Self Care

Take Care of Yourself | Take Care of Each Other

Protecting Yourself Protects Others

Just as we can pick up other people's stress, they can pick up ours. When we talk about taking care of ourselves and putting measures in place to protect ourselves from stress, it’s not just for our benefit. It’s for ourselves and for everyone else around us. 

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3 Easy Strategies You Can Use to Protect Yourself From Secondhand Stress

Just like how you protect your immune system from secondhand smoke by hanging out in non-smoking areas, you also need to find strategies to protect your emotional immune system. Here are three simple strategies you can use to stop yourself from falling victim to secondhand stress!

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What Is Secondary Stress?

The thing is, as human beings, we can quite literally pick up on and absorb one another’s emotions, just like we can take in secondhand smoke.

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Are You At Risk For Secondary Stress?

Caretakers, mental health professionals, health care workers, social workers, officers and teachers among others all belong to at-risk groups.

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Why You Should Practice Mindfulness

To be mindful means to be fully aware of the present moment without judgement of your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Mindfulness is linked to reducing feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression while improving rest, focus, and prosocial behavior. Learn more about the importance of mindfulness here.

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Your Brain on Mindfulness

Neuroplasticity highlights the idea that our brains are constantly being reshaped throughout our lives through our experiences and our thoughts. This means by cultivating a self care and stress management practice, we can actually train our brains to be more calm, focused, and relaxed. Learn more about your brain and mindfulness here.

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Stress & The Stress Response

Learn about stress, the stress response, and why we need to manage it.

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Surviving Storms

This weeks #MindfulMoment is about finding the strength to survive the storms life throws at you.

Whether it be a hurricane or a traumatic breakup, we are all forced to deal with storms in our lives. So what do we do?.. because sometimes we’re literally forced to experience pain. There is so much that lies outside of our control in life.

People get sick, we lose jobs, go through divorces, have car accidents, people pass away, go bankrupt, lose businesses – you name it. ShiFt happens.

So what are you supposed to do in a moment like that? Do you just give up? Do you quit? Do you fight?

I got this idea from one of my favorite Authors, Jon Gordon. Jon Gordon tells a story of a boy named Joshua who is in his room with his mother listening to her tell him that his parents are considering getting a divorce. As she was breaking this news to them, more breaking news occurred – there was literally a storm coming.

Joshua was taking the news really hard but instead of lashing out he literally said, “I’m going to be strong, trust that things will all work out, and stay positive about this.” 

This boy, whose pain was unbearable, was choosing to stay positive as his world was being torn apart. While his levies of strength were breaking and the pain was flooding in, he was mustering up the courage and faith to reinforce his walls and stay strong in the face of adversity. He didn’t act in denial. He accepted the situation. And he knew he had to deal with it; with courage, positivity, hope, and faith.

Jon Gordon goes on to remind us that we will all come face to face with different storms in our lives. It’s up to us to accept that some situations are outside of our control and to be mindful about the way that we react to them. It is in these times that we have to know we can’t do it all alone… we’re not supposed to do it all alone.

In your powerlessness, discover your true power.

In your fear, find your faith.

In your need to be in control, find the ability to surrender.

I don’t know why we face these storms in life, but the fact that you’re reading this means you’ve survived 100% of yours or you’re still strong enough to fight through your current one. Take note of this kids strength and take pride in yours. Life is a journey, lean into it, and learn from it.

#MindfulMoment What’s an adversity you’re proud to say you’ve overcome or are fighting to overcome?

Warmly, 
Amanda

#GRATEFUL4

 

Day 1: Write 10 Things You Are Grateful For. Simple as that. It could be the shoes on your feet, the roof over your head, the phone in your hand, or the fact that you’re alive. Just find 10 things to say “thank you” for.

 

Day 2: Compliment a Stranger. Make someone you don’t know feel good today. We’re in this time where when we pass someone we barely notice because our heads are buried in our phones. Put the phone away and be human, just for today, seek someone out and make them feel good.

 

Day 3: Clean Something. Take some time to declutter today. Show gratitude for your space by keeping it clean. Clutter never generates a good feeling whether we notice it or not. Notice the good feeling you get when you create space.

Sidenote: This could be mental clutter as well. Take some time to do a brain dump and write down what’s been lingering up there.

 

Day 4: Write a Thank You Letter and Mail It. This is one of my favorite things to do for my clients and people that have impacted my life. Not a text, not a call, but a thank you note. Yes, snail mail, with a stamp. It doesn’t have to be long but just tell someone, “thank you”.

 

Day 5: Reach Out to Someone Who Has Influenced You Big Time. Okay, now you can text or call, or slide in a DM. But this time, make it someone you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Maybe save this one for an old teacher or friend. Let them know that you’re calling them to thank them for the difference they’ve made in your life.

 

Day 6: Hug Someone You Care About. Hugs actually have been proven to reduce stress and boost your immune system. So open up your arms and give someone a hug. If you get to this day and no one is around, shoot me an email and I will give you a VIRTUAL hug. 

 

Day 7: Forgive Someone. Here’s the thing. This challenge is pretty easy. Say you’re grateful, do some nice things…OK. All of these exercises help us to build a gratitude practice and make us feel really good. But there’s something a lot of us need to do in order to feel even better. Forgive someone. A lot of us are holding onto anger, pain, and hurt that was “caused” by someone else. Make the hard choice to let something go. The thing is, holding onto anger does nothing to the other person, it just hurts you. Also, it’s really hard to be angry and grateful at the same time. Today is about gratitude. So, whatever happened – take a moment to find the good in it today. Whatever sliver of good you can find in it, then, make the conscious decision to let the bad go.

 

Create an amazing week! 

Jotting Down The Good

Stress from work, friends, family, and mundane routines have a tendency to put us in a pattern of negative thinking that literally feeds on itself and creates more stress and unhappiness for us.

