Mindful Hobbies

I haven’t been as motivated to write lately. My productivity levels on writing oscillates from time to time. I thought of this idea to discuss my favorite mindful activities, and it has pushed me to write, so thought it would be a good idea to write this. I have been pretty busy with other fun activities, connecting with family and friends, so I haven’t had the energy to write. My next trip is to the beach, so I thought I will write something before then.

It is important to get out, connect, and do fun activities with others. It allows you to be in the moment, and enjoy the life, and the people around you. Mindful activities are a way to get a way from the noise of the world, from the busyness. To just be with oneself, your thoughts, your creativity. To do the things you enjoy doing. I will list a couple of my favorite mindful activities. I am sure you have similar hobbies to mine, and I am sure you have plenty of different ones.

  • Coloring-I have been really into this one as of late. It take a bit of time and energy, but it is nice getting immersed in it. Using your hands to create something is quite lovely and enjoyable. I also enjoy the finished product. I like to put the finished production my wall. I have a coloring book that has inspirational quotes, so they are nice to look at, and read for inspiration.
  • Plant care-Probably my favorite mindful routine. I like giving attention to all my plants, cleaning their leaves, watering them when they need, checking the soil. Taking each one to the sink, and caring for them. I have just enough, so that I am able to care for them. Having too many plants can be overwhelming, and time consuming, so I have the right amount that gives me the space to care for them where it doesn’t take too much of my time, and I am not neglecting any of them. I love getting my cup of coffee, and going at it.
  • Reading-I am currently reading a book on the mind and brain. I find this topic interesting as the brain and mind are quite fascinating to me. I have been trying to read more this year, and I have kept up with it. Reading allows me to be creative, it allows me to think, and it helps fuel inspiration. I also gain new knowledge and perspective from a good read.
  • Nature walks-I haven’t been doing much of this lately. It has been too hot, or I am too exhausted from work, or just not feeling as much lately. I usually enjoy doing this, during the spring and fall time. I did go to a botanical garden last week, and it was quite lovely seeing all those pretty plants, and walking among nature. It gives you the opportunity to see the beauty of the world. It helps center you back to reality. It is refreshing and rejuvenating.
  • Journaling/Letting thoughts breath- Sometimes I just like to take a break from my computer, and just sit, and let my thoughts get some air. I sometimes write it down, but lately I just have been letting my thoughts out in the air. I sit, look at my plants, look out the window, and just breath. It is quite relaxing to do so. It helps bring me back into the moment.
  • Yoga/Dancing-I put these together, because I usually do them together. I start with a high activity, and wind down with some yoga. I like the mixture. I like to listen to my favorite songs at the moment, and dance to them. I like to get lost in the music, while creating my own choreography to the songs. I find this fun. It helps get my heart rate up, and then yoga helps wind it down, and calms my body and mind.
My go to playlist at the moment

Mindful hobbies/activities help keep the spark in your life. It brings joy, happiness, and fulfillment. It cultivates peace and calmness in this busy and unpredictable world. Once in awhile, or at least once a day, step a way, and find the quiet and joy.

Mindful Reminder Post

Just wanted to put this reminder out there. You will not agree with everyone’s opinions on subject matters of the self, others, and ideas. Try not to put your energy, or get angry over a different opinion, even if it is offensive, or crazy to you. Let them have their opinion. Focus your energy on yourself, your energy, your values, and your opinion. Don’t let the ego win. The ego wants everyone to agree with it. The ego wants to be right. We are all different. We all have different opinions. You can’t change that. No matter how angry, or defensive you get. Their opinions only hurt you if you let it. Agree to disagree and move forward. Educate others on your opinion, and open yourself up to others. Ignore hateful opinions. You don’t need that type of energy in your life. When you focus your energy on yourself, and the people who support you. You have no time to worry about others who add no value to your life.

Cognitive Distortions

After reading Dr. Burns book Feeling Great. It made me realize how much our thoughts and emotions intertwine with each other. Our thoughts can make things uncomfortable and difficult for us. It can allow us to see our emotions in a negative light. As I mentioned before, emotions just are, how we perceive them is what creates problems for us. He mentions the 10 cognitive distortions that cultivates suffering in our lives. Cognitive distortions can affect how we perceive ourselves, other people, emotions, and life situations.

