Making The Most Out

Of Your Strengths

I recently read an article about personal strengths that went into specifics on the how and the why we need to start using them more!


Starting . . .


Developing . . .


Taking Flight . . .

Benefits of Tapping Into Your Strengths:

  • Makes You Feel GOOD!
  • Boosts Feelings of Independence and Confidence.
  • Makes You Feel More Purposeful.
  • Helps You Stay Resilient When the Going Gets Tough.

Did you know there were 24 strengths? I did not know that. Character strengths are our capacity for thinking, feeling, willing, and behaving. Basically reflect what is BEST in each of us! Those strengths are part of how we positively identify ourselves.

Wisdom & Knowledge Strengths are #1 – #5

Justice Strengths are #6 – #8

Courage Strengths are #9 – #12

Temperance Strengths are #13 – #16

Humanity Strengths are #17 – #19

Transcendence Strengths are #20 – #24

  1. Creativity
  2. Curiosity
  3. Judgment
  4. Love of Learning
  5. Perspective
  6. Teamwork
  7. Fairness
  8. Leadership
  9. Bravery
  10. Honesty
  11. Perseverance
  12. Zest
  13. Forgiveness
  14. Prudence
  15. Humility
  16. Self-Regulation
  17. Love
  18. Kindness
  19. Social Intelligence
  20. Appreciation of Beauty
  21. Gratitude
  22. Hope
  23. Humor
  24. Spirituality

Each one of us has ALL 24 strengths, however; we each use those strengths differently! Your top strengths are called “signature strengths”. Those strengths that are most essential to who you are!


Using Different Strengths and Skills

3 Questions To Ask Yourself:

  1. Do you know your top strengths?
  2. How do you apply and use your strengths?
  3. How do you make the most out of your strengths?

By using and developing your strengths you are a happier and healthier being! In using your strengths you are physically and mentally experiencing the world you live in. In developing your strengths you are practicing and progressing in how to make the most out of your strengths. You are giving your whole being a boost as well as being productive, independent and competent!

The Most Prevalent Strengths In Humans Are:

  1. Kindness
  2. Fairness
  3. Judgment
  4. Honesty
  5. Gratitude

I love the juxtaposing of the five strengths! Kindness to Judgment. Fairness to Honesty. Then there is Gratitude.

The Least Common Strengths In Humans Are:

  1. Prudence
  2. Modesty
  3. Self-Regulation

What is Prudence? The quality of being prudent and/or cautious. Wisdom. Good judgment. Common sense.

What is Modesty? The quality or state of being unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one’s abilities. The quality of being relatively moderate, limited or small in amount, rate or level. Behavior, manner or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency.

What is Self-Regulation? Control by oneself. A learning process to develop a set of constructive behaviors that affect one’s learning. The ability to learn, adapt and change.

I was thinking and pondering . . . Are we born with these strengths? Yes or No or Depends. Are these strengths something we are taught and continue to learn as we develop? Yes or No.


Building Strengths and Skills

The Top 5 Strengths That Are Most Connected With Happiness Are:

  1. Curiosity
  2. Zest
  3. Hope
  4. Gratitude
  5. L-O-V-E
Think about the relationship between your heart and your head! Do you use your heart or your head? Think about practicing gratitude in living your life! It is about the whole being; mentally, emotionally, physically, and spirituality. Think about your emotions, feelings and thoughts of wellness and happiness when using your strengths!

Remember to make the most out of your strengths today! Your strengths are daily inspiration and motivation to your whole being. Your whole being will thank you for the GOOD and the POSITIVE in being HEALTHIER and HAPPIER!


Making the MOST Out of Your Strengths (Photos by RSheridan)

Love To Hear Your Thoughts, Please Share!


Florida Botanical Gardens – Part II

“Our Urban Oasis”

The Florida Botanical Gardens are a MUST SEE! Open daily from 7:00 a.m. until Sunset. Admission is Free.


Great Spots to Sit in the Gardens – Love that!

The Florida Botanical Gardens opened to the public on December 2, 2000.

  • 10 Gardens
  • 10,000 Plants
  • 182 Acres


The bee had to get in the shot!


My FAVORITE Photo!

Wedding Garden

  • A walled garden.


