Have you ever said to yourself, “My life is a mess and I have no idea how to fix it”? Well, you are certainly not alone. We all have mental clutter and distracting thoughts that take our focus off of our priorities.
I think we all have had a feeling of hopelessness at one time or another in our lives. The truth is, life gets messy sometimes.
Sometimes you might feel like your life is such a mess that you don’t even know how you got there. You don’t think you are going to be able to handle it any longer and the thought of trying to dig yourself out is too overwhelming to even consider.
For fifteen years, my life was messy. It was a constant tornado of highs and lows. I was living a secret life.
Mental clutter pulls us out of the present moment– anything that keeps you from thinking straight. All that mental clutter takes up so much space that we hardly have any room left for what we’re meant to do.
Having spent my fair share living at rock bottom, I know firsthand that there is hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. However, YOU have to be willing to step up, show up, and get uncomfortable in order to make change happen.
So, if your knee-deep in a messy life or you feel like you might not have anywhere to go, I welcome you to join me in clearing the mental clutter once and for all.
5 Steps to Clear Mental Clutter
1. Put Down the Instant Gratification Devices.
Growing up with technology has made us dependent on the idea of always being connected. Information, entertainment, and communication are only a click away all day, every day. I recently read that an addiction to social media and the “likes” (so to speak) you get on these social media sites give you the same endorphin boost as someone who is suffering from an addiction to drugs, alcohol, etc. So, put down your devices so that you can truly experience life around you rather than just document it.
2. Enjoy Nature.
When is the last time you stepped outside and just took in a big breath of fresh air? The blue skies, the singing birds, the refreshing breeze–all of these things help to restore your mental clarity. Stepping away from life’s distractions gives us the opportunity to enjoy what is in front of us more fully. Goodbye mental clutter!
Don’t think of meditation as some big and scary monster. It’s actually the opposite. Meditation changes brain function and helps to improve focus. Meditation is simply a matter of you stopping for a few minutes and breathing, unplugging and reducing yourself to nothing more than every inhale and exhale. Even if it just for a few minutes. Step into a mini oasis with me for just three minutes a day with my 3 Minute Meditation. Clear your mind, focus your thoughts, and open yourself to a fresh new perspective.
4. Join A Community.
My FREE online Facebook community, Daily Dose of Hope, is dedicated to helping others purposefully excel through the messiness of real-life, both on and off the mat. This group is about reclaiming the health and well-being of all its members, inspiring each member to see they are worth it and assisting in the cultivation of each person becoming the best version of themselves!
5. Clear Your Mind.
When your mind is in overdrive, sometimes you just need to hit the reset button. My 3-Week Clearing Mental Clutter Mini-Course shows you how to banish your mental roadblocks by recognizing what they are and how to do something about them. Weekly affirmations help to keep you on track, short mindful movement sequences to help you step into your body fully, and a private accountability group helps to support you in clearing the mental clutter and creating monumental clarity. What are you waiting for?
Your journey awaits. What are you waiting for? After all, you are well worth it.
5 Ways to Live a More Authentic Life NOW:
1. Be Honest with Yourself and Others.
We often think that the little white lies we tell ourselves and others will make things easier. We think we are doing a favor to others by saving them the time or emotion of the truth. But the reality is, it makes things much more complicated and incredibly dishonest. These lies snowball until you can’t remember who you’ve told the truth to. Find your authentic truth.
2. Stop Saying “I Can’t.”
We look out at life and say that we can’t do this or that, and what we say becomes our truth. What we tell the Universe is what we get back from the Universe.
Erase “I can’t” from your vocabulary and replace it with “I can, I have, I know, or I am.” Take life and start living in the moment.
3. Take Risks.
I’m not saying jump off a cliff, but rather, live boldly. I would rather fall a million times than never fall once and have never tried. We learn through hardships and risks, and the only bad risk is the one not taken. Sometimes you need a little clarity to feel more confident to take that risk…
So are you willing to take that risk if you know it will bring you clarity? What if there was something you could do to aid that clarity creation and feel more confident in that next step?
4. Speak up.
I often speak what is on my mind and what I desire. And yoga has taught me how to channel that in a positive, more helpful, loving way (better than I could years ago). I often hear people say: if only, or I didn’t know, or I wish someone would have told me, but the truth is, unless you speak up, why should anyone come running to your aide? Don’t blame others for your unspoken wish list. Don’t say, “I should have” when you know you could have. We all have a voice and the right to speak up. So when you don’t, it’s no one’s fault but your own.
5. Be a Leader.
We need not be trendsetters or inventors, but rather leaders in our own lives. You may not be famous, but when you live 100 percent each day with no regrets — truthfully and positively — and speak up in a kind manner, you become the authentic leader for others to follow in living their lives that way too.
