How to Stop Overthinking and Trust the Process

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

I’ve pretty much been an overthinker for as long as I can remember. And although I’ve gotten better at not doing it as much as I used to, I still have my moments. For example, last week I was feeling kind of discouraged about my business for a number of reasons (which is totally normal, by the way. But I wasn’t making as many sales as I wanted, Aunt Flo was visiting i.e., hormones, and maybe a little Mercury Retrograde was affecting me).

One day, on my way to work, I was listening to the Being Boss podcast about fear I think, and one of the hosts, Kathleen, mentioned that she’d gone to see an energy healer. She shared that her main takeaway from the experience was to focus on what, not how. And while it was a lightbulb moment for me, it was nothing that I hadn’t heard before, so it was a reminder of something that I had forgotten. The Law of Attraction essentially says that you should simply focus on what it is you desire, NOT on how it’s going to come to you. Like, I KNOW this is true; but sometimes, when you’re in it, in life, you forget the truth and what you know.

I think part of the issue was me thinking about all the things I want to accomplish in my business, how I could (or would) do it, how much time it would take and how much I time I felt I would need, and feeling like I’m “behind.” And another huge issue was me spending waaay too much time on social media, comparing my life and journey to other people’s. Ultimately, I came to the realization that I was overthinking — and that’s why I’d been feeling discouraged and stressed and overwhelmed. So, here’s what I did — and am doing — to combat that habit in the moment (and these are in no particular order):

Stop. 

When I notice that I’m overthinking, I will literally tell myself to stop — and sometimes I even say it out loud. Then, I choose a different thought, a more positive one that will better serve me.

Breathe.

I pause and take a few deep breaths. This allows me to calm and center myself. Breathing also puts things back in perspective, meaning it helps me remember that I’m exactly where I need to be and that all is well.

Affirm.

To get my mind back on a more positive track, I say a few of my favorite affirmations like:

All is well.

I trust in Divine Timing.

Trust the process.

The Universe has my back.

Everything is happening how it’s supposed to.

I got this.

Stay present.

Bring my focus and attention back to the present moment does a few things: 1. I feel more centered and peaceful; 2. I am better able to focus on the task at hand, which allows me to actually get shit done; 3 Being in a peaceful, contented, grateful state of flow magnetizes my desires to me.

Get inspired.

Listening to podcasts from women entrepreneurs has become one of my favorite things. Not only do I get tips for growing my business, being more productive, etc., I am also inspired by the stories I hear that show me I can do this, too.

Do a brain dump.

On days that I feel overwhelmed, I take out my journal, and write down everything that comes to me: what I’m thinking, how I’m feeling, and even any solutions that pop into my head. When I do this, it feels like space is cleared in in my mind, so to speak. Then, I can focus on actually doing what I need to. And speaking of doing what I need to…

Take inspired action.

When I overthink and start stressing myself out about not being “there” quickly enough, my natural inclination is to just try everything and do all this stuff to make shit happen and happen more quickly. What I’ve learned is that doing things out of desperation or fear never works. However, when you listen to Spirit and your Divine Guidance for what to do next, that’s when the magic happens.

Realize the things I’m thinking haven’t actually happened.

Another point brought up on the podcast was the fact that most of the things we’re fearing or worrying about hasn’t even happened! Basically, we’re worrying about situations and worst-case scenarios that are literally just in our minds. This is where being present and mindful comes into play.

Pay attention to signs from the Universe.

I’m a believer that the Universe sends us messages in various forms to remind us of what we need to know. Interestingly, as I was scrolling Facebook the morning I started this post, I came across two statuses that confirmed the importance of trusting the process:

“You cannot get to the end from the middle. No matter what we are doing, there is a process. When we rush ahead we miss important steps. If we become impatient, we can overlook details. We must be willing to move step by step, inch by inch to get to the end.” – Iyanla Vanzant

“Do not put a timeframe on everything. Instead enjoy each step. Accept the fact that your objectives can only be accomplished one at a time. Trust comes from understanding the plan of success…” – Frank Matias

Realize this is YOUR journey.

One of my overthinking and worry triggers is comparing myself and my life to other people’s. What I have to remind myself is that this is MY path, and that everyone else is on their own path. I have to focus on me and what I was put here to do, and stay in MY lane.

“Stop overthinking. You can’t control everything. Just let it be.” – Unkown

6 Journal Prompts For More Calm

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

One of my favorite ways to find calm and practice self-care is by journaling. I usually either do a brain dump when I have a lot on my mind, or I write to process my emotions when I’m feeling overwhelmed, anxious, sad, frustrated — any emotion that I feel I need to work through. Additionally, I write what I’m thankful for and my intentions for the day every morning.

