7 Mantras to Start Your New Year Off Right (Plus a Free Printable!)

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Using mantras help you focus on the positive and on what you want to happen in your life. Saying them regularly helps shape your day and keeps those intentions in the forefront of your mind, making you more likely to live the mantra.

Here are seven that I think are great to carry into this new year (and beyond):

1. Just breathe.

When you’re in a situation that’s causing your stress or anxiety, remember to stop and take a few deep breaths. That way, you’re calmer and better able to make good decisions concerning whatever you’re dealing with.

2. I am enough.

It’s easy to feel like you’re not doing enough as a mom, entrepreneur, employee, wife, girlfriend, friend, etc. and that you could be doing more. However, it’s important to remember that you are enough and you do enough. You’re doing the best you can with the resources you have. Be okay with that.

3. I believe the best about myself.

What you believe about yourself and your life on the inside is what will manifest on the outside. Trust that things will always align for your best and believe that you’re the type of woman who can (and will!) co-create what she wants.

4. I am the best version of me.

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to do what other people do or be like they are, particularly when it comes to social media. But you have to take your eyes off of others and work on being the best YOU that you can be. One of my favorite quotes is from Kimora Lee Simmons: “Live life on your own path. Everybody’s got something different. You can’t keep up with all those people, so you better keep up with yourself.”

5. I live in the moment.

Commit to going with the flow and staying in the present, and watch how calmness becomes a bigger part of your life.

6. I let go of what no longer serves me.

Letting go of people, situations, beliefs, etc. that don’t benefit you any more allows you to make room for better.

7. I am open to receive all the good Spirit has to offer.

Spirit wants you to have good in your life, so stay positive about what you want, do your best to feel good, and take inspired action.

“I know for sure that what we dwell upon we become.” – Oprah Winfrey

Want a way to keep these mantras fresh in your mind? Download my free printable to be inspired to make them a part of your life! Go here to download.

#CalmTip: Ask for Help

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

As Black women, it can be difficult for us to ask for help. It’s been ingrained in most of us to be the “strong Black woman,” meaning we’re supposed to handle whatever life throws our way on our own; we’re not supposed to show signs of weakness, vulnerability, or needing help.

After I had Nailah, it was hard for me to ask for help even though I knew I needed it (and sometimes, admittedly, it still is. And I didn’t want to ask for a number of reasons: I felt like since I was her mother, I needed to be responsible enough to handle everything; if I admitted that I needed help, it would be a sign of weakness; and I felt guilty for needing help because I worked from home, so how hard could it be to do everything (and do it well?) /sarcasm. I finally realized we all need assistance sometimes, and it’s okay to acknowledge that. Needing help simply means we’re human  (welcome — there are, like, 7 billion of us). It’s important to remember that we can’t do everything on our own. So, don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need; you totally deserve it.

“Asking for help does not mean that we are weak or incompetent. It usually indicates an advanced level of honesty and intelligence.” – Anne Wilson Schaef

Good Reads: Women Who Ain’t Afraid to Curse When Communicating with God by Trelani Michelle

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Anybody who knows me knows I live for a good book (and I love interviewing people; I was a print journalism major), so I decided to start an interview series with authors of books that I love that relate, in some way, to creating calm. First up is Trelani Michelle, Spiritual Writing Coach and author of Women Who Ain’t Afraid to Curse When Communicating with God.

This summer, I was searching for a deeper connection with God/Source and was feeling frustration around my spirituality in general. Long story short (I might do a post about this later), what I’d been doing didn’t feel right to me. So, when I saw Trelani had a book coming out about that very topic, I was too ecstatic and had to pre-order it. I haven’t finished the book yet (you know, life), but so far, it has been über-beneficial in guiding me to create my own relationship with Source and to stand in my truth. I believe that her book is one to read if, like me, you’re someone who’s dealing with uncertainty or anxiety around your beliefs.

Women Who Ain’t Afraid to Curse When Communicating with God is for free spirits and old souls who believe in the magic of:

  • me-time
  • ancestral guidance
  • visualization
  • mirror work
  • masturbation
  • chakra balancing

It also includes 31 contemplative writing prompts, meditations, and personal stories, summoning you to start from where you are to deepen your connection with Spirit, language, and the world around you.

Check out our interview below to see what Trelani has to say about her book:

What inspired you to write your book?
It started with a quote that I posted on Instagram: I be wanting to speak on stuff sometimes, but Spirit be like, “Leave that shit alone, here?” And I be like, “Yes, ma’am.” A couple of weeks later, a friend tagged me in my quote on someone else’s page. She cropped my name out and had it posted as if it was hers. Another friend, Akilah, who was also tagged, grabbed about 20 or so quotes of mine, added some of hers, and suggested that I make a book out of it. I did.

