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By Jill Hope

I have been a lifelong enthusiast of the personal growth field, and have sought guidance to help me in my own personal development for quite some time. The theme that always comes up for me is to radiate love to all I encounter. This sounds like a great idea and I can really get behind it, but when errands need to be run, dinner needs to be cooked, children need to be driven here and there, and bedtime activities need to take place, my mind and heart is anywhere but on radiating love. In fact, it’s more about “what’s next on my todo list?” There isn’t much heart in that.

So, I started an experiment where on a regular basis I would find a time to bring love in to my heart and into every cell of my being. Because I do know that when you are filled up with love, you can’t help but radiate it out.

The interesting this is that on days when I take time for myself and consciously focus on being filled up with love, people smile at me more, I feel less stressed, I encounter helpful people more often than not, my son is more agreeable to my plans, and so on.

“We can excel easier in our lives when our own spiritual, physical,
and intellectual needs are fulfilled.”

– The Daily Om

Many people think that spending time on yourself is selfish, especially if you are a wife and mother, with so many other people to look after. But after the results I have been experiencing when I consciously take time for myself, I would have to say that it is just the opposite of selfishness.

How many people’s days could you brighten if you felt so filled up with love that it just bubbled over to all those who you encounter?

So, what are some ways you can fill up your cup with love so it can spill over to others?

1) Meditate

Yes, I hear you. Who has time to meditate?! The thing is, it doesn’t have to take a long time. You hear about yogis and gurus and monks who meditate for hours, but that isn’t realistic for most of us. I have found a level of inner peace in just 10 minutes of clearing my mind of thoughts and just being in the present moment, and just about anyone can find 10 minutes if you try.

2) Breathe

I recently interviewed several 8 year-old students who are participating in a year-long inner wellness curriculum that I have introduced at their school. When asked what is one thing they learned so far that they never knew before, one student answered “That it’s really relaxing to take a ton of breaths instead of just one or two.” From the mouths of babes!

So, what can you learn from this insightful 8-year old? When you are feeling stressed, just stop and b r e a t h e. And do it more than once or twice, as this student suggested. Thirty to sixty seconds of conscious, deep belly breathing slows down your nervous system and can help you feel more grounded. You can imagine inhaling a loving golden light that penetrates your every cell and then exhaling out an energy field of love.

3) Think loving thoughts about yourself

So many of us spend so much thought time in judgment. When is the last time you told yourself how much YOU appreciate YOU? You can choose whatever thoughts go on in your head, so why not choose empowering, loving thoughts about yourself? The more you think a thought, the more likely it will become a belief. And once a belief has been established, your actions will reflect the new belief.

4) Seek guidance and support

This has been a big one for me. I can’t tell you how helpful it is to have someone there reminding you of what is really important in life, and helping you to refocus on this fact when things get crazy. We are not meant to go about our lives alone. Seeking out the advice and guidance of a trusted friend who supports your personal, spiritual growth, a yoga or meditation teacher, or another expert in spiritual and personal development can be just what you need to maintain the proper perspective and sense of peace that you and your loved ones crave. If this sounds like your next best step, feel free to reach out to me if you feel guided to do so, as I also provide personal and spiritual coaching in addition to parent coaching.

I hope you can find time for you, because when you do, everyone you encounter will benefit! And if you need some help, you may want to pick up a copy of my “Feel Good in 5 Minutes” audio program, which is nearly 50% off until December 8, 2011. In this program I take you through 4 separate stress relief sessions that incorporate breathing, guided visualization, and journaling. You can learn more about that program and get your copy here:

“Happiness has little to do with what is going on around you,
and a lot to do with what is going on inside you.”

— Alan Cohen