The Importance of Discipline: How to Build Your Mental Strength

Talk is cheap, so cheap that it’s actually free. Anyone can say anything, but who are they trying to convince? Everyone else or themselves? You see it’s the action that captures the attention of not only your own consciousness but of others as well. It’s okay to voice your goals and aspirations but if you’re not putting forward effort into making them reality then what’s the point? Once you’ve come to an agreement with yourself on something you want to do whether it’s singing, modeling, photography, starting a catering business or whatever it is that you want to do, here are a few questions I want you to answer to yourself. Do you really want this? Are you willing to make sacrifices to make it happen? Does this make you happy? Ok now, 9/10 the answer to those question was yes but how about these: Do you believe that I can really accomplish this goal? (If you don’t believe it then it won’t happen…point blank period.) If you don’t accomplish this goal before a certain time frame will you continue or give up? (Don’t put yourself on a time schedule, be patient with the process, nothing’s more fulfilling than when your time comes organically.) Are you mentally prepared for the challenges to come? (If you think it’s gonna be easy then think again my dear, some days you’re gonna wanna quit but don’t. You’ll look back and appreciate the beauty of the struggle.) Will you allow negativity to consume you when things don’t go your way? (To get in an occasional funk is to be expected but to stay there? Ehhh. Not beneficial. Even when things aren’t ok just tell yourself that they are :). ) Are you secretly competing with or comparing yourself to your peers in the same field? (Don’t ever do this! You don’t know their story. Worry about you! Maybe reach out to them for advice? Learn from their strategies & combine them with your game plan. Maybe even suggest a collab? After all, you’re in the same field. I don’t see the issue.)

  1. Believe- If you don’t believe what you’re saying then you’re just wasting your time, energy and breath. You can endure anything along the way, you just have to convince your mind that it’s possible.
  2. Practice what you preach- Very simple, mean what you say, say what you mean! Do it! Don’t lose focus trying to look like you’re making moves and actually make them. Let your actions lead the way and everything else shall follow.
  3. Find an inspiration/motivation- Instead of comparing or competing why not look at them as motivation or inspiration? Tell yourself “That’s where [I wanna/ I’m gonna] be one day” instead of “How did they get this before me?”.  Find someone in your field that you can learn from and don’t stop working!
  4. Patience- Learn patience if you don’t learn anything else. It’s the only thing that will keep you sane. Anything worthwhile takes hard work, dedication and endurance so keep that in mind for the next time you’re feeling like throwing the towel in.
  5. Positivity- Don’t dwell. Shit happens, take that L (lesson in this case), take what you need from it and move on. Be happy that you get another chance to do it, now with even more knowledge than before. Take control of your emotions and learn to be optimistic. Let go of the “all or nothing” attitude and instead practice gratitude!

Improving Your Flexibility & Balance

Life is all about flexibility and balance, both literally and physically. Without balance you will notice that your life can quickly become uncomfortable, frustrating and can even be deemed undesirable. And without mastering the skill of flexibility you can kiss progression goodbye, these days you have to be comfortable with “stretching” yourself, that is if success if a goal of yours. Just as you need flexibility and balance in your life to keep things going smoothly the same goes for your body.  Balance and flexibility, in my opinion, are very underrated principles of everyday life. We often overlook how without balance we wouldn’t be able to walk upright or prevent injury (falling, breaking or spraining bones, etc). Flexibility is also an overlooked but very important factor in everyday mobility. Improving your flexibility not only helps to relieve stress and tension but it also prevents injuries. Continuous neglect of stretching out your muscle will cause them to tighten, making it harder for your body to function normally. When’s the last time you stretched? When’s the last time you focused on your coordination? If you have to really think about those then chances are you could use some guidance in improving both of those. Don’t wait until you rip a muscle or randomly find yourself off balance and falling over. Stay ahead of the game, taking proper care of your body is about prevention, not treatment or solution. Allow me to give you a few tips on how to your flexibility and balance (attempt daily for better results).

