#HappyTip: Practice Positive Self-talk

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

The way you talk to yourself — positively or negatively — has an impact on your life and how you live. Practicing positive self-talk uplifts you, increases your confidence, lessens your stress, and helps you manifest your desires.

While it does take time to go from being a negative self-talker to a positive one, it is possible do so (I’ve done it myself). Here are four ways to get started:

1. Become aware of your thoughts. We literally think thousands of thoughts per day, so it’s impossible to catch every thought. But one way to become more aware of how you think is to pay attention to how you feel since your feelings indicate what you’re thinking. Once you check in with how you feel (which I recommend doing several times a day), see if you can figure out what you were thinking to make you feel that way, which leads me to the second point…

2. Change your negative thoughts to positive ones. When you become aware of the negative self-talk, turn it into something positive. For example, if I didn’t check everything off of my intentions list, I might tell myself something like, Ugh, what’s wrong with you? Why couldn’t you get everything done? Then I’ll catch myself and say something like, You did the best you could; tomorrow’s a new day; it’s not the end of the world. The more you do this, you’ll notices that the negative voice becomes quieter and quieter.

3. Use affirmations. These are a great way to re-program your mind to expect the best and look on the bright side. You can write your own that reflect how you want you and your life to be; for example: I am a success; I am worthy; I am enough, I have enough, I do enough. Or you can find them on sites like Pinterest.

4. Look on the bright side. Focus on the good in your life with a daily gratitude practice (like keeping a gratitude journal). Another idea: Before going to bed, write down 3-5 things that brought you joy during the day. With consistency, this trains your brain to always be looking for the good in your days, which makes your more optimistic and happy.

“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” – Eckart Tolle

How do you make sure you positively talk to yourself? Let us know by leaving a comment! : )

How to Stay Mentally Well In Tragic Times

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

With all the tragedy that’s happened in this week alone, it’s so important that we, as Black people, practice self-care and stay mentally well. Here are some ways to do so:

Unplug. While it’s important to be aware of what’s going on, it can be too much to handle with the constant news and opinions and graphic videos and photos on social media. So, if you need to take a break from Facebook, Instagram, or wherever, do that. In fact, even if you don’t feel like you need to, I say take one anyway; at least for a few hours.

Allow yourself to feel what you feel. You might be feeling angry, sad, or any other combination of emotions. And that’s totally normal and okay because sh*t is fvcked up…how could you not feel anything?

Vent. Let your feelings and frustrations out by ranting to a loved one or (my favorite) your journal. It’ll feel so good to let it all out.

Meditation and yoga. Of course, these are my top ways to get re-center myself and get my inner peace back. You don’t have to do it for a long time, either; 10 or 20 minutes can do wonders.

Do something you enjoy. Spend time with loved ones. Read a book. Go on a Netflix binge. Do your nails. Go for a walk. Play with your kids (or somebody else’s). Anything that will bring you joy and a sense of peace.

How do you stay mentally well in times like this? Let us know by leaving a comment.


Are you constantly stressed and always overwhelmed, feeling on edge? What if it was possible for you to feel more inner peace, be happier and centered, and enjoy your life now?

Actually, it is possible! And beginning a yoga practice is a great way to start doing so. Ready to begin yours? Click below to learn more about and sign up for my Mind, Body, and Soul Yoga Program.

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Confession: I Still Struggle With Mommy Guilt

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

This week has been a little…hectic. For the past few days, I’ve been attempting to upload, edit, and put together yoga videos recorded on my phone. I didn’t have enough space on my phone, so one wouldn’t upload. Then, my phone started acting crazy (the home button wouldn’t work and I didn’t get notifications. And Chrome kept crashing on my computer. Long story short, I needed my parents to watch Nailah, my daughter, an extra night so I could finally finish the video. (Side note: I’ve mentioned it before, but if you didn’t know, my parents watch Nailah for me a few days a week so I can get things done since I work from home).

Even though I didn’t really want her to go back, I knew I needed her to so I could finish. While I was going back and forth in my head about whether I should just let her stay home, I started feeling really guilty and like a shitty mama. This week, she was with her grandparents Monday evening and Tuesday, came home Wednesday, and went back Thursday evening. On one hand, I felt bad that she’d only been home one night; on the other hand, it’s kind of a nightmare trying to accomplish work-related items when she’s here. She’s two-years-old (hopefully, this needs no further explanation); and while I do get a lot done when she goes to sleep, it’s often an ordeal to actually get to that point. It can take up to an hour (’cause she’s fighting it and wants to play), and that leaves me irritated and frustrated.