Journaling is definitely something I recommend everyone do, at least occasionally. Why should you? It:

  • Increases your focus.
  • Allows you to process the things happening in your life.
  • Helps you heal from the past and mentally/emotionally.
  • Allows you to express yourself freely.
  • Helps you solve your problems.
  • Creates clarity and helps you become more self-aware.

Using prompts is a method you can use to begin or enhance your journaling practie. Below are six that will help you create more calm, joy, and positive energy:

  1. I’m thankful for ____ (set a timer for 2-3 minutes, and list as many things as you can think of).
  2. I am lovable because ________.
  3. What are the ways I like to (or would like to) practice self-care?
  4. 3 simple steps I will take to find calm are _________.
  5. What makes me happy?
  6. What’s something positive happening (or something positive that’s recently happened) in your life?

A few more journaling ideas:

  • Your goals/intentions.
  • How your ideal life looks
  • Your bucket list
  • Where would you like to be in one year? 5 years?

Journaling is a voyage to the interior.– Christina Baldwin

Happy writing! ❤

Resource

Tap Into Your Inner Peace: 8 Quotes for Inspiration

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Even as the Calm Coach, I have moments I need to tap into my inner peace. As I’ve mentioned here on the blog and on social media, my husband and I are separated (it’s not a terrible thing, btw), my daughter and I are back at my parents’ house, I’m working on myself, and I’m growing my business and getting my finances together. Needless to say, the past few months have been particularly stressful and overwhelming for me.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to stay (relatively) sane, calm, and centered with various practices like yoga, meditation, mindfulness, practicing self-care, and affirmations. If you find yourself feeling stressed or overwhelmed, here are a few quotes that will inspire you to find your calm:

  1. “Your calm mind is your weapon against your challenges. So relax.” – Bryan McGill
  2. “Relax. Everything is running right on schedule.” – The Universe
  3. “Slow down. Calm down. Don’t worry. Don’t hurry. Trust the process.” – Unknown
  4. “If the ocean can calm itself, so can you. We are both salt water mixed with air.” – Nayyirah Waheed
  5. “The day she let go of the things weighing her down, was the day she began to shine the brightest.” – Katrina Mayer
  6. “Everything you do can be done better from a place of relaxation.” – Stephen C. Paul
  7. “Quietness with thoughtful reflection and relaxation can be empowering.” – Cynthia Wright
  8. “Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. You are doing just fine. You’ll be just fine. It will all get done, whatever it is. You don’t need to stress. You just need to relax, trust, and take it all one slow step at a time.” – Lori Deschene

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you to find calm? Please share by leaving a comment!

 

10 Quotes to Help You Remember Who the F*ck You Are

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

2017 has been a roller coaster of a year for me. I’ve had a lot of positives happen (new friends, business ideas and opportunities, discovering more of myself) and negative things that are allowing me to grow as a person (my separation, moving back home, figuring out my finances). Admittedly, some of the lessons had a not-so-great effect on my self-worth and self-esteem, so for the past few months, I’ve been doing a lot of work around truly loving myself. And part of that has been reminding myself of who I really am.

The quotes that I’m sharing are ones that I have in my phone’s “Inspiration” photo album, or I have them saved in my IG collection. They are my go-tos when I need to remember who the fuck I am — and they’ll do the same for you!

  1. “She remembered who she was, and the game changed.”
  2. “Note to Self: You good, you poppin.'”
  3. “Give yourself permission to live a big life. Step into who you are meant to be. Stop playing small. You’re meant for greater things.”
  4. “Own your power.”
  5. “Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible. That’s who you really are; let go of any part of you that doesn’t believe it.”
  6. “Dear ladies, Please don’t let one day pass without you feeling like the beautiful, talented, bomb ass goddess you are.”
  7. “You are magic. Own that shit.”
  8. “Trust your dopeness.”
  9. “You’re a bright beautiful goddess.”
  10. “Admit it. You’re dope. Stop pretending you’re less than you are to protect someone’s ego. Be unabashedly aware of your fresh.”

And here are a few affirmations I use to remind me of who I am:

  • I am that bitch.
  • I am magic.
  • I am a goddess.
  • I am a badass, boss bitch.

Know who the fuck you are, and own it. You got this!

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

 

Trusting the Process of Life

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

As I mentioned on social media a few weeks ago, I’ve been dealing with some personal issues. My husband and I are currently separated. And while I was hurt and taken aback by the way it happened, I’m not totally surprised by what happened because we’d grown apart and had our issues (and I’d actually been going back and forth with it myself).

