Journey to Faith

Journey to Faith
Follow your own path

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

How to Keep Hope Alive During the Holidays

Are you looking forward to the holidays? Or do you wish you could pull the covers over your head and wake up when they are all over? Not to fret! Today, as we begin the season of Advent, I want to help us focus on something that will keep us going all through the year whatever it may bring and that is the first gift of Christmas, which is the gift of HOPE.

In case you might not know, Advent means "coming" or "arrival". It is a time of expectation, anticipation, and preparation leading up to the celebration of the birth of Christ. The Advent wreath is made up of evergreens to remind us that even though we may be in a season of winter where we don't see anything happening, new life will come again.  It is a time to focus on the true gifts of Christmas which do not come in a nicely decorated box. So how do we keep hope alive during the tough times? When people mistreat us or leave us? When the world feels unjust and unfair? When life hasn't really panned out the way we would have liked?



Let's look at the example of the young girl named Mary in the Bible. The angel of the Lord told Mary she was going to be with child without having known a man. This meant she was going to be an unwed mother, which in those days was a crime punishable by stoning. 

"Let it be done unto me according to your word."

Mary's response was one of willingness, trust, and surrender. She submitted her life and her will for God's purposes no matter what the cost. She was willing to endure the shame of being an unwed mother and possible death by stoning to be obedient to God. Mary had no idea of the pain and suffering she would endure to bring the Christ child into this world. Why would she do this?

Mary's hope was in God and in His great love for her. For this same reason, we, too, can have hope this holiday season. When we are secure in the knowledge of God's immeasurable and unfailing love or us, no matter what comes our way, good or bad, we can rest in God's promise to always be with us and to never forsake us, no matter who else does.  And what better partner to have in life than the Lord God Almighty. 

Jesus is called Emmanuel, which means God with us. God promises to be with us, particularly during the tough times. One of my favorite verses is Ps. 34:18. "God is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Like Mary, sometimes we don't know what the future holds, but we can hold fast to the One who does because God is faithful. Let's keep expecting good things from our Heavenly Father. 

When we look at our lives through our spiritual glasses and the lens of faith, it is possible to maintain hope even when things don't turn out the way we want. God always has Plan B. 

Have you lost hope? Tired of waiting for that dream or vision to come true? As we enter the Advent season, let's choose to focus on the gifts and blessings we each have been blessed with. And above all to trust God. His timing is perfect and he is working ALL things out for our good, even though it may not seem like it to us. Perhaps what we are longing for may not be in our best interest after all.

For Reflection 
What are your hopes this holiday season? What is the longing of your heart? Whatever it is, give it to the Lord, and trust that He will surround you with His amazing love this season. His gifts are for every child of His and that means each and every one of us. When all else fades, Jesus is still there to light our way. "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12). Choose to walk in the light this holiday season. 

If this post has encouraged you, do join our community and receive my weekly posts. You'll also receive my free guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path". All you have to do is enter your email address in the box provided. While you're at it, pass it on. Someone you know may need a little hope this season. 

Need a gift? Consider giving a copy of my inspirational true story, "The Power of Faith: a journey to healing, wholeness, and harmony" available on Amazon and your favorite booksellers. 

For all kinds of interesting tips and info from exercise and diet, to mindfulness and meditation to the benefits of tea, pop on over to my Pinterest page at https://www.pinterest.com/arielpaz/boards/ 

Stay tuned for more encouraging and uplifting posts this month. 
Until next time,

Keep looking up!

Ariel Paz





Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Faith, Your Brain, and Increasing Joy

It's Thanksgiving week and we have much to be thankful for, despite the difficult few years it has been for all of us. I want to remind us that it is in these difficult times that what we believe - our worldview - is crucial to how we get through the tough times and how we will emerge. Stressed out? Depressed and anxious? Dwelling on the negative? Or will we instead look for the silver lining in every difficult situation? Learn the lesson that is before us? I have learned that there is a gift in every circumstance, good or bad. We all have our lot in life and the choice of what to focus on is ours. 



Brain Science and Psychology 
I find an interesting correlation between psychology, brain science, and what the Bible teaches. Brain science is evolving and we are learning that we do, in fact, have some control over how we perceive the world. It has to do with what types of thoughts we think on a daily basis. And this is exactly what the Bible teaches, "think on things that are lovely,  pure, noble, excellent of good report". (Phil 4:8 - 9). 

