We are taught to embrace and express “positive” emotions, but told to repress the “negative” emotions. This mindset isn’t necessarily healthy for us to do so. All of our emotions should be expressed and accepted, even appreciated. I know that may sound strange, but things can be learned from “negative” emotions. One can learn to evolve and grow from these emotions. It is important to let out these “negative” emotions, so that we don’t allow them to fester and permeate our minds and lives. It won’t help to keep them in, to use drugs, alcohol, food, or other unhealthy habits to repress them. Bottling in emotions can lead to lower level of well-being and makes one less likely to achieve goals.
I put quotations for positive and negative emotions, because emotions are not necessarily good or bad. It is how we perceive them. Emotions just are. They are there to tell us something. They are there to guide us. We tend to see the more difficult/uncomfortable ones as bad/negative, and see the more comfortable/uplifting ones as positive/good emotions. Difficult emotions tend to make us feel worse about ourselves and our lives. Uplifting emotions tend to make us feel better. It makes sense, we as humans like categorizing things to make things simple, but I like you to be aware that emotions in itself are not good or bad.
With practicing mindfulness, you learn to feel, understand and accept all emotions. You learn is okay to feel these emotions “good” or “bad.”. You may even see the beauty in it. Emotions is what makes us human. It shows that we are caring. If you don’t feel any of these, than that may be something to be concerned about. So what are some ways to express and let out these emotions?
Cry-Sometimes you just got to let out a good cry.
Take deep breaths-This is always a helpful strategy to help calm and sooth an individual.
Vent to others-Let others know what you are feeling. It always feels good to let out what you are thinking, having others listen, and getting some empathy from others.
Journal-Sometimes you don’t want to vent to others, or have no one to vent to. This is also a good way to let your thoughts and feelings out. Just getting your thoughts out on paper can be therapeutic.
Exercise-Can help reduce stress, helps increase brain health, thinking and memory. Increases levels of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin(feel good neurotransmitters and hormones). It also gives you a nice sense of accomplishment and makes you feel good about oneself.
Get creative-Fuel that energy into something creative can be helpful and can help you create something beautiful.
Listen to comforting music-It can be uplifting music that can help you get into a happier place, or sad songs that help comfort you, knowing others have gone through the same thing.
Another important reason why we should express our emotions.
You won’t be able to enjoy happiness and joy: You won’t be able to appreciate the good times as much. Feeling joy, happiness, excitement, accomplishment, appreciation are wonderful feelings to have, but if you try to repress the more difficult emotions. It will be just as hard to express the more uplifting ones as well.
Fighting emotions leads to more suffering: The more you fight it, the harder it will be to move one. The more you repress it with something else, the longer it will stay with you. Facing it is the best to heal.
It doesn’t allow you to live life fully: Feeling emotions makes us human. It allows us to experience life. It pushes us to evolve and grow. It shows us we are caring and compassionate individuals. It shows us we want to improve and become better individuals. It keeps us alert. It keeps us moving. We need emotions to live.
We don’t want emotions to be expressed in a harmful, hurtful way, or become persistent. The point is to feel the emotions, cope in a healthy way and move forward. You don’t want to ruminate over the emotions for a long period of time, but you also don’t want to skim pass and repress them. There needs to a balance. Allow yourself to feel the emotion, but recognize that the show must go on eventually, express it in a healthy manner, and this should allow you to move on from it.
I just bought this book to remind myself if a task is too daunting, or overwhelming. It is best to take small steps to reach your end goal. There are times when I am not motivated to do something I want to do, like working on a blog post, or answering the questions to my online course tests. When I lack the motivation, I decide to just do a bit at a time, rather than write a post in one shot. I space it out in a couple of days, writing a bit each day, and for my online course questions, I answer a couple of questions each day, instead of doing it all at once. This helps a lot. So by the end of the week it is done. I am able to accomplish my goal without overwhelming myself in the process. It is better to get a bit done at a time, rather than doing nothing. You still get that rewarding feeling of getting something done, rather than nothing.
