31/07/2017

Mental Badassery!

There’s a hidden mechanism that creates unhappiness, difficulty changing habits, relationship problems, frustration, anger and disappointment.
Barely anyone is aware of this hidden mechanism, even though it’s happening all the time, in all of us.
It’s the stories we tell ourselves.
We do it all day long: we tell ourselves a story about what’s happening in our lives, about other people, about ourselves. When I call them “stories” … that doesn’t mean they’re false, or that they aren’t based on the truth. It just means we’ve constructed a narrative based on our experiences, a perspective on the world around us, an interpretation of facts as we see them. Not false, but not necessarily the entire truth — just one perspective.
A different person could look at the same situation and tell a very different situation.
A few examples:
1.       You might have a story about how your boss is very supportive and praises you a lot, which means you are doing a good job and like your work environment, and this story makes you happy. Another person might look at the same situation and tell a story about how the work area is messy and people are always interrupting him and he’s tired and the clients are rude and smelly.
2.       You might be upset with your spouse because she was rude to you or didn’t clean up her messes for the last few days. Another person might have the same experience but tell themselves a story about how his spouse has been working hard at her job, has gone out of her way to cook a nice meal for you, and is tired and needs some comforting.
3.       You might have a story about how you keep procrastinating, keep failing at being disciplined, never stick to a workout routine. Another perspective might be that you have gotten some great things done despite getting distracted, you’ve been passionate about learning something and that’s taken a priority over work tasks you’re dreading, and you are tired and need some rest before you can tackle exercise with vigor.
Each of these examples have very different stories about the same situations — it’s about which details you pay attention to, and how you shape the narrative of those details.
Now, telling ourselves stories is natural — we all do it, all the time. There’s nothing wrong with it. But if we’re not aware of the stories we tell ourselves, we can’t understand how they shape our happiness, relationships, moods, and more.
Becoming Aware of Your Stories
Throughout the day, you’re telling yourself stories about what’s going on, about how wrong other people are to do what they do, about how good or bad you are at things.
My challenge to you is to start to notice what you’re telling yourself about everything.
It’s important to be aware of what those stories are, and how they’re affecting your happiness. If a story is making you happy, and you’re aware of that, then great! If you’re not aware of it, it’s not such a big problem if it’s making you happy, but what happens if the story starts to make you unhappy with your life? Then if you’re not aware, you have difficulties.
So start to become aware of your stories, good and bad. Notice them throughout the day.
Notice when you’re getting stuck in the story, spinning it around and around in your head. So and so shouldn’t have done this, and on and on, making you frustrated and unhappy with the person.
When we get hooked on a story, it’s hard to break away from it. But becoming aware of being hooked is the most important step.
What We Can Do
So what can we do if we’re hooked on a story? It can be very difficult to break out of that trap. I know, because it happens to me all the time — I see the story I’m telling myself, but it seems so solid and real that I can’t just let it go.
The first thing you can do is regard it as a dream. That doesn’t mean it’s false, it just means it’s not so solid. It’s something you’re playing out in your head, just like a dream, with very real emotional results. See it as a dream, not solid, and see if you can come out of the dream to the physical reality of the world around you in this moment. What sensations are happening right now, as opposed to in this dream?
The next thing you can do is not act on the story. Even if you’re caught up in it, that doesn’t mean you have to lash out at someone, or run away to distraction or comfort. Just sit with the story, notice how it’s making you feel, notice the physical sensations in your body. Notice that you’re caught up. But don’t act, just stay with your awareness.
There is another way of being: where you don’t cling to the stories but instead drop below them, and are just aware of the moment as it is, without interpretations, judgements, preconceptions. Stories will still come up, but you can notice them and not get caught up. Or if you do get caught up, notice that and don’t hold so tightly to it, coming back to the present moment.
However, this is a pretty advanced skill, and most of us can’t stay in this mode of being for very long. For now, just focus on awareness of your story, regarding it as a dream, and not acting on the story as much as we normally do.

In this way, you’ll be less caught up in whatever is causing unhappiness and frustration, and more present in the current moment.

26/07/2017

Don't Take It Personally!

