living intuitively

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Posts tagged mind health
L E T it G O
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Newsflash, y'all: We're human! This means we lose our cool. We get impatient, sad, and unreasonable. We snap at people and occasionally act a fool. We sometimes feel anxious, fearful, and unsure.

We've all been there! We all get it. It's not something for which we should hide or criticize ourselves. It's all part of the human experience, amigos. 

The key lies in how quickly and effectively we can get back to good. How speedily we can release those negative vibes and return to those good vibes. 

Exercise the letting go muscle: the healing is in the return, not in never having wandered to begin with.
— Sharon Salzberg

Salzberg is a New York Times best-selling author and teacher of Buddhist meditation practices in the West. Cool lady, I'll tell you that. As she indicates, our "wandering" from peace and happiness is not the focus; rather, it's the return that matters. We're all going to wander - some of us less often, some of us more often, than others. Forget about the frequency. Focus on strengthening the "return" muscle. The more we train and use it, the stronger it gets. The faster and more often you can let go and release those negative emotions, the better you'll get at it. 

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The art of concentration is a continual letting go.
— Sharon Salzberg

Letting go can be tough stuff. It could be letting go of a toxic thought, a resentful feeling, self shame or guilt, frustration, worry, rage, whatever. Sometimes it's not just a snap of the fingers to bring instant relief. It's important to feel those negative emotions (so they don't become repressed and fester), and then let that shiz go. The secret is self compassion. Maybe you made a mistake (yelled at your kids, or wrongly accused your friend) and feel awful about it. It's okay! Genuinely apologize if necessary (if the situation calls for it), make amends if you need to, and move the heck on. Come back into balance with kindness toward yourself. This makes the process faster and restorative. 

Meditation trains the mind the way physical exercise trains the body.
— Sharon Salzberg

Same concept if you're meditating. If you've ever dabbled in it, you know how challenging it can be! It's not about sitting there in perfect, no-thought bliss. Your head will likely be swimming with thoughts, like, "I'm hungry." "I'm tired." "Oh, shoot, I have to buy a birthday present for my friend. I hope I remember to do that!" "How long has it been?" And on and on and ON. But as Superstar Salzberg advises, "The healing is in the return." That right there is why you're meditating: to get better at returning to peace. And if your thoughts keep coming, great! More opportunities to strengthen that "return" muscle and get crazy buff. 

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This universe is much too big to hold onto, but it is the perfect size for letting go.
— Sharon Salzberg

And if anxiety is your thing? Letting go is the antidote! This takes time to master, but once you get the hang of it - it's a beautiful thing. Utterly miraculous. When you're fearful/anxious, you're trusting in your own strength. When you're at ease, you're trusting in the strength of the higher power (God/Universe/Allah/whomever). My favorite mantra recently is: "I relax. I let go. My life is in perfect flow." I repeat this to myself over and over when I'm feeling overwhelmed. Let me tell you, it really comes in clutch every night when I lie down to sleep and have a zillion thoughts sprinting through my head. It grounds and calms my thoughts, serving as a focal point to instantly relax me. Try it!  

xx,

-w-

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I A M pretty
Beauty starts in your head, not your mirror.
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Do you remember when you were five and you didn't give a flying f*** what you looked like in a swimmy? You were just jazzed to be soaking up those rays. You didn't care about appearing a certain way or emitting a certain vibe. You were just YOU. 

So what the hell happened?

Somehow from childhood to adulthood, we start caring. We start caring a LOT. 

If you're lucky, you learn to stop the madness (or at least mitigate it). You learn to reclaim your power. Your self-love. Your confidence. You learn to shift the focus from the superficial to the real. The fleeting (looks) to the forever (soul). As cheesy as it sounds, you concentrate on the interior rather than the exterior. You're more concerned with how you FEEL, and the energy emitted by you/others. That's what really counts, right?!!

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How many rad, fun opportunities have you tainted for yourself by stressing over what you look like? Or worse - how many cool opportunities have you bypassed altogether, because of feeling too fat/ugly/whatever other self-loathing adjective you can think of. I know I have. And it's total bullshit. E N O U G H. 

