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Living On Life’s Terms

What does living life on life’s terms mean?

In a few words, living our life’s on life’s terms is basically the acceptance of who we are, with our desires and dreams, while honoring the mystery and vastness of fate.

When fate is an impediment to our desires, we get the amazing opportunity to learn. We get creative, discover and new avenues to get us what we want. We learn about love, compassion, self- awareness, forgiveness, patience, and faith.

Living on life terms means realizing that we cannot avoid suffering, trials and losses, but we can find meaning in them to move forward with renewed purpose and more serenity.

What abilities do we need to cultivate to be living on life’s terms?

1) Discernment: We need to cultivate the ability to discern what is in our control, and what is out of our control. When our ego feels audacious, it may mistakenly decide that it has everything under control. On the other hand, when our ego is fearful, it may have the wrong impression that little or nothing is in our control. This is a life-long lesson.

2) Acceptance of how little is in our control: Acceptance is the mysterious answer. Acceptance what is’ is not a passive state, it’s an act of recognition that things are the way they are… It’s one of the most powerful places we can find ourselves in. This is where we learn to humbly accept our limits, and we let go of a sense of control and entitlement. Most of us are ONLY open to accept life on our terms – we accept life only “IF” we were healthy enough; thin enough; serene enough; financially stable enough; in love enough; fit enough; successful enough. In short, we tell ourselves that acceptance is a state of mind reserved for when life works the way we want it and expected, rather than the amazingly freeing ability to experience life every day just as it unfolds.

3) Shift Perspective: rather than seeing what is out of our control as simply unfortunate, we can explore the possibility of discovering the opportunity presented by life with curiosity and wonder.

4) Self-Compassion: We don’t fear risks. We fear how we will treat ourselves if a risk we take generates an unfavorable outcome Therefore, in order to accept life’s terms of living our desire, we will need to learn to forgive ourselves when our actions do not produce the expected results.

5) Letting Go: letting go of the things we cannot control, letting go of expectations, letting go of blame, letting go of complaint, letting go of self-pity, letting go of comparisons, letting go of denying, letting go of resisting, letting go of anger, letting go of agendas, and letting be our experience just be what it is.

6) Trust: Trust in a Power Greater Than Yourself. Trust there are so many things that are happening in an extraordinary way in our lives. Trust that we are equipped with everything we need to face whatever life throws at us. Trust that we will be guided to a prompt and positive solution to what we are dealing with.

7) Control How We Respond: we can decide how we are going to respond to what life brings to us, moment to moment. Exploring our choices, discovering the opportunities, and taking full responsibility for our decisions and actions, is key to living a life of empowerment, serenity, and freedom.

Let the light of our dreams and wishes illuminate the path we belong on. When our desire is accompanied by acceptance for that which lies beyond us, we agree to life’s terms, and live a life well lived.

How to Live “One Day At A Time”

By Veronica Vidal

What does it mean to live one day at a time?

One-day-at-a-time-thinking reminds us that, by limiting our horizons to tonight, we will do, feel, say, or think ONLY what we are able to manage for the next few hours.

This principle of living in the moment is very much embedded in yoga philosophy, and it is the absolute best, most rewarding, most effective piece and quickest way of relieving stress, depression, and anxiety. This way of thinking allows us to live with more creativity, more ease, and less worry less stress, and less self-inflicted pressure.

Taking it day by day means reducing the degree of control we expect to be able to bring to bear on the uncertain future.

Start from today living one day at a time, even if you are not particularly enjoying it, even if you are living through difficulties. Facing your reality just one-day-at-a-time will enable you to cope with it much more easily, thus moving into the future with strength, dignity, and hope.

Resolve to do this each day. Remember this is a new beginning. Start now. The time is now.

This is your present!

Here are 6 practical steps for living “One Step at a Time”

1) Stop the thoughts that don’t belong in the present. The past has gone and the future is not here yet, so prepare responsibly and positively for the future by living positively in the here and now. Focus on everything that you do, no matter how mundane. Attempt to concentrate on each moment as it presents itself to you. Be mindful of checking frequently that your thoughts are not dwelling on the past or racing ahead to the future. If you find that they are, STOP – and gently bring your attention back to the present, focusing on where you are, what you are doing, and what is happening in the here and now.

