The Power of a Hug

Gallery

Hugs are amazing things, really.  They melt away tension and can help heal a person who is ill or depressed.  Hugs release stress which help a person’s heart to beat slower which is good for longevity.

Hugs boost the chemical oxytocin in your brain.  Oxytocin has many functions, one of them being anti anxiety.  Hugs relax your muscles.

Holding a hug for an extended period of time lifts serotonin levels, elevating your mood and even helps your digestive system.  Hugging your older child or teenager for six seconds reminds them of being held as a baby (unless they explicitly say they hate it when you hug them, then don’t force it).

Hugging is one way to strengthen the immune system.  When you are happy your body stays healthier, when you are stressed, angry or depressed your immune system is weakened.  Another way is laughter so if you don’t have anyone to hug find a way to laugh more.

A hug Boosts self esteem – we feel special when receiving a hug which we associate with our early childhood when we were given hugs by our parents.  It also makes us feel safe like it did then.  This has been seen when children hug a teddy or a blanket.  We continue to carry the feeling of being hugged in our cell memory.

Hugs teach us about giving and receiving.  Giving a hug without expecting anything in return is very generous.    It is however important to receive hugs as well, you deserve good stuff too.

Hugs teach us to let go and be in the moment.  When you step into a hug time stands still.  If you are uncomfortable with hugs time might stand too still 😉.   Use your intuition about when to let go. Swaying fast from side to side while hugging can take away from being in the present moment.  Personally I prefer sill hugs.

When we hug the people we love we are investing in the relationship.  If you feel empathy for someone you feel their pain, so you may need a hug just as much as they do.

When hugging, make sure that it is platonic and nurturing.  Just be there for the other person and let them be there for you.  This builds trust and allows the person to just be.

Many people don’t get touched often especially the elderly or those that live alone.  If you know someone like that give them the gift of a hug.

To respect someone’s boundaries I usually ask the person permission.  Not everyone likes hugs or is used to them.  If someone didn’t get much trustworthy touch in childhood they may feel fearful when hugged.

Timing is important.  Hugging someone who is in a bad mood with you may be counterproductive.

Don’t squeeze too tight unless you know for a fact the other person likes that.  A sore hug is not that enjoyable.

At the end of a hug, make eye contact which will make you both smile.

If you are not a natural hugger then practise it slowly with people you love and trust.

I asked my children what it feels like to be hugged and they said: beautiful, safe, warm, cared for and caring for (exchange of care).

I hope you give and get those things this week.

With love
Eve

Advertisements

Closing the Gap

Gallery

What is the word that actually describes your life?  What is the word you wish described your life?  How are you going to get closer to the life you wish for?

In order to write this for you I had to make it personal so that you would glean from my example.  So  here goes….

The word that describes my life right now is swamped.  How would I like it to be?  Flowing.

Funny that both those words have reference to water.  Swamped feels exactly as it sounds, bogged down, difficult to get out of, overwhelming, too much to do.  Flowing is peaceful, things going according to plan, doing what feels right, not taking on too much, dancing movements, glittering beauty (okay, I’m getting carried away because I really want to be on holiday right now).

Firstly it’s important to note that the words that I have used to describe my current state are all beliefs.   Are they true?  Well not really.   They are just thoughts, a state of mind.  If I believe my life is overwhelming then it really seems overwhelming and then that’s what it is.  Overwhelming.  Too much to do?  How do I know how much is too much to do?  This may be hard to comprehend right now but believe me, it is very freeing when you are able to differentiate between the truth and what you think is the truth.  I had a look at some pictures of swamps and believe me that is not what my life looks like (thank G-d) – but I have been thinking it is!

How am I going to close the gap?

I will look in my diary when something comes up and  I will ask myself if it is necessary, if it is doable, if it is something I really want or if I am doing it for other reasons such as people pleasing or fame and fortune.

I will make extra time for traveling in my diary.  Sometimes I forget to do this and then find myself rushing from place to place because I haven’t added the traveling time into my day.  It is so much more peaceful when I can drive to place and sing at the same time instead of sweating from the stress of trying not to be too late.

I will forgive myself for being human.  If I set a certain amount of goals and can only reach a few of them, I will remind myself that I am human and can only do so much.  If I overburden myself with negative criticism it’s no wonder I believe I’m overwhelmed because not only am I rushing and not managing to fulfill my expectations of myself but I am also adding harsh words to the mix.

