empowering your Self-Love
Self-love is one of the most beautiful things about life. It is a practice that allows you to dip into a bottomless well of warm nurturing love to guide you on your journey. Self-love begins with recognizing that you are responsible for your own well being, and that your self worth has been within YOU all along. Begin to take the steps to fall in love with yourself, to create relationships with your aches and pains, and to see the best in yourself the same way you would with a loved one.
Begin with mindfulness of your self-talk and self-criticism, try exercising support and encouragement towards yourself! Allow yourself to love your past, present and future, giving the child in you some care and pursue making peace with anything standing in your way of self-love. Self-love is about putting your wellness and happiness first instead of sacrificing them for outside validation or false priorities.
Make room for healthy habits, practice self-care and set healthy boundaries for yourself. Pursue the things your mind, body and soul need, rather than need! The chances that you exist and are YOU are literally impossible. You, my dear, are a miracle and temple that is worthy of self-love! Fall in love with yourself and all that you have been through, fall in love with yourself and let love guide your path of joy and happiness.
How to practice self-love
How can we explore self-love? Not only has positive psychology laid out a number of ways for us to practice self-love, but cultures all over the world have emphasized an active engagement with self-love!
Mantra & Pranayama
Repeat aloud, feeling the vibration of your voice empower the mantra through your mind and body:
"I love and accept myself deeply, all things are possible and I am filled to the brim with golden worth"
Deep breaths with audible sighs, letting go and adjusting your frequency
Sit upon the Earth (floor) and practice deep breathing with a 3-4 second inhale and a 6-8 second exhale to induce calm. Allow the mind to clear. Begin to reflect on the qualities and strengths that you love about yourself. Bring a moment to mind that you are proud of, and identify what it is about you that allowed that moment to happen. Begin to allow social norms and the desire to compare melt off and your inner tone towards yourself to shift.
You have the power of manifestation
In order to achieve something or create the reality you dream of, you must first believe you can do it. What stands in the way of creating abundance and happiness in your journey? YOU! In order to manifest the reality you desire, you must not only believe you can create it but believe that you are already living it!
So often, we are stuck in the past or too zoned into the future. However, the nectar of your journey is in the present moment, enjoying the journey as it is happening. When you practice mindfulness and bring yourself into the present moment, you are able to steer the ship of your journey! Finding yourself in the smile of a child, or the energy of a good song, or giggle with a loved one. In these moments, you have access to the ability to direct your decisions, interpretations and actions into alignment with the journey you want for yourself.
Positivity psychology shows us how to create and enjoy our present happiness through embracing our strengths. So, put down the social norm of modesty and become aware of what is makes you AWESOME! Think of your journey as a sailboat. Think of the holes in your sailboat as your weaknesses and the sails of your sailboat as your strengths. If you are only focused on finding all of the holes in your boat, you won't be able to ever ENJOY the breeze and thrill of sailing forward! So, bring your gaze up, apply some focus to your inner power and your strengths as the wind in your sails!
Ways to Manifest Your Journey
It begins with becoming aware of the journey you desire to live. Take a moment everyday to remind yourself of the purpose you want to fill and the reality you want to live and create! Believe and live your life as though all you desire is a reality, and you will attract the universe to make it so.
Repeat aloud, feeling the vibration of your voice empower the mantra through your mind and body. Take deep breaths with audible sighs, letting go and adjusting your frequency:
"I release any influences and energies holding me back and embrace that I am worthy of the journey I dream of right NOW!"
Want to kick up your meditation practice and see how it can affect your life? Join us for our Heavily Meditated class on Wednesdays, live-streamed for access wherever you are! To reserve your spot, click HERE
Can't make a class? We have meditations on demand! Explore HERE
"Compassion is in our blood" -The Dalai Lama
Compassion is truly a phenomenal and miraculous entity. When embraced as a core foundation of how we navigate life, compassion positively impacts our brain function and thus the quality of our reality! Some may see compassion as an emotion, others a religious/spiritual application, while positive psychology scholars see it as a strength for thriving and Buddhists see it as a way of life. So, how do you see it? What does compassion mean to you?