Currently reading "Hardwiring Happiness" by neuropsychologist and best selling author, Rick Hanson, PhD, and the gist of his whole book is to focus on the good, to take it in, and absorb it more. This is because the human brain is hard-wired since caveman times to focus on the negatives since it was a matter of survival. With each thought we train our brains to be more either more positive or more negative. With every negative thought, we are programming our brains to continue to see and focus on the negative. But there is another way that has been written about for over 2,000 years. 

The Faith Component 
The key to positive outcomes in our lives is not simply based on our thoughts or our intentions, but also by utilizing the power of FAITH - believing in and trusting in a supernatural, all-powerful being who is able to move the mountains we cannot move. We've all encountered situations that are beyond our abilities to conquer and this is where the power of FAITH comes in. 

Faith and the belief in a loving and caring God gives us strength to persevere and carry on no matter how bad things seem at the time. Faith is both a gift and a choice and it is in the tough times that our faith is tested. It is in times of trials that we need something greater than ourselves to put our hopes in. I am a living testimony of how Faith can bring us out of even the worst of storms. 

Personal Story 
Read my inspiring true story of being raised in a dysfunctional family, leaving an emotionally damaging marriage, an ugly divorce, financial ruin and then raising two wounded kids and watching them struggle with addictions and overcoming all of it by the power of Faith.  "The Power of Faith: a journey to healing, wholeness and harmony"  will encourage and inspire you. Learn how I was transformed from a shy, timid, anxious girl to a woman of faith, confidence, and strength all by the power and grace of God. 

What do you put your hope in, friend? Your job? Your family? Your health? Your 401k? Your smarts? All of these can disappear in an instant  - just look at the story of Job - but faith in God is constant and eternal because God is constant and eternal. 

In fact, Scripture says God rewards those who seek him. Did you get that? REWARDS! I'm up for that. How about you? 

See the Good. 
Instead of dwelling on what is wrong with our life or our world, try focusing on what's right with it. I don't mean being a polyanna because we do need to know what is going on in the world, but we don't have to absorb it or talk about it 24 - 7. Often we take for granted the many gifts we have been blessed with: gifts of freedom, of sight, our abilities to walk, run, cook, dance, be with loved ones and friends, travel and enjoy our children and grand-children. These are all gifts from God. One thing I hope the pandemic taught us was to appreciate all of these more and not take life for granted. 

Let's also remember the Pilgrims who left bondage in England and courageously ventured across the ocean to come to a strange new land and start life afresh and anew. 

Let us do that this season. Let us leave behind us any bondage that keeps us from moving forward and enjoying a life of abundance, peace, and joy. Let us dream a new dream and leave behind any negativity and instead embrace faith, hope, and love. 

Thankful for YOU!
I am thankful for each of you reading and commenting on my blog posts. I am thankful for the gift of faith and the opportunity to write this blog as a way of encouraging and inspiring others. We are all on a journey and I am grateful that you have chosen to travel this journey with me.

Look around you this morning. What do you see? I see the glorious colors of the fall leaves, the sunshine streaming thru my windows, I feel the quiet presence of the Lord after another busy week. The whistle of my new dryer telling me my clothes are dry. The sound of the heat coming from my furnace to keep me warm. Many people struggle simply trying to obtain the basics. I bet if you look around you will notice the same types of things. Truly God is gracious to us!

Let's also make time to reach out, encourage, and bless some who is less fortunate. Donate to a food bank. Take food to an ailing neighbor. Invite a single person over for dinner. We are blessed to be a blessing.

For Reflection
What can you be thankful for this season? What can you do to be a blessing to someone else? Won't you take time today to offer up praise to God, the giver of all good gifts? 1 Thessalonians 5:18 exhorts us to give thanks. "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus."

I wish you and yours a healthy, happy, and harmonious Thanksgiving so until next time,

Keep looking up!


Ariel Paz

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Calling in Financial Abundance

Are you strugggling financially? Barely making ends meet? Maybe you've lost your job or your business is not going so well. Or maybe you wish you had more money to travel, buy a nicer car, get out of debt. As a single mom who has been through bankruptcy, and was in debt for years after an ugly divorce, I can testify that financial freedom is possible, whatever situation you are currently in. Today I am sharing a key principle to moving forward into financial freedom and abundance.  
                   