Due to our separation, my daughter and I have been staying with my parents for almost two months, and needless to say, it’s been an adjustment. It’s been…interesting, to say the least, because although moving back had crossed my mind, I didn’t think I’d actually have to do it — and definitely not now. So, basically, I’ve had to create a new normal and trust whatever comes next.

I believe that everything happens for a reason and things happen when they’re supposed to, even when it doesn’t feel good or necessarily make sense to us. Admittedly, it took me a really long time to learn this (maybe it’s one of those things you learn after 30?), but now that I know — for sure — it’s true, I generally go with the flow of whatever happens in my life. Trust me, it hasn’t been easy, but here’s how I learned to do it:

  • I constantly remind myself that I can’t control everything. I’ve pretty much always been someone who likes for everything to go exactly how I envision. And when it doesn’t, I had the tendency to kind of freak out about it. But getting older — and having a child and life itself — has helped me really see that I can’t control everything. And that’s okay.
  • I focus on what I can control, and take inspired action. Here’s what I mean by taking inspired action: Instead of acting from a space of desperation and lack, I listen to my intuition and Higher Self about what steps I should take next, even if Spirit tells me to be still.
  • I (do my best to) stay present. Practices like meditation and yoga have helped me learn how to be more mindful in my daily life and focus on what’s happening now.
  • I practice gratitude and look for the good. When we have situations that are less than favorable, we tend to focus on how much it sucks, and notice the other things that suck, drawing more sucky things to us. On the flip side, when we focus on the good (either in the situation or in general), not only do we feel better, we also attract more good to us.
  • I reflect on other situations where the Universe had my back. If you’re like me, you’ve made it through other times when you didn’t know how the hell you would. And you’ll do the same now!

Trust the Universe (or your Higher Power) and the path you’re on. Life loves you and is always conspiring in your favor! Know it with every fiber of your being!

Affirmation:

I choose to trust the process of my life.”

 


Black Girl's Guide to Calm

 

4 Ways to Clear Energy That’s Not Serving You

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Although empaths tend to experience it in a more pronounced way, I believe we all feel when we’re in negative environments or when people around us affect our energy in not-so-great ways. The good news is that there are ways you can protect yourself and clear energy that’s not serving you. Here are four techniques to try:

1. Smudging is an ancient practice in which you burn sacred plants (like sage, for example) and allow the smoke to clear and bless a space — or yourself. I smudge our apartment, and myself, with sage weekly, but I also smudge myself when my energy is off or I’m feeling down, frustrated, anxious, etc.. Here’s how to do it:

  • Light the stick, and let it catch fire.
  • Let the fire out, letting the smoke billow from the stick.
  • If you’re smudging your home, walk around along each wall (or close to each wall), allowing the smoke to go everywhere. If you’re smudging yourself, wave the smoke, starting from your feet and moving up, over you body in front of and behind you. While smudging, you can verbalize what you’re releasing; For example, “I release doubt. I release fear. I release anything that no longer serves me.”
  • When you’re done, open a door or window to allow the old energy to leave.

2. Visualization. This is a technique you can practice if you know in advance you’re going to be in a negative environment or around negative people (say, work or around certain family members) and you want to protect yourself:

  • Sit comfortably and breathe deeply.
  • Visualize yourself surrounded by an orb of white light and love. See that it’s only you within this circle, and nothing can get to you.
  • You can practice “wearing” the orb throughout your day, and before you deal with people/situations/places that drain you. The visual will let love and light come through while fending off and releasing any energy that’s not serving you.

3. Affirmations are a great way to change your mindset and help you stay focused on the positive. Here are a few to use:

  • I release any and everything that does not serve me.
  • I release all fear, anxiety, and overwhelm.
  • I let go of all negativity from my mind and body.
  • I easily let go of thoughts and beliefs that disempower me.
  • I release anything, any person, and any situation that keeps me from moving forward.

4. Crystal healing. Over the past few months, I’ve really been into learning more and using crystals for my mental and emotional wellness. One of my favorite crystals for getting rid of negative energy and feeling more positive is smoky quartz. Other crystals to try:

Black tourmaline absorbs negative energy and turns it into positive energy, provides energetic protection, and helps with stress relief.

Selentine cleanses and purifies your energy and provides protective energy.

What do you do to cleanse energy that’s not serving you? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

“Today is your day to let go of things that no longer serve you.”


Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Why I Started Going to Therapy (and Why I’m Glad I Did)

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Although it’s still somewhat taboo, I’ve always been an advocate of mental health care and therapy. In the Black community, therapy has been seen as what “crazy” or White folks use — not us. We’re supposed to utilize prayer, the church, and Jesus.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with praying, going to church, or Jesus (or whoever your deity is), but sometimes, you might need something more. And I realized that was true for me almost two months ago.