Improving your balance:

  1. Walking head to toe- Simply stand straight up facing north with your shoulders up, breathe in, breathe out, place the right leg in front of the left, and repeat for 20-30 steps.
  2. Standing on one leg- Periodically throughout your day (2-4 times a day) stand straight, stretch and elongate your back, straighten and tighten your legs, lift left or right leg and hold pose for at least 15-30 seconds, lower leg repeat with opposite leg.
  3. Hip marching- Sit in a chair with your back touching the back of the chair, place your hands on your legs then slowly lift your left leg straight up (leave your knee bent), then hold for 5 seconds, then place your foot to the floor and repeat with the other leg.

Improving your flexibility:

  1. Standing hamstring stretch- Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, slightly bend your knees, arms by your sides, bend hips forward, lower your head toward the floor, relax head, neck and shoulders, then wrap your arms around backs of your legs and hold for 45-60 seconds (stretches neck, back, butt, hamstrings & calves)
  2. Frog stretch- Start on all fours, slide your knees wider than shoulder-width apart, shift your hips back toward your heels, move from your hands to your forearms to get a deeper stretch, hold for 60 seconds and repeat. (stretches hips/groin & lower back)
  3. Butterfly stretch- Sit tall on the floor with the soles of your feet together,  bend knees out to sides, hold onto your ankles, lightly squeeze abs, and slowly lower your body toward your feet as far as you can while pressing your knees toward the floor, then simply press your knees down, hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. (stretches thighs, hips, entire back, & butt)

Manifestation: The Breakdown

“Speak it into existence” ok & then what just wait for a miracle to happen? I think too many of us take sayings/prayers/whatever it is that you do entirely too literal. It’s wonderful to pray, to speak positivity and encouraging things into the universe to keep you motivated or in good spirits. However, you still have to put in work! You still have to keep putting in an effort to make that a reality, you can’t just say something over and over without taking action of backing it up. Manifestation has a lot to do with “The Law of Attraction”, it takes focus, co-creating activities, patience, keeping your vibrations high, and last but not least clearness (Make sure that you’re crystal clear in what you’re asking for. For example, let’s say I ask the universe for a computer. And by the end of next week, one of my friends end up giving me their old computer because they just got a new one. However, this gifted computer has buttons missing and a quickly dying battery. Maybe not what I had in mind but I got my computer right?). If you’re having difficulty with the process of manifesting then take a look below for some tips and motivation that will help lead you.

1. Focus; make whatever it is that you’re wanting to manifest a priority. Always keep it in your mind, talk about it, dream about it. Make it your center of interest! If you really want it you have to be serious about it. Don’t go to the universe asking for things if you’re going to be half-assed with it.

  2. Co-creating activities; working towards your goal creates a higher chance for making your goal come true sooner. If you want to be a stylist create a portfolio and send it to those in your field, go to the meet-ups, offer free services to public figures, do whatever it is you have to do and just ask for the universe to back you up!

  3. Patience; trust the process. Things don’t happen overnight! Don’t be in too much of a rush that you lose sight of why you want what you want. Longevity over everything, you could reach your goal overnight and that can last 5 minutes. So just relax, don’t get frustrated, don’t doubt. Believe that you’re getting closer to your goals because you truly are!

  4. Keeping your vibrations high; simply do things that put you in a good mood. Stay happy and positive. The universe feeds off energy, you send your “waves” to the universe and it bounces back to you so keep that in mind. Spend some time each day (twice a day, morning and night) meditating, singing, dancing, drawing, or whatever it is you do to escape and feel good. Doing this twice or more will guarantee that your spirits are lifted at all times.

  5. Clearness; to reiterate BE CLEAR! Let it be known exactly what you want, because if not the universe will be left to guess and you’ll end up with whatever. And that would defeat the purpose. Speak specifics, speak details. Don’t just say “I want to be in a new house next year”, say something more along the lines of “By the end June 2019 I will be in a new house that’s designed by me and built from the ground up”.  Just be clear about what you want so there are no surprises about what you get.

