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Barriers to Mindfulness and Overcoming Them

mindfulness

Practice makes perfect. How many times have you heard that in your life? A lot of times we see people achieving things that look so easy, not even wrapping our head around how much practice it took for them to be able to make it look so effortless. Mindfulness is no different. Those that have been practicing mindfulness for an exceptionally long period of time often make it look and sound quite easy. But that is not true. Even they had to begin somewhere. If you have had challenges beginning your mindfulness journey, you are not alone. In this post I want to talk about a few barriers that you may encounter in your mindfulness journey.

Racing Thoughts

This is one of the biggest barriers that I have been facing in my mindfulness journey.  Many of us have so many things on our mind all the time that are thoughts are constantly bouncing from one thing to another.  These never ending stream of thoughts can be a hinderance to being present in the moment since being present requires you to focus on the here and now.   It can be a challenge to focus when your thoughts are all over the place, but it can be done.  It just takes practice.  This is much easier said than done but you must practice slowing your thoughts down.  If you find that your thoughts are racing to the point there you cannot focus, shift your thoughts to your breaths, the sounds around you, or even the smells around you.  It takes discipline but you can do it.

Not Enough Time

We all have busy schedules that often lends itself to very little free time.   It seems that there is always something to do or somewhere to be.  When thinking of being mindful, it is quite easy to feel like it is a chore – one more thing to stick into your busy schedule.  You will not get the full benefit of being mindful if you are treating it like a task and not something that is to your benefit.  My suggestion for this barrier is to schedule your mindfulness time for the same time every day.  Whether it is early in the morning before work or in the evening before bed, make it a part of your routine.  If it is in your daily schedule, it will become a part of your routine and not something that you feel needs to be rushed through. 

lady being mindful

Change Takes Time

Many of us want instant gratification.  Our phones give us quick access to our family and friends, latest news, and social media.  You can get almost anything you need in a few seconds’ time. Unfortunately, the practice of mindfulness is not something that will give you that instant gratification.  It is a process just like any journey or new habit that you embark upon. You must keep practicing mindfulness even when it feels like nothing is changing.  Remember that this is a process, and that change comes after consistency and time.

Doubt

Doubt is a mindset that can hinder you if you are not careful. It will have you so convinced that something may not work that you end up not putting your all into whatever it is that you are trying to achieve.  Doubting that your mindfulness journey will be beneficial will have you missing out on the many benefits that it has.  When you begin to doubt that something will work, you run the risk of not fully giving it a chance because you are already doubting that it will work.  Overcoming a doubting mindset is a feat in of itself.  If you choose to begin the mindfulness journey, try your best to push through all doubts so that you can reap all the benefits.

Distractions

Distractions come in so many forms.  There are the obvious distractions to mindfulness such as your phone ringing or being interrupted.  But things such as being hungry, being stressed, or being tired are also distractions because they take your focus off being mindful and onto whatever the distraction is.  The obvious remedy for this is to try to eliminate as many distractions as possible prior to practicing mindfulness.  Also, you may want to try only being mindful for about 3-5 minutes and then work yourself up to longer periods of time.  If you happen to encounter some of these distractions, do not be too hard on yourself.  Just refocus and try again. 

phone as a distraction

Have you encountered these barriers in your mindfulness journey? If so, how did you overcome them? Comment below if you have overcome these barriers or if you encountered different barriers.

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4 Paths to a Bold, Fearless Life

woman in white living fearlessly

Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.

Les Brown

I absolutely love this quote because it faces you think: am I truly living my dreams or am I living my fears? That is a legit question.  Many people may say they are living their dreams. But when they think about every time, they second guessed themselves or not giving 100% of their effort into something, the answer may change.  A lot of people live at least a portion of their lives in fear.  Some of this fear may be legit but some of it may be fueled by things that can be controlled.  The following are a few ways you can begin living your dreams.

Find the Source of Your Fear

This may take a bit of time, but it is imperative that you find the true source of your fear.  Once you determine the source of your fears, you can begin to break whatever it is into small, manageable chunks so you can overcome it and truly begin to live your best life.  Some of the solutions to overcoming these fears may require the assistance of a counselor or therapist.  It will be worth to really take the time to really dig and find the source of your fear so that you can live your life freely.

