By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
The reactions to Halloween always intrigues me. On one end of the spectrum, you have over-the-top enthusiasts donning costumes and turning their home into the Addams family mansion; on the other, the cynics that would rather tempt being on the receiving end of a Halloween egging than hand out candy to eager little revelers. I typically fall somewhere in the middle. But, this year is different. The wonder and excitement that comes with 3 year olds is contagious…in a good way.
Take a second to imagine Halloween through the eyes of a little kid. For the first time, everyone is dressing up and playing pretend…even the trees are getting in on the fun of being pretty by changing color. There’s candy and treats at your disposal. Icky things like spiders and bats are suddenly looking cute and cuddly. It’s okay to scare people and play jokes. Ordinary pumpkins are transformed with paint, glitter, and carving knives. It’s simply…magical!
As adults, we too often put away magic and wonder in favor of practicality and responsibility. While “adulting” does require these traits, we can forget to let loose and have fun. Halloween is a great time to release your inner kid and inject fun into your life! A bonus? It’s one of the times that NO ONE will judge anything you are doing…it’s all in the name of Halloween fun! Take a break from “adulting” and be a kid again with an idea (or two) from the SoulShine “Get in the Halloween Spirit” List:
Having fun is a key ingredient to living your best life, DreamChaser. Halloween is an awesome excuse to stop adulting for a while, embrace your inner kid, and have a blast! Happy trick or treating…and, Shine On!
By Jackie White
Did you know that next to the beginning of a new year, the next season that feels like a good time for a do-over is fall? Maybe it harkens back to the time when we were all mentally prepared to go back to school. A fresh start, new lunch boxes, and new experiences!
So welcome to your fresh start! What’s great about starting fresh now is that you have a good solid 90 days to kick it into gear and feel accomplished by the start of the new year! In order to have the best chance at succeeding at this fourth quarter second (or third or fourth) try at this thing we call life, you will need some tools, and by gosh, I have some of those for you right here!
The Fresh Start Tool Kit
The Fresh Start Tool Kit is filled with ideas to spark you into action, keep you engaged and lead you to the finish line.
There you have it. 7 simple steps to take this year out with a big bang of accomplishment! Remember to put yourself on the list. Make a commitment to yourself that your goals are important too. Go after them and find the joy in the chase of your dreams!
Happy Fresh-Starting over the next 90 days and Shine On!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
y’s reaction or response to mental or physical tension from a challenging or demanding situation but not all stress is bad! Wait…wha?!? For example, if you want to get stronger, you need to physically stress your body. Similarly, to go after a goal or dream, you have to step out of your comfort zone and possibly face your fear of failure. These are both challenging and stressful experiences for your body and mind, but, if you can keep the stress response to a minimum, these situations result in physical and mental growth. The key is keeping that stress response in check…learning to calm the chaos!
Keep Perspective - Your Mindset Matters
As with all things, your mindset is key to learning to calm the chaos and bring your stress down. Many of the things that cause the biggest stress are out of our control. An example we can all relate to is the pandemic; think of all the stress that came from things you could not control like toilet paper shortages, worrying if you or a loved one would get sick, or school going virtual. So much stress over things we couldn’t control. Now, before you start feeling helpless, let’s remember what IS in our control - our thoughts, our beliefs, our actions. When you put your stressors into what you can control versus what you can’t control, you get your power back…you are back in the driver’s seat, no longer a victim, rather the victor. Doesn’t that feel better already? This, DreamChaser, is the first step to calming the chaos!
Treat Stress Appropriately - Develop a Calm the Chaos Plan
Now that we have our stress basics down with our mindset in check, it’s time to do the work to calm the chaos, or stress, in your life. Unchecked, chronic stress does a number on your body causing ailments from headache to digestion issues to high blood pressure to anxiety and depression. Developing an appropriate plan to calm the chaos is not only important but critical to living your very best life. The bonus? Keeping stress in check allows it to be a positive force in your body, one that pushes you out of the comfort zone just enough to get physically and mentally stronger! Here are a few ideas to inspire you while you develop your physical and mental calm the chaos plan:
Stress is an inevitable part of life, DreamChasers. While you might not be able to avoid it, YOU can control the role it plays in your life. YOU can make stress a positive force that makes you better rather than a negative force. YOU alone have the choice on your thoughts, beliefs, and actions. Keep these in mind while you develop your Calm the Chaos plan and get on track to living your very best life.
