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9 Basic Needs We Have to Meet to Feel Happy and Alive

“No person, no place, and no thing has any power over us, for ‘we’ are the only thinkers in our mind. When we create peace and harmony and balance in our minds, we will find it in our lives.” ~Louise L. Hay

Seven years ago I felt a tangible sense of despondency about where my life was heading.

Having ended a six-year relationship, I found myself alone, feeling isolated, often with only a bottle of wine (or two) for company on a weekend. For the first time ever I wondered if I had depression.

After weeks of feeling helpless and …

How To Shine Your Own Light and Let Go of Envy

As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson

“Look at her, who does she think she is?”

“He’s so full of himself. He’s so big headed”

Have you ever heard these types of expressions being used? Have you said them yourself?

I have.

Or at least I used to. I was taught to believe that people who shine their light were showing off. That they were brazen and big headed. But what does being full of …

Why Resolutions Don’t Work & How to Create Real, Lasting Change

“I can affect change by transforming the only thing that I ever had control over in the first place and that is myself.” ~Deepak Chopra

As the New Year quickly approaches, many of us spend time in review and reflection of the past year’s events and initiate strategic planning for the upcoming year.

We create and contemplate lists of resolutions, often featuring some of the same goals from the previous year. But we convince ourselves that this is going to be the year for change and transformation.

So, on January 1st, we arise, excited and committed to our new or …

Limited Edition “Just Breathe” Shirt Supporting Project Happiness (Last Day!)

*Update: This campaign has ended. Subscribe to Tiny Buddha for daily or weekly emails, and to learn about future shirt campaigns!”

Happy almost New Year, friends!

As you may remember, I originally launched a two-week shirt campaign, supporting the David Lynch Foundation, in November. Over 700 people ordered a shirt then, but many of you emailed asking me to relaunch the campaign, so I did! If you’d like to order a “Just Breathe” shirt, hoodie, or pullover, today is the last day to do so.

This time, a portion of the proceeds will go to the non-profit Project Happiness

How Using Your Hands Creatively Can Reduce Stress and Anxiety

“Making something, even imperfectly is empowering because it’s an expression of the self.” ~Alton & Carrie Barron MD

Do you ever suffer from stress or anxiety?

If so, you’ve probably tried to find relief, but finding something that works for you can be quite hard. We all react differently to different remedies, and what works for one person may not be the best remedy for you.

I used to suffer from stress and anxiety a lot. After trying lots of different remedies, I finally found relief in an activity I never considered would help.

I was locked into a life …

Take Your Power Back: How to Release Fear and Trauma

TRIGGER WARNING: This post deals with an account of physical and emotional abuse and may be triggering to some people.

“I say I am stronger than fear.” ~Malala Yousafzai

“Don’t be scared.” It’s so easy to say, yet sometimes, for many of us, so hard to accomplish.

When I was about three or four years old, my dad locked me in the chicken coop in our back yard. This was a punishment. I was naked and screaming, literally jumping up and down with terror.

Another punishment consisted of my mother rubbing human waste in my face.

There are other things …

4 Ways to Change Your World by Being Kind

“Respond kindly to someone who is unkind to you.” ~Lori Deschene (from Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges, January 15)

Growing up with an alcoholic father, I was often on the receiving end of his anger. As a child, I didn’t realize his behavior was a reflection of how he felt inside and wasn’t about me at all.

I thought he was angry because I wasn’t good enough or I had done something wrong. I felt like if I could just be perfect enough, maybe he would love me. I tried and tried, but trying to be perfect didn’t …

When Someone Cheats or Mistreats You, It’s About Them, Not You

“Pain makes you stronger. Tears make you braver. Heartbreak makes you wiser. So thank the past for a better future.” ~Unknown

I used to think when someone cheated on me that I was flawed.

You see, I had a core belief that there was something wrong with me. I never felt enough. I’m not even sure I can fully articulate this feeling, but whatever it was, I just didn’t feel enough. Slim enough, pretty enough, clever enough, worthy enough, or just, well, anything enough.

I’ve now come to see that when someone mistreats you it has almost nothing to …

Letting Go of Attachment: From A to Zen

“Most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities.” ~Dalai Lama

If there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s that we want to feel happy; and on the other side of that coin, we want to avoid hurting. Yet we consistently put ourselves in situations that set us up for pain.

We pin our happiness to people, circumstances, and things and hold onto them for dear life. We stress about the possibility of losing them when something seems amiss. Then we often get stuck in …

5 Everyday Places Where You Can Find Presence

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have.” ~Eckhart Tolle

Presence. It’s something that used to be an absolute mystery to me.

During my five years working in the fast-paced world of public relations, I was frequently running from one meeting to the next, nose in my cell phone, barely coming up for air and completely oblivious to the world around me.

Little did I know, I was missing out on so many moments during my day where I could feel grounded, grateful, and present instead of stressed out and anxious.

Today, life is much different. I …

25 Powerful Acts of Love and Kindness

The holiday season has the potential to bring out the best in us. Though the days get shorter and colder, somehow our hearts get bigger and warmer.

