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5 Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep

I don’t have to explain to you why sleep is important. Our bodies were designed with an innate need for daily, deep rest and relaxation. It refreshes and rejuvenates us for the day ahead. However, many people suffer through night after night of disruptive sleep. If that’s you, here are a few tips to help you get your zzz’s.

Wind Down With The Sun
Tap into your natural circadian rhythms with the rising and setting of the sun. When the sun goes down, let that be your cue to begin to wind down as well. Of course, you don’t have to hit the sack immediately, but begin to quiet your body. Wind down with some light reading or relaxing on your porch. Keep high-energy and mentally complex activities for the daylight hours.

Make Your Bedroom The Room For Rest
The bedroom isn’t your entertainment room, office or study. Or at least it shouldn’t be. When you have it outfitted with televisions and laptops, it’s easy to get distracted from sleep. Remove any unnecessary items from your bedroom and make it a place mainly for relaxation.

Let Pets Sleep In Their Own Bed
I will catch some flak for this, but there’s scientific research to back it up. If you have trouble sleeping and you share your bed with a pet, there’s a good chance Fluffy is the cause. From night roaming, scratching to acting out their own dreams, pets are moving around and waking you up far more often than you realize. According to WebMD, dogs can be trained to sleep in their own beds, and cats… well, it’s best to leave them outside the bedroom.

Don’t Eat Too Much So Close To Bedtime
When it’s time to sleep, your body prefers to do just that and not much else. When you eat too much right before bed, your body is working hard to digest all that food and it can’t concentrate on preparing itself for sleep. So, do your body a favor and create a gap between dinner time and bedtime; experts suggest about three hours.

Pray, Meditate and Clear Your Mind
When it’s time to sleep, your body prefers to do just that and not much else. When you eat too much right before bed, your body is working hard to digest all that food and it can’t concentrate on preparing itself for sleep. So, do your body a favor and create a gap between dinner time and bedtime; experts suggest about three hours.

Copyright © Beliefnet, Inc. and/or its licensors. All rights reserved.

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When God Is Silent

When David prayed he wept, “Oh my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent” (Psalm 22:2).

Do your prayers ever seem to suspend between your desperate heart and a silent God? The silence of God is like a thick mist, cold and clammy, blurring your surroundings says Leighann McCoy, author of Oh God Please! Help Me With My Doubt.

Praying Through God’s Silence

The Bible is full of stories about men and women who experienced God’s involvement in their lives. In most all the stories these “heroes of the faith” suffered seasons of God’s silence. If you want to learn how to pray through God’s silence, read David’s prayers from the Psalms. As you do so, you will discover some surprising things about prayer (and about David). Consider Psalm 143.

Expect Spiritual Opposition When You Pray

Don’t forget that we invite God to rule and reign in and through our lives when we pray. For this reason, the enemy of your faith is diametrically opposed to prayer. Expect spiritual opposition when you pray. In Psalm 143:3 David listed three ways the enemy was attacking him: The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead.”

The Enemy Pursues You

The enemy pursues you. He is aggressive. He will get up and in your business. The enemy crushes God’s children as often as he can. His ideal way of crushing you is to cause you to question God’s goodness and to challenge His wisdom. He is most effective at doing this when God seems silent. Once he crushes your spirit, the enemy will make you feel as if you are dwelling in darkness like those long dead. To dwell in darkness with those long dead is to live without hope, without faith, without light, without God.

When Your Prayers Seem Ineffective

Leighann McCoy writes in Oh God Please! Help Me With My Doubt : “When God seems silent and your prayer ineffective, take time to remember. David said, ‘I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. (Psalm 143:5) When God seems silent and your prayers ineffective look around you! Consider the sunrise, the dew on the grass, the birds that greet the morning and the rushing water of the river. When God seems silent and your prayers ineffective look behind you, remember prayers you were desperate for God to answer, and the answers He delivered.”

There Is No Shame In Begging

When God is silent, there is no shame in begging. If there were God would have edited David’s prayer. There is nothing gained by doubting, but there is no shame in begging. David determined to turn to God for relief, then he begged God to give him relief quickly, “Answer me quickly, O Lord…let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.” (Psalm 143:7-8) David didn’t want to wait forever for God to answer his prayer. He didn’t pray for perseverance or patience; he prayed for God to give him relief.

