How to like more about yourself than just your eyebrows.

“I used to only like my eyebrows”

That’s what my friend said to me yesterday while we were watching ourselves in the mirror working out at the gym yesterday.

She is in great shape. She’s got 3 boys under 7 and everyday fits in a workout for herself at home. Slowly over the past few years she’s been getting more and more weights and heavier kettlebells and it’s paying off. She looks strong and healthy.

“Now, that I’ve been working out for a while, I have so many things I like about myself!” She said with a big smile.

This is the power of choosing health, and it’s not only exercise, but small shifts towards health in our lifestyles often lead to bigger shifts and bigger rewards.

In her case, exercise led her to appreciate her body and appearance more. It also has influenced her food choices and how she feeds her family. Everyone is benefiting from her choices.

In my own life, I have found that there has rarely been a correlation between my size and how good I felt about myself. I have been 10 pounds lighter and up to 40 lbs heavier (pregnancy and post pregnancy) and as long as I was exercising I felt beautiful. Even at my smallest, I didn’t see myself as well as at my heaviest when I was working out.

The lean towards health also influences other healthy behaviors, often we naturally start to make healthier food choices once we start working out. Once we get a taste of how good we feel, we want to do more things that make us feel good.

Exercise and diet of course aren’t the only ways to feel good about ourselves and within ourselves, but they are a great starting point because our bodies influence our minds and emotional states. Studies show that healthy bodies hold onto positive emotions more readily and increase more positive moods.

One of my personal mottos for years has been, “health is the best fashion accessory.” Feeling healthy in my mind, body, and spirit makes me feel way more beautiful than a pair of $300 jeans and a hot pair of shoes ever could. Clear eyes and a genuine smile win every time.

I’d love to hear from you now, what makes you feel beautiful? What are your favourite ways to feel healthy? And what do you like best about yourself? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

What does “the spaces in between” have to do with overwhelm?

Everyday I walk my dog at 8am. I put my toddler in the carrier on my back and we head out together rain or shine looking for blue cars, bunnies, and anything else interesting on the way.

No matter what my morning was like before my walk, or how little sleep I had the night before, I always feel better. But yesterday was different.

When I came in I unhooked Walter from his leash, sat on the couch to release my son, grabbed the vacuum and started cleaning. My mind was on overdrive and I was overwhelmed with all the things I had to do before my parents came to visit later that day.

I could see the To-Do list climbing bigger and bigger, thoughts were racing, and I was starting to feel panicked and anxious at the impossibility of doing it all.

And then, something happened.

I stopped and realized I hadn’t thanked Walter or my son Magnus for the walk. I hadn’t created a space in between.

One of the beautiful aspects of yoga is the nurturing of the spaces in between. The spaces in between the breaths, between the poses, even between the practice and the end: shavasana.

I remember hearing a quote years ago that said, “God can be found in the space between two breaths.” And if you do this yourself, you’ll sense this quiet in the gap. It is a place of non-doing and completeness of being.

These gaps are not only opportunities to slow down, become present, and regroup, but they are also a transition between where you are and where you are going. These transitions are important because they signal the end of something and the beginning of something new.

Yesterday, I woke up overwhelmed and rushed from one task to the next before we even went for our walk and it continued when we got home. Typically, once we walk in the door, I thank my dog and my son for our walk and it is the transition from one activity to the next. It serves as a completion.

Without it, there is no closure and as I flung myself into the next thing on my To-Do list, it created this momentum of doing without the sense of completing which is overwhelming. The bar just kept getting further away instead of closer.

It’s the equivalent of having a To-Do list that you keep adding to and never cross off.  Creating clear transitions is the equivalent of crossing them off.

There are many ways you can implement this into your life.

At work, before changing activities, like going from doing research to going to a meeting, take a moment to connect to your breath to get present and let go of your research so you can be present for your meeting. This can be an opportunity to also get clear on what your objectives are and how you want to serve in this new space.

