We live such busy lives that we often don’t realize how stressed we really are. Failing to do so will result in potential exhaustion, anxiety, depression and even physical illness. There is a reason why stress is sometimes referred to as the silent killer. Your mind has the ability to withstand a lot more than you may think possible and at times, you are so focused on other things, that you miss out on your current emotional, physical and cognitive state. Of course you can be a high achiever, workaholic or a social butterfly, but you also need to realize that your health should be your number one priority. Stress can be from just one situation or it can be accumulated over time with different stressful scenarios you keep putting off. But your mind stores every single experience you go through and if you ignore the signs, you may fall into a self-inflicted trap. Here are 5 ways I found add value towards relaxation:
SPEND TIME WITH THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE AND WHO LOVE YOU BACK
When you feel overworked or have an outstanding problem that’s pending on your mind, the best way to deal with this is by externalizing yourself from the situation. By taking a dissociative approach and stepping out of the problem, you shift your focus and start seeing more solutions. A great way to do this is by being around people with good intentions towards you and you on them. The famous psychologist Abraham Maslow came up with the self-actualization theory where he placed different stages of life as part of a pyramid. The feeling of love and belongingness is placed exactly in the middle, in the third stage and this is a clear outline that these feelings are at the core of everything. When we feel loved and are able to give love back, we are aligned with ourselves and the environment around us. Spending time with people who provide you this will help you feel more balanced and relaxed.
SPEND TIME IN NATURE AND WITH ANIMALS
One of my favorite activities to do when I have a lot going on is to be outside in the nature and spend time with animals. My brother has two gorgeous beagles and I try as much as I can to visit them often. A 30 minute walk with those two little souls completely boosts my energy levels and emotional state. There is something so calming about being around your pets, particularly dogs who are extremely intuitive and gentle. Their innocent nature and careless approach to what could or should be is really a lesson for us humans to actually take things as they come and live in the moment. Being outside in the fresh air completely recharges your body and mind and it has such a cleansing effect on your mind.
FOCUS ON YOUR HOBBIES
When life gets busy, we tend to lose track of what’s important to us and of what we love doing. Hobbies are vital and the more you have, the less stressed you become. Why? Because hobbies are activities we actively participate in for no other reason than pure passion. We do them because we enjoy doing so and they bring satisfaction to our life. This is something I focused a lot of my attention on, and finding my hobbies helped me become very comfortable with my own presence and spending time with myself. I also love to continuously learn new things and improve myself and finding different hobbies makes this possible. For example, I love to cook, read, run, write, bake, sew, create scrap books and vision boards etc. I absolutely adore these and every time I am overwhelmed with something, I devote some time to one of the above. Instantly I feel better. Your hobbies are a great reminder of your passion and they help you connect with your source, your true spirit. When that happens, your energy becomes more aligned and as a result, you become more balanced.
Need I say more? Exercise in my opinion is one of the best activities you can get involved in when feeling a bit under the weather. When you are stressed, cortisol (the stress hormone) is released which in turn activates that flight or fight response. You brain doesn't actually know if you are facing a stressful situation or that it's all just a matter of panicking due to over thinking; and so it helps you to deal with it by activating the fight response. When exercising, you release endorphins and stimulate your body and mind at the same time, giving it a double powerful effect. Endorphins trigger an overall feeling of happiness which is why you will feel that happy vibe during and after a physical activity. Exercise can actually be very much like a mediation session, because if you are fully focused and immersed in the moment, without reacting to anything else around you, then you are actually becoming more relaxed without you even consciously being aware of it.
There is no way I was going to leave out the practice of meditation as an effective way of de-stressing. If you are a novice at it, know that it is very much possible to do it and I’m sure you have done it many times before without actually realizing. I consider meditation to be the practice of being still and being in the moment, whilst having your 5 main senses fully activated, but without actually reacting. Therefore you are completely aware of everything happening both internally and externally and you just simply are in the moment without taking action towards any of these. Whether you devote an hour of your time or just 5 minutes to it, meditation can really help you de-stress, activate your internal energy in a balanced form and allow you to feel more relaxed and less reactive. Everything that manifests in your life is a result of your internal state, so if you are feeling stressed, you need to address the cause and that usually starts from within. Meditation will help you gain clarity of what’s going on inside of you and this will give you the ability to shift your perception of it and create a new, more in the flow state.
There are many ways of de-stressing, depending on what you enjoy doing or how high the levels of stress are that you are currently experiencing. Just remember that your outer world is a representation of your inner world, so look within, do the things you enjoy and take a step back. Life continues as it is and the more in flow you are with this, the more open to opportunities you will be without being reactive in a forceful, impulsive way. When you resist or fare forceful towards something, you are unconsciously creating internalise imbalances. You can be persistent, without being forceful and you can feel relaxed, whilst still being completely present.