Change Your Mindset

Sometimes we start out living our lives vicariously, but we end up living lives filled with fear due to our mindsets that may shift over time.  We sometimes start out with growth mindsets where everything is going well and all breaks are seeming to go our way.  When all is well it is quite easy to believe that you can learn more, work harder, and keep reaching for your goals.  However, if you have a fixed mindset and you have allowed fear to creep in, then fear will become a part of your thinking and it will be difficult to move forward.  To be successful, you must minimize any fear that you are experiencing and adopt a growth mindset.

stylish dreamy black woman with afro hairstyle on blue background

Practice Mindfulness

If fear has crept into your life and seems to occupy most of your thoughts, you can attempt to control it through various methods.  Meditation is one technique can be used to help you face your fear and make it less intimidating.  Deep breathing can also be helpful when you need to move forward but you begin to feel fear creep in. This deep breathing can help calm you until the fear subsides. Journaling can also be a technique to put your thoughts on paper and work through your fears through your entries.  You will be able to look back and see how you have overcome your fears in the past to motivate you to work toward overcoming them now.  Also, positive thinking and reframing of negative thoughts into positive ones can help your fears not to appear to be so big that you cannot overcome them.   

Do Not Give Fear Energy

Feeling fear is sometimes just a part of living.  When you are trying something new or in an unfamiliar situation, fear is likely to arise.  The main thing is to not lean into the fear.  This can be challenging but the most beneficial thing to do is to let the fear come, acknowledge it, and then let it pass.  It can sometimes be challenging, and this may take a lot of practice.  Denying fear, the opportunity to completely consume you will take time and practice.

woman living fearlessly on beach

Do you feel as if you live life fearlessly? What advice would you give those who strive to live fearlessly?

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3 Symptoms of Mental Fatigue

Mental fatigue can be caused by many things but what it refers to is the stress that you experience over an extended period.  It can be caused by long term trauma, lack of sleep, financial stress, or grief, just to name a few.  Those individuals battling mental fatigue may find that they feel that they are operating in a brain much of the time.  Others may feel that fatigue most intensely after they have had to use a lot of mental energy. This mental fatigue can affect a lot of things including your responses to circumstances.  The following are some ways that you can be affected by mental fatigue.

Depression

Being mentally exhausted can leave you with zero energy.  This exhaustion can be so pronounced that you do not have any energy left for the things that you have to, much less the things you like to do.  You may find that you may begin to lose interest in the things that once brought you great joy.  This can lead to you becoming depressed.  Depression and mental fatigue can be so closely aligned that it can sometimes too hard to tell if the depression is causing the mental fatigue or vice versa.  Mental exhaustion can cause you to feel drained to the point that you lose your zest for life. You may find yourself feeling sad, lonely, or hopeless and these feelings can pull you further into a depressed state.

Irritability

Have you ever noticed that when you are sleepy or tired that you become irritable and have almost no patience?  The same thing applies to mental fatigue.  Mental fatigue can put you in a place where irritability becomes a state of being.  You may find that your level of tolerance is not where it normally is and those around you may start asking you why you are so cranky or in a bad mood.  Being mentally exhausted and not being able to function normally can frustrate you and drain you to the point where you are irritable all the time. 

Feeling Overwhelmed

Mental fatigue can get you to the point where you do not have the physical or mental energy to do anything.  This lack of motivation to get anything done can lead to tasks and responsibilities going undone.  You may soon find that procrastination will begin to take over as you keep pushing back the things that need to be done.  The feeling of being overwhelmed can take over as you look at all the things that you have not done.  This can lead to even more mental exhaustion as you continue to think at the mounting list of things you have not done.   This can be the start of a vicious cycle.

Have you ever experienced any symptoms of mental fatigue? What symptoms did you experience? Comment below with your thoughts.