If you take the stress of work home with you, it’s helpful to do this before you walk in the door. Maybe turning the light off at the office will be your space in between, or opening your car door, or your front door, so that you can let go of work and now show up more present and relaxed with your family.

Creating clear transitions are key to managing feelings of overwhelm.

So, what did I do when I realized I was overwhelmed while vacuuming? I stopped and thanked my son and dog for a beautiful walk.

I’d love to know your thoughts, what might be some great ways you find your “spaces in between?” Tell me in the comments below!

Be Kind to Everyone You Meet, or Else…

So much of who I am is influenced by my mom’s teachings. Some lessons she taught me have been tattooed into my operating system and have become my way of being. She taught be to be interested in people and their cultures (my parents are landed immigrants), to always buy clothes on sale but NEVER cheap out on skincare, and to appreciate homemade everything (baking, food, socks, crafts, you name it).

I remember one morning going to Safeway with my mom as a preschooler. The cashier had long blonde hair down to her waist like a princess and I tapped my mom to bend down, push her short brown permed hair aside and whisper in her ear, “Mom, she’s so beautiful.”

Then, to my horror my face burned hot with embarrassment as my mom TOLD her what I had said. I was livid and felt betrayed. How could she embarrass me like that? And my mom smiled and simply said that it’s kind to tell people the nice things we think about them, and my comment probably made her day.

There isn’t a day now that I don’t tell people the good I see in them. In fact, for many years now every yoga class I teach I ask for guidance to be a lamp to show my students the goodness and beauty that they are. True story.

Some of the lessons my mom taught were more like a stern finger wagging and furrowed brow warning. Like that you should be kind to everyone you meet, because they might be your boss one day. This is still relevant to me, but I’ve put a different spin on it.

I believe it’s important to be kind to everyone we meet, but not because it might come back to us in a bad way if we don’t. I like to look at it in a more positive way, like: be kind to everyone you meet because they might be your new best friend, advocate, business partner, spouse, investor, client, supporter, who knows right? This interaction could be lucky for a million reasons.

Yesterday morning I stopped our letter carrier on the sidewalk curious because I’d seen her and a few others on this route and was wondering if it was a shared walk. I told her about my experience as a letter carrier for Canada Post over a decade ago, she brought me up to speed on the changes, and we chatted about the virtues and challenges of the job. We also discovered we have people in common, and the conversation went on easily like that.

Later that day she dropped off a few parcels (a new blue sun hat for Magnus, and new black Birkenstocks for me), and Walter stormed out like it was his first taste of freedom after 20 years in jail. He’s such a turkey! She asked if she could give him her peanut butter toast to goad him back, and he gobbled it up greedily while I coaxed him back into the house.

A few minute conversation and a funny interaction brightened both of our days and I am so excited to see her now, because everyday it’s like running into a friend, not just a nice person I wave to daily.

Be kind to everyone you meet, because you never know who this person might be to you OR how your life will be enriched by this new connection. Tell me now, what lessons did your mom teach you that still influence you?

8 simple ways to set healthy digital limits.

The proof is undeniable: our devices are making our lives more stressful, toxic, and anxious.

For many of us, our devices are the first thing we look at and the last thing we see.

Yet they have become an integral part of our lives and in many ways, are improving the way we live.

They allow us to work from anywhere in any time zone.

We can reconnect and stay updated with people who would have otherwise been lost to us through time, and feel like we know them even if we never speak to them in real life.

You can find the answers to anything you can imagine in seconds.

You can monitor your health and even find apps to make you healthier.

You can be informed and entertained, and never have to deal with the uncomfortable feelings of loneliness, boredom or awkwardness, simply by turning on a screen.

They have become our constant companions.

Yet, the more plugged in we are, the more disconnected, lonely, and overwhelmed we become.

When my husband and I watch TV, often I’ll sit in front of him and rub his feet while he rubs my neck or plays with my hair.

It’s a nice way for us to connect and each get some loving in after a long day.

