Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Your Happiness

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by Autumn Pappas, CHHC, AADP

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”       

Perhaps no statement in American history is better known or has been more powerful and iconic than this one issued by Congress in the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. Not only does this proclamation entitle us, as Americans to powers that cannot be given away nor should be questioned; equality, life, freedom, but it also allows us the right to pursue our happiness. As Americans, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” has become our birthright; our motto; our creed.

What does it truly mean to pursue happiness? In modern society, many of us have come to believe that the “pursuit” of happiness is the journey we take in order to achieve our desires. If we follow the pursuit, eventually we will get a bigger house, our ideal career, become more popular, choose the right mate, have the perfect family—and then we will be happy. But happiness is fleeting. Satisfaction never lasts long, and soon we are hungry for more. How can we stop this endless cycle?

First, learn to be present in the moment. Unhappiness often comes from dwelling on the past and feeling anxiety about the future. All we truly have is now. Meditation, mindfulness and breathing exercises are great tools to help you stay present in the moment. Next, be of service. Giving selflessly not only builds self-esteem, and brings meaning and connectedness to one’s life, but also enriches the lives of others. Lastly, be grateful, and share your gratitude with others. Gratitude takes merely seconds, can lift our spirits and make our hearts soar.

Happiness is a choice. It lives inside of us always; we just must learn how to tap into it. This fourth, while you sit under firework-filled skies, surrounded by your communities, families and friends; I hope you feel inspired to breathe in the moment, to extend your hand to be of service to another and lastly, that you have things in your heart to be grateful for.

Happy 4th of July!

Health Coach Autumn

 

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How to Discover Your Core Desires

 

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“You can’t hit a target, if you don’t know what it is.” –Anthony Robbins

If you don’t know what you really want in life, you are not alone. This dilemma affects people of all ages and crosses all political, social and economic lines. As a society, we often make lists of things we want to accomplish; only to find those same things create unhappiness in our lives. This problem arises because our intentions are often not aligned with our core desired feelings.

Core desires are things you want with all of your heart. They are persistent, deep, intense and powerful longings of your core being. When you become clear about how you want to feel, you can make daily intentional choices for pleasure.

This exercise can help you discover your core desires:

  • Ask yourself, how do I want to feel in every area of my life? (health, relationships, career, spirituality, finances, social life, education, etc.) Brainstorm multiple feelings within each area and record them on paper.
  • Study your list for each area. What feelings are replicated? What words jump out at you, feel important and valuable? Narrow down your list to five overall feelings. Having trouble? Looking up the definitions of the words may help you to pinpoint your desires.
  • Now, use repetitive questioning with each of your feelings. Let’s say one of your words is “confidence.” Ask yourself, “What does confidence feel like?” Your answer, “Like winning.” Ask again, “What does confidence feel like?” Your answer, “Like being certain.” Ask again, “What does confidence feel like?” Your answer, “Like clarity.” Exactly. What you really desire is to feel clarity.
  • Write each word you’re considering on its own sticky note and stick them somewhere you’ll see them every day. After a week, you’ll know if your words feel authentic and right for you. If not, take time to re-evaluate.

Once you discover your core desires, identify three things you can do today, three this week and three this month, to help you generate those feelings. Lastly, surround yourself with people whom make you feel those ways. Unearthing your core desires will bring more fulfillment, profound joy, balance, serenity and happiness into your life!

To your desires!

Health Coach Autumn (check me out at http://www.pacificnorthwesthealth.com)

 

Mindfulness Meditation Improves Depression, Pain and Anxiety

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Mindfulness meditation programs can effectively improve anxiety, pain and depression in some people, according to a new review of studies from Johns Hopkins University researchers.

The review, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, included 47 different randomized trials that involved 3,515 people. The review showed that mindfulness meditation had small, positive effects in these three areas, with the improvements for depression in particular being similar to that of an anti-depressant. According to the study, mindfulness meditation programs involved “training in present-focused awareness or mindfulness.”

“Anxiety, depression, and stress/distress are different components of negative affect. When we combined each component of negative affect, we saw a small and consistent signal that any domain of negative affect is improved in mindfulness programs when compared with a nonspecific active control,” the researchers wrote in the study.