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5 Risks of Living in Your Comfort Zone

young lady with red shirt and plant

I often hear that your comfort zone is where your dreams go to die.  That may sound extreme, but I believe it to be true for the most part.  I will never go as far as to say that nothing can be accomplished while you are in your comfort zone.  However, I would say that you have a much better chance of achieving your goals is you operate outside of your comfort zone.  The familiarity of your comfort zone may be calming and reassuring but it can also be the reason why many goals may not be achieved.  The following are a few risks of remaining in your comfort zone.

Growth is limited in your comfort zone.

You are not likely to do any growing in your comfort zone.  You live each day knowing what to expect and what not to expect.  This brings you a sense of security but with that security comes a lack of personal growth.  Personal growth consists of you learning new skills, expanding your knowledge, and seeking out new experiences.  When you are nestled comfortably in your comfort zone, you are less likely to take advantages of opportunities.  This leads to your potential for personal growth to be limited.

Fall into mental rut.

Life in your comfort zone is predictable.  Everything is the way it always is, and you like it that way.  However, you can get into such a rut in that you begin to believe that where you are is where you are destined to be.  Your days blur together, and you lose all desire to reach for your dreams and goals because you feel everything is fine the way it is.  The reason why you feel that everything is fine is because you are comfortable.  This can lead to feelings of being unfulfilled and inadequate.  If you are not careful, these feelings could lead to depression or anxiety.

Opportunities are missed in comfort zone..

When you are comfortable in your comfort zone, you run the risk of missing those opportunities that can get you closer to your goals.  I often shake my head at all of the times that I turned down an opportunity because it required me to do something outside of my comfort zone.  Stepping outside of your comfort zone means doing those things that feel foreign to you.  But these are the very things that could also mean the difference between living your dreams and living in your comfort zone.

Becoming watered down version of yourself.

Most of us have had big dreams and big goals that we have wanted to achieve.  Whether it was starting a business or going back to school, we had some goal that we wanted to achieve.  Life often happens and we end up in our comfort zone.  If any effort is put into achieving our goals, it is temporary.  The extra work and dedication needed to make these things happen become a bit much and you sometimes abandon them to return to what is comfortable.  You become the watered-down version of yourself because you still have those dreams that you had before you got into your comfort zone. The dreams remain but you never really become that person because you are hesitant to come out of your comfort zone. 

Frustration and regrets.

Sometimes we go through life and the years pass by before we realize that we are not really living our best lives.  This leads to frustration and regrets.  Frustration and regrets about what should have been or what could have been loom large.  You become frustrated because you may be feeling stuck and then looking back at the different opportunities that you may have passed on causes the regret. Your comfort zone feels good but what does not feel good is the thought that so much more could have been accomplished had you made even the tiniest step outside of your comfort zone.

grayscale photo of woman with daisy on ear

What are some of the things that you do to get out of your comfort zone?  What do you think you have missed out on while you lived in your comfort zone? 

Comment below and do not forget to follow the Serenity Room on our socials!

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4 Health Benefits of Positive Thinking

positive woman smiling

There are many benefits to positive thinking.  Many people belief that if you start the day off with positive thinking then you have a greater chance of having a good day.  Another school of thought suggests that positive thinking attracts good people and good things to come your way.  I believe both things to be true.  A positive mindset will put you in a much better position to not see every challenge or difficult situation as the end of the world.  The great news is that a positive mindset also comes with some health benefits.

Better Heart Health and Positivity

There is scientific evidence that says that positivity can lead to a healthier heart.  When we think negatively or have a negative outlook, stress hormones are released.  This results in a higher heart rate and a rise in your blood pressure.  Having a positive mindset leads to less stress hormones being released which limits the amount of stress being put on your cardiovascular system.  A positive mindset can help ensure that your health is not under any additional or unnecessary stress that can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or heart disease.

Positive Thinking Can Increase Life Span

A positive mindset can add years to your life.  It can sometimes keep you away from those things that unhealthy thoughts can lead you.  Negative thinking can send you down a rabbit hole that can lead to self-destructive behaviors such as alcoholism, drug use, or unhealthy eating habits.  All of these things can lead to a decrease in your life span.  Those individuals who keep a positive mindset are more likely to do those things that make them feel good and are healthy.  Exercising, healthy eating habits, and lower stress levels can add years to your life.