2) Do your best to remain positive, especially if your reality “here and now” feels unpleasant. Remind yourself that nothing lasts forever, nothing ever stays the same; life is constantly changing programs. Stay open to the fact that every day is different, every day something new happens. Affirm that things can get better.

3) If you failed today, try again tomorrow. If you didn’t fail, give yourself a high five and do it all again. So, if you’re taking it one day at a time, is there room for mistakes? There will have to be, you’re a human. Maybe you’re taking things ten minutes at a time, and you failed. Try again for the next ten minutes. If you failed to get things done today and instead watched a full day of TV and wallowed, then forgive yourself and move on tomorrow to your task list. It’s all about a fresh start every day.

4) Instead of focusing on the end result, focus on the next step. There are times in life where we have to really break things down to simple increments. When we are trying to change our lives completely, we may need to do just that. It’s much easier to focus on a piece of the puzzle than looking at all the pieces at once and having them put together in one fell swoop. We put together puzzles piece by piece, such is the way of life as well.

5) Make a list of Things That Aren’t Worth Worrying About. To help live one day at a time you can make a list of things that are not worth worrying about, and then do your best to avoid those thoughts during your day. If you do feel that you need to think about a worry then write it down and let yourself consider it for 5 minutes at the end of the day. After those 5 minutes, discipline to put it out of your mind. Remind yourself that worrying about what might or could happen will do precisely nothing to change the future, it will only make you miserable now and divert your attention from being able to be present on what you need to do today.

6) Block Out “What Ifs”. Along with worry come to a lot of “what ifs.” To avoid all these “what ifs” avoid having a “tomorrow focused” mindset. If you focus on the day you’re in then most what-ifs become obsolete.

Learn to live one day at a time and it will bring more productivity, joy, and calm, into your life.

Continue to stay safe, strong, and serene as we transition to our new normal.
Your loving support, referrals, and loyalty fill me with immense gratitude.

With Infinite Love

Vero Vidal
www.VeroVidal.com

Practicing Self-Compassion

By Veronica Vidal

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” – Jack Kornfield

Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail or feel inadequate, rather than punishing ourselves with self-criticism (Neff, 2003a). We cannot always achieve exactly what we want. When this reality is denied or fought against, suffering increases in the form of stress, frustration, and self-criticism.

Self-compassionate individuals are those who recognize that imperfection and failure are inevitable, and thus tend to be more gentle with themselves when confronted with distressing or unpleasant experiences rather than getting angry when life falls short of self-imposed ideals (Neff, 2015).

With self-compassion we mindfully accept that the moment is painful, and embrace ourselves with kindness and care in response, remembering that imperfection is part of the shared human experience. This allows us to hold ourselves in love and connection, giving ourselves the support and comfort needed to bear the pain, while providing the optimal conditions for growth and transformation.

5 Ways to Practice Self-Compassion

1: Practice Forgiveness ~ Stop punishing yourself for your mistakes. Accept that you are not perfect and be gentle with yourself when you are confronted with your shortcomings. There is no sense in punishing your future for the mistakes of your past. Forgive yourself, grow from it, and then let it go.

2: Employ a Growth Mindset ~ Self-compassionate individuals understand that there is potential for learning and growth in every mistake they make (Neff, 2003). Do you view challenges as impossible obstacles or as opportunities to grow? Employ a growth mindset, and embrace rather than avoid challenges, persist in finding meaning in them, and don’t give up on yourself.

3: Express Gratitude ~ Feeling gratitude is very powerful (Emmons & McCullough, 2003). Rather than wishing for what we do not have, there is strength in appreciating what we do have, right now. You can choose to write a gratitude journal. By focusing on our blessings we employ a gentler inner voice and move the focus away from our shortcomings and outward to the world, with all its beauty.

4: Be Mindful ~ Mindfulness has been found to have a positive impact on self-compassion, as it has a tendency to lessen self-judgment (Kabat-Zinn, 2014). Strive to always be in the moment and to be aware of what is happening right now, without judgment and labeling. Allow what you think or feel to have its moment. Don’t give it the microphone or hide it in the corner. Allow it to come, and then, without attachment, let it go.