I love the title of it! How did you come up with it?
I actually suck at titles (lol). Akilah came up with that, too.

Can you talk a little about your spiritual journey?
I always quote 2005 and 2006 being my toughest years ever. In 2007, I rededicated my life to God — in the Christian sense — and really gave it my all. I started this young women’s Christian group and everything. It helped, but it didn’t give me the sense of purpose and peace that I so desperately needed. I also had questions that weren’t being answered. My spirit didn’t agree with it. I was trying to force it, so I stopped going to church. Then about three years ago, I stopped calling myself a Christian. I preferred saying that I was “spiritual and not religious,” but I wasn’t really living up to it. Even that felt empty, then I decided to take it a bit more seriously.

In what ways do you use spiritual practices to create calm?
Meditation was the first step. Every so often, Oprah and Deepak Chopra hosts 21-day meditation challenges. A friend invited me to do it with her. It was both of our first time doing so. I enjoyed it and immediately saw the difference in my life. Those answers that I sought in church, I gained while meditating. A host of other benefits, too, so I’ve grown to call meditating my “silent sessions with Spirit.” I’ve also discovered active meditations that serve me well, too. It’s what you make it. You just gotta be intentional about it, so a spiritual practice for me can be anything from going for a walk, showering, stretching on my yoga mat, running a couple of miles, making love, freewriting, or doing laundry. All support me in my need for calm.

What advice do you have for someone who is beginning a new spiritual journey?
Spirituality is our relationship with our higher power, whoever or whatever you consider that to be. So your first step would be to define who or what that is for you. Afterwards, begin to explore ways to communicate with that higher power. Remember that communication consists of speaking and listening. Speaking, for me, is praying; meditating is listening. Again, meditating doesn’t have to mean sitting criss-cross applesauce (as my children would say), and prayer doesn’t have to be verbal. It’s all what you make it. It’s your experience and your relationship. Resources like The Black Girl’s Guide to Calm are great to get you started, but don’t be afraid to tweak the practices to make it feel more personal.

What do you hope people take from your book?
You can’t be whole and not have a spiritual practice that fuels you. Spirituality is a part of our wellness, but doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. Your relationship with Spirit is uniquely your own.

Is there anything else you want to add?
For the next five days, I’m offering the eBook version of Women Who Ain’t Afraid to Curse When Communicating with God for $0.99. Grab your copy and don’t forget to leave a review. Besides buying the book, reviewing is the best way to support an author. Plus, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on it.

Get your copy at SoFundamental.com/spiritbelike.

Trelani Michelle was the girl beneath the covers with a flashlight and a journal. The teenager who documented her tragedies as poetry. The college student who experimented with erotic short stories. Now an author and Spiritual Writing Coach, her passions are novel writing, blogging, and teaching others how to explore and express their experiences through writing. Get to know her better at SoFundamental.com and on Instagram @Trelani_Michelle.

How to Be More Grateful: 3 Things to Do

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Gratitude is an awesome tool you can use to create calm in your life. Research has shown that being grateful effectively increases happiness and reduces depression, frustration, and regret. Additionally, having an attitude of gratitude when you feel stressed helps pull you out of your negative mindset and helps you put things into perspective.

Here’s how to be more grateful :

1) Create a gratitude journal.

Having a gratitude journal helps you remember the good you have in your life, puts you in a positive mood, and encourages you to look for the good throughout the day.

Every night before I go to sleep, I write down five things I’m thankful for that happened during the day; you can use a journal, a memo app or a gratitude journal app (I use Attitude of Gratitude Journal by Vista Media on Android).

2) Make a list when you’re feeling stressed.

This idea is similar to the one above with a twist. Whenever you’re feeling stressed, anxious, frustrated (or any other emotions that aren’t serving you), get a piece of paper (or whatever you can find to write on), and take a few minutes to write down everything you can think of that you have to be thankful for. Doing this helps me change my focus to something positive, which puts me in a better mood.

3) Tell someone else thank you.

Think of someone who’s made a profound impact on your life (a friend, family member, your spouse, even a Facebook friend) and send them a quick note, email, or message, letting him/her know how much (s)he means to you.

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward

What are some ways you express your gratitude?

