A Glimpse Into Denmark’s Recipe For Happiness

It’s 11pm. My (third) iPhone charging cable has died. My credit card has stopped working. My train has arrived in Copenhagen an hour late, due to some problems that required us to pull over and exit the train (was it about to explode? Everything was in German, so I had no idea).

And then, of course, heaving luggage in the middle of the night, I get lost in the small city of Copenhagen. “Everyone here speaks English,” two Danish girls assure me, as they lead me to the bus stop I’m trying to find. Everyone is so friendly here! I get lost again. This time, a cyclist pulls over and asks me where I’m trying to go. Wow! He is the first person on this trip who has offered me help without being solicited. He ends up pulling out his iPhone and shows me on the GPS exactly where I need to go. I’m in the hostel by midnight.

I came to Denmark knowing that they consistently rank as being the happiest country in the world. That’s a pretty bold title, and I wanted to see what they were doing differently than the rest of us. After a few days in Copenhagen,…

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Yin and Yang: An Eastern Perspective

“If Yin is a noun, then Yang is a verb, and life is a complete sentence.” – Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide To Chinese Medicine, pg. 52

We recently started a discussion about the Autonomic Nervous System and I explained the breakdown of the sympathetic nervous system versus the parasympathetic nervous system. That was all a Western/conventional/allopathic understanding; now let’s discuss the same concept from an Eastern/alternative/holistic perspective.

Having studied Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for the last few years, I’ve learned quite a bit about how they view the world in the East. It’s fascinating. One of the fundamental concepts in Chinese Medicine is that of yin and yang (pronounced “yong“). We’ve all seen the yin/yang symbol (see right), but I’ve noticed that most people don’t have a clue what it means. This newsletter will provide you with an introduction to these very concepts; the full theory behind yin and yang are much more complex and could easily fill an entire book, but I believe that this will be a good 101.
Yin and Yang are a way of viewing life. Simply explained, yin and yang provide a categorical way to approach the world….

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Stress Test

An official “stress test” is The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale which can be found here if you’re interested  in taking it to discover your current level of stress. I prefer a holistic questionairre that was created by Dr. Lissa Rankin. Every time you answer “no” to any of the following questions, you are uncovering a potential stressor in your life.

  1. Do you feel well supported with loving community and intimate relationships with friends and family who allow you to express your authentic self?
  2. Do you feel in touch with your life’s purpose?
  3. Are you able to stay in alignment with your integrity in your professional life?
  4. Do you feel financially secure?
  5. Are you in a nurturing relationship with a romantic partner who allows you to express your authentic self?
  6. Do you feel satisfied sexually, either with or without a partner?
  7. Are you able to set healthy boundaries with the people who stress you out?
  8. Are you comfortable saying no?
  9. Do you feel spiritually connected to a Higher Power that you trust has your best interests at heart?
  10. Do you have a healthy way to address negative emotions, such as anger, resentment, grief, anxiety, and depressed mood?
  11. Are you an optimist?
  12. Do you practice gratitude?
  13. Do you engage…
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Quotes To Combat Stress

  • “Stress is an ignorant state. It believes that everything is an emergency. Nothing is that important.” – Natalie Goldberg
  • “Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.” – Richard Carlson
  • “For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” – Lily Tomlin
  • “How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward.” – Spanish Proverb
  • “Everything you do can be done better from a place of relaxation.” – Stephen C. Paul
  • “The tighter you squeeze, the less you have.” – Ma-Tsu
  • “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” – Chinese Proverb
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3 of the Best Quotes on Meditation

“Learning to meditate is the greatest gift you can give yourself in this life.” – Sogyal Rinpoche

“We don’t sit in meditation to become good meditators. We sit in meditation so that we’ll be more awake in our lives.” – Pema Chodron

“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.” – Buddha

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Food For Thought

  • “The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.” – Robert M. Pirsig
  • “If I could define enlightenment briefly I would say it is ‘the quiet acceptance of what is’.” – Wayne Dyer
  • “Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with the eyes of compassion.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
  • “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” – Kurt Vonnegut
  • “Often the pain we feel is the breaking of the shell that encloses us.” – Baron Baptiste
  • “He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the world.” – Marcus Aurelius
  • “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” – Maya Angelou
  • “Imagine that every person in the world is…

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