#CalmTip: June 16, 2015

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

 

If you have a hard time making time yourself and making your needs a priority, put it on your to-do list! That way, you’re more likely to actually do whatever you need to take care of you. “It” could be working out, meditating, reading a book for 15 minutes before bed, doing yoga, taking a bubble bath, etc.

Whatever you need to do to make sure you’re a priority, write it down, then do it!

 

Creating A Morning Routine That Works

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Do you start your day stressed, rushed, and overwhelmed? Maybe you need to create a morning ritual. It helps set the tone for a productive, calm, and overall more successful day.

I’ve found that when I do certain things right after I wake up, I feel a lot better during the day. Now, that’s not to say that everything goes perfectly and according to my plans, but when things do go off course, I handle them better because of some of the activities in my routine. I also feel more calm and ready for what the day will bring. I can definitely tell the difference in how I feel when I complete my routine and when I don’t.

Here’s what my morning routine looks like:

I usually wake up between 6 and 6:30 (I’ve always been an early riser), and I thank God for a new day. Then, I take Nailah (who’s usually still sleeping) with me to the kitchen so I can fix my breakfast: 2 whole grain waffles with peanut butter. I go back upstairs and sit in bed because, as I mentioned, Nailah is still sleeping most of the time. While I’m eating, I read a couple of devotions I have sent to my email, then read my affirmations, goals, and look at my Pinterest vision board (more on that in another post). I try to meditate before Nailah wakes up, but if I don’t get to, I wait until Chris (my husband) gets home, or I’ll wait until she takes a nap. That’s it. Simple, right?

You can, of course, create whatever routine works best for you, but a few things I suggest are:

  • Right when you wake up, feel excited and thankful for a new day (or at least try to).
  • Don’t pick up your phone and get on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  • Meditate, if possible. If not, take a moment for a few deep breaths.
  • Read something inspirational, whether it’s part of a book, a blog post, a scripture, or a quote.
  • Read or recite affirmations so you set the tone for an amazing day.
  • Try to be consistent with it, no matter what. Admittedly, I have days when I don’t feel like doing my routine, but like I said earlier, my day just isn’t the same without it. But if you happen to skip something one day (or a few), don’t beat yourself up. Just get back to it the next morning.

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive — to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

What does your morning routine consist of? Share below by leaving a comment!

Photo Credit: 123rf.com/Wavebreak Media LTD

Mantras for Meditation (and daily life)

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

When meditating, you can focus on your breath, the space between your thoughts, observe your thoughts, or you can focus on a word, or an affirmation/mantra.

A mantra is a “sound, word, or phrase that is repeated by someone who is praying or meditating.” (Merriam-Webster.com). And according to Chopra.com, the word mantra has two parts: man, the root of the Sanskrit word for mind; and tra, the root of the word instrument. So, “a mantra is therefore an instrument  of the mind, a powerful sound or vibration that you can use to enter a deep state of meditation.”

While there are several Sanskrit mantras you can use (like om, for example), I mainly like to use personal ones when I meditate, depending on what I need at the moment. Here are five I use that you can, too:

 

1, I am calm and centered. When I’m feeling stressed and overwhelmed or if I need to focus, this is my go-to.

2. I am open to receive. This is for the times I want to create a feeling of abundance.

3. Breathe in courage, exhale fear. When I’m feeling anxious or a little fearful about something, I use this one.

4. Prosperity flows to me; prosperity flows through me. Another one for when I want to feel abundant.

5. The peace of God shines through me. This is another one I use for when I need more calm in my life.

Do you have another mantra you use when you meditate? Share below by leaving a comment!

12 Quotes to Inspire You to Meditate

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

 

Whether you’re a beginner practitioner of meditation or you’ve been doing it for many years, it can sometimes be hard to make the time to do so, especially when you have a lot going on in your life. Hopefully, these quotes will inspire you to begin or continue your meditation practice:

  1. “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” – Ram Dass
  2. “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside you.” – Deepak Chopra
  3. “Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” – Herman Hesse
  4. “There is a presence, a silence, a stillness, which is here by itself. There is no doer of it, no creator of stillness. It is simply here in you, with you. It is the fragrance of your own self. There is nothing to do about this, it is naturally present. The fragrance of peace, this spaciousness, it is the fragrance of your own being.” – Mooji
  5. “Let your mind and soul be at ease. Don’t grasp and grab for the magic and miracles. When you reside in that place of stillness, the joy, miracles, and magic you’re seeking will find you.” – Melodie Beattie
  6. “Meditation, because some questions can’t be answered by Google.” – Unknown
  7. “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” – Buddha 
  8. “Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It’s a way of entering into the quiet that’s already there — buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day.” – Deepak Chopra
  9. “Meditation makes you innocent, it makes you childlike. In that state, miracles are possible. That state is pure magic. A great transformation happens — in innocence you transcend the mind, and to transcend the mind is to become the awakened one, the enlightened one.” – Osho
  10. “Prayer is when you talk to God, meditation is when God talks to you.” – Unknown
  11. “Meditation is not just for relaxation; its primary purpose is to develop the capacity to respond skillfully and gracefully to life’s difficulties as well as its joys.” – Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche
  12. “The more regularly you meditate and the more deeply you meditate, the sooner you will find yourself acting from a center of peace.” – J. Donald Walters

How to Create a Gratitude Journal (and Why You Should)

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

 

I can’t remember when I first heard of gratitude journals, but I started keeping one back in 2008. That year, I’d graduated from college and had really gotten into reading self-help books, which is where I learned about the power of gratitude, affirmations, visualization, and the Law of Attraction. So, I started writing down five things I was grateful for every day. And while there are sometimes I forget or am tired, I now write in mine every night before going to bed.

Why should you keep a gratitude journal?

  • A gratitude journal helps you keep things in perspective. It allows you to see that no matter how bad things may be right now, they could be worse, so you always have something to be thankful for.
  • It encourages you to begin looking for the positive throughout the day.
  • A gratitude journal puts you in a positive mood. After a while, you begin to see all the good you have in your life — big and small.
  • It helps you not take the little things for granted. You’ll have those days when nothing seems to be going right, and you can’t seem to think of anything to be thankful for. That’s when you dig deep, and think about the fact that you have breath in your body, some food, clothing, shelter, a family, etc. — the things you usually forget about because they’re always there.
  • According to an article on Forbes.com, gratitude can help you sleep better and increase your mental strength.

How to Keep a Gratitude Journal

Find a journal. Or notebook. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy (unless that’s your thing). I’ve found cute journals at TJ Maxx, Ross, Citi Trends, and even Dollar General. There are also apps you can use (the one I currently use is simply called Gratitude Journal. 

Set aside time to write in it. I like to write in mine before I go to sleep (it’s part of my nighttime ritual), but you can write in it whenever you want. I suggest writing in it right when you wake up or right before you go to sleep since it’s easier to remember to do it.

Write down three to five things you’re thankful for. Usually, I like to think about things that have happened during the day that I’m thankful for, but sometimes, I write about the things I might take for granted like my family or having a bed (especially for those long days when I can’t wait to crawl in it).

Gratitude should not just be a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good, even in unpleasant situations. Start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful.” – Marelisa Fabrega