5: Make Peace with Your Inner Critic ~ Self-criticism is a common problem, and not one to be overlooked. The way you talk to yourself plays a vital role in well-being. Luckily, the problem of the harsh self-critic is fixable. So, next time you do not rise to the expectations you have for yourself, take a moment to pause and reassess.

Be mindful of the difficult emotions that arise. Forgive yourself and recognize that you are only human. See if you can identify how to do it differently next time. Be grateful for the opportunity you had in the first place and for your persistence to try again.

Finally, accept yourself. You are not perfect. And yes, you likely could have done better. But chances are, you did just fine. And often, that’s more than enough.

Continue to stay safe, strong, and serene as we transition to our new normal.

Your loving support, referrals, and loyalty fill me with immense gratitude.

With Infinite Love

Vero Vidal
www.VeroVidal.com

5 Ways To Shift Your Perspective

By Veronica Vidal

Shifting Your Perspective

There’s a well-known saying that perception is reality. How we see something becomes our truth, which can be self-limiting and self-defeating.

Perceptions are influenced by a number of factors: experience, personal values, judgments, information (as well as lack of information), and our needs and desires. Yet, it is possible to expand our perception of situations, events, and behaviors by changing our perspective.

Changing perspectives is relatively simple, but not necessarily easy. Every day we face challenges that trigger our stress levels to escalate. The ability to step back and take a different view of a situation provides us the power to change our minds. What if by changing our perspective on situations that upset, or frighten us, we could be happier, more confident, and less stressed?

Here are some coaching tools to shift your perspective

1) Stop Thinking In Terms Of “Should: Thinking in terms of “should,” and how certain things should be, can lead to disappointment. We all tend to see things from our limited perspective, but our view of how things ‘should’ be causes most of the suffering in our lives,” Avoid this perception for greater happiness.

2) Think Of The Bigger Picture. By widening our lens to the bigger picture we begin to see the panoramic view of a situation, which allows us to take into consideration aspects that we did not see before.

3) Ask yourself the question: “What can I learn from this? What’s the opportunity right here?” Sometimes, life isn’t smooth-sailing. You hit a bump and things don’t go according to plan. Train yourself to instead of fixing your mind on how hard things are, to shift your perspective to that of LEARNING from the situation. Shift your mind from disaster and drama to learning, rebounding, and opportunity-seeking. Doing this raises your mood and energy, and trains you to rebound faster and become more resilient. Remind yourself, that amidst the greatest difficulties lie some of life’s greatest opportunities.

4) Stop Complaining: Whatever the issue is, whenever you feel like complaining, fold your thumb, bite your tongue, do something, and make sure it stops you from letting out that complaint. When you listen and try to understand more than you complain, you are beginning to see things from different perspectives.

5) Keep a gratitude journal: With all the chaos going on around us, it can be really easy to slip into a pattern of negative thinking. Sometimes, the only way out of that pattern is to shift our perspective of things. One very effective way to do that is to keep a gratitude journal, which is a scientifically-proven method of improving your health and wellness. This is a simple and powerful way to change your perspective. Over time, you’ll find that your list expands and that finding things to be thankful for becomes easier and easier.

“It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Change Your Perspective, Change Your Life!

Continue to stay safe, strong, and serene as we transition to our new normal.
Your loving support, referrals, and loyalty fill me with immense gratitude.

With Infinite Love

Vero Vidal
www.VeroVidal.com

Finding Balance In This New Normal

By Veronica Vidal

Finding balance is a lifetime project. It is an ongoing process. It is not a fixed goal at the end of which you will have a calm, relaxed, and meaningful life. It is ongoing. Looking for balance is a mindset that leads to wellness. When we feel out of balance, our emotions get out of whack. Feeling out of balance can be both a sign and a result of stress. Research shows that it can lead to many other emotional and physical symptoms, ranging from general feelings of irritability to feeling overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, to stomach problems, headaches, sleeping disorders, and other physical/mental symptoms.

So, what can you do to find some balance in your life?