Positive Mindsets and Increased Pain Tolerance

Your positive thinking can even impact how much pain you can tolerate.   For example, When you are in pain or when you are thinking about something that may be painful, the way you think about the pain can impact your experience.  Thinking you are not going to be able to deal with your current or impending pain increases your stress levels which increases your pain levels.  Thinking positive thoughts reduces your anxiety and helps you to focus on something other than pain. This lowers your stress levels which can lead to an increase in pain tolerance.

Positive Thinking And Better Coping Skills

Positive thinking enables you to see the most positive outcome in a situation.  Negative thinking can lead you to make one bad decision that can lead to other bad decisions.  This cycle of perpetual bad decision making can lead to bad outcomes such as hopelessness, high stress levels, and chronic anxiety.  Positive mindsets lead to positive coping skills. These are the coping skills that relieve anxieties and not perpetuate it.  Mediation, journaling, and seeking therapy or counseling are all healthy ways of coping with challenging situations.  You are far more likely to choose positive coping skills when you have a positive mindset.

positive lady smiling

Comment below and tell me how you maintain a positive mindset?  What are some other health benefits of a positive mindset that you would add to this list?

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5 Surprising Symptoms of Anxiety

woman experiencing anxiety

Anxiety often presents itself in different ways.  Most of us have experienced some level of anxiety at one point or an0ther.  Sometimes we can experience it in the form of sweaty palms.  Other times it can be in the form of a racing heart. But there are times that you can be under such a heightened level that it presents itself in different – less obvious ways.  It is one of those things that can alter your whole personality and the way you do things without you even realizing about it.  Here are 5 surprising ways that anxiety shows itself.

Digestive Issues

The brain and your stomach are very closely related.  This can be seen when you get butterflies in your stomach just by thinking of something.  Or when your stomach is in knots as you prepare for a big event or decision.  But these are both instances where you are fully aware of why you have butterflies or why your stomach is in knots.  When being anxious becomes such a normal part of your day-to-day existence, you may not realize that your heartburn, upset stomach, or acid reflux as a result of the anxiety that your body is experiencing.  Sometimes it takes the ruling out of many other disorders or medical issues to realized that your digestive issues may be the result of anxiety.  Once you see it for what it is, you can have better control over it.

Anxiety can Lead to Confusion

Anxiety can cause you to feel very confused or if you are walking in a fog.  Even if you do not realize that you are operating under a heightened level of anxiety, you may still feel these effects.  You may find that you become confused when trying to remember details.  Or you may find it difficult to follow conversations or formulate logical thoughts.  This confusion can be due to either your mind going blank or because there are too many thoughts running through your mind.  Most of the time this confusion comes and goes as opposed to happening of the time.  General confusion or the feeling of having disjointed thoughts can be a symptom of anxiety.

Anxiety Can Cause Tiredness

Did you know that anxiety can physically tire you out?  The truth is that it can and often does.  When you body is experiencing a great deal of stress, your muscles tense.  This can tire you out and make you very tired without you even realizing why you are so tired.  When you are under a great deal of stress, your body will begin to shut down as a way of protecting itself.  As discussed earlier, anxiety can lead to confusion and disjointed thoughts.  Trying to process these thoughts can be mentally draining and can lead to physical tiredness.  You may not realize why you are suddenly so tired or taking frequent naps, but it could be related to anxiety.

Perfectionism

Those fighting anxiety may also find themselves fighting perfectionism.  It will tell you that everything must look or be a certain way and, if it is not, you are a failure.  It may also tell you that you are not where you need to be in life or that you are unworthy of any good thing that happens to you.  Anxiety tells you these things and the quest for perfection is what we do in response to these feelings.  Perfectionism is a lesser-known symptom because people sometimes fail to realize that it stems from the desire to do things perfectly on the first try.  This leads to perfectionist behaviors that, ironically, the anxiety perpetuates.

