Masking Our Thoughts/Emotions

Masking has evolved and is now defined as concealing one’s emotion by portraying another emotion. It is mostly used to conceal a negative emotion (usually sadness, frustration, and anger) with a positive emotion. This is the definition I found online. What I mean by this concept in this post is avoiding, hiding, concealing, or suppressing thoughts and emotions with external means, like food, alcohol and drugs.

Best bet is to confront/acknowledge the problem, or struggle to manage and cope. This will help you find solutions and help ease your mind. The thing is it isn’t an easy concept for most. People tend to prefer to use coping strategies as food, alcohol, and drugs to seek comfort, instead of facing the problem, they do it without realizing it. These strategies are not healthy, but for the individual it is a short-term fix. That is why a mindful approach is very important, so awareness can stop these habits.

Avoiding is easier. It is easier to pick up the drink, take the drugs, and eat the food, than to try to make changes, maybe it isn’t easier, it could be the fact that people don’t have the knowledge to a more mindful approach to get them out of this cycle of habits. The dopamine release from using these strategies for comfort is rewarding for the individual. You feel good for the moment. The problem is it doesn’t last long. It feels nice for a couple minutes, maybe hours, than reality sets in again. Everything is back to where it was when you started. You may even feel worse for doing what you did, feelings of guilt, shame, or anger may arise.

Using these strategies to push away your problems, or hide them away just perpetuates the problem. This allows the problem to linger, which than allows one to continue to act on the bad habit. It is an endless cycle of negativity and bad habits. These habits cloud your mind, especially alcohol and drug use. It impairs the frontal lobe. The area of the brain needed to fix the problem you are dealing with. By clouded the mind, you are allowing the problem to remain and grow.

Nothing can be fixed with external things. It can only alleviate the underlying issues. You will continue to eat, drink, and consume drugs when dealing with negative emotions/thoughts, until one is able to face the problem straight on with a clear mind to find solutions.

I know it is tempting to pick up the drink, eat the food, or take the drugs. But one must learn to take control of their lives, and not allow things around us to control us. These mindless habits can just lead to more problems for one mentally and physically. There is just nothing good long-term that comes out of suppressing your thoughts and feelings.

Taking the mindful road can allow you to become aware of one’s thoughts, feelings and emotions. This can then allow you to become aware of these bad habits. Which then can allow you to put a stop to these habits. You will learn to face the problems in your life, then learn to concur them with a calm and clear mind. This process will provide peace of mind, strength, and recovery. The thing you must always remember is that you have control of your habits. Give yourself back that power. Take the power back into your hands.

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Benefits of Nature,Yoga& Meditation

Mindfulness practices have brought peace, calmness, and positivity into my life. I just wanted to discuss some benefits to these three practices. I always feel much better doing each of these practices, some may be more difficult to do than others. I still try to keep these things in my life, because they can always bring me back to my mindful state of mind, and help make my mindfulness nature much stronger. I think having these three things in your life can make you a more mindful and happier individual.

Nature

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Studies show that nature has a positive effect on your mental and physical health. An article mentioned two reasons why nature has its benefits.

Psycho-Evolutionary Theory-Natural environments reduce stress level, because it has qualities our ancestors needed for survival.

Attention Restoration Theory-Sharpest patterns of nature are positively stimulating to a fatigued mind.

This makes sense, my mind feels much clearer and calmer after walking in nature. I always feel a sense of peace, and have a relaxed mind and body afterwards. I feel fresher ,and rejuvenated after a nice walk in nature.

There was another study with Indiana University & Illinois University. They found people who went hiking at a park, or wilderness showed increase signs of joy, and a decrease level of cortisol(hormone involved with stress).

That joyful and more relaxed feeling you get after walking is built in us. We need nature. It helps bring us back to the basics. That is where it all began, in nature.

Yoga 

woman doing yoga outdoors

This practice is associated with improved flexibility, metabolism, muscle strength, better focus, lessen chronic pain, lower blood pressure, and stress reduction. According to a team of scientist in Brazil, they found women to have greater cortical thickness in parts of their brain that associated with cognitive functioning. In short, yoga can help defend against aging minds. It helps keep the mind and body younger.

