Thoughts Are Our Stories

Thoughts are just thoughts. They are stories of the mind. Be it retelling stories of the past, or pondering stories for the future. Our thoughts are not based on reality. They are bias, and they tend to be negative. Thoughts are our mind’s way of trying to understand the complex world around us. It is there to try to understand the difficult emotions and situations we face. It tries to provide comfort, but usually ends up making us feel worse.

We must remember thoughts are stories of the mind. They tend to focus on the past, or future. The reality is in the moment. You can have thoughts about the future, but it isn’t reality, until you are in the future moment, experiencing the situation. You can have thoughts of the past, but it isn’t reality, it has already happened, and usually your thoughts of the past are distorted.

Thoughts about ourselves and others are also distorted. Talking down to ourselves. Judging others. These thoughts are not based on reality. They can be negative biased. They make us feel worse about ourselves and others, than we really should. Our mind’s want to protect us from getting hurt by painting this brush of negative thoughts and worse case scenarios, but it doesn’t work. It doesn’t help. It tends to make us feel worse.

We have negative thoughts about others, because we want to feel better about ourselves, but it doesn’t help us fix our own struggles. We have negative thoughts about ourselves, because we have high standards for ourselves and want to be perfect, but that is impossible, because all humans have flaws and make mistakes. It is important to be aware that thoughts are just thoughts, thoughts are stories, thoughts are bias, thoughts are distorted to fit your perception. They do not reflect reality. They do not define you.

Goodbye 2020/Hello 2021

This was an interesting year. A year of change. A year to adapt. Although, we can look at this year in a negative light. You can also find some highlights and positives to the year. Plans may not have happened the way you may have wanted, but that is life, and we got to learn to keep going and move forward, instead of dwelling of what could have been.

A new year is upon us. Some people see it as a new start. I am sure we all want to move on from 2020. Although, the pandemic will still be alive into 2021. There is hope for better days into 2021. I do hope for happier days in 2021, but I am also aware that challenges will arrive. The year will have its ups and downs. We can hope for more ups. Lets look forward to new experiences, and lets learn to embrace the challenges that come our way. Its great to be hopeful for greatness, but it is also beneficial to be mindful that life is not smooth and easy. This can make the year much more peaceful for your mind.

To all the people who dealt with loss, be it a job, or loved one. My heart hurts for you. There is nothing anyone can say, or do to heal those wounds. It does get easier with time, but it is a process. Sadness, anger, and frustration will be prevalent, and that is okay. I do hope this year will be a better year for you. I hope you have a healthy way to let out your emotions.

This is the end of a new chapter, and on to the next one. There will be twist and turns. There will be some fun times and some dark times. All you can do is do your best. Work for what you want, and find ways to bring as much joy and peace into your life. Here is to the new of possibilities, wonders, and discoveries. A year of learning, growing, and evolving as a human being. A year to learn more about yourself. A year to love and appreciate yourself and others more. Happy New Year!

2020 Reflection/2021 Planning Post

Happy holidays everyone! Although, we call it happy, not everyone is happy, during these times. There are some who are grieving, struggling mentally, financially, or physically, also dealing with other difficulties in their lives right now. This can be a happy time for some, but a sad time for others. Happiness shouldn’t be forced, during this time. It is okay to be sad, upset, tired, lonely etc,. Forcing happiness won’t help. Accepting these low emotions will help one move forward sooner. Just ty to bare through, and do the best you can. Feeling happiness, joy and excitement are not necessary, even if society depicts it that way.

This was a year of change. A year to adapt. A year to cope. Although, this can happen any year. The same thing hit us all at the same time. Plans needed to be changed, or canceled. We had to learn to live life differently. It may have been hard, but we came through it. We learned to adapt. We learned to cope. We can look at this year in a bad light, but you can also find some good, positives, and things to appreciate this year. Change is hard, but it help us grow. Change is inevitable, whether you want it or not, so accepting it is the best option. Why questions will get you nowhere, but figuring out ways to cope, and deal with this new change will set you free.