This cycle of negativity that develops from prolonged stress can lead to irritability, more stress, insecurity, anxiety, depression and so much more. So, it’s important to find a way to cultivate a positive attitude that can reprogram our thoughts to be dominantly positive, break the cycle of negativity, and start bringing some good stuff into our lives.

One of the ways you can shift your mindset out of the negative is by gratitude journaling.

Writing can be a great release. Often, when we write about things that make us feel good, we generate a feeling of gratitude. You might find that a gratitude journal is the best approach for incorporating a gratitude practice into your schedule. 

How you decide to go about this gratitude journaling practice is up to you. Maybe you’ll have a journal solely used for gratitude purposes or maybe you’ll use a journal that you use for a handful of purposes. Some people have a personalized journal or use one that was given to them that evokes some type of emotion or sense of importance. Maybe you’ll find journaling in the morning right after you wake up works best, or maybe you’ll find writing in the evenings is a better fit. For some people, writing by hand feels easiest, while others prefer to type. Allow yourself to be flexible as you find the approach that works best for you, but do try to put some effort into sticking to a gratitude journaling routine. Once you get into the habit of gratitude journaling, you will find endless benefits.


Here are some tips for success as you start your gratitude journaling practice. 

Positive Words, ONLY: Don’t use this space as an area to vent out the negative. Stay focused on the good stuff. Do NOT fix your pen to write the words “don’t, can’t, won’t, not” – none of it. Use positive words, only.

 

Use Prompts: Writing prompts are a great way to help your gratitude practice and process come easier. I would aim to write about 5-10 things each day. Here are some of the prompts I use:

“I am so grateful for..”

“I always feel good when..”

“Today was amazing because…”

 

Be Genuine: Please don’t do this if it feels like a chore. If it’s too much of a hassle, we can find you something that is a better fit. Allow this to be something therapeutic for you. A release, that pours right back into you. The worst thing you can do with your gratitude practice is simply go through the motions. In order to really reap the benefits you have to cultivate the feeling of goodness and thankfulness. You have to make a conscious decision to make an effort to be more grateful. You need to be able to feel what you write and believe that it’s true.

 

Speak It Into Existence: I don’t use my gratitude journal just for the things I’m grateful for now. I write about the things I’m grateful for in advance because I know the potential of my mind and positive thinking.

“I am so blessed in my business. I work with 8 clients per week to help them strengthen their yoga/mindfulness practice.

“I am so thankful for all of this opportunity through A Peace of Yoga. I work with the best and the brightest everyday to master my craft and become great at what I do.”

 

There’s No Right Time: While I do advise you to start writing down things that you’re grateful for in the morning, don’t limit yourself to that time frame. As good things happen to you throughout the day, write them down! I like to jot down a few feel goods before I call it a night too. It leaves me with a sense of peace and oftentimes I awake with that same sense of gratitude.

It’s okay to journal when times are bad too. Use this as a tool to help shift you into a better mood by reflecting on the things that make you feel good. You can’t be mad and grateful at the same time. It’s just how it works. So choose gratitude. Turn the negatives into positives – but only write in the positive tense. Does that make sense? So for example:

“My relationship didn’t work out.. (insert name) turned out to be a waste of time, but at least now I have time to focus on myself and know what I want.”

                      Nah.

DO NOT Waste Your Energy Throwing Shade in Your Journal.

Try this: I am thankful I have time to work on myself and I know that when the time is right  I will attract the perfect partner with all the qualities I desire. Maybe elaborate from there on what that relationship will look like..Have a little fun with it.

See the difference. The key is to Stay. In. The. Good. Don’t even acknowledge the negatives. This is specifically about GRATITUDE. 

 

Elaborate:  Depth over Breadth. So, I just mentioned elaborating on your journal entries. Explore what you really feel by going in depth on what you’re grateful for. This will help you in the genuine department. Make it clear what you’re writing about so that if you were to go back a year from now you could understand what you felt in that moment and maybe even regenerate that good feeling.

There is a big difference between:

“I am so grateful for my favorite student, Alex.”

&

“I am so grateful for my favorite student, Alex. That boy cracks me up everyday. Today, I convinced him that he set the school on fire with his magic powers (we had a fire drill) and had him confess on video…

 

Don’t Rush: Give yourself time with this exercise. Don’t just jot it down and run out the door. Write it, absorb it, feel good about it.

 

Mix it Up & Get Creative: Don’t put the same things everyday. Continuously find reasons to be grateful. I know people who use ticket stubs, pictures, receipts, etc. as prompts to reflect on. I personally like to keep a picture or two of my niece, Aria, laying around. She’s amazing too. 

 

But This Is Corny…Listen, if you find something that makes you feel good and helps you to live a life you enjoy, you need to keep doing that. No one has to know that you do this, or that you repeat affirmations in your mirror, or that you say “thank you” to yourself with every step. This is a process for you and if it feels a little weird, great. It’s good to step outside of your comfort zone!

 

Just Be Patient: Most studies will say it takes 21 days to form a habit so let’s give it three weeks before we give up and say it isn’t for us. After all, according to my audience, we’re probably dealing with at least 20 something years of mostly negative thinking. It’s going to take some time for the brain to get used to this new way of thinking.

 

The goal here is to get to a point where your brain automatically defaults to looking for the good in every situation. You want to make gratitude what your brain looks for when it needs to feel good. Always searching for something positive, always pulling away something positive from every circumstance. What you will learn overtime is that your thoughts are like any muscle, the more you exercise them, the stronger they become. Positive thoughts reap positive results. Negative thoughts reap negative results. So, stay in the good. Happy journaling and as always, create a great day.

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How to Have The Best Vacation

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How to Have The Best Vacation

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