Exploring Meditation

Meditation has been shown to be helpful for treating depression in clinical studies conducted by mindfulness Hopkins University. In fact, 30 minutes of meditation daily may improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. It’s important to know that meditation only should not replace meds or other treatments for anxiety and depression. In the world of psychology, treatment is multi pronged. Also, what works for one patient, may not work for another.

This John Hopkins study found that “mindfulness meditation”, a form of Buddhist self awareness designed to focus precise, non judgmental attention to the moment at hand–showed promise in alleviating pain symptoms as well as stress.

If you are new to meditation, or have been doing this for a while, a good app to use is Headspace. Headspace offers guided meditation courses, you can customize the length of each meditation session as well.

In the world of personal development, Gabby Bernstein is an excellent coach in meditation. Head over to her website here and download a free guided meditation. Her books are pretty great too. I just finished ‘The Universe Has Your Back’ and loved the advice.

You can meditate anywhere. At home sitting in a chair, at work, on the subway, the possibilities are endless! I usually sit cross legged on the floor. I feel more centered when I am sitting on the ground. Some people light candles, or play music. Whatever gets you focused.

When starting out in meditation, I find that listening and focusing on my breathing helps keep my thoughts from wandering. Close your eyes, breath and just listen. It’s hard since our minds want to wander. But just practice re-directing your thoughts, and pretty soon, you’ll be meditating.

What Mother’s Day Means to Me

This is the second year I spent Mother’s Day without my son. Granted, last year I was homeless and broke. This year I was just too broke to drive to Naples to see him. He did send me a text message today with a picture he drew for me. I will speak to him on the phone today, which is great. My own mother lives hundreds of miles away in Wisconsin. We Facebook messaged each other this morning, wishing a happy mother’s day. Group texts were sent with co-workers wishing each other a Happy Mother’s Day. My Instagram and Facebook feed were filled with Happy Mother’s Day memes, memories of mom’s that have passed away, and pictures of kids piling on top of mom in bed.

What does Mother’s Day mean to me? A mother is a woman who has had some sort of presence raising you, or guiding you to become the person you are today. A mother does not necessarily mean biological, can be aunts, grandma, family friends, cousins, etc. Mother’s Day is a time we set aside to recognize the hard work, sacrifice, and joy we make in our child’s life. Motherhood is not easy, or even fun at times. But to me, motherhood is the most rewarding and life changing event that has happened in my life. Motherhood changed my perspective of life. What really matters is life, living as authentic as you can, and that there is something out there bigger than yourself.

What does Mother’s Day mean to you?

Jumping into Personal Development

I made the decision several months ago to explore personal development. Not quite sure how it all started, but I think it was after researching podcasts as an alternative to music to listen to as I rode the bus and train to work. I had no idea that the people I was listening to were personal development or motivational speakers. What happened next was the start of a journey into self discovery and personal development. I started questioning how I responded to things in life and how I could improve my life for the better.

When I used to think of personal or self-development, I pictured old self-help books and sweaty motivational speakers. The old Saturday Night Live skit with the late Chris Farley portraying obnoxious motivational speaker Matt Foley. Or the slimy motivational speaker Frank Mackey in the movie Magnolia, as played by Tom Cruise. Nowadays, the culture of personal development is different, and the field is HUGE with the amount of talented and successful individuals whose passion is helping and inspiring others to be better versions of themselves.

The amount of free self-development online is staggering. In a way this is good and bad. Good in the sense that basically anyone can access quality content, but bad in the sense that there is also a lot of misinformation available as well. In order to weed out the good from the bad, you really need to research the authors and speakers. Like I mentioned in the beginning of this blog post, I started out listening to podcasts and branched out from there. Here are a few of my favorite self-development podcasts. These podcast authorsĀ also have great Instagram accounts, filled with motivational quotes, positivity, and more importantly, a sense of realness in which we all can relate in some way. There is no one size fits all approach to self-development.

Podcasts – Note: these are all available on iTunes.

  1. Rise Podcast with Rachel Hollis
  2. The Tony Robbins Podcast
  3. The Brendon Show
  4. Earn Your Happy with Lori Harder
  5. Style Your Mind with Cara Alwill Leyba
  6. Real Talk with Rachel Luna
  7. Rise Together Podcast with Rachel Hollis and Dave Hollis

There are so many other podcasts out there to explore. Just start with one you are interested in, and start listening. These podcasts deal with business development, entrepreneurship, and personal relationships.

Videos

When it comes to self-development, there are a slew of videos on YouTube. However, I really like documentary style videos that are edited and presented in a way that is emotionally moving and easy to understand. Here are two that I am re-watching right now: “Tony Robbins: I am Not Your Guru” on Netflix, and “Made For More” presented by Rachel Hollis on Amazon video.

The first time I watched “I am Not Your Guru”, I was crying at the end of the video. This was such a well done film. The documentary spans several days with Tony Robbins at his Date with Destiny seminar in Boca Raton, FL. I really liked how the film was unbiased and showed real people having real breakthroughs. The teachings that Tony Robbins presented were no nonsense, and easy to understand.

In “Made For More”, it was focused on interviews with Rachel Hollis and showed footage from her annual Rise Conference. The energy was incredible, Rachel is like a female version of Tony Robbins, no nonsense and just honest. Rachel’s story is incredible, how she built a company with no college degree, and is a working mom trying to inspire other women to live their best life.

Personally, these podcasts have been a lifesaver in terms of trying to live a more positive, meaningful life. In an age of negativity in media and bizarre reality TV Shows, its refreshing to see people out there trying to build up others. What if for once we really focused on how we can improve ourselves to be better people? Self-development isn’t selfish, its a necessity. What podcasts do you like to listen to? Who are your favorite personal development speakers or authors? Comment below.

When You Feel a Mental Block

My mind has been so unsettled lately. I started this blog off strong, but then I just sort of ran out of steam. What’s the deal? Well, I think it may be due to being mentally overwhelmed. I have spent the last few weeks researching blogging, trying to get followers, how to write good content. It was like information overload. Then I can’t write. The words don’t seem to come out.

I love google, and being able to find information on about anything for free. But at the same time, all this information is overwhelming to process. Then I get stuck in the comparison game, especially when visiting other blogs, Facebook or instagram. I have to remember that this blog is a newbie, it’s not going to be perfect at first. I’m not going to be completely consistent in posting new content. My pictures and layout may suck.

Truth be told, this past year has been a whirlwind of emotions and conflict, and I think that now I am finally settling down, it is time to process everything. My migraines have returned. Stress and anxiety over other issues I have swept to the side are resurfacing. I feel something shifting in me. The move to Florida was more than a change in physical location. It was a change in mindset. It has caused me to question who I am and who I want to become.

To help with handling all of this change, I started listening to self-development podcasts. I started praying again. I started seeing a therapist. I started listening to how my body was responding physically and took steps to get my health on track. When you go so long ignoring yourself both physically and mentally, trying to make things better seems like an uphill battle. I tell myself, “You have to take things one day, one thing at a time.” Nothing successful happens overnight. The situation you may be in right now is not going to last forever.

I really want to stress and share how important self-care is during a time like this. Just a few minutes out of the day to sit and chill out. Leave the phone in the other room and just relax. Take a shower, and drink some coffee. Pretty soon, the mental block starts to lessen. That weight on your heart starts to free up and you can write again.

What things do you do when you are feeling a mental block?