Tag Archives: mindfulness

The Power Of Gratitude: Why You Should Be Expressing It More Often


November! Yikes. 

Let’s take a break from mental health in this month, and focus, on you guessed it, gratitude:). November is Thanksgiving month in the US. If you believe we should be practicing gratitude year round, you are in the right place.

We all know that feeling of gratitude – when someone does something nice for us and we just can’t help but say “thank you.” But did you know that gratitude can actually have a powerful impact on your life? Studies have shown that expressing gratitude can lead to greater happiness, better health, and even improved relationships.

In our fast-paced, constantly-connected lives, it’s easy to forget the power of gratitude. We get wrapped up in our day-to-day worries and stresses and forget to take a step back and appreciate the good in our lives. But the truth is that gratitude is one of the most powerful emotions we can feel. Gratitude has been linked to improved mental and physical health, increased happiness and satisfaction, and even better sleep.

Gratitude has been shown to have numerous benefits for both mental and physical health. Research has shown that gratitude can improve sleep quality, reduce stress and anxiety, and boost immunity. Additionally, gratitude can increase overall happiness and life satisfaction. When we express gratitude, we open the door to more positive experiences and emotions. We also start to attract more good things into our lives. Gratitude is like a magnet for happiness, and the more we express it, the more we will receive.

Given all of these benefits, it’s clear that gratitude is a powerful emotion. Yet, many of us don’t express gratitude as often as we should. Why is that?

There are a few reasons. For one, we often take the good things in our lives for granted. We may not even realize how lucky we are to have certain things. Additionally, we may not know how to express gratitude. We may not want to appear needy or unappreciative In our fast-paced, constantly-connected lives, it’s easy to forget the power of gratitude. We get wrapped up in our day-to-day worries and stresses and forget to take a step back and appreciate the good in our lives. 

So why not make a commitment to expressing gratitude more often? If you’re not sure where to start, try keeping a gratitude journal or simply taking a few moments each day to reflect on the things you’re grateful for. You may be surprised at how much better you feel when you start expressing gratitude on a regular basis.

Take a few moments each day to think about the things you are thankful for. You may be surprised at how much better you feel. Taking the time to intentionally express gratitude can make a world of difference. Try it for yourself and see how the power of gratitude can change your life for the better.

November’s posts will be dedicated to, yes, all things Gratitude:)

To Your Success,
Juan

 

How to End Anxiety Through Meditation


When it comes to using meditation to manage anxiety, multiple studies have reached the same conclusion. Mindfulness can help you to stop worrying. Almost 7 million Americans experience Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and many more have occasional bouts of fretfulness due to pressures at work or home. While you can’t remove the stress from daily life, there are steps you can take to feel more at ease. Try these natural remedies.

Anxiety-Related Benefits of Meditation

Researchers have been studying how meditation affects a wide variety of health issues. The American Medical Association, reported that meditation appears to be most effective in addressing anxiety, depression, and pain management.

  1. Focus on now. Most anxiety tends to be centered on rehashing the past or anticipating the future. Meditation encourages you to engage fully with the present moment. Your attention switches from useless regrets and fears, to constructive endeavors.
  2. Connect with your body. Chronic anxiety takes a toll on your physical health through inflammation and other symptoms. Scanning your body reminds you to lower your shoulders and unfurrow your brow.
  3. Change your brain. Meditation alters your brain so your contentment will grow. Stress hormones decrease and serotonin levels rise. Gray matter enlarges, while the amygdala, which processes fear, shrinks.

How to Meditate to Reduce Anxiety

Meditation can be adapted to suit your individual needs. Take classes or sit at home for free on you own schedule.

  1. Start off gradually. The benefits of meditation can often be seen within a week or two, and even 10 minutes a day pays off. Set aside a brief time each day for contemplation.
  2. Clarify your purpose. You may want to use meditation as part of your spiritual practice or take a completely secular approach. Meditation is not necessarily religious. You can develop greater peace of mind with your own set of beliefs.
  3. Separate facts from feelings. Introspection helps you to distinguish between actual events and your inner thoughts and emotions. As you train yourself to think objectively, you can achieve greater control over your reactions.
  4. Develop insights. Examining your mind also helps you to understand yourself and others. You may discover the root causes of your anxieties and how best to deal with them. Maybe you’ll want to replace negative expectations with a sense of curiosity. Perhaps you’ll pay more attention to the kindness you receive from others instead of conflicts.
  5. See your doctor. While meditation is powerful, your physician may recommend treatments including cognitive therapy and medication if your anxiety persists. You can still practice meditation and other self-care to aid your recovery. Let your doctor know what you’re doing on your own.