Anyway, I’m in my head all afternoon, going back and forth, like, What kind of mother are you to send her to her grandparents? By now, you should know how to get stuff done while she’s here. Other mothers successfully work from home with their kids every day with (seemingly) no help, so why can’t you? Then I’m like, Well, you can’t really compare your situation to theirs because you don’t know what they’re doing, or what they have going on. Maybe  they do have help, or maybe their kids just play quietly or whatever while mommy is working. I don’t know. But I do know that that’s not how Nailah operates. And that’s okay. And it’s okay that I need help. Besides, it’s not like you’re sending her away every day or every weekend so you can go party or something. You’re being productive and doing it to help create a better life and future for her — and your family — and so she can see you being happy and fulfilled and living your dreams. 

If you’re a mamapreneur, I’m sure you get it: feeling guilty about the time you have to take a way from your kid(s), feeling like you’re either not doing enough or doing too much when it comes to work, and feeling stressed and drained from the internal conflict.

When I’m feeling this way, here are some things I do and try to remember:

It’s okay to need help. Unless you’re one of those superwomen who can do everything herself (ha!), we all need help sometimes. And that’s okay. That’s why we have family and why all these people are here on Earth. As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Stop comparing myself to people I see online. As I’ve heard and said before, we only see a highlight of people’s lives online. We don’t know what they’re dealing with or what goes on behind the scenes; we all share what we choose to share (and there’s nothing wrong with that). That’s why it’s important to focus on our lives and do our bests, which brings me to my next point…

I focus on doing my best. Because at the end of the day, that’s what’s most important. Period.

Know that life is about harmony, not balance. This is life-changing advice from my sis, Akilah Richards, when she spoke at The Black Women’s Life Balance and Wellness Conference in 2013. Basically, there will be days when your kids (or partner or relative) will have most of your attention, and there’ll be days when work has most of your attention. So stop trying to make every day perfectly balanced — it’s just not possible. Instead, focus on being in harmony with what comes up and go with the flow. You’ll be a lot less stressed and overwhelmed.

“There is no perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children…What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply.” – Elder M. Russel Ballard

 

Releasing That Which No Longer Serves (Blog Version)

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

In my latest Inspiring Note, I wrote about how I’m releasing/have released things that no longer serve me because it’s something that’s been heavy on my mind and heart. (Side note: My apologies if you’ve already read this in my latest email; you can skip to the part about some of the other methods I used below if you want).

I’ve been feeling like there’s something (or some things) holding me back from fully being who I am and reaching my highest potential. So, I decided to get a tarot card reading with Cheyanne, who I met at the #betweenwordsandwater retreat a couple of weeks ago. The reading served as confirmation that it was time to let some shvt go. In a nutshell, the cards said that to go to my next level, to get to a new beginning and be who I truly am, I had to close some doors and release the old me/who I think I am.

I’d already instinctively known this, but I still didn’t really know what was holding me back. So, I got still and quiet (i.e., meditated), did some reflecting, and asked myself these questions to determine what those things were:

  1. What do I need to let go of?
  2. What doors need to close?
  3. Who, if anyone, do I need to let go of?
  4. What parts of myself do I need to leave behind?

Here’s some of what came up for me:

  • Worrying about what others think of me
  • Clutter (physical and mental)
  • Self-doubt
  • Fear (of failure, success, being “too much,” outside judgment, being who I know I am)
  • Being closed off (not vulnerable)
  • Time wasters (e.g., social media)
  • Negative social media

And when it came to the old me that I needed to shed, what came up was:

  • Timidness
  • Self-judgement and self-criticism
  • Scarcity mindset
  • Overthinking and overanalyzing
  • Not standing in my truth
  • Being in denial about who I am and what I’m here to do
  • Not expressing myself fully

If you feel stuck or like you need to let some things go but you’re not sure what those things are, I recommend taking some time to meditate (10 or 15 minutes will do), listen to Spirit, then answer the above questions for more clarity.

And if you want to take it a step further, you can smudge yourself and work on balancing your root chakra, which I recently learned about.

