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Category Archives: Mindfulness + Stress Relief

3 Tips to Find Stress Relief Daily

When many of us are working 9 to 5 jobs and doing other activities on top of that, like taking some classes, doing some extra part-time work, raising kids, or whatever, it’s pretty darn easy to get stressed out.

But, despite how busy we may be, being able to find stress relief is not something that we have no control over.  Creating and maintaining a solid self-care practice can help us go from a stressed out mess to peaceful and going with the flow. 

Here are 3 tips that you can start implementing into your life right now to help you find stress relief daily:

#1 – Meditate at least once daily.

Starting the habit of meditating every day has been such a game changer for me when it comes to managing stress.  I’ve managed to not only feel less susceptible to stress, but I’ve also found myself experiencing even more feelings of joy, gratitude, and happiness.

Making the goal to meditate every day can be quite intimidating at first, especially if you’ve never done it before (I know I was!) but it doesn’t have to be that difficult.  Just as little as 3 minutes a day (or even 1 minute!) can really make a difference.

You can start off by sitting in a chair or on the floor with your back straight and to simply focus on your breath.  You can count your breath and breath in for 3 and exhale for 5. 

Another option could be to say a mantra to yourself.  A very basic mantra could be “So hum”, meaning “I am that”.  That you can repeat to yourself as you breathe, with the “so” on the inhale and “hum” on the exhale.

When doing a mantra, you’re going to notice a lot of thoughts from your “monkey mind” popping up.  When you catch yourself getting distracted by the thoughts, then simply go back to the mantra the second you notice. 

Remember that having the thoughts is normal and part of the process.  The thoughts come up so that you can process them and let them go.  You’re still going to benefit from the meditation whether you have the thoughts or not.  This is very important to remember because I think I a lot of beginners can get hard on themselves for it (including myself), so remember that it’s normal.

Finally, if you don’t like those types of meditations you could also do a guided visualization type of meditation as well.  There are many people out there with copies of guided meditations, myself included.  So if you would like to go that route, grab a copy of my Self and Relationship Healing Meditation if you haven’t yet and get meditating!

#2 – Start each day with an intention to let it all go. 

That person that cut you off on the way to work?  Let it go.  That very traumatic story that someone told you?  Let it go.  That person who yelled at you and flipped you the bird?  Let it go.

By holding on to the things that have happened to us we create this inner distress and tension within ourselves.  This doesn’t serve us and it only causes us unnecessary suffering.

One of the keys I think in letting go regularly is to live every day remembering this one main concept: If it isn’t happening, right here, right now in this very present moment then it doesn’t matter.

StressReliefPresentMoment

Click to Tweet: If it isn’t happening, right here, right now in this present moment then it doesn’t really matter. via @jenilyn8705

It doesn’t matter that you couldn’t get out of your parking job 2 hours ago, because that was 2 hours ago.  It doesn’t matter that you dropped a jar of spaghetti sauce walking out of the grocery store because that was 20 minutes ago.  And it doesn’t even matter that you need to call your doctor about some test results on Monday because it’s currently Friday night you won’t be able to do it until then anyway.

When we shift our mindsets to focusing on present moment, we can let go of all the stuff we think we have to stress about now — but it truly doesn’t matter in this very moment.

#3 – Move it!

Sometimes stressful things happen that shift us into “fight or flight” mode and it can throw us off for the entire day if we don’t know how to deal with it.

Let me let you in on something when it comes to fight or flight: We all experience it — and I don’t mean just humans, but animals too. 

Have you ever seen two ducks get into a fight?  They’ll beat on each other.  Maybe even look like the one is going to actually kill the other.  But, eventually, they break away.  They go separate ways and fly or maybe flap their wings rigorously a few times and then they’re back to floating around on the water all peacefully, calm and content.

They don’t think about how that other duck pissed them off 2 hours after the fact or the one doesn’t try to “get back” at the other in some way.  They just let it go and get back to their own business.

If you really stop and watch sometime (which I encourage you to do), all animals do this in their own unique ways.  But there’s something you’ll notice across the board:  They all move.

So when someone upsets you, pisses you off, or gets you all worked up then be sure to move.  Take a walk.  Jump around.  Flap your arms.  Stomp your feet.  Do whatever it is that you feel can help you let go of all that tension in your body.

Take action now!

Out of the three tips I’ve listed above, which one are you going to start doing today?  Share it in the comments below!

7 Ways to Start Your Journey Toward Self-Love

For many of us, we could all use some help in the self-love department.  Our own level of self-love can be detrimental to our success in relationships, career, health, and overall well-being.

Here are 7 ways to start your journey toward self-love:

#1 – Do mindfulness practices.

To be mindful means to be tuned-in to your own thoughts, emotions, and needs.  Many of us struggle with this because we can get so caught up in all of the things going on outside of ourselves that we forget to stop and tune in to our own experience.

To practice mindfulness is a lifelong journey and can be challenging at times, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.  A few ways to practice mindfulness include:

– Focusing intently on the present moment while doing an activity, such as while doing the dishes, cleaning, driving, cooking, or working.

– Taking moments throughout the day to tune-in to how you are feeling in your body.  Check in to see where there is tension, aches, fluttery sensations, and more.

