Mind, Body & Soul

1024 683 Ellen Branch

5 ways to de-stress: HOLIDAY EDITION

Already spinning from the countless trips to the grocery store you’ve taken this week?Below are a few tips to help you maintain inner peace during the holiday madness. From kooky aunt Viv to obnoxious cousin Pete; keep your sanity and remain stress free!!

Meditate:

Find a quiet, semi-lit room. Set your timer for 30 minutes, and be sure to set the alarm tone to something subtle and soft. Find a comfortable seat. You can lay on your back, kneel, or sit: cross-legged or in a chair. To prepare your body for uninterrupted stillness find your center by stacking shoulders over hips. Close your eyes and draw your attention to your breath. In through your nose and out through your nose. Each moment you inhale take in love and acceptance, and as you exhale release the snark remarks cousin Pete made about your slightly burnt dressing. Before you know it, your timer will go off and all the drama will seem a little less important than the time you have to spend with them!

Take a Walk:

After dinner and dishes, take 20-30 minutes to walk around the neighborhood or to your favorite store. I like to walk solo but some areas aren’t safe so use the buddy system. Before you start walking take a moment to set your intention.  Inhale clarity and exhale spilling the wine on the table. (I’d have a moment of silence for a bold red blend…) Each step you take brings you closer to home and loved ones and further away from stress and anxiety. Before you know it you will have made it home and created space for more bonding.

Aromatherapy:

When I think  of the holidays, I instantly smell my mother’s sweet potato pies. Our sense of smell is a powerful way to bring about feelings of happiness and nostalgia. Scented candles and essential oils containing sandalwood, eucalyptus, sage, or peppermint; scream relaxation and warm the spirit. Find peace in the reminiscent memories of holidays past.

Doodle:

I love to doodle, especially with my younger family members. There are no expectations surrounding what to draw or how much to draw. A circle could be a cloud or a bubble or even a face. Its whatever you want it to be!!

Yoga:

Everyone knows how affective yoga can be to aid in calming the sympathetic nervous system associated with fight or flight and stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system associated with our rest and renew function. The poses below aide in activating the parasympathetic system and are excellent to do before meals or bedtime

(this is the secret key to keeping pounds off too!! wake up your belly before you pile in the turkey. And the stuffing.. And the mac n cheese!)

…Nothing to it but to DO IT!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What exercises do you do when you are feeling stressed? Let’s chat below!

1024 683 Khija Rockett

Learn the single most powerful habit to transform your health

Thoughts are like gnats.

You can either swat them away, or just let them buzz. Unfortunately no matter how hard you try to control to your thoughts and do-away with emotions, the reverse may happen and you can become consumed by your thoughts. In my experience, being mindful is the solution to battling internal conflict. Being mindful means allowing your thoughts and feelings to come and go without labeling them as “good” or “bad”. You have to be patient with the present moment and live in it. If you don’t like how you are feeling, challenge the thought by re-routing your thinking and focus. Don’t let negative energy rent a space in your mind. Negative energy plants a toxic seed rooted in worry, anxiety, and anger, which grows into harmful thought patterns.

At this point it becomes difficult to separate the rational mind from the emotional mind. However, we have control over which mind we give our attention to. The power to control your focus is a major key to becoming mindful. By controlling the direction of your attention, you can learn how to attract positivity into your life. As you pursue your dreams a force will arise and try to prevent you from moving forward. It takes the form of fear, self-doubt, and procrastination. You can’t have the dream without the shadow, so fight this feeling and overcome it. Channel your energy into positive thoughts. Defeat is in your mind and resilience is in your soul.

Decorate your mind with positive thoughts and turn pain into power and motivation. This will lead to beneficial habits that promote your advancement. You can achieve whatever you envision. Focus on the journey not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in doing it. Not everyone can take the same pathway to success, and someone else’s success doesn’t block your own blessings. We all have to blaze our own trail and find our unique purpose. There is a role only you can play, testimony only you can give, and a life only you can touch. Don’t get discouraged by your current situation. Adversity is a test of mental toughness. You will never be faced with a difficulty that you can’t overcome.

