Tag Archives: stress

5 Easy Morning Rituals That Will Reduce Stress and Overwhelm

In a world of 40-hour work weeks and traffic jams, mornings can be pretty hectic.  We may find ourselves rushing every morning to get to work or get kids to school.  We may even find ourselves doing our makeup in the car during rush hour because we’re just that rushed.

When we start our days with such a hectic and rushed routine, we’re making ourselves start our days stressed out and overwhelmed.  And, frankly, who really wants that?  So here are 5 easy morning rituals that will reduce stress and overwhelm:

#1 – Wake up at least 30-minutes earlier than you usually do

If you normally wake up about an hour before you need to be out the door, then maybe add on an extra half and hour.  If you normally wake up less than that, then you may want to try to add on more than a half hour.

Our weekdays can be pretty stressful as it is, so we certainly don’t want to make it more stressful for ourselves by rushing every single morning.  So try to give yourself some extra time in the morning so that you have more time to get ready and do more things for you and your own health and well-being.

And if you’re concerned about getting enough sleep, then be sure give yourself more time to at night to wind down and go to bed… it is possible!

#2 – Swap the coffee for a green smoothie

Many of us depend on coffee for our morning energy fix.  Though there can be a nice ritual around the process of brewing coffee, such as the smell of coffee beans or the flavor, coffee alone doesn’t give us the vitamins and minerals that our body really needs (and no, a morning bagel or donut doesn’t make it much better).  Eating leafy greens, fruits and veggies first thing in the morning is a much healthier option.

So grab your blender and make yourself a green smoothie.  If you’re in need of recipes, I’m currently obsessed with Kris Carr’s new book Crazy Sexy Juice for all my smoothie and juice recipes.  If you don’t want to get the book just yet, she also has a few recipes on her website.

#3 – Take a moment to really breathe some fresh air

There’s something magical about the crisp morning air that, once you stop and take a moment to appreciate it, can be extremely calming and grounding.  So before you rush out the door, take some time to open a window or step outside on to your porch and deck.  Take a few conscious breaths and allow yourself to take in and enjoy the beauty of the morning.

#4 – Write!

Our dream life is a world within us that we tend to neglect.  While we may remember a dream that was very charged for us for days later, most of the time we completely forget them.  This is unfortunate because our dreams are a bridge to our unconscious world.  When we take time to acknowledge our dreams, we allow ourselves to become more consciously aware of our thoughts, feelings and experiences that may have either repressed, forgotten about, or was never really aware of.

So upon waking, take a couple minutes to write down something that came up in your dreams.  It may be a lot of material or it may be only an image or two.  Even if you can’t write down anything about a dream, take a few minutes to free write about any thoughts that you have lingering in your mind upon waking.

Taking this time to write first thing in the morning, helps us to process our inner world.  By putting those thoughts, feelings and images out on to the paper we are making the internal experience less charged for ourselves.  Making this kind of activity a morning ritual, can be beneficial in reducing things like anxiety, depression, stress and so on in our waking lives over time.

#5 – Move your body

While those of us that are early-birds may morning jog to start our day, it doesn’t always work for everybody.  However, it is still highly beneficial to do some kind of movement first thing in the morning.

So take a few minutes to stretch and walk around.  If you’re a yogi, maybe you can do a few sun salutations.   If not, maybe you’d want to walk around your house or apartment before going to work.  Do whatever you feel called to do, but be sure to give yourself time move.

When it comes to your morning routine remember this: How we start our mornings sets the foundation for the rest of our day.  So if we start our mornings stressed and rushed, then we’re likely going to be stressed the rest of the day.  Remember to slow down, take a few breaths, and do things for you so that you can feel happier and healthier.

MorningRitualFoundation

Click to Tweet: How we start our mornings sets the foundation for the rest of our day. via @jenilyn8705

Take action now!

Out of the rituals listed, which are you going to start doing for yourself this week?  Share it in the comments below!

Gratitude Isn’t Just for Thanksgiving

This article is by Ali Katz from AtoZenMeditation.com

We all make a very big deal about being grateful on Thanksgiving, as we should. We have the day off, we are surrounded by loved ones, and we are enjoying a delicious meal together. Sounds pretty good to me! But what happens when the holiday is over?

Practicing gratitude enriches our lives in many ways all year long, like making us more humble, more content, less judgmental, more encouraging, less of a gossip, and it even makes us healthier by boosting our immune system.