And I said to my body, softly, “I want to be your friend.” It took a long breath and replied, “I have been waiting my whole life for this.”
— Nayyirah Waheed

I'll be honest, it took me what felt like an eternity to get to the point of full self acceptance. It was a long, gnarly road. I used to hold impossibly high standards for myself, and constantly fought my body at every turn. That shiz is exhausting. I'm sure many of you can relate (which makes me sad!). The shocking reward of finally accepting myself??? I actually look and feel better than ever before! It's like my body breathed a giant sigh of relief and said, "Okay cool - finally, let's play on the same team." It's been awhile now that I feel good in my skin, so I KNOW lasting results are possible!

I found I was more confident when I stopped being someone else’s definition of beautiful and started being my own.
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So what shifted it for me? 

  • Exhaustion
    • Honestly, it drained me and I maxed out. I just got tired of constantly mentally beating the daylights out of myself. SO.NOT.WORTH.IT.
  • Mindfulness and positive self talk
    • First I became aware of my negative thoughts, and then punched them in the face. In other words, I halted them right there, and replaced them with compliments. A lot of it was a "fake it 'til you make it" tactic. If I hated my arms, I would tell myself how much I loved them, and emphasized how strong they are. Ironically, now my arms are one of my FAVE body parts!
  • Gratitude
    • Thanking my body for taking care of me and keeping me alive. Expressing love for it through thought, word, and action. Knowing that contrary to my prior belief, my body really was trying to look out for me and be a team player. Removing that pressure for it to fit a certain beauty ideal really did make all the difference.
  • Focusing on how I felt rather than how I looked
    • Do I feel energetic? Happy? Motivated? If yeses across the board, then I'm solid. If not, I'll focus on the area needing my attention.
  • Self care
    • Wanting to take care of my body to keep it happy and healthy and thriving, not frustrated and starving and self-destructing.
Confidence will make you happier than any diet ever will.

 

  • Intuitive eating and moving
    • By slowly re-learning to tune into my body, I can sense what it wants and deliver. Our bodies are truly miraculous and intelligent. The cleaner your palate (less clogged with packaged frankenfood), the more you can understand what your body is telling you. My body constantly amazes me with its cravings. Time and again, I'll suddenly crave something and then be able to attribute it to a certain reason. For example, I'll crave citrus and then feel the beginnings of a cold that my body was able to fight off. The last time I had blood work done and discovered the minerals/vitamins in which I was deficient, it suddenly made PERFECT sense why I crave my salad every single day: all of the ingredients in there are booming with the vitamins/minerals in which I'm deficient. My body continues to crave those nutrients because it is still healing from malabsorption issues due to prolonged antibiotic use (another story for another day!). 
    • When my body screams for rest, I acquiesce and pump the brakes. This one can be a little tricky to master, knowing when you need to move to feel better and when you really do need to recover. You definitely need one or two rest days a week. Ironically, though I love high-intensity workouts, my body does not. A moderate workout regimen actually helps me look, feel, and perform better. So experiment a little and heed what your body tells you. Remove your ego and let your body be the boss.
Self love is accepting that the body you were given is enough and taking care of your body isn’t the same thing as obsessively manipulating it.
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And the biggest secret of all that eluded me all those years?? CONFIDENCE. How you carry yourself matters FAR MORE than what you actually look like. It's mind blowing how true that is. Think about it. Think about someone you've seen at the beach/pool. They might not (gasp!) have a thigh gap, they might have cellulite, they might be rocking a "plus size" but they are FEELING THEMSELVES. And that instantly makes you feel them too (but, you know...not literally. Unless you're high fiving them for looking so fly).

If someone carries themselves proudly and confidently, that automatically ups their attractiveness. It's like friggin' magic. Try it! And if you're not feeling yourself just yet, fake it 'til you make it, baby. No really. Pretend. Trust me on this.

In a society that profits from your self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.

Sometimes I'll put on a piece of clothing on and think, "Not your best look." Maybe I think it makes me look bigger, or shows off some celly. So I'll make myself wear it anyway. I'm so done with letting my body image hold me back. For example, I wore some leggings to teach Pound the other night that made my thighs look less toned (hello, literal spotlight, while teaching in front of a class!). Plus, as I'm sure many of you can relate: one minute you can feel like a busted can of biscuits, and the next like a svelte supermodel. Like...sometimes even within the same hour. It's b a n a n a s how that works. 

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Awhile ago, I saw the movie I Feel Pretty with Amy Schumer. I went into it expecting cheesiness and forced humor. I was happily so wrong. It was fun, it was funny, it was touching. Highly recommend. 