When you Beg, Beg With Resolve

Just as David begged God to answer his prayer quickly, his tone shifted from one of desperation to a tone of submission. Feel free to beg God for answers but when you do, resolve to trust Him, to wait on Him, to hide yourself in Him, to follow Him and to serve Him. This is what David did (see Psalm 143:8-10). In between the time that you pray and the time that God answers, walk in God’s ways. Be a diligent student of God’s will and follow Him on level ground. To walk on level ground is to let God’s Word lead your way. Don’t let emotions pave your path.

We Pray For Change

Much of our desire for prayer is motivated by a desire for change, and most likely the change we are looking for is a change in someone or something else. We want our husbands to be more loving or our children to be more Christ-centered. We want our work to be more productive or our bank accounts more cushioned. We want health and wealth and the list goes on. David prayed in Psalm 143 for change, or more specifically for relief. As David asked God to change his circumstances and his enemies, God in turn changed David. He was consumed with what was happening around him, but God turned David’s attention to what was happening within (and above) him. And that is what prayer does.

Oh God Please! Help Me With My Doubt

In his book, Leighann McCoy examines the doubts we face when we pray. As we learn to pray through God’s silence, we also learn how to pray through our doubts of His power, His concern, His wisdom and His plan.  Oh God Please! Help Me With My Doubt is published by Freeman-Smith, a division of Worthy Publishers.

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Marital Secrets

Secret-keeping is unhealthy and destroys trust—particularly in marriages.

Article courtesy of Light University Online, the #1 Online School for Biblical Counseling, Life Coaching & Crisis Response Training

“Please don’t tell Daddy!”

When I picked Megan up from school, I knew something was wrong. As we made our way to the car, she looked up at me with sad eyes, “Mom, I’ve got something to tell you,” she said. “I got a warning card today. But let’s keep it a secret and not tell Dad. He’ll be so disappointed.”

I gently explained to Megan that Daddy and Mommy feel it is important not to keep secrets from each other and it would be best to let Dad know about the warning. After discussing it, she reluctantly agreed. Later that night, she learned how difficult but freeing it can be to face someone you love with a disappointing or painful revelation.

Webster defines a secret as something kept hidden, unexplained, or from the knowledge of others. Synonyms for secrets paint a dark portrait… covert, stealthy, underhanded. The obvious conclusion is that secret-keeping is unhealthy and destroys trust—particularly in marriages.

The Down Side

healthy marriage has little or no room for secrets. Unfortunately, some couples regularly keep marital secrets. Like Megan, they would rather concentrate on the motivating factors that keep secrets from being revealed.

A secret can be as seemingly insignificant as hiding the extra money spent on your golf clubs or as important as “covering” for a dishonest child. Other forms of secret-keeping include privately carrying the weight of drug abuse, hiding an addiction, or allowing undiscussed issues such as abuse to adversely affect the marriage.

Secrets are usually maintained for two key reasons—fear and shame. Fear includes the sense that something bad could happen as a result of disclosure of a secret. Shame included the ongoing embarrassment and unresolved guilt that result from a secret. However, failure to disclose results in a double bind—a lose-lose type of proposition. If I do disclose, it may bring irreparable harm to my marriage. But if I don’t disclose or continue with my secret, I will never resolve the guilt and shame that I am carrying—and surely this will erode the marriage over time. The end result leaves the secret-keeper confused, fearful, and walking on a tightrope.

Tell Everything?

Couples often ask, “Is it necessary to go back and drag out all of our dirty laundry and discuss in every detail our past?” Several guidelines we have found helpful include:

First, remember that honesty must always take first place in your marriage. Although Scripture doesn’t speak directly about secret-keeping in marriage, it speaks plainly and often regarding secrets, honesty, and dishonesty in every relationship (Psalm 19:12; 90:8; Proverbs 27:5; Romans 2:16; Ephesians 4:25).

We believe that honesty is central to personal and marital maturity. And when you allow or commit to an unwavering trust, the marital response to personal issues of the past and present need to be cloaked with grace, kindness, and love and are not driven by fear, chaos, and suspicion.

Secondly, keep in mind that not every secret (of past or present) is fully known or accurately remembered. Therefore, recalling and disclosing honestly a secret in every detail is unlikely.

