5 Ways to Find Your Calm in a Sea of Stress

5 Ways to Find Your Calm in a Sea of StressLife in unpredictable.  As surely as you are singing along with Frank Sinatra, about “That’s Life”, you will find that you are either riding high or feel shot down just like in his lyrics.

That’s life (that’s life) that’s what people say
You’re riding high in April
Shot down in May
But I know I’m gonna change that tune
When I’m back on top, back on top in June

I said, that’s life (that’s life) and as funny as it may seem
Some people get their kicks
Stompin’ on a dream
But I don’t let it, let it get me down
‘Cause this fine old world it keeps spinnin’ around

This fine old world keeps going though, doesn’t it?  I have been noticing more people reaching out to me during my live talks on my page, so I know that you need to hear this right now.

I am going to cut right to the heart of it for you.  I understand living stressed, pay check to pay check, with illness, wondering how in the hell you are going to get through the latest thing that life threw at you.  That moment where you look up and you say “Really?”  That moment where you ask why me, why now?  I have been there when the despair threaten to pull me under, but on that last gulp of air, as I came up from the bottom, I said not this girl.  Not now, not ever.

And that’s where the magic happens.  On that gulp as you decide this isn’t how it’s going to play out.  I am offering you a few extra gulps of air here so you can make it to the raft.  You can do this.

5 Ways to Find Your Calm in a Sea of Stress:

  1. Find your center.  In yoga, there is a point in the class when the teacher directs your attention inward.  I want you to do that in times of great stress.  It does take awareness to detect when you are not yourself and therefore need to re-center.  I like to connect to the emotional center and calm myself by placing my hand over my heart.  If I am barefoot, I stretch my toes and spread through all four corners of my feet.  I imagine my heart radiating the pink light of love and then washing over me to calm my soul.  There are many ways to find your center, but just visualize you are calm and take three deep breaths.
  2. Stay present with the breath.  This is one of the best tools in your almost empty tool-box.  I talked about your tool-box in length last week, and I want to give you something else to put in there.  Observe the breath.  Is it shallow?  Then start to slow it down and breathe deeply for a full round of three.  Say to yourself “I am breathing in.  I am breathing out.”  If you want to breathe deep into your belly, put your hand over your navel area and breathe into your hand.  Feel it rise and fall.  Just be present in this moment.
  3. Call in the mantra or affirmation.  In my Club, we have a focus for each month.  This month is positivity, gratitude and raising the vibration of energy that we can tap into when it is needed.  Our goal is to maintain our own energy source without being depleted by outside sources.  The best mantra when you are having a rough time is “This thought is a choice.”  You then direct your thought to a positive choice if you were going down a path that made you think negative thoughts.  Another great one is “It all works out and it will get done.” That is for those days you have taken on too much.  To make your own mantra right now, tap into what is causing you stress, then think about the exact opposite feeling you wish to create and call that in with a mantra.  “I am healing.” is the one I used for over a year when I was in pain 24/7.  One day, I woke up after doing yoga the night before and I began to realize that there was little to no pain left in my body.  Mantras can be a powerful force to direct your thoughts.
  4. Journal your way into gratitude.  When I was at my lowest point, and the pain was greater almost than my will, notice I said almost as that was when I resurfaced and took a large gulp to get to the life raft, anyway, that was when I started my mental butt-kicking with journaling.  Many of you know that I turned that into my program to teach others how to do the same thing called the Head|Heart|Health Club.  I was going to save as many people as I could who needed that extra gulp.  I began to notice all of the good in my life at one of the most excruciating times ever that I had personally faced.  It was literally a life changing process. Gratitude is one of the most medicinal emotions we can feel. It elevates our moods and fills us with joy. ~Sara Avant Stover
  5. I did the yoga.  On days I wanted to sit in my pajamas and never come out…on days I wanted to curl up in the fetal position, I switched to child’s pose instead.  The benefits of yoga truly changed my level of appreciation for my body and all that it was capable of doing even in the darkest moments of pain.  And so I gifted myself with continued studies and learned yoga for arthritis and pain.  I began to teach others who were in pain and by sharing my gifts, I lightened my darkest hours.  I also did the hard stuff and recorded myself teaching 8 beginning yoga poses as well as chair modifications for my Club and the benefits of doing these poses daily.

Articles that you might like to go with this:

5 Ways to Find Your Calm in a Sea of Stress

The Red Flags of Passive-Aggressive Behavior and How to Deal.

Dealing with passive-aggressive folksIt’s lunch time and you try to avoid seeing anyone in the break room as you know what’s going on in there.  The sharks are circling and trying to get any bit of juicy gossip they can feast on…in order to draw more sharks in.