The other night while my husband and I were on the couch in our basement, he was watching hockey, and I was snuggled up next to him and decided to check my Instagram.

I had been rubbing his arm, and he my leg, when I felt him impatiently nudge me because I had stopped as soon I checked my phone.

Annoyed by his impatience, I asked him if he was trying to get my attention.

Immediately I realized that I had disengaged…from him: a real person here with me now.

(Sigh, I’m human too.)

When I see commercials of families watching TV together, they look something like this:

A happy family is tangled together on the couch laughing.

There’s usually a dog, some popcorn, and the room is dimly lit to highlight the TV screen that everyone’s eyes are on. The faces are engaged, smiling, and happy in a beautiful yet comfortable living room.

I’ve never seen a commercial of mom and dad trying to catch up on work emails while the kids are on Snap Chat. The whole family all staring at their own device, not speaking, while the TV blares on.

But maybe this one is more honest.

This is the paradox of devices because as humans we are all looking for connection.

And, you can be disconnected, distracted, and disengaged from your life and everything you say you love most…like I did with my husband.

Screens are important, and using limits allow you to enjoy the power of them while still feeling present and connected to what’s important to you.

Personally, I utilize strong limits and I have specific rules for my screens. Here are a few simple ones I try to use daily:

  1. Do not disturb. I have mine set from 9pm to 9am even though I get up at 6am everyday. This allows me to be in control of what and when I see it. Before 9am it’s my time and family time.
  2. Out of sight out of mind. When I’m with my son, family or friends, my phone is away. I don’t want to be distracted (or tempted) to reach for it so I keep it out of sight until I need it. It actively prioritizes the people I’m with.
  3. Time limits. Social media is like a black hole for me just like it is for so many. It’s too easy to keep scrolling hoping to find something that peaks your interest. But we don’t feel any happier, and often feel worse and more agitated because of it. Information overload is a real thing so, I limit my sessions to under 5 minutes.
  4. I have my work email on my phone, and just like I don’t start looking at them until 9am, I also don’t check them after supper. Looking at email in the evenings makes our minds too active to wind down, so leave it for the morning.
  5. Turn off your push notifications. When I had a Blackberry, I used to get anxiety every time the red light flashed, and it flashed ALL THE TIME. That flashing little light was so hard to resist, and it felt so insistent. So, I turned the push notifications off and have never turned back, continuing to do this with my iPhone. Turning off the notifications puts me back in control, so I am the one deciding when to look at my phone, not the phone.
  6. The TV is on for only a few hours. Before I moved in with my husband I hadn’t owned a TV for over 8 years. We have satellite and Netflix, but I still find TV mostly boring and a time waster that doesn’t do much for me. We have a young son, but even before he came along the TV was never turned on until after supper, and now, it’s after he goes to bed. Now, when we do watch TV together, it feels like something special rather than something to fill the space with.
  7. Read books. Even with all my limits, I use my device for most of my news, recipes, and information, so when evening comes, I read real books and magazines. One of the things we often forget with devices is that we are rarely ever doing one thing. We are often looking at multiple things at a time creating more brain buzz. Reading a book creates more focus, calms the mind, and helps you wind down before bed.
  8. Ask why. Lastly, question your motives when reaching for a screen. Are you bored? Do you want to kill time? Do you want to be entertained? Are you lonely? Are you uncomfortable? Do you want to feel busy? Do you want to tune out? These are all valid and very real ways to feel, and screens can easily be used for coping, but at a high cost. Instead, by putting screens away you’re doing the real work of building resilience, connection, and meaning which are the building blocks of happiness.

These aren’t the only ways to limit your screen time, and it’s a work in progress for me as I try to balance it within my own life. What I do know, is that using these guidelines has dramatically lowered my stress, made me feel more in control, and deepened all my relationships.

Tell me in the comments, how you manage your screen time and what are you interested in trying on the list?

The only thing that matters to live a happier fuller life.

A 70-year study from Harvard has identified what separates the happiest fullest lives from the least successful and it can be summed up in one word: love.

