Everyday life can be stressful.
Job demands, relationships, life events, and social media drama are daily occurrences. These things can often have you feeling like you are traveling down a never-ending, bumpy road called LIFE. It’s easy to see how stress can suck you in and not let you go.
While stress can help some people perform under pressure, too much bad stress can negatively impact a person’s mental and physical health. It’s common for most people to focus on the negative side of stress, but sometimes stress can actually be a good thing. Good stress can motivate a person and help them achieve more goals. BUT how can a person tell the difference between good stress and bad stress?
Good Stress vs. Bad Stress
Good stress, often called eustress, is stress that pushes a person to accomplish more. It helps a person achieve those hard-to-reach goals. Good stress also helps a person learn new things, adapt to change and engage in creative thinking. In a situation where a person is experiencing good stress, they always have control over the outcome of the issue.
Bad stress, often referred to chronic stress, can slow a person down and prevent them from doing the things that they need to do. It can often lead us down a winding road of helplessness and despair. Bad stress can be things like staying in an unhealthy relationship long-term, living with a difficult person, continual high paced (stressful) workplace, taking on too many things and continuously unable to complete them. That continual saying “yes”, when you should be saying “no”. When the body feels like it is under too much bad stress, symptoms such as excessive sweating, anxiety, headaches and rapid breathing begin to appear.
As a yoga teacher, I encourage others to live a life where they can stay grounded, focused, balanced and content. However, sometimes I fail to implement these strategies into my own life. I take on too many things, try to please everyone else, and neglect my own personal health and self-care. It’s a downward spiral and before I know it, my daily life is fueled by bad stress. Can you relate?
Unfortunately, the bad news is that stress is inevitable. It’s just a part of daily life. The good news is that stress IS manageable. In order to manage the stress in your life, you must relax your body and mind.
Here are 3 ways to manage stress so that you can live a healthier, stress-managed life.
1. Take a Break
When I say take a break, I don’t mean a break where you are scrolling through social media or watching videos on your phone. I’m talking about unplugging and walking away from all the distractions in your life. Do something for five to fifteen minutes that requires very little of you other than for you to just be yourself and to be present. Sit outside, take a quick five or ten-minute walk, play a quick game of “Go Fish” with the kids, or engage in meditation. Counting Breath for Stress Relief & Relaxation is a guided meditation that helps focus the mind and relax the body.
2. Put Away Your Electronic Devices
If you think about it, we live in a world where we have immediate access to almost anything we need. Instant information is available to us with the simple touch of an app on our phones or tablets. But at what expense? Being over connected has created a huge epidemic in our world today. An epidemic that has produced anxious, stressed, and technology-addicted teens and young adults that are not ok with doing nothing or being alone. The only way to break that cycle and bring more Zen into your life is to put the electronic devices down and slowly back away. Have a no-phone rule at the dinner table, limit screen time, keep your device in your pocket or bag when you are out with friends–whatever you need to do to stop looking at your device–do it. You’ll be glad you did.
3. Be Positive
Is your glass half-empty or half-full? If it’s half-empty, it’s time to change your thinking. Keeping a positive attitude, shifting your negative thoughts to positive ones, and keeping your self-talk encouraging are great ways to reduce stress. For example, instead of thinking “I can’t believe I made the same mistake AGAIN” think “Everybody makes mistakes. It’s ok. It is something that I can fix.” Developing an attitude of gratitude toward the people, things, and events in your life is also a good way to reduce stress. Write it down or just take time to tell the people in your life that you appreciate them–trust me, it goes a long way! Finally, smiling and laughing also helps to reduce stress. I guess laughter really is the best medicine.
AND if you are ready to get crystal clear on your life priorities, health needs, and how to achieve your goals, my Practices for a Positive and Productive Life Masterclass is for you! In this sixteen-week program, we cover three key areas: Breath, Body and Belief. All three of which are necessary for sustainable success!
Hopefully, these three tips will help you begin to walk down the path of life a little less stressed and with a bit more positivity.
Happy New Year! It’s an opportunity we get every 365 days. What a great feeling! A new year, a new perspective, and a fresh start.
As a new year begins, many people make resolutions in an effort to better themselves. However, I don’t necessarily like resolutions. Resolutions tend to set people up for disappointment. So, instead of making resolutions again this year, set goals.
To be honest, I’ve never used to spend time to sit down and set goals for myself. Of course, I always had an “idea” of what I wanted to do each year but that’s pretty much it. So, when I sat down to write out my personal and professional goals for next year, I realized that I had NO idea how to do it. What was I supposed to do? What was the point? None. However, it’s something that I needed to figure it out and figure out quick.