Frequent Colds

Anxiety releases a great deal of chemicals and hormones that prepare you to be able to respond to tense situations.  Your immune is given a boost when this happens.  In most circumstances, your immune system returns to normal.  But in circumstances where you frequently experience a high level of anxiety, your immune system does not have time to recover.  This leads to being much more susceptible to illnesses.  The compromising of the immune system is a surprising symptom to many, but it is good to know so that you are aware of how seriously anxiety can impact your health.

woman looking confidently into camera

If you battle anxiety, have you ever experienced any of these things? Comment below if you have ever experienced these or any other surprising symptoms of anxiety.

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Free Yourself: 5 Benefits of Journaling

Woman writing in her journal

I have always been aware of the idea of journaling but I have never heard it advocated as a practice as much as I have this year.  I am sure that is due to the challenging year that this has been.  Journaling has been suggested by many as a healthy way to process the many emotions that may be felt during these times.  Many people often confuse keeping a journal with keeping a diary.  They are similar but the main difference is that a diary is a record of what happened.  A journal is a record of your thoughts and feelings.  There are several benefits to journaling.

Journal to Relieve Anxiety and Stress

Have you ever had so much on your mind that it was just too much to process?  And after you talked it out you realized that your issue was not as bad as you thought?  Journaling is similar to talking something out with a friend.  Anxiety and stress can be eased when you write out your thoughts concerning those things that are making you anxious.  Journaling can provide you with clarity if it is a decision or circumstance that is causing you stress.  Writing out your thoughts on the issue that is making you anxious could greatly assist you with solving the issue or allowing you to see the big picture.  Either of these outcomes can ease stress and anxiety.

Journal to Recognize Patterns

Whether we realize it or not, we all have patterns.  If you talk to your friends about a situation enough they can probably tell you where the situation is headed based on similar conversations.  Journaling can help you see those patterns for yourself.  As you write about how different situations make you feel or your thought process around certain decisions, you will begin to notice patterns.  You may notice that use negative self-talk or you may notice that you do not have as much confidence in yourself as you should.  Patterns can be seen as you write and then reflect on those things that you have written.  Reading past entries can provide you a new perspective on your behavior.

Journal sitting on desk

Journal to Become Empowered

Journaling can give you a sense of empowerment as you can write your deepest, most intimate thoughts.  Whether writing about your experiences or through journal prompts, you will begin to gain more clarity on how you think and how certain experiences have shaped you.  Journaling can help you discover more about yourself.  You can discover what makes you happy, what causes you stress, as well as those aspects of yourself that you wish to improve.  Discovering your personal strengths and the power you possess in these strengths is a wonderful feeling.  But discovering those areas that you may need to work on to enhance your personal growth can be life changing.

Journal to Track Goals

Journals can help you track progress toward an established goal.  After identifying your goal, a journal can help you determine both your good and bad habits that may be helping or hindering you from achieving your goal.  It could be your innermost thoughts or the company you keep but reflecting on past journal entries will help you to begin to see what your barriers are.  Likewise, you will be able to see who or what promotes a healthy path to your goals.  You will be able to learn a lot about yourself in the process and this will make future goals easier to achieve.

Journal In a Safe Zone

Have you ever just wanted to be brutally honest with someone regarding the way you felt but was leery due to the judgment that may follow this honesty?  All of us feel vulnerable from time to time.  A journal is a safe place to write what you feel in a safe space.  No one will see your inner most thoughts except those you choose to see them.  A journal is a place where you can be your most authentic self.  Feel free to write honestly as being candid is one of the main ways to get the total benefits of journaling.  You can learn a lot about yourself when you allow yourself to be vulnerable. 

Open journal on desk

These are just a few benefits of journaling.  Do you journal?  What are some benefits of journaling that you would add to this list?

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5 Benefits of Positive Thinking

Woman thinking positively and smiling
Photo by Caio Cardenas on Pexels.com

My last couple of posts have been on barriers to positivity and ways to achieve mindfulness.  This week’s post is going to focus on the benefits of positive thinking.  It can often be challenging to think positively and to always look at the bright side. Although it is challenging there are so many benefits to positive thinking. 