Our relationships with other people matter, and they matter more than anything else in the world.

Loving strong relationships helps us live longer, and increases our happiness and our resilience.

Our relationships help us bounce back from setbacks faster, accomplish more, and feel a greater sense of purpose.

Research has proven that our relationships matter more than anything else.

Yet, especially for women, our relationships are usually the first to go with things get stressful…when we actually need them most.

Every year around this time, I reflect on the past year and spend time planning out the new one.

Last year, after reflecting on the previous year I’d had, I realized how isolated and lonely I’d felt. My husband was away a lot for work and I was at home a lot by myself with a baby.

It’s not like I don’t have friends, I’ve got tonnes of women I love to hang out with.

But in my struggle to balance everything (especially on my own), I had pushed away the very thing I needed most: my girlfriends.

Our girlfriends are the ones who get our stupid jokes, encourage our crazy dreams, and tell us honestly when we’ve messed up. They love us even when we’re ugly crying, and give us loving advice when we need it.

They are the ones who remind us that we are worthy, and we are deserving, and that we matter.

When you’ve found good girlfriends, even long distances and time don’t stand a chance of breaking that bond.

Last week on the night before New Year’s Eve, I had a dream that I was out for coffee with one of my oldest and dearest friends who I haven’t seen in almost 5 years since she moved to Paris.

I dreamed that it was summer, and we were sitting at a sidewalk table outside a coffee shop in shorts and tank tops. Our tanned legs sprawled out catch the sun as we leaned back in our chairs, heads back laughing about something silly in the sunshine.

Just like we had countless times before.        

When we got up to leave, I was so happy and felt so filled up. Better than I have felt in a long time.

I gave her a huge hug and I can still vividly remember the feeling of hugging her like she was here.

When I woke up I almost cried I missed her so much.

So later that morning on New Year’s Eve, I FaceTimed her in Paris. She was making dinner and we laughed and cried and caught up like nothing had changed.

I felt so happy and filled up.

This is the power of girlfriends.

I’ve seen my best friends go through all of life’s challenges. Big moves. New love. Lost love. Babies. Parenting. Empty Nesting. Retirement. Maternity leaves. Starting over again. Illness. Loss. Entrepreneurship. Marriage troubles. Kid troubles. Life.

You name it. This is life, and it has it all.

We can survive and thrive through anything when we have each other.

If you’re feeling stressed, isolated, lonely, or need a pick me up: call one of your besties. Make a plan to see them (even if it’s just virtually) and fill yourself up.

Then, tell me about it in the comments below. 🙂

Why you’re not happy (and what to do about it)

Not that long ago, I was getting up at 4:45am to teach 6am yoga classes.

I would throw on my clothes grab my coffee and smoothie, and run out the door and drive for 30 minutes to teach a full class of students while drinking my breakfast.

Then I would have a quick workout, teach another class, race home to scarf down an early lunch and rush to my next class and this was all before 11am (most days I taught until 9pm).

This was how my life was, sprinting from one place to the next and my routine was airtight with no room for mishaps or traffic jams.

My life was really busy, and truthfully, even though I was so busy, I was actually very happy, and here’s why:

My energy was focused on being relaxed and present.

When things are busy, it’s so easy to spin out, feel out of control, and desperately want a vacation to get some space from it all…not that I’m trashing vacations, I love a good beach too!

However, taking conscious moments throughout your day to relax, realign, and focus on the present will make you happier NOW.

And isn’t that what you really need? To be happier every day, instead of having to put it off for when you’re away from your life?

So here’s how you do it:

  • Relax – Relaxation slows our thoughts down, so they are no longer racing around in a cluttered space. A relaxed mind is a spacious mind and that’s what we want.
  • Realign – It’s almost impossible to connect what’s most important to us when our minds our racing because everything feels important and urgent. When there’s space, you can realign yourself with what’s important to you and proceed with focus.
  • Be Present – When you are present in the moment, you are accessing your natural state of happiness. There’s no worries, no doubt, you are safe, and happiness is what’s left. This is why mindfulness is so powerful, because the soul rests in the present moment.