Maybe it’s the thoughtfulness handwritten on Christmas cards, maybe it’s the focus on giving over receiving, or maybe it’s the anticipation of celebration with people we love.

For many, it’s the reminder of what’s important in life—not what we do, what we earn, or what we buy, but how we treat each other, how we help each other, and how we use our gifts to make the world a better place.

Yes, the …

5 Unexpected Benefits of Being Friendly

“A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.” ~Charles H. Spurgeon

What are the benefits of being friendly? Some might argue that there aren’t many advantages to it. These people might even tell you that you should mind your own business instead of trying to please everyone.

But is friendliness really just an attempt to please others? Is it really a sign of insecurity or even weakness?

I believe friendliness is a sign of inner strength and …

7 Things Everyone Should Learn Before They Die

“I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

I attended an interesting event a few nights ago. It featured ten speakers who spoke for ten minutes each on ten things you should know before you die.

The speakers included TV and film stars, CEOs, cover-shooting photojournalists, traveling journalists covering natural disasters, and HIV survivors. As you can imagine, there was a wide spectrum of perspectives shared.

Here are a few of the lessons that stuck out for me. A lot of these can profoundly change your mindset, how you view the world, and how you choose …

What Are You Practicing—Self-Judgment or Self-Compassion?

“You are what you practice most.” ~Richard Carlson

“What are you practicing?” she asked in a gentle, lilting voice.

The entire class was in triangle pose, and at that moment I was comparing my triangle to the young woman’s right next to mine, scolding myself for wobbling out of the pose and simultaneously harassing myself for not being “further along” in my career. (Because if you’re going to hate on yourself, my motto is GO BIG.)

“Are you practicing judgment or comparison?” she tenderly probed.

“WTF!” I thought. “Does this woman have a direct line to my brain?”

“Are you

What to Do When Your Partner Disappoints or Frustrates You

“Good relationships don’t just happen. They take time, patience, and two people who truly want to be together.” ~Unknown

We are wired to seek “the right one,” the ever-supportive partner, and the loving relationship.

If we get all three, it’s like winning the lottery of life. When we meet someone, we dream of him/her being our soul mate. When we are in a relationship, we hope they’ll love and support us unconditionally, and the relationship will be loving and everlasting.

That would be the ideal world, and, unfortunately, the ideal world isn’t the one we live in.

It took …

7 Ways to Make Your Workday Awesome

“When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” ~Wayne Dyer

I wish my first real boss had read the book Fish. It’s the story of Mary Jan Ramirez, a young widow who took a job managing the least productive and most negative department of First Guarantee Financial, in Seattle, Washington. In fact, the department was referred to as the “toxic waste dump” of the company.

One day she had an epiphany as she observed workers in “Pike Place Fish Market,”—people who had smelly, nasty jobs of cleaning, wrapping, cooking, and serving fish …

The Power of Literal Listening: Take the Stress Out of Communication

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” ~Ernest Hemingway

If I’m honest, I don’t think I listened to another person until I was in my thirties. I wasn’t really listening, not completely. It’s not that I’m super selfish or vain; I was just so busy doing the mental gymnastics that I thought I had to do to keep up in conversations that I missed what was actually being said to me.

I grew up in a family where it felt like nearly everything that was said had another, unspoken meaning. I remember feeling really confused as a child, …

How to Live a Fulfilling Life: 10 Powerful Lessons from Loss

“Make ‘Let go of control’ your mantra today.” ~Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges #177

When the phone call came I was thousands of miles from home. My father was suddenly ill, admitted to the hospital. I was a medical doctor by then, and I felt a foreboding.

My mind went back to my childhood.

Imagine being a little child in a dark room. Every small noise evokes images of vicious monsters lurking in the night. They draw nearer.

You cry out, “Daddy!” And cry out once more. Then your hero comes to the rescue.

Your father shuffles in …

Giveaway: Let It Go Coloring Book for Stress Relief

Update: The winners for this giveaway are:

  • Lyndsay G
  • Beth Casey
  • Marsha Lawrence
  • Claudia Menger
  • Teejayhanton

You can get a copy of Let It Go, Coloring and Activities to Awaken Your Mind and Relieve Stress on Amazon here.

When I was a kid, I could color for hours. I could be a little Type-A about it; if I went outside the lines, I would often rip out the page and throw it away, and I may even have yelled, “I hate coloring!” while cursing my imperfection.

But that was a lie—I loved it. So it was only a matter …

What the Bathroom Scales Are Not Telling You

The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.” ~ C. JoyBell C.

At a recent visit to the doctor’s office I had some routine checks done. Afterward, the doctor flipped through the findings and said, “Blood pressure, good. Pulse, good. Weight, okay.”

He then continued talking about other things, but my mind was still on his previous words. “Weight, okay.”

Why wasn’t my weight “good” like my pulse and blood pressure? 

I had managed to completely skim over the fact that my vital signs were