As long as you take the steps, no matter how small you will eventually get there. It isn’t all or nothing. So remember if a tasks seems too much, or you lack motivation. Just take it small and easy. You want to try to make a task as manageable as possible, so you are able to achieve what you want to achieve. If you do this, you will get there with a much calmer mind. Lesson the stress load, it doesn’t have to be done in one day. I recommend this book if you struggle with getting things done and feel overwhelmed. Small steps is key and very powerful. Getting things done as quickly as possible is nice, but often leads to more stress and things not being done as efficiently.
I would like to continue my conversation on mental strength from my last post Ways to Gain Mental Strength. I stated that I will make another post on some other ways I have found online and through my own experience. As I mentioned, there are plenty of ways to gain mental strength. I will discuss a couple more habits that can be helpful. Through experience and practice you can learn to develop more of these habits to build on your mental strength and health.
Write positive aspects of every challenge-I really liked this one when I saw it. We tend to put more focus on the negative, but there could be a lesson learned, a better opportunity, a new way to learn, or maybe it can help you inspire others, and create a new path for you. There can be something there if you look for it, and change your perspective.
Practice 30 minutes of self-care–Give yourself space to pamper yourself. To make yourself feel good. Remember, you can’t be your best to others, if you don’t treat yourself right first.
Say nice things to yourself-This may seem ridiculous or embarrassing to do, but starting with saying nice things to yourself, even small things, can help build self-kindness and compassion, to eventually love and confidence.
Practice more gratitude and less complaining-I mentioned many times that complaining solves nothing, and creates more negativity. Working on being more grateful can do wonders. I try my best to focus my energy on the good things in my life when I find myself getting into a negative space. It has helped my mental health vastly.
Accept adversity and challenges-It is important to recognize that challenges will arise. Being able to overcome obstacles and keep moving takes strength. It is tough, but you’ll get through it. This is something you want to remind yourself. This is all part of life experiences.
Learn to be alone-Some like more alone time, than others. There are some who really need to be around others, but we all need space from time to time. It doesn’t have to be a long period, but you got to allow yourself to think and feel for yourself. Giving yourself that space leads to more self understanding and awareness. Self soothing and reflection are very important, no one can truly help you, but yourself. Getting to know yourself better leads to a better mindset.
Practice self love-Once a person is able to love themselves. It is very hard to break that person down and deter them. They know who they are. They know what they want. They stand strong, and go after what can give them a better life.
Getting power over your emotions-Okay, you can’t control your emotions, but the power is how you handle them. Allow yourself to feel it. Give yourself space to let it out in a healthy way. Understand it is part of being human. Push through. Figure out ways to move forward, whatever way works best for you. Just try not to let the emotions consume you.
Seeing the other side-Having the ability to empathize and seeing others perspective helps build a stronger mindset.
Eat healthier–Studies and research has shown that an unhealthy diet can lead to higher rates of low moods, depression and anxiety. Feeding your body with the right nutrients can help build mental strength and clarity.
Meditate-This cultivates inner peace, mental sharpness and clarity. When your mind is clear. There is much potential.
Be mindful-Practicing mindfulness had definitely played a part in being more mentally strong as an individual. Once you start being mindful, all of the other things above start to come into play. For me, it starts at learning to be present.
I can list many other things that can help one to become a mentally strong individual. There is a plethora of habits and practices out there. There are plenty of practices, but sometimes difficult for people to put into practice. It is all about awareness of where you are right now, and what can be done to improve your mindset, situation and circumstances.
As the covid cases continue to rise. It seems like the holidays will be a bit lonelier this year. My family has made the decision to cancel are Thanksgiving celebration. This is my favorite time of year to get with the family, eat some delicious foods. My favorites are my Aunt’s lasagna. I also enjoy some coquito, but our safety comes first.
I was a bit disappointed that I won’t be celebrating Thanksgiving with the family. I most likely won’t be for Christmas, or going anywhere for New Years as well, since I expect things will still be bad. I am sure many of you are in the same boat.
Although, it is a bit disappointing and disheartening. We got to do our best to keep our spirits up. I am now starting to get in the Christmas spirit. I usually wait, until after Thanksgiving, but since that day will just be a regular day for me. I am ready for the Christmas spirit. How I just love the ornaments, lights, music, and feel of Christmas, also the cookies and mint chocolates! You may not be able to spend time with loved ones, but there are still plenty of things to cheer about.