1) First, take a deep breath. Most of us are holding our breath far more often than we realize. Anxiety, depression, and stress all cause us to constrict our breathing, making us feel even more out of balance. Stress releases cortisol into the body, which can have a negative effect on both our mental and physical well-being. Clinical studies have shown that learning to breathe deeply stimulates our relaxation response; and through relaxation techniques, we can help to undo some of the harm caused by stress. Taking a deep breath is the beginning of finding balance in our lives.

2) Time Yourself. Author and time-management coach Jamie Novak points out that few people assign a time limit to a task. “Sure, to-do lists make us more productive; so, does grouping the tasks into batches and prioritizing them,” she said. But that does not mean you’ll get them done in the time you allotted, or that whatever you are batching won’t end up taking over your day. The more you time yourself and become aware of how long a task takes you, the more time you’ll be able to identify and re-purpose in your schedule.

3) Adopt Time Theming. To help ensure work-life balance, Mike Vardy, founder of the Productivity’s consultancy, says this technique -Time theming – assigning a main theme to a given afternoon, or perhaps a full day of the week – is a great way to avoid decision fatigue. Mike explained: “Theming your months, weeks and days gives you less to think about when you’re trying to decide what to do because that time has already been given some thematic value.” For instance, every Friday could be themed ‘friends day,’ and every Saturday could be themed ‘family day.’ By theming different priorities into your calendar, you can gain more freedom and flexibility to start creating a work-life balance that fulfills them finally.

4) Be specific. It’s more useful to say, “I’m going to spend an hour alone with each child sometime this week,” than to say, “I’m going to have quality time with each of my children.” Quality time is a great concept, but it’s also a vague one. And since it’s so vague, it’s hard to know whether or not you’ve accomplished that goal, which makes it hard to feel in balance. The same is true if you say that you’re going to eat healthily or exercise more. Set something specific—for example, this week you’ll add kale to three meals, or you’ll have fruit with your breakfast every morning; or decide that you’ll run for thirty minutes on Wednesday and Friday mornings.

5) Get enough rest and sleep. We think if we just meditated enough, or jogged enough, ate perfect food, or did this or that, everything would be perfect. But not only is that not possible, that actually adds more pressure to your already loaded list. To fell a sense of balance, it is not just about what you do, but also what you stop doing. Stopping everything to allow 7 to 9 hours of sleep and recover is an essential component to finding balance in your life.

6) Practice Yoga. Relaxation and Meditation Yoga practice, relaxation techniques and mindfulness meditation can clear your mind and regulate your mood, which will make you feel more balance in all aspects of your life.

And finally, remember that finding balance is not a one-time achievement.

Just like “practicing yoga”—the goal is not to become a master at it, but to keep practicing it. The same is true in life. As long as we keep practicing finding balance, we will find one. Of course, we will lose it. But we will find it again.

“If you don’t want to burn out, stop living like you’re on fire.” – Brené Brown

Continue to stay safe, strong, and serene as we transition to our new normal. Your loving support, referrals, and loyalty fill me with immense gratitude.

With Infinite Love

Vero Vidal

Finding Your Inner Strength

by Veronica Vidal

Inner strength is a deep, unstoppable belief in yourself. It doesn’t depend on the actions of anyone else, and it doesn’t depend on your circumstances.

Finding inner strength is a must for your well-being. It will give you the ability to overcome obstacles and bounce back from failures – because failures are inevitable. However, it is inspiring to know that you really can do something to make yourself stronger. Since part of survival is accepting that you cannot change outside circumstances or people, it is imperative to accept and feel empowered by the realization that you can transform yourself.   It’s a superpower!

Here are some pointers to help you get there.

1) Don’t let the fear factor into your decision making
Some of us reject opportunities because of the fear that we can’t do it or fear that something might go wrong.  When considering the pros and cons of our decisions, we must be self-aware, too. Are you identifying risks or being just plain fearful? If fear is keeping you from the next step/adventure/challenge, then you are allowing it to defeat you. Fear can make you be your own worst enemy, getting in the way of your growth, development, and potential.

