Monday, June 1, 2020

Budget Friendly Activities to Inspire Joy

I've decided to nix most TV news and skim through the barrage of pandemic reports in the press and online. 

I sense it's better for my mental health to focus on things that help me remain calm, carry on, and inspire joy in me.

You probably need an encouraging word or two yourself. That's why I offer ...

Budget Friendly 

Activities to Inspire Joy

Refresh with plants, greenery, and flowers 🌴

Plants improve air quality, by exchanging stale air in our homes and offices with fresh oxygen. Plants are natural humidifiers, preventing or easing irritation to eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. According to a NASA study some plants even filter out toxic materials

No matter how down we feel, research reported on the NIH website indicates spending time in green spaces including parks, backyards, a plant nursery, or walking in a field of wildflowers elevates mood and even adds years to lives.

If we can't go outdoors, a simple way to commune with nature is to recall a moment from the past when we were hiking, rock climbing, biking, running, or strolling in the great outdoors. 

Using our imagination helps us recall fun times and associate sounds of a bubbling brook, children laughing, or the pleasing aroma of a pine forest with joy. 

We can take our fantasy further and visualize birds or butterflies flying about, conjure up animals strolling in their natural habitats, imagine people gathered at a picnic or tennis match, or see ourselves with our friends and relations, frolicking in an ocean or lake. 

Tilling the soil and planting seeds or potting plant cuttings we get from a friend, are low cost activities that bring joy. Studies show that spending quality time outdoors can reduce stress, is good exercise, and refreshes mind and spirit.

Focus on Heart-opening Journal Writing πŸ“ƒ

Put pen to paper and journal about small personal or career victories. We need not discount any effort. The tiniest step forward can be designated as the success of the day.

Journal to make a list of all the kind, caring expressions we would use to comfort a friend. 

Doing this helps us prepare for a time when we forget we can use gentle words to comfort ourselves. For another self-compassionate idea, read this from Dr. Kristin Neff.

An additional journal activity to promote joy is to write this phrase in a journal... "I am enough just as I am." For extra coaching on this read 9 Practices to Help You See You are Enough.

In the evening, devote a few minutes to recount all the good things that have occurred during the day in a journal. 

Grasping a pen or colored pencils in our hand rather than an using an electronic device, is a tactile way to calm down before bedtime, and ground us.  

Ending each day with a grateful heart, helps us sleep better and encourages pleasant dreams. 

No time or desire to think up journal topics or journal write in a blank book?

Make it easy on yourself and pick up a copy of the interactive, guided journal, Colors of Joy: A Woman's Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss. 

I wrote it and published it at Align Publishing LLC just for women. Colors of Joy is affordable, attractive, and fun to use. 

It supports the journal owner as she does journal activities that were designed to increase joy.

Here's how to order it now!

Learn why a joyful reader said Colors of Joy was right for her.

"I recently received this book as a gift from a wonderful friend. She knew that things were changing for me...and that I had a willingness to start experiencing life once again. What she did not know is that this word ‘JOY’ has always had a special meaning for me, especially at this specific time.

This book has given me the opportunity to apply color, instead of words, to this blissful state of mind...a very different approach. It’s an invitation to considering another place for myself, that’s not in the extremes of either black or white thinking. Living within the many colors of the rainbow is where JOY resides for me, and I thank you for this practical and integrative guide to help me along with my process!

Accept Responsibility for Joy Now πŸ˜„

Some may blame other people for their current unhappiness, or think happiness is dependent on things like losing weight or falling in love. 

Others base their happiness on praise and recognition from the people in their lives. They find it difficult to take pleasure from their own accomplishments or be thankful for those things that are working in their lives... 

This is a mistake.

Accepting responsibility for our own joy means seeking healthful ways to tap into joy, and going after them.

Happiness depends much more on our own sense of personal value, than it does on other peoples' opinion of us.

When we make an effort to discover which things we love to do and do them, we are well on the way to a joyful life! 

If we already know what inspires joy in us, we need to practice them more often. 

"We can never overdo joy. " Nancy Andres😎

True joy is not dependent on whether we are on our own or live with a partner or family.

The art to true happiness lies in finding enjoyment in simple things like savoring that first cup of coffee or tea in the morning or laughing, because we're wearing our favorite pair of sneakers.

If we are mindful to give thanks for food, shelter, and clothing, our joy can multiply. When we set aside time to relax, act silly, and find pleasure in just being, we increase well-being.

Joy is also a by-product of self-discovery. When we learn from our mistakes, our experiences become opportunities to grow.

Joy can spring from risking to try a new thing, or doing the same old same old. It depends on our mindset.

The pandemic has been an eye-opener for many of us. COVID-19 has given us a chance to notice our frame of mind, when we're left mostly to our own devices.