– Taking breaks throughout the day to take deep breaths for a few minutes through your diaphragm.

If you want to start doing well at self-love, then start practicing mindfulness every single day.  The more mindful we are, then the more successful we will become in our self-love practice.

#2 – Nourish your body.

Ask yourself: What have I been eating?  What have you been eating at home for dinner?  What places do you eat at?  How much sugar do you consume?  How many processed foods do you consume daily or weekly?  What are you drinking during the day?  Do you drink sugary drinks or alcohol and, if so, how much of it weekly?

While I don’t definitely don’t think there is a “one size fits all” diet for everybody, I do think it is important for us to focus on how the the things we put into our body affect how we feel.  What foods make you feel sluggish?  What foods give you energy?  What foods make you feel lighter?

Discovering what foods work best for you and your body can be a journey, so try out a few different diets and discover what works best for you.

#3 – Move your body.

Find time every day to move your body each day.  Go for a walk.  Get up away from your desk and stretch.  Take up a new exercise that you’ve always wanted to try.

#4 – Do things that feed your soul.

What things do you feel passionate about?  What activities light you up?  Do you love performing music?  Do you love dancing?  Do you love writing?  Do you love cooking?  Whatever it is, be sure to find time to do it.  The more we do things that feed our soul, then the more we become connected to our soul.

FeedOurSoul

Click to Tweet: The more we do things that feed our soul, then the more we become connected to our soul. via @jenilyn8705

#5 – Write a list of all the things you love about yourself.

This activity can be very transformational, especially if we are dealing with relationship issues, self-esteem issues, or depression.

Get a journal and put it by your bed.  Every night before you go to sleep write down at least 2 things that you love about yourself.  Overtime, you will definitely notice a shift.

#6 – Become the master of your own self-care.

When you notice that you are hungry, be sure to make it a priority to feed yourself.  When you notice that you are tired, be sure to rest or make time to get extra sleep.  Be sure to give yourself time and space to disconnect from other people’s stress.  Be sure to set healthy boundaries by saying “no” or setting a limit to things that you know are going to greatly deplete your energy.

#7 – Be grateful for the things you do for yourself.

In your journal that you keep by your bed, write down all of the things that you are thankful that you did for yourself at the end of every day.  Bringing gratitude to our self-love practice will bring fuel to to it in a way so that we can become even better in our own self-love.

Take action now!

In the comments below, share at least one thing that you are going to do today to start your journal toward self-love.

The Hidden Reason Why Your Relationship May Be Struggling

Maybe you’ve been arguing a bit more than usual or you’ve noticed your partner, family member, or friend has been a bit more on the “grumpy” side.

Because things had been going so well, you’re a bit puzzled as to what has brought all this on.  Maybe you’ve tried to talk with them about it but what they have said doesn’t really give the answers and insight you were looking for.  There explanations seem a bit vague and they haven’t really told you directly what they want from you.

When we find ourselves in moments like this it can be quite frustrating.  We want to help the other person, but the information we have been given doesn’t really help us do that.

In these moments, we can begin to really question things.  We may feel trapped and powerless over improving anything.

Fortunately, there is something that you can do even in these situations where the person doesn’t really tell you how you can help them.  It is one of these hidden reasons that we may not always think of or realize unless we choose to really sit back and focus on the big picture.

The reason?

It may have to do with what you are bringing into the relationship.

So what do I mean by this?  What I mean is the kind of energy are you bringing into your interactions with this person.  Are you coming home from work and venting every day to them about a specific co-worker?  Are you calling them in the evenings and complaining about this “stupid” thing that your roommate did?

I don’t even mean that you necessarily have to be doing it all the time but are you doing it at all?  If you realize that you do have moments where you are really venting to your partner, friend, family member, or whoever, sit back and ask yourself: How do they react to your moments of “venting”? Does their energy change in some way?  Do they seem to remain peaceful and calm or do they seem to “tense up” and get stressed by your venting?

We are all constantly being affected by one another’s energy.

If one person is having a bad day, then their energy can negatively impact us so that we are now suddenly in a bad mood.  We can then direct that energy to others around us as well.  The trouble is that many of us don’t know this is happening because we don’t stop, sit back, and reflect enough to notice.

So here’s one example:  You wake up in the morning in a great mood.  It’s a Saturday, so you’ve had the day off to do whatever you’ve wanted: catch up on chores, do some yoga, take the dog for a walk through the park, and so on.  You’re day has been a day of utter bliss and peacefulness.

However, you come home to your roommate complaining about some issue with her family.  This stressful energy within her then turns into her complaining to you and your other roommate about something with the apartment.  This then causes you to feel all distressed and angry.

You meet up with your boyfriend shortly after and, upon meeting up, you begin express all the frustration that you have towards your roommate at your boyfriend.  You to say things like, “This is totally ridiculous”, “This is so unfair”, or “I just can’t stand her”.

Although you were probably hoping that expressing all of these frustrations would cause you so relief, instead you and your boyfriend begin to fight about random little things.  You find the two of you arguing over things like where to park or where to eat for dinner.  This then leaves you going to bed that night feeling upset and frustrated.