We must remember that safety is most important, and that you can always call, text, or video call your loved ones. Also, you don’t have to worry about the hassle of cooking a big meal, or traveling, so that can be a plus. The holidays will be different, but it doesn’t mean it has to be bad. Making the best out of it, and looking at the positives is important.
Life is always changing. Things don’t always stay the same. We got to learn to take on every challenge that comes our way, and do what it takes to make it work for us. How can you benefit from it? What are the positives? Learn, accept and keep moving. Do whatever you can to bring as much peace and happiness in your life. Things may seem bad, but it is in how you perceive it. Please stay safe out there everyone.
The past couple days have been a bit stressful. I have been glued to the screen, seen a bit too much negativity, but I also did see hope for a better tomorrow. I thought today will be a nice day to take a break from it, and get back to being more mindful. It has been really nice these days, so I took the opportunity to step outside for some fresh air, and view the beautiful scenery around me. This walk, along with doing a bit of running, yoga, and some journaling helped put me in a better place mentally and physically.
There will be times when you step away from mindfulness practices, but you can always step back, and reclaim your peace of mind. Journal to get your thoughts out, and confront them. Take a walk outside to get fresh air, and see the beauty of this world. Exercise to get some movement, and strengthen your body, and to increase our feel-good hormones(dopamine, serotonin, endorphins). Practice yoga to stretch and relax the body & mind. Meditate to calm the mind and gain clarity. Work on your goals, and be productive to gain a sense of accomplishment.
If you are feeling a bit stressed or down. Just remember that a bit of mindfulness can help bring you back to a better place mentally and physically. You may fall off track, but it will always be there when you need it. Giving yourself space to be present, and giving yourself space to focus on you is truly important, and something we should remember to do. I allowed too many of others opinions to consume my mind. Time to give my thoughts a time to shine. Always remember to look within yourself.
“Mental Strength is the capacity of an individual to deal effectively with stressors, pressures and challenges and perform to the best of their ability, irrespective of the circumstances in which they find themselves (Clough, 2002).
Building mental strength is fundamental to living your best life. Just as we go to the gym and lift weights in order to build our physical muscles, we must also develop our mental health through the use of mental tools and techniques.
Optimal mental health helps us to live a life that we love, have meaningful social connections, and positive self-esteem. It also aids in our ability to take risks, try new things, and cope with any difficult situations that life may throw at us.”(PositivePsychology.com).
Being mentally strong is important for us to thrive in this world. It helps build confidence. It helps us cope with struggles, It helps us live a more fulfilling life. It also helps us find inner peace. It allows us to live a more satisfying life. It is important to find habits to help build one’s mental strength. There are plenty of ways to do so. I will list and discuss 9 ways described by Vlogger Clinical Psychologist Julia Kristina. I found her ways to be intriguing and helpful. I will link her video below if you like to look more into it. I will also make a part two of this with some habits I found online that seemed helpful, and from my own experience with gaining mental strength. I will first describe the 9 habits from Julia. I will incorporate my own ideas to what she mentions of course. I really liked her ideas, so I wanted to post them here.
How do you talk to yourself? That is an important question to think about. Is it mostly negative, self-defeating, self-blaming, or critical? Do you always put yourself down? Think about it, would you say these things to someone else? Why must you be so hard on yourself? Treat yourself with the same respect as you do to others. Try to tell yourself more nice things. Try to see more positive things in one self. Learn to pick yourself up, rather than bring you down. How you speak to yourself is very important in how one can gain mental strength. If you can’t pick yourself up, and motivate oneself, no one can. Try to tell yourself things that can help you and build you up. “I can do better next time,” I made a mistake, but that is part of being human, I can learn from this,” “I am a wonderful human being,” “I may not be good at this, but I am great at other things.” Try kinder, more encouraging language to oneself. It can only help you become stronger mentally.
Learn to observe thoughts
Your thoughts don’t define you. They are not based on reality. Thoughts are stories of the mind. We should try to remember this. Try not to allow them to dictate our feelings and behaviors. Just try to say to yourself, “Oh, I have this thought, or that one,” but those thoughts do not define you, others, or a certain situation. Just observe and move on. When we can observe thoughts more, and not allow them to sip into reality. We find more peace and a stronger sense of mental clarity.