One more thing, what I didn’t share with you about my day, was that I regularly took mini RR&P (Relax, Realign, and Present) breaks throughout my day to refresh.

My early morning commute was quiet and relaxed. At the start of every class I sat with them in mindfulness to reset, and afternoon classes I walked to listening to inspiring mindful podcasts.

Yes, my schedule was craaaazy, and I was really REALLY happy in spite of it.

Now, I am married with a toddler, and my life is a different kind of crazy.

I don’t teach 6am classes anymore, but my day starts at 6am to the sound of my little guy holding onto the crib rail jumping as hard as he can into the mattress, yelling, “MOM! DAD! MOM! DAD!”

This is followed by a full schedule between raising my son, working with clients, running my business, and teaching a few yoga classes.

The tools I used over 10 years ago, I still use today because they work. I am adept at taking “mini vacations” throughout my day where I relax, realign, and get present.

The hardest part of this simple exercise is to remember to do it.

So, to start, look at your current routine, and see where you can add this to something you’re already doing.

I used to add it onto my commutes, the beginning of classes, and after my workouts.

Now, I structure it into my day a different way: meditating before work, mindfulness during mealtimes, and gratitude and prayers before bed.

Because it’s structured into my day, it leaks into other areas: I’m less reactive, being present is becoming my default, I’m more grateful, and of course I’m happier.

Remember, you don’t have to wait for happiness. You can have it right now.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below: What are your favourite tricks to happiness? Do you like beach vacations as much as I do? How do you incorporate mindfulness into your days?

3 questions you should ask yourself every morning

Like you, I have limited time and a lot of stuff to do.

My days start at 6am shuffling into my toddler’s room for snuggles and stories, followed by a day juggling work, childcare, and all the other things that come with managing a family and business.

The biggest challenge I’ve had to overcome since having my son is how to get a lot more done on way less time.

Early on, I decided that I wanted a clear division between work and family time. I know that if I’m trying to “squeeze things in” or trying to multitask, nothing gets done and if it does, it’s definitely not going to be done well.

Not too long ago, I felt like I was running from one task to another and constantly putting out fires trying to stay on top of my life.

I’d drop my son of at the babysitters and eat in the car on my way to my next appointment. Then I’d run up the sitters driveway to pick him up on time to get him home for his nap. Once he was down, I’d quickly tidy up, then try to get some work done in the half our I’d have left while he slept. And on and on it went, running from one thing to another, and feeling like I was sucking at everything.

I was spread out, scattered, and overwhelmed with life.

I realized that what I wanted most was to be present with what’s most important to me. I had to shift my energy from trying to “fit it all in” to prioritizing what’s most important right now, and committing to being fully present with it.

So, I now choose to be present with my family when I’m with them so I can be the best wife and mother I can be. I choose to be focused on my work without distraction so I can fully devote myself to making women’s lives better. I choose to take care of myself because my well being is important for all the reasons.

But I’m also the primary caregiver to my son, which means I have way less time to work and just as much stuff to do.

I learned quickly that I needed to figure out a system to support my choices and my time, so I developed a simple but powerful strategy to help me get more done in less time without the guilt. These are the questions I began to ask myself daily:

  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • What can I leverage to get there faster?
  • What do I need to let go of to make it happen?

These questions help me choose what to focus on to make the biggest impact, in less time, without adding more stuff to do.

Absolutely I use this for my business, but I ALSO use this strategy in all aspects of my life, whether it’s how I’m going to structure my day, how I want to feel, resolving conflicts (seriously, read the questions again, they really do work if your aim isn’t only to win), and taking care of myself.

I can’t control all the circumstances of my life, but I can control how I approach them. Using these 3 simple questions has allowed me to have more control, clarity, and freedom.

I have stopped treading water. As a result, I have time for the things that are most important to me: my family, my work, and what fills me up.

