The Power in the way we Think

Posts tagged ‘abundance’

Boosting self-esteem through physical activity

As the next in our series of guest posts on self-esteem I’d like to introduce you to Glenda. As a clinical nutritionist, neuroscientist, Personal Trainer and Positive Wellbeing Coach, she knows a little something about healthy living. She has joined us today to talk about how you can boost your self-esteem by moving your body. And I think most of you will be pleased to know that you don’t have to smash yourself at the gym to get the benefits! Most of the time it’s the simplest things that make the biggest differences. So check out what Glenda has to say and visit her site. 

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Self-esteem is quite an interesting concept that many people misunderstand. You see, most people think of self-esteem as an all or none thing, where you either have it or you don’t. But really, it works on a sliding scale that can be nudged one way or the other depending firstly on what life throws at you, but also on how you perceive and react to those events.

 Sometimes it’s something massive that either boosts or decimates your self-esteem, for instance receiving an award or commendation for doing an excellent job, or on the negative side it could be caused by a failure or loss. Yet your self-esteem can also be affected by many little things over and over that push you a bit one way and then another, so that it’s the overall balance of these little pushes that decides where it finally settles.

 Another thing that’s often misunderstood about self-esteem is that it’s possible to have a lot in some parts of your life while having very little in other areas. As an example, you could be very confident in what you do for a living and have no issues in your professional life, yet you may have low self-esteem on a personal level because you haven’t yet had a ‘successful’ relationship and are being constantly hounded by your family on when you’re going to settle down.

 Regardless of how much self-esteem you have, or in which parts of your life that it exists, there are ways to boost it. But before we talk about how you can do this, let’s make sure we’re on the same page as to what self-esteem is. There are a number of definitions, but here we’ll consider self-esteem in terms of the Oxford Dictionary definition: “confidence in one’s own worth or abilities”.

 If you’re able to directly pinpoint where your issues exist, it may be possible to work on boosting your self-esteem directly by improving your abilities, or your confidence in those abilities, that relate to that particular issue. For instance, if you had low self-esteem about your cooking abilities and your confidence to cook meals that your family would enjoy, you could directly work on this by taking cooking classes, reading cookbooks, and practicing tried and true recipes until you could cook a number of meals with confidence. In this example, boosting self-esteem for a particular activity is relatively easy because you can readily define the activity that’s of concern.

 But what if your self-esteem issue is a bit harder to pin down? What can you do then to improve it?

 It may seem a little bit counterintuitive at first, but you can boost your self-esteem by practicing and mastering activities that create an overall sense of confidence, strength and powerfulness within you. While there are many types of activities that can do this, I’ve personally found that exercise, fitness and other physical activities are excellent ways to create these feelings within you and to boost your self-esteem.

physical activity boosts self-esteem glenda bishop

 Alright, so how does physical activity help self-esteem?

 Firstly it teaches you to listen to your body, creating a mind-body connection that keeps you centred during the activity. This helps to strengthen your understanding of what you’re achieving at that time, bolstering your knowledge of your abilities and thus your confidence in performing them. It also helps to stop your mind from wandering away and getting stuck in any negative thoughts that might otherwise have you questioning your abilities – and when you don’t question your capabilities, you more naturally learn to respect and acknowledge them for what they really are.

 The next really important part about physical activity and exercise is that it strengthens your body. This physical strength creates a feeling of power and capability that lets you move through the world with more ease and grace. Knowing that you can trust your body to do what’s needed is incredibly powerful. It helps you to stand tall and move with purpose. There’s also something special that comes with the confidence of physical capability that can’t be taken away from you. It helps to create an “I don’t care” attitude within you – not so much in the sense that nothing is important to you, but more in the sense that the little things just don’t bother you as much as they used to.