Woman holding firecracker and thinking positively

Positive Thinking Gives Hope

Have you ever been in a situation where the only think you had was the hope that everything was going to be all right?  Hope is often lost when you only dwell on the things that can go wrong.  By its definition, hope is the expectation and desire that something will happen.  When things are beginning to look bleak and your thoughts are beginning to shift to the negative, positive thinking can help you get focused on positive outcomes.  Positive thinking can often give you renewed hope in situations that you felt were hopeless. 

Woman looking resilient due to thinking positively

Positive Thinking Leads to Resilience

Consistent positive thinking leads to positive thinking becoming a habit.  It will become second nature to see the good in a situation and you will find that you do not always consciously talk yourself into thinking positively.  Resilience will make you better able to respond to adversity of tough circumstances with the belief that everything will work out in the long run.  Focusing on positive outcomes, and only positive outcomes, can help build the resilience that you need to make it through tough times.

Attract Other Positive People

Having a positive outlook on life will make it more likely that you will want that for other people.  Your positivity will lead you to encourage others and to want nothing but positive outcomes for them.  Consistent positive people will either attract people to you or drive people away from you.  Those with a not so positive outlook will either adapt or slowly distance themselves.  In the end, your circle will consist of those individuals whose positive thinking matches yours.  This will lead you to having a more positive set of friends and acquaintances who will consistently reciprocate your positivity.

Gratitude

Positive thinking helps you to see the positive side of things – even the things we often take for granted. When you consistently think negatively, you can miss the good things that are happening around you.  Negative thinking can sometimes have you thinking that nothing is going right and that there is nothing to be grateful.  Positive thinking will open your eyes to see the many things that you should be thankful for.  This gratitude can help you enjoy life more as you remain grateful for all that you have. This gratefulness can go a long way while working towards the things that you desire.

Better Mental Health

When you focus your energy on thinking positively, you may feel that a lot of the worries and heaviness that you carry around is alleviated.  Having a more positive outcome can help to ease anxiety which can lead to less stress.  As many of us know, stress is one of those things that can take a life of its own.  Positive thinking has been shown to lessen bouts of anxiety and depression and leading to a more consistent positive outlook on life.  Positive thinking can also help you gain a more positive view of yourself which can lead to more positive self-talk which increase your sense of self-worth.

Woman celebrating improved mental health because she started thinking positively

As you can see there are quite a few benefits to thinking positively.  Over time and with practice, hopefully you will begin to experience these benefits.

What would you add to this list?

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The 3 Types of Mindsets that Can Hinder Change

Your mindset can be one of the hardest things to change.  This is mainly due to the way that we arrive at our mindsets.  Mindsets are often formed because of our upbringing, culture, life experiences, and beliefs.  Mindsets tend to be deep seated and can often be a challenge to change.

I wanted to take a moment to discuss mindsets because you must be aware of the mindsets that you hold when considering how you respond (or not) to change.   Let us explore a few mindsets.

Optimistic vs. Pessimistic.  The optimist sees life through rose colored glasses.  Everything is good, and if something bad happens, the belief is that things will get better.  The pessimist believes that everything is always dark and bleak and if, by chance, something good does happen, they will believe that is a fluke.  When the subject of making any type of change comes up, it will take more effort for person with a pessimistic mindset because the first battle will be the negative outlook on the change.  You would have to get past this negative outlook before you could begin to take the steps to make the change.

Immediate success vs. Process.  This is one that I am currently working on.  The conflicting mindsets of a persons who wants overnight success versus the person that feels that everything is a process and success is attained one step at a time.  The good thing is that no matter what the desired change is, a person with each of these mindsets will try. The person with the mindset that everything is a process will be more likely to succeed as they will understand that setbacks and bad days are a part of the process of change.  The person who believes in overnight success will be more likely to quit at the first setback or if the change comes too slowly.

