the simple act of replacing negativity with positivity can change your life. of course, it is easier said than done. this is a lifelong battle. it is the way of the universe… negative and positive energies swirling about…yin and yang. it is up to you to draw from the universe what you want and need.
i have spent most of my adult life consumed with negativity. never taking the time to appreciate or give thanks for all of the good in my life, while spending a lot of time and energy placing the blame on others. “so-and-so stressed me out today, i need a drink!” negative self-talk is something else i have always struggled with. never feeling good enough or capable enough, constantly telling myself, “are you serious? you will never be able to do that!” feeding negative energy with a negative response only allows the cycle to continue. everything we do, even the small mundane tasks of everyday life, have the power to make or break our spirit.
the purpose of this blog is to, in a sense, payback the universe for all of the good that has come into my life over the past couple of years. i want to share what i have learned so that i may help someone else, or at least have a pretty cool medium to look back on one day.
ch-ch-ch-changes. how does one change their world for the better? this is a very personal journey that everyone has to design for them selves… but i would like to share what has helped me along my path.
1. making changes in your life requires a certain degree of narcissism. you have to be willing to tell people to “piss-off” or give you some space. you don’t have to be rude about it, of course, but you do have to be firm with your words. someone very close to me used the “space” word a lot and i always took offense to it. i get it now. sometimes we need to be alone with our thoughts to process what is going on in our mind/body/spirit.
2. once you have opened that “space” you can better observe what types of negativity you are harboring within yourself. for me, it was smoking, drinking, and an eating disorder. i did not stop all of these things cold turkey. instead i tried to focus on one at a time. accepting that these vices will always be there to tempt me, allows me to acknowledge and move on. am i perfect? of course not – i still over indulge on alcohol once in a while – but now, i acknowledge it happened, think about why i gave it up to begin with, and move on with a clean slate.
3. you are what you eat. i have tested this theory in my own eating habits and have found it to be completely true. i feel euphoric when i eat well and do not consume animal products, i feel like shit when i eat shit. we all know how to eat healthy, or we at least have the tools at our disposal to research how to eat healthy, self-education is the best method. these are my opinions and my journey, i am not a nutritionist, and i am not trying to push a particular lifestyle on anyone, i am simply sharing. i am a vegetarian who leans closer to the vegan side – i do eat cheese on occasion (a vice i am working on). when you eat meat, you are ingesting negativity. your meat was murdered, and i am sorry, but there is no “humane” way to kill anything. the innocent animal you are gnawing on was scared when it went to slaughter. it is a scientific fact that meat contains adrenaline, a hormone secreted by the animal. this hormone enters your body and can cause anxiety, depression, and aggressive behavior. There are numerous studies that discuss this, a list of sources to a few of these studies can be found at the bottom of the following website: http://www.scn.org/~bk269/fear.html. i could go on and on about the crap that is in our food from hormones in meat, to pus cells in milk, to toxic chemicals in our vegetables, the plight of disease prevention vs. disease treatment, to evil GMO foods – but that is best reserved for a separate blog. i am very, very passionate about this. please, educate yourself, the FDA and AMA are not focusing on health and well being, they are focusing on their dollar bills. EDUCATE YOURSELF! test this theory, try eating organic and animal-product-free for a few months. everything about you will change, your skin, your hair, your attitude. then go back and try dairy/meat again – you will likely feel sick and anxiety ridden.
4. breathe! take a few minutes to breath deeply. yoga has helped me with this. lie down comfortably, rest your hand on your lower abdomen and breathe. notice how the air fills your belly. exhale and breathe a little deeper this time, noticing how the air moves into your abdomen and now expands to fill your ribcage. exhale and breathe even deeper this time, allowing the air to fill your abdomen, ribcage, all the way up to your chest. this is a full 3-part breath. this is the way you should be breathing. when you are working, or going about your day, take a second to stop and notice your breath. we rarely take full, complete breaths during the day – they are mostly shallow abdominal breaths. deep breathing is my way to meditate. i focus on that alone, and block out all other thoughts. turn off your “monkey mind” and focus your attention inward. set aside 5 minutes before bed to do this. extra oxygen makes you feel oh so good!
5. push your self physically. for at least 30 minutes each day, do something physical. dance, bike, run, walk, jump around, lift some weights, do yoga, stretch. push your body a little each and every day. you are physically capable of more than you think. i could not run more than 30 seconds last year… but with time, patience, and perseverance i can now run 7 miles. is it easy? no. is it worth it? yes. the endorphin release is something you will grow addicted to… replace those old negative addictions with positive, healthy addictions.
6. organize your self. the word “organized” will take on a different meaning to each individual. for me, i need most areas of my life to be organized in order to function. i must have a clear, clean workspace… a clean home… a clutter free car. in my world, disorganization breeds chaos – organization brings peace. the only area in my life where disorganization is welcome is my art. when i paint, i don’t care about the mess or how abstract my painting looks. this is the space in my life where i can shut my o.c.d. off. think about your life- is there an area that could benefit from being more organized? if the pile of papers on your desk were filed, could you find them better and maybe save a few minutes of stressful search time? perhaps doing a load of laundry, folding, and putting it away will create a sense of accomplishment and peace for you. maybe you need an area in your home that is yours, and yours alone. set up a clutter free corner in your bedroom, spread out a yoga mat, sit down, and just chill.
7. set goals. what is something that you have always wanted to do, but let negative self-talk stand in your way? write it down. then create a list of smaller, more attainable goals you can complete that will help you on the way to this larger goal. i always wanted to run. i let my mind tell me that i couldn’t. i would stop when i felt a little pain. i was the type of person that if i could not do something perfectly the first time, i didn’t want to do it at all. screw that, there is a lot to be said for imperfection and hard work! chip away at your goals. i started by downloading a couch to 5k app on my phone. i signed up for a 5k and with the support and encouragement of a very good friend all along the way, i was able to complete my first 5k last september (thank you sherry!!). share your goals with others, this keeps you accountable and allows you to enlist the positivity of others.
8. namaste. honor the light and the good in others, for we are all connected. this can be a very challenging thing to do. we all have that little negative voice in the back of our head that is critical of others. do not allow it to become louder than your positive voice. appreciate someone’s smile, acknowledge a good deed someone has done, seek inspiration in others.
9. slow down. be observant of your surroundings. take in what is happening around you. ditch the computer, the phone, the tv… connect with nature, with your environment. take time to look at the stars… appreciate their magnitude and beauty.
and most importantly…
10. be kind. know that the people you encounter in life may be struggling with things that are unimaginable… death, heartache, sadness, insecurity – real human emotion that may cause them to be a little out of sorts. you may be the only smile they see that day. you may speak the only kind words they hear all week. hold the door for someone, pay the bill for the person in line behind you at starbuck’s, tip your waitress a little extra, say “hi, how are you today?” and really mean it.
11. give thanks. to god, to buddha, to the universe, to mother nature… to whatever higher power you choose to believe in. i am thankful that i am able to care for myself, that i have a roof over my head, that i am surrounded by family and friends who care for me, that my body is capable of movement, thankful for the beauty of nature and for the privilege of being allowed to see that beauty… the list is unending. even on days where you are not feeling positive, find one thing, any little thing, to give thanks for.
you get back what you put out there.”