Personal Story 
When I was married, we had to declare bankruptcy - on my birthday - because my then husband lost his job and we had purchased a huge parcel of land that we could no longer afford. We sold the land at auction and had to repay creditors for 7 long years. The financial stress was the breaking point of our marriage and I ended up in my worst nightmare - a single mom raising two young boys. As a result, I kept a tight rein on my expenses. I didn't buy the latest and greatest of anything. I shopped at Walmart and drove an old car. I didn't buy designer fashion or extravagant jewelry. But I was faithful.

Every January when the pastor at church would talk about finances and tithing, I would ask God how much I should give that year. Giving to the church was always a stretch, but I was faithful and so was God. He always provided for everything we needed: braces for both my youngest son and I, soccer uniforms & cleats for the boys, sports equipment & musical instruments for my sons, even family vacations at the beach. It all started with one decision: to be obedient. 

Obedience is a learned behavior. 
While visiting Houston years ago, I had the opportunity to see how animals learn obedience. The bird trainer came out with a macaw on her hand. Placing the brightly colored bird on its stand, she had the bird's full attention. Certain gestures of hers told the bird to lift its claw, wave, give her a kiss, flap its wings and perform a variety of assorted antics and tricks. The macaw's name was Louis and his reward was an unshelled nut which he pecked open with his sharp beak in great delight.

One thing I noticed was how intently the trainer gazed into the eyes of the macaw. Her eyes never left his and vice versa. The bond they had established was obvious.

"It takes years to train these birds," she explained.
"How long do they live?" I asked.
"Most live till they are in their 80s," the trainer replied.
"About as long as a human - interesting."

In a similar way, we humans learn obedience. From the time we are infants, our parents teach us how to obey and we receive rewards for doing so. Then we move on to adulthood and God takes over the training. Just as it pleases parents when their children are obedient, so it pleases God when we are obedient. 

Trust the Promises of God

Many people have a scarcity mentality, holding onto and hoarding material possessions. Others do not know or trust the promises of God. God says this about giving: "Test me in this. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse and I will pour out the windows of heaven blessing after blessing" (Mal. 3:10). I am living proof that God keeps his promises.

For those who are unfamiliar, a tithe is the first 10 percent of our income. And yes, it is an old Testament commandment but it still works today. We are not to spend every red cent we make. We are to live below our means, not above so we can save for a rainy day and help others who are less fortunate. 

Start small. Buy someone's meal. Pack a Christmas shoebox for a poor child. Volunteer at a shelter. There are a million ways to give. Before you know it, you will move forward financially and be able to give more and more. I have sponsored a child in a third world country for 20+ years and she is now attending college, studying to become a nurse. I also have set up a scholarship for students from single mom homes to go to college. Next month, my mortgage will be paid off and I will be debt-free. It boggles my mind what God has done in my life since I started being obedient and tithing. 

For Reflection
Have you learned to obey God? When you hear that still small voice that says "Slow down", "Pay your bills", "Go exercise", "Call your mother," "Wear your mask?" do you listen? More importantly, do you obey? These are simple yet important acts that God watches. He is waiting to see if we can be trusted with the little things so he can entrust us with bigger things. 

If you want to see more abundance in your life, may I encourage you to practice obedience. Nothing pleases the Lord more than immediate obedience. We all know the phrase "Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today". What is it that the Lord is calling you to do today? What have you been putting off? We will not move forward until we have obeyed what he has already asked us to do.

If you enjoyed this post, join our community and enter your email address in the box provided. You'll receive my weekly posts plus a copy of my free eguide "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path". 

Stay tuned for more positive and practical wisdom. Love to hear your thoughts on this important topic and do share with a friend.

Until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel Paz 



Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Three Keys to the Abundant Life

Are you living the "abundant life"? Recently, a friend asked about it and I think she meant she needed more money, but living the abundant life is about more than money.

What does this phrase mean to you? I think most of us have realized by now that material possessions and stuff will not bring us the fulfillment our soul craves.  Money is great and takes care of many of our earthly problems, but it is not the answer to the cry deep within our souls. What happens when a relationship ends? You lose your job? You encounter a health problem? You make a poor decision? What then?

I think of the abundant life as this: a life full of joy, provision, inner peace, harmonious relationships, good health, and personal fulfillment and not necessarily in that order. It's about having more of all of these in my life, not just more money. Money can only do so much and besides, how many of the rich and famous are miserable and turn to drugs and alcohol for relief? One of the reasons I write this blog is for personal fulfillment and giving back as well as to encourage, educate, and inspire others.

