#CalmTip 24: Take a Social Media Break

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

With all the tragedy, violence, and heartache going on in the world, social media can be a place full of negative news. If you’re like me, you want to stay aware of what’s going on (to a degree), but seeing it constantly on your timeline can be overwhelming and draining. To center yourself and find calm, it helps to take a break from social media, whether it’s for a few hours, a day or longer. Use the time to read something positive or inspirational or do something to get you closer to your goals.

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?

#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.

Visualizing with Meditation

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

Visualizing is a great tool to create more calm in your life, especially when coupled with meditation and deep breathing. Below is a guided meditation audio that includes visualization (if you prefer to read how to do it and do it on your own, go here). It’s just a few minutes long, and you can do it anywhere.

I hope you enjoy it!

“To bring anything into your life, imagine that it’s already there.” – Richard Bach

 

 

#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

My First Experience With Hot Yoga

 

Black Girl's Guide to Calm

I’d been wanting to try a hot yoga class for a while, and I finally got up enough nerve to actually go on Monday. This was my first time going to any type of yoga class, but overall, it was a great experience.

I was super nervous about going for a few reasons:

1) I figured I’d be the only Black person there (I was), and I thought the other attendees would look at me like I was crazy. They didn’t. During class, we were all focused on the movement and not passing out (at least I was), and afterward, I actually talked with some of the ladies, and they were cool.

2) It’s hot yoga. I go to the gym, so I’m used to getting sweaty from working out. But moving around in 90 degrees is a whooole different ball game. The first maybe 10-15 minutes were okay, but by the end of the class, I was literally covered in sweat — head to toe. It was pretty intense, but it felt good.

3) I was trying something new, something out of my comfort zone. I’m an introvert, and I’m not very fond of crowds. I can also be self-conscious and a perfectionist, so the thought of practicing yoga in front of others made me feel really uncomfortable. But once the class began, and I focused on myself and my breath, I forgot about everyone else in the room for the most part. And that’s what yoga is about: “Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” (The Bhagavad Gita)

Like I mentioned, the class was an amazing experience, and I definitely recommend it. Here are a few tips if you’re about to head to hot yoga for the first time:

Drink at least one bottle of water before you go. (And bring one to class). I already have migraines, and dehydration triggers it. I made the mistake of drinking very little water beforehand, and I could feel a headache coming on in the middle of the session. Also, there were a few times I got a little lightheaded. So make sure you drink up before and after.

Wear a sweatband or headband. You will get super sweaty in hot yoga, and the sweat will get in your eyes; wear something to prevent that from happening.

Wear suitable clothing. 90 degrees is hot, and it feels even hotter when you’re holding poses. Make sure you wear clothing that doesn’t restrict you or that are uncomfortable. I wore yoga shorts and a white, cotton tank top.

Bring a towel (or two). You’ll want to cover your mat with a towel (either a towel you bring from home or a yoga towel) so it doesn’t get slippery from the sweat. You might want to bring another towel to wipe your face and hands as well.

Try to remain focused on your breath — and keep breathing. The first time doing hot yoga (and probably the next couple of times after that), your mind will wander, thinking about how hot it is and wondering how much longer you’ll have to endure. Instead, try to let go of your thoughts, keep breathing fully, and focus on your breath.

Have you tried hot yoga? What tips do you have for newbies?

P.S. — I’m now offering one-on-one calm sessions! If you could use some assistance with finding more calm in your life, I’d love to work with you. Get more info below.

Black Girl's Guide to Calm