You do not have to know all for love to grow and trust to flourish in your marriage. You must also ask yourself another important question. “Is the information you are withholding harmful to the marital bond?” If the secret has the potential to cause damage, or if it is in any way jeopardizing the level of intimacy desired and required for your love to grow, then it needs to be disclosed.

Finally, do not get hung up on the past. If the secret is in the past—has been forgiven andresolved—and is not relevant to or helpful in the present, it is not necessarily important to disclose it. Often times, the desire to attain information about a spouse’s forgiven past is for selfish reasons and only causes more pain than good.

If you have a troubling secret to disclose, what should you do? We would encourage you to seek outside help. Bring in a third party who can provide guidance on how and when to disclose with the ultimate goal of keeping the marital bond strong. Pray individually and as a couple for God’s protection on your relationship.

Just for Thought

There are no secrets with God. Keep your marital bond pure. Because the sins we cover, God will uncover. And the sins that we uncover, God will cover.

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5 Ways to Bring Peace into Your Day

Take A Moment for Yourself

As soon as you wake up, it begins. You have meals to make, kids to dress, and a to-do list that never ends. Even your phone is delivering calls, text messages, emails and “Angry Birds” that keep pulling on you for attention. Does this merry-go-round world ever stop?

Here’s the good news: your life may not slow down, but you can. Moments to refresh and recharge are all around you. From the busy soccer mom to the over-worked executive, everyone can take advantage of these easy-to-do tips and tricks to bring more peace into your day.

Mute the Commercials

Unless you have a DVR, you’re ingesting a lot of ads with needless noise that you’d rather not see during your favorite television shows. When the commercials start, mute the sound. It gives you 30 seconds to a minute of peace and quiet.

Breathe

I know you think you’re breathing right now and you are. However, I’m talking about deep breathing – the kind that lifts your chest, fills your lungs and then exhales the body into relaxation. Breathe before a big meeting. Breathe while you’re in traffic. Take a moment as often as possible to close your eyes and take deep breaths.

Use Mouthwash

Okay, stay with me on this one. Most mouthwashes recommend that you swish the liquid around for 30 seconds. You have to be careful not to swallow it, while still making sure it hits all the corners of your mouth. It takes some focus; it’s difficult to do anything else and use mouthwash at the same time. If you’ve ever wanted to practice mindfulness (the art of being fully and singularly dedicated to whatever you’re doing in the moment), using mouthwash is a great start. Stand still, close your eyes and really feel the mouthwash between your cheeks. When you’re done, you’ll not only have a fresh mouth, but a calmer mind.

Nap

Feeling stressed out? You might just need a nap. Millions of people don’t get enough sleep, and if that’s you, it affects every area of your life from your weight to your emotions. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes, find a spot and take a nap. The snooze will do your body good.

Go to the Restroom

Who among us has not escaped to the bathroom for a moment of solitude? Whether you’re at home, the office or in a crowded restaurant, it can buy you at least a minute or two of privacy to collect yourself. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and you need a moment, excuse yourself. Put the “rest” back in restroom.

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7 Things You Don’t Need to Buy

What are you doing?

If your family is struggling financially right now, author Crystal Paine says that one simple way to save money is to simply buy less — or to stop buying certain items altogether. “We’ve found that there are many items that  aren’t really necessities for our family and we can easily do without them,” she writes. “Here are 7 things we don’t buy.” She’s a self-proclaimed minimalist and stay-at-home home who has written a new book, The Money-Saving Mom’s Budget.

Shaving Cream

For years, I’ve only “purchased” shaving cream for myself if it was free or almost-free. I’ve found that a good lathering of soap does just as good of a job–and it’s less expensive, too. Since making my own homemade soap, my husband has stopped using shaving cream altogether. He says that my soap works great, instead!

Paper Towels

We do keep a few rolls of paper towels on hand in the basement pantry for guests, but otherwise, we don’t use paper towels. Rags work just as well–or better!–and you can just stick them in the washer when you’re finished. Or, if it was a really icky mess, you can always just toss the rag when you’re done.

