Tuesday Thought

When I was reading this passage last night from my Mindful Evening book. I chuckled a bit at that part it mentions, “Life just sucks sometime.” Because it is so true. I decided to outline that part, because it is important to remember. Life isn’t always the way you think it will be. It isn’t always how we plan it to be. It sucks sometimes. It is annoying, and burdensome, but it is how it is. Best to accept , and keep moving forward. Life isn’t always roses and happiness. Its okay to have tough moments, challenges and struggles. Just remember there is something to learn from it, and that you will get through it.

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Choosing Your Perspective

This pretty much goes with the post I recently made. I have recently tested positive for Covid-19, and now in self-isolation. I am pretty much feeling fine now, had some mild symptoms earlier, but I continue to remain calm, peaceful, and positive.

I choose not to let fear, anger, blame, hatred, and negativity consume my being. There are three perspective paths you can take in life. The realistic, negative, or positive one. Reality is I got infected(most likely by someone at work). I now have to let my immune system do its job, but also rest, isolate, and eat healthy, and hope for a smooth recovery.

The negative path can lead to blaming others, myself, and the world. Creating fear within myself to never go out again. Hatred for others, and myself for getting in this situation. Asking why questions that solve nothing. Anger for having to be home, and not being able to exercise, and do nature walks outside. Getting anxious about my work situation, or the bills I will rack up from the hospital visit. All these thoughts can arise from negative thinking.

I choose to not fall down that path. It is a road to depression, self-hate, overall hate, and misery. I choose the positive path. To appreciate that I only gotten mild symptoms so far. This giving me the opportunity to relax, and be home. Giving me a chance to learn about myself, and work on myself. This time gives me a chance to do things I wanted to do.

Challenge myself to be creative, and learn to live a different lifestyle. This gives me the opportunity to read many books I want to read. This isolation has given me the opportunity to talk to many family members I haven’t spoken to in awhile, to catch up and connect with others. Overall, this challenge has shown me how much I have grown as a mindful individual, and how with a mindful heart I can remain positive and happy through it all. I can’t control what has happened, it has happened. Time to accept, and move forward.

Being negative has a negative effect on the body. Remaining positive can help boost your immune system, and help one recover much more smoothly. Your body needs to recover, so being mentally sound can be beneficial to the healing process. I can give into all the negativity surrounding this virus, but there are plenty of people who are able to recover, and get through this just fine. Now that I have it. I should now most likely have immunity to it, and that can be another plus to this. I no longer have much of a fear for it, since I now have it, and been through it. Can this situation be burdensome, yes, but there are, and will be plenty of other situations that will as well.

I just want you to know that you can’t control the circumstances around you, but you can control how you think and handle them. You can choose, which path of perspective you want to go down. Humans have the power of thought. We must use it wisely. Remember, stay safe, take care, stay compassionate, and stay mindful.

 

Depression & Anxiety With Mindfulness

Depression and Anxiety are prevalent in this stressful, and difficult world we live in. Millions of people deal with these disorders daily. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Therapy have been implemented to help with these disorders. Mindfulness in therapy is fairly new, but studies have shown they have helped reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. There still needs to be more research, since it is still new to the world of therapy.

I will say from my experience, mindfulness has been a helpful tool for my symptoms. We are all different, so I won’t say it works for everyone, but I do think my five points of mindfulness can help guide an individual to help manage the symptoms of these disorders. I have discussed my five points of mindfulness before. I like to discuss how I think these points can be helpful. Depression and anxiety can’t be cured, but the symptoms can be alleviated, so they don’t control your life.

Mindfulness Five Points:

Focus:

This is about being present minded. I have consistently mentioned if you stay stuck in the past, it can lead to sadness, guilt, shame, which can lead to depression. And if you are looking forward, it can lead to apprehension, tension, stress, which can lead to anxiety. Being in the moment can pull you away from these negative thoughts and feelings. It reduces the tension and sadness by just being present. If one stays stuck in the past and keeps looking forward. The negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions will grow and intensify. This is why focusing on the moment is important for our peace of mind.

