Empower Yourself with This Simple Mindset Shift

It was beautiful here in Los Angeles this past weekend–and if the beaches hadn’t been closed, I would undoubtedly have been there. I admit it was frustrating. But I was able to shift myself out of frustration, as I have had to do many times during this pandemic, because of the concept in yoga philosophy that tells us: Whatever we focus on expands.

In other words, I could have focused my attention on my frustration which would have only increased my sense of feeling less in control of my life altogether. It would’ve created more stress and ultimately put me in a foul mood all weekend. Yuck. 

When I decided to shift my focus on what I CAN do and what I DO have control over (such as, I can sit in my backyard and enjoy the beautiful weather, I can connect with others through technology, I can cook and eat nourishing food) suddenly my weekend got a whole lot better.

That’s not to say any of us should pretend that difficult feelings aren’t there. Acknowledging frustration, sadness, and fear, and giving ourselves space to process these emotions is one of the most loving things we CAN do for ourselves right now. 

And when we focus our attention on the things we can control, like nourishing and taking care of ourselves, processing our emotions and practicing gratitude for what we do have, we put ourselves in a much better position to:

  1. Feel better and create a healthier environment for ourselves and whoever we may be sheltering with.
  2. Stay healthy and strong.
  3. Have a more balanced perspective on the whole situation which will help us endure whatever lies ahead.

The Key to Starting Any New Habit

I’ve been speaking with a number of my workshop attendees–can you guess what I hear about the most in these conversations?

1. I know the habits I have are not great.

AND

2. I want to change those habits, be healthier but I don’t know where to begin

OR

3. I’ve tried making some changes, and it works for a while but then I get thrown off track and struggle to get back to those bad habits.

Change is rarely easy. We’re often working against some deeply rooted patterns. But it’s not impossible to change those patterns.

Today I’m sharing my top tip for getting started on creating a new habit:

GET CLEAR ON WHY YOU’RE DOING IT. 
The first step I take with any client is clarifying why they want to make changes. Understanding what’s sparking this desire to change will keep you anchored to your motivation. It will help you get through the tough times on your journey and remind you why you started in the first place.

And we gotta go deep here. No one wants to lose weight simply because they want to fit in their pants. So it’s important to keep asking yourself “why” in order to get to your deeper desire. For instance, ask yourself: Why do I want to fit in my pants? Why is that important?

And whatever your response is to that question, ask again–well why is that important? I recommend asking yourself “why is that important” about 9 times.

There is always a much deeper reason underlying your desire to change that you may not have admitted to yourself before. Find out what it is. 

TIPS: As you ask yourself why, get out of your head. You’ll never find the answers there anyway. See if your responses can come from the heart or the belly. Allow the deeper desire to emerge from your whole self. Try not to edit what comes up. You may want to “free write” or talk into a recorder without worrying about anyone (especially you!) judging what comes out. 

Once you’ve got your BIG why answer, write it down. 

How powerful can this be? As an example, that client who thought she wanted to lose weight to fit in her pants? She made another discovery. What she really wanted, was to lose weight because she wanted to have more energy to spend time/play with her kids, and to show them that they can do things they set their minds to.

A little more powerful than pants right? And by the way, she’s lost almost 30 pounds.

Address Your Stress with These Two Tips

For those of us in California, our stay at home order, unsurprisingly, was extended another month. Eesh.

Regardless of where you live, the restrictions and changes we’ve experienced over the past month have been a LOT to process emotionally. To various extents, we’re all experiencing more stress in our lives. And it’s important that we address this added stress and counter it with healthy activities.

And yet, sometimes when we’re feeling stressed, it’s hard to think of anything but the stress.

We forget that we already know so many ways to help ourselves.

So here’s a couple of recommendations I’ve made to my clients, and advice I am following myself!

1. Keep a list. Take a moment and write a list of healthy activities that help you reduce or manage your stress levels. Write everything down you can think of that makes you feel better without compromising your health (in other words, keep activities and substances off this list that aren’t boosting your health or immune system).  

Keep this list handy, and when you have time or urgently need to de-stress, take it out, pick one activity on the list and do it.

TIP: Try not to get into your head too much about which one to do. Pick the one that caught your eye first. Or you might even decide before feeling stressed which activity you’ll do when you are feeling stressed. Either way, avoid paralysis by over-analysis!

2. Make de-stressing a daily habit. Commit to doing one or more of these stress-reducing activities every single day. Rather than doing these ONLY when you’re super stressed out, designate a particular time of day to de-stress daily. Not only will this help you create a good habit, but it will also help you build resilience to stress.  

TIP: Try doing your daily stress-reducing activity with a partner. This helps you both be accountable to each other.

Top 3 Tips for Reducing Stay-at-Home Restlessness and Anxiety

We made it through another week. And there’s no doubt some of us are starting to feel a restless and/or anxious (if you weren’t already!). I know I’ve experienced a wave or two of this, especially over the weekend when I’m missing my friends or family, or a trip to the beach or a movie theater.

I thought I’d share what’s helping me get through these disquieting waves.

1) Go for a walk. Something about being outside and moving the body has such a tremendous effect on my mood. I may even throw some sprinting in there to work out some of that restless energy. A good stretch afterward is the icing on this delicious cake.

2) Do a Grounding Meditation. There are probably a million meditations out there referred to as “grounding.” Check your favorite app or YouTube and find one that works for you. This practice helps me to come back to my whole self, where I am reminded that it’s ok to feel restless and nervous. This is part of the experience of life right now. BUT that’s not the whole of it. It’s also offering an opportunity to be appreciative for what I have. And to see possibilities I may not have seen before.

3) Connect with someone. Anxiety deepens our sense of isolation. So the perfect antidote is to connect. Whether it’s getting a hug from my husband or checking in on a friend with a text or call, connection reminds me that I’m not in this alone. I cannot help but shift out of my own anxious thoughts and into relief and compassion when this happens. Try it!

What healthy activities are helping you through this time?