follow her on instagram or Facebook @standinlovejen .  To begin your natural health and wellness journey today with essential oils, click here .