Awareness:

Awareness is very important in the world of mindfulness. Awareness of your anxiety, and depression symptoms can go a long way. Acknowledging how you are feeling opens up the door to the other 3 steps. It is a relief to acknowledge the feelings and emotions that one has. “I feel anxious.”” I feel sad.” “I feel lonely.” “I feel shame.” “I feel tense.”I feel fear.” Acknowledge how you are feeling. Now remember to put emphasis on “I feel,” instead of “I am.” Saying “I am,” you are defining yourself as these emotions. “I feel” is just defining how you feel at the moment. There is a bit of separation between you and the emotion. I think that is important to distinguish. It also helps not to be critical of oneself when having these feelings.

Understanding:

Here you get to dig in, and figure out why you are feeling the way you do. Why am I fearful? Why do I feel lonely? Why am I tense? Why am I sad? It is important to ask these questions. It is important to ask the right type of questions. “Why me” questions, or “why is life unfair” questions don’t really answer anything, and it creates more negative thoughts, emotions, and feelings. It is better to ask questions you can find answers to. Questions that can help improve your self and your situation. You need questions you can learn from. Learning why you feel the way you do, and why you have these thoughts can create some relief. You now start to realize the reasoning behind these thoughts and feelings.

Perspective:

Here you start to realize that most of your thoughts are negative. When it comes to depression and anxiety, thoughts are mostly negative. There isn’t much realistic, or positive thoughts flowing around. This is where you challenge your negative thoughts. Depression and anxiety come from a place of negativity. Here you flip that switch, and try to see things from a more realistic, or even positive point of view. Maybe this is teaching me a lesson? Maybe this is showing how strong I am? Maybe this is helping me to become a better person? Am I really as lonely as I think? Is my life really over? Is there nothing I can really do? It is all about perspective. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy really puts this step into use with their treatment.

Acceptance:

We try to push away the symptoms, but acceptance of the symptoms and the disorder is important for one to get through the difficult time. Normalizing it allows the individual to focus on figuring out how to cope and manage the disorder, instead of trying to fight it, and create a world of negative self-talk, and negative thoughts in general. Learning that it is okay, and human to have these feelings, and thoughts can help aid the healing process. Remind yourself, it is okay to feel sad, lonely, lazy, tense, depressed, anxious etc,. can go a long way to a smoother healing process.

The important thing is to confront the disorder, and all the keys will fall into place. Pushing yourself to be happy, and perfect can cause more distress. One should allow these feeling to just be. Now mastering these steps takes time. It won’t happen overnight, but every little step to recovery helps.

My Journey to Mindful Eating

Mindfulness has really helped me establish a healthier relationship with food. I have been recently taking a Mindful Nutrition Course, and I have been looking into healthy eating lately. You would think how does mindfulness and healthy eating go together? Mindfulness makes an individual more aware. With awareness I started to realize what exactly I was eating, and if it is really beneficial for me. I realize with mindfulness it is not only taking care of the mind, but also the body. They go hand in hand. What good is a healthy mind; If you are not fueling the body with the right types of food?

Majority of people tend to eat mindlessly. Eat when you are bored, eat when it is there, eat for comfort, eat to cope,etc,’. This creates an unhealthy habit of eating. I did this a lot, especially eating something, because it is there. Now that I am more aware. I tend to just eat when I need to, or when hungry. A couple of weeks ago there was food at my job, but I already ate my dinner. The old me would have eaten it anyway, but the more mindful me knew I was full, and didn’t need the food, so I didn’t eat it. It was a proud moment for me to take control of my food intake. This is part of the process of building a healthy relationship with food.