Other Natural Anxiety Aids

Meditation is even more productive when you combine it with other healthy lifestyle choices. Take a look at your daily habits.

  1. Eat whole foods. A diet full of processed foods and sugar aggravates anxiety and depression. Get most of your calories from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins.
  2. Limit alcohol and caffeine. Too much coffee may give you the jitters, and self-medicating with alcohol usually backfires. See if cutting back makes a difference.
  3. Exercise more. Physical activity melts away anxiety and stress. That’s especially true for vigorous aerobic workouts like running or rowing. When I am at the gym, I have to force myself to leave. I find working out very addicting.
  4. Rest and relax. Fight anxiety with a good night’s sleep and occasional breaks during the day. Go to bed on a consistent schedule.

If anxiety is interfering with your life, help is available. Achieve greater peace of mind through meditation, and see your doctor if you need additional support. You tube has a lot of free meditation guides and resources.

To Your Success,
Juan

Anxiety and Fear are Cousins


Welcome Back,

Pleased to have you. Thanks for stopping by!

Do you feel anxious before a medical/dental visit, or starting something new? Full disclosure; I get very anxious years in the Dentist office. I crumble into a million little pieces. I am constantly amazed at how quickly it happens! I start sweating profusely. My bladder starts filling up again, doesn’t matter if I went minutes ago. My body is wound so tightly, I have to force myself to relax. Recently, the Dentist finally suggested I take Valium. My PCP agreed.

Have you gotten the jitters before speaking in front of a large group, or sweaty palms when thinking about the future? These are common reactions, when faced with something that’s scary or unfamiliar, and it doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong. However, some people suffer from a more severe form of anxiety, that causes more serious physical symptoms. To better understand if your anxious feelings could be a sign of an anxiety, or panic disorder, let’s do a deep dive:

1. If your heart is racing, and you can’t breathe correctly, this can be a symptom of anxiety that is severe, enough to get professional help.


2. Some people have uncontrollable fears of things like crowded places, driving, or germs that cause complete avoidance of places or situations.


3. The consistent inability to concentrate can be a symptom of anxiety. This must be consistent behavior, not just on those occasions when you lack sleep, brought on by hunger, for instance.


4. Nervous behaviors, such as walking around the same area, over and over again, or twitching your fingers or toes repetitively, can be another indicator.


5. A feeling of doom that something will happen to you, such as an accident, heart attack, or even death, can be symptoms of an anxiety disorder or panic disorder.


6. Numbness in your hands, fingers, toes, and legs or feeling like you can’t stand are  common.


7. If you have trouble swallowing, or unusual dry mouth episodes, these may be indications of anxiety.


8. Fear of people around you, and the desire to be alone, are feelings many anxiety sufferers face.


9. The inability to leave your home, can be a symptom of a severe anxiety or panic disorder.


10. If your normal activities become overwhelming, you could be suffering from anxiety or a panic disorder. More than fifteen years ago, I worked the front desk of an animal clinic. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had a panic attack, later confirmed by EMS personnel. One of the worse experiences of my life. My Doctor surmised, it was related to working and attending school full-time. 

Certain cultures rarely openly acknowledge mental health issues. More than ever, I hope to reach this demographic. Being born and raised in the Caribbean, I can attest to this.  The good news, is that these symptoms and conditions, are no longer considered taboo in mainstream society. The COVID pandemic, has shed a huge light on the burgeoning mental health crisis.

If you suffer from anxiety, please do not do so in silence. Many mental health clinics, and hospitals offer affordable support, if you’re on a lower or fixed income. Your health insurance can help you get treatment, they cannot reveal your diagnosis to your employer. Medications, meditation, and relaxation techniques are also beneficial. Understanding your condition, can help alleviate the stress and fear caused by panic attacks.  Living life in fear of another panic attack will hold you hostage.  Get the treatment that can put you back on the road to peace, health and happiness. You’ll be glad you did!

If you are experiencing a crisis, and need to speak with someone immediately, please contact the National Suicide and Crisis Hotline, at 1800 273 8255.

Here is a FREE Anxiety Self Test worksheet to help you sort things out.

Up next, surprising facts about anxiety.

To Your Success,
Juan

 

Develop The Growth Habit Mindset


Readers,

Have you ever considered the flip-side of all that, by building a habit that’s positive? What if the habit you formed was one of growth and personal development? Having a growth mindset positively impacts your life. What are the benefits of developing a growth mindset? Why put yourself through so many cathartic changes? Below is my take:

1. You keep learning. Learning is important as you not only discover new ways to do things, but by making it a practice, you develop new ways of thinking, and ideas. Learning connects you with more of the world and helps you see things with a deeper significance than you ever thought possible. But more than that, people who stop learning, very quickly stagnate. Studies have shown that the practice of learning new things when you are older helps ward off problems related to dementia. In short, learning is good for your brain!