It’s possible you might not even be aware of what is happening as snide comments are masked, and you are left feeling like you were just complimented and insulted at the same time.  Maybe they even said “Relax.  I’m just kidding.” Like that takes away the sting of their hostility.  The truth is, it doesn’t.  They know that what they said was carefully crafted to hurt.  These people have spent years acting this way and to be honest, might have been raised in a home that used tactics in passive-aggressive warfare. 

Passive-aggressive behavior is actually masked in sarcasm, silent treatment, withholding praise, being critical yet complimentary at the same time, arriving late, procrastinating or avoiding responsibility altogether, and basically sugar-coating mean remarks and hostility.

You can be sure of one thing.  This is open hostility towards you. 

If you noticed any of the above red flags of passive-aggressive co-workers, friends, or even family, it might be hard to deal with.  As a matter of fact, you might just want to shut down, but that’s exactly what they are after so I am going to give you a few tips on how to handle this.

5 Ways to Deal with Passive-aggressive Folks:

  1. Name it for exactly what it is.  Do NOT let them make excuses for why they treat you this way.  “Oh you can’t take a joke.  I was only playing.”  In order to make you think it’s your fault.  The truth is, they can feel when their behavior is wrong.  If someone is using shaming tactics, being unreasonable, making you feel uncomfortable deliberately, trust me, they know.  This is a repeated pattern.
  2. Shore your boundaries.  You can’t change them; however, you can change how you interact with them and how much.  Notice where they hang out and who they hang with.  That says loads about them.  Look them in the eye if they are speaking down to you, and stand up straighter.  Give visual and body language clues by making sure your shoulders are back and your head is held high that you are having none of their crap today.  Or any other day.  You don’t want or need that “energetic pooh” in your life.  << That links to my clean energy tips and what “energy pooh” really is.
  3. Notice how you are being and what triggers them.  If you are having a great day, got a great review, the boss patted you on the back or you got special notice, chances are, they’re probably jealous.  Yup.  Triggers their insecurities and bitterness.  I jokingly said today on my FB Live chat “Mama always liked you best” from the Smother’s Brothers, but it is a true trigger for some people.  Whether or not it happens to be true, the person who uses hostile words masked as “fun” is feeling left out or unloved.
  4. Maintain your composure during the “dig”.  Now is the time to practice RBF…resting bitch face.  Only the eyebrows move up a notch, but you just look at them and say nothing.  You aren’t going to change them, but staring at them for a minute usually makes them say more.  If all else fails, you can use humor, or simply walk away.  Want a bit more on what they are trying to do here?  You can read 5 Ways to Spot an Emotional Manipulator.  Or if guilt seems to be used try reading When Guilt is a Weapon<< opens in new tab.
  5. Be mindful of yourself.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of silly little games, but your weapon can be mindfulness.  How is arguing with them going to help?  What are they trying to gain from this?  Making you look bad.  If you engage, they are trying to poke the bear so to speak.  Oh look at what so and so said to me…can you believe it?  They will conveniently leave out all indication they said anything at all.  Just remember that words can be twisted but if you simply look at them and walk away, they have nothing to use against you.

Looking for a supportive group to build yourself up?  Find out more here.  << Click on I need support.

How to Recover From Being Lied to.

If anyone knows me, they know that I am in essence a lie detector…and I have to tell you, it stinks.  Deception, small or large, bothers me.  Lies of omission, where only part of the truth is told, or a version of the truth, are included in this.

When someone lies to me, first I check in with the gut feeling I get.  I always ask myself these questions:

  • Is it something I have done?  Yes/no?
  • Why wouldn’t they just tell me the truth?
  • Why did they feel the need to lie?

Here’s the truth.  The lie was never about me in any of the cases, but it still hurts just the same.  They obviously felt like they couldn’t tell me the truth because maybe this is always their default pattern.  Again, not my pattern, but theirs.  The reason they felt the need to lie is something that is in them…and that’s actually where my recovery process starts.

How to Recover From Being Lied to:

  1. In the moment, you have a quick decision to make.  Do you know them well enough to call them out on it and what is that going to do to your relationship?  Chances are, if you are reading this, you are just trying to move on with your life because it hurts and you know that calling them out on it isn’t going to change the behavior.  The only behavior we can truly change is our own and our reactions.
  2. Being taken advantage of actually means you are honest…and yes, it still hurts.  I treat people the way I want to be treated.  I would want people to tell me the truth and therefore I think others feel the same way.  This is actually not the case as I have learned over and over again.  Would it change the way I treat others?  No…it just has to change the way I handle that particular person.
  3. I let myself be angry.  I have a friend that I trust and not many fit that list.  I will go to that friend and that friend only to discuss the event.  It helps me to know that I am not alone.  They usually have a story to tell me about something that relates and our personalities are similar so I trust them.  Trust means a whole hell of a lot to me.  It is not something I take lightly.
  4. Lying is a vicious cycle that will catch up to them.  I had a narcissist friend for many years.  The lies were so thick that I think she actually thought she had fooled someone, but it wasn’t me.  Maybe it worked on other people, but I know that one day it will all come out.  It doesn’t matter if I am around or not, it will come out.  This includes co-workers, your boss, friends, partners, business folks, you name them, if they keep it up, they will get caught.
  5. Keep being real.  It really does hurt.  I know this.  Especially if you see evidence in social media right in front of your face numerous times.  You can lower your vibration by stooping to their level or you can rise above.  Countless times I have seen people who have cheated on their spouse, lied about where they are, tagged such in such in a photo proclaiming love, said they were too broke to go out with you then went somewhere else with someone else, you name it.  You know who you are and that’s all that matters.  Why they are doing this is their karma.

If you can move away from the situation over time, it really will help you heal.  Check out these articles for a little bit more:

Demystifying Yoga and Why You Need to Try it.

I remember the first moment I walked into a class known as “hot yoga”.  Yes, it was hotter than hell or so I imagined.  The class was heated to around 102 degrees with about 40% humidity.  I managed to last, but honestly wondered how many people passed out, threw up or went to the bathroom and never came back.

I pondered all of those things in the space of 5 minutes.  The people were all slim, seriously.  There was a mirror on the wall in front of me and I wondered why, whyyyy, would they do that to people wearing next to nothing.  And to top it off, a man walked in wearing what seriously was the smallest erm covering ever and put his mat in front of me (More on that later if you want to click the link).

Here’s the thing.  I was brand new and it wasn’t about any of these things, but if this was my first experience, I had nothing else to compare it to.  So, for those of you who are either nodding your heads, or wondering what happened next, I will help clear some things up.

This particular studio caters to the college students.  I didn’t realize that when I signed up as it was close to me and I wanted to see what all the “fuss” was about.  The people were very serious in this class and very much unforgiving that particular day.  It is not like this everywhere and just to be clear, it is not like this in every class there.  The phrase that I later discovered “your vibe attracts your tribe” is also true for yoga studios. 

Since I was a beginner, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  I tried it again years later at this studio and found that it still seemed not quite the right fit for me personally.  I wanted to connect with my body and my breath and I personally couldn’t do that while staring at a mirror.  It was way too distracting in this class.

I didn’t want the mirror to be my focus and I found the students body language as well as the instructors seemed to imply that if I didn’t do the pose a certain way, that I was less than somehow and the mirror was just confirmation.

The next place I tried offered Restorative Yoga Well, the few times I went I really enjoyed it…until I took a friend who couldn’t sit still at all, but that’s another story that I linked here.  You have to understand that I was mentally and physically in pain at the time, but I had come to the conclusion that it absolutely couldn’t get any worse (which was actually half right) and that to do nothing was insane (which was 100% correct).  So, the art of restoring my body back to the original factory settings appealed to me highly. 

We got to use bolsters, which are like pillows, blankets, blocks, straps and pretty much anything we had available to us at the time.  I felt very good about the process.  After a while of finding my place in this class, I finally decided to take what would become my greatest passion.

The Vinyasa “flow” Class.  What fresh hell was this my body whispered?  Why are we doing this?  My wrists said to me.  My brain said “Aww F-this.  No.  Noooo.”  But I sat on the mat with no mirror in front of me and listened as the teacher centered us.  I began to move and thought that if I needed a rest surely yoga was the place to find it, right?  Well, again.  Not all classes are created the same and they shouldn’t be.  So, in this flow, it was exactly that.  We literally flowed from pose to pose to pose, and I felt like we never stopped.

Again, my body was in the greatest pain it had ever been in at this time anyway, so I felt as if I had nothing to lose and everything to gain…if I could last.  It was literally like being on Survivor I thought.  I had to pace my thoughts so that I could make it 60 minutes.  Could I do this?

The first few weeks, were hard.  Down Dog was not my favorite.  I actually secretly despised it.  Planking.  WHY was that ever created in the first place when you could plop down on the damn mat.  Why did I want to actually hold myself up?  Why?  Anyway, all this moaning was only in my head.  At least for the most part.  I might have told my husband I wasn’t cut out for it.

Then the day happened when my wrists didn’t hurt quite as much, and in a moment of weakness I said yes to signing up for Yoga Teacher Training.  So, the truth is, I get it.  I really do.