It started with asking myself a few simple questions to clarify my focus, leverage the time I have, and do the things I want, and do them well.

That time I wasn’t very nice, and how to sleep better.

Not long after my son Magnus was born started experiencing symptoms of PPD.

I didn’t talk about it because I felt it shouldn’t have happened to me. I mean, I’m a Life Coach for fuck’s sake, and I specialize in POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY!!

I should have been safe.

I cried A LOT. I’d burst into sobbing tears for no reason.

Singing to my baby. Reading him stories. Looking at his toes. Commercials. Or “just because” like a Hallmark card: waterworks.

I couldn’t seem to handle life. Everything seemed hard and overwhelming and that there was no end in sight.

I’d sit on the couch with glazed eyes watching endless reruns of “Friends” (or whatever mindless thing on Netflix that I didn’t have to concentrate too hard on), boob out in my hideous nursing bra with a tiny baby with tonnes of hair glued to my breast.

If you ask my husband, you could also add that I wasn’t very nice.

It took too much energy to add “please” and “thank you” to my requests in my exhausted state. I was just trying to make it through each hour.

And not surprisingly, I was extremely sleep deprived.

My beautiful Buddha baby who came into this world holding his own head up from birth and alert as could be, did NOT sleep.

He would be up for 9 hours straight during the day. He would maaaaybe fall asleep nursing for 20 minutes at a time. Sometimes he would fall asleep in the swing. He always fell asleep in the car.

Although he would sleep for 3 or 4 hour stretches at night, it would sometimes take me 2 and a half hours to get him back to sleep, and then I couldn’t fall asleep fast enough before I had to feed him again.

The average day for me was 3 to 5 hours of sleep total (not consecutive) in 24 hours.

I was a zombie, and I was spiralling.

There are 3 pillars to health: exercise, nutrition, and sleep.

The funny thing is that many people don’t like eating healthy and exercise, but really LIKE sleeping.

So why aren’t we getting enough sleep and what does it have to do with my experience with PPD?

On Saturday I was driving to Saskatoon listening to CBC and on CBC’s Quirks and Quarks part of the episode was on sleep.

They mentioned a study that showed that even one night of sleep deprivation led to forgetting about half of the positive information learned, half of the neutral, and remembering ALL of the negative.

Imagine if you couldn’t remember the positive events of your life and only remembered the negative for extended periods of time.

You’d have a strong negativity bias where all you could see is what’s wrong, instead of all the amazing things that are right in your life.

This is how the brain functions with depression.

Also, because the amygdala isn’t inhibited properly when we are sleep deprived, our emotions can’t be toned down to a reasonable level.

This affects our ability to deal with life and it’s setbacks. Even small things seem like a really big deal.

I knew sleep deprivation was a huge contributor to PPD, but more than likely it was what CAUSED it.

As Dr. Robert Stickgold said: “…If you don’t get enough sleep you could end up fat, sick, depressed, and stupid.”

That pretty much sums up how I felt during those first few months.

Like many of us, I have had a long history with shitty sleeps and this was not the only time I struggled with it.

I struggled with insomnia for years in my late twenties. I often pulled all nighters in school. Stress kept me up at night, and racing thoughts often kept me from falling asleep and then I’d wake up unable to fall back asleep.

A big part of our struggle with sleep is related to how little down time we have because we work more hours, and then it even follows us home through our phones.

Something has to give to have at least a bit of downtime, and it can feel like the easiest thing to do is go to bed later. But by then our minds are racing, stressful thoughts burrow their way in, and the little bit of sleep we’ve allowed ourselves gets highjacked again.

