5 Reasons: Positivity Matters – Be Kind to Yourself

THE HARDESTPositivity and self kindness are qualities I feel our society often lacks. We tend to want to drive to the furthest reaches of success and accomplishment and often don’t take the time to see what we have left in the wake. Unfortunately for us as individuals the people getting the harshest put downs, criticism and being sliced up with negative vibes are ourselves.

Like negativity, positivity is something that grows. It is up to us as individuals to make decisions that will help promote happiness or sadness, anger or elation, contentment or envy. With it being spring and nature encouraging us to clean up, turn a new leaf and move forward I thought it would be timely to talk about cleaning up our thoughts. So here are 5 reasons why turning to the positive is such an awesome thing to try and do:

  1. “Whether you believe you can or you cannot you are correct”. I heard this statement in a yoga class one day and it resonated in me so much that it is now over a year later and I still know it to be true. For me what this statement is saying is that you decide, you can tell yourself over and over again you are not going to be able to run a 10k, can’t clean up your eating, etc. OR you can tell yourself that you can complete a 10k, that changing your eating habits might be a challenge but attainable. It is all about mindset, if you set yourself up for failure before you even get going how can you expect to envision success.
  2. We are often harshest with our words/actions/thoughts when it comes to ourselves. I believe we often look outwards for kind words and actions, and we take the time to send our own positive words and actions out to others without taking a moment to do so for ourselves. It can take time to cultivate our own positive voice but it is our responsibility to find that voice for ourselves, unfortunately this isn’t something we can contract out.
  3. How we talk to ourselves can be a stressor. We all live in a world where our calendars are jam packed with work commitments, family obligations, exercise, meal prep time, finding our own leisure time, volunteer work, etc. When you add negative affirmations on top of all of that we are unknowingly elevating our stress levels. Sometimes telling ourselves that it is okay to commit to doing nothing or okay to say no to things without shame or negative sentiment is all our mind, body and soul needs to release a little bit of that stress.
  4. It guides our perception of our lives. How we describe our life events, recall our past, how we interpret day to day happenings all affect our overall perception of our lives. Because something bad has happened does not mean you have a bad life, it means there has been a bad moment. Of course feel how you are feeling, but then try and find your happiness again, don’t let those negative, stressful, dramatic, traumatic, irritating moments define your life. You get to define your life.
  5. It opens you up to possibilities: Positivity is something we all have, some of us might have a lot some of us might have a little, the amount we have is often dictated by life events and how we perceive the world around us but the amount of positivity we own is never set in stone. Like most things in life it is up to us to define how things can and will be (see #4), allowing yourself to see the positive in even the most shitty (excuse my language) situations simply helps you to build your ability to perceive things in a positive light. As I write this I have to laugh, because finding the positive in things isn’t always my strong suit, my big sister is ridiculously good at this and sometimes it irritates me at how effortlessly she can find the positive in (what feels like) everything! The more I watch her and others find even the smallest silver lining I am always amazed, and encouraged to continue to work on this for myself.

gingersneezes.comNow that you know why being positive is so important maybe some homework? Let’s make this something where turn all of our frowns upside down, and help infect others with our community of positive people. I challenge everyone to be kind to themselves and find their positive; maybe the next time you catch yourself rolling over to the dark side, so to speak, you then take the time to write out three complements about yourself. The next time something irritating happens instead of throwing your arms up in despair take a moment to find one positive in the situation.

Happy Halloween

With it being Halloween and a Friday I think most of us can agree that today is pretty spectacular. Personally, I will be teaching some yoga with spooky Halloween inspired music and then heading home to hand out treats to kids.  Being in school for holistic nutrition I definitely thought of finding something a little less sugar/high fructose corn syrup filled for the kiddies, then I thought “naw I don’t want my house to be egged”.

halloween 2This holiday brings to mind the struggles of finding your healthy eating groove and that balance between maintaining healthy living with indulgence.  To help get me back on track (the last probably 2 months have been somewhat of a train wreck for me) I bought the trick or treaters candies that don’t appeal to me, that way it can be in the house and I can walk past it without wanting to stuff my cheeks like a chipmunk preparing for winter.

chocolate factoryI have also been sure to have multiple healthy snacks ready at hand in case I get an extreme case of munchies. I figure if I have something healthy from the savory and sweet categories I have little to no excuse not to pick something healthy instead of going and buying a bag of chips. This often helps but sometimes my cravings get the best of me.