I also reduced my sugar intake. I realized how bad sugar is for our bodies through my mindful research. Diabetes 2 has been increasing, and this is due to the high intake of sugar we consume, sometimes we do not realize how much sugar is in food, even in food we don’t think it would be in. Sugar is everywhere. We as consumers tend to not think about that, I didn’t. Some things you may think are healthy, like yogurt, or granola bars have pretty high sugar. I was pretty shocked how much sugar was in my yogurt. I definitely had to make the decision to eat it less.

Practicing mindfulness it isn’t just about mental health, but physical health. It is about learning to take control of the mind, but also the body, and what goes in it. Learning that our bodies need the right type of fuels and nutrients to thrive. The mind needs the right types of nutrients to be at full capacity as well. The mind is no good, if we are fueling our bodies with junk. I learned that mindfulness has to come from a holistic approach of working on the mind and body.

Before being aware of my food intake. I had no knowledge of the type of foods I should eat. I had no clue about the detrimental effects of sugar. I just thought eat less, exercise, or eat food with less calories, maybe look for fat free stuff. I knew fruits and veggies were good for you, but it is much more than that. There are certain types of nutrients we need. I also thought just eat healthy to lose weight, and look good. but it isn’t about losing weight. Our bodies need nutritional based food(fruits,veggies,whole grains,protein,complex carbs,healthy fats) to function. I never realized all the processed junk, and sugar I was taken in. It is quite an awakening to be mindful, and knowledgeable of my food intake.

I like to live a long, fulfilling life. I like to be able to function when I am older. I want to be mentally sound and clear headed. I don’t want to be stuck in hospitals, sick all the time, racking up hospital bills. I can’t control any illnesses, or any accidents, but I can control what I consume that can reduce any diseases or illnesses. I do what I can control. Eating healthier, and having a healthy relationship with food can help me live a longer and more fulfilling life. I realize too much food consumption, or too little, and too much sugar can be dangerous to the body.

Ever since I have changed my eating lifestyle. I have lost and maintained my weight. I never realized that eating the right type of foods promotes weight lose and maintenance. I do now. I do exercise as well, but that is to keep my body toned, and your body also needs physical activity as well.

With this new mindful eating lifestyle. I have more self-control of what I eat. My awareness allows me to think before I eat something I shouldn’t, or don’t need to. Do I really need this? Am I hungry? Am I eating this for a reason?(sadness,comfort, boredom,etc,.). If I need something sweet. I grab a fruit. If I need a snack. I grab my carrots, or nuts.

Now I still eat my doughnuts, cake, ice cream,chocolates, and other sweet/junk foods. I love food, and I don’t want to deprive myself. I just learned to limit myself to those things. I try not to keep it in the house often. I don’t necessarily crave these things as much anymore. Your body gets used to what you eat regularly. I was not really a fan of eating carrots by itself, but eventually I was able to do so from continuous eating of it. I tend to like to eat 90% healthy and use the other ten percent to eat things that may not be the best for me, but I enjoy eating.

You may think you cannot go without unhealthy foods, but you may surprise yourself with what you can do if you stay consistent, motivated, and passionate about living a healthier lifestyle. With mindful practice I learned how to put the right fuel for my body. I realized not only does my mind need attention, but so does my body. It is about having an all around approach to healthy living.

 

Embrace Getting Older

I have now turned a year older, so I thought this would be an appropriate post to write. Most do not like this concept. It just means we are closer to death. Time is passing. The clock is ticking. I have so many things I need to do. I haven’t been able to achieve the things I wanted by this time. These things go through the heads of most people who dread getting older. We live in a society that shuns getting older. We think our lives are over by a certain age, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

I have come to terms with getting older. I no longer feel shame, or sadness about turning a year older. I have learned to be proud of my age. Maybe it is the fact that my 30’s have been the best years of my life physically, mentally, and emotionally. This can all be because of practicing mindfulness. I say you are as old and young as the mind feels.

If you are living in the moment. Getting out there, and doing the things you love to do, experiencing life. Working towards your goals. You can feel as young as you need to be. I think mindfulness has allowed me to embrace getting older, because I learned to accept what is. Getting older will happen, if you like it, or not. It is better to embrace it, and learn to see the positives of it, than to create a mindset of sadness and negativity.