Manifestation is real, don’t doubt it, put in the work, and stay patient! Congratulations in advance 🙂

Mantra Meditation Continued…

So you’ve found your mantra (read part 1 if you haven’t already, simply type “mantra meditation” in the search bar, located in the footer of the website) or so you’ve thought but still can’t seem to remain focused during your practice. At this point, you may be feeling discouraged, confused or maybe even frustrated and I’m here to tell you that I get it. I do, I completely understand! Mastering meditation is not an easy task, it takes dedication, patience, mental strength, and desire. Struggle in the beginning stages is natural, but with continued practice and maybe implementing a few methods to ease the process (mantras, music, humming, etc) you will finally meet the internal peace that you’ve been yearning for in no time!

A mantra can honestly be any positive quote or saying known to man. Something you googled, something you heard on the radio, even something you personally made up. However, when it comes to choosing your personal mantra there should be just a bit of thought put into it. Without thought, you most likely will end up in the same position, unfocused, frustrated, discouraged….etc. So adopting the “right” mantra could be apart of the problem in terms of being able to focus. When you selected your mantra from what standards did you make your choice? Was it something to inspire you, something that reflects your beliefs, or something completely foreign? In my opinion, I feel that whatever prompts your selection should be words to live by. Don’t just choose any old mantra, find something that is personal to you! Don’t allow others to set the tone for you, just because something sounds good or your friend or a famous figures uses it or has used it doesn’t mean that that mantra is for you. Take the time and do research, find something aspiring, relate it to your personal goals even. Don’t just use the mantra to get through the meditation session, let the mantra use you. If you lose focus count down from 10 and try again. Aspire to become the words that you are chanting. Believe in your words, speak them confidently, relax your shoulders, inhale, exhale and repeat!

Revisit Tips for Beginner Meditation:

https://theelevationjourney.com/?s=meditate

Revisit Mantra Meditation Pt 1:

https://theelevationjourney.com/?s=mantra

The Neglect You’ll Regret

I don’t think many people realize how important it is to take care of your knees. In the past I’ve been one of those who took my knees for granted and overlooked how much I need them. After high school I noticed that my knees started to pop and I didn’t know why but still I pretty much ignored it, allowing the damage to get worse. I wasn’t aware that I’d allowed my knees to become weak due to lack of exercise and stretching. Now that I think about it I didn’t even give it much thought that you have to do more than walk to keep your knees healthy, strengthened and stable. They were getting me from point A to B without any major issues so I assumed that they were just fine. I’d become so wrapped up in my studies and working a full-time job that I completely neglected my physical health at one point. But as the popping of my knees became more frequent and now accompanied by pain I decided that enough was enough. I knew I had to start taking better care of my knees and regaining the strength in them if I wanted to continue using them without further issues. During my research I was surprised to find out that our knees are the largest joint in our bodies, and that they are surrounded by some of the most powerful muscles in your entire body.  By not working your knees out you are exposing them to the likelihood of injury and a long road of recovery. Our knees carry the weight of your upper body and have direct connects to the spine and hip bone, giving us an overall greater sense of balance. So the knees are definitely important and play a major part in our day to day lives, and I know that mean seem like common sense, and if we’re being completely honest it is. But the knees are often overlooked as muscles, making it easy to neglect them especially if no immediate issues or pain occurs. Our knees deserve the same attention, if not more as our stomachs, arms, calves, etc. when working out. With that being said here are 4 simple knee focused exercises to keep them healthy and strong. Be sure to do these exercises at least 2-4 times per week, and stretch before you proceed. Take care of your knees because the only time weak knees are okay is on your wedding day 😉

1. Heel Raises- perfect for strengthening the muscles that will typically absorb shock before going to your knee joints, great for building resistance for future bending activities (do in sets of 10-20, fully stretch legs before engaging)

2. Wall Squats – builds knee strength, helps to stabilize surrounding muscles, back is supported by wall creating a greater focus to the directed area (position back against wall, hold for 25-45 seconds, repeat 7-10 times)

3. Glute Bridges- amazing for relieving knees of pressure, increases knee stability, strengthens glutes, hamstrings, and core (lift butt 4-6 inches from the ground, hold for 20-30 seconds, repeat 3-5 times)

4. Straight Leg Raises- strengthens the front muscles surrounding the knee joints, raises support from the bottom up, aides in mobility, lessens strain and reduces friction (start with leg higher and gradually bring down to where leg is just above ground, hold for 5-10 seconds, lower and repeat, repeat 10-20 times)

Is the weather affecting your mood?