I enjoy this practice. It is nice to give my body the stretch it needs. I like to be able to move around as I get older, and I feel practicing yoga can help with that. My body and mind feel much better after a yoga session. Yoga is good for your mental and physical health. It is important to incorporate this practice to our lives.

Meditation

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This practice may be the biggest part of Mindfulness, but can be the most difficult practice to do. I say for me, it is. It isn’t easy for us to sit still in the busy world we live in. It is ingrained in us to move and keep going. But we should try and make an effort to sit still, because this practice really does help bring peace to our lives.

According to healthline.com studies have shown meditation helps reduce stress, control anxiety, promotes emotional health, reduces activity in the “me center” of the brain, helps preserve aging minds, improves attention spans, control pain and improve sleep.

I believe it heightens clarity and calmness of the mind. It reduces stress levels, and improves your coping skills. These have all been benefits of meditation for me. There is just a sense of calmness, positivity and peace after practicing meditation.

The benefits of these practices are wonderful additions to our lives that we need. They help meet our physical, mental and emotional needs. Our minds and bodies need these practices. I believe these are practices we should incorporate in our lives for a more satisfying and fulfilling life.

 

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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Positive Habits Checklist

As I mentioned before in another post. Building positive/healthy habits is important for our well-being. To keep up with these habits. I created my own list of habits I like to maintain.I just wanted to talk about my positive habits checklist I like to refer to daily to keep me in check with my habits. I like to list the positive/healthy habits I like to do on paper.

This list helps motivate myself to keep working on these habits. It shows what I have been maintaining. It also shows which ones I need to work, or improve on. Having the visual of the habits on paper helps keep me on track.

The list really helps me to continue working on these habits, and pushes me to improve on the ones I don’t do often. I usually like to go through the list, and put a check mark on the ones I did. The ones I don’t check shows me what I have to work on, and I try to put my focus on working on those habits.

It also gives you a visual of what habits are easier, and what are most difficult for you. For me, yoga, healthy eating, and drinking water are the easiest, while meditation, and reading are the most difficult. It shows what habits I have been able to integrate into my daily life, and what habits I need to learn to integrate into my life. It is nice to have this visual handy.

I like to look at the list in the morning and evening. I check in the morning to see what is unchecked, and work towards those habits. In the evening I put a check mark on all the habits I have done. This shows me what I need to work on the next day, or during that week.

The reason I am discussing this is because positive/healthy habits can be difficult to maintain for most. Writing a checklist can be a helpful to keep one on track. It helps keep you focused on your goals. It keeps you on task. It gives you accountability. If you like to start building healthy/positive habits. Making a checklist can be a start. This can give you the awareness you need to start the progress.

I usually just write my list on a piece of paper, but if you like to do something more creative with your list if you are a creative individual, than go ahead. I am pretty simple. Whatever can help push you to work towards a healthier, more positive lifestyle is all that matters.

Below is my list of habits I try to maintain. I have added a couple more to my list recently. These habits have been very beneficial for me on my mindfulness journey. There a lot more positive/healthy habits out there. It is about what you would like to work on. We are all different. Just find what habits are best for you towards your growth, and well-being.IMAG0166

 

Building Healthy Habits

This post is a continuation of the last post Breaking Bad Habits. There was more I wanted to add, but thought I would make a separate post for it. This is more for building healthy habits, and reducing bad ones.

Habits are created through consistency and repetition. These can be good or bad habits. Unhealthy habits are easier to get into, but it does no good for your body, and mind in the long run. We just focus on the instant satisfaction it gives us.

Healthy habits are difficult to obtain, because they take more work, and may seem not to be as satisfying. It is interesting how the good things for us are harder to achieve, but that is life. But my mindset is life is about hard work. We are here to learn, improve and grow, and that can’t be done on an easy path.

Healthy habits may be hard at first, but once you are a consistent with the habit. It becomes a whole lot easier. It will become part of your daily routine. You will even start to enjoy doing it. It is all about getting your mind and body habituated to it. Once you are able to do that there will be vast improvement to your well-being mentally, emotionally, and physically.

This is why people feel like they need to do those unhealthy habits. It is because your body is used to it. That doesn’t mean it is essential for you, or good for you. The body and mind wants what it is used to. The withdrawals aren’t fun, which is why people stick to unhealthy habits, but if you learn to push through them, it gets easier.