2) Embrace what scares you
This means proving that you can take on immense challenges, which will yield increased confidence and inner strength. Life can be a constant struggle between what you don’t think you can do (and remain in the status quo) and what you absolutely can do (progress). Inner strength comes from doing what you thought you couldn’t do. When you came out of your comfort for a challenge, change happens and the result is a better, stronger you.

3) Clear your mind
Even a few minutes of meditation a day removes the mental clutter that depletes your energy. It restores focus and clarity. People who meditate are one step ahead of others. Their minds move faster, they are mentally more clear and much more decisive.

4) Discover your purpose
Purpose is a component of inner strength. Ask yourself “Why?” Then find your answer. Greater focus on purpose cultivates the strength and motivation to tackle setbacks. When you find your purpose, inner strength naturally follows.

5) Let go of the past
Stop feeding yourself dis-empowering stories of past mistakes and failures. Change the script in your mind and only allow positive thoughts.

6) Look back on your survival instincts
Remind yourself of times when you survived, got through challenges, and even surprised yourself. See strength in your own abilities and fighting power. Don’t underestimate your own resilience. You have roared before and will roar again.

7) Develop and nurture a spiritual connection to a higher power, a purpose greater than this
Ask for spiritual guidance, comfort, and grounding in your journey. Stay open to receiving divine gifts in the most wonderful, surprising ways, and believe that you deserve them when they show up. Meditate. Pray. Be mindful. Trust that you are going to move past this thing and that the universe wants that for you as well.

Yes, it does. And yes, you can.

Continue to stay safe, strong, and serene as we transition to our new normal.
Your loving support, referrals, and loyalty fill me with immense gratitude.

With Infinite Love

Vero Vidal

4 Tips For Working On Acceptance

By Veronica Vidal

Acceptance is a very active process, there is nothing passive about it, it’s not passive resignation but an act of recognition that things are the way they are.

Acceptance doesn’t mean we can’t work to change the world or circumstances, but it means that unless we accept things as they are, we will try to force things to be as they are not, and that can create an enormous amount of difficulty AND pain.

Acceptance is about the courage to look at a situation right in the eye and say:” Yes, I have this problem”.

Acceptance is coming to terms with things as they are. Acceptance is facing reality as it is, which allows the possibility of moving in the direction of change or to be at peace with what is.

1) Avoid judging yourself, others and/or your circumstances.

Emotions are natural and everyone has them—acknowledging them can help you understand yourself better and move forward. Choose not to judge what happens to you. Instead, believe that everything happens for a reason and that better things will always follow. That’s the beginning of true acceptance. Develop awareness of your judgmental inner voice and cultivate a non-judgmental attitude.

2) Stop pushing away unpleasant thoughts and feelings.

Stop resisting. So much of our anguish is created when we are in a resistance state. Repressing our thoughts and feelings will not make them disappear. Resisting the reality makes us depressed, and eventually depressed.

Resistance and denial will not move us forward, nor will eliminate the undesirable. We don’t achieve acceptance in a moment. We often have to work through a mirage of thoughts and feelings – sometimes frustration, anger, outrage, shame, self-pity, fear, or sadness. Think about what you have to think; feel what you need to feel. Be mindful of what crosses your mind and heart, then, release it. A thought or feeling is not forever. The more quickly we can accept a feeling the more quickly we can move on to the next. Acceptance is the magic that makes change possible. Acceptance opens the door to growth, change, and moving forward.

3) Practice letting go.

How can you accept a devastating loss or change? We have two choices:

One is to hold on to the way things were. But if we can’t accept life the way it is, we have a big problem, because we cannot change what already has happened. Resisting the flow of life will only make us even more unhappy.
The other choice is to have the courage to accept life the way it is, which even though challenging, this process will empower us enormously.

4) Let beauty in.

When you’re focused on everything that’s lacking, it’s hard to fully notice, appreciate, and enjoy what’s present in abundance. Choose to appreciate what you have as opposed to giving too much attention to what you’ve lost.

Practice mindfulness, look around you; there’s beauty all around. Beaches and mountains, birds flying across the sky, music, and culture, blueberry ice cream, kissing in the sunset, and lifelong friendships. There is so much to live for; open up to what is truly beautiful and important in life.

