Talk Takeaway: Self Improvement with Leeza Gibbons

Posted on Mar 4, 2013 10:45am

From her new book, "Take 2: Your Guide to Creating Happy Endings and New Beginnings" Leeza Gibbons offers advice on how to strengthen your spirit and face down personal fears.

Go for a gratitude hike.
This is a great action ritual you can do with the whole family, and it's important to have that formal act of writing down what you're most grateful for. We start by each writing a letter with our thoughts. We wait to share them with one another until we're all together on our hike and have found a place to share our emotions, the good and bad. My kids really look forward to it now, as much as they would roll their eyes. They really connect to this time we spend together and as a family value, it's great. You treasure the communication between each other. Ultimately this has become one of our most cherished family gatherings. I'm often overcome with emotion when I hear the words my children have written. They're always real, raw and authentic expressions of truth as they know it that day.

Create a bravery box.
A bravery box -- or a wisdom box, or box of courage -- can be anything; it can be an old jewelry box, an old shoe box, plastic container, or whatever box you like. It can be something you create for yourself if you need inspiration and motivation, or something you give to someone else who may be going through a tough time.  This is the place to fill with your quotes, reminders, and things that really matter to you.  This is also a great gift for people going to college, having a newborn baby, or for someone going in for surgery. It's for those touchtone moments in life. You can keep it somewhere personal and private or leave it on your dresser or coffee table.

Bury your burden.
When you bury your burden, you write down your worries, regrets, all the things that haunt you, disappoint you and worry you. All that negative stuff -- write it all down on a piece of paper, make a scroll and put it in the base of a potted plant or window box. Then plant something new there.  As the plant grows, it represents new hope despite all the junk and negativity at its base. Every time you see that plant, you realize that every day you grow stronger and gain new hope despite all that negative stuff in your past.

Find your sanity sanctuary.
One thing you should never be uncertain about, is that you deserve what I call a "sanity sanctuary" -- a place to go or something you do that reminds you of who you are. This is different for each of us: 15 minutes on a yoga mat, a phone call to a friend, or maybe an ice cream treat. Find the touchstones throughout the day that center you. These are places or situations that exist that make you feel safe. These are your non-negotiables. Don't allow people to encroach in your sanity sanctuary or force you to explain yourself.  Maybe it's just that extra five minutes in your car after you drop off the kids.  For me, when we're on vacation, I like to get up at the crack of dawn before everyone else to enjoy my coffee.  Also, taking a bath is a sanity sanctuary for me.  My kids know that when the bath is running, to leave mom alone.

Adopt a mantra.
Mantras don't have to be religious chanting; it's just like doing an "om." It really relaxes your brain and it goes beyond intellectual reasoning. I have many mantras but one of my simplest is "Breathe, believe and receive." When I feel under pressure, I start with shallow breathing, so it's a reminder to take a deep breath.  "Believe" is a reminder that "You've got this." And by "receive" I am telling myself that I don't have to do everything myself. For me, it's a quick way to reset. I like to think of mantras as a place you go where you're outside of yourself for a moment. When say your mantra out loud you become a cheerleader for yourself.

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