The good news is there is a path to achieving this abundant life but it is probably not the path you would think. So today,  I am going to share with you the three-step process that is promised to bring us the abundant life we desire.


We each have challenges. They may be different but each person, as they say, is fighting their own battles. The key to living the abundant life has less to do with our circumstances and more to do with our perspective on our circumstances. 

If you've read my book, "The Power of Faith", you know I've been through quite a lot and, like many of you, I'm still going through some tough stuff. As I often tell my mom, "It's always something, Mom. That's life. Get used to it." We have to adjust our expectations and our focus.

If we think life is supposed to be a bed of roses, remember what Jesus said "In this world you will have troubles, but take heart for I have overcome the world," (John 16:33). Despite the seemingly never-ending onslaught of problems, it is possible to live a life of joy, hope, harmony, and abundance but we have to do our part to make it happen. 

The Apostle Matthew exhorts us to "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matt 6:33). In other words, when we prioritize the spiritual over the material, God will take care of the material. Kind of puts a different twist on things, doesn't it?

 Here are three keys I've learned that can put us on the road to the abundant life:

1. Do the right thing.
The first key to living an abundant life is to do the right thing in every area of your life.  This means in our finances, our health, our relationships, on the job. We each have a conscience and we all know what the right thing to do is in most situations. 

Every day we are faced with situations and decisions, and it is up to us to do what is right. The problem is we often fail to do it for one reason or another.  We get sidetracked by our feelings and emotions, our egos, other people, temptations and distractions, laziness. The list goes on. Allowing these to control us will prevent us from making good decisions and living the abundant life we desire. When we have a choice before us, one of the ways to determine the right thing is to do is to notice which path is harder. The right thing is usually the harder thing. When we do the right thing, it will lead us into peace in the long run. Notice the phrase "in the long run". We have to take the long view when making decisions. When we act out of emotions, without really thinking things through, we often make poor decisions. Something might feel good in the heat of the moment, but what about the lasting effects of that decision? Take time to evaluate "the long run". 

When I need wisdom and guidance, I turn to the Book of Proverbs in the Bible. Or I ask myself "Who in the Bible had a similiar situation and what did they do?" La condition humaine is still the same and people are still dealing with the same kinds of problems they did back in Jesus's day. I can't understand why some people think "the Bible is outdated". No, it is not. The principles of life and the problems of humanity are universal and timeless. 

If we want to do the right thing, it would behoove us to ask God about it. His advice is reliable. Not everyone else's is. In fact, we can drive ourselves crazy asking everyone their opinion. When was the last time you asked God for his opinion on something? 

2. Work towards peace.
Peace is an integral key to the abundant life. There are a lot of things in this world that can steal our peace, if we let them. Relationships can steal our peace. Unfair treatment can steal our peace. Our own thoughts often steal our peace.

What we often fail to realize is that Peace doesn't just happen on its own. We have to work towards it and it has to be a joint effort with those around us. This is what unity is all about. Everyone needs to be on the same page. We will never achieve peace by refusing to change, trying to blame or control others, digging our heels in, or isolating ourselves. 

As a child of an alcoholic father, there was no peace in our home. I learned that chaos was the norm and so I allowed that into my marriage and my dating relationships after that. Recently I came to the sad realization that most of my family members don't care about working towards peace either but you know what - we can't control others. All we can control is ourselves. And that in and of itself brings peace. 

One evening while I was soaking in the tub, the Holy Spirit said to me. "Whatever you bind on earth, shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you allow on earth, shall be allowed in Heaven." (Matt 18:18).  It was a revelation! I needed to stop allowing other people's behavior to steal my peace if I wanted to live the abundant life. This is the importance of memorizing scripture, so that the Holy Spirit can bring it to our conscious mind when we need it. 

I have found that a major key to peace is to set firmer boundaries with others. If I am overwhelmed, I need to say no more often. If I am being treated poorly, I need to stop allowing it and confront the other person. If someone does me wrong, I need to put a stop to it immediately - not let it go on and on. In the past,  I have made the mistake of allowing mistreatment from close relatives and boyfriends. This is both enabling and unhealthy. It sends the message "It's okay to treat her this way." when no , it is not. It does not matter who it is, we should not tolerate verbal or emotional abuse from anyone.  If someone is not willing to treat your right, walk away and live in peace!

When we achieve peace in our hearts, and in our minds, then we will begin to experience that delicious feeling everyone is searching for - Joy!