Enter, John Maxwell.
John Maxwell is the New York Times bestselling author of How Successful People Think. In his book, Maxwell’s advice really hit home. He encourages people to be “big-picture thinkers.” Big picture thinkers keep broader, bottom-line goals in mind no matter what the task is and no matter how big or small it is. He states that “the purpose of a goal is to focus your attention and give direction, not to identify a final destination.” Finally, something that makes sense! Set smaller goals to reach your bigger goal–GENIUS!
So, as I sit down to set my goals for the new year, I now have a plan. My smaller goals will allow me to reach my bigger goals. I have my goals written down and for the first time in forever– I know what I need to do and I know what I must do in order to get there. There is a lot less “I wonder” and “I hope” thoughts filling my head and to be honest, it feels good. I am approaching the new year with the confidence and tools that I need to be successful. What a great feeling.
Whether you are beginning a fitness routine, creating a better plan of attack for meal planning, or yes, tackling the task of running your own business–set goals, stay the path and remain mentally clear. You can do it!
Check out these 5 Tips on Setting REALISTIC Resolutions!
Here’s to an amazing New Year! Cheers!
When was the last time you truly felt like you could see clearly and speak up in your own unique truth?
When was the last time you spoke up without questioning who you would offend?
For years now, I have felt like I have so much to share, as a teacher and as a person. I have been given a plethora of life experiences at an early age and I know in my gut that this was no mistake. Yet for much of my life I was very scared, scared mainly because I was afraid of what others would think or say; scared that I might offend someone, that they might not agree and then as a result not like me.
Those thoughts for years kept me from sharing my insight, thoughts, opinions and ideas. Even in casual conversation with friends and family, I would often do more of the listening and hardly any sharing because I didn’t want to be different, I didn’t want to make anyone mad. And when I knew I had a different opinion I struggled in holding onto my own truth.
I would go home from those conversations mad at myself for either not speaking up or leaving my opinion beaten into something that I didn’t stand for. I didn’t have the backbone to be okay with my belief and being different than the rest.
This people-pleasing mindset left me even more unhappy, even more angry, and irritated at the world. In reality, I did not know that this anger and irritation was really more about me… because I didn’t have the skills to speak up confidently without taking others actions and reactions so personally. I was mad at myself and projecting it onto others as their fault.
Yoga has helped me a great deal with developing insight, and with insight you are able to see things differently, you are able to step back, practice compassion and at the same time, practice standing in your truth.
Insight can be a tool to help you make changes in your life, but having insight doesn’t mean you are perfect and it surely doesn’t mean you never make mistakes.
Before I was a bystander in my life, and now I get to be fully integrated into it. I’m constantly learning. I would often tell my husband how much I admired his abilities to tell it like it is, and not care. He would often reply back, “I do care, just not about everyone’s BS, I have my own issues. I don’t need to hear about everyone else’s.” He is always saying that when you are upfront right away about things, there is no guessing and less issues later (if you are wondering he does a lot of wheeling and dealing and is a business owner too).
So how do you develop insight and your own voice?
Here is what I’ve learned:
How to Develop Insight and Speak Your Truth
1. Breathe more, talk less.
Learn to focus on your breathing. Breathing keeps you in the present moment and helps you slow down. If you are not breathing then internally you are putting yourself in a position of anxiety and stress where it can be difficult to think straight and truly feel. So in those moments of truth and honesty, in those moments of both giving and receiving information slow down to breath more and talk less, this will help you feel and evaluate what you are going to say before you say it.
2. Think before you talk (or write).Get quiet and ask yourself, why am I going to say/write this? Who will it help, is it truthful and honest? I can’t count the number of times I write a comment on social media, type a reply to a video, email or go to post something myself only to delete it because when I reread and reflect I feel in my gut it’s not worth it and I’d be doing it for the wrong reasons. There are times to speak up and times to shut up.
3. Be Honest.
Privately practice getting honest with yourself, talk out loud to yourself, and practice speaking your truth (or writing your truth). In the beginning it may not be pretty, but as you gain better insight skills you will be able to tame and mold it. I have written countless blog posts, only to never publish them in fear someone might not agree, or might get angry or take it personally, this is no way to live.
4. The people you surround yourself with, are a reflection of who you are.
Surround yourself with people that inspire you to be better, people that you want to aspire to be like, remember you become your company. Be in good company of people who have mastered the art of insight and speaking up, learn from them, even ask them questions, doing this has offered me some of the greatest insights and self reflection.