However, the review did not show a marked benefit of mindfulness meditation programs on substance use, sleep or weight. While few studies examined potential harms of mindfulness meditation (nine of the trials), none of them reported harm.

In addition, mantra meditation programs — such as transcendental meditation, which involves “use of a mantra in such a way that it transcends one to an effortless state where focused attention is absent” — did not seem to show any particular health benefits, though researchers noted that very few studies on mantra meditation met their criteria to be included in the review.

“This lack significantly limited our ability to draw inferences about the effects of mantra meditation programs on psychological stress-related outcomes, which did not change when we evaluated transcendental meditation separately from other mantra training,” they wrote.

Overall, the review showed researchers that more studies on meditation are needed, especially to see how greater meditation training, trainer expertise and amount of time spent practicing mindfulness meditation could potentially improve health even more. This is considering mindfulness meditation is a skill that does require time and practice, and that presumably the more and longer you do it, the greater benefits it may have. (However, many studies included in the review were relatively short.)

Indeed, in a related editorial published in the same journal, Dr. Allan H. Goroll, M.D., of Harvard Medical School, notes that most studies in the review were less than 12 months long, and that “longer study duration will be needed to address the question of maximum efficacy.”

“Nonetheless,” Goroll said in the editorial, “the small but potentially meaningful reductions in the distress of anxiety and depression associated with limited-term mindfulness programs argue for consideration of their use as a means of moderating the need for psychopharmacologic intervention in these conditions.”

Goroll noted that the benefits of mindfulness meditation found in the review are modest, with some studies finding no benefit. He postures that trendiness, the desire to establish control and potentially even capitalizing on common anxieties are all reasons for why mindfulness meditation has become increasingly popular today.

*This article was found on www.huffingtonpost.com

To your health!

Autumn (check me out at www.pacificnorthwesthealth.com)

What is a Health Coach? Do I need one?

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I can’t count how many times I’ve heard, “So I know you’re a health coach, but what exactly is that?”

I’d be happy to tell you!

As a Health coach, I am a knowledgeable advisor who assist others in achieving their personal wellness, life and health goals.  I offer ongoing support and guidance as my clients set goals and make sustainable changes that improve their lives.  I listen carefully to what my clients want out of life, and what challenges they are facing that keep them from their ultimate state of health.  I use nutrition, lifestyle coaching and a variety of additional alternative healing methods while working with clients.   My clients report that they are happier and healthier than they’ve ever been after completing one of my programs.

So what is a program?

I meet with clients twice a month in person or over the phone for 50 minutes.  During the sessions we discuss health, career, relationships, exercise, nutrition and life events.  I give my clients recommendations each session to improve their health and life.  They also receive simple but informative handouts, email support in between sessions, healthy and useful gifts, and my personal commitment to their health and success during their program.

How do you decide if Health Coaching is right for you?

To be very honest, I think everyone can benefit from having a health coach!  I offer free consultations to anyone who thinks having a health coach may benefit them.  Go to my website, pacificnorthwesthealth.com and under the “Connect” link, click on the link that says “free consultation.”  Fill out the information and I’ll get ahold of you shortly to schedule your free consultation.

*My programs are very affordable– I keep them at a low-cost so anyone can participate in one.   Furthermore, I coach clients all over the world so anyone is able to work with me.

I hope this answers your questions.  If you have any additional questions, feel free to email me at AutumnPappas@outlook.com.  If you are interested in becoming a Health Coach yourself, I would love to talk to you about my amazing experience at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

To your health!

Autumn (check me out at pacificnorthwesthealth.com)

 

Why I fell in Love with Washington State

ImageIt’s time to get away.  Time to find some peace, some serenity, and reconnect with my spiritual being.  My heads been so caught up in school and other life events this summer that I feel my connection to my higher being and the spiritual side of myself is lagging behind.  I miss it.

So in the morning I’m off to two of my favorite places ever… the Washington Coast and the Olympic National Forest.  It was there, last year that I fell in love with Washington State.  We camped up on a bluff overlooking the sea and underneath these magnificent trees.   We hiked in the humid Hoh Rain Forest and walked down the sand at Ruby Beach when the tide was out.  We studied the stars at night while the waves crashed on the shore.  There was something magical about that trip…something magical about that place.