I like to remind myself that not everyone gets a chance to live to their 30’s and up. You hear people say, ‘he/she died so young,’ and feel so much sadness. Yes, it is sad. This is why you should be proud to reach an new age. You made it another year. You got the opportunity to live a year longer. You got to see this from this perspective. We feel sad when people die young, but feel sad when we get older. It is quite a juxtaposition. I say be proud that you have lived to feel old. Not everyone gets that chance. It is something you should be proud of in this unpredictable world.

The problem is people focus on the past. They have regrets, or missing what was. They look back on their youth, and think about the ‘good times.’ The past is the past. You can’t go back. You can’t change it. The things you can do is embrace it. Be happy  that you had the experiences you had in the past. Try not to look back with regrets, but with fond memories.  Focus on today, and enjoy your life now. so you don’t have regrets on your death bed. Put energy into your physical and mental health, so you are as energetic and vibrant at an older age. I see people in their 60’s thinking their lives are over, and it doesn’t have to be that way. You can still do things, and live a fulfilling life at that age.

Getting older shouldn’t make us sad. It should make us proud. Living a long, and fulfilling life should be a goal to everyone. Embrace the years that you are able to have. You have the opportunity to right wrongs. To work on your mistakes. To experience new things. To live life the best way you can. This can all happen by having the opportunity to get older.

I am in my 30’s. In no way is that old, but when I reach my 60’s and up. I like to feel as good as I can be at that age. I try to eat healthy, and exercise, because I want to live a fulfilling life as long as I can. Life is unpredictable, but I do have some control over things, so I will do what I can. You are only as old, as you think you are. You have control of what you think.

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Positive Habits of 2019

The new year is closing in. I would like to continue my reflection posts of 2019. I would like to talk about the positive habits I built this year. I think it is good for the soul to focus on the good things I have done this year.

Improving my mental, physical, and emotional health has been an important part of my mindfulness journey. Developing positive habits has been integral to my self-growth and development. It helps build character. Building positive, rather than bad habits can help improve the mind and body.

Implementing these habits have been a wonderful addition to my life. It is good for the mind, and body to build your life around positive habits. Continuously doing things to benefit yourself is what an individual needs to evolve as a person. Remind yourself, what benefits me, and try to do those things, if it does not, try to remove it. Why make life more difficult than it should be? It is about taking control, and creating positive energy around you. Here is my list of positive habits I created this year.

1.Drinking more water/less sugar drinks-I love to drink, but I was drinking way too many juices a day for my liking. Juice has lots of sugar that my body doesn’t need. I decided to replace it with water. It was tough at first, but now I drink more water throughout the day. It helped reduce my sugar intake by a lot. It gives me more energy. It has helped me lose weight, and maintain my weight. The body needs water, so why not give it what it needs. Also we can make a mistake of being hungry, rather than being dehydrated. If you feel hungry. It is sometimes good to try water first. It may be dehydration. Water is your friend folks.

2.Activity for at least 30 minutes-Exercise is important, not just to lose weight, or to be skinny. It is integral to have at least 30 minutes of activity a day. The body needs it, so I try to exercise, be it running outside, or at the gym, doing yoga, or doing jump rope at home. Exercise gives me energy, and allows me to maintain my weight. I like to be as healthy as I can now, so I don’t pay for it when I get older. Although, I can’t control everything. I try to control as much as I can for my physical health.

3.Eat nutritional foods-Someone mentioned on a TED talk I watched,”eat for nutrition, not for weight loss.” That really resonated with me. People don’t realize that eating healthy isn’t to be skinny, or lose weight. I thought this too. It is to give your body the much needed nutrients. Most people don’t give their bodies the nutrients it needs. This creates many diseases. I have eaten much more nutritional food this year(fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans). These are all good for your body. I usually do the 80-20,90-10 rule. I still eat my cookies, cakes and chocolates. I just eat them less. This has given my body more energy, and has made me more alert mentally. I just feel good all around.