When you set yourself up for losing weight, it all can seem a bit overwhelming. If you are not familiar with different diets and healthy practices, you might not know where to even begin. I am a firm believer in maintaining a healthy lifestyle on a consistent basis and I think the word healthy truly has many meanings. I am not a nutritionist or a dietician, but I am involved in motivation and weight loss is a goal that is triggered from within. Setting yourself up to any goal requires you to fully understand the reason of why you are doing it meaning the motivation behind it. Many people say they want to lose weight because they will be happier and feel better about themselves. Our physical appearance can certainly be a factor towards our overall general happiness, but it isn’t the only determining aspect behind it, in fact it’s a very small one. Emotional states require much more influence than just our physical appearance. If you have decided that you’d like to lose weight because you will be happier, then let me ask you two questions:
My guess is that your answer will be no. The reason for this is because being happy is an emotional state. Very rarely you can measure these because they are more to do with your internal cognitive and kinesthetic functioning, and less about what actually happens externally. Read the previous sentence a few times and begin to understand what it actually means. If our internal representations manifest themselves externally, then how you feel and think, shows on the outside. Therefore, if you appreciate your body, you will strive to give it the best foods it needs in order to perform better. If you have love for yourself, this will project in the way you look because you will be kind to your body by eliminating anything that could impede its functioning. The mind and body work together and are connected, therefore how you feel about yourself and how you look are actually in congruence with one another.
Your body is a mechanism that keeps you alive and gives you the ability to move and function on a physical level. It needs to be nurtured and loved and you do this by providing it the right nutrition and exercise.
Food is fuel for your body, so stop feeding your emotions and start feeding your body. Your emotional state should not be enhanced or repressed by food. When you understand this concept, you will find the clarity into why you are actually eating. If you want a body that’s healthy and clean, you need to give it the right fuel. Ask yourself why are you motivated to eat that doughnut, or takeaway pizza? You might say that it tastes good and you will enjoy it. So then ask yourself what will you achieve by giving into this taste? It will simply be a pleasurable experience which end very soon and the aftermath lasts just as quick. It’s ok to treat yourself once in a while, these little moments are part of the process, but when they become a daily habit, and you find yourself unable to resist, take in consideration the why. Why would you want to clog your body with processed foods and sugar? It will simply impede its performance. Not only will your body be affected by this, but also your mind. Eating healthy is a broad subject. What two people might consider healthy is simply influenced by their beliefs systems, values, culture etc. Find what works for you. Explore different meals, inform yourself on the benefits that certain foods have on your body, discover new cuisines. I know people who have actually completely changed their lives by creating a healthier lifestyle, and became so passionate about it that they turned it into a career, such as nutritionist, dietician, personal trainer etc. How will you know what works for you body if you don’t try? If you are starting a diet, ensure that it is the right one for your body. The last thing you want to see happen is your body getting the wrong fuel because this will have a negative impact on your daily life. Instead of choosing a specific diet, take the above in consideration and turn it into a lifestyle. Yoyo dieting will never bring you sustainable results. What is the point of going on a diet for a week, losing weight and then next week you put it back on.
Your body needs to move, it has been designed like this. Give your muscles the mobility they need so that they can develop so that your body can be stronger, leaner and more active. Your internal organs benefit greatly from exercise and by doing so, your nervous and circulatory systems will perform much better. Exercise is great because you are stimulating your physical and cognitive state at the same time. When you exercise, you release endorphins which is why you get such a high during a workout that continues to last afterwards. This is a natural process and when exercise becomes part of your daily routine, this feel good state will only get stronger. Find what type of exercises you enjoy and do those. There are so many great experts in the fitness industry who put their tips and videos on their social media platforms to inform, educate and empower people to get moving. You might not enjoy running or lifting weights, but you actually don’t need to do any of those. You can do Pilates, yoga, HIIT, cross training, Zumba, and the list goes on. Find your fitness style that you look forward to because this will help you create consistency within your fitness regime and you need to have this in order to maintain a healthy physical state.
5 quick and powerful affirmations towards a healthier you:
1. I love and appreciate my body and I give it the right foods and exercise to that it can perform better.
2. I deserve to live a healthy, happy, active lifestyle.
3. I exercise because I love and appreciate my body and overall wellness.
4. I live a healthy life because it’s important to me.
5. I feel energized and productive everyday because I live an active, healthy lifestyle.
Being part of a social environment where we are continuously challenged and influenced by external factors can really have a strong effect on our life. As individuals, we devote a lot of time integrating in different communities and groups to belong and create bonds which influence our sense of identity. It’s important however to understand that the only validation you need is your own. Our reality is shaped completely based on our own perception. How we see the world is a choice influenced by our internal state, manifesting itself externally. If you understand this concept, you will also agree that everyone has their own unique reality based on their internal state. So then why would you try to change this? It’s simply impossible because the self will see what the self believes in. It is not your job to challenge or change anybody’s way of viewing the world. What you need to focus on is the way YOU view the world, on how you can be the best version of yourself for you and how you can live to your true purpose so that you can impact your world the way you’d like to see it.