Bear Looking Over the Wall – Oh So Cute!

Butterfly Garden

  • A garden devoted to butterflies.

Native Plants Garden

  • Florida natives.
  • Wildflowers
  • Groundcovers
  • Trees and Shrubs


A Fig Tree


Close Up of the Figs


Oak Tree

Vegetable Garden

  • Raised beds of vegetables and flowers.

Herb Garden

  • Medicinal, culinary and ceremonial plants.
  • Scents
  • Colors

Cactus and Succulent Garden

Missed this area completely – have to go back for another visit!

  • Plant life and how it adapts for life in dry climates.

Misc. Photos


Still have not seen a Gator – where are they hiding?


Look at the feet on this Turtle – Yikes! (Photos by RSheridan)


Coping

Learning & Practicing 

To Be Resilient

In learning to be resilient you can promote health and happiness! The ability to cope and bounce back. The ability to overcome pressure, stress and setbacks. The ability to use it to your advantage and get competitive with yourself to succeed!

In practicing to be resilient you can promote what works best for you to live the life you want to live!


Practicing . . .

  • For instance, seeing the good and the positive in a situation; active optimism.
  • For instance, being in control and making the decisions that work best for you; decisive action.

In practicing active optimism you have the power and the ability to change! Taking that fight or flight response and learning how to move forward instead of retreating. Conquering and learning from mistakes, setbacks and failures. Being open and weighing your options in a situation to learn, grow and gain experiences for the better of your whole being!  

Along with active optimism one needs to take decisive action to rebound and move forward! Be in control and make those decisions, especially the hard, difficult decisions. No one but you should be making hard, difficult decision for you! 


Learning . . .

Most importantly listen to your inner voice, follow your heart and trust your gut! What are your beliefs,values, ethics, and morals? How do you make honorable and honest decisions for yourself? How do you look for truth and integrity in making decisions for yourself? Being true to who you are and following your path in doing what is best for your whole being is a good option!

Along with competing with yourself is finding that determination and persistence to go after what you truly want! Practicing persistence is also knowing when to release, let go and head in another direction. Practicing to be aware and open to all opportunities. Learning when to power up or power down in a given situation to protect yourself and use your energy to your best advantage!

Here is something to think about!

  • Who has your back? You as well as your greatest supporters or not.
  • Who can you depend on? You, your supporters, a select few, or no one in particular.

This helps immensely in being resilient and tapping into your strengths!

There is that need for closing ranks and supporting each other! Just because you ask for support or even help does not mean you are weak. It means you need support and assistance as well as love and care. You need that optimism and positive energy from others to cheer yourself on!


Loving . . . (Photos by RSheridan)

Remember to Build Yourself Up as well as Other People! Love to Hear Your Thoughts, Please Share!


Making Each Day Count

Seeing the Good and the Positive

Life is short! Every day is a NEW! Day. It is important to make each day count! 


A New Day!

3 Zen Principles

  1. Mushin: Mind Without Mind
  2. Zanshin: Presence and Awareness
  3. Satori: The Natural State

Open Minded

Think about this! Mushin means that your mind is not fixed on any emotions or judgments.

Individuals react without much thought to our own emotions and feelings let alone the other person’s. Individuals rush to make a judgment about something or someone in seconds. Individuals are quick to put out a fire and to find solutions to a problem. Individuals may take a challenge head on or at times just head (aka run) in the opposite direction.

That is being human and having instincts! We have a built in defense mechanism to protect ourselves. That fight or flight response! Your mind goes into overdrive in being reactive and jumping to conclusions. Your perception perceives what it wants to perceive! You start looking for something or someone to blame.

It is not always easy to keep an open mind let alone just hold yourself together! How do you not attach to your emotions, feelings and thoughts in those types of situations?  How do you remain clear headed and have an objective mind set? Just stop, breathe and take a time out or break from the action!


Openness . . .

Mindfulness

Being present and being aware! 

I am practicing to be more in the present moment! I am more productive and able to adjust. I am tuning into and tapping into what I need to nurture and nourish my whole being. I am a healthier and happier being!

Taking pleasure and joy in the smallest things as well as in the simple! 


Stillness . . .

