#CalmTip 22: Practice Gratitude

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

According to gratitude researcher Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., gratitude effectively increases happiness & reduces depression. It also reduces toxic emotions like frustration and regret.

Being grateful when you feel stressed helps pull you out of your negative mindset and helps you put things into perspective. Something I do when I’m feeling anxious or frustrated is take out sheet of paper or my journal and write down everything I can think of that I’m thankful for. After I finish, I feel a lot calmer and have a more positive outlook, which helps me get through the rest of my day. Try it whenever you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

“There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.” – Ralph H. Blum

#CalmTip: November 3rd, 2015

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Music is a great way to create calm. According to the University of Nevada, Reno, music can have a profound effect on your emotions and body and is an effective method for reducing stress. For example, faster music can make you feel more alert and help you focus better, while a slower tempo can quiet your mind, relax your muscles, and make you feel soothed.

“Meditation music” (Native American, Celtic, etc.) is very helpful in reducing stress. In addition to meditation music (one of my favorite stations on Google Play is Gerald Jay Markoe Radio), I also listen to jazz and classical when I need to create calm. If these genres don’t work in helping you relax, listen to a few types to figure out what works best for you.

#CalmTip: October 27th, 2015

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

If I’m having a particularly stressful or overwhelming day, I repeat a mantra while I meditate. A mantra is a “sound, word, or phrase that is repeated by someone who is praying or meditating.” (Merrian-Webster.com); you can repeat it silently in your head or out loud.

To create your own calm mantra, think about how you want to feel or be, then state it affirmatively. For example, one I use often is “I am calm and centered.” Saying a mantra while you meditate can help you: 1) Focus on something other than what’s bothering you; 2) Relax; and 3) Believe what you’re saying is true at a deeper level so that it actually becomes true.

“Never underestimate the power of words. You make your world with your words.” – Dee Rimmer

#CalmTip: October 20th, 2015

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Not only is meditation an awesome way to create more calm, it also cultivates a consistent sense of inner peace and decreases your tendency to worry. You don’t need anything special to meditate; your stillness and breath are all that are really necessary. If you’re ready to begin your practice, learn more about the Meditation Mentor audio.

“In the rush and noise of life, as you have intervals; step home within yourselves and be still.” – William Penn

#CalmTip: October 13th, 2015

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Visualization is a great way to create more calm in your life. Here’s an exercise to try:

  • Find a quiet, distraction-free space, and get comfortable.
  • Close your eyes, take a few deep breath, and imagine yourself in a beautiful location where everything is like you’d ideally have it.
  • Visualize yourself calm and relaxed. As you keep visualizing, focus on the different sensory aspects, making it more vivid in your mind.
  • Stay in this place for a few minutes or until you feel relaxed.

“Develop your imagination — you can use it to create in your mind what you hope to create in your life.” – Stephen Covey

How to Stop Worrying: 5 Steps to Try

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

You might have seen on social media last week that my site was messed up, and I wasn’t able to post links to this site on Facebook and Instagram. Long story short, some of my files got hacked, and I had to redo the site from scratch. As you can imagine, it was a pretty stressful situation. But it was also a good time for me to practice what I preach, and in doing so, I basically tracked how to stop worrying, or at least how stop worrying. And I wanted to share those ways with you for whenever you’re facing your own stressful situation.

(FYI, I actually posted this last week, but it disappeared, so this is version 2.0 :-)). With that said, here are few ideas to help you stop worrying:

#1 Find something to take your mind off of what’s bothering you.

The day I found out my links weren’t working, I’d also planned to clean out one of our closets that afternoon. However, I ended up doing it earlier because I just couldn’t seem to stop worrying and stressing about my website. So I decided to clean and organize that morning instead so I could redirect my focus and try to get my mind off of what happening. Although my situation was still in the back of my mind, doing something else helped me to not obsess so much about it.

#2 Focus on what you can do and let go of everything else.

Logically, we know there’s no point in worrying about situations we can’t change (at least not exactly when we want to), but, of course, not worrying is easier said than done. Instead of letting your circumstances drive you crazy,try being proactive and brainstorming some things you can do to solve the problem. For example, when it came to my site, the only things I could do immediately were contact my host and reach out to the social media sites to try and figure out what was wrong.

#3 Breathe deeply.