How to stop taking things personally:



1.       Realise – That other people’s rudeness is not about you. When someone is rude, it’s likely to be a reflection of their own issues.

2.       Ask yourself - what else the comment or behavior might mean. For example, if someone doesn’t smile or say hello, they might be shy.

3.       Take comments – or criticism in a constructive way. Ask yourself if there is any truth to it and what you may be able to learn.

4.       Take a different perspective – ask yourself how an unbiased outsider would see the situation

5.       Realise – that you can’t please everybody.

6.       Know - that you’re not defined by your mistakes or criticism.


7.       Realise - that your self-worth depends on you. It does not depend on what others say about you.



You Are Not Everyones Cup Of Tea


24/07/2017

Wanting Someone Else To Fulfill Our Lives

I have a friend who is lonely, who has such a good heart and desperately wants to find a partner who appreciates that goodness, to share a life with.
We have all felt this, I’m guessing: this desire for a deep connection, this hope that another person will just get us and want an intimate relationship with us, the idea that if we could just find this person and merge with them, we’d be fulfilled.
What if we tossed that idea out on its head?
What if everything we need for happiness and fulfillment is within us?
What if all the requirements for fulfillment were in this very moment, not in some imagined ideal future?
What if the idea of a romantic partner who is perfect (because of their imperfections!) and who fills our every need is just a fantasy that isn’t helping us?
The truth is that even those of us who have partners know that it’s not all honeymoon, and in fact a long-term relationship contains a lot of struggle. The fulfillment that we get in life ends up (mostly) not coming from the other person, but from ourselves.
What would it be like if we let go of this fantasy of a fulfilling partner, this fantasy of a better future … and instead focused on finding fulfillment in the here and now, within ourselves?
Where We Get Fulfillment
Another person isn’t going to fulfill us — at best, they’ll make us feel better about ourselves, and listen to us. The listening part is great, but we can get that from friends or family as well. The feeling better about ourselves is a function we can fulfill on our own as well. I’m not saying a partner is useless, but I am saying that a partner isn’t needed for fulfillment.
So how can we fulfill ourselves, by ourselves?
Well, what brings fulfillment? In my experience, focusing on pleasures like food, entertainment, online distractions, sex, drugs, alcohol, and thrills … these only bring temporary pleasure, but in the end you’re left wanting more.
Fulfillment comes from something deeper — finding meaning in life, finding appreciation for the fleeting beauty of every moment, being in service of others, loving.
But we don’t need a partner for those things. We can find meaning by searching within ourselves and in the world around us. We can start to appreciate the impermanence and joyful moments around us all the time. We can be in service of others in our community. We can love anyone, from those already in our lives (even if they don’t know we’re doing it) to strangers on the street, to all living beings.
Fulfillment From Within
What if we could do all these things just sitting here, doing nothing?
What if this very moment contained all we need for fulfillment?
Try looking within:
·         Stop and be still. Sit and do nothing, finding stillness and just noticing the moment.
·         Notice your body, your breath, emotions that happen in your body (like a tightness in your chest, or a warmth in your heart area), your thoughts.
·         See that there is constant change within you, and a loving goodness as well.
·         Fall in love with all that you see, from the emotions and thoughts to the body and breath, from the impermanence to the underlying goodness.
·         Reflect on a desire to be in service of yourself, and others.
·         Cultivate a love for yourself and all others by radiating a wish for everyone, including yourself, to be free of suffering, to be happy, to find joy.
·         Reflect on your innate connection to others — reflect on how others support your life, how the food that nourishes you is brought to you by thousands of others, how you’ve been created into the person you are because of the influences of every person you’ve met and connected with. This web of connections is how you are always a part of everything and everyone around you, a deep connection that is ever-changing and everlasting.
·         Reflect on your surroundings and in the constant change and beauty that is in every single thing, in the ocean of matter and energy that you are a part of.
These and more are always available, right now and in every moment, in you and all around you.
This practice can bring fulfillment, and nothing is required but attention, appreciation, gratitude and love. You have that in you.

21/07/2017

Find Your Happy! 20 Lifestyle Tips!

