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The 10 greatest gifts I have received in 50 something years

The 10 greatest gifts I have received in 50 something years

Time goes by in the blink of an eye. That is the one thing I know for certain. It seems like only yesterday that I was a teenager, then an adult, and now here I am, in my fifties. I have had so many incredible experiences to date; some brilliant, exciting, overwhelming, even joyous and uplifting. Then there’s been some experiences that have been challenging, devastating, and really confronting.

However, as I look back over the years, every single experience has gifted me in some way. Often, it can be challenging to find the gift in a difficult situation, but I can assure you, there is always a gift. It is always your responsibility to find the positive, beautiful, and inspiring present that is waiting to be unwrapped.

As we mature, we are often asked the following questions:

Would you go back and change anything?

Is there anything in your past that you would do differently?

Personally, I wouldn’t change a thing. Every piece of my past has enriched my life in some way. Every person who has come into my life has taught me something valuable.There have been no wrong choices – just lessons and gifts.

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These are my 10 greatest gifts to date.

1. Manners

Times have changed, there is no denying that, but has society managed to keep up, in regards to manners? My parents instilled in us the importance of good manners, courtesy, respect for others, and most importantly, treating others as you wish to be treated. This gift from my parents has been one of my greatest gifts to date. YES, it is the gift that just keeps giving.

In business, showcasing proper business etiquette says a lot about you as a leader. As a person, and in regards to everyday life, good manners show your true essence and character. Manners can help you strengthen relationships, as well as change your life and the lives of so many around you.

2. Childlike energy

As kids, we were encouraged to have fun, play outside, and enjoy life. I never had a care in the world as a child. It was easy to create, imagine, and quite literally experience real freedom. My father (who is almost 90 years of age) to this day has still retained his love of fun, play, and sense of childlike energy. I have watched him with his great grandchildren, and I am sure that they think he is the same age as they are.

Having real fun can improve relationships. It can inspire us to be more creative and it can really help to reduce stress levels. Most of us are so burdened with commitments that we rarely stop and have fun. Somewhere in between being a kid and then being an adult, we forget how to play.

Don’t lose your childlike energy. Get outside, play more, and have fun. Laugh, dance, sing, be silly. Not only will it benefit your wellness, it will also keep you feeling young.

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3. Family

There is an old saying, “You don’t get to pick your family”; but maybe (just maybe) we do.

Do we choose our parents before we are born to master certain life lessons? Patience, commitment, connection, tolerance, pure love – these are all life lessons my family has gifted to me. Family is always there, whether you need them or not. I treasure the gift of my family most of all.

4. Soul family

If you are really blessed, at some point in your life, the universe will gift you with finding your soul family. This year, I met my soul family. From one chance meeting that led to a gathering of like-minded souls, I realized that I had finally found my soul family.

Your soul family is the spiritual equivalent to your birth family here on Earth. When you meet your soul family and feel surrounded by kindred spirits, you will really notice that your heart and your soul can heal and regenerate.

5. Peace

I began meditating over 10 years ago. Meditation changed my life. It gifted me with real inner peace. It has provided me with the most priceless sense of well-being, as well as a clearness and clarity that has quite literally opened up a whole new world.

6. Setbacks and challenges

I don’t think anyone travels through life without experiencing setbacks and hard times. You can let your challenges knock you down or you can choose to let them be your greatest opportunity for growth. Life doesn’t always get easier, but we can always get stronger and more resilient. In turn, this gifts us with strength. Real strength is in your soul.

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7. Self-belief

It is our birth right to have a healthy amount of self-worth and self-belief. It is the foundation for success. Believe that you can, and you are half way there. Self-belief has gifted me with opportunities and priceless experiences. It has allowed me to connect with the most amazing people worldwide.

In a society where we tend to put older people out to pasture and overlook their experience and wisdom, self-belief has gifted me with the determination to live a full life. If I let society take away my ability to share my life experiences to date, quite simply because of the number on my birth certificate, I would only be living half a life.

8. Loss

The passing of some of my precious family members and also my dearest friends has gifted me with the following:

Life is short, live it.

Your life can change in a heartbeat. Love it.

The people you love might be taken away from you, but their memory stays locked In your heart forever.

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9. Love

There is no greater gift than love. Whether that love comes from heart-to-heart connections with partners, children, friends, or pets, love is the greatest gift of all

10. A new day

Every new day is a gift. It’s a gift denied to so many. A new day is a new beginning and another chance to change your life for the better.

Conclusion

In my fifty something years, I have come to believe there is a gift in everything.

Life is the greatest and most precious gift of all.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

More by this author

Jo Ettles

Jo Ettles is a published self help author, international writer, speaker and extremely gifted intuitive life coach.

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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