"Compassion is in our blood," the Dalai Lama says. Living in a state of compassion is one of the Buddhist sublime states. After a meeting with the Dalai Lama, neuroscientist, Richard Davidson, stopped studying anxiety and depression pathologies and instead began researching and examining compassion and loving-kindness. He was fascinated with his findings, concluding that "compassion is a kind of state that involves the body in a major way." Studies and research shows that engaging in a compassionate state, specifically through compassion meditation, activates the anterior insula part of the brain, an important center where brain-body coordination takes place. During this state you find high-amplitude gamma-oscillations in the brain, which increase the brain's capacity for change, learning and resilience.
In energy medicine, the Anahata heart chakra represents love and compassion for ourselves and others. So, a balanced heart space is lovingly accepting the self and feeling compassionate to others in spite of the pain or sadness in our lives. In western medicine, compassion-focused therapy (cft) is a life changing method of treatment for mental illness that helps patients gain control over self-criticism and self-doubt. Compassion is has proven to be a miraculous therapeutic tool of wellness, spiritually, physically and mentally in all schools of thought around the world!
Compassion is a heartfelt wish that all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. Consciously practicing empathy towards the self and others leads to compassion and compassionate states of being.
Showing kindness and generosity to help those who need us is a powerful way to practice compassion. "There are systematic changes in the brain that are associate with acts of generosity," Davidson says. Generosity when you are able is a way to engage in the energetic homeostasis of our world and to help others. When we put out good intentions and energy into the universe, it feels good because it is good. Just like a tree will share its nutrients if it's neighbor tree is sick, so will it receive the same in return when its ecosystem is thriving again. Give where you can, and when in need, receive as well!
Growing and evolving through compassion involves engaging in a deep rigorous compassionate process of self-examination which lends clarity to your mind and heart. To access and practice compassion, take inventory of your heart space and engage in the process of making peace with anything that may be holding you back from the full power of compassion. Ask yourself: What prevents me from feeling love and compassion? This process is largely highlighted in yoga philosophy, through practicing the niyamas and yamas, which are methods of how to conduct the self within the self and conduct yourself within your environment.
3. Embody Courage
Why do some people feel worthy of compassion and love while others don't? The answer to this question lies in the positive psychology strength of courage. To expand the consciousness through compassion, courage to be imperfect has to be practiced. It involves embracing vulnerability and being compassionate to the self. Have courage to ask yourself hard questions, and have courage to confront and heal whatever it is that is holding you back. A compassionate state, within the self and outside of the self, requires a sense of courage to see that what makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.
Practice the power of GRATITUDE! Through gratitude and a grateful heart, embracing compassion towards the self and all beings comes naturally! For more education on the power of gratitude and how to practice, check out our blog article Is Gratitude a Super Power !
Compassion is born from empathy. Empathy is about taking a moment to put yourself in someone else's shoes, to listen and try to genuinely understand where they are coming from. Once you access empathy for all beings, you can ignite your inner compassion and send them loving, compassionate energy. Tied into empathy is the concept of judgment. Judging the self or others harshly can be a heavy burden and a dark habit, it is a tendency of the ego. When we put the judgment down and pick of the torch of empathy and compassion, it is like a new power within is lit and liberation pours over the self.
See through a lens of love. Put on your love glasses, ESPECIALLY when you don't want to! Try to see all beings and situations with love. This ties in with the practicing empathy and setting the self free through non-judgment.
Many of the studies mentioned above were done on groups after practicing compassion meditations and on spiritual monks who actively live compassionately on a daily basis. Check out the compassion meditation below!
Begin by breathing deeply and using the breath to access the sensation and sentiment of compassion. Use compassion to clear your mind of worry.
Become aware of a loved one, some who you love deeply and notice how this love feels in your heart. Notice any sensations within the heart space while love is present. Allow yourself to sincerely wish them well, even saying "May you be free, may you be free from suffering, may you be happy, truly truly happy, may you be free." Feel compassion pour from the self to that person, visualizing extending a golden light from your heart to that person.
Repeat this practice with a neutral person (acquaintance)
Repeat with someone with whom you have difficulty in your life (an enemy perhaps)
Repeat this towards all beings of the universe
Repeat this towards the self
Allow compassion to envelope your entire body and consciousness. Deep breaths as you send compassion to all beings, to the self and to the world.