Accept life for what it is
This is something I have mentioned a lot, but it is so important for your peace of mind and happiness to accept life for what it is, imperfect, difficult, full of struggles, most good things don’t come easy, most things aren’t handed to you, loss happens, endings happen. If you refuse to be aware of this, or accept it. Life will be much harder, and more miserable. Julia Kristina mentioned something that really resonated with me, she states, we say “why me?, but why not me?” Bad things can happen to all of us, no one is exempt. No one is invincible. Try to let go of the why me’s, life is not fair talk. It gets you no where, except miserable. Life is the way it is, but it also has plenty of positives and good to focus on as well. Things aren’t black and white.
Make Choices for oneself
The choices we make should mainly be for ourselves, our growth, and our happiness. We may have to sacrifice ourselves at times, but we shouldn’t all the time. Try not to make choices to please others. The majority of the things you think you have to do. You probably don’t really have to do. Try to let go of the guilt, and if there is a little guilt, so be it. There are times I feel a little guilty for the choices I make, but overall I am satisfied with the choice, because it was a choice I wanted to make. I didn’t do it to please someone else. Allow yourself to have choices with more confidence and less guilt. Being able to make choices for yourself without worries of the outcome is a helpful skill to build mental strength. When you allow yourself to make the choices you want. You gain a certain freedom from it.
Get out of comfort zone
You got to stop the wishing and waiting game, and just do it. The more you think about it, the less likely you will do it. A little bit of discomfort is good for you. It means you are moving towards growth. The fear and discomfort is from change/something new, but once you get past it, it will subside. The feeling of overcoming your fears will be very rewarding. Are you going to let fear control you, or do you want to take control? Fear will always be there. It is up to you what you do about it. Once you are able to face your fears. It will make you a much stronger individual mentally.
Accept failures/mistakes/bad decisions
One failure doesn’t make you a failure. Be proud that you took a chance, and put yourself out there. Now you know, and won’t have to wonder what if. Putting yourself out there, allowing yourself to possibly fail builds courage. I once had a job that didn’t work out, did I see it as a failure, no, did I learn from it, yes. Failures, mistakes, and bad decisions are learning tools for the future. No one is perfect, try not to beat yourself up for these things, if you do that, you may never learn from it. Accepting these things leaves space to grow, and cultivate mental strength. Once you accept, and get through the hurdle. It will be easier for you to put yourself out there. If you fail, you fail, but there is always an opportunity to flourish, and that will bring such a rewarding feeling to oneself.
Learn not to give up easily
Now there are times when things may get too stressful, or if it infringes on your mental well-being, than it is okay to quit, but most of the time people quit, because it may be harder than one thought, one may intimidated, scared, or one may think they aren’t good enough. You also may quit, because things aren’t moving faster than you thought it would. It is important to keep pushing, and not look for a smooth/easy ride. It will be hard at first, but once you get over the initial phases, things will get better and easier. Quitting may create comfort, but that isn’t always the answer. It is always best to push yourself if it is going to better yourself, and help you grow.
Learn not to look for immediate results/shortcuts
It would nice if things were handed to us, but we got to do the work. Fast results the majority of the time don’t give us the best result. You got to put in the work. You got to realize it takes time to reach your goals, or achieve the things you want. If you try to take the shortcut. You most likely won’t get where you need to go. If you do the work, even taking small steps at a time, you will eventually get where you need to go. The work can be hard and long, but if you take the small steps to get there. You will eventually reach your goals. It takes patience. It takes determination. It takes the awareness to understand that things don’t come fast and easy. Once you are able to cultivate this skill. This can help build your mental strength and perserverance.
Cultivate healthy boundaries
This is about learning to say no. This is about setting healthy boundaries for yourself, and the people around you. Having a sense of self, knowing your wants, or dislikes, and what you want from yourself and others. You don’t want to be tossed around in life by yourself, or from others. You want to learn to stand tall and strong. Learning what you want out of life, and not allowing others to dictate what you want to do. Its okay to say no, it is okay to feel a bit of guilt, but remember this is your life. You have the freedom to choose what you want to do with it for the most part. If you don’t want to do something, don’t. You may disappoint someone, but you are not responsible for someone else’s happiness. You are responsible for your own.