Soda Pop

We’ve saved a lot of money over the years by not paying for the empty calories and sugar in soda pop. My husband still enjoys a Vanilla Coke from Sonic every now and then, but we don’t keep soda pop on hand at our house (except for the occasional 7Up or Ginger Ale we’ll buy when in the middle of sickness).

Movies

In all our years of marriage, I cannot recall a time that we’ve ever paid to purchase a movie to add to our small DVD collection. We’ve rented a lot from RedBox and Blockbuster kiosks (usually with free rental codes!) and we checked out dozens upon dozens of movies from the library, but we don’t buy movies. And there’s always Netflix – unlimited instant downloads for a monthly fee less than the price of one theater ticket.

In the same vein, going to a movie at a theater is usually a once a year event for our family–typically when a really high-quality movie comes out that we want to support at the box office. Considering that reduced priced movie tickets typically cost at least $6 each, we’d be spending at least $360 per year on movie tickets for our family if we went and saw a movie once a month.

Dryer Sheets/Fabric Softener

Growing up, we never used dryer sheets or fabric softener, so I’ve carried this tradition on in our home, too. Sure, we have a bit more static sometimes, but truthfully, it’s something we hardly ever notice.

Coffee Filters/K-Cups

I’m a one-big-cup-a-day girl when it comes to coffee, but we don’t purchase coffee filters or K-Cups. Instead, we use a French Press. It makes fantastic coffee, we can make the exact amount we need, and we don’t have to buy anything other than coffee to refill it!

Cable TV

We’ve never had cable TV and we’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years, as a result. There’s occasionally a time when my husband has wished he could watch a sports event or a time when we’ve wished we could watch political coverage, but overall, we’ve survived just fine without cable TV. It might not save us thousands of dollars each year to not buy these seven different things, but it definitely saves us a few hundred dollars–painlessly! And the small things add up to big savings over time.

Crystal Paine is a wife, homeschool mom to three, self-proclaimed minimalist, lover of dark chocolate and good coffee, and a wannabe runner. For practical help and inspiration to get your life and finances in order, purchase a copy of her book, The Money Saving Mom®‘s Budget.

Copyright © Beliefnet, Inc. and/or its licensors. All rights reserved.

Soar! Grab Hold Of Today!

 

The Glory of God Is Man … Fully Alive

“This is the story of how I found my way back to the path of living fully alive after years of wandering,” writes Ken Davis in his new book Fully Alive. “I’m not a stranger; I’m not an expert; I’m a fellow traveler. And I fall down a lot. I recently told a friend I was a little disappointed that it had taken me this long to follow the stakes and find the joy I experience today. I ended my whining diatribe with a sigh: “All those wasted years!” My friend leaned across the table and said, ‘Hey, you have today.’ What a profound wake-up call. That is all any of us have. Today.”

Discover the adventure!

Davis continues: Discover the adventure hiding in the middle of the mundane! There’s a loud crunching sound as the sled gets under way, slowly at first. Then as it gains momentum, the crunch becomes sort of a swoosh. I blazed past my grandchildren. My heart was pounding, my face was numb, and endorphins raged through my bloodstream. Now at top speed, I screamed, “This absolutely rocks!” Then sky became ground and ground became sky. This repeated itself several times. Somehow I had lost control and cartwheeled at forty miles per hour into a snowbank. Snow was packed into every opening in my clothing. I was gasping for air, my wrist felt like it was broken, and a trickle of blood dripped from my nose. I remember shouting, “I’m alive!” As I wiped the blood from my nose and checked to see if my arms and legs were still attached, I was overwhelmed with a sense of joy. I thought, Now this is more than just being alive. This is living fully alive, senses tingling, nothing held back!

Live with expectancy!

Exchange the pain of unmet expectations for the joy of living with expectancy! I’ve been on this ride before. Many times I’ve stood kicking at one door, screaming because it wouldn’t open, while at the same time failing to see open doors of opportunity all around me—doors leading to thrilling new destinations and experiences. I’ve had tunnel vision. I have expected things to be the way they have always been and in doing so have put unnecessary limitations on what I could see and do. Your path to living fully alive may be at the back of the elevator, the side of the elevator, or even right through the roof. It may take more effort than you expect. You might even have to take the stairs. But it is never too late to open your eyes and look.

Get unstuck!

