♞ Mindset ♞

  • 8 Ways To Stay Well In Winter

    Unless you are lucky enough to live under the California sunshine, it is likely that you’ve felt the winter blues at some point…

    Even though we all know that true happiness comes from within, some of us are more sensitive to changes in our environment than others. A grey sky, dark mornings and freezing air can inspire feelings of Autumnal bliss, but then later that day leave us feeling miserable and lacklustre.

    As a longtime sufferer of SAD I know this all too well. After churning through many dark seasons from my bed feeling no reason or desire to get up and face the world, I eventually made the link between lack of sunlight and my lack of motivation. It can mean more than just being a “sun-worshipper” and is a serious detriment to mental and emotional wellbeing for many – particularly if you are commuting to & from work in darkness only to arrive at a windowless office.

    Born out of necessity, over the years I have discovered ways to make the transition from sunshine to snow with minimal impact to my mental and emotional health. For anyone else who can relate, here are my top tips for guarding yourself against seasonal changes in mood:

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    Accustomed to long stints of darkness and rain, the Danish know a thing or two about maximising their winters. When I read The Little Book Of Hygge by Meik Wiking, it completely shifted my perspective. Hygge is a feeling of cosiness and wellness which can be achieved whatever the weather if you have the right tools. Your hygge kit should include: snuggly socks, cosy blankets, hot chocolate, a good book by a roaring fire.

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    As you all know, I rave about my 5AM starts (seen here) but waking up to a black 0°C morning doesn’t make it easy on anyone! Luckily, there are now alarm clocks which will wake you up gradually by getting lighter and brighter so that you wake up feeling a little more refreshed and a little less startled…  It is relatively inexpensive to benefit from light therapy at home by finding your own “wake up light alarm clock” online.

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    SAD may be due to Vitamin D fluctuations in our brain restricting Serotonin production. Light therapy will help with this, but taking widely available Vitamin D tablets will also fill up our reserves to help buffer against seasonal mood swings.

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    Much harder to do in the Winter, right? Especially when it comes to outdoor activities! But maintaining a regular routine with exercise you enjoy will keep your body well and the Winter blues at bay. If you can’t bring yourself to step outside in your running shoes, then during the cold months you can switch to indoor classes, hit the gym, or even do YouTube videos at home. You will feel so much better afterwards, I promise!

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    Sometimes the best remedies are found in Mother Nature, and this is certainly true of St Johns Wort. Like Vitamin D, this herbal remedy can help with depressive symptoms by boosting the production of neurotransmitters such as Serotonin and Norepinephrine. St Johns Wort works best when combined with light therapy, and is a cost-effective method relative to its results.

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    Every day. No excuse.

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    Not only do candles provide the Hygge factor and bring much needed light into your home, but they look beautiful and give it an inviting sense of cosiness during the darkest months. Soy candles are best for the environment and my favourite ones have crystals in too for an added positivity boost ↠ Crystabelles Soy Wax Candles 🕯️

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    It can be so tempting to bear off and hibernate in the winter, but staying consistent with your exercise, diet, social life, sleep pattern and spiritual practice (note: gratitude!) will optimise your body and mind for coping well through the winter. If you’ve found what works for your wellbeing and productivity most of the time, then don’t stop! Stay consistent with what works well for your wellbeing and resist the temptation to call off your favourite pastimes due to the weather.

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    And remember… there will be a new dawn when Spring comes and the sunlight will always return, but until then – you have everything that you need to get through it.

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  • 3 Main Benefits of Daily Gratitude

    Gratitude is an underrated hack for happiness.

    If I could retrace my steps back to when my life changed for the better, I am sure it would be the day I chose to be actively grateful every single day.

    Choosing gratitude is also a decision to improve your life. But like anything worthwhile, finding things to be grateful for is a skill that must be honed until a grateful mindset starts to feel natural and automatic. A mind full of gratitude given time will lead to a heart full of gratitude – and when you have a heart full of gratitude, then the world as you know it will become a whole lot brighter…

    Benefit #1 ⋆The Little Things Become Great Things

    When appreciation grows, abundance flows.

    Appreciation creates abundance in all areas of our life, because gratitude is a sister energy of love. Love is the life force of all creation, so by giving gratitude for something you are breathing life into it and willing it to multiply in your life.

    Through the unforgiving lens of our mind, many of the occurrences in our life can seem thankless and irrelevant, or worse, inconvenient and unwelcome. But by forcing yourself to be grateful for all of them – regardless of their consequences – you are acknowledging the higher truth that everything happens for your highest benefit.

    Whatever the situation, we can always be thankful in advance, even when the lessons we have been assigned to learn through the school of hard knocks haven’t been illuminated to us yet.

    Benefit #2 ⋆ Feeling More Resilient

    A Harvard researcher had an amazing discovery. When a study group practised gratitude for 21 days as part of a psychology experiment, the benefits of a more positive mindset remained visible for the next 6 months! When our gratitude muscle is well-trained and strong, we can adequately defend ourselves against bouts of negativity and challenging life events.