1.       Drink more water

2.       Don’t skip breakfast. You’ll be less likely to binge on something unhealthy later in the day.

3.       Snack on some berries + almonds – your nails and hair will thank you.

4.       Take omega-3

5.       Drink herbal tea. Make a habit to enjoy your tea time – even if it’s just 5-10 minutes in the morning.

6.       Try to sneak extra leafy greens into your diet

7.       Always have something healthy to snack on.

8.       Step away from your desk – at least once every hour

9.       Never go grocery shopping whilst your hungry.

10.    Laugh often

11.    Practice gratitude

12.    Be kind, always.

13.    Create morning rituals that you will look forward to

14.    Take the stairs

15.    Spend more time in nature

16.    Do something nice for others on a regular basis

17.    Practice self care

18.    Diffuse essential oils to help you relax and unwind

19.    Never write or send an email or text while your angry


20.    Stop waiting, for Friday, for summer, for love.


20/07/2017

Mastering Fear!

We normally think of fear as something that’s holding us back, or something to be avoided … but what if we could see it as a powerful tool?
What if we could master that tool? We’d become masters at life, able to push through fears of rejection, failure, ridicule, and more.
Fear is normally like a barrier for us, keeping us from doing awesome things in life. Or if we push up against that barrier, we see the fear as making the experience miserable, and cringe because of it.
But in truth, fear is a useful thing. Once upon a time, fear was a signal to run from a lion or some other danger, and that was pretty useful. These days, we don’t usually have much physical danger (the lions have more to fear from us), but the same fear signals still happen, even when we’re trying to pursue our dreams or becoming vulnerable to other people.
These days, the fears aren’t physical — they’re more about not being good enough. Here are the top fears in a survey I did earlier this year:
1.       Fear of failure
2.       Fear of being inadequate
3.       Fear of rejection
4.       Fear of not being prepared
5.       Fear of being a fraud
6.       Fear of ridicule
You might notice that they are all really the same fear. The fear of not being good enough — if we’re not good enough (inadequate), we might fail, we might get rejected, we might be ridiculed, we might be found a fraud, we might need preparation because without it we won’t be adequate. Our deepest and most common fear is that we’re not good enough. That’s not physical danger, it’s all internal.
So fear, then, is no longer a signal that we should run.
Instead, fear is a useful signal that we should go toward something.
Let’s find out how.
Freedom & the Wall of Fear
Whenever we feel fear, it means we’re up against some kind of wall … on the other side of the wall is some kind of freedom.
This is a freedom we desire, and that’s a healthy thing to want that kind of freedom. But we push up against the fear, and it can hold us back because our normal response is to avoid that wall of fear. By avoiding it, we remain on the side of the wall where we stay comfortable, where we know what we’re doing, where things are easy. We’re trapped by that wall of fear, as long as we keep avoiding it.
What would happen if we pushed through that wall? We’d have freedom: the freedom to connect with others in a vulnerable way, to put ourselves out there and pursue the life of meaning we really want, to publish books and websites and podcasts and poems, to explore the world or create a non-profit organization, to make friends and love with an open heart.
Freedom is on the other side of the wall of fear. So when we feel fear, it’s actually a signal that we should go toward the fear.
Yes, it’s difficult. But avoiding it doesn’t work. It just causes more difficulty. Instead, we can go inward, and see the turmoil that’s in there that the fear is signaling, go into our cave of darkness and process whatever’s in there. That means looking at how we think we’re not good enough, trying to learn to love ourselves, learning to trust ourselves to be OK even if we get rejected or if we fail.
And we can also courageously take action, in the presence of fear.
Acting in the Face of Fear
Just because fear is present, doesn’t mean we have to run. In fact, we can practice acting mindfully even with fear in our bodies.
The practice is to notice that there’s fear, and notice our habitual reaction. Stay with the fear, and notice how it feels as a physical sensation. Notice that it’s not so bad, that we can actually be OK in the middle of that physical sensation. It’s just hormones in our bodies, just an energy of excitement.
Being in the moment, we can take action: write a book, have a conversation, go to a social event, get on stage. We can immerse ourselves fully in the moment, feeling the fear in our bodies but still doing the action.
Fear is a worry about the future, which doesn’t exist. Noticing that, we can turn back to the present moment: what’s here in front of us. We can be grateful for what’s in front of us. We can smile at it, and take action.