I am not slim…I am curvy, but prefer not to put that label on my style of teaching as that’s just ridiculous.  I want to teach yoga that is truly available to every body.  Every size, shape, color or anything else you think is holding you back.  Are you in pain?  I understand.  Do you think you are too big busted?  I got you covered with modifications and ways to move those girls out-of-the-way.  Don’t want to wear yoga pants?  Fine, then wear what makes you happy…and ermm covered.

After 200 hours, and days I almost cried from the pain, I graduated from my yoga teacher training.  I couldn’t hold myself up at first.  Seriously, and had to modify by coming to my knees in down dog, one of the most used poses there seemed to be ever.  I had such poor wrists that I couldn’t side plank.  And I tried for a year to hold myself up in a pose called crow.  I want you to believe me when I say “trust the process”.  I additionally became certified in teaching yoga for arthritis and pain.  I am now a mindful coach who specializes in getting through this minute to the next, and the next and the next and learning to let go of the things that are holding you back.

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I would love to be able to help you with getting control of your thoughts, practicing visualization techniques, and creating affirmations that can help you move ahead with your life.

Available to you here >> Head|Heart|Health Club <<

Feeling Lost? Are You Open for Help?

Are you open for help?

I was thinking about how hard it is to ask others for help.  Maybe this isn’t the case with you, but if you clicked on this, I think you were meant to read it.  You see I like to help others, I really do.  The weird thing is, I tend to isolate myself when I need help.

Why is being open for help so hard?

I think one of the reasons it is hard to ask others for help is because we assume society is going to see us as something less.  Truly.  Here is a wee example of a similar mindset.  My youngest has inherited my luck at finding faithful and true friends.  They are out there, and I do have my Unicorn (the one friend you can always call on no matter what), but right now, being a teenager is hard for her.  I went through this as well.

Scenario:  I have to be partners with x mom.  I know she left me out about 3 times, but I am okay with this.  Okay?  Don’t say anything.  I am fine.  <<< Not really, but okay.

So what advice would you give your teenage self if you could go back?

Don’t be the freaking Martyr. Seriously.  I told her to suffer in silence as this person continues to blow her off is not okay.  That is good advice for a teen and good advice for adults as well.  Be open and honest about the fact that being used is definitely not okay.

It is okay to not be okay.  Why do we have to say “No really.  I’m fine.”  If you aren’t fine, you aren’t fine.  No shame attached.  People who make you feel shame have had that passed down to them.  They were told to stuff it so often that they truly have stuffed their feelings inside.  Don’t let that be you.

Sit with it a while.  As the mom of not one, but two teenage daughters, I realize that occasionally I want to put on my armor and run into battle for them.  I need to sit down.  They need to sit down.  We all need to sit down.  Just be for a moment and see what happens.

Write about it.  I give everyone a journal.  I tell everyone to journal.  Ever since my red plastic Hello Kitty Diary days with the locking mechanism that got stuck, I journal.  I was around 6…seriously.  I also remember writing something that made me feel bad for the first time ever.  I “heated” someone I wrote.  Whew.  They had made me feel bad, made fun of me, and hit me.   So I heated them right back…and that made me feel bad.  That was the first time I can remember that I knew that wasn’t the answer to my problems.

Talk it out.  Now comes the time when we really need a good talking to.  NOT a private message.  NOT a series of short texts my people.  A chat.  A sit down.  People.  Don’t isolate if the problem is not going away.  The first thing I say to my girls is “Did you really talk?  Not a text??”  We can read into the words what we feel.  Not how they are intended.

Seek help.  If the situation hasn’t magically improved by doing the work above, it really is okay to say that you need some help or ideas in learning how to handle your problems.  Especially if it leads into the area of depression or thoughts of harm.  Have a list of trusted people.  Don’t have one?  Private Message or call a friend you trust especially if you know they have seen a mental health professional in your area.  Don’t want to do that because you want to stay private?  Use your friend “Google” and read the testimonials of the folks or reviews.

In the end, of course there are things we would all do differently, but today here is your most valuable lesson.  You did the best you could with the knowledge you had at the time, and now you might have different thoughts, but it is time to let it go.  If you need help moving on, ask.

Are you open for help?

Interested in monthly content that can help shift your thoughts and move you to a new direction?  Want to change old patterns of thought?  Looking for a safe environment geared to your needs?  >>> Learn More <<<

How NOT to Multitask – Work Simpler and Saner

MultitaskGuest post by Leo Babauta

You’re working on two projects at once, while your boss has placed two new demands on your desk. You’re on the phone while three new emails come in. You are trying to get out the door on time so you can pick up a few groceries on the way home for dinner. Your Blackberry is going off and so is your cell phone. Your co-worker stops by with a request for info and your Google Reader is filled with 100+ messages to read.

You are juggling tasks with a speed worthy of Ringling Bros. Congratulations, multitasker.