Chant aloud, feeling the vibration of your voice empower the mantra through your mind and body
Want to kick up your meditation practice and see how it can affect your life? Join us for our Heavily Meditated class on Wednesdays, live-streamed for access wherever you are! To reserve your spot, click HERE
Can't make a saturday class? We have meditations on demand! Explore HERE
Sources and Medical Journals:
Shonin, E., Van Gordon, W., Compare, A. et al. Buddhist-Derived Loving-Kindness and Compassion Meditation for the Treatment of Psychopathology: a Systematic Review. Mindfulness 6, 1161–1180 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-014-0368-1
Lutz A, Brefczynski-Lewis J, Johnstone T, Davidson RJ (2008) Regulation of the Neural Circuitry of Emotion by Compassion Meditation: Effects of Meditative Expertise. PLoS ONE 3(3): e1897. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0001897
R. J. Davidson and A. Lutz, "Buddha's Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation [In the Spotlight]," in IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 176-174, 2008, doi: 10.1109/MSP.2008.4431873.
The rich therapeutic benefits of Rosemary
Let’s talk about Rosemary! What’s the deal with this little puzzle piece to our health that grows plentiful from our Earth? Rosemary is a favorite herb for cooking to kick in some extra flavor, but it also offers an array of health benefits. It is interesting to think that this herb tastes good to us because our body is trying to encourage us to take part in it. Native to the Mediterranean, rosemary is now embraced in cultures and medicine all over the world. Let’s explore the best ways to use Rosemary, the benefits and how it can be a game changer for your mind and body!
Methods of Rosemary Intake:
4. Cooking- Add dried rosemary and/or rosemary infused oils, broths, and sauces to your recipes! Check out some recipes HERE!!
5. Aromatherapy- Add Rosemary essential oils to an aromatherapy diffuser! You can also rub a rosemary infused oil into your palms, cup over your face and take deep breaths. You can find a pure Rosemary infused oil HERE
It is always important to consult your physician before incorporating rosemary into your routine. We have seen that rosemary has the potential to be powerful, and it can be contraindicated for certain medications and conditions. It’s also important to start small with your intake of a new herb, to make sure you don’t have any adverse reactions, such as nausea, or allergies.
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Thanksgiving Edition Blog 2020
Elevating Your Reality with the power of gratitude
Gratitude is a super power that can be honed and developed to change the way you see your reality. When we practice gratitude and begin to live our lives from a vantage point of gratefulness and therefor wisdom, we adjust the vibration and frequency that we are able to operate from. Why does gratitude require wisdom?
Eventually in age comes the discovery of impermanence, that tomorrow really is not promised. If you can embrace this TODAY, you are able to soak in the blessings of what you have. You are able to experience the richness of LIFE as it's happening, you gain access to the nectar of existence. You see simple things, such as the roof over your head, the food in your belly, your family, for what they are... gifts. The day you are experiencing right now is a gift, and the only appropriate response is gratefulness.
When we adjust our mindset towards gratitude and away from complaining, away from negativity, we readjust our brains filter of our reality. Interrupt anxiety with gratefulness. The reticular activating system within our brains serves as the filter we create, and it filters information according to what we deem a priority. So, if you are consistently focusing on the fact that you never have enough, your brain will filter your reality to match this. If you are practicing gratitude and aware of the abundance of your life, your reality will be filtered to match this.
After a three week study at Berkeley of 100 participants, practicing gratitude revealed a changed MRI scan. There was more activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, the brain area associated with learning and decision making. Actively practicing gratitude has been found to have incredibly positive impacts on not only our mental health but also our physical health. Gratefulness brings us out of survival mode, it takes us out of the pattern of chronic stress because it is impossible to feel stress and gratitude at the same time! Stress and gratitude require the usage of different parts of the brain that can't be used simultaneously. So, we eliminate the negative effects of stress while encouraging circulation and health through activating the parasympathetic nervous system! This is our body's natural ability to heal, through circulation, digestive operations, heart health and so much more!
Gratitude = The secret key to a life of abundance!
How to practice gratitude
Now that we understand the powerful impact that gratitude can have on our lives, how do we practice it? Not only has positive psychology laid out a number of ways for us to practice gratefulness, but cultures all over the Mworld have emphasized an active engagement with gratitude!
Gratitude Journal - Create a journal just to express gratitude and make note of things, people, places, anything you are grateful for! These can be small things, like the breakfast you had this morning or a kindness you experienced. They can also be big things and reflections from the past that make you smile! Practice this for an extended amount of time to gain ultimate benefits.
Letters of Gratitude - Write letters of gratitude to the people in your life who you cherish! Let the people in your life know you are grateful for them! Write a few letters a week for 3 weeks, this is the study that Berkeley used when measuring the impact of gratitude on the brain!
