The power of choosing our thoughts;
When we realize we have the ability to control our thoughts by selecting which ones we would like to keep and which ones we would like to let go of, we are led to greater peace within ourselves. I used to experience difficulty selecting my thoughts and letting go of the thoughts that were not serving me. This led me to question myself, do I want inner peace for myself or do I want to allow myself to suffer? the answers to these questions were simple.
Once I decided that I wanted to learn how to be able to control my thoughts easier, it has become a daily practice for me for over a year now. I have continued to build my mental strength and awareness through meditation, yoga, and have developed other coping mechanisms for myself. Let me tell you, it is SO worth it.
I will share one of the techniques that I came up with one day to be able to see these thoughts in a more visual way.
Imagine your thoughts as a variety of emails on your computer screen… which emails would you like to archive and which ones would you like to keep there to be able to stay present with you in that moment? which ones are serving you and which ones can you notice than choose to let go of? You are still noticing these emails (thoughts), however, you are just allowing them to not have any effect on your present state by letting go of them.
It can be helpful to come up with a personal technique that works for you. The way I related my thoughts to emails was completely random but it helped me to see things in a way that my mind understood. Maybe there is something more relatable to you that you can come up with. If you are interested in finding more effecting ways to choose your thought patterns, try it out!
I realize it is extremely important to learn and practice flexibility throughout our daily lives. Becoming more flexible throughout my day has been a continuous practice for me for quite sometime now. This can definitely be difficult when you have set expectations and a situation does not go as planned. Although through recent experiences, I am aware that I have begun cultivating flexibility into my life.
The other day after a morning yoga class, I went to change into my scrubs for work and realized that I had brought everything for work except for my pants. Instead of impulsively reacting negatively or becoming anxious over this, I revisited my intention of relaxation and minimizing stress. After doing so, I did not even react, and it was like nothing happened! My attitude or mindset hadn’t changed at all. I picked up my bag and walked back to my apartment to get my pants then took the later train. As I sat down on the train that morning, I became mindful of how flexible I had become in situations that didn’t turn out “perfectly” or exactly “as planned”.
This past Friday I had a similar experience. I showed up at the yoga studio for 6 AM class and the studio was closed. I looked online and saw that that particular class was not being offered that day. From here, my thoughts could have gone one of two ways. I could create negative energy for myself by thinking — “I should’ve checked the schedule”. OR I could take a more positive route and think — “I’ll take an early train and go to yoga after work today”. Mindfully, I chose the second option. I went on with my day as if nothing had happened.
From these experiences, it becomes clear that we always have the choice to create situations as difficult or simple. We have the choice to allow ourselves to be free of suffering or dawn on things in the past that we cannot control. We can also choose to see experiences such as these, as awareness and a greater development of equanimity, patience, and relaxation when things do not go as planned.
When an unexpected change occurs, or you become disappointed; remind yourself that there is always an alternative. In these two situations, for me it was an earlier train or a later yoga class. Staying open minded and flexible is key in cultivating a life filled with joy and relaxation.
I have decided to write on the concept of intention because I have realized that it is exceptionally important in one’s life. For the past year, I have made a point to set intentions for my day, week or month. I enjoy setting intentions during my yoga practice or writing them down on my commute to work. This allows me to start my day with positivity and motivation towards a goal. It is also beneficial to revisit these intentions whenever I feel the need to throughout my day or week. I enjoy writing intentions down so I can stay mindful of them because it is easy to become lazy or busy with other things that you push your intentions to the side.
Along with setting intentions, I have also become mindful of the intentions that we have behind the way that we act, speak or treat others. We may not realize at the time what it is but I believe that there is usually an intention behind everything. It is helpful to become mindful of our intentions and understand why we act or think a certain way. I have recently made a point to check in with my intentions of my actions, what I say and how I act. For instance, when it comes to practicing yoga in the morning, my intention is to start my day off with yoga because I find it therapeutic and joyful. If my intention behind this was because I felt that I “should” practice yoga and if I don’t I am a failure, then I would look at this from a whole new perspective. I realize that it is so important to take the time to check in with our intentions behind our actions to become more mindful of if they are coming from a positive place.
Allow yourself to take the time to set intentions and become mindful of your intentions throughout your day. This may lead you to question yourself but it will help you to develop awareness and lead you towards more positive intentions.
What intention can you set for today?
I chose to write this post because sleep used to be quite a stressor in my life. My active mind and endless energy like to keep me going. To be completely healthy, I understand that sleep is essential. Once I became yoga certified, I realized how much the holistic approach benefitted me in various ways with sleep being one of them. I began to gain knowledge and become more familiar with breathing techniques, meditation, therapeutic yoga and aromatherapy. After much practice, I became able to quiet my mind on my own which led me to a more present-centered state. This takes lots of practice and patience but I believe that everyone can achieve it.