State of Mind

I so need more Satori in my life! The natural state of the mind and the total harmony between the mind and the body. The body and the mind can play well together or be against one another! Reduce the tension, anxiety and stress. Decrease the distractions and disruptions. Being more in the present moment and doing more of what you love to do!

I think about children and how curious and open they are to just about anything and everything! It is about opening your mind and engaging your body. It is about finding the inspiration and excitement. It is about playing, laughing and having fun. It is about growing and experiencing each and every day!


Naturalness . . . (Photos by RSheridan)

What Is One Practice You Do For Yourself Every Day? Here’s To Living Your BEST Life and Making Each Day Count! Love To Hear Your Thoughts, Please Share!


Florida Botanical Gardens – Part I

“Our Urban Oasis”

The Florida Botanical Gardens are a MUST SEE! Open daily from 7:00 a.m. until Sunset. Admission is Free.


BEAUTIFUL!!!


A Good R&R Spot

The Florida Botanical Gardens opened to the public on December 2, 2000.

  • 10 Gardens
  • 10,000 Plants
  • 182 Acres

The 10 Gardens Are:

  1. Butterfly
  2. Cactus and Succulent
  3. Herb
  4. Native Plants
  5. Palm
  6. Patio
  7. Tropical Fruit
  8. Vegetable
  9. Vinery
  10. Wedding

Started off at the McKay Creek Pavilion and into the McKay Creek Plaza.

The retention pond in this area demonstrates how important water is to wildlife. The area is planted exclusively with Florida native plants. The area provides plenty of shelter and food available to a wide variety of animals.


An Anhinga Sun Bathing

Then wandered through the Tropical Courtyard, Pavilion and Bromeliad Garden.

Tropical Courtyard

  • Scented plants
  • Sit and rock under the ceiling fans.
  • Picnic area
  • Restrooms

. . . Strolled the Tropical Walk.

Tropical Walk

  • Shaded tropical walk.
  • Bold foliage and bright colors.
  • Taste of the tropics.

Fauna


An Elephant Ear

Flora

There is a “Tropical” Theme Going On!

Tropical Fruit Garden

  • Over a dozen varieties of banana and plantain.
  • Pineapple, citrus, mango, papaya, and other exotic fruits.


The Whole Banana Growth.


The Bunch of Bananas.


A Closeup of the Bananas.


Have Lime, Need A Coconut!

Palm Garden

  • Palms plants provide food, fiber, building materials, and oils.


Do these lizards get a head rush hanging upside down on trees?!?

Patio Garden

  • This home garden demonstrates a creative approach to displaying plants and landscape features.
  • Scented flowers
  • Colorful foliage
  • Gazebo
  • Waterfall

Fauna


A Ram’s Horn

Flora

Vinery Display

  • A 239-foot fence was installed as a backdrop and aluminum Hubble trellises – a three-dimensional design that will turn vines into trees.
  • An 18-foot cement circle connects the Vinery, the Palm Garden and the Memorial Walkway.

Misc. Photos


Love Cattails


Soaking In the Sun (Photos by RSheridan)

Happy Exploring – Enjoy!


Flourishing

Stretching,

Developing,

Maturing

Growing as a person is essential when it comes to living a life well lived! Growth can be simple or tough or everything in between. Growth can be an amazing transformation or a challenging tribulation. Growth is engaging your whole being to promote your own personal growth!

Building A Foundation

I realigned my foundation a few years back! I needed to get honest with myself and become a more loving person to my whole being. I needed to find truth and trust in myself again.

  • What are your beliefs and values?
  • What are your passions and hobbies?
  • What are you worth, especially to yourself?

Sometimes we are not putting our true selves out there! There is that disconnect. You hurt and stunt your growth. Personal growth is about being true to yourself and who you are as a whole being!

Think about what you say yes to, no to and what you negotiate for? Are there pros and cons? It is about quality or quantity? Do you use your voice to express yourself, especially for what you need?

The greatest gift you can give yourself is the relationship you have with yourself and the love you have for yourself! Communicate, engage and connect. Stretch, grow and gain. Love, kindness and happiness. Play, joy and fun.


Creating . . .