Meditation - Create a safe, quiet space to meditate in a comfortable position. Reflect on simple things you are grateful for, such as the breath, and then reflect on your life and your many blessings! Tune into our Virtual Class Library to gain access to Gratitude Meditations and Gratitude Yoga Classes pre-recorded!
Mindfulness - Pause throughout the day and bring yourself into the moment you are in to be grateful for it and enjoy it! For example, when you are eating a meal reflect on the journey the ingredients took to nourish your body. Take a sip of water and practice gratefulness that you have clean water to drink. Soak in life as its happening!
Self Talk - Become aware of your reactions and self-talk. If your mindset is that of scarcity and not having enough, take a moment to pause and practice gratitude for the gift that you are experiencing another day. If you are stuck in a loop of self doubt, pause and take a moment to look ahead and focus on where you want to go and be grateful that there is potential around every corner to accomplish your dreams! You got this!
Halloween Blog Edition 2020
Exploring magic in your wellness routine
What is magic? We all have different ideas that come to mind when we hear or read the word... MAGIC. Because magic has such diversity of interpretation, we are going to look at MAGIC through the eyes of Positive Psychology and leave it open for you to create your own connection in whatever way feels right to you!
Magic is the source of awe and surprise, it creates a reaction both physical and emotional within the self. Positive Psychology sees "magic" as something so exceptional, supernatural or outside of perceived normalcy, that it invokes astonishment and wonder. Often when we stay within our comfort zone, not branching out to try new things and test our beliefs, the childlike sense of wonder and awe we are born with becomes less and less accessible. So, magic becomes an avenue to awaken that awe, it becomes an avenue to adjusting your vibration to positivity.
The benefits of the emotions of "awe" and "astonishment" are directly connected to psychological, social and physical wellbeing. When you experience or witness magic, your blood pressure reduces, oxygen flow is improved, inflammation markers are decreased and a cocktail of neurochemicals is released in the brain to create perfect conditions for optimum human functioning. Magic is also pro-social behavior because you are more aware of your connection to something much larger than us, you feel more grounded in the circuit of life and are more inclined to help your circumstances and help other people around you.
How To practice Magic
Magic is defined by a connection to something greater than the self, a practice that invokes awe and wonder in the mind and body. Carving out some time to manifest your higher self can be powerful! You can incorporate magic into your personal beliefs and cultural practices, make it your own! What would a magic ritual look like to you? Here are some ideas to get you started! You may notice the synergy between the practices below and belief systems around the world!
Wellness Routine- Mix magic into a movement ritual! Before you do yoga or workout, light a candle and set your intention so that the energy you create in your body feeds that intention! Or drink a cup of hot tea after your run, bringing sacred herbs into your body and becoming aware of our connection to the Earth.
Alters- Create a sacred space in your home where you can go to connect to the magic of life and magic within. You can put things that are meaningful and beautiful to you here, light intention candles, smudge with incense and pray/meditate.
Carry with you- Carry a magic pouch with you or in your car with your favorite earthly crystals and essential oil. You can create unique pouches for different intentions and carry with you or gift them!
Manifesting- Take time to manifest your goals and healing by meditating on them already being a reality. Add crystals and incense, etc. to give it more energy! Try saying your intention or goal out loud, phrasing it into a mantra.
Smudging- Burning sage, palo santo and/or other dried herbs can be a great way to clear energy and bring energy to your connection with the universe and your goals. Smudging is an act of transmutation, the changing of one element (fire) into another (smoke). Smudging uses the awe of natural phenomena, magic, to transmit and manifest intentions.
Color Psychology- Color psychology is the science and study of how color affects mood, behavior and health. Get to know how each color affects nature and loop it into your magical connection with the universe! For example, for extra focus during a test week wear yellow or carry a yellow handkerchief. If you are trying to create a calming environment, use blues and purples in the design. You can even choose different colors candles for different routines! If you're trying to call on love, light a red candle. If you're trying to boost your confidence and self image, light an orange candle! The astonishing magic of COLOR!
Yogi Magic- Use mantra and pranayama to ignite the wonder! Repeat aloud, feeling the vibration of your voice empower the mantra in your mind and body: "I awaken my inner wonder and the magic all around me." Follow with deep breaths and audible sighs, letting go and clearing your path.