Take the first step that will lead to a new body, mind and spirit. You might be the one stuck and out of juice on the side of the road. You might be the one down in the dumps and ready to shift your life into neutral, or you could be the one who inspires the weary to keep on going. God says where two or more are gathered together, He comes to the meeting (Matt. 18:20, NIV). And if He’s there, the resources for creativity, spiritual growth, and physical endurance are also there in infinite abundance. We need each other. Start your physical program for health alone if you must, but quickly find like-minded friends to do it with you.

Kick guilt to the curb!

Experience real freedom. There is one piece of baggage that not only hinders but also kills: guilt. We could empty half the psychiatric wards in this country if we could eliminate guilt. Guilt is the byproduct of refusing to forget what is behind, allowing the past to stain our lives. I would rather be bedridden than guilt ridden. I have experienced both, and guilt is by far the worse pain. Hanging on to guilt is like staying in jail after you have been pardoned. Jesus took upon Himself all the guilt for every sin ever committed. He did it so that we might have a life better than we could ever imagine.

Drive a stake into the heart of everyday fears

All other fears bow down to “walking through the valley of the shadow of death.” In that valley it is difficult to stand, let alone press on. I have committed to read the Twenty-third Psalm every morning for the rest of my life. I want to read it before any fear can grab my attention. What confidence to know that my faith is in the only One who conquered death and gave me that same power to live my life.

 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23 (NIV)

Tap into power!

Tap into a power that will protect you whether you’re crawling through the valley or standing on the mountain top! In the song “I Wanna Feel Something,” Trace Adkins sings of a yearning for something “that moves me, that proves to me I’m still alive.” A powerful line in Switchfoot’s song “Awakening” says, “I wanna know that my heart’s still beating.” Two thousand years ago, the apostle Paul weighed in on the matter of living fully alive. He expressed his desire to live to the greatest extreme possible. His words are an anchor of inspiration to me. He said, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection” (Phil. 3:10, NIV). Whoa! What could be more out there, more exciting and fulfilling, than experiencing the same kind of power that raised Christ from the dead?

Soar!

Don’t live a life of quiet desperation! If you look carefully, you will find people all around you who show few signs of life. They haven’t flat-lined yet, but they stopped singing long ago. Rarely do their hearts race in excitement over the possibilities held by a new day. They lurch through the darkness like zombies, clinging to memories of what life used to be. But deep inside they long to live again. Have you lost the joy of your salvation? Do you want to mount up like an eagle and soar once again? Today at age sixty-five my life is as fulfilling, exciting, and rewarding as any time I can remember.

Copyright © Beliefnet, Inc. and/or its licensors. All rights reserved.

Funny Church Sign

How Color Can Change Your Life

Discover Your Power Color

By: Pamela Harding

Are you feeling blue? Seeing red? Looking green around the gills? Try a healthy dose of color therapy. It might be just the prescription you need!

Our ancestors believed that color held magical properties. It could be used to ward off evil spirits, attract good ones, and even heal the sick. While in this age of hard science and cool technology we may view such beliefs with skepticism, our fascination with color has taken on new forms. Biochemists, environmental and industrial psychologists, make-up experts, wardrobe consultants, and, of course, advertising pros have studied color and found how it affects mood, health, image, perception, even heart rate. Certain colors can prompt you to eat faster, perceive objects differently, and even make you spend more money.

Although babies are drawn most strongly to bright colors, and children often prefer solid, vibrant hues, adults tend to choose more subdued tints and shades of color: pink and rose or maroon instead of fire-engine red, for instance, or peach, melon or rust instead of bright orange. To surround yourself with what you feel comfortable is most important. Certain colors can ramp up your mood, but only if they appeal to you. If they don’t, they can do the opposite.

Red

Blood Pressure, respiration, and muscle tension all increase on initial exposure to red. But, this jazzy hue also boosts spirits and stimulates creativity, conversation, and the appetite (which is why it is used in many restaurants). Red is also a popular color in casinos—people are more likely to gamble in a red environment than in, say, a blue one. Rooms with a lot of red feel warmer, heavier, and time seems to pass more slowly in them. Red may increase passion, but also aggression, anger, and restlessness—it’s probably not the best choice of color for a bedroom. In clothing red conveys energy, power, and leadership, but can also signal romance and sensuality, depending on the garment.