11 Inspirational Quotes for Keeping a Positive Attitude

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Having a positive attitude doesn’t mean you always walk around with your head in the clouds; it just means that you approach unpleasant situations in a more productive and positive way. Some benefits of keeping a positive attitude (most of the time) are:

  • An increased life span
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Better coping skills during difficult and stressful times

Since October is Positive Attitude Month, here are a few quotes to remind you to try to stay positive and look on the bright side:

  1. “Bombard your subconscious with a constant stream of positive thoughts, words, and pictures. Keep your goal in front of you at all times.” – Che Garman
  2. “It takes but one positive thought, when given a chance to survive and thrive, to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.” – Robert H. Schuller
  3. “Positive thoughts keep you in harmony with the universe.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer
  4. “Decide to be happy, knowing it’s an attitude, a habit gained from daily practice, and not a result or payoff.” – Denis Waitely
  5. “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” – Norman Vincent Peale
  6. “Your choices of action may be limited, but your choices of thought are not.” – Abraham-Hicks
  7. “If you absolutely can’t stay positive, don’t go negative, just cruise neutral for a while until you can get back up.” – Terri Guillemets
  8. “Start each day by affirming peaceful, contented, and happy attitudes and your days will tend to be pleasant and successful.” – Norman Vincent Peale
  9. “It is only possible to live happily ever after on a daily basis.” – Margaret Bonanno
  10. “Happiness is there for the taking — and making.” – Oprah
  11. “True happiness is an acceptance of life as it is given to us; with its diminishment, mystery, uncontrollability, and all.” – Michael Gilbert
Photo Credit: Eric Reisenberger (123rf.com)

7 Ways to Improve Your Emotional Wellness

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

According to the University of California (Davis), emotional wellness “involves the awareness, understanding, and acceptance of our feelings.” It’s a key element in maintaining a healthy balance in our lives and our relationships.

Of course, maintaining emotional wellness has its benefits: It can lead to success in work, relationships, and health. When you’re emotionally healthy, you’re also in control of your emotions and behavior; you’re better able to handle life’s challenges, you develop strong relationships, and are able to rebound from setbacks.

Being emotionally healthy also means you have:

  • A sense of contentment
  • A zest for living and are able to laugh and have fun
  • The ability to deal with stress
  • A sense of meaning and purpose (in both your activities and your relationships)
  • The flexibility to learn new things and adapt to change
  • A healthy balance between work and play, rest and activity, etc.
  • The ability to develop and maintain fulfilling relationships
  • Self-confidence and high self-esteem

How to Improve Emotional Wellness

Just like you work to improve your physical health and wellness, you should work on bettering your emotional wellness as well. In fact, taking care of your body is a great first step towards emotional health since, of course, the mind and body are linked. Exercise strengthens your heart and lungs while also releasing endorphins, a chemical that energizes us and lifts our moods. Other ways you can take care of your body (and by extension, your mind) include getting enough sleep and eating well.

And here are seven ways you can improve your emotional wellness:

  1. Learn or discover something new. You could take an adult education class, travel somewhere new (it doesn’t have to be far), or visit a museum.
  2. Enjoy art or nature. Check out a local art show, or take a walk through your neighborhood or a park.
  3. Manage your stress levels, and limit unhealthy mental habits like worrying. Practicing mindfulness and meditating are great ways to lower stress levels and help you worry less.
  4. Do work that’s meaningful and/or creative. This doesn’t have to be something you’re paid to do; it could be drawing, painting, knitting, or gardening.
  5. Take time for leisure. Watching a movie, reading a good book, talking to a friend, and listening to music are a few ideas.
  6. Practice gratitude. Take some time to focus on what’s good in your life.
  7. Connect with others. Ways to do this: Spend time face-to-face with loved ones; volunteer; join networking or other special interest groups in your city.

When to seek help

Below are red flag feelings/behaviors that might need immediate attention:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Concentration problems that interfere with your work or home life
  • Feeling down, hopeless, or helpless most of the time
  • Using nicotine, drugs, alcohol, or food to deal with difficult emotions
  • Negative or self-destructive thoughts or fears you can’t control
  • Thoughts of death or suicide (if you’re experiencing this, please call this number: 1.800.273.8255).

If you identify with any of the above, consider making an appointment with a mental health professional.

“Caring for the mind is as important and crucial as caring for the body. In fact, one cannot be healthy without the other.” – from Approaching the Natural: a Health Manfiesto

How do you make sure you’re emotionally well? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Source; Photo Credit (123rf.com/Michael Simons)

P.S. — Join me on Periscope (@blackgirlcalm) for my new series!
Periscope #MeditationMonday

Uproot What You’re Hushing With Affirmations

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

By Trelani Michelle

When I learned about affirmations, I felt like I was falling apart. From my finances to my beef with my supervisor to the disconnection with my partner and my son acting out in school, I was all over the place.