3. Keep the joy flowing. 
First let's be clear: joy is not the same thing as happiness. Happiness depends on our circumstances which may not always be pleasant, but we can still experience Joy. How?

First, we have to make sure we have done steps one and two. We are doing the right things which means keeping our consciences clear. We do not harbor bitterness, anger, or unforgiveness. Even then we don't always feel joyful. When we start to feel down, lonely, hopeless, frustrated etc, there is something we can do to feel joy when we remember that joy is a gift from God alone.

God wants us to have joy and he gave us a way to access that joy. It involves turning our focus from our circumstances and onto a holy, loving miracle-working God. No matter what has happened the day before, I start my day by singing and praising God. Yup. This is called WORSHIP.

Worship brings us into the presence of God who is the source of all joy. Worship lifts the heaviness that may be trying to take us down. Worship dispels darkness and brings in the light. It is a spiritual principle. I do not understand exactly how it works, but I do know it works. It may be the last thing we feel like doing, but when we praise God we get his attention and he sends his angels to assist us in our time of need.

When we choose to uplift the Creator of the universe, we lift our energy to a higher vibration if that language resonates with you. Expressing gratitude also raises our vibration. Praise and worship remind us that God is with us and that we are alive on this earth for a unique purpose. Hope is restored. 

Despite the difficult circumstances we all have to endure, we can still have joy because we know and trust Who is really in control of our lives. God has a good plan for each of us and although the plot may twist and turn, the ending will be good.

So there you have them: the three keys to living the abundant life. The kingdom of heaven is within. All we have to do is follow these three steps and most importantly - BELIEVE - that it is possible for each of us to enjoy the abundant life. After all, that is what Jesus died for us to have!

For Reflection
Where would you like to see more abundance? Your job? Your finances? Your relationships? Start by doing the right thing, even when the wrong thing is easier. Choose peace over strife and finally start giving God praise for all your blessings and watch the abundance flow in. 

If you enjoyed this post and would like to join our blog community plus receive a copy of my free e-guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path enter your email in the box provided. Feel free to share with a friend and leave a comment below. I love to hear from you and appreciate you taking time to read and comment.  

Also, my new ebook "Take Back Your Life: 5 Keys to Reclaiming Your Personal Power" will soon be available. I will be offering a surprising special for early requests. 

Stay tuned for more this month on practicing gratitude, finding abundance and having more joy. 


Until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel Paz

This material is copy-righted. 


Tuesday, November 2, 2021

How to Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

Welcome to November and to my new series on abundance, gratitude, and joy. 

Having a positive, thankful attitude is often a challenge because our brains have a negative bias. For a better understanding of how the brain works, some examples of negative bias, and some interesting TEDTalks, check out this link.





On a Personal Note
I love this month for several reasons:
1) it is my birthday month,
2) the trees are so beautiful with their changing colors 
3) I love celebrating Thanksgiving with or without relatives, friends, or family

Having been raised by a very negative and critical parent, I have chosen to overcome this in my life and in the lives of my children which is another reason I write this blog. Our happiness level is always dependent on the types of thoughts we dwell on so this week I'm sharing some ideas on how to have more positive thoughts and how to reprogram our thinking. 

Appreciate the Every Day Stuff 
Often we take for granted so many things like going out to dinner with friends or family, our water supply, full grocery aisles, our sight, our health, our bodies, even our jobs. My prayer is that this pandemic has helped us all become more grateful for the every day stuff. 

I did a guided gratitude meditation this morning and it was so uplifting. The leader reminded us to be grateful for our food and the people who grow it, for our grocery stores, for all the people who work to support us in life. 

I am thankful that the sun was shining when I woke up this am. I am thankful my body is feeling good enough to do some yoga. I am thankful I am able to write these blog posts so I can be of service to you, my readers. I am thankful for the ability to cook and make nice meals. I am thankful there is a Wegman's within walking distance of my home. I am thankful I could afford a haircut this week. 

What everyday things are you thankful for? By taking note of them on a daily basis, we train our brains and our neural pathways slowly but surely to dwell more on positive thoughts. A positive focus also helps alleviate anxiety and depression which is so prevalent during these holiday months. 

Start a Tradition 
A tradition I started at my house many years ago was to put out a small basket with a pad of paper and a pen next to it. The basket is known as the "Blessing Basket". Each day of the month of November, each member of the household and whoever comes into the home that day is asked to write down one thing for which they are grateful for and put it in the basket. 