Most of us keep the blinds shut, closing off to life. Take on the curiosity of a child. Open up and explore life as if it were your first day here, regardless of what you’ve had or lost. You can choose to focus on either. What’s your choice?

Yes, acceptance is a choice—a hard one most definitely, but a choice nonetheless. I know it’s hard to practice acceptance when you deeply wish things were different. But the truth is, sometimes we can’t change our reality, even if we try.

So instead of staring at the closed door in front of us, or getting tired and bruised while we try to break it down, let’s turn around and see how many other windows we have open.

WHAT ARE SOME ASPECTS OF YOUR LIFE THAT NEED ACCEPTANCE?

Practicing Self-Care

By Veronica Vidal

Sometimes it seems like we spend so much of our energy taking care of life’s endless details that there’s no time left to focus on our health and well-being. If we really want to make self-care a priority, we simply have to develop certain habits–and let go of habits that sabotage us.

The first step in knowing how to take care of yourself is to learn to identify when you start going off track. The body will tell you this information if you listen. But it’s like learning a new language for many of us who have spent years ignoring the messages our bodies are telling us.

Basically, self-care is taking the time to care for yourself in whichever ways work best for you. What are some of the ways you can take care of your self?

Let me remind you of some ways you can use to take care of yourself:

1) Speak kindly–especially to yourself ~ Speak kind, truthful words, and notice how your mindset changes. Most of us spend a lot of time criticizing or judging ourselves, our bodies, our past, and our experience. Even the smallest incident can bring on a wave of negativity. The way we use speech creates energy patterns that infuse the body and send out signals into the environment. If you are constantly lashing out in criticism–even if it is only in your mind–you are germinating a toxic inner environment. Develop awareness of your critical inner voice and cultivate a non-judgmental attitude.

2) Practice Yoga ~ Yoga postures, breathing techniques, relaxation, and meditation practices keep us centered during times of uncertainty. When we are relaxed, our organs function optimally, which boosts our body’s capacity to fight invaders and heal faster. Yoga can truly help during these times. This isn’t just speculation; countless research shows yoga can lessen anxiety and depression symptoms, lower stress hormones, relieve pain, and improve emotional regulation.

3) Prioritize sleep ~This is such an easy and quick way to introduce self-care on a profound level. It’s amazing more of us don’t do this. Notice I didn’t say: get enough sleep. Most of us can function on less-than-optimal sleep, and convince ourselves that we are getting enough shut-eye. But to prioritize sleep, we start looking at all the ways we sabotage our rest cycle through stimulants, computer screens late at night, unresolved emotional issues, taking on too much, and generally not being aware of our natural rhythms. Try a phase of making sleep your #1 priority and see how your attitude shifts. Rest; Rest is key to keep distressed down and immunity up. SLEEP. SLEEP. SLEEP. 7-8 hours a night – if suffering from insomnia practice Yoga Nidra meditation.

4) Gratitude ~ Start a gratitude journal and write 5 things you are GRATEFUL for each and every day.

5) Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables: PLANTS, PLANTS, PLANTS. 8 to 10 servings – combining vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and legumes is recommended as a minimum.

6) Manage Stressors ~ We pick up habits from the people we spend time with, and without notice, many times, we tend to please others at our expense. To take care of your self learn to say “no.” This benign little word can be very empowering. Get clear on what supports your well-being and what stresses you out. You might want to add “thank you.”. This is key to developing nourishing relationships + setting boundaries with unhealthy ones.

7) Repeat Positive Affirmations  Out Loud or Silently ~ May I be well, May I be happy, May I let go of the past, May I let go of the uncertain future, May I be healthy, May I be protected, May I be at peace.

Continue to stay safe, strong, and serene as we transition to our new normal. Your loving support, referrals, and loyalty fill me with immense gratitude.