There is more to say on this topic, but rather than going on for dayzzz about it, I'll split it up into two posts. Thanks for staying with me this far! In the next one, I'll highlight a FANTASTIC article my friend shared with me. You should consider checking out the post if you: 1. have social media. 2. are a parent. 3. are human. We'll discuss how beauty ideals have changed in this brave new world we're living in, which includes social media. Gone are the awkward teenagers, replaced by adolescents who know their angles, know their makeup, and know their sex appeal. I really think you'll be glad you read it. 

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xx,

-w-

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C H A N G E
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography


Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead, let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?
— Rumi

C H A N G E. Depending on your mindset/circumstance, change can be welcomed or dreaded. Accepted or resisted. 

If you're stuck in a job you hate and are suddenly offered your dream job, change is pretty great. If that dream job is across the country in a completely unfamiliar city, away from family and friends...it might seem daunting and stressful. 

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LIfe is about change. Sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes it’s beautiful. But most of the time, it’s both.
— Lana Lang

Some people naturally thrive on change - even seek it. Some avoid and resent it. And some fall somewhere in between. Where are you?

However, no matter where you fall on the spectrum, change is inevitable. As they say, the only constant is change. So since we know it's a given, let's talk about tips for accepting it. 


The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
— Socrates

1. View it as a developmental opportunity.

As Socrates advises, the trick is to stay forward-focused. Try to minimize time spent reflecting on how great things were pre-change. Try to emphasize the positives the change will bring - or at the very least, the opportunity for you to incorporate positivity.

Decide to make it as beneficial and enjoyable as possible. It's happening - and it's ENTIRELY within your power to make it a good thing. Instead of focusing on loss, focus on gain, particularly regarding your power. Change can leave us feeling powerless, so spin it and focus on the power you DO have - and how you'll use it to your benefit. 

Change is a fantastic opportunity for us to step into our full potential and become a better person than we were before. If you reject change, you'll deny yourself - and the world - the chance to become all you can be, thereby denying the world your full talents and gifts. Please don't do that!


Sometimes our lives have to be completely shaken up, changed, and rearranged to relocate us to the place we’re meant to be.

2. Trust everything happens for a reason.

Know the universe is conspiring for you, not against you. Think back on every significant change you've experienced thus far. If you're anything like me, the changes that sucked the most to endure were the changes for which I was ultimately most grateful. They taught me the most/improved my life the most. 


Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.
— Eckhart Tolle

3. Know you are not alone.

Everyone feels doubtful and uncertain sometimes. These feelings are 100% normal, and the sooner you recognize and accept this, the sooner you will reach peace. Acknowledge your emotions, feel them without repressing them, and let them float on their way. 

4. Allow others to support you.

Let others help you. Please don't enable pride to prevent you from doing so. If you lack supportive friends/family, seek out other resources to help with what you need, whether it's a moving company, support group, etc. Chances are, you're not the first one to go through this change, so there are likely established resources to ease your adjustment. We're all in this together!!


Sometimes the place you are used to is not the place you belong.

5. Take care of yourself.

Now more than ever is a crucial time for you to practice self-care. Eat nutritious food. Move and stretch your body. Ensure sufficient rest. Practice meditation, or at least incorporate down time into your days. Take care of you, so you can meet the change(s) with your best self. 