If you are anything like me, I have some sleeping tips for you! Firstly, it is extremely effective to buy a diffuser (can be found on amazon for very cheap!) or essential oils (I prefer “DoTerra Oils” but any oils can be found on amazon to!). I prefer to mix my oils by placing lavender,peppermint and bergamot in the diffuser at the same time. These three oils can promote sleep, calming and decrease anxiety. Secondly, the body scan technique has been extremely helpful for me. This allows me to check in with my body. This is a technique that you can learn on your own or there is recording apps you can find on your IPhone or even on YouTube by typing in “body scan relaxation meditation”. Thirdly, practicing gentle yoga before bed helps to set me into a greater state of relaxation and easement so that I am feeling grounded throughout my mind and body.
If you would like anymore tips on relaxation or sleeping techniques, don’t hesitate to email me or direct message me through my Instagram! I believe what works for me, may work for you!
The past two weeks I have had the opportunity to work with a wise and extraordinary man at the hospital who happens to be 100 years old! I would have never guessed it until he told me and when he told me I could have sworn he was kidding. We have had great conversation, BINGO games, created abstract art and reminisced on past experiences together. Today is his last day in the rehabilitation unit and I decided to ask him what he believes his trick was to his health and happiness at the age of 100 years. Aside from pringles and wine, he answered by telling me that he truly believes that it is because he has always been extremely easy going and kept a positive attitude throughout his life. He expressed to me that he was never one to stress over much and usually just went with the flow of life. He expressed that stress is only going to make us unhealthy, weary and unhappy. I am a firm believer in the power of positivity but by working with this man I have witnessed it with my own eyes. Safe to say, I’m inspired.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I commute via the train to and from work. During my travels, I spend lots of time reading and am especially drawn to self-improvement books. I have just finished the book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson and now I am currently reading the book “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown. These are two books that I would highly recommend to everyone for carving a path towards a healthier, peaceful lifestyle. If you enjoy a read that will leave you curious about yourself and others, these two authors are definitely for you! Both of these books have helped me to grow, learn and gain insight on how to view life from a healthier perspective.
In the book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson, the author has assisted me in understanding obstacles and problems as a part of life. He claims that when we change our relationship to them, we can see our problems as a source of awakening opportunity, and a learning experience. I realize that life is going to consist of pain and pleasure, success and failure, joy and sorrow, births and deaths — but inner peace is having the strength to accept and understand these inconsistencies of life. When I look back at the experiences in my life thus far, it is easy to see how this concept comes into play. For instance, the times I have felt weak, I gained a greater sense of strength. The times I felt fear, I developed a greater sense of faith. The times that I have felt my heart aching, I learned how to be courageous and deal with discomfort. When I look back on these experiences from this perspective, I realize I was not grateful at the time, but I most definitely am now.
In relation to this concept of being able to view life from all angles, I realize that it is important that we view ourselves from all angles. In the book “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown, she speaks on how we all experience shame and it can have an effect on our lives if we are not aware of it. The author states that “We all have shame. We all have good and bad, dark and light, inside of us. But if we don’t come to terms with our shame, our struggles, we start believing that there’s something wrong with us- that we’re bad, flawed, not good enough- and even worse, we start acting on those beliefs. If we want to be fully engaged, to be connected, we have to be vulnerable. In order to be vulnerable, we need to develop resilience to shame.” This statement stood out to me because it is so common to act as if we are not flawed or experience struggle to display an image of perfection. It is easier to show that we are perfect when really perfection is just an illusion. It is extremely common that society only sees what a person wants to be seen.
From these two books, I have come to term with seeing everything as whole- and still being okay with it. The inconsistencies of life, the struggles, the mistakes, or our flaws. Not allowing these moments to define us and being open to these imperfections. Speaking as a perfectionist, I have realized that perfectionism leads to a stressful and unhealthy lifestyle. I am focusing my attention and awareness on importance of blemishes and being okay with these. To me, this is inner peace.
Take a moment to look at your life as a whole- see the light, the dark- see it all and realize that you are still okay.
A mantra for daily living:
“this very moment.”
Lately I have become aware that I have been clinging to the past and eager to jump forward towards the future. This has made it difficult for me to truly see what is in front of my eyes at each given moment. It is easy to become absorbed in our thoughts, start reminiscing on past memories, creating “what ifs” or allowing fear to take control. Once I allowed myself to take a step back, I realized that I will never move forward if I am still clinging to the past and I will never fully live in joy if I am in fear of the future. As hard as it may be at times, I intend to acknowledge the past and trust in my faith for the future. I realize that “this very moment” is all I have control of right now.
By saying to myself the mantra “this very moment” it assists me to become more present to what is happening in the present moment. When you feel you are absorbed in a scattered or active state of mind, try repeating this mantra to yourself.
“I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.”