Build Your Mental Muscles by Doing Your Mental Push-Ups

BUILDING MENTAL STRENGTH

By Veronica Vidal

Most of us understand how we can develop physical strength but are not really sure over the steps to take to build mental strength. Building mental strength is similar to building physical strength. Everyone has the ability to build mental strength, and just like building physical strength, it requires dedication and hard work. With practice, anyone can develop the ability to regulate negative thoughts, control destructive emotions, and behave productively despite the circumstances. Learning how to flex your mental muscle is key to reaching your greatest potential in life. Whether your goal is to become an elite athlete, or you strive to be a more patient parent, mental strength will help you reach your goals.

1) PRACTICE MINDFULNESS: It’s impossible to stay strong when you’re going over and over again at something that happened yesterday, or forecasting that horrible things are going to happen tomorrow. Mindfulness is about staying present in the moment. With regular practice, you’ll be less distracted by yesterday’s problems and tomorrow’s worries. and you’ll increase your ability to focus and to enjoy the present moment.

2) BE IN CONTROL OF YOUR EMOTIONS: While there’s nothing wrong with being in a bad mood sometimes, staying stuck in a negative rut can be a slippery slope: Sadness can lead to self-pity, anger can turn to bitterness, and mild anxiety can become paralyzing fear. Decide that you’re going to be in control of your emotions so they don’t control you.

3) PRACTICE GRATITUDE: Focus on the good things in your life, not the things you lack. The simple discipline of engaging in gratitude will undoubtedly shift your focus back to the many good things you already have.

4) LET GO OF SELF-LIMITING BELIEFS: It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true and then back that up with some positive affirmations:

“I’m not smart enough to…” REPLACE BY SAYING: “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”

“I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…” REPLACE BY SAYING “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”

When we allow negative self-talk to flood our minds, we’re effectively working against ourselves.

If you want to keep your mind strong, you have to remember one key truth: self-limiting beliefs are thoughts, NOT facts.

5) TOLERATE DISCOMFORT FOR A GREATER PURPOSE: Mentally strong people tolerate discomfort when it serves a greater purpose. Whether they’re exercising when they feel tired, or they’re delivering a speech when they feel terrified, they use their discomfort to become better.

6) STOP ALL- OR – NOTHING THINKING: There is always room for improvement, but be careful not to start thinking you’re a complete failure just because you’re not a complete success in all the ways you hoped to be. You win some, you lose some. That’s life.

I hope you can use these tips to assist you in building mental strength. Paying attention to these steps on a regular basis, eventually, it will become second nature to you.

The Science of The Breath

Breathing is everything. Rather, correct breathing is everything.

It can be the difference between a super-strong pain-free body and one that’s under constant Cortisol distress and full of instability.

When you take a deep breath in and your diaphragm contracts down, it stimulates the vagus nerve. When the vagus nerve is stimulated, this sends a message back up to the brain telling you to relax. Lots of wonderful things happen when we relax. We sleep better,  food digest better, the process of waste products elimination is better, and even sex is better.

So, what happens if you have a shallow breathing pattern and the top of your chest and shoulders move primarily when you take air in? Say hello to your friend Cortisol — your body is thrown into a flight or fight stimulus! No one needs that extra stress, life is hard enough, so let’s break it down a bit more and get you into a correct deep breathing pattern.

Although many people feel a deep breath comes solely from the expansion of the chest, chest breathing (in of itself) is not the best way to take a deep breath. While most of us never give breathing a second thought, the way we draw breath can affect our physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Breathing correctly is the path to self-healing. Besides transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide through the bloodstream, how else do you think the breath contributes to our health and well-being?

Reducing stress, sleeping better, or relieving pain – all may be as simple as becoming conscious of our breath. Deep breathing techniques can change our life!
Becoming conscious of our breath

Poor breathing habits can lead to negative health consequences—our body’s organs cannot work to their full potential without plenty of oxygen and the proper elimination of carbon dioxide. Many common health ailments such as high blood pressure, migraine headaches, anxiety, stress, chronic pain, depression, asthma, and insomnia. can be at least alleviated or completely controlled simply by making a conscious effort to breathe slowly and deeply.

Breathing properly can reduce stress levels, improve workouts and boost your immunity to infections and illnesses. Poor breathing can contribute to panic attacks and even conditions like insomnia and depression.

So, what can we do to reverse these obviously undesirable effects? Simply pause and become aware of the incoming and outgoing breath. Allow the breath’s rhythm to the center, ground and calm you. Just Breathe Consciously! 