Seeing how my cravings have been getting the best of me lately I have been working on letting go of the feeling of guilt.  Guilt for failing myself, my students and my clients and instead just realizing and honoring that I am human, like my students and clients and we all have good days and bad days.

If you have been reading my blog for a while you know that encouraging positive self talk is something I have been working on for some time now, and unfortunately for me it doesn’t come easy.  However, like will power and other muscles in our bodies the more we exercise something the stronger it becomes.   It is becoming easier and easier to catch myself in these downward spirals of negativity and hurtful and doubtful self-talk which is making it easier for me to take the few seconds I need to address my negative thought and move on.

I know my writing has been sparse and for this I apologize but I have taken on a lot for the next little while and unfortunately something had to give (I am coming to the realization that I am no kind of superhero).   So I will continue to post, and when I have food delicious enough to share I will share it, but please bare with me and maybe for the month of November join me on a little challenge.

mjfoxI am challenging myself for the next month to work on acceptance.  This means working on my need to control most things (okay everything), understanding and respecting that everyone has a different way of doing things (even if that means not hollering at the bad drivers on the highway), respecting my limitations and being grateful for my strengths as well as my weaknesses.

So I hope you join me on this challenge.  Perhaps acceptance isn’t something you need to work on but there is another aspect of your life or thoughts that you would prefer to work on.  Either way make November about self-acceptance, self-love and self-care.

Happy Friday Everyone! and Happy Halloween!

2013 Reflections

Every year I say I am not going to get all sappy and nostalgic about another year passing by but then it happens. I am sitting drinking y morning green tea and I start to think back on all the amazing things that happened that year.

2013

This year while doing my little internal reflection I made a rule of not reflecting on the negative. I sometimes find that as human beings we can get a little wrapped up in the bad things that have happened to us so this year I decided not to and to only focus on the positive. As it turns out I have so many positive things to be excited about and grateful that they happened.

This year marked the anniversary of my first year of marriage, first year of dedicated self improvement (physically, mentally, spiritually), I became a certified personal trainer, a yoga teacher and enrolled in a Natural Nutritionist program. This year was also the first (of hopefully many) years of the Gingersneezes run club, my first half marathon and of learning so many things about running, training and fueling.

2013 collage

This year has been a particularly huge year for me in the growth department and in learning to trust my own abilities. It has also been the year that I have learnt to except each struggle as a lesson for growth and development.   Although 2013 was great I am definitely excited to get into 2014 and see just what I am able to accomplish in this coming year.

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday time and have had a chance to hang out with their family and their friends. 

Fallin’ off the Wagon

For the most part I do my best to live by the 80/20 rule, where I do my best to eat clean and have my meals planned and prepped 80% of the time and then I let myself relax a bit and partake in indulgences about 20% of the time. This strategy works fairly well for me there are times where it feels like I have gone off the deep end into a never ending free fall through a junk food tunnel, much like Alice when she falls down the rabbit hole.

This past weekend (probably more like week) has been one of those free falls through junk food city. Normally my reaction would be to dwell on how awful my food choices have been, how much I have let myself down, and how all this candy and junk food binge eating has been a bunch of self sabotage, but learning to move myself away from negative self talk like this has been something I have been working on since starting my health and fitness journey. It isn’t always something I am able to avoid, but when I do get into a negative spiral because maybe I shouldn’t have had a family sized bag of chips and a chocolate bar I have started to do something other than putting myself down.

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I have been teaching myself to recognize this negative self talk. As silly as that sounds recognizing that I am being hurtful towards myself did not come easy. If you are used to putting yourself down for your food choices or your lack of exercise or whatever else it may be this negative self talk becomes a habit and can become a habit that begins to holding you back from progressing.