4.Less Judgment-Being more mindful. Has made me less judgmental towards others, and myself. I have gotten so much better at looking at perspectives. I still judge from time to time, but nowhere near as much as before. I know it isn’t my place to judge others, and I know I have to be more kind to myself by not judging myself harshly. Judgment just creates negative energy I don’t need.

5.More compassion-This goes along with judgment. Being more compassionate means being less judgmental. I am more understanding of others actions and opinions. I am understanding of mistakes I and others make. This creates positivity and peace around me. Understanding myself and others. Looking through different perspective has changed my life for the better. It helps to push away negative energy, and to just be happy for myself and others. Compassion allows me not to carry resent or anger towards another. I don’t need that negativity in my life, and neither should anyone else.

5.Creating Mindful Time-I have made it a habit to have mindful time(meditation, journaling,writing, reading,coloring). I just like to be in the moment with no distractions. I take about an hour a day to do this. This calms my mind. It gives me clarity. It makes me creative. It helps me learn more about myself. This habit has been wonderful to me.

6.Positive mindset-I am a lot more positive about things, than I have ever been. Whenever I am feeling down about going to work, or doing something I don’t want to do. I try my best to stay positive. I tell myself,”be positive, you’ll get through it.” It works. I try to remain as positive as I can through out the day, because honestly why be negative. Why be sad, angry, annoyed. I don’t like feeling those emotions, so I do my best to avoid them when I can. I go about my day, put a smile on my face, and keep going. This mindset has allowed me to move on from negative thoughts, and emotions much more easily. If I have a choice. I rather be happy, so I choose that path as much as I can.

And these are the lovely habits I have created this year. I hope I can build more in 2020, we’ll see. I also hope these carry on to 2020. I am sure they will, once you build a habit. It is pretty hard to lose it. That is why building positive habits that benefit us is so important, so we can continue to do things that make us stronger mentally, physically and emotionally. I hope this gets you to think of positive habits you built this year. If you like to write it down in the comments. I loved to hear. Always do things to improve yourself, and that has benefits to your mind and body.

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Food for Thought Post

IMAG0301How I enjoy finding a passage that speaks to me, and inspires me. These are my thoughts on this subject.

Let go of the need to control others and the world. You as an individual cannot fix the world and others. Try not to put that pressure on yourself. It is a  losing battle. It creates negative energy. What you can do is put the focus on you. That is what you can control. This is what creates more positive energy. Peace and happiness will ensue.

I hope reading this give you a little bit more of a perspective on this topic. It is wonderful to just let go, and be free from the constraints of wanting to be in control of everything.

Evolving or Changing as a Person

I had a nice conversation with my friend, and it made me think of what the differences are between these two. I was asked what is the difference, aren’t they the same? Yes, they can be seen as the same, but from my perspective I don’t see it that way. They can go hand in hand. They can be used interchangeably, but I see them as different when it comes to changing as a person, and evolving as a person.

When I think of someone wanting to change as a person. I see it more as a person not accepting who they are, and wanting to push away from the person they are. I see it as the person wanting to focus more on the parts of them they are not happy with, than the parts they are happy about. When someone says they want to change, do you really want to change yourself completely?, do you really want to rid of the amazing qualities you do have?, or do you want to change the qualities you don’t like? Wanting a change to me is changing who you are. Do you not like who you are?

I think we should all appreciate, and accept who we are, the things we like, and the things we don’t. Wanting to change pulls us away from who we really are. It is like you don’t like the person you are. I don’t want individuals to pull away from who they are. I don’t want them to not like who they are. We are all wonderful. We all have qualities, and quirks that make you, you. I just like an individual to expand on who they are.

This is where evolving comes from. I like the phrase evolving as a person, rather than changing. It is expanding on who you are. It is about developing and growing. It is about an expansion on the already awesome person you are. It is about improving on the qualities that you are not to proud of, but keeping the qualities you love about yourself. It is adding value, positivity, insight, knowledge, and wisdom to your being that you may not have had before.