In this age of instant technology, we are bombarded with an overload of information and demands of our time. This is part of the reason GTD is so popular in the information world — it’s a system designed for quick decisions and for keeping all the demands of your life in order. But even if we are using GTD, sometimes we are so overwhelmed with things to do that our system begins to fall apart.

Life Hack recently posted How to Multi-task, and it’s a good article on the nature of multi-tasking and how to do it while still focusing on one task at a time.

This post is How NOT to Multi-task — a guide to working as simply as possible for your mental health.

First, a few quick reasons not to multi-task:

  1. Multi-tasking is less efficient, due to the need to switch gears for each new task, and the switch back again.
  2. Multi-tasking is more complicated, and thus more prone to stress and errors.
  3. Multi-tasking can be crazy, and in this already chaotic world, we need to reign in the terror and find a little oasis of sanity and calm.

Here are some tips on how NOT to multi-task:

  1. First set up to-do lists for different contexts (i.e. calls, computer, errands, home, waiting-for, etc.) depending on your situation.
  2. Have a capture tool (such as a notebook) for instant notes on what needs to be done.
  3. Have a physical and email inbox (as few inboxes as possible) so that all incoming stuff is gathered together in one place (one for paper stuff, one for digital).
  4. Plan your day in blocks, with open blocks in between for urgent stuff that comes up. You might try one-hour blocks, or half-hour blocks, depending on what works for you. Or try this: 40 minute blocks, with 20 minutes in between them for miscellaneous tasks.
  5. First thing in the morning, work on your Most Important Task. Don’t do anything else until this is done. Give yourself a short break, and then start on your next Most Important Task. If you can get 2-3 of these done in the morning, the rest of the day is gravy.
  6. When you are working on a task in a time block, turn off all other distractions. Shut off email, and the Internet if possible. Shut off your cell phone. Try not to answer your phone if possible. Focus on that one task, and try to get it done without worrying about other stuff.
  7. If you feel the urge to check your email or switch to another task, stop yourself. Breathe deeply. Re-focus yourself. Get back to the task at hand.
  8. If other things come in while you’re working, put them in the inbox, or take a note of them in your capture system. Get back to the task at hand.
  9. Every now and then, when you’ve completed the task at hand, process your notes and inbox, adding the tasks to your to-do lists and re-figuring your schedule if necessary. Process your email and other inboxes at regular and pre-determined intervals.
  10. There are times when an interruption is so urgent that you cannot put it off until you’re done with the task at hand. In that case, try to make a note of where you are (writing down notes if you have time) with the task at hand, and put all the documents or notes for that task together and aside (perhaps in an “action” folder or project folder). Then, when you come back to that task, you can pull out your folder and look at your notes to see where you left off.
  11. Take deep breaths, stretch, and take breaks now and then. Enjoy life. Go outside, and appreciate nature. Keep yourself sane.
 

The ember of anger…and how to put it out.

Ember of Anger and how to put it out!

I am going to admit that there are times I run really hot.  There are things that other people speak about and they just don’t know the real deal.  They live in a bubble and seem to enjoy it there, and that’s fine for them, except when things don’t go their way.  They then emerge with their new mantle of indignation they have been knitting in said bubble, and proudly display it.

They point their fingers, and place blame.  Never having been the one to witness a thing.  But many think it feels good to blame so place blame they do.

I get asked all the time, how do I control my anger during times like this?

This is no easy task my friends, especially if you FEEL the anger radiating through your soul.  So let’s take 3 deep breaths and walk through a process you can use when this happens.

How to put out the ember of anger:

  1. Relax.  I know it’s hard.  You know that burning in your gut like you are about to explode?  Maybe it’s that shaky feeling that makes you almost sick?  How about clenching of the teeth?  Here is what you do. Stop.  Just say stop in your head.  Now focus on a stop sign visualization.  Everything is coming to a stop in your head.  Your body.  Your reaction.  You can control it right now and you are saying stop.  Visualize the stopping of thoughts.
  2. Breathe deeply.  Place both feet flat on the floor.  Even if you are in front of someone and you are about to go off.  Take your shoes off in front of them.  They want your anger, remember?  Breathe deeply for a round of three.
  3. Verbally tell them that you need a minute.  If they cross that boundary, that is on them, but you told them to give you a minute.  Be extra nice.  Think of a disarming comment you can make right this minute.
  4. Identify a miscommunication if there was one, because 90 percent is tone.  How did they just say something to you?  Did you take it as a personal affront?  Was it really a back-handed compliment?  Or can you pretend to misunderstand and turn it into a compliment?  When you start to use the situation, the anger is then reflected back on them.
  5. As difficult as it is, stick with “I” statements.  I recently had to do this about a situation involving someone who was particularly nasty and thought the world owed him something.  He felt entitled to something that was not his in the least and was actually breaking a clear law.  No trespassing signs all over the place.  Private property.  Some people though….feel the world owes them things and that is not on you.