When we practice gratitude we are putting our attention on positive things in our life, which makes them feel bigger than our problems. There is nothing too big or too small to feel grateful for. I think there is a misconception that practicing gratitude is only for the big, profound things in life like our health and a roof over our heads. Those are for sure things to be grateful for, and I am every day, but gratitude can extend to every part of your life as well. Goals made at a game, good grades, your favorite foods, a great book, or maybe an upcoming family vacation are wonderful things to express gratitude for.

PracticeGratitude

Click to Tweet: When we’re grateful we’re putting our attention on positive things, which makes them feel bigger than problems. @AliKatz76 @jenilyn8705

There are many simple ways to bring gratitude into your every day:

Open your eyes and say thank you

I try to remember to make my first words of the day “thank you.” When I open my eyes I silently give thanks for another opportunity to put my best foot forward and live my very best life.

Keep a simple gratitude journal

I suggest people keep a small pad next to their toothbrush and when you brush your teeth in the morning and evening, write down one thing you are grateful for.

If you don’t like to write, put a sticky note on your mirror that says “gratitude” and whenever you look at it think of something you are grateful for.

Have a family gratitude journal

My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is when everyone goes around the table and says what they are thankful for. It is such a special, bonding experience to share as a family. So why not do it more? Place a small journal on your dining table, and at family meals record what everyone is grateful for that day. Include the big things and the little things!

Put a reminder on your phone

As important as gratitude is to me, I need to be reminded to pause during my busy day for a gratitude break. Every day at 3 pm a reminder goes off on my phone that says “gratitude is my attitude.” I stop what I am doing, take a few long, deep breaths and think of something I am grateful for.

Shift your perspective

Even in the midst of trying times I think about what I am learning and how this experience is helping me to grow as a person. Doing this turns many challenges into wins.

Make a stress/gratitude list

When I am feeling overwhelmed I often take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle creating two columns. One side is for stress and the other gratitude. I begin by making a list of everything I am stressed about. Valid or ridiculous, I include it all. When I am finished I then move to the gratitude side and write two things I am grateful for for each item on the stress side. So if I am stressed about ten things, I will write 20 that I am grateful for.

This does two things. The first is that it acknowledges our stress. We don’t want to pretend it isn’t there or sweep it under the rug. It is important to admit how we are feeling in the moment. But then we have an beautiful visual to see that even though we have stress in our lives, we have so much more to be grateful for.

I believe that the more we practice gratitude, the more the Universe gives us to be grateful for, so get started today!

Ali Katz is a self-care coach for women, a meditation expert and author of the best-selling book “Hot Mess to Mindful Mom.” Visit her at www.atozenmeditation.com and be sure to grab her 8 best tips for sleep!

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!

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!

Why We Struggle to Be Happy

I started therapy a little over a month ago.

I started going again for a few reasons:

1.  I was feeling kind of extra stressed over a few aspects in my life and I felt it’d be good to have a “sounding board”

2.  I found myself in a period where I’m wanting to look a little bit deeper at my own stuff.

3.  I’m required to have an X amount of therapy hours for my graduate program — PLUS this therapist that I found happens to be licensed, which means = I can earn hours towards my own MFT licensure.

Up until this past week, most of our sessions had been pretty “introductory” in nature.  You know, the classic story of “this is what my upbringing was like, this is my history, this is where I currently am in my life, etc. etc.” that can feel oh-so too often repeated if you’ve gone to therapy more than once or twice in your life.

Fortunately, this week happened to be the first session where some real therapy could actually start taking place.  And I was excited cause, frankly, I had felt like it was talking way too long to really get things going.

There was one problem though… I had nothing to talk about!  In the previous weeks I always came in stressed about something — something with work, something with school, something with roommates, something about my health, something about my relationship, and so on.  But this week everything was perfectly fine.  It was as if all problems either melted away or, there were problems, but I was generally apathetic or emotionally unaffected by it.

So what did I talk about?  Well, I did what do best at in therapy — I ramble.  I began talking about any random thing that had been going through in the past week.

As I rambled about whatever, my therapist would interject occasionally with a comment like, “So it looks like everything is going really great right now!” that was then followed up with comments like “That is so exciting!” and “That’s wonderful!”

You would think that with the way I was talking about everything I was excited, satisfied, and, well… happy.  But I wasn’t and, instead, whenever she made a comment like that I typically responded with something like, “Well yeah… except for this cough that I have.”