It can be anything, but the idea is to become more aware of the many blessings we each have on a daily basis. Then on Thanksgiving Day, we read all the slips of paper. They are anonymous of course, but it makes us realize how truly we are blessed despite the challenges we may be going through. In our house, there are always one or two blessings that make everyone laugh and that's always a good
thing. 



                        
                   

Appreciate others
Everyone wants to be appreciated and valued. Too often we take people for granted - our parents, our spouse, our friends, the people who serve us. Take time to tell someone how much you appreciate them today. Make someone feel valued. Thank people for the little things. When we are thankful, we show God we appreciate the blessings we have been given and we open the door for more abundance to flow through us. 

A simple complement may turn someone's day around. I make a habit of complementing men on their ties or shirt. I complement women on their hair, their outfit, their nails. I thank the customer service rep no matter if they have been helpful or not. I try to give a bigger tip than is required. When I see a smile on someone's face, I know I have been successful in lifting them up and my joy level increases. 

My latest thing is to not leave someone upset or down. This is not an easy thing to do especially when they or a situation has caused me a lot of aggravation but what good is it to leave someone on a bad note? After I express - as calmly as I can - my displeasure - I try to turn the conversation around by thanking them, making a joke, or somehow turning to a more positive topic. I get off the phone feeling good about myself as a human being who has not caused another human being to suffer. 

Recognize Your Blessings 
I know I have much to be thankful for: a lovely home, two healthy sons, and a few loyal friends. I am thankful I can walk and I can see.  I am thankful I can still exercise and take care of my body. I am also thankful for the intangibles in my life such as love, joy, peace, kindness, and of course, my faith. 

Most of all, I am thankful for the love, grace, and constant mercy of God. He has brought me through so much and so I am devoting my life to sharing that love, grace, and mercy with you through this blog. I believe having faith is a great gift and my joy is to help you develop yours as well. 

For reflection
What are 3 things you are grateful for? I
f you want to increase your energy and your joy, try starting and ending each and every day by giving thanks for something or someone in your life. When we learn to develop an "attitude of gratitude", our outlook on life changes and we are better able to handle the difficult circumstances of life when they arise. This is why the Apostle Paul encourages us "In all things, give thanks" (1 Thess 5:18). There is always a silver lining to life's challenges. 

If you enjoyed this post and would like to join our community, enter your email address in the box provided to the right. You will also receive a copy of my free e-guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path".  Also, stay tuned for my new ebook, "Take Back Your Life, 5 Keys to Reclaiming Your Personal Power". It was written from my life's experiences and lessons learned as to what is truly important in life and how to prioritize our time and energy, 

Until next time, remember to be a blessing and, as always, keep looking up!


Ariel Paz

This material is copyrighted. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

12 Tips for a Good Night's Rest

Having trouble sleeping at night? You are not alone. Just survey your friends and see how many are popping pills or using alcohol to get a good night's rest. Notice the numerous ads for Lunesta, Ambien and the plethora of anti-depressants, all in an attempt to settle down our over-active minds and bodies.

With the busy and time-pressured lives most of us lead, it is no easy feat to relax and settle down for a good night's rest. Today I am sharing some natural, time-proven ways to calm the mind and the body without resorting to pill-popping.

1.  Eat a balanced diet. Include high quality protein, especially fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel. Lots of green veggies and fresh fruit in season. Skip packaged items. Balance your intake of minerals such as potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and iron.

2. Limit alcohol and sugar consumption several hours before bedtime. Alcohol may relax you for a while but when it wears off it affects your REM dream sleep which is critical to feeling rested in the a.m.

3. Avoid falling asleep with the television on. 

4. Get off your devices at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light glare from computers, cell phones and tablets messes with our melatonin levels which put us to sleep. Did you know most computers are set to maximum brightness? Here's an app I use that changes the brightness of the screen based on location and time of day.

5. Read relaxing and encouraging literature like the Bible, or your favorite spiritual book. What you put in your mind last thing at night stays with you during sleep.

6. Quiet your mind by playing some soothing music preferably with no lyrics.

7. Practice deep abdominal breathing and do some relaxing yoga poses. I've been following Yoga with Kassandra on Youtube. She does some wonderful and short evening videos. Check her out here

8. Avoid drinking liquids an hour before bedtime. The urge to urinate will wake you up earlier than you probably would like and it may be hard to go back to sleep.