Just like everyone else, when I get stressed, I tend to either hold my breath or it becomes shallow. In addition to meditating so that I could calm down, I also reminded myself throughout the day to keep taking deep breaths. Breathing deeply reverses the stress reaction and helps you relax.

#4 Practice gratitude.

It’s kind of hard to stay down in the dumps when you’re focused on the positive aspects of your life. While I believe that you should allow yourself to feel the full range of your emotions (even the not-so-pleasant ones), at some point, you’re probably going to want to feel more joy and peace, and practicing gratitude is a great way to cultivate those feelings. I like to take a few minutes and write down everything I can think of that I have to be grateful for. It’s definitely a mood booster.

#5 Repeat affirmations.

This is another great way to change your perspective to something more positive and productive. You can either create your own affirmations describing how you want to feel (don’t forget to speak it in present tense, e.g., I am at peace); you can also look online and find some (I love to use the Affirm Your Life Blog to find affirmations). Here are a few affirmations/mantras use:

  • I am calm and centered.
  • Breathe in peace. Exhale overwhelm.
  • I have enough time to do all I need to today.
  • All is well.
  • Everything is working out for my good.

 

I’ll leave you with these quotes about why you should stop worrying:

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”  Corrie Ten Boom

 

“Sometimes the best thing you can do is not think, not wonder, not imagine, not obsess. Just breathe, and have faith that everything will work out for the best.” – Unknown

 

“Worrying is using your imagination to create something you don’t want.” – Abraham-Hicks

 

“Do not ever worry about the past, it’s gone. Do not worry about the future, it is yet to come. Live in today, and embrace it.” – Unknown

How do you stop worrying when you have a stressful situation? Let us know by leaving a comment!


Black Girl's Guide to Calm coaching

#CalmTip: October 6th, 2015

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

 

I believe that one of the biggest causes of overwhelm and stress for women, and Black women in particular, is the Superwoman Syndrome, trying to do it all and filling multiple roles like wife, mother, employee, entrepreneur, daughter, etc. It’s important to realize that 1) Trying to be superwoman does more harm than good; and 2) In the long run, you won’t be able to sustain it; eventually, you will burn out.

Here’s what you can do instead of trying to be superwoman and all things to all people:

  • Ask for help, whether it’s from your partner, kids, parents or other loved ones.
  • Create a support system. This can be your friends or another group of like-minded women (Check out my Facebook group to connect with like-minded women).
  • Prioritize. Figure out what’s really important at the moment, and forget about everything else for now. For example, some days, the laundry might sit in the basket unfolded for a couple of days because you have to finish a project. And that’s okay.
  • Release perfectionism. It doesn’t exist so just do your best.
  • Take time for you. You deserve it!

#CalmTip: September, 29th, 2015

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, being physically active is considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can also reduce stress, making it a great way to find your calm. Studies show that it’s very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be really helpful when stress has drained your energy or ability to concentrate.

You don’t have to join the gym or spend two hours per day exercising (unless you want to). You could take a 20 or 30 minute walk after work, go for a bike ride, or work out at home with exercise DVDs or YouTube videos (I’ve used Blogilates, FitnessBlender, and HangTightWMarC). Figure out what you like, and get moving!

#CalmTip: September 22nd, 2015

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

If you pay attention, you’ll notice that your breath is closely linked with how your feeling. When you’re relaxed, calm or content, your breath is deep and slow (how it should be). When you’re tense, angry, anxious, or fearful, your breath is either held in or it becomes irregular, short, or difficult. When you’re mindful of how you’re feeling, you can change your breath to what it should be and feel more calm.

Here’s a breathing technique to try for relaxation: Inhale deeply for four counts; pause; exhale fully for eight counts. Do this for a minute or two until you feel relaxed.

#CalmTip: September 15th, 2015

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Affirmations are a great way to create more peace and calm in your life. They are statements you can write down then repeat regularly so you bombard your subconscious mind with the thoughts, images, and feelings you would be experiencing if your goal was complete already. Here are a few tips for writing them:

  1. Begin with the words “I am,” and/or use present tense.
  2. Make it positive.
  3. Keep it short.
  4. Be specific.
  5. Make them for yourself.

(From The Black Girl’s Guide to Calm)

__________________________________________________________

 

My book, The Black GCover croppedirl’s Guide to Calm, is available now! Get your print or digital copy now; and don’t forget to tell a friend (sharing is caring!).