So learning that repeating certain phrases would rewire my subconscious and turn what I was saying into my reality seemed the perfect solution. Where do I sign up?

It didn’t take long to realize what was happening though. And it wasn’t necessarily trial and error because I’ve never doubted the power of affirming. I just realized that trying to talk over my problems wasn’t solving them. Reminding myself that I was healed and empowered every time the memory of molestation resurfaced wasn’t helping the issue. Or saying that my marriage was alive and well when it was simply not the truth. I was ignoring my termite problem by repainting the shutters.

Can you relate?

The issue or the hurt doesn’t have to be totally resolved in order for your affirmations to be made true, but work has to be in progress. The affirmations should serve as the faith behind the work.

The law of attraction calls for focus. In order to manifest your desires, you have to set your intentions, be specific in your requests, and maintain positive energy around it. If you are affirming instead of addressing what happened (or what might happen), then you can’t focus on that because you’re still mentally and emotionally, and maybe even physically, occupied by something else.

So when my thoughts aren’t where I want them to be, instead of hushing my problems with affirmations, I ease my way into the water by first considering if the issue is of the past or future. Both of them require gardening. You have to dig up all of your stuff, through the days, months or years, in order to get to the root of the problem. How so?

Go back to what happened.

Let it replay in your mind step-by-step. Recall your role in it, how it made you feel, and how you’ve been reacting according to that feeling since then. If others were involved, consider how their behavior influenced that feeling. Did you ever tell them? At this point in your life, do you desire to?

Now consider what you can do right now to feel better about the situation. Once upon a time, that meant writing my mother a letter. I didn’t send it to her right then and there, but getting it all out and speaking up for myself made me feel better. In another instance, finding a therapist who I felt could best understand me was my action step. Then other times, it’s as simple as verbally releasing it, reminding myself that it’s done and there’s nothing I can do about it but react differently in the future.

I have a bad habit of worrying. I get it from my mama (and her mama). Ain’t nothing even happen yet, but I will stress to no end about it if I don’t catch myself. Worrying about what might happen causes anxiety like a mofo, and affirmations are really helpful in redirecting your thought in these cases. However, sometimes it’s rooted a little deeper. Worrying that you’ll be betrayed or that you’ll soon go without or that you’ll be disliked or anything along those lines is a fear that’s usually based on something that happened a while back. Explore that possibility, and if you find that it is, then go back to what happened using the prompts above.

These questions are tools of self-exploration, which is the practice of considering what you do, what you think, how you feel, and then why you do, feel and think those things. Healing is a domino effect: Once one falls over, it’s like your subconscious is alerted that you’re ready for the next experience, and that can be exhausting. However, being the best damn you that you can possibly be depends on this work, which is why it’s the heart of my upcoming book, Women Who Ain’t Afraid to Curse When Communicating with God.

It’s a 31-day self-study guide of writing prompts, meditations and personal stories to support you in uprooting whatever is distracting you from tapping into your full power and potential. Interested? Learn more and order your copy by clicking here: http://bitly.com/spiritspeaks

 

 

                  11870717_10153032245272548_7478323016631293998_n                      Trelani Michelle was the girl beneath the covers with a flashlight and a journal. The teenager who documented her tragedies as poetry. The college student who experimented with erotic short stories. Now an author and Spiritual Writing Coach, her passions are novel writing, blogging, and teaching others how to explore and express their experiences through writing. Get to know her better at SoFundamental.com and on Instagram @Trelani_Michelle.

20 Quotes That Encourage Self-Care

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

 

One of the best ways to find your calm is to practice self-care. As women, many of us have the tendency to make sure everyone around us is taken care of before we worry about ourselves. And some of us don’t think about ourselves and what we need until we experience burnout or get sick. So before you get to that point, it’s important that you make self-care a priority. Of course, there are many ways to care for yourself — meditation, yoga, hitting the gym, reading a book, doing absolutely nothing — whatever it is, make sure you do something just for you at least once a day.