No matter where you are in the world right now I’m sure any and everyone will be able to relate to this post. When it’s warm and sunny your mood is all smiles and excitement, when it’s pouring down raining your mood is “ehhh…do I really have to go?”, when it’s cold and breezy you dread opening up the door to take that first step outside, and the list goes on. Let’s face it, the weather affects our moods which can then have a trickle affect on your life for that season. But let’s talk about when we’re entering a season that we’re not very fond of, such as winter (for all of my US, Canada, UK, etc. peeps) or rainy season (for all my Southeast Asia peeps). Having to go out in the world and handle your business, which may already be stressful on top of dealing with in-ideal weather day in and day out is bound to have a negative affect on you eventually. Study and research has proven that colder and rainier seasons are the peak of depression, anxiety, stress, etc and we know that weather is unpredictable and out of our control (let’s forget about the government conspiracies here for a moment). So what can we do to prevent the negative thoughts and raise our spirits when enduring unwanted weathers? Complain? Nah, that doesn’t change anything and is very annoying to hear. Procrastinate or reschedule? Nope! Ummm what are you waiting for? Slow feet don’t eat. Be in a bad mood and present anger to everyone you come in contact with? Uh un…Good vibes only! Being mad at the world is only punishing yourself because it’s such a beautiful place. It’s all about perspective. Just remember that weather is only temporary! So…here’s a few things we can actually do: If it’s raining, dark and gloomy, try wearing bright colors and also writing with bright pens or markers that day. Try making an upbeat motivating playlist and listen to it on your way to your destination (music has always been a mood changer for me). Or try doing a quick work out to motivate you into leaving the house. If it’s freezing and windy, bundle up and make time to enjoy a hot cup of tea or coffee before you step out. Try lighting a candle with your favorite most comforting scent and take a whiff. Try throwing your coat, jacket, socks, etc in the dryer and taking it out just before it’s time to leave (this is my favorite thing to do when it’s cold lol). Or you could start planning your next vacation to somewhere warm and make a count down (planning vacations always gets me excited no matter how far away the vacation is lol). I’m sure there are many other things you can do to keep yourself motivated but I thought I’d just share a few of the methods that have helped me! If you have more methods please comment or send me an email and I’ll be more than happy to add them to this post. Until next time peeps, remember that “It is only in sorrow bad weather masters us; in joy we face the weather and defy it” – Amelia Barr

Putting Your Insomnia To Bed With Passion Flower Tea

We all have those nights where we just can’t fall asleep no matter what or how hard we try. Happens to the best of us and it’s completely normal from time to time, however when it starts to become a constant thing is when you should become concerned. Insomnia is caused by stress, depression, anxiety, and so many other things as you may already know. And we aren’t doing ourselves any favors by taking our days (problems) to bed with us but for some reason we tend to make the mistake of doing just that. I know, I’ve been there and it’s never really done purposely. Certain thoughts and feelings always decide to show up in the middle of the night. I’ve suffered from insomnia for 2 years during college and didn’t even really notice it. I would say things like “I’m a night owl”, “I don’t need a lot of sleep”, “I don’t go to bed til 3/4 am” and I honestly thought that was ok and normal…or that it was just me. It took for me to actually want to go to bed early one day because I wasn’t feeling good and I just couldn’t. So even feeling as bad as I did I still was unable to fall asleep and stay sleep. That day is when I noticed that I had a problem, and didn’t have the slightest idea of how to solve it. I tried everything I could think of from sleep music to the whole “no electronics/distractions in the bedroom” thing but would still find myself up just staring and thinking. Nothing was working and the lack of sleep started to take a toll on my physical and mental states. I just wanted to sleep and stay sleep longer than 2-3 hours. I had to find a natural solution (I’m super anti-medicine) and fast. I started googling natural ways to cure insomnia and I discovered “natures sleeping potion”….seriously. Passion Flower Tea! Who would’ve thought that a flower could contain compounds that naturally lower anxiety and stress levels and also improves sleep? After doing my research I decided to give it try; and no exaggeration on the very first night of drinking the tea I’d managed to sleep a full 6 hours! It still took me about an hour or so to fall asleep but once I did I was out for the night. That next morning I woke up feeling magical. I definitely felt the difference in my body and mood. I’d finally slept for more than a few hours and felt on top of the world, all thanks to the extracts of this beautiful flower being turned into tea. If you find yourself in a similar situation I’d suggest going to a grocery store, grabbing a box of passion flower tea, along with some honey or agave if vegan, sipping a full cup before bed and let the tea do it’s thing.

