Fall leaves - something I list to calm my mind

The easy way to calm your beautiful mind

Those moments where your mind is spinning out of control and you just wish something could make you feel calmer? A gratitude practice, my friend, is it. The easy way to calm your beautiful mind.

My husband and I did a gratitude practice the morning of our wedding day. We spent a half hour just feeling grateful for our lives and all the love in it. We did that before anything else on our to-do list. And what could have been a very stressful day… started off just right. We rode a giant wave of love from start to finish, and I attribute the positive momentum to that gratitude practice. 

This week, gratitude made a difference

I’m soaking in the beautiful fall weather from a rocker on my front porch as I write. Enjoying the warm fall air and the beautiful trees, the soft bellows of my baby’s breathing, his body curled up snug against me. Even enjoying the sense of not knowing as we head towards presidential election results later tonight.

Yesterday didn’t feel so pristine and easy. I was exhausted after a sleepless night, and my mind spun out of control with anxious thoughts about affording daycare for two children. Not knowing what else to do, I wrapped baby up and off we went on a gratitude walk around the neighborhood. 

There’s the saying that love and fear can’t exist together. It’s the same with gratitude and anxiety. During the walk, I listed all the things I’m grateful for that I could think of. Pinecones, sunshine, people who inspire me, people who joined our meal train, the spot that opened up for my daughter in a coveted daycare nearby, red leaves, red doors. Twenty minutes later, I can’t say I was flying high on life, but I was much calmer. I’d stopped the mental train tracks. 

All good things

Try a gratitude practice next time you find yourself in a negative mental state. It’s the easy way to calm your beautiful mind, and you can do it anywhere. Try it before a big day, or before any normal day. Gets you set up in a positive place – ready for all good things to come to you. And they will. You are enough. <3

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Tell me – I’d love to hear! – what are five things you’re grateful for in this moment? Please share in the comments below. May our lovin’ energy inspire and lift each other up. Go mama love.

Picture of a happy sheep - sweet image of moving less and smiling more!

How to move less to smile more (& save 15 minutes!)

Hello, my friends! I hope this moment finds you enjoying yourself. Perhaps worrying less, just for today. For a little fun, I have a pop quiz to kick things off. Based on the title “How to move less to smile more,” what do you think today’s post is about?!

Is it:

  1. Someone finally telling you that you can be happy without exercising, 
  2. A silly game where you freeze and your kids try to do anything they can to get you to smile! or 
  3. A method to less stress when knocking out your to-do list at home

If you guessed 3, then you’re right. Giving you strategies to save time at home is my jam and today’s topic could help you free up at least 15 minutes a day. That said, I do think the freeze game would be a lot of fun and produce loads of smiles. Kid antics are the best. But I digress…

Let’s talk about movement

Movement (or motion) is one of the “eight wastes” commonly cited in companies that do lean process improvement. It happens at work, and it happens at home. It’s an action that could be completely erased if things were set up differently from the start of an activity. And its existence as a “waste” is largely hidden. What we do notice is the stress we feel from things not flowing smooth as we’d like. 

Take me for example. There are numerous times a day when I move across the house more times than would be needed if I organized the space a little differently, or perhaps dedicated myself to forming a new habit. (New habits are super hard to create, though, and worth a post all on their own)! Some examples might include:

-Looking all over the kitchen for a utensil that is not where I think it’s supposed to be.

-Running back and forth across the house to find the right scarf or shoes

-Opening and closing a cupboard 20 times in a night to get to the trash can while cooking or cleaning

-Looking through my closet hangers for a particular shirt over and over until I find it

Wasted movement, time, and stress

I swear to you, if you ever time yourself when doing an activity, you’d be surprised at how fast time disappeared due to wasted movement. That back-and-forth I sometimes do looking for the right shoes easily wastes 3 minutes if not more. Looking for the missing kitchen gadget can take 4-5 minutes until I find it or give up and look for a plan B. Those minutes are precious if it’s the difference between being late for work or having dinner on the table before your hungry kids lose their marbles. 

I know that timing yourself is pretty unlikely to happen. Heck, we moms are just trying to get through to the next thing! But if some part of your mind turns on and even starts a slow “one one thousand, two one thousand” count… consider it a success. It means you have officially noticed a sore spot in a new way. You’re noticing that this is something you don’t have to keep doing.

That’s huge! Noticing is half the battle…next is the fun part: you get to be creative and solve the problem. Maybe something gets reorganized. Perhaps the trash comes out of the cupboard for the whole time you’re cooking. Or maybe outfits get paired together and set aside at the beginning of the week. The options are really endless!