Cognitive distortions cultivates self-hatred. It lowers your self-worth. It aides in painting ourselves, other people, and our world in a negative light. These distortions allow us to beat down on ourselves. It keeps us suffering longer than we need to. I wanted to discuss these distortions. We all have done these, but being aware of these distortions can help you to learn not to fall into these thought patterns continuously.

All or Nothing Thinking

When you’re convinced that you’re either destined for success or doomed to failure, that the people in your life are either angelic or evil, you’re probably engaging in polarized thinking.(healthline.com).

Life and people work in shades of grey. No one is completely one thing, or the other. Life is not one way, or the other. We will fail at times, and succeed at other times. This type of thinking can lead you down a miserable path.

Overgeneralization

When people overgeneralize, they reach a conclusion about one event and then incorrectly apply that conclusion across the board.(healthline.com).

One situation does not define every other situation. One person in a group does not define all people within that group. This type of thinking process can lead to bias and discrimination. It can also allow people to stay within their bubble, and not branch out. Life is unpredictable, things that happen in one situation. Most likely won’t happen in another situation.

Mental filtering

This distorted thought pattern is the tendency to ignore positives and focus exclusively on negatives.(healthline.com).

It is much easier to put the focus on the negative, which leads to suffering and misery. Life is full of positives and negatives. We got to find that balance.

Discounting the positives

Similar to mental filtering. Ignoring the positives, and putting focus on the negatives.

Learning to appreciate the good, positives, accomplishments, and joys of life is important. Try not to ignore what is good in your life. You may think everything is bad, but if you look more deeply, you’ll find the good.

Jumping to conclusions

Jumping to conclusions that aren’t warranted by facts.

  • Mind Reading-You assume you know what others are thinking and feeling.
  • Fortune telling-You make negative predictions about the future.

We all fall into this trap. This type of thinking leads to anxiety, tension, anger and frustration. We make stories about what others are thinking, and what the future will be, but this type of thinking isn’t helpful. We don’t know the future, and we don’t know how others perceive a situation. We should try to put our focus on things we can control, like ourselves.

Magnification or Minimization

Blowing things out of proportion, or shrink their importance significantly. You perceptions allow things to be bigger, or smaller than they really are.

We think something bad that happened is the end of us, our world is over, but most of the time, as time passes, we move on, and cope. Vice versa something may be important, but you blow it off, which can come back to haunt you. It is important to see the reality of the situation.

Emotional Reasoning

Emotional reasoning is the false belief that your emotions are the truth — that the way you feel about a situation is a reliable indicator of reality.(healthline.com)

While it’s important to listen to, validate, and express emotion, it’s equally important to judge reality based on rational evidence.(healthline.com).

You feel hopeless, so that means your hopeless. You feel sad, so you conclude you are a miserable person. You feel guilt, so you conclude you are a bad person. Your emotions don’t define who you are. Emotions come and go. They are a part of living, but they are not part of who you are.

Should statements

When people find themselves thinking in terms of what “should” and “ought” to be said or done, it’s possible that a cognitive distortion is at work.

I should be better at this. I should be smarter at this. I should know what I am doing. I should have known. I shouldn’t make mistakes. Humans are imperfect beings. We will not be great at everything. Give yourself a break. We can’t do everything. You are allowed to make mistakes. You are allowed to not know everything.

Labeling

Labeling is a cognitive distortion in which people reduce themselves or other people to a single — usually negative — characteristic or descriptor, like “drunk” or “failure.”(healthline.com)

You label yourself and others, instead of focusing on the specific problem.(Feeling Great).

We as individuals are a plethora of things. We are not defined by one feature. It is easier to just put a label on yourself and others, but we as individuals are more complex than that. We have many defining features.

Blaming/Personalization

One of the most common errors in thinking is taking things personally when they’re not connected to or caused by you at all.(healthline.com).