Still not convinced? Hopefully, these quotes will encourage you to make that time:

  1. “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” – Eleanor Brownn
  2. “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde
  3. “Saying no can be the ultimate self-care.” – Claudia Black
  4. “If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?” – Maya Angelou
  5. “Before anything (or anyone) else, make sure you are taking care of yourself. If you are not treating yourself well on the inside, you will not be healthy or happy on the outside. Self-care is essential to your wellness.” – Healthy-chicks.com
  6. “Self-care is never a selfish act — it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” – Parker Palmer
  7. “Today do something for you: Relax, clear your mind, take a break, go for a jog, watch the sunset. Enjoy the simple things. Enjoy you.” – Brooke Griffin
  8. “It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.” – Mandy Hale
  9. “Remember to be kind to yourself.” – Unknown
  10. “Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the way you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” – Deborah Day
  11. “When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.” – Jen Shinoda Bolen
  12. “For those of you who struggle with guilt regarding self-care, answer this question: What greater gift can you give to those you love than your own wholeness?” – Shannon Tanner
  13. “Occasionally indulging a do-nothing day is more than worth the price.” – Malcolm Forbes
  14. “Sometimes the most urgent and vital thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest.” – Ashleigh Brilliant
  15. “Everyone should take time out once in a while to recharge and revitalize their energy.”  Michael Lee
  16. “Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” – Ovid
  17. “You have to learn to say no without feeling guilty. Setting boundaries is healthy. You need to learn to respect and take care of yourself.” – Powerofpositivity.com
  18. “Self-love is asking yourself what you need — every day — and then making sure you receive it.” – Chooseselflove.com
  19. “Self-care is an act of self-love.” – Unknown
  20. “It does not do any good to be a rundown martyr. Strive to lead by example and become a model of healthy, vibrant self-care!” – Dr. Carla Marie Greco

Take care of you because you deserve it!

 

Photo Credit: luminastock/123rf.com

6 Resources I Use for Finding Calm

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Since this site and brand are all about helping you find your calm, I wanted to share some resources I use that help me stress less and/or find calm:

1. Yoga By Candace is my go-to virtual yoga teacher. I practice yoga almost every day, and if she’s not doing a monthly yoga challenge, I just choose a video from one of her playlists. Candace also has videos for beginners, and she breaks down many yoga poses. Oh, and she just release a free app, too.

2. Zen Habits. Created and (mostly) written by Leo Babauta, this is one of my favorite blogs for inspiration on simplifying my life and mind.

3. Calm is an app I recently found out about from my friend, Dea Winn (founder of Pretty Girls Rock Dresses). I actually just downloaded it a couple of days ago. The app has options for you to watch/listen to certain scenes while you meditate (like the ocean or rain), it has a timer, guided meditations, and a seven days of calm program.

4. Another meditation app I’ve used is Meditation Helper. If you want to practice meditation without music or sound, this app has a timer so you can put any amount of time you want to meditate.

5. Affirm Your Life is another site I love. On it, Che Garman has probably hundreds of quotes and affirmations for whatever life situation you might find yourself in. I’ve written down and use many of the affirmations she’s shared.

6. Smell Good Spa offers incense (among other things) that are great for making your home smell amazing and for use when you’re meditating or relaxing.

Honorable Mentions (i.e., other sites I love):

Do You Yoga

See Body Love Self

Radical Selfie

What resources (blogs, apps, websites) do you use for finding calm? Let me know by leaving a comment!

 

Photo via 123rf/Pavel Timofeev

18 Inspirational Quotes for Creating More Joy and Peace

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

As much as I want to feel peace and joy 24/7, obviously, there are times I don’t. If I’m feeling sad, angry, frustrated, etc., I do let myself feel what I feel and work through my emotions. At some point, though, it’s time to move on to how I really want to feel: peaceful, calm, and joyful.

If you want to do the same but just can’t seem to do so, these quotes might help:

  1. “You don’t have to do it all.” – Unknown
  2. “Stress makes you believe that everything has to happen right now. Faith reassures you that everything will happen in God’s timing.” – Spiritual inspiration
  3. “Take your pleasure seriously.” – Charles Eames
  4. “Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now. And that’s a revelation for some people: to realize that your life in only ever now.” – Eckhart Tolle
  5. “Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” – Marianne Williamson
  6. “You cannot breathe deeply and worry at the same time. Breathe. Let the worry go. Breathe. Allow the love and intuition in.” – Sonia Choquette
  7. “Stop overthinking; you’re only creating problems that aren’t there.” – Kushandwizdom
  8. “Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” – Dalai Lama
  9. “Be mindful of the future…but not at the expense of the moment.” – Qui Gon Jinn
  10. “Ego says, ‘Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.’ Spirit says, ‘Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.'” – Marianne Williamson
  11. “Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.” – Unknown
  12. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” – 1 Peter 5:7 
  13. “Joy is not the absence of suffering. It is the presence of God.” – Robert Schuller
  14. “There is no joy without gratitude.” – Brene Brown
  15. “Joy is being able to see God’s goodness even when life is hard and messy.” – iBloom.com
  16. “We have to choose joy and keep choosing it.” – Henri J.M. Nouwen
  17. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6,7