As many of you know, I started teaching yoga in-person this fall because 1. The opportunities basically fell in my lap; and 2. It’s what I thought I wanted to do. At first, I was excited about this new venture and stream of income, but as time went on, I’d have no one or only one person show up for classes. Needless to say, it was pretty discouraging. But being someone who typically sees the bright side of things and keeps a positive attitude (for the most part), I really tried to keep the faith and continue promoting and showing up. It wasn’t working. I ultimately had a breaking point, which led me to an emotional breakdown. I had been feeling really depressed about this, and it all just came out one Friday night. As I lay in bed, after crying my eyes out, I decided to look up local Black therapists because I knew that I couldn’t continue doing this to myself, and I didn’t know how to pull myself out of the muck. The first therapist I contacted didn’t reply, so the following week, I contacted another and set up my first appointment with Suntia Smith in Greenville (who I highly recommend).

Although I’ve only been to two sessions so far, it’s been amazing and eye-opening. While I’ve always been introspective and have become more self-aware through meditation, I just couldn’t figure out what to do about my work situation (actually, I knew what to do; I just didn’t want to do it because I didn’t want to let anyone down). Anyway, talking to Suntia and answering her questions in that first session helped me realize that teaching yoga on a weekly basis wasn’t something I truly wanted to do (on the other hand, I do love doing retreats and workshops on occasion), and the reason why is I enjoy freedom, which is something I’d never really thought about before. And that session helped me get crystal clear on what I want to do with the Black Girl’s Guide to Calm brand.

In addition to admitting that I was still trying to be a people-pleaser, I also recognized that I wasn’t being my authentic self, both of which came as a bit of surprise to be quite honest (haha). This year has been the most transformational one I’ve ever experienced, starting with me uncovering my spiritual beliefs. This came up when Suntia asked me who I really am after giving her the surface answer: I told her I am sensual, fun, have great sense of humor, into the “woo woo” stuff, meaning crystals, chakras, incense, sage…you know, my version of spirituality that a lot of people consider “woo woo.” But I’d been hiding that part of myself, particularly on social media. Now, you might be saying, “Why does that matter? Everyone doesn’t need to know what you believe.” Well, I’ve been blogging for 8 years, and I’ve been pretty transparent about my life and my faith the entire time on my blog and on social media. So, why would I speak on that then and not speak on my beliefs now?

The reason I didn’t really allude to my spirituality is because I was worried about what the people who know me in real life would think about my beliefs. However, that cognitive dissonance (me wanting to just be myself and share vs. me not wanting to ruffle feathers) caused a lot of stress and anxiety for me. And I also realized that this inauthenticity (is this a word?) shows up as me shrinking myself, not allowing myself to shine too brightly (because, for one, I’ve always heard some variation of “She thinks she’s all that!”). For example, I enjoy makeup and playing around with different looks, but I wouldn’t wear certain lipsticks because I didn’t want to draw too much attention to myself; or I don’t share my business offerings and my story as much as I should because I don’t want to be “pushy” or seen as someone who thinks she’s all that.”

Thankfully, because of therapy and Suntia in particular, I am in a  place of not giving as much of a fuck (because, at the moment, I still give somewhat of one lol) about people’s opinions of me. I feel like I wouldn’t have gotten to this place of self-acceptance, authenticity, and freedom without outside sources– or I wouldn’t have gotten here so quickly.

I want to encourage you to seek professional help if you feel you need it and/or if you’re dealing with anxiety or depression. While I do feel that practices like yoga and meditation are amazingly effective tools, like I mentioned in the first paragraph, sometimes, a therapist, coach, or counselor is necessary. And even if you don’t have a mental illness, it can still be helpful to get an outside, objective perspective on things so you can move forward. To find a Black therapist in your area, check out the sites below:

African American Therapists

Black Counselors

Black Therapist Network

Have you been to therapy? What was your experience like? Also, if you’re a Black therapist reading this, feel free to link to your site below! : )

 

20 Affirmations for Calm and Inner Peace

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

If you follow me on social media, you probably know that I post an affirmation every Friday related to finding calm and/or self-care.  Affirmations are a great way to not only create calm but to also change your mindset so that you’re calm and peaceful more often than not.

Success coach and co-author of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series Jack Canfield says an affirmation is a statement of your goal or desire now realized in the present time. They’re statements you can write down or record then repeat/listen to regularly so you bombard your subconscious mind with thoughts, images, and feelings you’d be experiencing if your goal was complete.