Smudging

This is something you can do to yourself or any physical space if you feel there’s negative energy or feel like you’re stuck, or depressed. Smudging can help get rid of that not-so-great energy and allow you to start fresh; it’s an ancient ceremony in which you burn sacred plants, like sage, and let the smoke clear and bless the space. You can read this to learn about smudging your home and this about smudging yourself.

What I did, in a nutshell, was movethe sage and smoke over the front and back of my body and affirmed that I was releasing any negativity, anything holding me back, and anything that no longer serves me.

After that, I did some meditation and yoga. And although I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was doing asanas (poses) for the root chakra, but before I get into that, here’s a brief intro:

Chakras

We have seven chakras that are the centers in our bodies in which energy flows through. They are:

  1. Root chakra (located at base of spine) — represents our foundation and feeling like we’re grounded
  2. Sacral (lower abdomen) — our connection and ability to accept other people and new experiences
  3. Solar plexus (upper abdomen, in the stomach area) — being confident and in control of our lives
  4. Heart (center of chest) — being able to love
  5. Throat (throat) — ability to communicate and express ourselves
  6. Third eye (forehead between the eyes) — being able to focus and see the big picture
  7. Crown (very top of head) — ability to be fully connected spiritually

In addition to helping you feel more grounded, healing the root chakra also helps with releasing fear and anxiety, which is something I needed to do.

The yoga poses related to this (I didn’t realize they were related to this chakra as I was doing them) are tree pose, forward bend, child’s pose, and warrior 1.

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

You can do these whenever you feel you need to or twice a week in the morning. Additionally, you can heal this chakra by spending some time outdoors in nature. Happy releasing!

“Breathing deeply and releasing fear will help you get to where you want to be.” – Iyanla Vanzant

16 Inspirational Quotes for More Happiness & Joy

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

I haven’t really told anyone this yet, but I’m doing a little re-branding. I’ll still be teaching you how to create calm, but I’ll also be including the happiness aspect as well. I think happiness and joy are so important in our lives, and I believe if you’re overwhelmed and stressed more often than not, it’ll be pretty difficult for you to be happy (more on this later).

Anyhoo, here are few quotes for when you need a mood boost that will remind you that happiness starts with you and that you create it yourself:

  1. “Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.” – Benjamin Disraeli
  2. “Are you always trying to get somewhere other than where you are so that you can finally be happy? The truth is that all unhappiness is caused by denial of the present.” – Robert Anthony
  3. “Decide to be happy, knowing it’s an attitude, a habit gained from daily practice, and not a result or payoff.” – Denis Waitley
  4. “Don’t put your happiness on hold by giving it conditions such as: ‘I’ll be happy when…’ Choose to feel positive now, and enjoy the journey.” – Mario Cortes
  5. “Of this to be sure: you do not find the happy life…you make it.” – Thomas S. Monson
  6. “Take time to do what makes your soul happy.” – Unknown
  7. “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius
  8. “Don’t let the concept of change scare you as much as the prospect of remaining unhappy.” – Timber Hawkeye
  9. “You are responsible for your own happiness.” – Unknown
  10. “The kindest thing you can do for the people you care about is to become a happy, joyous person,” – Brian Tracy
  11. “Real bliss is to have peace of mind.” – Deepak Chopra
  12. “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” – Henri Nouwen
  13. “To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.” – Robert Morely
  14. “Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” – Marianne Williamson
  15. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
  16. “Your joy is something magnificent. Protect your happiness.” – Unknown

Enjoy these quotes? Click here to download

Do you have a go-to quote when you need to lift your mood? Share below!

This, Too, Shall Pass: 18 Quotes and Affirmations for the Rough Times

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Let’s face it: Some days are shitty. Even the most calm, cool, collected among us have days that just plain old suck. And when they occur, it’s easy to get stuck in a space of overwhelm, frustration, and feeling sorry for ourselves. Now, I’m not suggesting that you don’t have a right to feel the way you feel when things go wrong (you totally do!); you just don’t need to stay in that space. Reading and repeating inspirational words are one of  my favorite ways to get my mind back right. Here are 18 quotes and affirmations for the rough times in your life:

Quotes

1. “Every day is a new beginning, take a deep breath, and start again.

2. “Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next.” – Denis Waitley

3. “The things that go wrong for you have a lot of potential to become part of your gift to the world.” – Krista Tippett

4. “Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

5. “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” – Lena Horne

6. “Within you is the power to rise above any situation or struggle, transform into the brightest, strongest version of you EVER!” – Your Inner Sparkle

7. “This, too, shall pass.”