Each and every day we must work to be more mindful and work to be the best version of ourselves in all that we do. When we step outside our comfort zones and work just a bit harder than the day before, things get easier and we start to enjoy life more. Seek to live an authentic life and reap the rewards.
Being stressed appears to be the new norm. Tasks just keep piling up and finding time to de-stress seems to never fit into the day’s schedule. And when it comes to work, it may not be realistic to drop everything and hit up a yoga class or take a day at the beach. We can use mantras and affirmations to keep our mind calm and focused without detracting from our productivity.
As a yoga and mindfulness expert of more than seventeen years, I firmly believe in making small little changes to our lives. And at the end of the day, those small little changes all add up to big results.
And that is why incorporating the use of mantras into your life and workday can be a very effective way to curb stress, help you become more productive, and keep a “zen” state even in the most stressful of times.
The use of mantras can benefit anyone who incorporates them into their lives.
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Soothes stresses from technology hangover
- Assists in shedding neurotic habits
- Boosts immunity
- They are FREE
What is a Mantra?
A mantra is a word or syllable repeated to help curb the mind and keep focus. It acts as a form of meditation. One would often use a mantra in yoga and meditation to help keep “the mind on the mat.” They are often also used in everyday life and given from teacher to student to help overcome obstacles, challenges, and transitions.
Incorporating mantras into ones’ workday can be a wonderful way to combat stress, keep better focus, improve confidence, and keep negative, self-sabotaging thoughts at bay.
How Do I use a Mantra?
If you are a yogi working with a teacher, one would often recommend you recite your given mantra for 108 times, X amount of times per day for so many days. (108 is a special number in the yogic world.)
Anyone can begin to use mantras and instantly benefit. And that means you can start today.
You may already have used a mantra and don’t even know it.
Affirmations are forms of mantras in the English form. Mantras can be more powerful as the vibrational tone. The sound of a mantra when spoken correctly aids the brain and our inner state more deeply than its English sister.
No matter where you start, a refocusing on the mind will surely follow, with commitment and regular repetition.
Where do I Start?
One of my favorite mantras that I was given during my stay at an ashram during one of my yoga teacher trainings is a mantra to Ganesha.
Ganesha is seen as the remover of obstacles. When chanted to, it can help you overcome, move through, or see more clearly that which is in front of you and needs to be dealt with.
Mantra for the Workplace
“Om Vakratundaaya Hum” (Ohm Vah-krah-TOON-die-yah Hoom)
When chanting this, you would either chant using a mala or even just chant this frequently during the day to help keep the mind focused and aid in working through difficulties.
If you would rather not use a Sanskrit mantra, then using affirmations (which many of us do already) is a great place to start.
I think of mantras as a way to change the internal voice we have. For many, that internal voice is negative and downgrading.
Affirmation for the Workplace
“Peace is within my reach” or “I am calm and focused”, or “Obstacles are opportunities”.
No matter what mantra or affirmation you choose, they don’t work and cannot help you if you don’t use them. Check out this blog post to learn how to craft your own personal, positive affirmations.
Please comment and share with me what mantras you have chosen for yourself!
This post was originally published in the March 2018 edition of Inspiyr.
Movement, working out, exercise… call it what you want. It and I (is that how you say it?) have a very special relationship.
Movement is partly what saved me from a life-strangling eating disorder. When I’m not moving, long story short, it is often a slippery slope to the land of sorrows, depression, and anxiety. There is something so amazing about feeling strong, feeling alive, and feeling in my body. I love exploring movements. I love being creative and pushing myself in a way that can best serve my body.
But too much of anything can be a bad thing – even exercise. As I get older I’m more conscious of my joints, my bones. I’m trying to stay pain-free, not just trim and fit.
About two years ago, I took a very bad fall and it landed me a slow recovery and a body that felt like it was well into it’s 70’s or 80’s. Muscles wouldn’t let go of the trauma, and I started to develop imbalances that were wreaking havoc on my body that I fought so hard to keep living in.
Rediscovering resistance bands was one thing that jump-started my body’s recovery and really began to heal my injuries and imbalances without pushing it too hard (and I had no intention of being as big as the Incredible Hulk). Resistance bands are an unappreciated piece of exercise equipment. So many get sucked into believing that the more expensive, the better. Truth be told, bands are great! Think of them as one step up from bodyweight exercises and super nurturing to your joints!
How do resistance bands work?