This takes practice. Try it now. Practice it every day: go toward whatever scares you, repeatedly. Lean into the fear. Be courageous, pushing through the wall of fear into the freedom of openness

17/07/2017

Blondes-World is on Youtube!!






I took the plunge! & it was so much scarier than even I envisioned!
Blonde is now, on the YouTube!
If you’ve been following my Instagram a while now you will most likely know that I’m a tad cray cray, I like to work out – a lot. I like food – Uhhhhh lot and I enjoy a good ole Instagram story update, or 300!
So I thought… why not collaborate all of that mumbo jumbo and stick it in one spot! On the tube!
Editing skills.. lacking fairly dramatically – but I will get there!
If you can bear with me, I promise to put everything I’ve got into getting better! & I can’t wait to share this next chapter with you all!

All my love

Blonde! xox

FIVE WAYS TO EXPRESS GRATITUDE!


14/07/2017

Protein Bomb Muffins – Makes 8

Calories per muffin: 94
Carbs: 9.9g
Protein: 10.1g
Fat: 1.4g


How To Be Happy In An Unhappy Situation

Sometimes life throws you into a miserable situation, and it can seem pretty dark.
Just a few examples of unhappy situations:
·         You lost a loved one
·         You received bad news
·         Your finances are messed up
·         You’re having a bad day at work
·         Your partner is mad at you or has broken up with you
·         You’re sick or really tired
·         You’re in pain
·         Someone has hurt you emotionally
These are terrible, and it’s normal to be pretty unhappy when things like this happen. You might wonder why life sucks so hard. Why can’t things be better?
Often things are out of our control, and we can’t always fix these situations, at least not easily or right away. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find happiness somewhere in that miserable situation.
Happiness is possible, if you learn a few simple techniques:
1.       Allow yourself to be unhappy. When we’re feeling bad, feeling in pain, all we want is to get away from it. Ignore it, pretend you’re fine, comfort yourself from the pain, shield yourself, lash out in defensiveness, numb it with drugs, distract yourself. This is a very human response. But actually, wanting to get away from the unhappiness doesn’t make it better. It usually just prolongs the pain, makes problems worse. Instead, tell yourself that it’s OK to feel unhappy, it’s OK to feel pain. Pause and allow yourself to feel it, to fully be immerse in that unhappiness. See that it’s OK, and be curious about it, explore it, become intimate with it. It’s not pleasant, but it doesn’t kill you. And in fact, it’s where the healing starts, where growth happens.
2.       See the pain as aliveness. Now that you’re face-to-face with the pain and misery, now that you’re touching it and intimate with it … see that in fact, it is a tender feeling of being alive. Life isn’t numbness and avoidance (at least, not exclusively), and it’s not all butterflies and sunshine. Being alive means feeling pain, feeling fear, feeling disconnected sometimes. Allow yourself to feel it, and imagine that this is what living feels like. Yeah, you could say, “That sucks,” or you could say, “What an interesting experience, being alive.” It’s like bungie jumping or how I imagine it would feel if you discovered you could fly: full of fear, excitement, shock and joy. That is an incredible experience. You’re having one of those right now.
3.       Find gratitude somewhere. Being fully alive, being fully immersed in this experience of this moment … what is there to be grateful for? Even small things, like the sight of leaves outside trembling in the wind or someone laughing nearby. Or things we take for granted, like eyesight and music. Having relationships. Being supported by millions of people. Being able to do all the things you can do. The taste of a strawberry or the smell of food being cooked. Your breath. You can find gratitude for any of these things, at any time, including right now. Find three happy things in this moment to be grateful for.
4.       Find joy in being alive. You are alive! You should be singing from the hilltops. Even in our worst moments, we can find some joy in this not-small fact, that we are alive. Your heart is pumping. How freakin’ awesome is that?
Yeah, I know. It’s hard. I’m not saying that doing this will magically make everything better. But there’s always joy to be found in every moment, if we dare to look.

-          Leo Babauta (https://zenhabits.net/)



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