When the session was over and I was driving home I thought to myself, “Isn’t that funny?  She’s telling me how everything I’m saying looks wonderful and great and here I am trying to find things to be stressed about.”  It was something that I was completely unaware of!

And you know what?  We all do this!  Whenever life is actually “going right” we can find ourselves caught up in still trying to find and focus on the things that are “wrong”.

The reasons for this I see as kind of two-fold.

In one way, the reason that we find ourselves focusing on all the things that are “wrong” is because we are stuck in our habit of focusing on what is wrong.  If we are constantly focused on what isn’t good and what needs to change, then we train our brains to focus on the bad rather than to notice and enjoy what is good.

In another regard, we can also be struggling to truly accept what is good.  Our ego has us so caught-up in all of the problems and struggles that life presents to us that it is hard for us to truly see and enjoy the good.  It’s hard for us to really be positive because it’s almost like our ego has us “addicted” to the negative.

Regardless of the exact reasoning, it’s possible to get ourselves out of this focus on the negative and to really start being positive with just some conscious effort.  Here are some tips:

#1 Reflect every day by asking yourself the questions of…

How is everything in my life right now?  What is good?  What is “not-so-great”?  Am I really enjoying and being happy for the things that are good?

#2 Strive to find the good even in the “bad”.

Are you frustrated about your finances cause you’re barely making ends meet?  Then rather than get even more frustrated when a bill comes in, be joyful for it!  Are you frustrated that it’s snowing heavily outside so it takes even longer to drive home?  Be happy that you are in a place that has all 4 seasons!

#3 Be more positive!

Give the lady with a cute necklace standing in line behind you a compliment.  Smile at the people at the Post Office and ask them how there day is (despite the line being a bit too long).  Take the time to look at the sunrise or sunset and find the beauty in it.  Find the joy in the little things — and allow your inner joy to shine.

InnerJoy

Click to Tweet: Find the joy in the little things — and allow your inner joy to shine! via @jenilyn8705

Take action now!

In the comments below, list at least 3 positive things that are happening in your life right now!

How to Deal with Aggressive People

Aggressive People.  We’ve all dealt with someone who is being pretty aggressive at some point in our lives.

You know, that person that interrupts you when you are trying to speak — or, they simply talk louder whenever you try to speak.  That person who doesn’t seem to allow your own point of view and input.  That person who you feel really crosses your boundaries and makes you feel energetically exhausted.

Dealing with people who have these tendencies can be quite draining and, without a solid balance of both assertiveness and empathy, can create a lot of tension in our relationships with them.

Here are several things to keep in mind whenever you find yourself dealing with aggressive people:

Remain calm.

The absolute most important thing to do when dealing with someone who is being aggressive to you is to be calm and grounded.  Whenever we are stressed, angry, and ready to really duke it out with them, then we’re certainly not going to make any kind of progress.

As the old saying goes, “You can’t fight fire with fire”.  So we have to be sure that we are calm and ready to openly discuss the issue.  This will not only benefit you by being able to self-control, but it will also help the other person calm down as well.

So when you find yourself in the presence of or in an interaction with someone who is being a bit aggressive, then stop and take a brief moment to take a few really deep breaths to get yourself centered.

Empathize with the other person.

When another person is being kind of aggressive, more often than not, it’s because they’re stressed.  Maybe they have a lot of work on their plate that is making them feel overwhelmed.  Maybe they are low on sleep or they haven’t eaten lunch that day.  Maybe they are still frustrated from dealing with the crazy traffic that they were just in and haven’t had a chance to “wind down” from that yet.

Whatever the case, it’s important to know and recognize that the other person is stressed.  Understanding this will help us to be more compassionate in any of our communications with them about the issue.

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Tweet: By empathizing with another, we allow ourselves to be more compassionate in our communication with them. @jenilyn8705

Express your concern.

Next, it’s important to express your concern with the other person.  As a stated earlier, often times a person is acting aggressive because they are stressed.  Therefore, it’s also important to keep in mind that, because they are stressed, it is very likely that the person is not consciously aware of what they are doing.  It is likely that they are simply just acting on autopilot and have absolutely no idea what they are doing.

Because of this, it is important that we respond in a sensitive manner.  We don’t want to aggressively say, “Stop interrupting me and listen!” in response.  Instead, you may want to try to make an empathetic statement like, “You seem really stressed” or “You’re talking very loudly”.  This will help knock them out of this place of being unaware of themselves and be more conscious over what they are doing.  As a result, it can help the person be more open to hearing whatever you say.