You see what I mean?  In this example, this negative and stressful energy originated with the roommate and her family and the energy from that trickled into this romantic relationship.

These kind of things are happening all the time.  The problem is that we don’t notice that it is happening and, as a result, we don’t stop this energy when it comes to us.  Instead, we can bring it on to the next person we cross paths with, only to then make others feel all stressed out, angry, and upset as well.

So how can we stop doing this?  Here are some steps:

#1 – Make the effort to try to be aware.

Check in with your energy levels throughout the day.  Notice what events and people “trigger” you can cause a charged emotional reaction in you.

#2 – Take time to get yourself centered.

When we are triggered by someone else, we can tend to experience a bit of a antsy, flustered, or “scattered” feeling our bodies.  Taking the time to do some kind of meditation, breath-work, or mindfulness activity to center yourself and quiet the mind can be beneficial to calm down this natural body response.

#3 – Be mindful about what you say and how you say it.

Whenever you have noticed that you are triggered and about ready to interact with someone, be mindful over how you share what happened with this person.  Rather than to go off venting and “let it all out”, express it in a calm, collected, and balanced way.  Really think about the words you use and the energy that you are giving out behind those words.  Be mindful over how you may be affecting others.

EnergyRelationships

Click to Tweet: We are constantly being affected by one another’s energy…so what energy are you bringing to your relationships? via @jenilyn8705

Take action now!

Think of a time where you have negatively impacted another person because of something bad that happened to you.  How did you react?  How could you have responded differently to create a better outcome?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Finding Blessings When Everything Comes Crashing Down

About mid-way through the year last year, I felt like my life was suddenly crashing down.

It started off with being notified that I needed to find a new place to live after I had just moved 3 months prior.  This followed with bad news about a chronic health issue that I had been dealing with.  In addition, when it came around to be “that time of the month” my PMS was at the absolute worst that it had ever been in my entire life.  All I wanted to do was lay around curled up in a ball for an entire week.  This all then concluded with a notice that I had been let go by my part-time job.

Needless to say, I panicked.  I freaked out. I was overwhelmed with anger that all these things had to be happening to me all at once. I had a complete emotional and mental breakdown.

I felt like my body was breaking down.  I felt like my entire being was breaking down.  The only thing I could do — or even have the physical energy to do — was to cry.

… and that’s what I did.  I cried.  I cried a freaking lot.  And I did something else too — I stopped trying.

I stopped looking on craigslist for apartments and jobs.  I stopped debating on what actions to take.  I stopped pushing myself to do all these things in hopes to find a solution to all my problems.

Instead, I just did what I could.  I let go and decided to go with the flow.  I stopped trying and pushing myself and decided to surrender and take care of myself.

StopPushingLetGo

Click to Tweet: When your stressed cause everything is falling apart, stop pushing yourself to “figure it out” and just let go. via @jenilyn8705

It was then that I allowed myself to really relax and enjoy all of the incredible blessings that I had experienced around that same time, such as:

… having an astounding result to a TinyBuddha article of mine that I never would have expected!

… making new friends who are also life coaches or entrepreneurs.

… celebrating my amazing boyfriend’s birthday.

… moving forward in my relationship by both of us exchanging our first “I love yous” 🙂

… finding out that my parents were coming to visit me the next month.

… a childhood friend finally having her baby.

… having the time (and living in an area) where I had the opportunity attend group meetings for extra support.

… and so much more!

Often times when we find ourselves in a period of our lives where everything seems to have been uprooted and we have everything but security, we find ourselves all stressed out and caught up with feelings of anxiety and anger over what happened to us.  We find ourselves so caught up in these emotions that we completely overlook all the wonderful little blessings that are going on around us at the same exact time.  We can find ourselves so incredibly focused on all the “bad” that is happening that we cut ourselves off from seeing the “good”.

So what should we do during these moments of high-stress when it feels like everything in our lives is crashing down?

Breathe.

Often times when we are super stressed out, we completely forget about the most essential thing that keeps us alive and healthy: Breathe.  So stop and take a moment to take some deep breaths.  Take a very deep inhale and allow your exhale to be longer than your inhale.

This technique of breathing where we do a longer exhale than our inhale is a great technique to help calm down the body and help us relax.  I have personally used it on the nights where I’m having trouble sleeping to help me dose off peacefully and it has worked wonders.

Take time for yourself.

When we’re super stressed because all of our plans seem to not be working out, we tend to get so focused on fixing all of our problems and life challenges that we have forgotten the most essential aspect for our growth and progress: Our own personal well-being.

So give yourself a 1 or 2 hour break to simply do “nothing”.  For for a walk.  Take a warm bath.  Read a book simply for the joy of it.  Cry… cry a lot.  Eat and really savor a nutritious meal.  Watch reruns of your favorite TV comedy.  Focus on you and what you truly need for the health and well-being of your own mind, body, and spirit.

Reflect on your blessings.

Moments before you go to bed, get out a journal and make a list of all of the blessings in your life.  Is it a blessing that you have a certain amount of money in your checking account?  Is it a blessing that you have a friend or partner to support you during this difficult time?  Is it a blessing that you have made new friends recently?