Another method I’d found useful is putting a diffuser in your room and putting a few drops of passion flower oil in the water…that combined with the tea and  you will definitely get the sleep you need! You may need about 6 alarms to get you out of bed lol jk but you are guaranteed to peacefully sleep through the night!

Thank me later! Sleep tight

Why is it so easy to neglect exercising the mental? *rolls eyes*

Warning: This is more of a rant…please feel free to comment your thoughts though!

Ughhh…I just don’t get it! Why did we ever stop exercising our minds? Why did we stop buying books? Why did we stop having conversations of substance? When, why and how did we become so addicted to technology? Why are we so quick to read a ShadeRoom article but won’t click on someone you know who blogs worthy information website? (shade, LOL) But seriously, last question…what’s up with this constant need to be entertained?

Ok hear me out and listen good!

Scenario: Your mom just made dinner…every makes their own plates (which is fine), but then you all take your plates and go, including mom. You go to your room to watch a newly discovered netflix series and eat, your brother takes his food and continues to play his video game while eating, your sister is recording a video of her plate to upload to snapchat and is watching videos on Instagram while eating, your baby sister has her plate in front but is too distracted by watching other kids play with toys on Youtube to eat, dad is on the living room couch eating his food and watching the game and mom is in her room watching her favorite show and chowing down as well.

So let me get this right 🧐🤔. Mom just made a dinner for her family and instead of eating together and who knows maybe having a conversation we all just decided that the internet is more important, valuable, and entertaining. Interesting…time, not even a lot of time at that, maybe 30 minutes that could be spent with your family was just wasted on something that was literally going to be there as soon as you were done eating. Does this make sense to y’all? It can literally wait, you can pause, rewind, refresh or whatever it is you have to do…I promise it isn’t going anywhere lol smh!

I’m not saying anything is wrong with the internet because it’s definitely a tool I love and find useful, but I just want to bring awareness to that fact that we as a whole use it entirely too much. And I’m not seeing the benefit or point of it, especially those who aren’t making a difference with it or using it to make money. Just saying it’s ok to go read a book, take a walk, have a conversation, go a few days without the internet…you know just live life without having to use technology or the internet to get through the day!!! Ok, I’m done for now. Thank you for tuning into my ted talk 😂✌🏾 see ya next week!

4 Beginner Yoga Poses and Their Benefits

The practice of yoga has many benefits such as elevating mental, physical, and spiritual strengths. A consistent practice of yoga can increase focus and discipline skills, bring you inner peace, enhance flexibility, balance, and overall health. To some yoga may seem intimidating but I believe that’s because people think that they have to be already flexible, or strong or whatever prior thoughts they have about yoga when that’s not the case at all. There are different types of yoga ranging from easy to advanced so please understand that you will work your way up to all the “cooler” poses. We all have to start somewhere so, start slow, keep an open mind, and remember that you have to practice to get results! Below you will find 4 beginner yoga poses, and their benefits…enjoy!

1. Boat Pose – improves digestion and alleviate excessive gas, burns belly fat, strengthens arms, thighs, and shoulder muscles, regulates blood flow and helps to increase ability to focus. (attempt to hold pose for a minimum of 5 breaths)

2. Warrior Pose I– strengthens your leg, knee, and feet muscles, improves posture, stretches your spine and shoulders while also increasing focus and balance. (attempt to hold pose for a minimum of 10 breaths)

3. One Legged King Pigeon Pose- stretches the entire body, strengthens your spinal cord, relieves tension of tight hips, stimulates core muscles and organs, opens chest and shoulders allowing a better path for your airways. (attempt to hold pose for a minimum of 10 breaths)

4. Tree Pose– (best practiced in open air and sun light) strengthens your ankles and calves, elongates the body, improves balance, opens up your hip laterally and loosens the surrounding joints and muscles, decreases back pain and stress levels. (attempt to hold pose for a minimum of 10 breaths)

Practice these poses again and again until you can remain the pose comfortably and focus on your breathing without becoming unbalanced, distracted or shaky. Yoga is not something that has to be done every day, I recommend practicing poses 2-3 times a week to start off and slowly increase time and intensity!