I will make time for the things that are a priority in my life.  Sometimes we forget what we are aiming for.  We lose sight of our purpose.  If I refocus I will be able to say no to invitations that come up and only choose the ones that talk to my higher purposes.

I will make time for myself to relax.  How can I even do any of the above if I don’t make time to relax and nurture myself?  That means making proper food and not eating on the run, spending time lying or walking on the grass, having naps, going out on a date with myself (now and then), treating myself like I would treat anybody else, with courtesy and kindness.

Wishing you a beautiful week of seeing what’s really happening in your life and making steps to close the gap.

I would love to hear the words you chose and some of your ideas on how you are going to close your gap.

With love
Eve

 

 

Please Like my Facebook page @evemarkshealing

 

The Oxygen of Relationships

Gallery

communication-oxygen-to-lifeTwo people (no matter what their relationship is) can walk around holding resentments towards each other for all the wrong reasons.  Not that there’s a right reason to be resentful but what I mean is this…

Here’s a scenario:  Bob and Sam are friends.  Once Sam mentioned something judgemental to Bob about people who buy expensive cars.  Bob, who has an expensive car, thought that Sam was talking about him.  Bob has been walking around holding this resentment for about a year and Sam is oblivious to it.  Often when Bob gets into his car and thinks about Sam, part of his driving enjoyment is lost.  Whenever he sees Sam these days he looks down on him a little bit and makes snide remarks about things that Sam does.  They are drifting apart and both of them think that maybe their friendship is past it’s sell-by date.

What is missing here is communication.  If Bob had spoken to Sam about this, he would have realised that Sam wasn’t even talking about him.

communication-resentmentThis can happen in subtle and secret ways too.  I read about a person who found out that her husband resented her for becoming overweight during their marriage.  This had come as a total surprise to her as he had never said anything to her about it.  If they had spoken about this issue they could have found a solution together.  Not only that but they could have grown closer by communicating with and supporting each other.  He had been holding on to this resentment in secret and had been taking his revenge in subtle and silent ways.

If I could give you something important to take away with you it would be this.  When communicating….

Seek first to understand

Listen to what the other person has to say.  Don’t just wait quietly until he or she is finished speaking so that you can speak.  Listening is the key to communicating effectively.  We often forget this and think that speaking is the most important part.

Speak from your own point of view

Talk from your own experience and feelings (For example…  “I feel hurt by what you just said” – rather than “you are always hurting me”).

Listen and try not to interrupt.  Then have your say.

Here’s wishing you strength to create peace in your relationships.

Eve

Be brave mighty angel

Gallery


I was in hospital recovering from surgery about 11 years ago and I was having a particularly bad day (pain-wise).  My husband was with me but he had to leave to go home and be with the children.  I really didn’t want him to go because I thought I wouldn’t be able to cope with the pain on my own.  He looked me in the eyes and said “be brave mighty angel” and then left.

Those few encouraging words lifted me from despair to hope, from agony to being able to cope.  Suddenly I was not a helpless being lying in the hospital bed, I was a mighty angel.  A mighty angel would be able to be brave and get through this ordeal.

Often we don’t realise how what we say has such an impact on others.  Negatively or positively.

Here are some guidelines for encouraging words:

Be sincere
It’s not encouraging when someone says words that neither of you believe.

Say what you want to say with a loving heart
Sometimes we need to say things that may be difficult for the other person to receive.  If you say it with a loving heart it will come across in a gentle way.

Don’t add criticism to the mix
You are beautiful but……

Offer support
Do what you can within your power (while still keeping boundaries) to be supportive.  Perhaps the person just needs an ear to listen to now and then or a hug or maybe a gift showing you care delivered to their door.

Don’t find everything wrong with the situation
Dwelling on the negative will not be helpful or encouraging.  If you think the person has a terrible idea, try and find the positives in it and guide them in a direction that would work.

Have the other person’s interests in mind, not your own
We often think we know what’s best for the other person but maybe they are not in the same space as we are.  What another person needs right now is not necessarily what we think is good for them.  It’s their journey, let them travel it.

Sometimes silence is best
Silence and a listening ear could be the perfect way of encouraging or supporting someone who is going through a very challenging time.  Especially if they have lost someone.

* * * * *

Knowing that you have someone in your corner helps people find their inner strength and courage and it can be a huge relief.

If you are always the person who encourages others, don’t forget to ask someone you trust for some encouragement when you need it.