Write down a list of all the blessings that come to you.  After you finish writing them down, go through each one and say out loud to yourself, “I am grateful for _______” in order to really acknowledge to yourself and to the universe that you are thankful for all these current blessings in your life.

Take action now!

What are some of the blessings in your life?  Share them in the comments below!

5 Ways to Take Care of Yourself This Holiday Season

Another year is coming to an end and, with that, comes the annual hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

Buying gifts.  Baking cookies.  Traveling.  Cooking dinners.  Mailing gifts.  Mailing Christmas cards.  Tying up loose ends before the year ends.  The list goes on and on.

Even though the Holiday season is marketed “to be jolly”, it can very easily become anything but jolly.  Stressful?  Sure.  Road range?  See it all the time.  Crazy shopping?  Totally!

The good news is that the holiday season doesn’t have to be so stressful and draining.  With a few little changes, it is possible to turn your exhausting holiday experience into one filled with joy and cheer — it just all boils down to how you take care of you.  Here are 5 ways to do that:

Set boundaries with others — and yourself.

You don’t have to do everything for everyone all the time.  Nor do you have to get everything done right here right now and not a day later.

The reality is that some of those things we are so urgent about getting done so quickly can, in fact, wait an extra day or two.  Just like some of the things you think you need to do for everyone else, could be easily taken care of by that same person or by asking someone else (who has some extra time) to do it for you.

So the key here is to set boundaries for yourself.  Ask yourself: Realistically, what can I get done today that won’t make me feel completely overwhelmed and stressed?

Anything that goes beyond those limits you’ve made for yourself you can do one or two things: 1.  Say no, or just don’t do it (like, seriously, are getting all of the Christmas cookies made this year really necessary if it’s going to make you freak out?) or 2. Ask someone to help you.

Give yourself a break.

When it’s colder outside and the days are shorter, it is only natural for us to want to stay inside, bundle up in some blankets, and just relax.  Be sure you give yourself time to do that.  Not only will it reduce your likelihood of getting sick and reduce stress, but in doing so you’re accepting what you body is being naturally drawn to.

So curl up in some blankets, have a cup of hot chocolate, watch some of your favorite movies and just enjoy!

Give yourself some gifts too!

Even though it’s only natural to think about all the gifts that you have to buy and give to others, don’t forget about another special person who deserves a gift from you: yourself!

So sign up for that massage you’ve been waiting for or spend an afternoon in a sauna or hot tub.  Maybe even get a manicure or pedicure.  Think of something that you’ve been longing to do and give that gift to yourself.  After all, with all that hard work you’ve been putting in this holiday season you totally deserve it!

Reflect on the past year — and your true desires!

When the days are shorter, it’s colder outside and the year is coming to an end, it is natural for us to go into a state of reflection over our past year.  The only problem, however, is that we may find ourselves so incredibly busy that we forget to sit down and really reflect.

So get out a journal and ask yourself the following questions about this past year: What events happened?  What was life changing?  What worked?  What didn’t work?  How did you grow?  What did you learn?

Once you have that done, then go ahead and look to the upcoming year.  How do you desire to feel during this new year?  What would you like to change?  In what areas of your life would you like to grow and become better?  Is there anything new that you’d like to try?

Trust that all that needs to get done will get done.

The single most important thing to remember is: Be easy on yourself.  Everything that needs to get done will get done in due time.  If you’re a little late or delayed with something, try not to stress about it.  We are all late on things and make mistakes sometimes, so don’t let it get you down.

Make that your mantra this holiday season: “Even if I don’t get everything done, I still love and accept myself.”

StillLoveAndAcceptMyself

Click to Tweet: Even if I don’t get everything done, I still love and accept myself. via @jenilyn8705

Take action now!

What do you feel that you most need to do this holiday season in order to take care of yourself?  Share it in the comments below!

5 Easy Ways to De-Stress FAST!

It’s Monday morning and you’re late for work.  In hopes to be on time, you take an alternative route to work but still find the traffic pretty crazy.  People are honking their cars in frustration and impatience and all you want to do is get out of all this craziness ASAP.

When you finally get out of traffic and get to work (where you are just barely on time), your boss tells you a change in plans for the day and you end up having to do work that you have had remotely no training for and nobody is there to help you.

By the time you get home, you come to realize that the salad you had planned on having for dinner had gone bad in the fridge and that you now have to make another trip to the grocery store.

After you’ve had dinner, you now have some time to relax but the only thing you seem to have the energy to do is watch some TV in hopes that it will relax you a bit.  But, ironically, it doesn’t — because come bed time, you find yourself unable to wind down enough to fall asleep.

When our lives are all filled with all kinds of hustle and bustle it’s easy for us to get all stressed out.  We can find ourselves experiencing all kinds of fun symptoms of stress like insomnia, low energy, headaches, an upset stomach, acne, muscle aches and pains, or constantly having some kind of cold, flu or sickness.

We can all certainly agree that none of those symptoms are good or fun to have.  We definitely don’t want to find ourselves tired and sick all day every day for weeks or months on end.  However, unfortunately, this is how many of us are living our lives.  We ignore our body’s signs to slow down and take care of ourselves and continue to focus on all the “go-go-go” and “do-do-do” all the things that we apparently “need” to do.