Kindness The Real Fountain of Youth. Its Humble Power and How It’s the Magic that Lights Up the World
By Jackie White
We all are looking for ways to stay young, look good, and feel good. We try to eat right and exercise to keep ourselves healthy. We might even buy some expensive cream that vows to take years off our time-worn face! We seemingly are searching endlessly for a fountain of youth. Well, I have news for you. This elusive font has been right under your nose and within easy reach all along. The magic that can keep you young and healthy can be found in simple kindness.
Kindness really is like a magic spell or potion because it provides us just what we needed even when we didn’t even know we needed it. Kindness is free to give and to receive and in both instances it lifts your mood and restores your faith in humanity. Kindness is made up of simple words that aim to give love, spread joy and sprinkle happiness from one human to another. Seriously, what could be better than that?
Have you ever delivered an off-hand comment to someone complimenting them on their new haircut? It may not have been totally thought out, it was just a simple string of words in your mind. But, to the receiver, you have just brightened their day and brought a smile to their face. It was easy for you to say, yet its impact is far greater than you may ever know.
I have seen this time and time again when I walk my dog. She is a lover of all and delights in any interaction with anyone. She smiles (yes, my dog actually smiles), wags her tail, and greets the person like a long-lost friend. Most people respond by saying she just made their day. You see, dogs get it. All we need is to spread some kindness to each other and the world lights up.
If you need more hard-core evidence about the importance of kindness, let me share the following bits of science-backed facts sourced from the Random Acts of Kindness website:
Heart-Health: Witnessing acts of kindness produces oxytocin, occasionally referred to as the ‘love hormone’, which aids in lowering blood pressure and improving our overall heart-health. Oxytocin also increases our self-esteem and optimism, which is extra helpful when we’re anxious or shy in a social situation. Natalie Angier, The New York Times
Pleasure: According to research from Emory University, when you are kind to another person, your brain’s pleasure and reward centers light up, as if you were the recipient of the good deed—not the giver. This phenomenon is called the “helper’s high.”
Mental Health: Like most medical antidepressants, kindness stimulates the production of serotonin. This feel-good chemical heals your wounds, calms you down, and makes you happy! Talya Steinberg, Psy.D for Psychology Today
Lifespan: “People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who volunteer for two or more organizations have an impressive 44% lower likelihood of dying early, and that’s after sifting out every other contributing factor, including physical health, exercise, gender, habits like smoking, marital status, and many more. This is a stronger effect than exercising four times a week or going to church.” Christine Carter, Author, “Raising Happiness; In Pursuit of Joyful Kids and Happier Parents”
Holy Cow, you cannot deny the power of kindness! Begin today with some self-kindness and then extend that out to others because by being kind to others, you are lifting your ownself up too. That’s the magic.
Hold the door for someone
Compliment someone’s outfit
Help a neighbor in need
Listen when someone speaks, no, like really listen so they know they have been heard
Make someone laugh
Go visit someone who may need to see a friendly face
Say something nice to a random person
Bake cookies for the first responders in your area
Write a letter to a friend. Blow their mind with a thoughtfully crafted gift of kindness in the mail!
Get up before your spouse and make the coffee
You see, it’s super easy and the rewards are for all.
Spread some kindness today and Shine On!
Jackie White has been writing about life and its ups and downs for many years. With a degree in Industrial Psychology and a life-long student of personal development she is intrigued by how each individual chooses to live their life. Jackie feels strongly that truly living your best life is imperative to attaining peace and fulfillment. SoulShine was borne of her desire to inspire and teach others to live their best life. This is her mission and her dream.