What if you have done all this and the anger lingers?

  1. Hot bath at home with Himalayan Pink Salt.  <<Similar to mine.
  2. Put on your essential oils in your diffuser or roller ball.  Might I suggest this Stress Relief blend?  Keep it at work even.
  3. Keep a Yoga Mat at your desk.  Get. On. It.  Practice breathing on it and then stretch out for a minute, then pull yourself back together.
  4. When being Zen fails you, smush the crap out of this Squishy Stress Relief ball, close the door and do whatever you want with it.  Ha:)

Last resort, cue the music and go for a dance.  Or better yet, dare them to a dance off.  Humor always wins.

Can you choose your emotions just like clothes?

Pick your emotion

Complete this sentence.  I feel __________.  Happy?  Sad?  Depressed even.  What if you could change your emotions like how you can change your clothes?  What would you pick out to “wear”?

Well I have a secret.

Whatever your focus on, you feel.  I know.  It’s shocking.  When I go into Angry Hulk mode, every single thing seems to make me mad.  Likewise, when I go into “my life sucks” mode in my head, everything seems to go wrong.  The truth is, I just attract more of that feeling that I don’t want by looking at things this way.

As I would sit in traffic, I would purposely put my favorite music on so that I could focus on that instead of the feeling of anxiety by “being late” or by “being stuck”.  I wasn’t late.  I was arriving when I was destined to and I wasn’t stuck…I just simply was there for a moment.

As I thought about the things that were wrong in my life, they seem to multiply like that old saying “things come in threes.”  I can change my emotions just like my clothes and I have learned to stop a spiral as soon as it starts.

So how can you choose your emotions?

  1. Take control of your head.  Mentally, slap yourself.  Say Snap outta it or whatever you need to do, but remind yourself that it is time to shift your focus.  Does dwelling on the bad make it better?  No.  Could it possibly make it worse?  Yes because you could have a heart attack from the stress, or you could experience heart palpitations from working yourself up over the “thing” in your head.  Trick to try: Visualize a gear shift in you head.  It is now shifting from ____ to happy.  From whatever that emotion is to the opposite.  Lots of time in my group work or my Club, I will tell them to use a thesaurus and work from the feeling they want to get to.  So let’s say it’s peaceful.  We will now shift to that feeling mentally as we visualize a hammock or a garden scene or whatever takes us there.  As we do that, our brain actually sends out the “shifting” signal so that we really are taking back control.  You can do this my friends.
  2. A body in motion.  So you can’t really start running around wherever you are, but how are you being?  I teach a mindful yoga class and let me tell you, the first one, people are all kinds of ways not paying attention to the body language they are sending me.  Phones out, arms crossed, angry-looking eyeballs and frowns.  It almost knocks me over at the first yoga class, but I then start to work my magic.  By the end people are so used to watching how they are being that I can tell.  Try this:   Bring your shoulders up to a shrug then gently rotate them away from your ears.  Let the shoulder blades glide down your back and now bring your hands to heart center with the palms touching.  We call this prayer hands, Anjali Mudra or even Namaste hands, but it is a gesture of peace.  Breathe in and out for a round of three and see how you feel now.  Better?  I thought so.
  3. What are you saying to yourself?  Are you stuck in some old cycle of rubbish?  Do you think things should have turned out differently so you are in constant drag mode?  << Drag or lift baby.  Trust me.  Your feed is full of people who are dragging your energy down daily.  Don’t carry that with you.  Wake up.  Decide to feel awesome.  Proceed to do just that.  Each and every day in my Club, we are constantly re-aligning ourselves.  If the mood starts to shift to drag, I encourage my mindful students to think about ways to cut that drag force out of their lives.  How can we do this?  Try this tip: Leave $5 forward at the register for the next person.  Hold the door when you see someone coming.  Make eye contact with the homeless even if your friend says “You don’t know if they are really homeless.  I see them here allll the time.”  << note friend is a drag force.  get to a room of people working on the same goals as you and if you can’t be there in person, try a virtual club.  But make sure there are more lift forces in your life!! 

Would I like to see you in my Club?  Absolutely.  But only if you really want to work on the things we just talked about and you feel you could really benefit from learning more mindful practices.  Just hit the “I need support.” button over here.  <<< as I linked those words to my platform.  I don’t hold you hostage and you are free to leave at any time.  I am just adding some tools to that toolbox of yours for a day when you really need it.