The pandemic will not end in the new year. It will seep into 2021 as well. We got to try to make the best, and enjoy our lives as much as we can. I am sure you can find some great experiences you had this year, and you can find things that you appreciate in your life at the moment. 2020 was a year of learning and adapting for all us. We should go into every year expecting change, and a need to adapt. Change doesn’t always happen on our time, so preparation is important. It creates less pain in the future.

Lets go into the new year with a mindful mindset. Hoping for the best, but aware that the worse could happen. That struggles will appear. That life is unpredictable. It has good and bad moments. The new year won’t be perfect. Your life doesn’t automatically change in the new year. Things don’t reset. But you can always make changes. You can always make things better for oneself. You can always improve and evolve. And that are some of the beauties in life. Lets look forward to the new year for our continuation of growth through our progress for personal development.

I prepared a couple of reflection/planning questions as well. If you like to go through them that would be great. I think it is important to reflect and plan at the end of the year. This helps show how far you have come, and how you can grow. It also helps to put things into perspective. I also answered the first six myself. Hopefully these question will be helpful.

2020 Reflection Questions

1.Positives of the year?: Becoming a plant owner, connecting with family and friends, going on a trip to the beach, being more mindful

2.Challenges of the year?: Being quarantined, things being restricted, due to covid 19, 

3.Things that benefited me this year?:Being mindful, being a plant owner, learning to cope and accept difficult emotions

4.Things I learned this year?:To be aware of my emotions, and that all emotions are valid and necessary. Connecting with others is important.

5.How Did I grow this year?: Learning to be more at peace with myself, learning to cope and accept all emotions, learning not to allow social media to control my mindset

6.Achievements this year?: Buying a more reliable car, making more visits to the dentist, being more at peace with myself and life, keeping my plants alive, getting employee of the month, started writing my book.

Here are some others to think about.

What are my thoughts of 2020?

What were my challenges? How did I cope?

What new experiences did I have?

What can I improve on for next year?

What can I take with me into 2021?

What can I get rid of in 2021?

What positive habits have you gained this year? What would you like to gain next year?

What negative habits would you like to lose next year?

What are you proud of this year?

What goals do you want to achieve next year? What are the short term pains? What are the long term gains? Can you make the short term pains manageable? Are there ways to overcome them?

Emotions

What are Emotions?

-a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.

-instinctive or intuitive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge.

– an emotion is a complex psychological state that involves three distinct components: a subjective experience, a physiological response, and a behavioral or expressive response.

These are a couple of definitions I found online. There are many different opinions on what are emotions. My thoughts, it is a feeling that arises from an event(that can be from an experience, a person, a situation). Emotions can be difficult to grasp and understand for some, if they try to suppress or avoid them.

What Kind of Emotions Are There?

Emotions permeate our lives. They are important to be aware of, understand and accept in our lives. There are known to be 6 basic emotions. Happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust and surprise. That seems to be a bit small. I am sure we express more? A study by Alan S. Cohen and Dacher Keltner, PHD recognized 27 different emotions, during their study.

  • Admiration
  • Adoration
  • Aesthetic Appreciation
  • Amusement
  • Anxiety
  • Awe
  • Awkwardness
  • Boredom
  • Calmness
  • Confusion
  • Craving
  • Disgust
  • Empathetic pain
  • Entrancement
  • Envy
  • Excitement
  • Fear
  • Horror
  • Interest
  • Joy
  • Nostalgia
  • Romance
  • Sadness
  • Satisfaction
  • Sexual desire
  • Sympathy
  • Triumph

Some notable ones are missing, like anger, or compassion, but here we get more of a variety of emotions, and some I never even considered, but I like this list. We are complex creatures. The first list seems too simplistic for me. But they are considered basic emotions, so I guess that makes sense, but I like to express that we as humans experience a plethora of emotions.