Next, you may want to try expressing your concern by saying something like, “I’m sorry, but I’m trying to say something and it seems like you are not letting me talk” or “Excuse me, but can I say something?”

Be honest with yourself.

Do you tend to be aggressive as well from time to time?  Even the most sensitive, quiet, and kind people can still have a tendency to be aggressive from time to time when under stress.  So be sure to ask your loved ones about how your behavior effects them as well.

Talk about it.

Depending on the kind of relationship (for instance, if this aggressive person is a romantic partner, a friend, or family member), then you may want to have a discussion about their aggressive behavior.  Maybe you can both come to an agreement about what the other person does when one of you is acting kind of aggressively.  It may be that you decide to give one of you a loving reminder by saying “You’re doing it again” or by giving them a simple tap on the shoulder or hand to let them know that they are doing it.

By talking about it and making an agreement with the other person, you allow the two of you to be more loving towards each other and you allow the relationship to deepen.

Take action now!

Think of a time when someone was being fairly aggressive towards you:  Maybe there is someone at work at tends to interrupt you or maybe your partner does.  How can you take better care of yourself in this relationship?  What can you say to them or discuss with them that will help make your relationship feel more balanced?

Share your thoughts 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.

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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!

3 Things to Remember When You Don’t Know What to Do With Your Life

It has arrived: You’ve, once again, reached a point in your life where you are not sure what to do with your life.  Maybe you’ve recently gone through a divorce or breakup. Maybe you’ve recently been let go by your employer or you quit your job.  Maybe school has recently ended or your time studying abroad is coming to a close.

Regardless of what has recently ended, the stress and pressure of needing to figure out what you’re supposed to do next can feel about the same.  Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re not sure what to do with your life:

Nobody has it all figured out — ever.

Here’s a hidden truth for you: Nobody has it all figured out ever — and if they say that they do have it all “figured out” then it’s likely that they are lying to you.

Yes, even that lady with a solid and stable career, with 2.5 kids, a dog, and a husband that makes good money.  Yes, even that friend of yours who recently got married and is moving to Hawaii.

The reality is that even though we may appear to have our lives pretty secure and “figured out” there are always unexpected things that come up along the way.  Someone losing a job or feels forced to quit for whatever reason.  Someone gets a serious illness or has an accident.

Something unexpected is always bound to happen at some point or another because that is the nature of living.  We simply just can’t avoid it.  So if you catch yourself thinking things like “Everyone else has it all figured out except me”, then know that it is totally a false belief.

There is no deadline to “figuring it all out”.

You don’t have to have your entire career planned out before you can get started.  You don’t have to know everything that you want in life in order to able to have your perfect partner for you.

Life is about exploring and discovering.  It’s about allowing ourselves to grow and become better by exploring and testing out new things.  Sometimes things stick, somethings don’t.

The problem is that, for many of us, we take life too seriously.  If something doesn’t work out the way we hoped we beat ourselves up, say we’re no good, throw in the towel, and never try out anything new again.  That is the huge mistake!

The reality is that life is all about practice.  If we make plans that don’t work out or commit to something that fails then so what?  It’s most certainly not the end of the world — it’s a gift!  It is the gift of learning what doesn’t work so we can figure out what will work.

So don’t beat yourself up about not having it all “figured out” right away.  Life is a journey, a process, really, as are any “plans”.

Enjoying the present is key.

The problem with “trying to figure out” our lives is that it causes us to be disengaged with the present moment.  So if there are good things happening in our lives or windows of opportunities opening up around us, we can’t see it cause we’re too busy being caught up in our little mode of “I need to figure out my life”.

So let go of the need to “push” yourself to figure it all out and allow yourself to simply enjoy life right here right now.  Allow yourself to simply be and enjoy the little things in life — a warm cup of coffee with a good book, a cool evening, the sound of birds chirping early in the morning, a dinner with a great friend.

When we just stop and smell the roses and allow ourselves to enjoy where we are we give ourselves the chance to fall into the natural flow of life.  Which, in turn, allows us to better see and know what decision we should make next.

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Look within…

Take a moment now to stop and look within.  How have you been stressing yourself out because you haven’t fully “figured out” your life?  What have you been stressing over?

Once you’ve identified what you’ve been frustrated about, ask yourself:  How can I “let go” this need to “figure it all out”?  What can I start doing daily to release this stress that I’ve been causing myself?

Share your insights in the comments below!