Unlike weights, resistance bands don’t rely on gravity. The more you stretch the bands, the more they resist your movement. Want to work harder? Increase the stretch in the band! When you work with a free weight, you can only go as far as your joint will allow. With a band, create more resistance and you have just increased your workout. I love resistance bands because you can get way more creative than you can with weights. And they are so portable!
Here are some of my current favorite moves when it comes to working with resistance bands:
Resistance Band Exercises
Foot Work with Resistance Bands
Place a tied resistance band about the length of your forearm and place it over the balls of your feet. Stretch the band just enough so there is no slack. Keeping a tall body (no rib thrusting or booty pushing), start to march in place. Really work to lift your knee without leaning back or tipping forward. March in place 30 times.
Next ground into one leg and keep a strong neutral rotation on the leg (pit of the back of the knee pointing back and on dumping into the hip), engage your glute and press out with the opposite leg for a lateral lift. Think about kicking out with the heel, not the toes (almost like internal rotation). Do this 10-20 times on each side.
Resistance Band Arm Workout
Standing strong in neutral, feet grounded and no rib thrusting. Place your fists inside the tied off resistance band. First anchor your elbows at your sides and press out with both fists (the movement comes from the elbow) on an exhalation.
Try this for 10-20 times. Next keeping your upper body strong and stable pull one fist up and one fist down, like your arms are marching in place. Do this 10-20 times. Finally pull your fists diagonally and then back to center 10-20 times. Notice which arm is stronger and tune into making sure you don’t dominate the movements with that stronger arm.
Resistance Band Exercises for Hips and Glutes
This was a lifesaver for me because my left hip and hamstring weren’t cooperating, and my right glute was weak (very unstable pulley system). Place the tied off resistance band around your ankles (shoes optional) and walk 30 paces forward and back in the following ways:
Wide Monster Strides (pull the band as wide as you can comfortably and walk forward and back)
Normal Walk (Walk in a normal hips distance and stretch the band with enough resistance when you walk)
Diagonal Walk (Step to the right one foot at a time, then to the left, alternating forward and back)
Sideways Walker (Create a slight squat and step foot to foot to the right, then to the left)
So many think their workout has to be at the gym in workout clothes and X minutes long to be “worth it.” Here’s the thing: I carry my bands with me in my car. Yes, I do a three-minute workout here or there and it all adds up! To step out of the box, you have to start to think out of the box!
And you might as well add resistance bands into that thinking too!
Don’t have bands? I got you covered! Grab this kit and join me!
Walking a labyrinth of life. Have you ever walked a labyrinth?
In the beginning, it’s slow, you’re young, you don’t know much, the world is new and different.
But as you walk towards the center of the labyrinth, even though your pace is the same things speed up. You are able to circle the labyrinth more quickly and get to the center quite quickly.
And like life, once you meet the center there is a moment of bliss, peace and unfolding. And mid-life is like that. There comes a time (for many) when they reach a point in their lives where they feel like they “got it”. And the stop to look around and show gratitude for this amazing life (good or bad-you’re alive and that is flipping amazing, have you looked around you lately and what all of creation is offering you. Pretty epic).
And at the center of the labyrinth, you stop and take a moment to pray, to release anything that you no longer need to carry, you pay gratitude, you ask for forgiveness, to be made new, to release and now take in the next phase of your journey.
As you start your journey back out the winding circles of the labyrinth again it seems faster at first, even though your pace is nearly the same. But as you start to get closer to the outer windings of the circle it begins to take you longer to reach the end. Things slow down, you slow down.
In life, it’s much the same way. After mid-life and you start to step into the golden years, things slow down. Kids are all grown up, you may be retired, have moved. Where now you have slowed down as we all know eventually we all reach the end of the circle.
Now when you walk a labyrinth you often are asked to take an intention in with you and then knowing you may leave with something else as you exit.
But life is often that way. Many enter college and get a 4-year degree only to discover that they are to do something entirely different.
Because the thing is, in life, we change. We grow. We expand and contract at various moments of our lives. What seems slow will eventually speed up and what seems fast will eventually slow down.
It was brought to my attention this morning while walking the labyrinth that pace is everything.
And my pace throughout the entire walk circling through the winding paths of the labyrinth my pace was the same. One foot in front of the other and the journey’s path got quicker, faster, shorter.
But it was my pace that kept me calm, it was my pace that kept me focused, it was my pace that helped and allowed me to hold strong a powerful intention going in and coming out.
So wherever your journey leads you, keep pace.
Wherever your feet lead you, keep pace.
Whatever you find in your path, know it’s there for a reason and keep pace.
It may at times seem like the world is moving quickly around you and you need to “run” the rat race too, but I assure you keep pace and you will end up exactly where you need to be at the exact right time.
Blessings to all,