8. “Don’t forget that you’re human. It’s okay to have a meltdown. Just don’t unpack  and live there. Cry it out and then refocus on where you are headed.” – Unknown

9. “Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” – Oprah Winfrey

10. “When times get tough, the key is not to stay strong…the key is to stay grateful.” – Liv Lane

Affirmations

11. Happiness and peace are an inside job, so I choose thoughts that allow me to feel both.

12. ‘Every experience I have is perfect for my growth.” – Louise Hay

13. I got this.

14. No matter what’s happening in my life, I can always access that inner peace within me.

15. I let go of what I can’t change and do my best with what I can.

16. When I go with the flow, my life is easy and filled with joy.

17. I cannot control everything that happens to me; I can only control the way I respond to what happens. In my response, is my power.

18.  I handle life’s issues with a relaxed mind and body.

Do you have a go-to quote or affirmation for your tough times? Let us know by leaving a comment!

P.S. — Want a copy of the affirmations for when you need ’em? Download the PDF below!

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

13 Mantras from Black Women to Start Your Day

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

It’s March, and it’s Women’s History Month! To celebrate, I wanted to share a few quotes that you can use as mantras from Black women. These are great for when you wake up in the morning to set the tone for your day or when you need a little motivation and encouragement.

  1. “I am different. I am an original. And like everyone else, I am here to take up space in the universe. I do so with pride.” – Shonda Rhimes
  2. “Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I will love who I am.” – Janelle Monae
  3. “Fuck fear.” – Akilah Richards
  4. “Don’t allow other people to define what success is for you.” Tara Pringle Jefferson
  5. Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” – Oprah
  6. “There is no happiness on a layaway plan.” – Abiola Abrams
  7. “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.” – Maya Angelou
  8. “Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own.” – Michelle Obama
  9. “Bring your best to the moment.” – Angela Bassett
  10. “Follow your heart. It will take you where you need to be.” – Erykah Badu
  11. “I believe in me more than anything in this world.” – Wilma Rudolph
  12. “Do what makes you happy in your personal and professional journey.” – Mahisha Dellinger
  13. “Start moving and the inspiration will come.” – Valorie Burton

Do you know of any quotes from Black women that should be added? Let us know by leaving a comment! : )

Photo Credit: langstrup/123rf.com

My Secret to Finding Calm (Almost) Daily

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Here at Black Girl’s Guide to Calm, I teach various ways to create calm. Most of what I share are things I do and/or have done myself, so I’m speaking from experience and what works for me. But I’ve never really shared how I find my calm on a daily basis in a post, so here’s what a typical day looks like when my daughter, Nailah, is home with me (because those are the days I have the most going on):

I usually wake up around 5:30, 6 (Side note: This is because I’m naturally a morning person; I’m not suggesting you get up that early unless you want to or have to). I set the tone for the day by reciting a prayer from the book, Speaking With Spirit, reading affirmations, and meditating or taking a few deep breaths. I also eat breakfast.

My husband, Chris, usually gets home from work around 6 or 7 AM, and most days, I hand over the reigns so I can shower alone (trying to shower with a two-year-old in the bathroom? Not fun.) and do yoga. I’ll either do my own practice, or I’ll do a 15 minute video from Yoga By Candace. If Chris is super tired or if he gets off later than normal, I’ll do some creative yoga (i.e., try to practice in the midst of the two-year-old’s chaos).

Tip: Ask for help when you need it. It took me a few months after Nailah was born to tell Chris that I needed him to watch Nailah so I could shower, meditate, do yoga, or just have a minute to myself. But I finally realized that even though I work from home, I still need — and deserve — to have time for me. Now, asking for help is no longer an issue of mine. For the most part. 

After I get Nailah settled with her toys and everything, it’s time for me to get to work. I know exactly what needs to get done because I write my intentions/to-do list before going to sleep at night.

Tip: Do not (I repeat DO NOT) try to cram a bunch of things into your day. If you try to do too much, you’ll only drive yourself crazy trying to get it all done, or you’ll be beating yourself up because you didn’t get to everything. Also, leave space between so you can take breaks.