Focus on what the next best step is for you, write down your goals, and be intentional with following through. Our brain works by addition not subtraction. You can’t take away the bad, but you can work to make it right. Where attention goes, energy flows. The thoughts you think and the words you speak become the home you live in. Mindfulness also translates into how you nourish your body. Proper nutrition and a positive mindset will help you live your fullest life. When beginning the journey to be healthier, start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can. It’s important to set realistic goals. Once you’ve become more mindful, you’re able to tune into your body and help it become balanced with vital nutrients that are often overlooked, and pushed to the wayside in favor of foods that offer poor nutrient quality. Mindfully eating unites your body and spirit to provide nourishment that helps you live your fullest life.

 

500 317 Diamonde Williamson

Want results? : Directing Your Energy to What’s Really Matters

I love the quote,”What you focus on becomes your reality.” With age, I’ve come to learn what this really means. Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “If you go looking for something, you’ll find it.” tumblr_n42af5zmAv1r7njmeo1_500

Like when I would look in my ex-boyfriend’s phone, I would always find something. Well to be specific, I would always find what I was looking for: a text from a girl, a FaceTime chat with a girl, etc. I would look for evidence of him cheating, and I would find it–every single time.

In hindsight, that focus on him cheating became my reality. It was all I could think about. Whether good or bad, what you give your energy to will expand. What you water will grow.

Let me give you another example. If you want a promotion at work what should you do? Do you start thinking of ways to submit your two week notice or try and become a better employee? I’m hoping and expecting for you to say the latter. And most of the time when you give everything you’ve got to making sure you get that promotion, you do.

This principle can be applied everywhere in your life. If you want get healthy, direct your energy toward what it takes to be healthy on your terms. If you want to travel to Europe for two weeks, plan what you need to do to make it happen and direct your energy to that. Or if you want to leave your 9 to 5 to pursue what your heart really desires, direct your energy to that.

stock-footage-close-up-smiling-ethnic-girl-holding-toy-pin-wheel-enjoying-energy-of-life-outdoors-shot-on-red-epicGive it all you got. Attack it! Whatever it is attack! Whatever your heart wants from you, you deserve it. You’ve earned it. So act like it and go after it.

What area of life are you seeking results from? Whatever it is, write it down as a goal and include a list of 5 things you need to do to make it happen. Then, direct your energy to that. I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below.

1024 576 Zakyree Wallace

Meditations on Directing Your Energy

Happy Saturday!

Today, let’s take the time to become aware of and in tune with our energies. What you focus your attention on is what you allow to be strengthened by your energy. Take this as a lesson to focus on what’s important to you and what you want to manifest in your life.

1024 641 Zakyree Wallace

10 Affirmations to Give Power to Your Day

Looking for a boost in confidence? Motivation to keep going? Reminder of your core values? If so, you’re in the right place.

Affirmations are statements that you can use to achieve balance, security, energy, comfort, confidence, and healing. The list truly goes on.

There are countless ways you can use affirmations, but to put it simply: they are a way to speak what you want, who you are, and who you want to be into existence. They act as a tool to help map out your life and set clear intentions and wants for yourself.

While they don’t have to be said daily, it’s best to get into the habit of using them for encouragement—trust me, your day will be better for it.

Check out these daily affirmations:

  1. I am enough.
  2. I am loved and can love.
  3. I am grateful for all I have.
  4. I deserve to heal and grow.
  5. I am proud to wear my truth.
  6. I am confident in my ability to learn.
  7. I am an active participant in my life.
  8. I decide who I let into my life and what affects me.
  9. I pledge to search for love, honesty, and trust before I look for hate, deceit, and dishonesty.
  10. I can acknowledge that the light I see in others is the same light that shines in me.

What do you think? Those are my personal affirmations, but did any of them strike a chord within you?

Feel free to create your own personalized affirmations! All you need is an intention or appreciation and an action or feeling and boom—you’re affirmation is formed.

I encourage this process because you can learn a lot about your self that may not have been clear if you haven’t taken the time to reflect on what you want out of life and why.

What do you think about these affirmations? Do you have any of your own you use regularly? Share with our community in the comments below!

1024 518 Zakyree Wallace

4 Quick Ways to Make Any Bad Day Better

We’ve all been here. We get disappointing news, forget due dates, or sleep through all five of our alarms. Things happen, but it should only affect your mood in that moment, not for every single moment in that day.

Where would we be if we carried the weight of everything that’s ever gone wrong with the world? Probably stuck standing in place and frustrated. So why do we think it’s a good idea to dwell on everyday disappointments? It doesn’t add up.

You may feel like you’re doing something righteous, but holding on to negative emotions are unhealthy and in no way worth it in the long run.