An interesting note: when you have two objects of identical shape and weight, one red and one blue, most people will think the red one is heavier. (Might be one reason to rethink that red wardrobe! On the other hand, red accents could perk up your image.)

Orange

Like the edible fruit, orange is associated with health and well-being. Eye-catching, stimulating, exciting, and mood elevating, the color decreases irritability. Like red, it boosts appetite, but it will stimulate people to eat and run—hence the popular orange in many fast-food restaurants. Generally, orange conveys a sense of youth, quickness of mind and body, and is perceived as a warm and friendly color. An orange accent on a plate makes food look more appealing and lighter tints on walls or clothing flatter the complexion. Peach and melon are good colors for living rooms and dining areas. People who wear orange are seen as cheerful, emotional, communicative, enthusiastic, and fun.

Yellow

Vibrant yellow, bright and easily visible, is a great color to wear on dull, dark, or rainy days to add a little sunshine to your life. (It’s also a good color to wear after dark if you’re walking along busy streets.) The color projects love, light, warmth, and wealth, enhances communication, learning, mood, and energy level.

Generally, yellow combats gloom and fatigue. It opens up or brightens rooms, and pale tones are good choices for classrooms; warm tones good for play areas and living rooms. It’s the most visible choice of background color for signs (with black lettering). People who wear yellow are perceived as sunny, intelligent, warm, and compatible. So wear gold (also in jewelry) or yellow when you’re asking for a raise.

Green

The color of money, but also balance, harmony, and control, green exudes prosperity and well-being. It increases the ability to concentrate, while reducing muscular tension and stress. Refreshing and restorative, green is an ideal room color for sedentary or monotonous tasks—a good color for learning and doing. Rooms feel cooler and fresher. Turquoise and light green are good choices for kitchens, since they make room temperatures feel cooler and time and tasks seem to pass more quickly. Wear green to give the impression that you feel in control. It’s a good color to wear if you’re trying to keep the peace, mediate, or generate team spirit.

Blue

Blue hues lower blood pressure respiration, and pulse and convey a sense of peace, serenity, and tranquility. Blue objects tend to feel lighter than they are. A pale blue bedroom creates a light, airy atmosphere and is likely to create a peaceful, restful environment that helps lull you to sleep. Rooms feel cooler, and time passes more quickly. Blue is also a good formal color for living rooms. However, choose the hue wisely, because it can also be depressing in bathrooms or dining areas, making people’s complexions look gray. In clothing, “true” blue is an American favorite. Wear blue to inspire trust and loyalty, encourage communication, and convey a sense that you belong.

Violet

Violet hues suggest something unusual and superior. Associated with high spirituality, violet can also convey somberness or solemnity, and may be interpreted as either uplifting or depressing. Good for prayer and meditation, the color has an otherworldly character. It’s not generally a good color choice for walls, since large expanses disturb the eyes’ ability to focus. Wear violet and you’ll project unconventionality, nonconformity, and creativity. The color stands out in a crowd and may be associated with acute perception and deep insight.

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10 Quick Ways To Recharge

When our lives are busy and we’ve been on-the-go, we can end up feeling off balance and out of sorts. Sometimes it can feel like we’re juggling so many things that we lose track of ourselves in the midst of all that needs our attention. In such moments, it helps to have a quick way to come back to our center—to recharge and reboot before we move on with our day. Here are 10 strategies to try, each containing an action to do, as well as an intention to either speak or think.  Experiment with each one to see what works best for you, and adapt them as needed to make them your own.

Get Some Fresh Air

Step outside and take in several deep breaths, allowing yourself to feel renewed as you literally breathe in (“in spire”) fresh air. You can even imagine being an item of clothing that’s been hung up on a clothing line, allowing the air to move in and around you, refreshing your whole being. “May I feel refreshed and renewed with each breath I take.

Stretch

Lie down on your back, extend your arms and legs and take several deep stretches. You may also want to bend your knees, bringing the soles of your feet to the ground, and let your knees drop to the floor on one side and then the other side. If you’re standing up, extend your arms over your head, leaning to the right and then to the left. Next, bend forward, letting your arms hang down and gently swaying them from side to side. “May I release any unneeded tension in my body, heart, and mind.”

