Do you want to know a simple thing you can do to shift from feeling the weight of the world to feeling a lightness that can help you respond freshly, with more patience, clarity and presence?

Try spending about five minutes every morning practicing an inner smile. Close your eyes and direct a smile inward, just as if the most beloved being in your life – cat, mother, child, friend, or partner – is visiting within and you are happy to see him. Scan your inner world with a smile and awareness. Notice what happens.

Simply putting a smile on the face gets the chemicals that help us feel better into action, even when we feel stressed, heavy and overwhelmed. This simple smile literally sends healing energy wherever we focus our attention. This lightens our mood, shifts our perspective and makes life easier to handle, even when smiling is the last thing we feel like doing!

Remembering awareness is a gift to yourself and others.

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Try this the next time you are aware that you feel stressed and want to quiet down the inner chaos quickly. Walking, driving, standing still or sitting, quietly say while breathing in, "I am breathing in, and I am at peace." Say while breathing out, "I am breathing out, and I am at peace." Focus attention on what happens. If you become distracted, simply return your focus to your words and notice what's happening within. Repeat until you notice a shift, and are ready to stop. The cells of the body receive thought as instruction, and they are willing followers to whatever we think. Saying we are at peace allows the body to shift from feeling rushed around, to slowing down, so we can feel quieter inside. With the goal of maintaining balance in all things, use this practice with care, and let awareness be your guide. Sometimes this practice is helpful, and other times, it can be used to distract us from exploring mistaken beliefs that keep us rushing around. Remembering awareness is a gift to yourself and others.

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