EN – COURAGE

With love
Eve

Financial Stress

Gallery

Gratitude - happy life
Living in South Africa at the moment is a bit of a challenge financially for the average Joe and for the underprivileged it must be horrendous! With the rand/dollar the worst it’s ever been, food, education, transport and everyday amenities just keep going up and it’s hard to keep up.

If food is this expensive for people living in the middle class suburbs, I pale to think of what it must be like living below the bread line.

There are two ways of coping with the challenge, one is to come closer together as a family and one is to split further apart.

How to not let your financial situation split you and your loved ones apart.

Oma and Opa

My grandparents at their wedding before hell broke loose

About 75 years ago, my people (and I mean literally, my grandparents’ family and friends) were living or dying in the throes of the Holocaust.  Hitler was at his prime and was succeeding at quite an alarming and efficient rate in attempting to wipe out the Jewish people (and of course anyone else he didn’t like or who didn’t follow his ideals).

The Jewish people have always had an uncertain place in history wherever they have lived and to be honest that has given me fear and strength at the same time.  Fear because I never feel completely secure.  Strength because if they could live through that (those that did), then we can live through financial insecurity and challenge.  In a way I kind of use the suffering of my ancestors as a way of moving forward in life.  I do it a lot.  I do it when I hesitate to give someone a lift or when I hesitate to offer food to someone hungry or a blanket to someone cold.  I think of my grandparents and how it must have felt for them to be freezing and hungry with nobody to help them.  Then I get out of my comfort zone and go and help someone.

Almost every time I help someone, I realise how blessed I am with what I have.  Yes, for some of us money is tight but most of us (reading this) still have decent reasonably healthy food to eat every day.  While I am passing food or some change out the window to the barefoot beggar on the street, I have my car heater blowing on my feet.  I take notice of those things because otherwise I might be more complacent and not appreciate what I have.

If we look at what is most important to us in our lives, we can gain better perspective of what is happening and act accordingly.  Here’s a creative example:  If people have to cut down on electricity usage to save money, perhaps they can have supper by candlelight because eating together and spending time together talking is more important than having the lights on.

Yes it is a challenge and I’m not going to pretend that it isn’t.  Talking to each other about what is happening and trying to find ways to make things work is what will help people to get closer during tough financial times.  Being creative with what you’ve got goes a long way to making it more pleasant.

Appreciating the little things in life and the free things (like parks and sipping a cup of tea in bed) and most important appreciating each other.  This is what makes life easier.  Savouring and really experiencing the cup of tea and and time spent with each other is what makes life happier.

tea 2

Reflections in my tea

Understanding and support is what is needed when having to find the money to make ends meet.  Fighting and ignoring the situation can never bring happiness into a home.  That’s what families are for, being there for each other.  Well that’s what I think anyway.

If people can find something to be happy about, something to be grateful for, something to share together, it can take a little of the sting away.

If it feels like things are unmanageable and falling apart, a hug to one’s spouse or children and some comforting words to each other will go a long way to making things more tolerable.

Look I am an idealist and an optimist but I really believe that if people can look to what is important and try and build that up, we can find happiness in what we have.

How has the current financial climate been affecting you?  Is there anything you would like to contribute to this discussion?  If so, please comment.

With love
Eve


Here’s a 3 minute TED talk video about saying and receiving thanks, if you are interested.


The Power of Purpose – a six session course about living with purpose and fulfillment will be taking place from 16 August to 20 September.  (Tuesday nights).  Click to book your place or to find out more.

Back from the future

Gallery

My aim here is to inspire others to look at their lives and see things in a different way.  Many people struggle to see the positives in a difficult situation.  This article is directed at people of any age. I’m  hoping that you can glean something from it for yourself.


If I could give my younger self advice, this is what I would write……


DSC_0529 (2)

A Journey

Dear Teenage Me

I’m writing to you from 31 years in the future.

I want you to know that what you are going through right now will make you stronger and will teach you sensitivity, empathy and compassion.  Sometimes you won’t understand why things are the way they are but you will gain faith in G-d and that will you help you through rough times and give you appreciation for all you have in your life.

One day you will come to a place of self-acceptance and acknowledge what you do in the world.  You will learn confidence because once you accept yourself as you are, other people won’t be able to affect you as much.  You will learn to say YES to new opportunities and trust your abilities and the gifts and talents that you have been given.

where I work

My writing space

Now and then you will falter but that is okay and you will learn to love that about yourself too…. that you are resilient and can get up and dust yourself off, quickly, without dwelling on hurts for too long.