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7 Ways Starting a Daily Journal Practice Will Change Your Life

7 Ways Starting a Daily Journal Practice Will Change Your Life

I’ll never forget the night I sat down and decided that there was much more to keeping a journal than 30 days of Gratitude.  Don’t get me wrong, that is absolutely what started my goal of journaling for an entire year.  In 30 days, I saw more progress in my outside world than I had in a long time.  Starting a daily journal practice absolutely will change your life…if you commit to getting to know your subconscious mind. 

The thoughts.

There was a chasm, a freaking chasm, between who I wanted to be and what my thoughts were telling me.  I was not living up to my full potential and the 18 years of living with invisible diseases had worn away the once shiny coat I saw of life.  It was dull and bitter.  This wasn’t what I saw my life looking like, I would think through the hazy fog of pain.  Why bother getting out of my pajamas?  My subconscious would tease me.  Get under these blankets and rest.  You deserve it.  You have 7 invisible diseases.  No one blames you for sitting here.  You are just trying to survive.  And that’s when it hit me.

The goal.

I wanted to live, not merely survive.  I wanted to change my thoughts, my world and help others like me.  I wanted to be an inspiration to my children and I wanted my husband to stop feeling so helpless about the physical pain I was in.  I wanted my dad to stop looking at me like he broke me by passing on the genes that made me different.  And one night, it all came to me on how to help others with this.

7 Ways Starting a Daily Journal Practice Will Change Your Life:

  1. Journaling clears your head.  As you begin the “getting ready for bed” routine, your brain has probably been on some sort of tech.  Your brain still thinks it’s play time actually, so it’s time to start clearing our heads, and start putting our brains to bed so to speak.  It is time to reduce the scattered thoughts that so much information available to us at one time (the internet) provides us.  As we get ready for bed, it is time to increase our focus on a few specific things and start to recharge.  We are now providing the bridge between our subconscious and our conscious waking thoughts.  So much information can just flow if we let go!
  2. Your intentions become more clear.  A few weeks ago, you would have thought I asked people to throw away their phones.  I simply suggested getting an old-fashioned alarm clock and stop relying so much on your phones to wake you up in the morning.  I merely pointed out that the tone with which you start your day stays with you (and that link is even a few years old, it is much greater now as it points out in the study).  So if you take 5-10 minutes to think about what your wrote the night before, and how to utilize the first 10 minutes of waking up as pure visualization, gratitude practice, and goal setting, you will start to see tiny changes in your productivity during the day.  New opportunities will arise.
  3. Abundance in your life will increase by your ability to be very specific with what you want.  Last year, I paid off a very high credit card bill because I wrote about my monthly goals every single month until that thing was paid off.  I was not in a good place financially at the time due to me leaving work to have my “sabbatical” of healing.  This is a true story.  I was driving a mini-van that was falling apart, and I knew that I wanted a new vehicle.  The funds came in for me to pay off the credit card bills, and have money left-over to get the vehicle without worry or fear.  I also renewed my passport and traveled overseas where I had been invited to speak at a conference.  It was exactly what I had written out.  I was specific on some things I wanted to get done and each month as I started a new month, I would plan out that month’s goals.  I got very clear and things changed.
  4. How do you want to feel each day?  Why is it so frustrating that as we live our lives, we focus so much on what we DON’T want to attract??  Why is it that we don’t ever take a minute to connect to how we actually want to feel?  To live?  What do we really want to experience on a daily basis?  I am by no means saying that there aren’t wonderful people out there who can help you figure this out in therapy, but I was spending my co-pay ($25 a visit at the time…now up to $30), trying to get “unstuck” from the depression caused by the diseases when I finally had the Epiphany that if I wrote just a little bit each day on how I wanted to feel, and what I wanted to create, that I could make more progress through the mental jungle in my head than the lady sitting there listening to me could.  I was holding back what I told her anyway (note, you can also use this in addition to, so just letting you know. There are many ways to use journaling).
  5. Gratitude starts to increase as you notice the good in your life.  Do you ever think that someone in your life could use more thoughts of gratitude?  I did too.  But trying to change another person is like changing a light bulb using the Force (unless you truly are a Jedi and I am mistaken).  You can mentally torture yourself about this other situation that you can’t change, or you can start focusing on the good you already have in your life.  As we think about the good in our lives, and we seriously raise our vibration to one of thankfulness and gratitude, things start to take on a whole new perspective.  Trust me, I know.  I will never forget the day I got to stock up my refrigerator with good food because surprisingly, gluten-free items are way more expensive than things with gluten…as well as things that don’t have additives.   I was so very thankful that I lived in a time when I could find the food I needed without getting sick.
  6. Comparison starts to melt away.  I was once friend with someone who always wanted what other people had.  Nothing in life made her happy.  At all.  This kind of stuff melts away as you focus on your monthly goals, your monthly intentions, your happiness and what you have.  Who cares what person x “appears” to have?  Truth bomb.  They are faking it too sister.  Yup.  Marriage might be rocky, job might be stressful, and they never have time to just breathe.  Don’t focus on their fappiness.  <<< My word for Fake-happy I made up one day.  That’s another story before the healing process…read later if you are there.
  7. Journaling gets you closer to self.  Head is where your thoughts are and they are things you really don’t want others to know.  Heart is actually where your self lives.  The two don’t always agree.  In fact, they often argue.  Your head is like “Let’s be practical with this money.”  Your heart is like “Oh my gosh.  I need a pick-me-up today.  Going to shop.”  This is just my example as I couldn’t put 2 thoughts together the other day as it was a bad news day for 2 friends, so I listened to my heart and stopped working and left the house.  AS I let go of that fear though, and learn to write about it, I actually visualize things working out.  Not just for me, but for others in my life as well.  Self is my essence and I know that it distinguishes me from others.  In this instance, I am not talking about the ego.  I am talking about who I was before I let all the labels of disease try to take over that essence.  For me personally, I had to find my way back there and that journey will look different for each and every one of you, but whether you write two lines on a page, draw art therapy photos under quotes, bullet journal, or just jot down monthly goals and intentions, you can find your way back.  Trust the process.

