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BellaOnline's Stress Management Editor

How to Wake Up and Smell the Roses

Intellectually, we know that everyday is a good day. We are well acquainted with the proverbs: the glass is half full instead of half empty and it could always be worse. However, emotionally many of us just donít feel that way. According to the gardening calendar June is the month of roses heralding the balmy, sunny days of summer, ocean breezes, picnics and pine tree country weekends. So why donít we feel that same sense of joyous, childhood wonder? Instead we continue to worry, feel angry and victimized, or inhale an inexplicable, almost indescribable sadness. Never mind the cup being half-empty, many of us claim not to even hold a cup!

The reason for all this negativity can be explained by the question: How often do we act on an urge to do something creative or fun? Many of us donít surrender to a moment of pure, uninhibited joy. Sometimes we feel that others will criticize our ideas or our different ways of doing things. We feel self-conscious as though everyone were evaluating us. Some of us feel like we have not succeeded materially or do not feel like whole individuals in the presence of others. Therefore we are greedy for compliments: You look good; you have an impressive house; you have a great job; you are a terrific person. When we donít get them, we donít measure up.

The first step towards perceiving and delighting in the little things is to become a whole person. That means we donít need anyone to complete us and validate us. Wholeness means having self-esteem, a good self-concept and independence. It is easier to discover happiness all around us when we feel complete and in balance. Zen philosophy claims that enlightenment is contained in a single flower because when we appreciate a blossom, we have become spiritual and focused. We have found happiness in nature and in our own nature. The following are specific suggestions to help us smell the roses. I have tried each one personally to make sure that they all work.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer at Southampton College. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WHLI 1100AM in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com

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