Conscious breathing is a great form of meditation that can be easily practiced anywhere, anytime! 

How do you take a deep breath?

Test #1: Place your hands surrounding your rib cage right under your chest and take in a big breath of air. Your ribs should move out in the front, sides, and back. Did you feel them move? They should move a lot! Maybe you only felt some of your ribs move? Did the ribs on the back left under your thumb not move as much as the right? No? There’s the source of that neck or midback tightness you’ve been feeling. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Step one: Get your ribs to expand out in a 360 fashion when you breathe.

Test #2: Did your diaphragm contract down in a deep breathing pattern with great rib expansion? Did you feel expansion right under your ribcage or did your ribcage move followed by your shoulders and your belly suck in? Now, I want you to drop a couple of fingers down under your ribcage while leaving one or two on top. Take a deep breath in. Did it expand out into your fingers right under your ribcage?

Breathing is absolutely essential to life, but it’s often overlooked as a necessity for good health. Practicing conscious breathing can help us to improve our sleep, reduce stress, and boost overall health.

Breathing properly can reduce stress levels, improve workouts and boost your immunity to infections and illnesses. Poor breathing can contribute to panic attacks and even conditions like insomnia and depression. Conscious breathing is a great form of meditation that can be easily practiced anywhere, anytime! Simply pause and become aware of the incoming and outgoing breath. Allow the breath’s rhythm to the center, ground and calm you.

Breathing is most unique as compared to other visceral (e.g. digestion, endocrine, or cardiovascular) functions in that it can also be regulated voluntarily.

Cellular metabolism (reactions in the cell to produce energy) for example, is regulated by oxygen provided during breathing. There is clear evidence that controlled breathing techniques can affect oxygen consumption and metabolism (Jerath et al., 2006). In fact, much of the aim of pranayama breathing (yogic breathing) appears to shift the autonomic nervous system away from its sympathetic (excitatory) dominance. Pranayama breathing has been shown to positively affect immune function, hypertension, asthma, autonomic nervous system imbalances, and psychological or stress-related disorders (Jerath et al., 2006). Jerath and colleagues add those investigations regarding stress and psychological improvements support evidence that pranayama breathing alters the brain’s information processing, making it an intervention that improves a person’s psychological profile.”

Slow pranayama breathing techniques show the most practical and physiological benefit, yet the underlying mechanism of how they work is not fully elucidated in the research (Jerath et al., 2006). However, Jerath and colleagues hypothesize that “the voluntary, slow deep breathing functionally resets the autonomic nervous system through stretch-induced inhibitory signals and hyperpolarization (slowing electrical action potentials) currents…which synchronizes neural elements in the heart, lungs, limbic system and cortex.” As well, investigations have demonstrated that slow breathing pranayama breathing techniques activate the parasympathetic (inhibitory) nervous system, thus slowing certain physiological processes down that may be functioning too fast or conflicting with the homeostasis of the cells (Jerath et al., 2006).

Thus, one meaningful aspect in learning breathing techniques is the awareness in the difference in smooth, even breathing to erratic breathing. Modifications in respiratory patterns come naturally to some individuals after one lesson, however, it may take up to six months to replace bad habits, and ultimately change the way one breathes (Sovik, 2000). The general rule, often noted in studies, and particularly observed by Gallego et al. (2001) was that if a voluntary act is repeated, “learning occurs, and the neurophysiological and cognitive processes underpinning its control may change.” Gallego et al. continue that while some changes can be made, the need for longer-term studies is warranted to better understand the attention-demanding phases involved with these breathing changes.

To summarize, Sovik suggests the characteristics of optimal breathing (at rest) are that it is diaphragmatic, nasal (inhalation and exhalation), smooth, deep, even, quiet and free of pauses.

Final Thoughts
The research is very clear that breathing exercises (e.g. pranayama breathing) can enhance parasympathetic (inhibit neural responses) tone, decrease sympathetic (excitatory) nervous activity, improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, decrease the effects of stress, and improve physical and mental health (Pal, Velkumary, and Madanmohan, 2004).