 A huge bonus that comes from physical activity is that it decreases the amount of stress hormones in your body, i.e. adrenaline and cortisol. When you exercise and get your body moving, your stress hormones get chewed up during the activity, so that when you’ve finished moving, your overall stress levels are considerably less than when you started. If you do physical activity on a regular basis (daily or every second day), this can go a long way to modulating stress. This is also one of the reasons why regular physical activity also helps to manage depression and anxiety. When you’re less stressed, you’re more resilient to the unexpected things that life throws at you. Not getting stressed out every time something little goes wrong means that there’s less of that constant battering to your self-esteem.

 If the physical activity that you choose to do is something new, then this allows you to learn new skills. Even if the skills seem unrelated to anything else you do in your life, there’s an incredible amount of confidence boosting that comes from simply being able to say “I did that!”. It could be finally being able to run 5km, hiking up to the top of a mountain, being able to shoot a basketball from the 3-point line, being able to hit a baseball for a home run, learning how to punch or kick correctly in a martial art, learning how to stand up on a surf board, or even learning a new dance routine. It really doesn’t matter what it is (or whether it matters to anyone else), it’s knowing that you did it and that you were able to master a new skill that counts. Reminding yourself that you can learn new things can give you the confidence you need to try out something else in another part of your life.

 There’s an important caveat though about learning new skills to boost self-esteem. It’s really critical that when you set out on a new activity that you keep your goals very manageable and that you restrain them to a beginner level for that activity. So this means that it’s best not to attach time limits or standards to the goal. For instance, if your goal was to run 5km, then make that the goal – simply to be able to run a distance of 5km. Don’t put any additional criteria as to how fast you have to be able to run that distance. Only after you’ve achieved the distance should you consider trying to improve your time – but even then, you should only do that if you want to. It’s perfectly okay to be able to say “I did that” and then switch onto another activity to gain a new skill. Maybe running is something that you will choose to enjoy occasionally but never want to run a race, and that is perfectly fine!

 So as you can see, there are many reasons why physical activity is so valuable for boosting self-esteem. It’s also one of the reasons why I recommend that everyone tries out a new type of physical activity that pushes their body just a bit further than they normally would push it. It strengthens the body, but also strengthens the mind at the same time, creating a mental resilience and confidence that boosts self-esteem which can transfer across other areas of your life. The trick is to find an activity that you will enjoy and then to set yourself a small and achievable goal. Not only will you boost your self-esteem, you’ll boost your physical and mental health too.

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Glenda Bishop healthy stories 2Author Bio:

Glenda Bishop is a neuroscientist, Registered Nutritionist, personal trainer and positive wellbeing coach. She helps women to reconnect their mind and body by creating a strong foundation of physical health that supports and strengthens their mental health. Glenda’s Mind & Body Reconnect Program creates a gentle strength and confidence from the inside out, leading to positive mental wellbeing that promotes joy and happiness. Click here to find out her 7 Little Secrets for a Healthy Mind and Body.

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Finding the Time

Natalie is a mum of 3 from Melbourne and spends most of her time taking care of her family. In her spare time she shares her experiences of discovering the benefits of slowing down the busy-ness that is life and learning more about the things that are most important. You might like to read more about her experiences on her blog and you can find the link below her article.

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Somebody said to me the other day that they wished they could be 20 years younger but know what they knew today.

I, on the other hand, love being the age that I am but wish that I could have the same energy, confidence and self-esteem that I had when I was 15. Sure, I was naïve, idealistic and a bit more self-obsessed than I am nowadays, but the dreams, ideas and passion that I once had before the “real world” took over is what I long for today.

As a society, we are more consumed with living life at full speed and meeting unrealistic expectations of what our lives should look like that we forget who we really are, and we forget the dreams and ambitions we once held during the prime of our youth.

Our busyness means we don’t have the time to look within ourselves to find the love and gratitude that we already have that’s now hiding behind a veil of stress, anxiety and low self-esteem perpetuated by the external world. Those everyday distractions, routines, to-do lists, schedules, appointments, calendars and obligations are blockages that prevent us from attracting a life that we so desire.

What would our lives look like if we stripped away all the busyness, the distractions and comparisons we cling onto?