Mantra Meditation

Meditation can take a while to master, simply because your mind naturally wanders, especially when you’re first beginning the practice. From experience mantras have helped me remain focused during meditation and also give me a better overall feeling afterwards. And what’s a mantra you ask? Well a mantra is a phrase or word that is repeated/chanted over and over again. For example my first mantra was a quote I read and fancied by Gandhi “Be the change you wish to see in the world” and I would get into my pose, close my eyes & repeat those words over and over while meditating (unfocused breathing). I would focus on those words and at first I would see visions of how I saw the world and then visions of how I wish the world actually was. Eventually, after weeks of repeating the words they for a lack of better words became me and I became them. When I said those words I no longer saw any visuals but instead I felt relaxed and comforted by the mantra, I felt at ease, and my heart was noticeably less heavier than before. So not only did repeating the mantra prevent my mind from senseless wandering but it also helped me to relax. It helped me to believe in the words I was saying and it also gave me another level of consciousness. I would honestly say that the mantra changed my entire view on meditation although I don’t need to use them as much now days. However, every now and again when I am feeling overwhelmed or a bit somber I will incorporate a new mantra into my practice to lift my spirits and fill my mind and body with positivity! So if you are having trouble meditating then I suggest finding a mantra and using that as a new starter point. You can google quotes that make you feel good or you can find some actual ancient hindu/buddhist mantras (this would probably be more helpful because it’s not in a language your brain could correlate anything to).

Here are a few positive mantras that I’ve found helpful in the past:

  1. “I change my thoughts, I change my world”~Norman Peale
  2. “I send myself love.  I send love to those who need it”~Unknown (This mantra is to be said in two parts: *inhale* “I send myself love.” *exhale* “I send love to those who need it.”)
  3. “Everything I need is already within me”~Unknown
  4. “Life is not a rehearsal but a gift so I must treat it as such”~Dr. Wayne Dyer
  5. “I accept myself, my flaws, my past, my present and my destiny”~Tena Desae

Please comment and let me know if mantra meditation works for you better than normal meditation or just comment to let me know how meditation in general has made you feel!

Utilizing yoga & meditation to ensure mental & physical wellness

We all are dealing with personal things on top of long, busy days filled with the stresses & pressures of the world.  Often neglecting our mental and physical needs. Commonly ignoring the importance of exercising our muscles and often over-working our brains. Most people use the excuse of not having enough time but what if I told you that you can combine the two with yoga? Yoga is the perfect mix of both mental and physical wellness with different levels to keep you actively engaged. As an influencer of yoga and meditation I am excited to share tips and spread knowledge of the benefits with you all! For those interested I have posted a list of steps on how to meditate for beginners below.

How to meditate:  10 easy tips for beginners

Dedicate yourself to 10-15 minutes of meditation per day ( minimum 5 mins in the morning and 5 mins at night)

  1. Try your best to start at the same time each day (gets your mind and body in the habit)
  2. Find somewhere peaceful and quiet
  3. Set a timer
  4. Add one-two extra minutes on the time to allow yourself time for positioning and a quick stretch of the spine, arms and legs
  5. Sit or lay down in a comfortable position (I recommend starting off sitting up)
  6. Gently close your eyes
  7. Relax your shoulders
  8. Breathe…make no effort to control your flow just simply breathe.
  9. Try not to think, and try to stay as still as possible, attempt to go blank. (your mind will wander don’t worry it’s normal…when it does count to 5; take a deep breath in between counting ex. 1…breathe…2… and re-focus)
  10. Don’t worry about if your doing it right or wrong…it’s a foreign activity so it’s going to feel a bit “weird”

Once your timer goes off don’t just jump up…take your time to stand and analyze your underlying mood, take one more deep breath & now start or end your day in a calming mood!