2. You learn perseverance. As we learn new things, we adapt and change how we think. That gives us the ability to see other solutions to problems, that would have frustrated us in the past. By challenging yourself to grow, you learn how to push through obstacles and forge new paths.

3. You embrace challenges. Growth can be challenging. But by pushing yourself, you’re able to look at challenges differently. An obstacle now becomes an opportunity to learn something new, and to do things in a way you haven’t before. 

4. You embrace failure. When you’re interested in growing as an individual, you start to see failure differently. Everything becomes a potential lesson in a way that you didn’t think would work. 

5. You become more open to criticism. By being willing to grow, you start to see that the input of other people has significance. You see their words not so much as something negative, but one you can use to develop as a person, and learn something about yourself. You might not always like the lesson, but that’s part of growing too.

By embracing personal growth, you find the best version of yourself. You have the opportunity to become more than you ever thought possible. And the best part? Finding out you can become more still, and that the furthest edges of yourself are far beyond what you thought you ever could be. 

Calm & Centered


Dear Followers,
Thank you for being here. The world as we know it has changed, forcing us to adjust to a new normal. For the next several months, it is my hope the pieces I post here, will help get you through the unprecedented times ahead. Once the worse is over, I can refocus on my original plans for the blog. I have a responsibility to help through this medium. We are always better together!

As COVID-19 slowly makes its way into major cities and small suburbs across the nation, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to remain calm and not panic. We have been told by authorities to stay in our homes in order to prevent spread, but that does not mean that we should go crazy inside and solely focus our attention on what is happening with the world outside. Try to limit how much news you watch, especially some of the overhyped reporting that only propagates fear and anxiety. First and foremost, get updates and facts from reliable sources, and then focus your attention elsewhere.

You can avoid contact with other people and wash your hands more carefully, but your ability to remain calm comes from within. That means you’ll have to take the necessary steps in reducing your stress,  anxiety and promoting calmness while the virus runs its course.

Meditation & Mindfulness
So, you’re anxious and stressed as a result of the rapid spread of Coronavirus. If you’ve never attempted meditation or any mindfulness techniques in the past, this is a perfect time. According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation can play a huge role in helping you to maintain your mental and emotional health, even benefiting aspects of your physical health.
Meditation can help you have a greater outlook on life (positivity, increased feelings of calmness, greater self-awareness, reduced levels of anxiety and stress, and improved focus. The best part is, there are many different types of meditation. If you’re able to focus for long periods of time, guided meditations or visualization techniques are the ways to go. When you’re looking to stay more active while quarantined,  yoga or Pilates are great options!

Finding a Creative Outlet
You might be stuck in the house for the next few weeks, but it doesn’t mean you have to resort to going stir crazy. In fact, this might only increase your feelings of panic! This is a great time to try out some new (or old) creative hobbies. When you’re focused on building or creating something new, you’re reducing the amount of focus on the negativity surrounding you. Creativity is a solid way of helping you to relax. There are a few things you might want to try out (if you have supplies at home); painting, coloring, or drawing, singing or playing musical instruments taking photos or videos of things you enjoy, building something with things lying around the house, writing, puzzles, learning a new language.
Reading something and then writing an essay about it (yes, remember English 101 class?). This is a great way to take your mind off the world’s troubles. Basically, the goal here is to find an activity or task, that requires an intense amount of focus and makes you happy. You won’t even notice that you spent the last hour drawing your favorite cartoon character.

Giving Back & Helping Others
It’s completely natural to be fearful of the unknown but giving back to others can help you to tackle fear. When you’re giving back to the community or helping those in need, you’ll be working to spread compassion and happiness rather than fear and anxiety. With so many people sick or self-quarantined, most people aren’t permitted to leave the home. However, these individuals do still have needs that they now can’t meet on their own. As long as you’re keeping your distance, you can deliver food and groceries, or do things like their yard work. It’ll make you feel good about yourself while also helping those who need it! So, call your neighbors, post something on your Social Media, to let those in need know you are available and how to get in contact.

Final Thoughts
You might not be able to cure COVID-19, but there are things you can do to reduce panic and invoke an overwhelming sense of calmness. By taking advantage of mindfulness, looking for a creative outlet, and even giving back to those who need it, you’ll be able to stay calm and centered, even now!

Until the next post,
Best,
Juan