Emotions Just Are

As the lovely Psychologist and author of Emotional Agility Susan David states, ‘Emotions just are.’ I really love that statement. There are no positive or negative emotions, good or bad. It is all in the way we perceive these emotions that make it that way. We view positive emotions as comfortable and uplifting. We view negative emotions as uncomfortable and difficult. We put them in categories to make it easier for us, but doing so allows us to push away the “negative” or “bad” emotions, which isn’t helpful for us. Happiness/sadness, joy/anger, anxiety/calmness are all emotions that need to be felt. There is nothing wrong with any of these emotions. The way we cope and perceive these emotions is where the importance lies.

Dr. David Burns, a Cognitive Behavioral Psychologist, has an approach I found interesting and insightful. He first asks his patients to confront the difficult emotions, and then asked them to see how that emotions can be useful to them. I thought this was a beneficial approach. By looking at the emotion in a different way. It can help dial down the emotions to a manageable level. For example, stress/anxiety allows you to be alert, it helps protect you from future danger. Sadness shows that you are a caring individual, and you wish the best for yourself and others. Anger allows you to fight for what is valuable to you, it shows that you have standards, it shows there are things of importance to you. Once you look at it in this way. You realize these emotions have value as well. They are necessary as well. The problem is we use these emotions to hurt ourselves and others, instead of helping us, because we assume these emotions are “bad.”

We got to remember that emotions just are. They are here to tell you something. Nothing good or bad. They are there to guide you. To show you what you need to do next. You can use it to hurt you or help you, but it is all in your power. Emotions will never go away, so trying to do so will make it worse. Accept them, and recognize they aren’t there to harm you, they aren’t necessarily there to help you either. They just are, and it is up to you to choose what to do with it.

Sources:

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-are-emotions-2795178

https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2017/09/09/here-are-the-27-different-human-emotions-according-to-a-study/?sh=547b9a381335

The Journey Isn’t Always easy

I have been practicing mindfulness for four years now. Although, my mindset, mental health and state of mind has improved. I still have setbacks. Emotions still take over from time to time, mostly during work hours. Negative thoughts appear. I am mindless at times.

My mindful state isn’t always on. Although, I do become aware of my negative thoughts and emotions when it happens, so that is a plus. I do want to get better with dealing with the overwhelming work at my job. I like to learn how to not get frustrated at others for their lack of work ethic, because in the end. I have no control over them, or the situation. I get mad over the same thing, the situation won’t likely change, so I must change my mindset, which is in my control. I am glad I am aware of this, the next step is learning to cope.

I am writing this to say that you will not always be on. You will not always be mindful. We are imperfect human beings. Life is about learning. The exciting part is evolving and improving. Try not to get down on yourself for not being as mindful as you like. The journey is not smooth and easy. It takes work. The only thing you can try to do is to improve. Work on yourself. Work on your goals. Work on your habits. Always remember to be kind to yourself on this journey. We can only work towards being more mindful, content and at peace. There will be some hiccups along the way, but we can learn to keep moving forward, and continuing to grow.

I will continue to work towards improving in this area that makes me less mindful and at peace with myself. I will try to take more deep breaths, during that time. It may not always work, but trying is better, than just giving in to the thoughts and emotions. Remember the five points( focus, awareness, understanding, perspective and acceptance). I can do it! You can do it! There will be difficulties, but you can always learn and improve. It isn’t all or nothing, or black and white. All isn’t lost if you have setbacks.

Little Mindful Reminders

Hello my lovely followers. I am staying home preparing for the storm coming. I just wanted to post some mindful reminders I use for myself. I remembered having them, while doing my mindful evening routine. I haven’t read them in awhile. It is nice to look back on them. Some are more relevant to me at the moment, than others. Maybe they can be helpful for you, or maybe you have, or can make some of your own. I did revamp some of them. I also make new reminders if something new pops up, and I want to make a reminder for future references. I think these are nice to have around whenever you need that reminder. Please don’t mind the handwritten, not the best hand writer, but still wanted to show them, because hey, we all got our flaws. I still think these are useful.

