Tuesday, June 13, 2017

3 ways to take care of our minds

It has been some time since I've written to you, as some of you may know the last few years have been dedicated to studying the latest evidence-based data, writing research papers, conversing with classmates through discussion posts, and yes learning how to bring you the latest and most efficient method of life coaching, mindfulness and breathwork.  The good news,  I've completed my graduate program and earned a Master's degree in Health & Wellness Coaching!!  I couldn't be more grateful. It was a ton of hard work, and it was all worth it! I write today not to spread my ego, but rather to share with you what I learned. The biggest lesson was to take care of my mind.

What I learned is to let go of what I can't control and to accept myself exactly as I am. Adding hours upon hours of coursework, pro-bono coaching, over extending myself in a new way of employment, all was very challenging and my mental and emotional well-being was beginning to decrease. It was easy to not eat dinner, not stay committed to my meditation practice, and engage in negative self talk. These things offered me no strength, motivation or willpower - ALL the things that are supposed to keep us moving ahead. So what I learned is to take care of myself, and here are 3 of the ways that I do just that: trust life's process, meditate, and journal my thoughts.

I have a mind that likes to wander and engage in worry and fear, and I have fought with it for years. These past 3 years were no different.  I overworked myself, then beat myself up because I was exhausted, my meditation practice would cease for days even weeks at a time, and I would get angry at myself, and I neglected to write (hence the first sentence of this blog). All the things that I know keep me happy, motivated and calm. It was a struggle.

So what do I do differently now? I commit to 3 simple things every day:

1. Trust - This is a fact of my life. Trust is about shifting worry, anxiety and doubt into faith, believing that all that I need is ALWAYS taken care of. This is a daily practice of letting go, accepting life's challenges as they show up and leave the results to your belief system whether that is God, the Universe or Nature. When the thoughts of fear arise, find an affirmation to recite over and over again. Mine is, "the Universe has me exactly where I am supposed to be." This way I can focus my attention on the beauty directly in front of me, or on a solution that I'm faced to ponder.

2. Meditate - I must recommit to meditation often, and this is something I share openly with my clients. Meditation is a practice and it's challenging. I consciously breathe with focus and intention 20-30 minutes a day (at least 7 minutes a day on a not so good day).  Meditation helps me learn how my mind operates, where it goes and how to sit in discomfort. The quote, this too shall pass is the mantra for many of my practices. The thoughts will keep us wanting to stop, and we learn to sit through it. Changing our thoughts one thought at a time.

3. Journal Writing - This is probably my favorite. Each morning when I wake up I have many thoughts, some good some bad, and depending on my hormone level or how life is currently showing up for me, will determine whether they are good or bad. What I have found is that if I write 3 pages every morning of just stream of consciousness (no agenda, just write what shows up), I am able to go about my day without worrying about it. Most of what happens in my head is just story and never really happens, so I write it out, just like a story and then as I re-read it, I chuckle because of the irrationality of what I am making up in my head. Does this make sense? Try it for a few days and see what happens.

Overall, these small 3 steps (along with many others) have allowed me to change the way I think. This in turn gives me control over what I have control over - my attitude and my behavior. It a slow but sure process. Stay with it and keep breathing consciously.

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