Life is all about evolving. We have done it, since the beginning of time. It allows us to survive in this ever changing world. Evolving gives us room to learn, to be more knowledgeable, to be more compassionate, to be more mindful, to be more creative etc. It gives us room to grow, but it allows us to keep parts of who we are that we love and accept. There are amazing qualities in all us that we must retain. We can learn to accept the flaws as well. The great thing about evolving is that we can improve, and work on them. Life would be boring if we were all perfect. Growing and expanding is an important part of our life journey.

So in conclusion, wanting to change to me is more about pulling away from who you are. Not accepting the person you are. Mindfulness is all about accepting who you are, appreciating the qualities that make you awesome, and learning to accept the ones you aren’t proud of. It is all still part of you. We all have these type of qualities. That is what makes us human.

Now wanting to evolve gives us the opportunity to become a better version of ourselves, and work on those things that we may not like. I like to say I am evolving as a person. It just sounds much better to me. I appreciate my whole being, and I truly hope others start to as well.

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Judgment

Judgment is the ability to make considered decisions, or come to sensible conclusions. These type of judgments are most likely made the minority of the time. Normally when we make judgments they are normally not well planned out, or thought out. The judgments we tend to make most of the time are thoughts about ourselves, others, and our world through our own point of view. They tend to be skeptical, critical, and negative.

Judgments about  ourselves, others, and the world can be helpful for us to understand, and evaluate the world around us. But sometimes they can be shortcuts we make that don’t always tell the truth, and they can be destructive. It can have a negative effect on how we see ourselves, others, and the world.

Judgments are created from the ego, focusing only on the perspective of the individual, trying to make the individual right, making the individual look better. This usually comes from judgments of others. When we judge ourselves, it is mostly putting ourselves down. It tends to mostly be negative.

Judgments should be constructive, based on reality. It should be helpful for us to navigate the world. But we tend to use it in more of a destructive, negative way. Part of mindfulness is non-judgment. Just seeing the world as it is without putting our thoughts into it. This is extremely difficult for us humans to do. We love to evaluate and investigate, which is a great thing. The thing we should be aware of is when it is beneficial, and when it is harmful.

Is what I am thinking really helpful, or constructive? Should I be judging this situation, or person the way I am? Do I have a right to say this when I am not prefect myself?

Through my mindfulness journey it is still difficult not to make judgments. It is hard not to create story lines for the world around us. Just seeing things for what is just is, isn’t an easy concept for us to grasp. Can I just say it is a book, without adding my own thoughts about it? Did I like it? Does it look interesting? Can I just see a person, and just say that is a person without adding my own thoughts of what they are wearing or, why they shouldn’t be wearing it?, Or hear a person’s life story without putting my thoughts into what they should have done? or, what I would have done instead? ,Or when I make a mistake, not judging myself that I am an ‘idiot,’ or, ‘stupid.’ I simply just made a mistake.

It is hard to just stop making judgments, but being aware is always important. Awareness can help us limit judgments. It can also alert us when we are doing it. I always catch myself making judgments about myself, and others. The good thing is I am aware of these judgments. I try to learn from them, and improve. I realize what I think isn’t fact, just my opinion/my perspective. To believe your thoughts are facts is delusional. It is a battle, but I continue to learn and grow. One thing is not to judge yourself for being judgmental, kind of counter intuitive. Just remember it is part of being human, but we can always learn and improve.

Remember to think, is it helpful, constructive, or beneficial to myself, or others? If it is not, try to limit that type of judgment. Like the definition in the beginning. Judgments should be well thought out, and based on reality, not thoughts created by our world of story lines. Judgments are part of human nature. We needed it to survive, during primitive times. It is all about being aware of what is the truth, and what we want to perceive through rose colored glasses. I still make judgments. You will still make judgments, but awareness and limitation can go along way.