It may be health savvy to continue to do solo activities that make us feel happy yet protected, even though some places are reopening to the public. 

Personal happiness improves when we feel self-confident. Being comfortable in our own skin helps us recognize our gifts, talents, areas were we still need work, and love ourselves wholeheartedly. 

For peace of mind, I make a decision to let go of fear and surrender to how outside circumstances unfold.

I believe that if we trust ourselves and our judgement, and appreciate the people and circumstances in our lives, we’re better able to sense the Universe is taking care of us all. 

This is what makes me feel happy.

I wish you'd use the simple, budget friendly activities and positive attitude tips I've provided to inspire joy. I care about you and found in my own life they work to ease stress and improve thinking well beyond the current situation. 

Living simply and joyfully makes our lives sparkle and feel heart centered.

Consistent self-care activities help us build emotional flexibility and creates joy, even on challenging days.

If life seems too hard or lonely, we don't have to tough it out alone. It's healthy and self-caring to share our pain with a friend, support group, spiritual counselor, or therapist. No one needs to feel isolated. Read What to do when you don't think you can afford therapy. πŸ˜“

Please comment below (no links in your comment please, as I won't be able to publish it that way).

I read every comment and appreciate your visit. πŸ’—

Do you think you're generally a happy person? Please explain.

Share your thoughts, feelings, and ideas about how you're dealing with stress and what brings you the most joy. 

If you like what you see, please pin this post and like it on social media. Please remember to link back to this post. 

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Friday, May 15, 2020

Ikebana Flowers at Yume Japanese Gardens

Ikebana, which translates to “making flowers alive,” is a Japanese art form. Fresh flowers and natural elements including twigs, sticks, and foliage are arranged in specific designs to create beauty, harmony, and sensory pleasure. 

Although the Spring Ikebana Festival was held in February 2020 at the Yume Japanese Gardens in central Tucson, I present my post today.

I've learned through research and life experience that seeing flowers in natural surroundings provides grounding energy and a connection to Mother Earth.

Flowers have a way of brightening the day, reducing stress, and are a boon to health. Read about additional ways flowers boost well-being here.

The Ikebana tradition dates back to the 7th century, yet its minimalist aesthetic fits easily into modern life. 

 I invite you to come along with me as we walk around the Yume gardens, and view the color-rich Ikebana floral designs.

Ikebana Flowers at Yume Japanese Gardens

The Yume Japanese Gardens, located at 2130 N. Alvernon Way in central Tucson, AZ, is closed temporarily. Check back for hours, days of operation, and admission fees at 520-303-3945. 

Patricia Deridder, Founder and Executive Director advises: the garden is closed to the public in May, yet a community project has been launched to provide hope and healing to hearts frayed by the coronavirus. 

It’s called 1,000 Cranes, 1,000 Dreams. For information about this creative origami project, look for details on the gardens' website.

Have you ever seen an Ikebana exhibit and where

Would you like to know how to create an Ikebana Flower Arrangement? There are several online courses you might like to investigate and many books written about this art form.

Please comment in the section below.

Which floral display is your favorite and why?

What additional life affirming ways do you use to reduce stress and which self-care methods help you relax during the day? 

If you'd be so kind, please offer ideas up to my readers in the comments section below.

I read every comment and appreciate social shares with a link back to this post.

Before I sign off, I'm delighted to share a link to an article I wrote that has been published in the May 2020 Issue of Natural Awakenings Magazine. 

It reveals one of my favorite self-care tips to reduce stress. Enjoy!

Using Journal Writing to Reduce Stress.

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Friday, May 1, 2020

How to Use Chakra Colors to Renew Energy and Create Wellness

There are seven major energy wheels or chakras in our bodies, and each is associated with a different color. Colors work at the cellular level and bypass thinking. Therefore relax, kick-back and learn how chakra colors can best serve you.

 Chakra means "wheel" in Sanskrit, and ancient Hindus/yogis described them as our personal energy field, or points of physical or spiritual energy in the human body.

The picture above is a one dimensional representation, but it indicates the general area of the main chakras in the physical body from root chakra at the bottom or base to the crown chakra at the top. 

These centers represent etheric energy, chi, life force, prana/breath, and terms used since the beginning of time to show the balance between mind, body, and spirit.

Etheric energy is around us and in us. It enlivens and nourishes physical matter and is in all space in the universe. It lifts our spirit and makes us to feel vitally alive.

Continue reading to discover ...

How to Use Chakra Colors to Renew Energy and Create Wellness 

ROOT CHAKRA: Symbolized by the color red, the root chakra grounds us with a sturdy foundation for work and play. It's located at the base of our spines. The root chakra is the first of the seven primary chakras in our subtle body energy field. 

If we feel exhausted, lethargic, and chilled, activities including meditation, affirmation recitation, mantra chanting, yoga poses including the mountain and forward bend, and visualizations can stabilize this chakra. 