There is also something else I like to write. I wrote down some phrases as well. At first I wrote down ‘Be this’ or ‘Be that,’ but then switched it to ‘Find this’ or ‘Find that.’ I realized that saying “be” makes it sound easy, it isn’t, find is a better word, because you got to search and work for these things in life. It won’t come easy, but it is available to you at all times. Have a lovely day or night everyone. Much love<333

Keys to Building Self-Esteem

When it comes to self-esteem balance is important. Too much or too little can can affect your relationships, your sense of self, your sense of reality, mental state. It is important to have a realistic view of oneself. Learning to appreciate the positive, and accepting the negatives, but not allowing the negatives to define you. Too high of a self-esteem only looks at the positives of oneself, to a point of exaggerating them. Vice versa for a lower self-esteem, having an exaggerated negative viewpoint of oneself, only focusing on the negative parts of oneself.

What is it?

In psychology, the term self-esteem is used to describe a person’s overall sense of self-worth or personal value. In other words, how much you appreciate and like yourself. It involves a variety of beliefs about yourself, such as the appraisal of your own appearance, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors(verywellmind).

Why is it important?

We need a good amount of self-esteem to help us reach our goals. To motivate us. To have the confidence to achieve the things we want to achieve. It helps build you for success. It allows you to be more open, honest, and assertive. It gives you freedom to be who are, no apologies. You learn to focus on your priorities and happiness, rather than on every one else’s.

I would like to discuss a couple of keys that can help build your confidence. These keys listed are from the lovely Julia Kristina. I really enjoy watching her videos, and I love her ideas. I will list the keys, and put my take on these keys.

  • Live mindfully-Being present is always the first step to self-growth and improvement. When you are present. You become aware. Being aware can help you recognize negative self-talk. It can allows you to reason and ask questions. Is this logical? Are these thoughts facts? Are these thoughts true? Would I say these things to a friend who was feeling down? Awareness can help us ask questions, learning to challenge these thoughts, reframe, and look at things more positively and realistically leading one to feel better about themselves.
  • Self-acceptance– A topic I discuss a lot, and the reason is because it is important to have this to live a more fulfilling, happier, and peaceful life. This is all about putting your focus on the positive aspects of oneself, using it to your advantage, and learning to acknowledge the negatives, either learning to grow from them, or accepting them as part of who you are. Acknowledging that no one is perfect and that is okay.
  • Taking responsibility-Learning you have control of what you want to do in life. We are responsible for our actions, our healing, how we cope, our achievements, our goals. No one can achieve your goals for you. No one can heal, or cope for you. No one can make you a happier individual. These are things you got to work for yourself. Giving yourself the opportunity to do things for oneself builds confidence, character, strength etc,. You learn what you are capable of, rather then leaning on others all the time. You can’t grow from that. If you don’t know your capabilities from taking responsibility. You can’t build a healthy self-esteem for oneself. Life situations and other people are out of your control, but your goals, achievements, actions, mindset, coping strategies, and success is up to you.
  • Self-assertiveness-Learning not to be afraid of saying what is on your mind, even if it may hurt others, or embarrass oneself. You as an individual has a voice too, and it should be heard. Now we shouldn’t be hurtful or harmful towards others, the intent shouldn’t be malicious, but if you need to voice an opinion, and get yourself heard, then you should speak up. It could upset someone, but if you speak with kindness and not in an aggressive manner. They may learn to understand your viewpoint. Remember, your voice matters too. Your thoughts matter too. No one is above another person. We all have a right to voice our thoughts and opinions.
  • Living a life of value-What brings you joy? What bring you happiness? What brings meaning to your life? What gives you purpose? What adds value to your life? What can help you evolve as a person? The answer to these questions are important for your well-being and life fulfillment. This also helps build a nice self-esteem. I feel good about myself when I take care of my plants. I feel good about myself when I write these blog posts. I feel good about myself when I had a nice productive, mindful day. I feel good when I practice yoga or meditation, when I listen to soothing sounds. All the things that make you feel good about yourself, that add value, do them! All of these things can help you to think better of yourself.
  • Living with integrity-Learning to live life the best way you can. All you can do is try. Trying to live as honest as you can. Working towards improving your life to bring happiness, wellness and peace to your life. Having a honest relationship with oneself is important. You can’t have a healthy relationship with someone who lies to you, so you can’t have one with yourself if you do so as well. Be as honest and as real as you can be. The freedom of it will set you free. This can teach you to love and appreciate oneself, and help boost one’s esteem.