As I’m working, I’m also, of course, making sure Nailah isn’t getting into things, getting her snacks, potty training, etc., and throughout the day, I’ll play with her a little, which I use as a break from work, and we’ll also walk to my sister-in-law’s across the street to get out.  I’m able to get things done when she’s awake by staying as focused as possible and making sure she has something to pay attention to, whether it’s her toys, Sesame Street on TV, or letting her watch YouTube on my phone (judge if you must).

After we have lunch, Nailah takes a nap for an hour or two (and some days, I’ll take one for about 30 minutes or so), and that’s when I’m able to get a lot accomplished. I work a little more after she wakes up, then around four, I put my computer away to cook dinner since Chris leaves for work around 5:30. Unless it’s a day like yesterday, when we ordered pizza so I could finish something I was working on (*hint, hint*). And when I cook, I’ll usually get Chris to watch Nailah so I have a little time to myself (sort of).

Tip: I try to make sure I’m taking full deep breaths throughout the day, and if I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I’ll stop, and take 5-10 breaths to center myself. Also, I do my best to practice mindfulness, and I often do a body scan to see if I’m holding any tension. I relax my shoulders, and make sure I’m not clenching my jaw and that the space between my eyebrows is relaxed.

We eat dinner, then I clean up the kitchen and living room. (Side note: I generally do other chores like laundry and cleaning the bathroom on the days Nailah goes with her grandparents). She and I go upstairs to wind down so she can get ready for bed. If I have a lot of work to do, I’ll let her watch videos on my phone until it’s time for her to go to sleep. After she goes to sleep, I’ll get more work done except if it’s Thursday, I’ll place my computer to the side for an hour to watch Scandal.

And though I’m not always successful, I do try to unwind before going to bed so I’m relaxed and can sleep better, so I write in my gratitude journal, maybe read a little or do a word search, say a prayer, and visualize until I fall asleep.

I think the most important tip is to do your best. As women (and even men if there are any reading), we have a lot on our plates, and a lot of times, we put so much pressure on ourselves to make sure everything is checked off the to-do list or that everything is done perfectly. Let. That. Shit. Go. Just focus on doing what you can — whatever that may be — and be happy with what you get done. Let your best be good enough. Because it is.

To summarize, to stay calm throughout my day, I:

  • Meditate/breathe deeply
  • Read Affirmations
  • Pray
  • Do yoga
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Take breaks/rest
  • Have time for myself
  • Do what I can by doing my best
  • Practice gratitude

What do you think? How do you find calm during the day? Let us know by leaving a comment! : )

“Stress management is life management. If you take control of your stress, your life will thank you for it.” – Shereka Dunston


Stress less and create more calm in your life with The Black Girl’s Guide to Experience, launching on November 1st! Click below to learn more.

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

 

How to Stop Beating Yourself Up

Do you constantly beat yourself up because you feel like what you do isn’t enough? It’s time to stop that! Beating yourself up and constantly putting too much pressure on yourself is a recipe for stress, anxiety, and frustration.

Check out my latest YouTube video to see how to stop doing this:

 

7 India.Arie Lyrics to Inspire Your Life

 

india.arie lyrics

India.Arie is, hands-down, my favorite music artist. One of the reasons I love her so much is that her music is inspirational and empowering. Because of this, I wanted to share a few of my favorite lyrics that will hopefully inspire you, too:

1. “If you create the game
Then you create the rules
And if you just be you
There’s no way you can lose.”
– Just Do You

2. “Soulbird rise
Lift your eyes
Spread your wings
Prepare to fly
This is the moment
Of your life
Go ahead and fly.”
– Soulbird Rise

3. “I learned to love myself unconditionally, because I am a queen.”
– Video

4. “I am not my hair
I am not my skin
I am not your expectations, no, no.”
– I Am Not My Hair

5. “It’s the little things
And the joy they bring…”
– Little Things

6. “It’s time to step out on faith, I’ve gotta show my face
It’s been elusive for so long but freedom is mine today
I’ve gotta step out on faith it’s time to show my face
Procrastination had me down but look what I have found, I found
Strength, courage, and wisdom
It’s been inside of me
All along.”
– Strength, Courage, and Wisdom

7. “Child it’s time
To break the shell
Life’s gonna hurt
But it’s meant to be felt
You cannot touch the sky
From inside yourself
You cannot fly
Until you break the shell.”
– Break the Shell

What song lyrics inspire you? Let me know by leaving a comment! : )

Photo Credit: 123rf.com/Eugenio Marongiou