Change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.
— Robin Sharma

xx,

-w-

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
— Charles Darwin
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CHOOSE HAPPY
It A L L begins and ends in your mind. Your thoughts, your motivations, your concerns. Your goals and stressors. Your world. Your e n t i r e reality. Your mind serves as that brief disconnect from what happened - and what you perceived happened. From what your friend said to what you perceived your friend said. To what you're seeing, to what you perceive you're seeing. Essentially, you filter your world through your mind. If your mind, or filter, is cloudy and troubled, your perceived "reality" will be cloudy and troubled. Things will seem complicated/hard/gloomy. If your mind is happy and bright, so will your reality be. If your mind is calm and clear, your reality will be so as well.    Your reality reflects the state of your mind. Do you see   just how powerful   your mind truly is?  But you know this, right?  Next question: Do you R E A L L Y know this? Know it enough to prioritize your mind health? To do right by you and practice self-care, through meditation/yoga/personal development books/exercise/delicious bubble baths? I mean, think about it for a minute. No really. We have the power to make our lives pretty dang fantastic. It's as if a cute little fairy tapped you on the head with a sparkly wand, granting you the gift of perfect hair days every day for the rest of your life, and you replied, "Eh, I like bad hair days. They build character." In the words of my favorite meme, "Y tho?" Whyyyy would you do that? Why would you waste your power? I don't know about you, but i want to be happy.  If you're thinking, "Well, yeah, it seems like a great theory at all, but it's incredibly tough to stay zen when life throws you curveballs, like a job loss/divorce/sickness/etc. Or you just feel down and out for no reason. Or your significant other is working your last nerve. Here are some important aspects to remember:        1. Negative emotions are inevitable. Accept this, acknowledge and honor them as they arise, and do your best to let those bad boys go. You have the power to override negative motions by choosing what you want to feel. As Brendon Burchard points out in his new (and excellent!) book, High Performance Habits, emotions are instinctive and happen mostly without our conscious will; we just suddenly feel the emotion because our brain interpreted something happening and attached a meaning and emotion to it, mostly based on past experience.   But we don't have to be slaves to our emotions - we can work around them! Let's say you have to deliver a speech and you feel fearful and anxious. Re-frame them in a positive light: Those emotions are simply reminding you to be alert, speak up, and focus on how you can serve your audience  and effectively deliver your message.  2.  It's not about not feeling/having negative emotions. It's about how quickly you can get back to good. In a later post, we will discuss some tips.              3.   It's a muscle you have to strengthen. It may seem daunting at first, but the more you do it, the easier and more rewarding it is. A little self- discipline up front will carry you a long way. it's a worthy initial investment that will pay off exponentially.   So let's choose happiness. Say yes to happiness.  xx,  -w-      

It A L L begins and ends in your mind. Your thoughts, your motivations, your concerns. Your goals and stressors. Your world. Your e n t i r e reality. Your mind serves as that brief disconnect from what happened - and what you perceived happened. From what your friend said to what you perceived your friend said. To what you're seeing, to what you perceive you're seeing. Essentially, you filter your world through your mind. If your mind, or filter, is cloudy and troubled, your perceived "reality" will be cloudy and troubled. Things will seem complicated/hard/gloomy. If your mind is happy and bright, so will your reality be. If your mind is calm and clear, your reality will be so as well.  

Your reality reflects the state of your mind. Do you see just how powerful your mind truly is?

But you know this, right?  Next question: Do you R E A L L Y know this? Know it enough to prioritize your mind health? To do right by you and practice self-care, through meditation/yoga/personal development books/exercise/delicious bubble baths? I mean, think about it for a minute. No really. We have the power to make our lives pretty dang fantastic. It's as if a cute little fairy tapped you on the head with a sparkly wand, granting you the gift of perfect hair days every day for the rest of your life, and you replied, "Eh, I like bad hair days. They build character." In the words of my favorite meme, "Y tho?" Whyyyy would you do that? Why would you waste your power? I don't know about you, but i want to be happy.

If you're thinking, "Well, yeah, it seems like a great theory at all, but it's incredibly tough to stay zen when life throws you curveballs, like a job loss/divorce/sickness/etc. Or you just feel down and out for no reason. Or your significant other is working your last nerve. Here are some important aspects to remember:

 

 

1. Negative emotions are inevitable. Accept this, acknowledge and honor them as they arise, and do your best to let those bad boys go. You have the power to override negative motions by choosing what you want to feel. As Brendon Burchard points out in his new (and excellent!) book, High Performance Habits, emotions are instinctive and happen mostly without our conscious will; we just suddenly feel the emotion because our brain interpreted something happening and attached a meaning and emotion to it, mostly based on past experience. 

But we don't have to be slaves to our emotions - we can work around them! Let's say you have to deliver a speech and you feel fearful and anxious. Re-frame them in a positive light: Those emotions are simply reminding you to be alert, speak up, and focus on how you can serve your audience  and effectively deliver your message.

2.  It's not about not feeling/having negative emotions. It's about how quickly you can get back to good. In a later post, we will discuss some tips.            

3.   It's a muscle you have to strengthen. It may seem daunting at first, but the more you do it, the easier and more rewarding it is. A little self- discipline up front will carry you a long way. it's a worthy initial investment that will pay off exponentially. 

So let's choose happiness. Say yes to happiness.

xx,

-w-

 

 

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts
— Marcus Aurelius
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photos by brooke richardson photography

photos by brooke richardson photography