You will realise that relationships are sometimes fickle and that someone you love, you can un-love and then re-love all in the same day.

Most important, you will realise that you are human.

Humans are fallible and make mistakes all the time.  Your job will be to still love yourself and others through those moments.

You will learn to understand your parents and why they do what they do.

I want you to know that you are beautiful NOW.  Really.

Open your eyes to the magnificence of the world.  Enjoy the people in your life because time flies.

Take risks*** and have fun.  Don’t hold back when it comes to being creative and expressing yourself.  It doesn’t matter what other people think but of course don’t hurt anybody intentionally.  If you don’t go for something it will never materialise.  Do what you love because when you spend time doing what you love you don’t mind the time it takes to do it and success will be easier to achieve.

Nurture yourself. You are important, you count.

Stop comparing yourself to others.  There are always people better off or worse off than you.  But you are never better or worse than anyone else.  They are all people, just like you.

You will grow as a person, you will change somewhat.  Your life path will veer in directions you never expected.  Listen to your intuition, it knows.  Don’t do what feels wrong.  Try your best to stick to your motto:  Don’t do unto others what you would not want done unto yourself.

card believe in yourself

One of my Mind Lites

You are valuable, capable, loveable, tenacious, creative, worthy.  You are enough.  I love you.

From your older and wiser self.


***When I say take risks I don’t mean smoking, taking drugs, sex or doing anything that puts your life, health or value system at risk.  I mean talk to someone that you are scared of talking to, apply for the job that you think you aren’t good enough to get, go on holiday even though it might be daunting to leave your home town, swim even if you think you look awful, do sports even if you are terrible at it, dance even if you look like a flying monkey, sing even if you don’t know the lyrics, draw and paint even if you can’t draw a straight line.  Stand up and say what needs to be said even if others don’t agree.  That’s what I mean.


What one piece of advice would you like to share with others?  Share it in the comments below.

p.s. My course “The Power of Self Value” will start on Tuesday evening 24 May. If you are interested please click here.

 Photos by Author

 

 

The heavy load and the dog that didn’t fit

Gallery

dog2On one of the public holidays last week, my hubby and I took our dog for a walk.  The previous night he had gotten stuck trying to get outside.  He just couldn’t fit through the bars.  He is a bit of a lover of human food and especially sweet sugary food or dustbin food.  If we forget to turn the bin towards the wall when we leave the house, we come home to find that he has helped himself to what’s inside.

(This picture of him is after he’s had a bath, he doesn’t always look like that especially after digging in the bin).

Anyway, it was the festival of Purim, the day when lots of sweet goodies arrived at our house in the form of gifts and my dog managed to get hold of two chocolate muffins and half a loaf of bread (he can just reach the counter).  We came home from our Purim dinner to find him smiling with the tell tale signs of his shenanigans.  It was soon after that we noticed he couldn’t fit through the bars to get outside.

That long story was just to tell you that we went for a walk.  And that’s not what this story is about.

While we were walking we saw a man carrying a pile of wooden window blinds along the main road near where we live and he was struggling to manage the heavy pile.  He had to keep putting it down and resting. heavy load

It struck me how privileged we are if we have our own transport.  I do think about it regularly and thank G-d for all we have including our own transport.  We can just put heavy things like shopping into our boot or fetch the kids from school and even that we complain about doing!  I remember as a teenager when we didn’t have a car and we had to trudge up this massive hill to get to our flat, someone stopped and gave us a lift the one time and I was so happy that I didn’t have to walk any further.

No matter what position we are in financially (because it’s not only about finances) we can be grateful for what we have.  Let’s face it, many people are struggling at the moment no matter what it looks like on the outside.  When I say it’s not only about finances, just look at your eyes in the mirror and be thankful for that.  You have eyes and you can see.  We have sooo much, let’s not take it for granted.

A Rabbi once told a group of us “if you are blessed with material goods then use it for good”.  Use your car to visit someone who is sick or to deliver food to someone who can’t go shopping.  Use your house to invite someone for a meal.  You know… that kind of thing.

I really do appreciate what I have and being grateful definitely helps to put things in perspective especially when things are a little bit tougher.

Even if I’m feeling sad or frustrated about something, reminding myself about how much I have in the form of blessings easily brightens me up.

I wish you a week of gratitude and appreciation for your blessings.

With love

Eve

happy life (2)

  1. Doggie photo taken by me
  2. Heavy load photo found on the web
  3. Happy life quote by Thomas S Manson but changed slightly by me.