Weeding

I am learning and practicing better coping skills when it comes to my emotions, feelings and thoughts. To protect myself, set boundaries and be in control of my power and energy. To promote growth by stretching myself and gaining experiences. There are going to be cracks in the foundation and some of those cracks may need weeding!

A person can have strength and courage. A person can be vulnerable and have fears. A person can have beliefs and values to be an honest and truthful person. A person can change and transition again and again.

It is about practicing what you need to continue to learn, grow and experience! It is about journeying along. It is about accepting your story. It is about creating your story!

It is about releasing and letting go of what is holding you back (i.e. the past, regrets, etc.)! You do not have to rip out chapters in your story. Instead come to terms or let it go, move on and be in the present. Think in terms of what can be versus what could have been! You are right where you need to be and just be open to the opportunities and what is going on around you. You will discover the abundance and the richness in living your life on so many levels!


Practicing . . .

Experiencing Growth

In building a foundation and taking the time to weed you can experience growth! Practicing helps you get stronger. Progressing helps you learn and develop your skill set. Building and rebuilding helps you grow and gain experiences!

It is about doing what is BEST for You and Your Whole Being! Discovering your passions and finding your purpose. Becoming the person you want to be! Building a life you love.


Blossoming . . . (Photos by RSheridan)

What Are You Practicing To Flourish? What Are You Doing to Experience Growth? Love to Hear, Please Share!


Just Breathe

Open Your Heart

When you are feeling stressed out and on “over” everything remember to connect to your whole being from your feet to your head! Just breathe and communicate to your inner being. Just breathe and connect to you. Just breathe and focus on your heart to center!

 

“I am enough. I have enough.”

“I have all that I need. Come what may, I have all that I need.”

“I breathe in the light and love.”

“I breathe out to release and let go.”

Breathe in and count to 3.

Breathe out and count to 5.

Focus on a good, positive and happy memory. Hold on to it.

 

Breathing exercises are a good practice to start in becoming and being a healthier and happier being! Calm . . . Center . . .  Connect . . .

I know it helps me clear my mind and relieve the tension and stress! I can tune into my emotions, feelings and thoughts. I find my calm and centered self. I find the love, kindness, caring, and compassion that I need for me. I focus on the good and the positive and release and let go of the bad and the negative!

Breathe In . . . Breathe Out . . . Repeat . . .


Brooker Creek Preserve

In the Swamp

Brooker Creek Preserve is the largest natural area in Pinellas County with approx. 8700 acres! Located in Tarpon Springs.  Open Daily from 7:00 a.m. to approx. 1 hour before sunset. FREE Admission.

  • Environmental Education Center
  • Boardwalks and Hiking Trails; about five miles of trails
  • Brooker Creek
  • Native Fauna and Flora
  • Various Ecosystems
  • Birding

The preserve is a wilderness area and not designated as a park. Established in 1992 for the conservation, protection and restoration of native natural resources. It protects a portion of the Brooker Creek Watershed. Brooker Creek is the only stream that enter Lake Tarpon and a major influence on its water quality.

Ecosystems and Habitats

  • Cypress Domes
  • Forested Wetlands
  • Oak Hammocks
  • Pine Flatwoods

I enjoyed exploring the Cypress Domes ecosystem. Bald cypress, black gum and buttonbush. Hold water for long periods of time.

The creek system consists of 13 channels, which hold flowing water during the rainy season (May to October). The channels merge into one that outflows into Lake Tarpon.

The Pine Flatwoods ecosystem consists of tall longleaf, slash pines and saw palmetto. The longleaf pines were exploited as a natural sources of turpentine. The longleaf pines can be restored through frequent fire. Prescribed burning every 3 to 5 years encourages restoration and growth.

Fauna

Flora

Spiders


Female In Front and Male Behind

One Cool Bat House

Turtles and Tortoises


(Photos By RSheridan)

Happy Exploring In the Great Outdoors!


Relax

Check This Out!

I recently read an article by Dr. James S. Gordon called A Doctor’s Top 5 Ways to Relax Naturally. Dr. Gordon is the founder and director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) and author of Unstuck. All types of people feel “stuck” and it is not just depression, but anxiety, frustration, worry and stress-related too. From adults to even children. There is also the feeling of loneliness and not feeling the love due to being hurt and/or a lapse in or lack of trust.