Once your mind and body is used to something it will seek those things. If it is a good habit, than it benefits you. If it is a bad habit, than it can be quite damaging. It can be quite difficult leaving behind bad habits. I know, I struggled as well to build healthy habits, rather than bad ones.

I say try to start small. Cutting it off completely can make you crave it more. The best thing you can do is ween yourself off of the habit. To the point where you no longer have the need to do the habit. The body will crave the habit less when done less frequently. This also goes for starting up a healthy habit. Try not to overdue it. This will most likely make you want to quit.

I have to say some of my healthy habits were not enjoyable at first, and hard to maintain. Drinking water more, and reducing sugar drinks was tough, but after awhile. I no longer craved sugar drinks as much, and I now enjoy drinking water. Your body gets used to consistent habits. This goes for the other healthy habits I maintained as well. The habit becomes easier to do, and becomes part of your routine.The start is always the toughest, which is why most give up.

There are a couple of things that can help build healthy habits, and help reduce unhealthy ones as well.

  • Awareness
  • Motivation/Determination
  • Planning/writing it down/implementing the habits
  • Bring it into your daily life
  • Start small

All this can lead to improvement of your mind, body, and soul. It is all about thinking about the long term, rather than the short term.

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Positive Habits That Improved My Life

Hello! Happy Saturday! Time for a little positivity post. These posts are always needed.

I was inspired by a couple of Youtube bloggers. They discussed positive habits/things that improved their lives. It made me think of the things that improved my life. I thought this would be a nice topic for my next blog. It is always beneficial to focus on the positive things in our lives. I also thought this would get you thinking of the positive things that improved your life.

I will discuss a couple of positive things in my life that have been beneficial for my well-being physically, emotionally, mentally, and personally. You should always try to create habits that can bring positivity, happiness, and peace to your life. It is a chaotic world out there.

So here they are:

1.Waking up early- This may not work for everyone, especially night owls. I am an early bird. Doing this helps me get more things done. I like the peacefulness of not having so many people around when I go to places. It makes me more productive, and prepares me for the day ahead. During the work week. It gives me the time to relax before I go to work, and I can get ready at a slower pace. It also makes me more alert, and ready to go when I get to work. I am barely ever tired going to work anymore.

2.Practicing mindfulness- This should have probably been first, but I somehow thought of waking up early first. I am much more content now. I have picked up many healthy habits, because of this practice. I can relax more. I don’t stress as much. I am more accepting of myself, and my life. I am more aware, and understand myself, and my emotions. Overall, it has had a positive influence in my life.

3.Stepping away from distractions- How I use to love being online, social media all the time. Those were days I am glad I put past me. I still go on, but not as frequently. I may do 30 minutes on the weekdays, and sporadically go on, during the weekends. I like to take sometime away from it doing things like, reading, learning, taking walks outside, being inspired, writing, doing puzzles, word searches, meditating, or writing in my journal. It gives me a chance to be in the moment, and focus my energy on myself. I always enjoy doing this when I wake up, and before I go to bed. It brings much peace, and calm to not be trapped by my phone, or computer.

4.Productivity time- I always like taking time out of my day to do something productive. I usually like to write it down on my Calendar, because it gives me more motivation to get it done. I always have days, and times of whatever productive thing I want to do. It is a nice feeling to complete a goal, or task you had for yourself. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. It is nice to know I am not wasting my day. No matter how little, or big the goal is. It helps me focus on my personal development, and improving myself, and my life.

5.Journaling- It is just nice to get my thoughts out. It is therapeutic. It is also a nice way to reflect back, and see my journey as I go through life. It can helps me learn more about myself. What I improved on, what I achieved, and what I can work on.

6.Walk in nature/outside- Now that it is nicer. I can do this more often. There are a myriad of trails, and parks in my area, so it is nice to enjoy the outdoors. The nice fresh air, the sound of birds, and the water. The nice scenery. It helps me live in the moment, and appreciate the beauty of this earth. It also boost my mood, and my mental health. It calms my mind. It is also good for me physically.

All these things have been wonderful habits that have changed my life for the better. Now I would like you to think of positive habits that have improved your life? What has it done for you? How has it improved your life? If there isn’t any, it is time to build some positive habits that can change your life for the better.