Now, I’m lucky to have an arsenal of tools to get back on track when I’m having a hard time. Here’s a few of my best ones:

  • Move daily – Our bodies are meant to move. They need movement not just for weight management, bone density, and strength, but also for it to function properly internally. It helps with regulating sleep, mood, and even digestion.
  • Have a regular bedtime and wake time – Not everyone is a morning person or a night person, but knowing where to make YOUR appropriate bedtime and wake time is key to getting enough sleep. The average person needs 7 to 9 hours.
  • No screens 2 hours before bed – Screens emit a blue light which is similar to sunlight and tricks the brain to want to stay awake rather than sleep.
  • Create a bedtime routine – Routines prep us for what’s coming next. Just like my son knows that bath time means bedtime, our routines help us subconsciously wind down.
  • Meditate – Mindfulness meditation helps lower stress, manage racing thoughts, and improves the quality and duration of sleep.

Guess what dragged my ass out of my PPD and transformed me into the bright ray of yellow sunshine streaming through the clouds like an inspiring Facebook quote that you see now?

Well, the biggest thing was working with a sleep consultant to teach my baby how to sleep, so I could sleep.

But aside from that, it was: daily exercise and naps, and short mindfulness meditations so I could deal with life again.

Mindfulness Meditation is what keeps me calm, relaxed, happy, and emotionally resilient…and that translates into falling asleep easier, longer, and better.

PS If you’re sick of feeling like an exhausted grumpy pants, or sucking at life (you’re not, btw!) I’ve got something for that: The 6 week online Mindfulness Meditation Class starts this week, click here to check it out.

I’d love to hear from you now: Have you ever been so tired “please” and “thank you” were too much to ask? What are your best sleep tips? Please share in the comments, or email me, I love hearing from you.

Also, if you want a fun, easy, meditation class led by me that will make YOU a sunshiny Facebook quote, click here.

And here’s one more reason why:

“I loved learning more about meditation with Tina. Her ability to assist me to visualize and feel is amazing. After each meditation I would feel like I’d have maximum clarity in my mind, I felt calmer and was able to tackle even the most daunting tasks. I would strongly recommend taking anything Tina has to offer, she has a very special way of getting through to people.”

-Allison Gartner, Administrator, Adair’s Demolition and Yoga Instructor at Yoga Ally, Southey, SK

Yeah, what she said. J

Love and Light,

t

3 Easy steps to stop stress in it’s tracks

All of us seem to have too much to do, with never enough time, while dealing with the challenges and unpredictability of life.

Stress is unavoidable and it’s important to learn tools to manage it so we don’t get rocked every time life kicks us in the pants. 

A few important things you should know about stress can make all the difference in how you deal with it.

First, stress starts in your mind from thoughts.

This might sound obvious, but what we think about affects our bodies. When we think about things that cause us stress it affects our bodies, such as raising blood pressure.

Second, stress and anxiety are future based thoughts.

They are characterized by worrying, planning, and playing out possible scenarios. All of them are based on the future, rather than what’s happening in the moment.

Third, stressful thoughts are invasive.

They tend to run through our minds over, and over, and over again, making us feel overwhelmed, and even cornered by them.

When you start to feel the weight of stress on your body, or the busy cluttered mess of your racing mind, here are 3 easy steps you can take before it spirals out of control:

  • Take a deep breath – I know this isn’t revolutionary, but taking a few deep breaths have a lot of positive benefits.
  • It creates space in your mind so you’re not overwhelmed by invasive thoughts.
  • It stimulates the vagus nerve which calms the nervous system down.
  • It gets your attention out of your head and into your body.
  • It brings you into the present moment.
  • Get out and move – When stress feels overwhelming leave your environment and get your blood moving. Changing locations helps your mind change gears, and exercise moves stress out of your body while increasing feel good neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. As they say, “move a muscle, change a feeling.”
  • Meditate – All meditation is good, but Mindfulness Meditation is particularly helpful in lowering stress and anxiety because teaches you how to be with uncomfortable thoughts without buying into them.

I’d love to hear from you now: Which of these tips are you going to try first? What is your go-to tip for stopping stress? Please share in the comments below.

#daretobeyou

Love and Light,

t

The Truth Will Set You Free

I have been thinking a lot about transformation lately.

What it really takes to change our lives and become who we most want to be, and really, who we are meant to be.