Shop all natural therapeutic products for your magical routine!!
Self-Care Home practices
The Covid-19 Pandemic has been an experience that has tested the boundaries of our comfort zones, our inner peace, sense of stability and so much more. With every day presenting us with new information and for many intense and devastating challenges, it is natural and normal to experience anxiety, depression and negative side effects. However, our incredible Earth and ancestors have provided us with practices we can implement to not only pursue wellness during this difficult time, but to thrive. I'm so excited to share with you some tips and practices you can tuck into your self-care routines. It's important to know that each individual is unique and that your self-care routine is customizable to your lifestyle, interests, goals and body type! It's all yours! Approach yourself with love, cultivating a relationship with self-care through understanding and non-judgment.
SELF CARE PRACTICES
GET NAKED - The majority of my clients experience inflammation, usually as a symptom of a condition, illness or injury, however, inflammation can also be caused by diet, lack of movement, and other lifestyle and mental health factors. It is very common. The lymphatic system is a beautiful network within our body that sits just below the skin's surface and delivers lymphatic fluid containing infection fighting white blood cells throughout the body. It is a superficial and sensitive system, with major pathways in the armpit, groin, chest, and lower abdomen. The system is so superficial to the skin, that if you press into the skin and feel muscle, you've gone too far. So, you can imagine what removing all straps, elastic and the restriction of clothing for a period of time could do for your lymphatic health over time! Allow your body to breathe and circulate. Sleep naked, take baths, walk around the house naked or in a robe, swim naked, do anything that you are comfortable with.... NAKED!
MEDITATE - Ahhhh yes one of the most ancient healing practices. Meditation. There are so many different ways to meditate, explore them and see what works for you! Meditation cultivates focus and nourishes neurological function and health. When someone says "I can't do meditation, I can't focus" or "I can't do meditation, I'm bad at it" or "I can't do meditation, I can't sit still that long" to me, it is the same as saying "I cannot take a shower, I'm too dirty." Meditation liberates humans from suffering through steadying the mind! It's incredible. Methods could include doing something you love (yes getting lost in making art, cooking, gardening, hiking etc is meditation!), positive psychology meditations, listening to sound therapy, visual mandala meditations, yoga meditations and so much more! Meditation can include prayer, crystal therapy lighting candles, and anything else you want!
Check out our online Meditation options HERE
Check out the best sound therapy app ever created HERE
Check out our online Meditation tools HERE
SMUDGING - Smudging with sage, palo santo or other herbs is an incredible home practice. It's ancient in nature, doesn't take very long, and can be an amazing tool for not only clearing energy but manifesting intentions as well. Our wellness coordinator, Maegan Biscia, wrote up a great reference including instructions and benefits of smudging on our Learn page HERE. Make sure to be aware of the source for your palo santo and smudging purchases, as some producers are causing severe damage to our rainforests. For this reason, we found sustainable smudging tools and offer them HERE. You can also grow your own herbs, dry them and smudge!
CBD- Integrate CBD into your daily routine! This is a great supplement, as CBD nourishes the endocannabinoid system of our bodies. This system is involved in regulating energy, mood, immune system activity, pain-sensation and many physiological and cognitive processes. You can use a CBD tincture or edible to ensure daily intake, use CBD bath products such as salves on areas of pain, sprinkle edibles into your diet and so much more!
Curious about CBD? We've created a resource guide for you to explore HERE
Looking to buy CBD from a trusted source? Shop HERE
Want to explore CBD or cannabis further? Gain a national outlook on cannabis jobs and hiring and figure out your timing around the new industry as a consumer, employee or a new business owner! Check out the Cannabis Training Center, created by our founder's sister, Shanon Jaramillo, and enjoy free resources, an amazing podcast and so much more HERE.
REACH OUT - We were put on this earth to continue the reciprocal energy that our earth implements. We help each other and lift each other up when we can, and when we're in need, reaching out is a beautiful thing. If you are feeling depression and anxiety, reach out to a family member or friend for support. Reach out to a health practitioner, counselor or other provider. Reach out to the leaders of your religious affiliation. Use your community and resources to help lift you back up, and then of course remember to extend a hand when you come back wiser and stronger!
MOVEMENT - What is your favorite way to move? Running? Hiking? Yoga? A nice stroll down a trail? When you find your favorite way to move and implement it into your routine, it's going to benefit your body and mind on every level! I find the results of yoga to be the crème de la crème of movement, not to mention you can customize your practice to be completely yours. There are many different forms of yoga, make sure to explore!