5. Speak up with safe people.
Speaking up with people who you trust and people you can maybe even share what you are working on with. The only way to get better at riding your bike is to watch a YouTube video do it over and over again.
6. Practice NOT having the last say.
This is a hard one for many, sometimes speaking up means you say nothing and let things go, this has been a great practice of developing personal strength and insight as to why I feel the need to fix or have the last say. What matters truly is what you think of yourself. And what I have discovered is that my need to have the last say was a direct response to feeling like I was never heard. (Try practicing #1 to help you practice #6)
7. Remember, negative feelings pass.
Start to sit with the uncomfortable feelings after you speak your truth and let yourself feel those feelings. Those feelings don’t last forever, but they do stick around if you continually avoid them. Being uncomfortable is a huge part of growth and a huge part of change. I see this often, people deflecting change by blaming others, or giving excuses for what they are not willing to address and take action on themselves. I have both been the target, and have targeted others due to a lack of skills and insight; the only reason I see this now is because I was the queen of this for many years.
If you are a yogi, I would encourage you to consider a slower practice to help you learn to sit with the feelings more, feel them and let them pass.
8. Observe your body language, and tone of voice.
Parenting is a great example. If you parent from across the room you can pretty much expect your child to never listen or take you seriously. Just as important, if you ask your child to do something or listen to you and you are requesting them to do so while scrolling on your smartphone, do you think they will take you seriously? If you don’t give them complete attention, why should others do the same to you? There are a million angles to take on this. Feeling inferior? Try sitting up tall, or uncrossing your arms and legs to help you receive better. Make eye contact when you talk and use inflections in your voice to stress importance in the conversation. These are all things I use in my personal life and when I teach to help students stay tuned in.
9. There’s always room for growth!
No matter where you are in your life there is always room for growth and insight. I see now what I could not see before, that those who develop a sense of self, a voice and a truth are the ones who receive what life has to offer more fully, because the goodness that is waiting for them knows where to go and is then well received.
When was the last time you spoke up for yourself? Be well, my friends. Namaste.
Stepping off the struggle bus: 3 steps to getting off.
Struggle has become a household word. And for some…a badge of honor.
It seems in today’s world we are all striving to “get somewhere”. And there is nothing wrong with that!
Having goals, hopes and dreams keeps one motivated, focused and driven.
But what happens when you find yourself stuck on the struggle bus?
What do you do when you just don’t know what to do next?
Everything is blurry, overwhelming, and just too big to handle?
I use to spin my wheels and struggle (and still do on several occasions), hide in the comforts of what was familiar, easy, and “going good”.
But within those gates I would complain, cry and do I dare say pout about how I felt like I constantly had one foot on the struggle bus, and that I “couldn’t” get it off.
I’ve been an entrepreneur all my adult life!
I was taught to grind (in a sense that struggle was the way and method), to put your head down and keep going.
And for most of my life that has served me well in the notion that I don’t give up easy.
But now almost 35, I have realized that it’s perfectly OK to hop off the struggle bus and see what else is out there. Who else is out there, and what other buses are driving around to… HELP? And even if I fall stepping off, I’m at least off.
See it’s funny, I was never really taught collaboration and that there are truly others out there who WANT to help you.
See, I was taught survival.
And clawing my way out of an eating disorder, survival was essential.
But there comes a time when you evolve past that and need, and you begin to step out of survival mode.
Or at least you begin to see you that you want to do that.
That process for me. Stepping out and off the struggle bus was HARD!
I’d get one foot off and freak out and grip the struggle bus tighter. Even though I hated it, it was comfortable and familiar, and I did not want to have to go out there and “figure it all out” all over again… Talk about overwhelm.
So when I started taking my teaching to a larger audience both off and online I wanted to remove all the barriers of entry.
I want to collaborate with you, help you off the struggle bus, and I’ve been, there so let me remove all the “I can’t do this” objections.
Do you want to know what I found…
What I discovered when I started to reach out to help others?
The same thing I did to countless people when they tried to reach out to me. People didn’t do it. They still didn’t come to class, invest in themselves, in what I had essentially created just for them.
I had paved the way (just like others did for me).
Did they not want it?
Was their grip too tight, just like mine to the struggle bus?
Did they too have one foot off just enough to feel free, but comfortable at the same time?