9. Pray, reflect and be grateful.  
Focus on God, Jesus, or your Higher Power to bring a sense of calmness and peace to the mind like nothing else can. We are all on a spiritual path and it is important to be mindful of this fact and tune in to what our inner voice is telling us. Also, reflection is key to personal and spiritual growth. Take note of how you responded or reacted during the day. Name three things you are grateful for that day. Gratitude is powerful. 

10. Journal the cares and anxieties of the day to get them off your mind and onto paper so your sub-conscious mind won't be processing them while you sleep. It works.

11. Identify and let go of any unforgiveness or negative feelings towards anyone you may be harboring. Anger, bitterness, and resentment can keep us up at night. I have learned Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to help release stored emotions. It's easy and you can do it any time, any place. Learn more here. 

12. Try some melotonin.
It's a hormone found in our bodies, but it declines with age. It's a natural supplement you can find in your local grocery store. Start off with 3 mg - 5 mg and enjoy a good night's rest. Take it before bedtime, however, never take it in the middle of the night. 

For Reflection
Sleep is a complex, restorative process that science is just starting to understand. Gone are the days when people say "I'll sleep when I'm dead." Not enough sleep with hasten that day, so don't let that be you. 

Try some of these suggestions to help you calm your mind and your body and get the sleep you need. For those who claim they only need 4 hours of sleep, you are depriving your body of much needed time to restore and rejuvenate. Scientists say the minimum hours of sleep are between 7 and 9. Me, I need 9. 

Our minds and our bodies need to be fed the proper diet of good food, good thoughts, and lots of rest and relaxation. For more tips on sleep, relaxation and renewal, check out my Pinterest page.

If you found these tips helpful, consider joining our community and receive my weekly posts. Simply enter your email address in the box provided. You'll also receive a copy of my free e-guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path".

Stay tuned for more positive and practical wisdom and until next time, sleep well and keep looking up!


Ariel Paz 



Tuesday, October 19, 2021

10 Tips to Prevent Getting Sick This Season

Do you seem to catch whatever bug is going around? Chronic conditions hit you every year? Being sick is no fun. It makes us grouchy and hard to get along with and besides, we miss out on life. Every year I learn more about staying healthy. Especially with the Covid virus and its Delta variants circulating, it is more important than ever to make good health habits a priority.  So today I'm sharing some of my favorite stay-healthy tips to keep our immune systems strong and keep the germs at bay. 

Do leave a comment and share your favorite stay-healthy tips with all of us, too.


1. Get more sleep. 
I once heard someone say "I can sleep when I die," but if we don't get enough sleep that might come sooner than we'd like. Scientists are learning more and more about the importance of quality sleep and all it does for our good health, immune system, and restoration. 

With the holidays and end of year work duties it's easy to get run down and overly exhausted. Sufficient and quality sleep is vital for restoring our bodily systems and keeping our immune system in fighting order. Don't resist the urge to catch a cat nap unless, of course, you're at the office, which these days many of us are working from home. Napping is good for the heart and the brain.

"If you're tired when you wake up in the morning, you're not getting enough sleep, or maybe not enough quality sleep. Either way, your immunity is probably compromised. Poor sleep is associated with lower immune system function and reduced numbers of killer cells that fight germs. Killer cells are also the part of the immune system that combats cells that divide too rapidly, as they do in cancer. Lower their numbers and you may be at greater risk for illness." (Prevention, Mazo, Dec.2, 2011)



2. Drink plenty of water
Water oxygenates the blood and flushes out toxins. It also helps the production of lymph which help circulate those infection-fighting white blood cells as well as nutrients. Being dehydrated can bring on migraines and headaches. It also results in dry skin. So drink up, folks. I have a sticky note that says "Drink water" and have a tall bubbly pink glass just for my water. For more benefits of water on the immune system, check out this article. 

3. Use a neti pot daily. 

In case you don't know what a neti pot is, check one out here . I have seen them at Walmart and Walgreen's as well as natural health food stores. Don't overpay. This is a great price. 

Anyway, a neti pot is used to cleanse the sinuses and, as we all know, the sinuses can get congested very easily, especially in the winter. The cilia in the nasal passages catch all sorts of bacteria to protect the entry to the inner parts of the sinuses so it is important to rinse the nasal passages daily to prevent buildup and decongest the sinus passages. I like to use mine in the mornings as I am usually stuffy when I wake up. It is such a great feeling to breathe clearly. If you get sinus infections or sinus headaches, consider purchasing a neti pot this season. 