This is the best part of ourselves that when it is realized is happy, peaceful, creative, and capable of changing the energy of the world.

Yes, that is possible for all of us, it is our birthright and it begins with becoming honest.

This is the path to spiritual awakening, and is absolutely the catalyst to change.

It often starts in a moment of insight with a voice that says, “enough” and “I can’t live like this anymore” and “I’m done, it’s time to do something different.”

It can be small like a deep knowing, or it can be so loud it fills your brain screaming so its impossible to be ignored.

And it is always about getting honest and real with what’s here.

Too often we try to fix the symptoms of our unhappiness, in hopes that it will create the shift we long for.

So we diet, exercise, try to find a partner, work harder, do more, and over extend ourselves to fix what we feel is inherently wrong with us.

Or worse, we try to numb ourselves with addiction, food, shopping, sex, anything to avoid looking at what is causing the pain.

But that’s just the band aid covering over the symptoms, and not the cure, and what we resist continues to persist.

Those feelings of loneliness, unworthiness, shame, and fear will continue to come back until they are examined.

To change those feeling we need the willingness to look deeper at ourselves and our lives through an honest lens. One that is compassionate, accepting, loving, and truthful.

We cannot change what we do not see. It is by seeing that we can start the process of change.

One of my first moments of truth, and the beginning of my spiritual awakening happened when I was 17.

My dad drank a lot when I was growing up, and if you’ve lived with an alcoholic you know it is a shame filled environment and fertile breeding ground for denial and secrets.

We habitually lied to protect ourselves and each other from what was happening at home and I became so used to lying that eventually I lied about everything.

Even things that were inconsequential like what music or clothes I liked. I lied so much that it felt like I didn’t know what the truth was anymore, or if I did, that it didn’t matter anyways.

I still remember the moment when the truth exploded my brain and changed my life.

I was struggling huge at that time. I had moved out at 17, dropped out of high school, had been on anti-depressants for years, and felt utterly black inside and hopeless.

The shame, lies, and denial were pulling me deeper and deeper into a dark dank well, and I knew in my bones that it was only me that was going to pull me out of the hell I was living in.

It was then that I KNEW my freedom began with becoming honest. Becoming honest about me, my life, and the choices I was making. I HAD to start telling the truth in all ways.

It was awkward at first, because I was so habituated to lying that I would often catch myself in a lie, only to correct myself, saying “I’m not sure why I said that, what I mean is…”

The practice of being honest became my purification, burning away all that had held me down and suffocated me.

It was my liberation and set me free to create myself and everything I wanted in my life.

Even now, over twenty years later (don’t do the math please! Ugh.) I refuse to lie.

If I am late, I won’t blame the traffic (or my dog!) if I didn’t have my shit together in time. I take responsibility for it and apologize. I say no a lot, to avoid disappointing people in commitments I know I can’t fulfill. I don’t take credit for anything that isn’t mine, however minor. I do my very best to be impeccable with my word and say the truth as I see it.

The truth is what sets us free.

Being truthful has become my practice, and that practice now is through Mindfulness Meditation.

It is the practice of being unconditionally present with all that’s here in the moment: the body, breath, emotions, and thoughts that make up our experience.

Sitting still in the moment opens up the doorway to truth.

It lets us get to know ourselves better, it lowers stress, protects our brain from mental illness, boosts immune function (until I had a baby. Now it always seems like I’m sick!), makes us better people, and it even continues to help us when we’re not actually doing it.

 

I truly believe that I am the person I am today because of all the sitting around doing nothing I do, and I can’t recommend it enough!

I’d love to hear from you now: Has truth set you free? What impact has honesty had on your life? Do you get sick all the time too with children? Please feel free to comment below, or in the Soul Sisterhood Facebook group.

Did you like this post? Then please feel free to share it with all your friends on Facebook, Tweet it out loud, and forward it to someone who needs to read this today.

Thank you for being the light that you are, keep shining.

#daretobeyou

Love and Light,

t