For more information on what came to me one night while I was journaling, see this link on my Mindful Coaching.  If you want some guidance on this process, with no strings attached, you can leave at anytime, click on the word support on that page and find me in my closed group.  The Head|Heart|Health Club would love to see you this month!

Who are you choosing to be?

Reduce Stress Now With These 3 Tips!

tips for stressEvery single day, I see signs of stress.  The most stressed people seem to pop in to my yoga class as beginners.  They are literally alive with stress.  I can read their energy like a neon sign.  Do I have the right mat?  Let me look at my phone again for just a second to alert everyone not to bother me for an hour.  Oh, look at her yoga pants.  Is that what I should have bought?  My toes.  Crap.  I didn’t get a pedicure and this class sees my toes.  What if she makes me ohm?  I can’t be doing that.  It’s against my beliefs. 

Okay, so some of these have actually been said directly to me as the yoga teacher…and others said to a friend nearby.  It’s a small quiet space and I pick up on things.  The truth is, I can actually narrow it down to 3 tips because we just don’t do this in our lives.

Reduce Stress With These 3 Tips:

  1. Be present.  <<< I can actually end the article right here, but most people don’t know how to be present, so let me explain.  I read somewhere that being present is an ART.  And I want you to remember that.  In your Activities, Routines, and Triggers.  What we do daily…where we are.  Kids activities or yours.  Be mindful of your feelings and stress levels.  In your daily routines, pay attention to what you are thinking about.  Is it in the now or the past or future?  Focus.  Lastly, triggers.  These we need more help with.  <<< You can open my linked guest post after this.
  2. Are you taking a step back and breathing?  Most people do not take a step back and inhale deeply.  Even in my yoga classes, I actually have to teach deep breathing.  People even breathe quickly.  Like hurry up breath, I got things to do.  But instead, rephrase and mentally say “I can slow down and breathe today.”  If you take longer, deeper, more cellular breaths you will actually start to lower your blood pressure, so do that for a full round of three.  Daily.  Each time you feel stress, panic or anxiety come on.
  3. Think for yourself in a non-judging way.  As I said today on my FB Live, yes, this one is hard people.  Most people lack the ability to just let the thoughts pass by as observations.  Sometimes we think not nice things.  About ourselves, others, society as a whole, etc.  Sometimes, the thoughts aren’t even ours.  They were programmed in long ago by things we heard our parents say and now we say them to ourselves too.  But what if we practiced discernment?  The ability to practice more understanding or awareness.  What if we knew we sounded like a programmed robot on auto-pilot?

My glorious and wonderful friend was so scared of letting me down, her words, in my yoga class that she came in apologizing.  She hadn’t seen me in years, and wasn’t aware at all of how I taught yoga.  She knew she wanted to do it, and in her eyes, it was the Instagram version.  Umm no.  I am not an Insta teacher.  She thought she had to be flexible (no), dressed in the latest (no), and have a pedicure.  No.  It took several classes of me actually teaching the yogic breathing, philosophy and more to get her to come in to class and just breathe a sigh of relief.  No one was watching her.  They were all in their own heads.  It is okay to fall out of a pose.  It is okay to try something and fail.

The stress she had created in her mind was all based off assumptions of judgement, and fear of wanting to fit in.  As we practice patience, trust, acceptance, and letting go, we can begin to feel the stress melt away.  So what if you mess up?  In anything?  The beauty of life is that you can start again.