You may be engaging in personalization when you blame yourself for circumstances that aren’t your fault, or are beyond your control.(healthline.com).

Self-blame and blaming others is common, but not everything is your fault, and not everything is someone else’s fault. Life happens. Showing compassion for yourself, and others can help you live a more peaceful life. Just because you make a mistake, or do something wrong. Doesn’t mean there needs to be fault. Mistakes are part of being human. If you didn’t mean bad intentions, don’t be too hard on yourself. This also goes with blaming others as well. Recognize when there is truly fault in a situation.

All of these thinking patterns can create uncomfortable emotions and experiences in our lives. It can lead us away from a peaceful state of mind. These are thinking traps we all fall into, but being aware of them can steer you away from falling into these thinking patterns much less.

Sources: Burns, D. D. (2020). Feeling Great: The Revolutionary New Treatment for Depression and Anxiety. PESI Publishing & Media.

https://www.healthline.com/health/cognitive-distortions

A Society of Overstimulation

It just seems more and more difficult to focus, and to do the things that need to be done, be it for work, or for our own self-fulfillment. The digital/technological age has made it hard for us to just focus on one thing. I sometimes find it hard to sit through a 20 minute Youtube video without looking for something else to stimulate my brain.

It has become increasingly hard for us to do the tasks that need to be done, or to just simply sit and be alone, read, mediate, exercise, be creative. We just rather scroll, and watch videos or movies. It is just so much easier to do so. It doesn’t take a lot of energy to do these things. The things that can be beneficial for our mental and physical health takes work, so people tend to choose the latter.

Getting ourselves to focus is hard. Getting ourselves to get motivated and take action takes work. Getting myself to continue writing my book takes work, but I continue to remind myself, or be reminded that the end goal is most important. It doesn’t matter how small the step is, just do something.

I have found reading to be quite easy and pleasurable to do recently. I wanted to read, but never took the steps to read, until recently. Now that I am reading more. I want to read more. So the time I use to scroll. I use to do something more meaningful for myself, which is read. The power to scroll loses its appeal. It is all about learning to build these habits, even starting small makes a difference.

I was just watching a video of how overstimulation is ruining our lives, and it prompt me to write this. I mean, we all know it isn’t good for us to be on social media, watch TV, procrastinate, and do nothing that helps us grow, but we still do it, because it is easy, why not? The things we want in life takes work, and who wants to do that!? No one does, but it has to be done, if you want improvement in your life, if you want inner peace, or if you want to reach your goals.

Overstimulation is ubiquitous in our lives. Doing one task has become incredibly difficult. Enjoying the simple things have become incredibly difficult. People need their quick dopamine fix. Searching for the next thing to entertain them, rather than finding things on their own to entertain themselves. With the likes of Tik Tok(I believe to be the worse SNS platform) that has made it possible.

I fall for this trap, so I am not hear to preach to you all. I am part of this need for overstimulation. It is ingrained in us. I have a TV, computer, Alexa, and phone in my room. So I am surrounded by over stimulating objects. I do try to use one at a time, and be intentional with how I use them to the best I can.

I now have my phone behind me, out of sight for now. I think it is best when working on a task, or doing something mindful that you keep your phone out of sight. It is easy to get dragged into the notification whole. It is also easier to pick it up, and look at it just to check if you have any notifications, man I do this a lot. I was able to do some writing today, and I started reading a new book as well. I also did my Saturday morning plant maintenance routine as well. I believe it was a successful proactive Saturday morning.

I am just trying to be more mindful, and trying to focus on one task at a time. This isn’t easy, especially watching videos, but it can be done with a certain amount of will. We can easily be distracted. I know I can, so I want to take this day to be intentional with how I put my focus on to things. One thing at a time. Be proactive. Be intentional. Keep distance from overstimulation. Things to remind myself, and hopefully I can remind you as well.

Letting Emotions Out

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.

Mindful Reminder(Taking the Small Steps)

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.

Ways to Gain Mental Strength Part 2

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-careGive 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 healthierStudies 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.

A Different Type Of Holidays

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.

Take A Step Back to be Mindful

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.