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Be Your Best You!

Try this 5 day plan to feel your best inside and out!

Looking for a way to collect yourself and feel your best at this stressful time of year? Here's what one expert suggests to get you operating at your full capacity - and feeling great about it!

DAY ONE: Who inspires you?
Today, consider who inspires you. Whether it's someone famous -- Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King, Jr., for example - or someone you know personally, like your mom or your best friend, make a list of the qualities that these people have which you'd like to emulate. Then, hang pictures of these people in conspicuous places.

The purpose of this? To remember what is possible and what you can be. One of the things that gets in the way of being the person you want to be is not knowing exactly who that is. Now I don't think Dr. Siegel is saying become Mother Theresa or your Aunt Rita, but by identifying the qualities you admire you're more likely to start making them a part of who you are.

DAY TWO: Take time to breathe.
"Make a point of noticing when you become worried or fearful, and in those moments, practice peaceful breathing," Siegel writes. "Become mindful of your breathing and the flow of air moving in and out of your nostrils, the movement of your chest, and inspire peace and light, and expire fear and darkness."

The idea is that if you notice what stresses you out and make a mental note of it, you'll be less likely to allow the emotions you feel to get out of control. When you learn to relax and realize that you dictate your own reactions, things seem less overwhelming. And of course a little re-focusing deep breathing never hurt anyone - in fact, research shows it's really good for you!

DAY THREE: Find your own theme song.
As Dr. Siegel puts it, the song you choose should be "the one that speaks to you and motivates you with its words and beat....It is your song, and it carries your message of inspiration, which leads you to embrace life."

You may feel a little silly doing this one, but let's face it: who hasn't had a moment, alone in the car or shower where a song struck a particular note and made you happy? I know I have. Whether you know all the words or it's the beat that makes you get your groove on, go ahead, feel good… it's a moment with you, and when you're done listening, I'd be willing to bet you'll feel -collected and excited at once.

DAY FOUR: Give three compliments a day.
The task at hand today is one that actually lasts a week (and hopefully longer)… Dr. Siegel suggests giving three compliments a day for a week. "I am not talking about giving false compliments to make someone feel better; I am talking about giving people the encouragement to face a challenge rather than submit to their fears," Siegel writes. "Also, remember to say thank you when compliments are sent your way. When we circulate our thanks and our compliments, the world becomes a better place."
I'm quick to agree with this one. It feels good to make other people feel good and you'll find that optimism and niceness can be contagious.

DAY FIVE: Get in touch with your playful side.
As the final step in his five day plan, Dr. Siegel advises you to get in touch with your playful side. "What awakens your spirit?" Siegel asks. "Decide what you want and go for it with an enthusiasm that all those around you can feel. You will make your inspiration contagious, believe me, and help will appear that you never expected."

For specifics on this one, you're on your own. Each of us is awakened by something different, whether it's hiking, meditating, painting or doing the crossword… Think back over when you've felt the most alive and whatever your inspiration was, take it to the next level. If you've enjoyed your three weekly runs, consider training for a 10K or a half marathon. If it's the crossword puzzle, decide you're going to master the Sunday Times. Set yourself a goal that you'll enjoy meeting and experience what it feels like to be truly engaged in the moment.


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