In the last 20 years of my life I have discovered one vital thing…You can’t make someone grow, step off the bus, or even look up at the horizon if they are not ready.
I remember a time when I was that very person. Nothing my parents, my school teachers, my counselor could say was going to change my mind and my ways. I liked the struggle bus. I did. It was comfortable, predictable, familiar, and as horrible as it was for my well-being, it made me just happy enough to limp by in life.
I don’t want that for you.
When I see someone struggling, I see myself flash before my own eyes, reminding me of my own struggle and how essential it SITLL is to keep pressing forward and surrounding myself with others, ideas and tools that help me to press on and stay off the struggle bus.
Here are my 3 best tips for stepping off the struggle bus:
1. Invest in yourself. Misery loves company and when you are caught in that cycle of struggle, your inner state will often refuse help, ideas, and making any kind of positive investment in yourself. You’ll find reasons also known as excuses to not do things like take a yoga class, invest in a workshop or online course, or even something as simple as take a nap or vent to a close friend. Step one to stepping off the struggle bus is to believe you are worth the time and investment. And if you don’t, do it anyway.
2. Pick your friends wisely. They (not sure who “they” is) say you are the accumulation of the 5 people you most frequently surround yourself with. So, make a list and see with your own eyes who those people are. Stepping off the struggle bus is all about coming to reality with where your life is right now. And then beginning to make those decisions as to how to move forward.
3. Call yourself out on your excuses. I started to notice that whenever someone would suggest something to me, offer me an opportunity or the most perfect program or offering came my way I would always tell myself some excuse I would disguise as a “reason” as to why I couldn’t do that or have that.
I challenge you to call yourself out on those moments then trace it back. So, I began to ask myself on those occasions “Why Hope, why can’t you”. And what I discovered is all those moments (yes, I said all) traced back to unworthiness and fear. Nothing real and legitimate. If it was about money, it was really about a fear I had around money not thinking I deserved it. Or I would hype my life up that I am “so busy” that I just don’t have the time to do such a thing, which in all reality I wasn’t willing to make the time and put myself out there that I was of value and worthy. I challenge you to try this and free yourself by stepping off the struggle bus right now.
This message may have hit a chord with you, and if it has, I want to welcome you to the first steps of stepping off the struggle bus and beginning to open your eyes to the idea that you are a rock star!
And as you begin to step off, if by chance you are ready to look up, I’ll be waiting here.
Having removed all the barriers as to why you can’t step off with my personally crafted programs made just for you (well, in all honesty, just for me, because most people create great things based on their own struggles, breakthroughs, and divine moments).
Want to take a look? Just hop on over HERE and take a look. Whose ready to step off the struggle bus and make a change?
Where has all the gratitude gone?
I grew up with my father making certain that my sisters and I understood the necessity of respecting your elders. And now I can only speak for myself now as an adult, but this (of many) things he spoke to us about has deeply been ingrained into my head and will forever be a teaching moment that I now use for my kids as well.
What does gratitude mean to you in today’s world? Well for starters when typing in “what does gratitude mean” into Google: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and return kindness comes us as the definition.
And when I read that short but powerful and on point definition, the “show appreciation for and return kindness is like a firework in my mind. When we get all stuck on trying to make a living, get somewhere, be someone it can be very easy to forget about gratitude.
With gratitude comes an ease of living. With gratitude, you are constantly (forced) to keep life in perspective.
In order to have gratitude you have to be a bad ass, you have to train your brain to think that way. Because as the old saying goes “if you cannot be grateful for what you have, how will you be grateful for what is to come”?…
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that here in the U.S. (and maybe other countries as well) that many have slowly slipped away from seeing wisdom from our elders as important. Who needs an old person when you have Google? Who needs a story repeated ten times over when you can download an E-Book about it and read it in peace?
But peace comes from patience and patience is developed through being more mindful…
Several years ago I took a class (and I wish I could remember with who) and I came across a few notes on gratitude, they were as follows:
- You must be resilient in life to be happy and healthy.
- You must have humor
- Live life and not take it so seriously
- You must take a moment each day to really live!…
- We were encouraged to find a beautiful moment, a silly moment and a delicious moment in each day.
In re-reading all of this, the decision that perception is a moral test asking us if we take time each day to see beauty.
Gratitude keeps us connected to the real rhythms of life. The ones that make us thankful for living, for breathing, for being exactly who we are.
Are you grateful? Are you thankful for what you have? Where are you going? Where are you right now?
To cultivate gratitude one must shift their focus and create clarity in that process. What have you done to create that?