Looking for movement for yourself or your kids? Check out our virtual studio!
STRETCHING - Nothing beats a good stretch routine! Daily stretching is good for all of your physiological systems as well as preventative care and treatment for pain and injury recovery! Do some research for stretches that benefit your body's needs and try them out every day for a week to get a glimpse of how much more freely you can move and how much better your mind and body feel!
Don't know where to begin or need some guidance? Try our Zoom private classes coming July 1st!
BLISS ACTIVITIES - Bliss can be found in the activities that bring you joy and a deep sense of happiness. You can identify which activities bring you bliss by reflecting on which activities clear your mind of consistent thought. You are able to reach a state of flow without effort, because the activity puts you there. Incorporate your joy inducing activities into your routine! Common bliss activities include: Music, making art, cooking, hiking, snowboarding/skiing, yoga, writing, reading, gardening, golfing, spending time with animals, spending time with children and family, and so much more. More about the theory and power of Bliss HERE
BATHROOM ROUTINE - We have been talking a lot about cleanliness lately, and it's important to note that your hygiene routines can also be therapeutic in nature! For example, count how many deep breaths it takes you to fill a 30 second period. Next time you wash your hands for full 30 seconds recommended by the health department, count the time by taking big breaths. When you take a shower, meditate on the water cleansing away negative thought patterns and anything that doesn't serve your highest good. Apply lotion to the whole body, taking the time to massage areas of tension or stress. Put on your favorite face mask or hair mask! Remember, you can use items in your kitchen, such as coconut oil for a hair mask, yogurt as a face mask and so much more! Pinterest has amazing DIY bathcare suggestions! Take care of your face with your favorite skin care products and tools, using the power of natural herbal products wherever you can!
Looking for some awesome botanical products? Shop HERE
GO OUTSIDE - Fresh air can do wonders for the mind body and spirit! Practice "earthing", the practice of getting your bare feet on the Earth for energetic connection and immune system health. Do whatever you love outside whenever you can.
YOGA - Have I mentioned yoga already? I can't help it! Yoga is amazing. It stretches and strengthens the body and mind in such incredibly effective ways. It is the practice of optimal human functioning and thriving.
Interested in signing up for my online classes? Go HERE! I'd love to meet you on the mat, I'm happy you found us.
DIET - The quality of fuel you put into your body is a direct reflection of the health your body will provide you in return. Attach your nutrition goals beyond the physical aesthetics, attach your goals to the quality of your mental health, the prevention of illness, your energy levels, and your ability to thrive in life. When we take a step back and look at nutrition as the actual key to our ultimate potential, something that is 100% in our control in a world where so much is out of our control, we cultivate a loving relationship with our diet instead of a source of stress and punishment. Hydrate with consistent water intake and eat un-processed items from the Earth as much as possible. Integrative Wellness does a great job of helping people explore their nutritional needs and Alyssa Knapp councils remotely, perfect for social distancing.
RECYCLE/REUSE - How is recycling and reusing "self-care?" Just like above when we talk about reaching out to others and the reciprocal care and energy we are apart of, taking care of our Earth is a way to actively participate in the health of our reality. Our planet is divine in nature, watch any planet or nature documentary for even a minute and your mind will be blown! It's amazing how your inhale is the exhale of plants around you, and your exhale is their perfect inhale. It's amazing that little tiny bees can plant many of our foods across incredible distances. It's amazing that Earth even has LIFE among all of the planets in our galaxy. We live within an incredible ecosystem, our wellness is interconnected with the wellness of our planet. Recycle and reuse for our planet, for yourself and for all of our fellow beings. Planet-care = Self-care
CREATE MOMENTS OF REFLECTION - Small moments of self-care can be powerful, found in almost every major culture around the world. Here are a few I recommend:
-Drink your morning beverage while outside or looking out a window while setting the intention for a wonderful day.
-Infuse your water with different fruits and herbs, and the entire time you are making the water focus on positive thoughts and love. You can find some great water infusion recipes on Pinterest! You can even customize these to match your nutritional needs, for example lemon and rosemary is a great infusion for inflammation.
-Aromatherapy- Integrate essential oils into a diffuser at home or into your homecare products for a moment to nourish your nervous system and health throughout the day. Different oils stimulate different results.