I am not saying be selfish, and never do anything for anyone, or not do things for someone if they need you. I am saying if you truly don’t want to do something, and it is something you dread, and it doesn’t create a happy atmosphere for you, or maybe there are times you just want to do your own thing, or just don’t want to do it. It is okay to say no. Saying yes all the times seeps happiness away from yourself. It can make life more stressful. It gives you less freedom. Learning to take a stand and say no, helps build healthier boundaries. You don’t want others to walk all over you. Appreciate yourself. Appreciate your wants. Doing this is another step to building mental strength.
I think these habits above are great habits to build mental strength. It can also help one find more happiness and inner peace in one’s life. I have implemented all of these habits and it has done wonders for my anxiety and mental health overall.
We will go through phases in our life journey. We will have phases of motivation, creativity and productivity. We will also have phases of laziness, unproductivity, lack of motivation, or creativity. We can’t be on at all times. It is okay to have lazy days. Don’t beat yourself up over it. I can get caught up in mindless activities from time to time, and not be as mindful as I usually can be. That is okay. As long as you always find your way back. Even during those times, you can always try to find a bit of time for mindfulness, or take baby actions towards some type of productive work, so you don’t feel completely unaccomplished, or lazy.
Just remember that these phases will always happen, and there is nothing wrong with some lazy time. That time is just preparing you for some more creativity. It is giving you the rest to become more productive in the future. Phases are all art of the human experience. Learn to ride along with it, rather than fight against it. You will eventually get back on track. Accept all that comes your way. Learn from the low phases. Give yourself a rest. Enjoy some mindless activities. This will give you the energy to get back on track to the high phases.
I saw this quote in my mindfulness book. I thought it was a lovely and powerful quote about mindfulness. I wanted to share it and say something about it.
It is important to be reminded of what mindfulness is, even with years of mindfulness practice. I sometimes get lost in mindlessness. I really love the quote above. Its all about learning to live in the present, so one can find inner peace and calmness. Living in the past creates sadness, frustration, guilt, regret and sorrow. Living in the future creates stress, tension, anxiety and worry. We can always use the past as a tool to learn and grow, and we can use the future to set goals for ourselves, but clinging to the past or future should be avoided for your mental health and peace of mind.
I wanted to put these two topics together, because they seem to go hand in hand. We believe finding our passion in a career is the ultimate goal of finding a job you enjoy. I got to say, from my experience and from my research on this topic that isn’t the case. It is very rare to have a career in something you are passionate about. It takes a lot of factors for it to happen. Your drive, motivation, willingness to get out of comfort zone, environment, connections, personality, among other things. There is no one shoe fits all factor when it comes to finding your passion and having a career of that passion. Many factors must come together for one to have a career they are passionate about.
Things in life aren’t always black and white. You can be able to practice your passion and still find a job you enjoy. You don’t necessarily need to build a career from your passion. It is fun just to do it in your spare time. It may be even more enjoyable to do it freely, rather than doing it for work. Time constraints, rules, pressure from others can make your passion less enjoyable in a work environment.
For many, it is difficult finding what they are passionate about. Some people just don’t know. It is totally okay not to know. People tend to feel guilt and shame, because they don’t have anything they are passionate about. You can just have a job you enjoy, without feeling any passion about it. I enjoy my job, but I am not particularly passionate about it. The thing is, I still incorporate my passion in my life. I do what I am passionate about in my free time. Hopefully I’ll be able to build a business from it, but for now I appreciate the opportunity to enjoy my passion when I can.
It isn’t a great feeling dreading coming to work. We are at work most of the time, so it is imperative for your mental well-being to find a job you enjoy. If we enjoy our work, than we are able to enjoy our lives much more, and live more positively, since work fills up most of our lives. I like to write a list of things to look into when searching for a job that can spark joy, or at least make the work week more bearable. I will say searching for a career with your passion is very difficult and can be disappointing when it doesn’t happen, so these other things may be better to look into. I am not saying you shouldn’t find a job you are passionate about, but it shouldn’t be an ultimate goal.