It’s a self-defeating cycle that many of us habitually fall into without really even knowing it until we have a headache and can’t sleep.  We get caught up in our self-defeating cycle of stress and we’re not sure what to do to get out of it.

Fortunately, there are little tools that we can add to our daily routine to help us avoid falling into this self-defeating cycle of stress.  Here are 5 ways to de-stress fast and quickly:

Take a breather.

Our breath is extremely powerful and important.  When we are stressed, we often respond by taking faster and more shallow breaths.  To throughout your day, stop and take a few really big deep breaths while focusing heavily on dragging out the exhale.  It will get you relaxed in no-time — trust me!

Meditate.

Take some time to meditate at least once a day, but, preferably, twice a day with one in the morning and one in the late afternoon.  You don’t have to do any particular kind of meditation in order to reap the benefits.  If you want to do a mantra by saying to yourself something like “so hum” to each inhale and exhale, then go for it.  If you like to do visualizations then go do that.  If you want to focus on counting each of your exhales, then do that.  If you simply just want to focus on your breath — then go for it!

The truth is, meditate in any way that you feel works best for you because either way meditation is still going to be a very powerful tool at combating stress in your life.

Exercise.

When we’re stressed out taking some time to simply move our bodies can certainly help us become better managers of stress.  Doing some kind of exercise allows us to release any tensions that we are holding in our bodies and help us clear our minds.

This may be a walk during your lunch break, an early morning yoga session, or a mile long run after work.  Whatever type of exercise it is — it is still going to help you!

Put good things in your body.

When we’re stressed, we often find ourselves wanting two things: We want our food and drinks fast and we want something that’s going to give us a “pick me up”.  For many of us, this could look like a quick trip through a drive thru for a burger and a french vanilla cappuccino.

Unfortunately, though, neither of these things are really giving us what our body truly wants: water and some fruits and vegetables.  So be sure to pack a bottle of water and an apple instead of just sipping on your coffee and munching on a nutri-grain bar.  Give yourself some real food.  If you really pay attention to your body when you eat something natural, real, and whole you will definitely notice a shift the second you do!

Be alone with yourself.

When we’re busy with doing this and that and we’re around all kinds of people, it’s easy to not only be stressed out over our own stuff but be caught up in their own stress and frustrations as well!

For this reason, it’s incredibly important and very beneficial to take some time every day to simply just be alone with yourself to give yourself the opportunity to get re-centered over what it is that you feel and what you are experiencing throughout your day.

DeStressEveryDay

Take action now!

From the list above, choose at least one of the ways to de-stress and go do it right now!  After you’ve done the task, share in the comments below your experience.  How has doing this benefited you?  How do you feel now that you’ve done it?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

5 Ways to Stop Attracting Toxic People

A while back I found myself in a conversation with someone about the topic of being around toxic people — or, as I prefer to call it, people who exhibit toxic behaviors.  This conversation led me into a place of reflection where I thought back to what my life had been like a few years ago when I had absolutely no concept of boundaries nor any idea what toxic relationships were.

Up until a few years ago, I was so much most susceptible to people’s toxic behaviors.  I would often deal with people who were envious or jealous of me in some way, who were influencing me to feel guilty for doing something for myself, who were making judgmental or critical remarks towards me, and who were, overall, just downright negative.

Despite this being such a struggle growing up, I realized that at this point in my life I don’t experience many toxic behaviors from others.  It is as if I simply announced to the universe “I am done with toxic people!  I am no longer going to have any toxic behavior in my life!” — and so it happened.

Though simply making that announcement would be oh-so-awesome and oh-so-easy, it definitely wasn’t that simple.  There were solid action steps that I had to make along the way.  So here are the methods I used that will hopefully help you to stop attracting toxic people in your life as well:

Consistently set boundaries with anyone and everyone who exhibits a toxic behavior.

Every time the someone says something critical or negative towards you, tries to manipulate you in some way, or seems to be envious or jealous of you rather than supportive, then set a verbal boundary to let them know that you will not tolerate their behavior.

So for instance, if you’re out singing karaoke one night and your friend comes up to you and makes comment like “You were totally off key” then immediately respond by saying something like “I don’t appreciate your comment” or “Please don’t talk to me that way”.  If they continue to make negative remarks towards you despite your comment then reinstate the boundary again and tell them the consequences, such as: “Please don’t talk to me in that way.  If you continue to talk to me like this when I will leave.”

This can be incredibly challenging at first (trust me, I know!), but it has to be done in order for any change to happen.

Try to avoid feeding them any of your energy.

If a person is exhibiting toxic behavior, the person may very well not want to respect your boundary initially.  They may try to push you to a point of starting an argument or manipulate in a way so that you feel guilty enough to give in and do what they want you to do.

It is incredibly important to not give the person any of your energy when and if this happens.  Meaning, try to avoid giving their actions or words any time or attention.  This is important because, if they are continuing to try to push your buttons, it’s because they want you to crack.  They want you to lose your composure and argue with them because then they can get their way.