Red foods such as tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries and beets help adjust body temperature as well as nourish the first chakra. 

SACRAL CHAKRA: The colors for the 2nd chakra are orange, blue, and white. Balance it by wearing clothing in these hues, and placing accent pieces of orange, blue, and white in home or office. 

The sacral chakra's natural element is water. Hydrate with plenty of water, and enliven and strengthen intimate relationships by drinking sacral chakra sensual liquids like mango juice, orange juice, and carrot juice. 

Tune up this chakra to heal and go with the flow, instead of holding on. Use sacral chakra energy to be more productive, creative, and focused.

SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA: The color for the solar plexus chakra, the 3rd chakra, is golden yellow and its natural element is fire. When we display decorative items in golden yellow in our living space, it cheers us and expands thinking. 

We can sense this area is aligned, when we feel self-confident, goal oriented, or are able to risk trying something new. The vibrational frequency of golden yellow brings energy to the spleen, liver, pancreas, and stomach and draws healing to these organs. When we regain balance in this chakra, its golden yellow power enhances our mood as well. 

Good foods for this chakra are spicy ones, especially ginger and curry. The solar plexus is nourished by whole grains, and organic corn is a sure-fire bet.

HEART CHAKRA: Green is the color of the 4th of the seven chakras, the heart chakra. Color energy can bypass thinking and works at the cellular level. Gazing at the color green or imaging it can create balance, harmony, self-compassion, and rejuvenation.

When aligned, the heart chakra is an impressive resource for lovingkindness. The heart chakra is an energy center that blends the physical and spiritual body. It influences the cardiovascular system, and lungs. 

The heart chakra's natural element is air. Activities including gardening, walking in nature, and decorating with living green plants, adds fluidity to relationships, lifestyle choices, and helps us open our hearts to our mission or calling. Foods that empower the heart chakra include leafy greens, parsley, broccoli, peas, zucchini, and avocados. For more see What Everyone Needs to Know About the Heart Chakra.

THROAT CHAKRA: The colors that correspond to the 5th chakra are sea blue and turquoise. Two throat chakra gems that are useful in helping to clear the throat and neck area are aquamarine and turquoise. 

When the throat chakra is open, we speak our truth and are authentic. This action releases pressure that may affect the heart chakra below. The plow and the fish are yoga poses that work well to keep this chakra in top form.

To nurture the throat chakra eat blueberries, blackberries, and elderberries. Since the throat chakra's natural element is sound, chanting, affirmation recitation, and singing bring renewed energy to the throat chakra.

THIRD EYE CHAKRA: The mysterious blue color of the nighttime sky is indigo, and it’s associated with the 6th chakra. This energy center stimulates clear thinking, insights, wisdom, and spiritual awareness. 

An excellent color activity for the third eye chakra is to make an inspiring vision board. Attach drawings, paintings, photos, words, and magazine clippings of those things we want to attract into our lives onto a large sheet of paper or cardboard. 

After we finish making our vision board, it's key to hang it in a spot where we'll see it every day. This is a fun way to harness the power in our minds, this chakra, and the law of attraction to open to abundance.

CROWN CHAKRA: The colors associated with the 7th chakra are dark purple, violet, and white. Purple is the color of transformation, intuition, and mind/body/spirit integration. Violet hues increase self-knowledge and divine awareness. White is a soulful color. It’s formed when the various wavelengths of colors in the rainbow combine. 

The crown chakra is located at the top of the head or slightly above it. If this center is open , it helps us connect with our higher wisdom and works for our greatest good. Visualize one or more of the crown chakra colors enveloping a person, place, or thing that we want to understand, protect, or comfort. 

Let colors of the crown chakra lead to insights. It shines its light onto the big picture and brings serenity and peace to all who get still enough to experience it. For more about the crown chakra read Use Crown Chakra Energy to Integrate Mind Body Spirit.


Get Mother's Day gifts yet? A simple, affordable way to do that is to order copies of Colors of Joy: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss right on my website for mothers, daughters, friends, and family.

Colors of Joy shows the important women in your life you're thinking of them on Mother's Day, birthdays, graduations, and other special occasions and wish them well. 

Colors of Joy is a 12 week guided journal program that can be done in any order and at a pace that works best for the journal owner. 

Online shopping is easy and safe. Every woman deserves to own Colors of Joy. It's a nourishing yet non-fattening treat for these challenging stay-at-home times.  


Before you go, please take a moment to comment below. 

Are you up for a new adventure? 

In what ways are you willing to experiment with chakra colors?

For example, you may like to...

Wear chakra colors, eat foods that are chakra colors, and decorate with them. 

If you'd be so kind, please share this post on social media and provide a link back to it so others might benefit.

Wishing you many moments when you envision each color, absorb its energy, and lead a more colorful life!

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