What I mean by this is that by getting down on yourself for eating that bag of chips isn’t going to change the fact that you ate them, it isn’t going to magically zap away the processed junk and excessive amounts of fat and calories. So by contributing to negative self talk you aren’t helping yourself to progress and move forward instead you are encouraging yourself to stay in the past and dwell on actions that have already occurred.

So what do I do? It has taken myself, personally, some time to teach myself to recognize that I am doing this, my trick to to stop and ask myself “Would I ever say anything like this to a friend?” and “If a friend was saying something like this to him/her self what would I tell them?”. These questions help me to stop for a second so I can put my objective hat on. Once I am able to slow down and start looking at the situation a bit more objectively I reach for a pen and paper or anything that I can write something up on. Once I am ready I do my best to address the following:

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  1. How I am feeling? This question gives me the chance to see what is bothering me. I can then objectively look at what I feel I have done wrong. I feel that writing it out helps me to pull it out of my head, so instead of the negative though snowballing into a huge issue, I am able to see what it is on paper for what it is.
  2. I write out why. Why had I eaten the chips? Why do I feel I went over board? Why am I so upset about it?
  3. What was I feeling at the time? Was it mindless eating? Had I been upset? Am I bored? What triggered me to munch on junk?
  4. Leave it on the page. Once it is written out it is time to move on. Setbacks are one of the best way to learn about yourself, you can’t get better if there is nothing to build on and improve, so I do my best to remind myself that I may have fallen off the wagon but I have the choice to get back on and strive for better.
  5. Make new goals. Focus on something else other than the negative by finding a new positive. Figure out some new goals to work towards. They don’t necessarily need to be food based, but they should push you and motivate you in a positive way. Maybe your goal is to have more vegetables, eat less bread, do a headstand, run faster, run longer, whatever the goal is make it positive.
  6. Sharing is caring! Share your goals with one person. That person can be your significant other, your workout partner, your personal trainer, a family member. Just share your new goals with one of the people that is in your support network, letting someone know about your goals will help you motivate you because once someone knows it really becomes “real”.

This may all sound like a lot of work, but like anything else the more you do it the easier it becomes, so next time you are going over to the dark side give these steps a chance and see if they work for you.

One of the goals I have set for myself is to gain confidence in doing inversions and get myself into an unassisted headstand before going away to my yoga teacher training. So hopefully in the future I will have an upside down picture of myself to share with all of you.

If you want to share some of your goals please go ahead post them in the comments below, you never know you might help to inspire someone else to set a similar goal!

Calluses

So it’s my third week of the build phase of my personal training, and it is going pretty incredible. I am finding that it is definitely starting to feel a bit more natural to make healthy/positive life choices when it comes to food, activities, self-esteem, family, friends, and my overall lifestyle. At just over 2 months into the program and I am definitely starting to see some pretty rad changes, from the calluses on my hands, feeling lighter and happier it has been a pretty fun change. I am writing about this because sometimes I think I get side tracked by how difficult it is sometimes and forget to acknowledge and appreciate all of the positive that has come from all of the work that goes into healthy choices.

As I had mentioned before this phase is about pushing my body to the limits and getting to a point of failure, because of the nature of this phase I have seriously been building up some strength. Last night was the first time that I had to take a step back and get some chalk for my hands because I felt like it would definitely help me hold onto the weights. I think sometimes you just get to a point where you need a little something more than just the skin on your hands to keep the weights from slipping through your fingers. I am not entirely sure if chalk helps that situation but it sure made me feel a bit safer doing a step up with ridiculous weights in my hands.

Each week I am shocked at just how much the body can handle and how well my mind is adapting to pushing past the “I don’t want to do anymore” and getting to the “Let’s just see if I can get out one more rep”. Originally I had thought this build phase, and working towards failure would be super depressing or at the very least frustrating (and at times it is) but mostly it has been a bit of a high for me. This adventure has really opened my eyes up to what an amazing tool our bodies are and just how much we are all capable of doing.

Oh goodness this all became very mushy. I think the holidays coupled with me doing a 90lbs step up last night has me in overload mode.

What keeps you motivated and psyched at the gym or in your fitness routine?

I hope everyone had a great Monday, and have an awesome Tuesday!