So when setting boundaries or making any confrontations, try to appear as calm as possible.  If you have any emotions that you need to deal with later on after the confrontation (which is very likely), then deal with it later through a relaxation method on your own or with someone who can safely support you, like a trusted friend or a therapist.

Create distance from people who tend to be toxic.

One very effective way to get toxic people out of your life is to, simply stop spending so much time around them.  Perhaps this means to minimize conversation with the person or to stop spending as much time with one another.

By creating distance from the other person, we are sending the unspoken message that their behaviors are not something that we not to be around.  Depending on your relationship with the person, this can be extremely difficult.  Keep in mind that just because you are no longer talking with the person as much as you were, it doesn’t mean that the relationship is “over”.  It simply means that the relationship is moving on to a new phase.  The two of you may become close again someday and it will be even better because of this phase — and, on the flip side, it may remain a bit distant.  We can never really fully know.

Recognize your own toxic behaviors.

This is incredibly important.  If we wish to be respected by others, then we have to be willing to be completely honest with ourselves by recognizing our own toxic behaviors and to actively change those behaviors.

For some of us, these toxic behaviors may be obvious while, for others, it may be more challenging.  If it is relatively challenging, then ask yourself: “How do I try to control other people in my life?  Do I struggle to except the decisions that others make?  Do I try to fix other people’s problems for them?  Do I, in some way, try to force them to do something that they don’t really want to do?”

Struggling with a need to control others is what many (myself included) define as codependency.  All of us struggle with this need to control others in some way to some extent throughout our lives.  It isn’t really a “I’m codependent” or “I’m not codependent”.  Rather, it is a matter of looking at it on a continuum or scale.  So for instance, if we were to look at ourselves on a scale of 1 to 50, with 50 being very codependent and 1 being very little where would you rate yourself?

Trust that things will get better.

When we’re in the midst of stress in trying to set boundaries with the people with toxic behaviors in our lives, it can be very difficult to see the “light at the end of the tunnel”.  We may find ourselves wondering why we decided to even bothered to start setting boundaries in the first place because it is causing so much extra stress in our lives.

I can assure you — it does get better!  So keep on doing it and, eventually, you will eventually find yourself in this comfortable place that is virtually free of toxic behaviors.

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Take action now!

Reflect upon you current relationships and ask yourself: Is there anyone in my life right now who tends to exhibit toxic behavior?  What can I say to them next time they make a remark to me that I don’t appreciate?  What other actions can I take in my life to cleanse my relationships of toxicity?

4 Steps to Diffuse an Argument Before it Even Starts

A few weeks ago on a Friday evening I wasn’t feeling the greatest.  I was really busy, stressed, and, to top all that off, sick with a head cold.

That evening, my boyfriend and I had gone out to get some takeout.  During the trip I began sharing some of my recent thoughts and frustrations.  One thing led to another and pretty soon I found him getting angry and us nearly getting into a full-fledged argument.

The key here is that I said nearly got into an argument.  It was weird because we didn’t really end up actually arguing.  Him getting a bit angry was as far as things went.  In fact, things diffused so quickly that by the time we got home we were hugging and exchanging “I love yous”.

How did I do it?  Well here are steps to follow to help you diffuse any argument before it actually starts:

Step 1:  Remain calm.

Whenever the conversation starts to get a bit heated and different views and opinions are conflicting, we tend to get very angry.  As a result, we can end up saying things that we didn’t really want to say or saying things that we later regret. When this happens, we are caught up in our ego (aka our fear-based mind) rather than our true love-based selves.

When in this ego-driven mode of being, we can tend to really hurt other people and, most importantly, ourselves.  So one way to get out of our fixation on our ego is to get calm.  Bring your focus back to your body and to your breath.  Take deep breaths and check-in on how your feel in your body and overall being — both physically and emotionally.

Simply making the effort to get and be calm alone can be an incredibly powerful tool, as it prevents us from saying anything that we don’t really mean or anything that we will regret later on.

Step 2: Let go of need to be “right” or heard.

The second thing that we often do when we find ourselves getting into an argument is that we experience this strong need to be heard and to be “right”.  This need to be “right” is also an ego-driven response.

Though seems completely contradictory, the reality is that when we let go of the desire to be “right”, it gives us more strength and power.

So let go of any drive or desire to be heard or right in the argument and allow things to simply be as it is.  To simply let it be, is to choose love rather than fear.

Step 3: Listen.

Whenever there is some kind of conflict or problem, many of us start feeling like we need to say something in order to make things better.  However, I must say that the older and older I get the more I realize that the opposite is true.

Let me be clear: We don’t always need to verbally talk about things to “clear the air” and make things better.  Many times, all that needs to happen is for someone to really truly listen.  When someone is really truly heard and another person really truly listens, this is where true healing can actually take place.

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But Jen, whenever I do that I feel like a doormat! Oh trust me — I totally feel you there!  That was like the story of my life for several years, but here’s the thing: We will only feel like a doormat when our underlying motivation is fear rather than love.  We will never feel like a doormat whenever we are in a place of inner strength and love.

So if you ever do feel like a “doormat” then sit back and ask yourself: Am I calm?  Have I fully let go of a need to be “right”?  If not, then take the time to do so.