Hard work vs. Lucky break.  There are those who believe that success comes from hard work. These individuals understand that change is a process but that it also involved hard work.  Anything worth having normally involves some kind of hard work.  The person who feels like success only comes by the luck of the draw will not truly try to make a change.  If a half-hearted attempt at change is made and they fail, they will assume that the change was not meant for them.  I see this a lot when people speak of professional goals.  Some people believe in working hard to get the recognition needed to obtain a promotion.  Others believe that it is all about who you know, and skills and knowledge does not really matter.

Let us consider these mindsets in the context of change.  Can you really be successful with a diet if you believe all success should be immediate and that you will not have setbacks?  Can you realistically begin to work towards a dream or a goal if you believe that successful people are only successful because of who they know and not because of hard work?  Here are a few ways that you can change your mindset to see the change that you are working so hard for.

 

  1. Clarify what you want to change.  It is important that you know the why behind your need to change your mindset.  If you can identify the reason behind the change in mindset, the change is more likely to last.
  2. Make the decision to change.  This sounds like a lot like the first point but there is a slight difference.  The first point is speaking to knowing why you should change – this point is you deciding to change.  Many of us can know the benefits of a change and still not decide to make the change.  So, a definitive decision to make a change is necessary.
  3. Challenge your thoughts.  Any type of change can be hard and changing a mindset is no different.  When old thoughts that are connected to old habits begin to push their way in, it is imperative that you make a conscious effort to push back against those thoughts and focus on your new positive thoughts.
  4. Give yourself a break. Mindsets were not formed overnight, and they will be not be changed overnight.  Give yourself room to have a set back if you go slip to your old mindset and ways.  Just be conscious of this, reset, and move forward.
  5. Change actions.  Operate in the actions of your new mindset even if you are still working to completely change your mindset.  If you have determined that the change is your mindset is needed, begin to act as if your mindset is already changed.  It may feel unnatural at first, but you will eventually begin to walk in your new mindset and habits will begin to change.

What mindset pattern or patterns do you fall into? What do you think can help you come out of it?

Join me next time where I will be discussing lifestyle changes.

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Managing Your Stress (Part Four)

Today is the final day of this series about stress and I wanted to end on a high note.  I hope to assist you with ways to help alleviate your stress. Please remember that, although stress is all around us, stress can be managed and there are quite a few things that you can do to manage your stress.  Hopefully one of these things can assist you on your quest to alleviate your stress.

1. Journaling.  Get some of those thoughts out of your head and on paper. Journaling can also help you notice patterns in your behavior and can help you with your self-reflection.

2. Exercising. Stress can be relieved through exercise because exercising produces endorphins which reduce your stress levels. Regular exercise can go a long way in your efforts to manage your stress.

3. Laughing.  Have you ever had a good, deep belly laugh that pulled you out of a bad mood? Laughter can take your mind off of your stressor while easing a lot of muscle tension.

4. Meditation.  Meditation allows you to get to such a deep place of relaxation that you are able to sort through all of your jumbled thoughts. Your anxiety may be eased if you are able to sort your thoughts and tackle them one at a time and not all at once.

5. Eat healthily. Eating foods high in nutrients can help improve your mood and energy which can reduce stress. Foods that are rich in Vitamin C, as well as some herbal supplements, can help to reduce stress.

6. Reading.  Reading allows you to escape your reality and enter someone else’s reality. This allows you to take your mind off of the things that are stressing you out and allow you to relax.  This temporary escape from your reality can keep you from being overwhelmed.

7. Slowing down your thoughts.  This may sound simple but it is one of the hardest things to do. Slowing down my thoughts has helped me greatly. Stress can sometimes come from the feeling of being overwhelmed and having to figure out everything at once. Slowing down your thoughts allows you to focus on one thing at a time.

8. Breathing deeply. Breathing deep breaths when stress threatens to overwhelm you helps to relax your body and relieve tensions. It also helps you with being able to clear your mind to the point where you can put your stressors in perspective.

9. Therapy.  If the stress that you are trying to manage feels that it is unmanageable, please consider getting help from a therapist. Excessive stress can be an indicator of other mental illnesses that need to be addressed by a professional.

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Please remember if the stress is so overwhelming that you just feel like nothing you do is helpful, please see a professional. Comment if there are some things that you have done to alleviate stress that was not included on this list.

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