Lie In A Inverted Position

Resting in an inverted position can be especially rejuvenating. Try scooting close to a wall and then raising your legs and resting them on the wall in a way that feels comfortable. You can also move into a similar position by resting your legs on the seat of a chair. If the floor is hard, put a blanket under your back and a small pillow under your head. “May I empty out what I don’t need and be filled with the qualities that I can most use right now.”

Let Out A Sigh

One of the quickest, most effective ways to release stress and come back into the moment is to let out a sighing exhalation. Allow there to be some sound and an intentional elongation of your out breath. “May I come back into the moment, so that all of me is here.”

Smell An Invigorating Scent

It can be useful to carry an essential oil with you, either in a small bottle or in the form of a lotion or spray. Experiment with a citrus scent, lavender, or mint to see what feels most enlivening to you. “May I feel refreshed and renewed as I take in this scent.”

Lighting A Candle

One of the most universal gestures for coming into the moment and inviting in a sense of the sacred is to light a candle. There’s something about the presence of light and flame that can be powerful in helping us reconnect with ourselves. “May I feel a sense of the sacred, right now and throughout my day.”

Take A Brief Nap

Even if you don’t fall asleep, simply lying down and resting for ten minutes can feel mentally and physically restorative. “May I receive what I most need from this rest.”

Listen To Music

Find a song that’s either enlivening or calming, depending on your mood and what you most need. With the arrival of downloadable music, it’s even easier to create a variety of playlists to have on hand. “May this music enliven and soothe my spirit.”

Pause

It can be useful to simply pause for a moment, taking several intentional breaths and bringing your attention back into the present moment. In this moment, may I come back to myself, right here and now.”

Ground Yourself

If you’re standing, notice how the soles of your feet are making contact with the ground and imagine sending down roots through the soles of your feet and into the earth. As you inhale, imagine drawing up strength and nourishment through these roots and into your whole body. “May I be grounded in my body and rooted to the earth, feeling supported and connected.”

You’ll Be Recharged

Once you’ve had a chance to experiment with each of these ten ways to recharge, notice which ones work best for you and under what circumstances each might be most effective. The more you get in a habit of taking a minute to reboot and reconnect with yourself, the more you’ll find yourself feeling energized and present in your day-to-day life.

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How To Glow With Inner Beauty

By: Jennifer E. Jones, the Inspiration Editor for Beliefnet.

You Have A Beautiful Spirit

Listen to the conversations that surround you. Someone right now is complaining about their thighs or wishing their stomach was smaller. It’s easy to focus on the outside, but what about the inside? How does one feel beautiful from within? These five spiritual tips will help you radiate happiness

Make Room For Peace And Quiet

How else will you find your inner beauty if you don’t spend any time looking inward? Make a moment for peace and quiet a priority in your life. Just five minutes a day of meditation or quiet reflection is enough to have you feeling refreshed and spiritually alive

Go On A Fear Diet

We spend so much time feeding our fears. We let our inner voice tell us that the worst case scenario is right around the corner. Start finding inner beauty by starving your fear. Resist the urge to respond to uncomfortable situations by being afraid. Silence both the inner and outer voices that want you to be fearful. The more you starve your tendency to fear, the less you’ll move towards it in the future.

Feed Your Faith

This applies to everyone whether you’re religious or not. Surround yourself with things that help you believe in goodness! Read books that remind you that happy endings and miracles are real and happen every day. Spend more time with your friends who encourage and support you.

Let Kindness Be Your Guide

The world has enough angry, bitter people in it. Be a person who smiles and says hello to strangers. Brighten someone’s day with a card or flowers. Let someone else in front of you in line at the grocery store. Opportunities for random acts of kindness are all around you. Take advantage.

Forgive

If you’re holding a grudge or grievance against someone, let it go. Write them a letter that expresses your hurt and frustration and then tear that letter up. It’s a way of physically releasing someone from their crime and spiritually freeing yourself from the burden of being angry at the same time. Take a moment afterwards to reflect on that person as a fallible human being just like you are— prone to make mistakes and in need of grace. It will help you see him or her through the eyes of God.

Author and Spirit Junkie Gabrielle Bernstein often says, “Forgiveness offers everything I want.” When you forgive and release bitterness towards others, you then open up your life to receive freedom and happiness.

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