-Take moments to simply soak in your interactions with people, while you're interacting with them just briefly allow gratitude to come in for that person. This is so wonderful and powerful for relationships.
-Give yourself a hug - YES give YOURSELF a hug while focusing on self love in the same way you would towards someone else you love! Check out some more tips on self love HERE
-Light candles - light a candle to honor and remember a passed on loved one. Light candles and pair with intention, prayer and meditative practices.
ALIGN YOUR CHAKRAS - You can align your chakras through meditation! Check out this chakra aligning mediation HERE. You can also use crystals, aligning the chakras with similar color stones. You can align the chakras through mantra chanting and yoga as well!
SYMBOLS & STONES - The power of a symbol comes from the person who uses it. Identify what those symbols or objects may be for you. These may include personal momentos from meaningful trips or from other people, perhaps a dream catcher to represent energy protection, a rosary or other religious item, or whatever calls to you. I love to promote the use of crystals and stones with setting intentions and meditation! They are ancient and beautiful, and can become powerful tools for manifesting what you want in life as well as bringing in divine connection to our universe. Going out into nature and looking for your own stones can also be so lovely and therapeutic.
SOAK - Creating a great bath routine can be an incredible self care practice. You can simply soak in a tub or hot tub and receive the benefits of relaxation for your physiological systems. You can also bring in many of the techniques listed above! Listen to your favorite music, bring your favorite stones into the tub with you, drink infused water or tea, infuse your bath with essential oils, smudge before you get in, massage your body after with lotion and so much more!
CUDDLE/SNUGGLE - This is one of my favorites! There is actually a physiological function for cuddling and snuggling! It boosts oxytosin and dopamine, which are essentially our happy hormones. This boost is great for neurological function, as well as circulation. Cuddle a loved one, an animal, or a stuffed animal!
MINDFULNESS - Mindfulness is moment to moment awareness of sensations, thoughts, perceptions. Mindfulness puts the being back into human being by drawing your awareness to the moment you are in right now and igniting gratitude. Practicing mindfulness allows us to catch stress and negativity as it comes up, adjust yourself to a better pattern of behavior or pursue therapeutic tools before the stress and negativity is allowed to take root. Bringing yourself into the moment can help with overeating, addiction, depression, anxiety and so much more. It can be used in meditation or throughout the day. It's a powerful tool that allows us to recognize that everything we need is already within us.
SLEEP PATTERNS- How much sleep are you getting every night? Try to get 6-8 hours of deep sleep per night, going to bed around the same time. The human body and energy sync with sleep patterns for vital rest and healing. Unhealthy sleep patterns can cause mental health issues, stagnation in our physiological systems, lack of energy and drive, and an extreme loss in energy. You can see how quickly an unhealthy sleep pattern can slip into all aspects of daily life. Sleeping out of alignment can trigger chronic pain and is often one of the first questions I ask patients with back and neck pain. If the spine is out of alignment for hours every night, it can result in chronic pain.
Tip: If you sleep on your side, make sure your pillow props your head up to align with your spine and try a pillow between the knees. If you sleep on your back or stomach, make sure your pillow doesn't prop your head and chin out of alignment, in fact sleeping without a pillow for awhile can have great results. Try a few weeks of regularity and you will be surprised with how you feel!
Pro-tip: Integrate aromatherapy, CBD or sound therapy into your nightly routine for deep, meaningful, rejuvenating sleep. Allow your sleep and rest to be your secret weapon.
Check out our recommendations for sleep below!