It is when we truly wish to serve that we come from a place of absolute inner strength and love.  It is in those moments when we have truly disengaged from our ego and have chosen love instead.

Step 4: Wait patiently.

Once you have made the conscious decision for yourself in the previous steps to choose love over fear, now the only thing left to do is wait.  Simply allow things to be and allow the other person to process whatever they need to process.

During this time continue to hold this space of love and strength for yourself.  Also, if you did happen to say some words that you regret in anyway, then you may feel that now is a good time to apologize.

Remember to be open and receptive.  Don’t necessarily expect an apology or a reconciliation right away, as that will take you out of a place of love and back into ego.  But simply remember to be open and ready to receive so that if it does happen naturally then you are ready to receive it.

Take action now!

Think of an argument that you have been in recently.  How have these steps may have changed the outcome?  Is there any step that you feel may be more difficult for you to do rather than the others?  How will you handle your next potential argument?  Share your thoughts in the comments below!

4 Ways to Cope When You’re Around Unhappy People

I’ve always been the kind of person who easily gets tuned into other people’s “vibes”.  What I mean by this is that I tend to pick up and easily recognize on the energy that they are putting out.  I’ll easily sense if others are happy, sad, stressed, pissed off, worried, or excited.  I also get a different kind of vibe if someone is being genuine or if they are trying to hide something.

We all do this to some degree.  Some may be just more sensitive to it than others or we may be more “in-tuned” in some moments and not so much in others.

In the midst of easily picking up on all these different vibes that others are giving off, it can be easy to get caught up in other people’s not-so-pleasant emotions.  If someone else is giving out vibes of being kind of crabby or unhappy we may start asking ourselves things like:

“Is there something that I did that hurt them?”

“Did I offend them somehow?”

“Does this person not like me for some reason?”

Sometimes in these moments these stressful or unhappy energies they are putting off can be so much that we may even want to spit out an “I’m sorry” even though we really have absolutely no idea what we are sorry for.  Other times we may simply just find ourselves overwhelmed or bothered and unsure as to what we need to do in order to “clear the air” when around such unhappy people.

In order to “clear the air”, here some are ways on how to properly cope when you’re around unhappy people:

#1 – Don’t take it personally.

The truth of the matter is, you are not nor have ever been responsible for this person’s happiness or anyone else’s other than your own.  We are the only person solely responsible for our own happiness.  Period.

Now, in the chance that you did, in fact, do something to offend or hurt this person then you can’t really apologize or change something if the person never told you.  That is their responsibility.  So until they say something to you, don’t sweat it.

#2 – Don’t get all caught up in their unhappiness.

Sometimes what we tend to do when we are around someone who is cranky and all unhappy is that we dwell on it.  We focus on their crankiness and then start complaining about their own negativity and unhappiness.

Doing this, however, is one of the worst things that we can do because we just keep the unhappiness going!  This is an unconscious habit that many of us easily fall into on a regular basis, so we need to really nip this habit in the butt pronto!  And so, in order to avoid getting all caught up in other people’s unhappiness…

#3 – Give yourself time to get re-centered regularly.

I also like to call this “giving yourself some me-time”.  When we are constantly on the go-go-go and never give ourselves some time to breath, we are not only more susceptible to getting stressed out but also more susceptible to letting other people’s “stuff” get to us.

So take some time every day to simply be alone with yourself.  During this time allow yourself to meditation, journal, reflect, read, exercise, or simply just do whatever you feel like in order to “recharge”.  Sometimes I do this through going for a walk and other times it may be through gardening.  Just go along with whatever you feel your heart is being drawn to!

#4 – Kill it with kindness.

How many times have you been having a bad day but upon crossing paths with a very happy and pleasant person you felt like a weight was lifted off your shoulders?  I know I’ve had this happen!

The reality is that when we put out positive and pleasant vibes out to others by smiling, cheerfully asking someone how they are, or making some jokes we are actually helping others to raise their vibration to a more positive level as well.  The benefits are really two-fold: You brighten other people’s day and you brighten the day for yourself because you then experience gratification from helping others.

Now, of course, it isn’t all cranky-person proof.  Some people will just be stuck on being unhappy in that moment no matter what comes along.  However, it is still beneficial because it is helping you stay on the positive side of things rather than to get caught up in their negativity.

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Click to Tweet: If someone is unhappy & stressed know that YOU have the power to help brighten their day (AND yours)! via @jenilyn8705

Take action now!

Of the four tips listed above, which one do you most need to remember?  How are you going to start implementing this four tips starting today?  Share it in the comments below!

How to Be Happy When Other People are Draining You

I’ve always been a pretty sensitive person.

I’m one of those people where if someone I’m living with comes home upset or stressed I’ll know it the second they walk in the door — even if I never even saw them.  If the people I’m coming to visit are upset or depressed, I will know the second I walk in the door.  If someone around me expressing their stress verbally (even if it’s not at all directed at me), my body feels all shaken and it’s very challenging for me to focus on any task.

To top that off, with some people I can find myself so incredibly in-touch with their being, that I’ve found myself describing and explaining their emotions and experience as if it is my own.  As a result, I’ve really puzzled some friends through the years doing this cause they just couldn’t understand how on earth I could know so much about this other person’s experience without the person even openly sharing it with me.