These last two I came up on my own, while I was doing this research. I felt they should be added.

  • Learning to create more positive self-talk-Being able to build yourself up is so important for your self-esteem. Saying more positive things about yourself. We are so quick to put ourselves down, which leads to lower self-self-esteem and confidence. We got to learn to say more kind things to ourselves. It is easier for us to build others up when they are down, but then neglect ourselves. Try saying more kind things to oneself.
  • Find your strengths-Put your energy on your strengths, and utilize them. Recognizing and appreciating your strengths is a great esteem booster. You may have flaws, but learn to allow your strengths to shine brighter.
  • Focus on self-Giving yourself space to be alone. To become aware of your thoughts and feelings. Learning to have a better understanding of who you are is important to building your self-esteem. If you learn to be content with yourself. You learn to appreciate oneself.

I also wanted to add some signs of a healthy self-esteem I found on a Psychology Today article. I thought it would be helpful to add. Here they are.

  • Knows the difference between confidence and arrogance
  • Is not afraid of feedback
  • Does not people-please or seek approval
  • Is not afraid of conflict
  • Is able to set boundaries
  • Is able to voice needs and opinions
  • Is assertive, but not pushy
  • Is not a slave to perfection
  • Is not afraid of setbacks
  • Does not fear failure
  • Does not feel inferior
  • Accepts who they are

The list is pretty similar to the keys above. It shows how these keys are important to build a healthy self-esteem. Having a healthy self-esteem is important to living a successful and fulfilling life. Having peace with yourself is key to living the life you want.

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/self-esteem

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-self-esteem-2795868

Random Post(Reframing My Mindset)

Hello my lovely followers<333 I wanted to post something that happened to me last night that is relevant to what I blog about. I thought it would be something interesting to share, and helpful to share as well.

Last night I was having my mindful time. I was journaling, letting my thoughts out. I began thinking about my frustration and anger about having to go to work tomorrow. I was upset that work will be overwhelming, that I will have to work an area I don’t enjoy doing, but needs to be done, since no one else wants to do it. I also thought about how we get work near the end of our shift, making us work 12 hours. I was upset thinking about why we didn’t get work earlier, and how we have no work earlier, but get it at the end of the day. I was growing frustrated how disorganized the place can be. The cycle of negativity just kept spiraling and could keep going. I felt frustrated, tense, annoyed and angry. The thing with negativity, you find one thing, and then keep finding another thing after the other. You continue to dig deeper into the negativity hole.

I then realized what was happening and asked myself, what is this doing? Is this really helping me in any way? I didn’t want to keep spiraling into negativity, so I decided to switch things up, and look at the pros, the joys, the positives, and things I am grateful for in life. I thought about the fun plans I made with friends the next two weekends. That is something joyful to look forward to. I thought about all the lovely gifts I was able to buy this year, due to getting a better paying job. I absolutely love buying gifts!, so this is exciting for me. I also appreciate that this job gave me more financial security. I also realized that a part of me did want to get back to work, because of the movement and exercise I get from it. I also like routine and keeping busy, so getting back to work is important. After, looking at more of the pros. I started feeling more at ease and at peace.

The point of this post is being able to become aware of your thoughts, and where they are taking you is very important to understand, so that you can get to a better place mentally. The ability to reframe your thoughts to a more positive mindset is a skill that will be useful to bring you to a happier and more peaceful place.

Many people are overwhelmed with work. Many people are overworked. Many people deal with BS at work. I am not special. This awareness was kind of humbling. All this realization put me in a place of peace and calm. It has made the transition back to work much more easier. You don’t always have control of your thoughts that come to you, but you can always become aware, reframe and challenge them. It is not completely out of your control. I am now in a better place this morning, and ready to start the work week. I hope you all have a lovely week. Much love, peace and mindfulness.

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.