You are a natural problem solver. Identify the pain point and go for a fix. If it doesn’t work as well as you’d like, try something else later. Keep at it, mama bear!

Shoot for 15 minutes

Remember, it’s a mama who moves less and smiles more that we’re after. There are probably at least 15 minutes a day that could be freed up by making small shifts that use less movement. I know that’s a big promise, but try it and see. All the tiny movement issues you solve will add up. 15 minutes! Why, that’s enough time to read a chapter of that book you’ve been dying to finish. Mmmm, sweet down time.  

****I’m curious – what would you do with 15 more minutes in your day?! Have a little fun with this prompt and tell me in the comments! 

A rainbow as a symbol that everything's ok. We don't have to live in the past or be hard on ourselves about it.

Living in the past? Here’s what to do.

Have you had days where you replay a past mistake over and over, as if reliving your embarrassment will sometimes make it better? Me too. Sometimes I replay scenes that surely everyone else has long forgotten, or at least they’ve ceased to care. And what do you do to get out of that internal re-play? Have you found a way to make it stop? If you often find yourself living in the past, this article is for you. 

Your life on repeat

I bet a number of things are happening to you when you obsess over the past in a negative way. Unkind words toward yourself are likely running through your head. You’re probably giving yourself a really hard time for those mistakes or imperfections. You’re probably forgetting how divinely loveable and worthy you are. I bet precious minutes go by that you could be using for something (anything!) more enjoyable, but you’re lost in the past, hurting your heart. Meanwhile, your body is in a stressed state of flight or flight, which will take literally hours to come down from. 

According to a Success article featuring Erin Olivo, Ph.D., assistant professor of medical psychology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, there’s no emotional difference between living an experience and re-living it in our minds. In other words, we create stress when we ruminate on a past event over and over. And what is stress? It’s triggering our bodies into a state of fight or flight. There is no danger in most of our waking moments, yet we create stress for ourselves by reliving our pasts. 

it’s ok now

Dear, bright spirit, let’s take a big breath, you and I. 

(yes, right now – big inhale…. and let it go….)

If you’re reading this, it’s because you’re on a journey to heal your heart. To heal into the now. It’s because you want to feel fully alive, and you want that joy to expand into an example that your children will follow. 

I want that for you, too. 

4 Techniques to stop living in the past

Here are a few things that can be done to help curb this habit of living in the past. Keep in mind that these suggestions should be done with love toward yourself, never as an opportunity to be hard on yourself when you realize you’re living in the past again. 

  • Notice when you are ruminating, and say some sort of mantra that calls you back to the present. I often use a mantra by Tich Nhat Hahn: “I have arrived, I am home/ In the here, in the now/ I am solid, I am free/ In the ultimate, I dwell.”  This works for me, but you might have a different one that calms your heart. 
  • Forgive yourself as quickly as possible. On Puttylike*, Emilie shares that she makes a practice of allowing herself to feel embarrassed when something happens, and then she chooses to forgive herself within hours of the event. Isn’t that beautiful? She makes a choice to let go, and in doing so – she never even forms a habit of reliving a mistake or embarrassment. 
  • We choose the thoughts we think and sometimes our minds just need a nudge in a different direction. Ask your mind to help you in not reliving moments. Tell it that these thoughts no longer serve you, that you choose to think about things that feel good and you could use it’s help in doing this. 
  • Consider the possibility that there are no mistakes, only learning experiences. What we consider a mistake is just a sign that we are growing, and there will always be more to learn. There’s flow in language like “learning experience.” A mistake sounds serious, unfixable, unmovable – but our lives aren’t like that. We move on, we grow, we only ever have “learning experiences.” 

Feelin better already 🙂

Aren’t we blessed? We live in a world where safety and beauty fill our days. It’s a choice to think hard thoughts, and we can choose again in every moment. We can forgive our pasts. We can be grateful for who we are right now. Why, we can even look at ourselves from the perspective of those who love us: they want only happiness and ease for us, in the end, and they would never spend much time dwelling on our mistakes. In their eyes, it’s all part of the story, it’s all ok.  

I hope the rest of your day has moments where you notice the deep peace all around and within you. I hope you feel the love that surrounds you. You are an amazing human being, a light in this world, a good friend and an amazing mother. Thank you for being. 

***I’m curious, is there a mantra or quote or calming technique that is powerful to you? One that helps you calm and center yourself? Make sure to write it in the comments. You never know who you will help by sharing. May our lovin’ energy inspire and lift each other up. Go mama!