Needless to say, being so sensitive isn’t a very easy thing to deal with.  In order to cope, it’s been a process of really learning how to set boundaries and put forth the effort to really focus on my own thoughts, feelings, and overall experience.

That was the ultimate problem after all — I was so in touch with other people’s stuff that I had absolutely no idea what my stuff was.  I was constantly blending in and getting really in-tune with others in order to best accommodate and make things better for them.

In that regard, it really is both a blessing and a curse.  It’s a blessing to know what people need in order to help support them and grow.  However, it’s a curse in that, in doing so, it’s a challenge to ever really know what one needs and truly take care of yourself.

And so, in the last few years my primary focus has been to focus on establishing boundaries in relationships and focusing primarily on my own experience.

This has worked fairly well, but the problem has been that I have still found myself overwhelmed and uber sensitive.  In fact, in some ways, probably even more sensitive than before.  It was then that I realized:

We can’t find inner peace and be in-tune with ourselves when we are pushing ourselves to ignore everybody else’s energies.

We have to remember to acknowledge and recognize what we have picked up, then take action to help ourselves.

Whether we realize it or not, we are always being affected by the energies of those around us.  You know that cranky customer you dealt with at work the other day?  His crankiness affected you.  You know that lady who started arguing with you in the comments section on an article on the Huffington Post?  She affected your energy.  You know that family member that “dumped” all their problems on you the other day?  They affected your energy.

All of these energies I mentioned above are lower-level energies.  When we allow ourselves to really become attached to that lower-level energy, it can really drag us down.  It can make us stressed, grumpy, cranky and a little less pleasant when you’re standing in line at Starbucks.

On the flip side, there are higher-level energies as well.  Like that customer who gave you an extra big tip or that person on the street who gave you a big smile and genuinely said “I have a great day”.  If we let these energies in, it can lift us up and really brighten our day.  It can make us less stressed, irritated, and worried.

It’s important to check in with yourself every day in every moment and interaction in order to notice if the energy is lifting you up or dragging you down.  If it’s lifting you up, then fan-freaking-tastic!  However, if you notice that it’s dragging you down then it’s time to take some action to protect yourself.

The following are a few things that you can do to help protect yourself from other people’s low-energies:

Make the effort to be around more positive people.

Are you constantly around people that complain about life all the time?  Are you constantly around people who are aggravated, worried, or stressed out about something?  If so, then you may want to create a little bit of distance in order to take care of yourself and give yourself some time to replenish yourself with higher energy.  You may also want to reach out to new people or groups that are generally more uplifting and inspirational.  People that energize you and bring fun and joy into your life.

That being said, another thing to consider is the TV, movies, and music that you are watching.  Does anything that you watch or listen to feel a bit harsh?  Does it feel like it drains you rather than energizes you?  If it does, then you may want to stop watching to these shows or listening to that music.  I know for me, certain hip-hop and rap is definitely on my big “no-no” list, along with horror films (at this point) and even a number of action films.

Also ask yourself how online or smartphone games or activities affect you.  Personally, I even find myself being drained when playing games on my phone at times.  I definitely can’t do any Candy Crush or Words with Friends for any long period of time without it draining me.

Take time every day to connect to your inner power.

A wonderful meditation that you can do is to breath while visualizing white light coming down through the top of your head with each inhale and then exhaling out through your heart.  As you breath, the white light begins to create a bubble of protection around you that expands more and more.

Doing a meditation like this can help us get re-centered and heighten our own energy.  If you feel like you need to really protect yourself from other people’s “stuff”, then you may also want to visualize mirrors being added to the bubble around you.  This way, anything that someone expresses to you get shined right back at them.

Make the conscious effort to focus on the positive.

You can do this through positive affirmations (like saying statements like “I am powerful”, “I have all that I need with me right now” or “I am love”) or by simply just focusing on creating positive thoughts throughout our day.  So whenever a thought of “I don’t have enough money” comes up, exchange it with a thought of gratitude like “I have enough money to have a water supply, clothes and food”.  Looking for all the positive things and focusing on that can help raise our energy so then we are less affected by other people’s lower-energy “stuff”.

Express positivity!

This may be a bit challenging to do at first if you’re stressed out or down in the dumps, but simply just go about your day with the intention to make everyone’s day a bit brighter.  Compliment that lady with the neat necklace at the grocery store.  Smile brightly at the store clerk, ask them how they are doing, and wish them a pleasant day.  Be open to chatting with people in the elevator.  Find and be open to ways to help make everyone else’s day a bit brighter.  It’s really just the little things, but the more you do it, the more you raise your own energy as well as those you cross paths with.

These are just a few tips right now, but the list can just go on and on.  Ultimately remember this: The power of your experience lies with you.  The more you focus on raising your own energy, then the better it will be.  The less you will be affected by other people’s “not so great” stuff and the more you will create and attract more positive things into your life.

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Take action to raise your energy right now!

List, at the very least, 10 things that you are grateful for in your life right now.  Truthfully, we should all be able to list thousands but I’ll make it a bit easy for you today. 😉