You need to let go. Here’s some ways how:

  1. Reminisce

Sometimes it is good for you. Stop what you’re doing and reflect on a good or funny memory. Where were you? Who was there? Why was it memorable? Allow yourself to go back to that place and sit in the positive emotions from that memory for a few moments.

  1. Look at pictures of loved ones

I don’t know about you, but it’s really hard for me to look at pictures of my 2-year-old nephew in his pumpkin Halloween costume and not feel happy or at least laugh a bit.

Remembering those who know and love you can invoke feelings of security and contentment in you. Yes, something happened that you wish didn’t, but at the end of the day you know you are loved. So what else really matters?

  1. Focus on your breath

Paying attention to your breath is an indispensable tool for grounding yourself. You won’t need much time for this. Take two minutes, or more if you like (the longer the better), to inhale, exhale and follow the path of your breath.

  1. Be present

This step can be applied to many situations. When you are fully present in the moment, you don’t have room to focus on anything else. This isn’t compartmentalizing or burying emotions in your subconscious. It’s understanding that there is a time and place for everything, and the time for you to linger on negative emotions is up.

Every day won’t turn out the way you want, or the way you expect, but that shouldn’t be an excuse to remain stuck in the past.

If you take a moment to simply observe, life is always happening.  And it’s up to you to decide whether you want to be a part of your present or your past.

 

1024 576 Zakyree Wallace

3 Things to do when you’re indecisive

What is something we can all say we’ve felt when indecisive? Confused? Conflicted? Lost? Unsure? Maybe these terms are starting to sound familiar.

When faced with big and small decisions, these feelings are common and should be expected. Change and transition don’t come without an element of fear, but this isn’t a bad thing.

Being afraid primarily helps us remember what is most important to us. Fear of making decisions or change should not immobilize you—it should steer you in the direction you need to go in.

  1. Make a decision.

Seriously, just make a decision. I know it seems like an oversimplified answer to a big problem, but you must realize that feeling indecisive won’t just go away overnight. It “goes away” when you make a decision.

Some people are thinking right now “but what if I make the wrong decision?” when they actually mean, “what happens if my decision takes me somewhere I didn’t want to go?”

This leads to the next thing to do when indecisive:

  1. Realize that your life is full of possibilities

I challenge you to reconsider how you think about making “wrong decisions.” Now don’t get me wrong, there are such things as bad decisions. For instance, committing a crime or participating in something that you know will negatively impact someone, is a definite bad decision. That’s not what I’m talking about here.

The real beauty of life is how full of possibilities it is. Each day we make hundreds, maybe even thousands, of decisions–from how we interact with people and the route we take to work to where we do our shopping. Believe it or not, all of these decisions are in constant play with each other to influence your present and future.

possibiltiy

I like to think of it this way. Say you went to a frozen yogurt place and picked between two flavors. Now you just get to enjoy the taste of one of the flavors and not the other. Yes, you’ll be missing out in that moment, but you got a great, or maybe not so great, experience out of that one flavor.  Does this mean you made the wrong decision and should have picked the other flavor? No! The phrase “you live and you learn” is popular for a reason y’all.

  1.  Embrace uncertainty

Would life be half as enjoyable if we all knew what to expect from it, or if we all stayed in our comfort zones? I’m pretty confident that it wouldn’t be.

Living predictably seems like an incredibly monotonous existence. The best experiences and ideas happen when we break out of routine and try something new.

So the next time you find yourself feeling indecisive (because it will happen), don’t worry. Realize that those feelings are a part of life and keep it moving.  

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Don’t Fear The Fall: Rise Up& Attack (Motivation)

We often get caught in a downward swirl. Nothing seems to work out as planned, obstacles keep popping up in the least expected moments and it looks as though all forces stand against us. In such scenarios, we give up when the going gets tough.

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Fortunately, many renowned personalities remind us that there is no failure except in no longer trying.

But why do some of us fail in the pursuit of dreams and aspirations? Why don’t things work out even when we try? There are a few factors to take into consideration.