There is a correlation between relaxation and meditation as well as nutrition and exercise.


Relaxing . . .

  1. Soft Belly Breathing
  2. Talking a Walk
  3. Perusing a Book Store
  4. Mindful Eating
  5. Thanking Nature

I was surprised to discover that I currently do all five.

#1 – Soft Belly Breathing

“It’s a simple way of quieting the stress and fight or flight responses, which are major contributors to anxiety, depression and chronic illness.”

I learned soft belly breathing through exercising and find it beneficial to do throughout the day too. I need a quiet place to go to breath though. Otherwise I cannot focus on my breathe and quiet my crazy mind. I find my thoughts wandering at times and either reign them in or just let them go.

Breathe slowly and deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth with your belly soft and relaxed.

I am not a fan of my anxious awkward being let alone the reactive one that tries to rear its ugly head at times. I need to pause and take a breathe in order to think instead of just being reactive. I communicate more effectively and make better decisions. I find myself considering the other person’s feelings and coming from a place of thoughtfulness and kindness.


Opening . . .

#2 – Taking a Walk

I do a good majority of sitting throughout the week for work and commuting. I need to move and walk and take the stairs multiple times a day. I need to get up to stretch and breathe. Moving just feels good after sitting and sometimes we sit for too long of a period of time.


Wandering . . .

#3 – Perusing a Bookstore

There is nothing better for me than perusing a bookstore and/or cooking/kitchen store! I can get lost as well as get my creative side going. I like to check out the new releases, cooking and travel sections. I like to check out the gadgets, table ware and linens. I can wander and peruse to my heart’s content!


Perusing . . .

#4 – Mindful Eating

My idea of mindful eating is taking the time to savor and enjoy what I am eating. I do the hoover method enough throughout the week. It is nice to slow down, sit down and enjoy good food and good company for an hour or so. I enjoy perusing the grocery store as well as taking the time to cook at home.


Savoring . . .

#5 – Thanking Nature

For me being out in nature is a stress reducer and a mood booster!

Nature also gives us abundance that we need to be thankful for! The farms. The food we eat and enjoy. The green spaces and sense of community. The fauna and flora as well as the light and the water.


Being . . . (Photos by RSheridan)

What Is One Thing You Do For Your Whole Being? Love To Hear Your Thoughts, Please Share!


Uncertainty

Learning To Live With It!

Life is full of uncertainties, right! Uncertainties are not right or wrong. Uncertainties are not correct or incorrect. Uncertainties are not perfect or imperfect.

Uncertainty:  the state of being, something that is unknown.

I like to look at the antonyms of the definition of uncertainty.

  • Assurance
  • Confidence
  • Conviction
  • Sureness
  • Trust

You can look to the future, but can you plan or predict it! You can set goals and intentions. You can dream and desire. You can live in the present and know you are where you need to be at this moment in time!

I was too busy in my teens trying to grow up. I was too busy in my twenties worrying and stressing out over the stupid crud. I am done with the worrying about the next thing and stressing out about how things will work out. I was too busy in my thirties trying to keep up and at times survive. I am so done with freaking out when things do not go my way or according to my plan.

I have a general outlook and I am good with that! I am slowing down and being more present overall. It feels good for my whole being. I have a general direction that I want to go in!

The pieces of the puzzle will come into being and fall into place when it is time! If it is meant to be it will be. I am grateful for the learning lessons, the growing pains and the experiences in living my life! It has brought me to where I am today and who I am.

I know I hope, wish and dream for good things to come into my life as well as exciting adventures to come my way! I know I want to continue to learn, grow and gain life experiences. I know I want to embrace the opportunities as well as the challenges. I know I want to interact and engage and be present now! 

There are questions with impossible answers or unknowns. Trust. There are things out of my control. Confidence. There are no real maps and directions. Conviction. There are no real plans and have to let it unfold. Sureness and Assurance.

I am learning to live each and every day with a healthier and happier approach! 


(Photos by RSheridan)

Here’s to Looking Upon the Horizon With Your Whole Being Firmly Planted In the Present Living It Minute By Minute, Moment By Moment, Memory By Memory! 


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