4. Eat your vitamin C.

I prefer to eat as many of my vitamins as I can. Oranges, grapefruit, and clementines contain large amounts of anti-oxidant vitamin C as do brightly colored peppers. If you don't like citrus, grab yourself a bottle of time-released vitamin C capsules that will dissolve over time and nourish your immune system. Having memory issues? Vitamic C can help with that too. It is also great for the skin and boosts collagen production, ladies. No wonder I crave citrus in the winter. 

5. Step up the zinc.

Zinc helps strengthen the immune system also. Deficiency is linked to increased inflammation. It may also help treat acne, prevent osteoporosis, and prevent pneumonia. The best sources are animal meats, beans, seafood, beans, nuts and whole grain cereals. If you eat a restricted diet, consider supplementation but please don't overdo it. A maximum dose is around 40 mg. 

6. Wash your hands often and keep them off your face and eyes. 
Funny, I wrote this post pre-covid and the advice still holds. At the office, after the gym, the grocery store, whereever you have exposure to external stuff and people, you come into contact with germs and bacteria.  I carry a small bottle of  liquid hand sanitizer gel in my purse and in my car. It's also a good idea to keep your hands off your face and out of your eyes. Germs and bacteria spread through touch so it's easy to infect oneself. Wash your hands often and as soon as you come home from being out in public. 

7. Disinfect the house regularly.

Okay, so I'm a Lysol gal, I admit it. I know it's probably loaded with chemicals but hey, it does the job and it beats getting sick. The germs are getting stronger and more resistant these days and I don't know any natural products that do as good a job at killing those pesky microbes. Spray the doorknobs, the fridge doors, the light switches as these all get touched often. If you can't stand the idea of Lysol, try making your own tea tree spray

8. Watch the sugars.

You might not know that sugar lowers the immune system. There's a good reason people get sick post-holiday season. Here's a good explanation of how sugar competes with vitamin C for white blood cell absorption. So all those cookies, candy and sweets that abound during the holidays besides putting weight on, also make us more susceptible to catching a nasty winter cold or flu bug. Enjoy the holiday season, but be sure to increase your vitamin C along and watch your sugar intake.

9. Stay warm. 

Perhaps you've heard your grandma or your mom tell you to "put more clothes on" or you'll catch cold. I always thought that was an old wives tale till this past winter, when I caught a winter cold. Yup, stuffy nose, sneezing, fatigue, and general malaise. So I googled it and guess what? Being cold lowers the immune system which makes us more susceptible to getting sick. There is something to be said for dressing warmly in the cold, damp winter months. Regardless of what the gas and electric company says, I raised my thermostat one degree to take off the chill. 

10. Isolate. 
Nobody enjoys being sick, and no one else enjoys being around someone who is sick. So as as public service message, if you are sick and have a cough or cold, stay home.  I begged off my tango class and a luncheon with my best friend. You're not doing anyone any favors by toughing it out and spreading your germs around. You are contagious for a lot longer than you feel badly. Be considerate of your friends and coworkers. 


When I worked in an office, every year for several years my next door cube mate would come into the office coughing and hacking and spreading germs all over the place. Inevitably, I would catch her cold. I tried bringing in a can of Lysol and spraying it to get her to take the hint. Finally, I said to her one day "You know, we can work from home when we're sick instead of coming into the office and spreading the germs,". She looked at me like "Wow, now there's an idea I hadn't thought of."


Okay, friends, these are my 10 tips for staying healthy this winter. If you do get sick, don't beat yourself up about it. We are human. Drink plenty of liquids, hot tea, and give your body and mind the rest they deserve and need. Rest and read a good uplifting book. Maybe one of mine. Shameless self-plug. Take good care of your body and it will take good care of you.


If you enjoyed this post and found it helpful, do join our communitfy. Simply enter your email address in the box provided and you'll receive my weekly posts and a copy of my free e-guide, "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path", I think you'll find interesting. My goal is to inspire, encourage, and educate whoever is open-minded and wants to grow. 


Stay tuned for more positive and practical wisdom to help you ignite the power within and discover YOUR DESTINY!


In the meantime, stay well and keep looking up!


Ariel Paz

All rights reserved. If you'd like to use this material contact me at arielpaz08@gmail.com.