Prior to becoming “unbusy” over a year ago, I was living up to society’s expectations of what a mother and a wife should be that I lost the confidence, passion and determination I once had. What was important to me was hosting the most fun and coolest kids birthday parties, ticking off all the tasks on my daily to-do lists, going to gym classes and watching my diet and keeping up with what everyone else was doing.

I was looking to the external world to help boost my happiness, my self-esteem, my self-worth.

But over time, something about my life did not feel right. I had everything to be grateful for but why was I still unhappy? Why did I feel like crawling into a hole? Why did I feel like a shadow of my former self?

Because I was too busy to realise that all I had ever wanted was already within me, I just had to take the time to find it.

So I decided to unbusy myself!

busy life Natalie

I began my unbusy journey by decluttering my home over a 6 month period, room by room, and in doing so created more time that I previously wasted on household chores. My kids also started to learn to appreciate having fewer toys and clothes, and learnt about the importance of donating to charities and trying to reduce the environmental impact of having too much stuff.

My focus then moved onto analysing where I was spending and wasting time, so I did a “time stocktake”; I spent a week keeping a diary of all the activities and tasks I spent my time on. This allowed me to see exactly what was creating my busyness: spending too much time on social media, wasting time engaging in gossip and meaningless conversations with others, thinking and planning too far ahead into the future and not focusing on the present moment.

Here are some key things I have discovered about myself during my unbusy journey:

  1. By removing stuff and people from my life that did not serve me well, I was able to move the focus from the external world into my internal world, and I discovered that my confidence and self-worth is dictated by ME.
  2. I have more time to enjoy new pursuits in life, including things I have never tried before- this gives me a sense of satisfaction and pride.
  3. I have more time to serve others who need help, and by doing so I feel a sense of gratitude and humbleness.

We have the ability to control the way we feel about ourselves and how we live our lives by focusing on what’s most important and removing the blocks to our happiness. To be able to do this, we need to live at a slower pace, which will give us the time to look within ourselves to find the confidence and strength we need to create the best versions of our lives.

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Natalie Alleblas created Unbusy Me to offer a different perspective on living, and to give inspiration and tips to those who want to become unbusy but don’t know where to begin, or are unsure how it will help them live a more meaningful and satisfying life. She writes tips and inspirational ideas, and shares stories about how she lives an unbusy life along with her husband and 3 kids in suburban Melbourne, Australia. You can find her blog at www.unbusyme.com and her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/unbusyme.

Finding your Passion

I found this video on my Facebook wall. Looking at the title, I was a little nervous about watching it at first. But my anxiety eased as I realised what it was. Rather than being about pushing your body to the limits as I thought, it was more about finding your passion and persisting in working toward making it a reality, even through the routine of day-to-day drudgery. Especially through the routine of day-to-day drudgery.

Take a look. When I watched and really listened to the audio track, I heard about how to achieve your dreams and follow your passions.

I think many of us travel through our day focused on just getting to the end of it. And the following day we do the same thing. And we do it the day after that too. And the day after that. And even the day after that. When we get to the end of all those days, what do we have to show for it? How do we feel?

Tired? Bored? Empty? Like a mouse running around on an endless treadmill? Maybe like a robot on autopilot?

How do you feel about what you’re doing with your life and about yourself as a human being?

Is there any variety and excitement in your life? Chances are if you’re just going through the motions of your day, there probably isn’t much variety at all.

However, if you could wake up and know that you were heading into a day filled with meaning, passion and excitement, how differently would you feel? And if you could finish the day with a sense of achievement knowing that you have made a difference to the world in some way, would you want to recreate that the following day? I’m betting the answer is a resounding yes!

If you had a reason to jump out of bed to get a head start on your day, would it make a difference to how you approached the sunrise?

I’m guessing that if you absolutely loved what you do, were passionate about it, and wanted to create changes in the world that really made a difference, your life would feel completely different.

So how can you make that happen?