With that said, here are some affirmations that will help you find your calm and inner peace:

  1. I let my worries go so I can be here for the beauty that surrounds me now. (Mary Davis)
  2. Today, I take a moment to press pause, get quiet, and simply breathe.
  3. When stressful situations occur, I remember that it’s possible to choose peace over worry.
  4. I let go, and allow the Universe to do her thing. (Gabrielle Bernstein)
  5. Today, I choose serenity.
  6. I am centered, I am calm, I am at peace.
  7. I make my calm and serenity a priority.
  8. Today, I relax and flow.
  9. I choose to experience life in a calm manner.
  10. I let go of all negativity that rests in my mind and body. (Louise Hay)
  11. It’s okay to make myself a priority.
  12. I relax, knowing that everything will be okay.
  13. I got this.
  14. I inhale peace and exhale overwhelm.
  15. I focus on the thoughts that bring me peace and joy.
  16. It is easy for me to tap into my inner peace whenever I need to.
  17. I deserve calm and self-care.
  18. My stress and tension melt away with each deep breath.
  19. I stay focused on the present moment, which brings me peace.
  20. I create my own calm.

Like these affirmations? Download this printable PDF or save it to your phone.


 

 

Stress Less By Standing In Your Truth

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Earlier this year, I turned 30. It’s been a year of growth, transition, and awakening. And I’ve learned that a big part of stress is not standing in your truth. Let me explain…

For the past month or so, I’ve been mulling over a situation related to my brand/work (I’ll probably do a post about it later). Just thinking about it and trying to figure out what to do had me so stressed and even made me feel depressed, and it was affecting every part of my life. I was trying to figure out why I was feeling the way I did, and that — along with some other personal things — made me seek out a therapist (I’ll be doing a post about that, too).

Ultimately, I already knew what to do (thanks to my intuition/Higher Self). I was being stubborn,  and I wanted to explore why I felt the way I did because I was unsure of the reason. After the session, I understood my feelings, and I also realized that I haven’t been standing in my truth. And that was a big part of my stress!

Then, I received several messages from Goddess about standing in my truth and doing what’s best for me, like this from my Facebook friend, Takeallah:

“…I stick out. And I’m fine with that…You take this Black Girl Magic and ALL of its glory. You don’t get to pick and choose which components you wish to take and which ones you wish to leave behind or altar.”

And this from another FB friend, Valerie, who shared an Iyanla Vanzant quote:

“Speak the truth to yourself about what you feel, about what you need, about what you see, about what you want. So many of us don’t tell ourselves the truth. We don’t speak the truth in our spirits. And then we can’t understand why there’s so many dishonorable things going on in our lives. This is about you and your voice and your truth.”

And this post I saw on Instagram:

If you’re not excited about it, it’s not the right path.” – Abraham Hicks

So, if not standing in your truth is causing you to feel stressed and disconnected from yourself, here’s what you can do:

  1. Figure out what your truth is. What you really want, what you really believe, and what you really value. (Meditation and journaling help with this).
  2. Be okay with your truth within yourself. Be honest with yourself.
  3. Live your truth. This looks different for all of us; for me, it includes: saying Goddess/Spirit/the Universe instead of God; doing what’s best for my business and myself/my sanity; being confident in being a spiritual-empathetic-sensitive-goddess-warrior-woman-healer-entrepreneur when there aren’t a lot of people like me where I live (I’ve been fortunate to find a few, though!).

So, I’ve made the decision to stand in my truth. And no, it’s not always easy. But I’d rather have the difficult conversations or feel uncomfortable for a moment than to continue living a lie and being unhappy and overwhelmed. Life is too short and too valuable to be anything other than true to yourself and happy.

“When you show up authentic, you create the space for others to do the same.

Walk in your truth.”


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#HappyTip: Pamper Yourself

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

For me, taking time to pamper myself weekly not only brings me joy, it’s also a way that I create calm and make sure I’m practicing self-care. And contrary to what you may believe, you can pamper yourself without spending a ton of cash — or any. Here are a few ideas:

  • Take a bubble bath or a detox bath.
  • Massage (professional or personal). I go here.
  • Give yourself a mani or pedi (or go to the nail salon).
  • Get in bed (or on the couch) with your blanket and catch up on TV or binge-watch a show you’ve been missing.
  • Give yourself a facial.
  • Read (or re-read) a novel, and get lost in someone else’s world.
  • Do some restorative yoga.
  • Take a social media break for the weekend.
  • Nap. (20 or 90 minutes is ideal — I say go for 90).
  • Try reflexology.

What’s your favorite way to pamper yourself? Let me know by leaving a comment below.