  1. Lack of well-defined purpose of life. Not knowing exactly what you want to achieve will get you turning round in circles with no concrete aim to work towards.
  2. Sometimes we do know what we want to achieve, but lack ambition–will-power and self-discipline to move forward without sacrifice. Nothing comes easy and sacrificing is a part of the process which gets us closer to our goal.
  3. That leads us to persistence. You may be a good starter, enthusiastic and zealous, but being a bad finisher is a trait which will keep you stagnant.
  4. Fear stops majority of us from trying to achieve our goals.  Fear of poverty, criticism, taking risks and failing, keep us in our comfort zone and just like it implies, we stay in the same place with little progress.
  5. According to our society, it is seen as credible to become a doctor, a lawyer or any profession of high status. Very often we choose the wrong profession and become somebody we are not. This is a perfect recipe to unhappiness, indifference and dormancy.

If you are going through some tough moments in life, it is time to sit up and get your act together. We are the creators of how we live our lives through the choices we make. No excuses. Take responsibility. Define your purpose of life! Discipline yourself! Be a good finisher! Do not fear the fall, catch the wind and you shall fly! Follow your heart and passion and everything else should naturally fall into place!

Be inspired!

rise

 

Featured Image: Google Search Images

1024 467 Zakyree Wallace

The Sun Is Out, And I Am not Afraid

Winter is finally over. It’s 7:30 p.m. as I’m typing this, and the soft rays of the sun are enriching my skin.

The recent appearance of the sun has lead me to spend more time outside–napping, hanging out with friends, or relaxing.

These days the warm sun, and its gift of a nice tan, are welcoming, unlike the days during middle school when I would stay inside or wear long sleeves to avoid my skin getting darker.

If only I’d embraced then the beauty of melanin rich skin. Or if I’d known the things exposure to the sun can do for your mood, skin, and overall health.

I’m at peace with that part of my life now because I love my blackness and everything that comes with it–the color, lips, strength, and history. I could go on and on about why I love to be black, but I’ll leave that for another post.

So here’s to standing in the sun (no, not a Scandal reference). Here’s to the summer, and the color that my ancestors fought hard to be held in high regard.

 

Photo credit: Micolo J

1024 588 Zakyree Wallace

Hold on Health, I’m Trying to Build My Life

It’s times like these when I sit down to write something relevant and interesting for our Natura readers that I’m reminded by how disconnected I feel with everything that I’m “supposed” to be interested in. It turns out living in a perpetual state of tiredness with chronic headaches for several months can have that effect, go figure.

It’s 11 a.m. on a Tuesday morning, and despite having slept for 10 hours, I am exhausted. I don’t have class until 2 p.m., so I spend the next two hours trying to build enough energy to get out of bed and exist. Meanwhile, I’m thinking about all I have to do today and didn’t do yesterday (or the day before that, or the day before that).

“All I ever really want to know is how other people are making it through life—where do they put their body, hour by hour, and how do they cope inside of it.” – Miranda July

Eventually, I get up, shower, and go to class. In class, I’m waiting to get out of class. None of that holds my interest or attention anymore. Instead of participating in class, I think about all the things I’d like to be creating, the emotions I’d like to experience. I look up. People are leaving, time for my next class.

This has been my life for the last 8 months. These past months have been the most debilitating months of my life. I’ve never felt more physically, mentally, and spiritually unhealthy than I do now. Not the most ideal way to start one’s first year of college, right?

I came to college excited to learn and meet people and intentions to be as involved as possible. And don’t get me wrong; I’ve done all of that. It just hasn’t felt as fulfilling as I’d thought it be. To be brutally honest, I hasn’t been fulfilling at all. I don’t feel like I’m aligned with my purpose yet, and it’s throwing me off.

It’s times like these when I sit down to write something relevant and interesting for our Natura readers that I’m reminded by how disconnected I feel with everything that I’m “supposed” to be interested in. It turns out living in a perpetual state of tiredness with chronic headaches for several months can have that effect, go figure.

Hanging out with friends and trying to bury myself in obligations hasn’t done much for my outlook either. Keeping busy is difficult when you lack the motivation to do something as simple as making up your bed.

Although it’s remarkable how little I do each day (being a college student), I manage to consistently feel busy and like I have no time to focus on myself. When I do have time, I often feel remarkably unoriginal and uncreative.

I suppose what I’m feeling is unbalanced. It’s strange to me how aware I can be of my unhealthy condition, yet so unable to come out of it.

This isn’t at all how I imagined this part of my life to be.  And if I can be cliché for a moment, I have things to do, people to see, and I can say that I can’t, or wouldn’t, enjoy that where I am now.

Have you ever gone through a time like this is your life? What are some things you did to rediscover your creativity or motivation? Share in the comments below.