By doing what you love. By following your passions and living your purpose.

Do you know what that is?

If not, consider these …

  • Think back to when you were a kid. What did you love to do? What were you really good at?
  • If money weren’t an issue in your life, what would you do each day?
  • What’s the first thing you think about doing when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you think about before you go to bed?
  • If you were to write a creative story (or novel), what would the primary story-line be?
  • Try out a few different things that appeal. Join some clubs, talk to some people and see what they like, then try a few of those things too. Give these new activities a chance to see whether you really like them. Remember that for every activity you dislike, you’re one activity closer to finding what you love.
  • Get really clear on your values. What are the things in your life that you couldn’t live without? What are the things that make your heart sing? What makes you feel grateful and blessed?

When you follow your heart and your passion, your life starts to flow. Everything feels easier, you feel better about yourself and your self-esteem sky-rockets. Which way of life would you rather live?find your purpose

Resolutions

resolutions comic

At the close of one year and the beginning of the next many people pledge that they will “change their ways”.

Lose weight, stay organised, join a gym, give up sugar, start a business, take better care of family, save money.

In the last few days of December most of us make the resolution to “make it happen”. For the first few days or weeks, or even months, you go great. Then stuff happens and everything falls over. You end up feeling like a failure and start believing that you’ll never be any good at anything.

The following year you repeat the same process. And again the following year. And again. And again and again.

You create a pattern of: set resolution, go well for short period, fail, beat self up, repeat.

And within a very short space of time you hate yourself because you can never do anything right.

Sound familiar?

What if you could change your patterns, achieve what you set out to do and feel great about it?

Here are some tips that may help:

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  1. Find your passion – you’re much more likely to achieve something if you are emotionally invested in it. So choose something that you can get excited about! If joining a gym and working out on weight machines, treadmills and rowers has you almost falling asleep with boredom, don’t go near it! But if your aim is to get fitter, and you love football, consider joining a team in your community. If it’s not something that really gets your juices flowing, forget it! Seriously. It’s not worth the angst you would put yourself through.
  2. Don’t try to do everything at once – losing weight AND saving money AND staying organised AND being a better parent AND giving up sugar AND quitting smoking. I’m exhausted just thinking about all that! You’ll overwhelm yourself with new things to do and adding it all into an already full weekly schedule puts you behind the starting gate even before the horse is out of the stable! This stuff needs to work FOR you, not against you! Our brains can only hold a limited amount of information at a time, so don’t try to cram too much in there at once.
  3. Take the word “resolution” out of the equation – like diets, they just don’t work. There seems to be a societal smart goals explainedmindset about them. Instead set goals. And set SMART goals. If you really want to achieve them, make sure that they are (S)pecific, (M)easurable, (A)chievable, (R)ealistic, and (T)ime based. Let’s say we use the example in point 1. Your overall aim is to be fitter. You love football and decide to join a team. So, you could set a goal of being able to run the length of the field 5 times without stopping during practice, by February 1, 2014. This goal is very specific. You’ve stated exactly what you’re going to do. It’s measurable. You can count 5 laps of the field. Achievable and realistic? That depends. If, right now, you find running 50 metres difficult, you might like to adjust your goal to something more achievable for you, such as running 2 lengths in 1 month. Or extend the time frame to 3 months. However, if you can currently run 3 lengths without any problems, another 2 lengths inside a month shouldn’t pose too many difficulties. Time based? This one is pretty self-explanatory. You put a time frame around the goal. So running the 5 lengths within the month. Or 2 months. Or however long you think would be realistic for you. Plan it out, and make it work for you. If you don’t think it will work within the constraints you have in your life (other commitments like work, family, managing a house and so on), either adjust it so it does fit, or drop it entirely. It’s not worth the angst.
  4. Create a plan – break your goal down into manageable steps so that you know how much work you need to do to reach it. Start from your end point. For example, for the “run 5 lengths of the field” goal in 4 weeks (Jan 1 to Feb 1), you can break that down. You would need to run 2.5 lengths in 2 weeks, and 1 ¼ lengths in 1 week. If you know that, you can assess whether it is realistic and then plan your training so you can reach each weekly goal. There is a saying that goes something like, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.
  5. Reward yourself – let’s say you’ve set your SMART goals, created a plan and scheduled in the steps to reach them. Plan in some rewards for yourself at regular intervals. For example, if you want to lose 15kg in 6 months, set yourself up some smaller goals in there. When you reach 5kg, treat yourself to a new haircut. At 10, maybe try a massage as a reward for all that hard work. And at your biggest milestone, a new wardrobe! You’ll need new clothes by then anyway, right? Whatever rewards you choose, plan them in advance and schedule them in. And use rewards that excite you!
  6. “What if?” scenarios – plan in some strategies for when things get tough. Because they certainly will! Things don’t always go smoothly. Kids get sick, extra bills crop up. Stuff happens. Accept that and go with the flow. The key is to not allow a few hiccups to derail you. So what if your child has to have emergency surgery and you end up sitting by the bed eating vending machine food for a week. What is more important to you in that moment? Being there to support and love your child, or getting into the gym at 5am? Life happens. So your goal is delayed a couple of weeks. Big deal. You could try minimising the impact by calling in a few favours from family or friends and asking them to provide you with some healthy, quick meals while you’re at your child’s bedside. But even if the contingency plan doesn’t happen, don’t stress it. A few weeks out of the rest of your life should not be a big enough thing to derail what you are passionate about. It’s much more important to keep your stress levels down so you can deal with the crisis at hand and then, once you’ve recovered, get back to your plan, revise it, and keep moving forward.
  7. Be flexible – things change. Priorities change. Obstacles crop up. You need to be flexible enough to go with the flow and readjust things as you need to. Don’t allow a few obstacles to dictate how you live for the rest of your life. YOU are way more important for that.
  8. Get very clear on why – you need some clarity on why it is you want to achieve your goals. What values do you have good stuff always worth the work it takesthat the goals you choose help you meet. For example, if you want to be a better parent and you decide that you will schedule a weekly “family night” (whatever that looks like for you), ask yourself why. Why is a family night important? Maybe because you love your family and you want to strengthen the bond within the family unit? Whatever it is for you, get very, very clear on it. Write it down, display it. Have it in your face every single day as a reminder (see point 10 as a creative way to do this).
  9. Remind yourself that you are worthy – of the time and effort it takes to improve yourself and your life. Of the reward you will see at the end when you have achieved what you set out to do.
  10. Create a vision board – I published a post back in July about how to create a vision board. They can be an amazing way to keep you focused and remind you of why you are doing what you are doing.

Note: The more excitement there is, the more likely you are to stick with it. So, find your passion and go get it! Feel free to share your 2014 goals and strategies! I’d love to hear them.

Abundance Mindset

Hi everyone!

Sometimes we allow ourselves to get so dragged down by the circumstances we are in and life in general, that we feel pretty crappy a lot of the time. And when we feel like that, we often end up in a pattern with the way we think. We think that nothing will ever change, that we will never have anything good in our lives. I have spoken before about how our thoughts become automatic and

then our reality. When this happens, everything in our lives reflects that reality, and most of the time we actually create that reality. We subconsciously look for experiences that reinforce the things in our heads. We end up creating the life that we do not want. The life that we often dislike, or even despise.

This is the case for everything. Our career, our finances, our relationships, even our health.

Today I came across a blog when the owner randomly found this one and followed The Mindset Effect. He is a young American dude  and has his own blog, which focuses on creating a life you can be passionate about, through your career and financial freedom. He wrote a post called “How to program yourself to riches (even if you’re broke as shit)” (love the broke as shit part lol). And while it is focused on wealth creation, I believe it applies equally to every area of your life.

I would encourage you to read this post. The strategies outlined are exactly what you need to change your mindset from one of lack to abundance.

think abundantly

 

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