Get out of safety Zone-“Do you want to expand or constrict?’ “You are not going to be stuck. You are stuck now.” I heard these quotes from a TED Talk I watched. I really liked them. These quotes are good reminders that staying safe and comfortable isn’t always best for our happiness and growth. Doing something that challenges oneself can be exciting and rewarding. But make sure it isn’t too challenging. That creates stress. A nice balance.
Variety– Trying different types of jobs can easily show you what you like and what you don’t. You may be surprised what you actually enjoy doing. This can give you the opportunity to find a job that you like and enjoy.
Work Environment Do you like office jobs?, do you like moving around?, do you like your own space? Do you like it to be more quiet? The environment can play a role in what you like about a job. I really like my job, because I get to move around. I am a very active person, so the environment suits my personality making the job more enjoyable.
Autonomy-Are you the type who likes to be free and do their own thing? It would be good to look for a job that allows you this freedom. If a place is too controlling and restrictive that can be a downer for an independent individual.
Skills-Look for something that enhances and incorporates your skills. Find what your skills are and search for a job that correlates with those skills.
Meaning/Value-Does the job add value. Having a meaningful job can be a great way to enjoy what you are doing.
Stress-A stressful job can make anyone miserable. The best thing to do is to find a job that reduces the amount of stress on oneself. Stress at a job is normal, but overwhelming stress can be detrimental, especially if there are no benefits to it. Some jobs are stressful that lead to rewards and benefits, but if the stress leads nowhere, than that can be problematic for the individuals well-being.
These last two are for people who have difficulty leaving the job that makes you feel stuck and miserable. It is hard for some to leave the financial stability and comfort of a job.
Perspective– See the job from a different point of view, find some good points about it, maybe there is something to it that you didn’t look at. Find some ways to bring joy and excitement to the job if you find it dull and boring. Figuring out ways to step out of the misery, instead of immersing in it.
Acceptance-Sometimes we have a job we don’t like. Not everyone will like the job they have. It is what it is. The job puts food on the table, gives you a home, gives you comfort. It does have its benefits. Accepting can be comforting, instead of fighting your disdain for the job. These two options are helpful and comforting, but finding another job would probably be best for your happiness and satisfaction in the long run. Change is hard, harder for some, but it can happen.
Passion for something is great, but it is also interchangeable. It evolves. I was once passionate about being a singer, but I no longer have that passion. This is why it isn’t always best to focus on what makes you passionate when choosing a career. Maybe some people prefer doing things they are passionate about in their free time, rather than the confines of having to do it on a schedule and have strict rules when it comes to their passion. Sometimes it is just hard to find a job with the thing you are passionate about. That is perfectly fine if you can’t find a job that incorporates your passion.
It is important not to beat yourself up for not finding a passion in life, or for not having a career that incorporates one’s passion. Be kind to yourself and realize that everyone’s journey is different. Not everyone know’s what they want to do in life. Having a passion doesn’t define your life. We as humans love to know everything. We are uncomfortable with the unknown/uncertain. It is best for your peace of mind to accept what is and move forward, because forcing yourself to find your passion creates negativity and despair. The problem is we compare ourselves to others who have passion, and have careers related to that passion. The thing is our journey is always different and we all have different paths. Focusing your energy on yourself and your progress is what is important. Remember passion and a career won’t always go together. Find a job that suits your interests, skills, schedule and personality can go along way.
Practicing mindfulness doesn’t quickly alleviate anxiety, depression, or any other negative emotions. It takes patience, practice, persistence and training. I like the comparison of training for a marathon. Just like you build endurance for a race. You got to take the same steps to get to a more peaceful state of mind. My mind is a lot more at ease now that I have been practicing mindfulness for a couple of years. I keep improving, my negative emotions continue to reduce. Things I couldn’t handle before I am much better at coping with it now. Baby steps, how you cope and handle stressful situations, or difficulties in life will get better. You will be able to find more peace, calm, and happiness in your life. It isn’t a quick fix, but it will eventually get you to a more peaceful place with continuous practice. You will see results little by little.