Look for bliss in activities that bring you joy and happiness. Identify the activities you do where your busy mind quiets and you are pulled into the moment without effort. Those are the things that bring you bliss. These things provide stillness for your mind, bring joy to your heart and stimulate your full potential! Once you have identified what brings you bliss, integrate those things into your life, follow them. If you have the opportunity to integrate them into your career, DO IT! Access the nectar of YOUR life, and to quote the famous pioneer of ‘Following Your Bliss’ Joseph Campbell, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”
-Kathleen J Kweskin LMT RYT
Owner of Grow Wellness
When we fall in love or have a crush on someone, we are elated, infatuated. This can be with a spouse, a child, family member or friend! We cheer them on and root for them in their endeavors because we love them. We support them through struggle, pick them up when they fall. We see the best in that person and their shortcomings or faults roll off our shoulders. When they are sick, we encourage them to take care of themselves, to try new things. The practice of self love is this idea of taking the psychology of falling in love and applying that same beautiful concern, that positive outlook and benefit of the doubt to ourselves. Practice self love through activities that cultivate self awareness such as meditation, yoga, martial arts, massage, reiki, journaling, praying (even if you don’t have a strong set of beliefs, connecting to a greater sense of energy), taking care of yourself when you’re sick mentally or physically, travel (even if it’s simply a walk through a neighborhood you’ve never been through). Allow yourself to become aware of the communication you are involved in and the decisions that you are making every day, asking yourself, is this feeding my purpose and nourishing my happiness? Next time you are hard on yourself, judging yourself and the way you look or thinking too deeply into how others think of you, consciously release that judgement and see yourself through the same lens of love you would see a spouse or your child. Become aware of the thoughts you are allowing yourself to perpetuate in your head, aware enough to brush negative thought patterns out of your mind with the same fierceness you would defend someone you love if another person was spewing negativity at them. If someone screaming at your lover that they are less-than and not good enough would stir you to defend them, your own self doubt, fear or negativity should stir the same call to action. Self awareness is self love. Oh, and be careful how much control you give others over your happiness! So go ahead, practice loving yourself!
-Kathleen J Kweskin LMT RYT
Owner of Grow Wellness
As adults (I use this term loosely), we like to think that we have cornered the market on stress. After all, we work, we raise children, we cook, we clean, we have long tedious days of pretending to know what we're doing. We long for the days when we were younger, nostalgia tinting our memories rose colored, and think if only we could go back, we would appreciate it more. If only we could go back, we would be so much less stressed. Right?
(Warning, these statistics can be kind of dark, but I PROMISE there is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.)
According to a survey by the American Psychological Association done in 2014, today's teens report stress levels that rival, and often surpass, those of adults. The survey found that during the school year, teens reported an average stress level of 5.8 versus adults who average out at 5.1. And the thing is, their stress levels don't go down much in the summer either. They report feeling overwhelmed, depressed, with some skipping meals or being fatigued as a result.
Overall, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America. However, in children and young adults aged 10-24, it is the 2nd leading cause of death, only topped by accidents. A study released in 2016 found that pediatric hospitals reported the amount of suicidal thoughts and actions reported in admitted children aged 5 to 17 more than doubled between 2008 to 2015.
But the stress doesn't end after high school. In September of 2017, the American Psychological Association published an article detailing the rise of students on university campuses seeking mental health help from college counseling centers. Overall, counselors reported a 30% increase in students coming through their doors. And of those that saw a counselor, 61% of them listed anxiety as the reason for their visit, 49% listed depression, and 45% listed stress.
So what do we do? How do we help?
Studies have shown that in conjunction with regular therapy sessions, alternative therapies can help to reduce depression and anxiety levels in both children as well as adults.
Activities like reiki can help to lower the heart rate and reduce blood pressure. Massage has been studied to help not only physical ailments, but mental ones as well, such as depression and anxiety. Aromatherapy has been proven to help with pain, anxiety and agitation. And in a study spanning 8 weeks, those who attended yoga classes twice a week showed a decrease in depression as well as an increase in optimism and mindfulness.
There are also a multitude of things that you can do at home to reduce your anxiety and stress levels. Even something as simple as taking 15 minutes to yourself in a quiet place can do wonders. Try to make it a point each week to find time to do things that you enjoy, whether it's a sport or a hobby, or simply taking a relaxing bath. Meditation is a great option or even just taking some time for introspective reflection. Practices such as journaling or having a creative outlet of some kind are also helpful things to consider.
But just as no two people have identical struggles, there is no single alternative therapy that works for everyone. However, at Grow Wellness, we approach each client on an individual basis and customize therapy sessions for their specific needs.
Feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have!
*It is important to note that the first step in helping those struggling with stress and mental health issues, is to talk to them. And if you are a parent and your child doesn't feel comfortable talking to you, a therapist might be a good option. If your child is struggling, it is very important that they speak with a professional as soon as possible. All of the holistic therapies we offer should be used in addition to clinical help from a qualified mental health professional to be fully effective
Devin is a collector of random knowledge, entrepreneur, researcher and writer. Though she is a Texas native, she is currently living abroad writing and studying alternative medicine. She is a proud partner of Grow Wellness, as well as the founder and operator of the blog TechnicallyAdults.