    After practising daily gratitude for a while, you will begin to realise that the things which once impacted your mood now don’t hurt you as much. A positive mindset is a remedy for most things, and with the sense of wellbeing that a grateful mind brings, you can sail the stormy seas of your emotions and keep yourself dry during life’s downpours using the umbrella of your positive mind. ☂️

    Benefit #3 ⋆ Social Contagion Effect

    By filling yourself up with gratitude, your own issues will become less concerning to you so you can redistribute that emotional energy as compassion for others.

    Your energy is infectious, and due to our empathetic nature as social creatures we are all susceptible to a social contagion effect. Stanford University (1998) defines social contagion as “the spread of affect or behaviour from one crowd participant to another; one person serves as the stimulus for the imitative actions of another.”

    Your behaviour signals to others what is acceptable behaviour from them. This means that we all carry huge influence through our behaviour due to this social contagion effect. If it is true that there are 6 degrees of separation between us and every other person on the planet, then all of our actions are loaded with the potential for huge impact. Daily gratitude not only changes your life for the better, but by emotional osmosis you will infect the people around you with a sunnier outlook too.

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  • Keep The Faith… Even When It’s All You Have

    Faith is the reason why our dreams come true.

    Without faith, our manifestations can only ever be ideas that are one day forgotten.

    Faith gives us the strength to take all of the action steps required and see them through to completion. Faith tells us to keep going, even when everyone else is telling us to stop. Eventually, these outside calls for us to change path can bleed into our subconscious until we start to tell ourselves that we need to stop too – but faith is our faithful guardian which shields our ears from all of the negative noise.

    One of my favourite quotes is from the book Conversations With God: “If you have but the faith of a mustard seed then you can move mountains.”

    When we lose our faith, we don’t move mountains; we don’t move anything at all in fact, because it is always too easy to give up. When we give up hope, we lose inspired action too and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once we sacrifice faith and tell ourselves “it’s never going to happen”, we begin to lose momentum. Then, without the passionate fire of faith to fuel our ambition – it never does happen!

    I am always amazed by marathon runners. I tried to run a 5K for charity once, and even though I run 3K twice a week anyway, the experience made me want to pass out as I crossed the finish line. Overcoming physical and mental obstacles doesn’t happen by accident or because any one person is better than another. The difference is the grit and resilience that they can muster up from the faith they have in a guaranteed outcome. If it is guaranteed in your mind, then it can be guaranteed in reality.

    Burn the acronym KTF into your mind. “Keep the faith; Keep the faith; Keep the faith.” No matter what is going on outside of you, Keep The Faith. If it is what you truly desire in your heart and it is for your highest good, then it will happen – so keep the faith and don’t give up.

    Next time you feel like you want to give up or you are crumbling under the pressure of the outside world, ask yourself which you will choose: Faith or Failure?

    It is the most important decision you will ever make.

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  • Stop Waiting For The Perfect Time.

    What if the time is now?

    No really. I want you to think about this for a second…

    Notice what happens – did your brain tell you that it was a brilliant idea? Unlikely. Did your brain start to talk you out of it? Probably. It told you that there is too much for you to do today, and started listing all of the barriers that stand in the way between you and your dream. I bet that all of the thoughts that your brain churned out were against you starting now, and none of them were in favour of it.

    Realising that your brain is against you is a harrowing experience. I don’t know about you, but I felt a little betrayed. We spend our whole life managing our emotions and avoiding pain to please our brain, which eventually turns us into experts in procrastination. Our brain will warn us to AVOID, AVOID, AVOID but will never tell us to start now. This needs to stop. The only good news is that you are the one who holds all of the power.

    We make the excuse that we don’t have enough time, but what are you doing with your time right now? Stop reading, and go get started! OK, maybe you can wait until the end of this blog, but I think you are already starting to get the message here. There is no perfect time. There will be no magical day of revelation where your brain decides you should take the leap and start on the quest to achieving your dreams. It will never decide it is safe to do so, because it has never been there before. This means that it will only ever tell you no. DO NOT LISTEN. If you really want to achieve your dreams, that is.

    The perfect time does not exist, only the present moment exists – and who knows how many more right now’s we will get? Regret is a far more unpleasant emotion than the fear and trepidation of getting started, so if anything, regret is the emotion that we should be trying to avoid.

    I promise you that the perfect time doesn’t exist. If it is not whatever is holding you back right now, then it will be another thing. Life is like that. It has a way of bringing up obstacles for us to jump over. It is all a test to see how high you are willing to jump. You have and always will have the ability to jump as high as you need to, provided that you have the perseverance to practice, practice, practice.

    “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” – Neil Armstrong on 20th July 1969 when taking humanity’s first step onto the moon

    Inertia is the enemy of innovation. As Marianne Williamson wrote and Nelson Mandela famously quoted, maybe our deepest fear is only that we are powerful beyond measure. What gift are you holding back from the world, because deep down you know you can be brilliant at it?

    Make the impossible become possible. Take a breath. Start now.

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