Make Change Happen

Routines are hard to maintain. They are healthy because they keep us organized and help us maintain some sense of normalcy. But what happens when there is a glitch in our routine? What happens when we have to make a change?

Now, change can be a very broad term. We can change many things like the color of our hair, the clothes we wear, the way we act or even the way we think.

Each form of change comes with one common factor: the unknown.

Every time we make a change we take a risk, no matter how small or how noticeable this change may be. The changes that are the hardest to make though are those that come from within, rather than those that appear on the outside. Working to make an inner change is hard and it is completely normal to not know where to start or how to go about it.

Let’s talk about some examples of what making an inner change looks like.

It is healthy for us to notice our negative qualities and want to adjust them.

A bad trait we sometimes have is addressing ourselves with a negative tone. By this I mean you wake up in the morning, get ready for work, walk past a mirror and think “yikes” to yourself as you walk out the door because you’ve had better hair days before and today was just not cutting it.

We can start by taking baby steps toward the changes we wish to make that will create an overall happier version of ourselves.

Step 1: Identify the problem. What is causing you to be upset? When you go through your daily routine, take note of the things that make your day better and of the things that make you feel uncomfortable. By identifying the underlying causes of our feelings and insecurities, it becomes easier to change these behaviors slowly over time.

Step 2: Create a plan to make things better. If you notice every day you do happen to be that person that tells yourself you don’t look that great when you walk out the door in the morning, make it a priority to find something about you that you DO like. Look at yourself and find one thing to compliment. This will help build self-esteem and help us realize that no one is perfect so we must love our imperfections.

Step 3: Surround yourself with support. If you feel uncomfortable around a group of people, you feel like they are not good for your mental health, find a way to fix it. This does not always mean kicking people out of your life or cutting them off but, instead, try to find other grounds to talk about, other common factors. Learn to listen, rather than talk for a more positive outcome.

Step 4: Maintain a routine. Once we have identified the things we wish to change and come up with a plan to enact this change within our daily lives, we must find a way to keep the positivity prevalent.

As I’ve said before, being human is hard. It is not always easy to know right from wrong. It is not always clear what steps we should take to make ourselves feel happier. Change is ultimately inevitable. So, if we can learn how to maintain a sense of normalcy while going through a change that we decide on, it will make it easier to cope with the changes in our lives that are out of our control.

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Self-Growth is a Steady Journey

This week I decided I needed to take my own advice.

As I have been writing about self-care, self-growth and the preservation of the love we have for our own selves, I came to the realization that these things are much easier said than done. I looked in the mirror and saw someone I love, but she’s not quite present on the surface. The part of me that loves myself to the fullest potential was hiding somewhere deep within.

So, the question stands:

How do I find the version of me that is capable of loving myself, and others, to my fullest potential?

Well, first I had to figure out what was shadowing me and what it was that was dimming my light. This was not easy. This came with tears and telling myself some things that I had been pushing behind me for a long while now. I thought about why I felt like I am not good enough, why I felt like I need someone else to love me, for me to love myself, and why I allow the opinion of others to affect my mood and cloud the lens that I see the world through. Ironically, the answers were simple.

Some very hard questions that revolve around a simple explanation:

I was afraid.

I was afraid that the negative people that surround me are, in fact, right. I was afraid that the ME I see every day in the mirror is not the version of me others perceive. I was afraid that I will never get my happy ending.

This, though, is negative self-talk; something we may acknowledge but ultimately want to stay away from. There is no good reason to consistently try to believe the negative accusations that you direct at yourself.

So, I joined a yoga class. In my practice I focused fully on my breath and my intension. I brought those negative feelings in with me and I let them melt away through my pores as I went through the flow of Vinyasa.

By the end of my practice that day, the stress and anxiety that filled my head and my heart had calmed down and I finally felt grounded for the time being.

After this I suggested connecting with loved ones. So, that is what I did. I met my sister for dinner and we talked about irrelevant topics like school and how we want to redecorate our rooms. A day that started so wound up and uncomfortable turned slowly into a calm, comfortable conversation.

The last step is to set a goal. I am often very busy and find myself feeling overwhelmed by all of my responsibilities so I had to truly think about what I needed. I needed to feel comfortable in my own skin. I needed to be calm and collected while I navigate my day. I needed to show myself that I am capable of giving my body and mind more love than it has been receiving.

With that being said, I set two goals:

My first goal is to attend at least four yoga classes a week. These classes will help me become more in-tune with my physical self, helping me feel grounded in the process.

My second goal is to make time for breakfast every day. I do not always have time for more then a coffee and a quick bite on the go. Changing this routine will not only help adjust my health and eating habits it will become a healthier alternative for my mental stability and sleep cycle by creating a routine and forcing myself to make time for one specific thing each day.

I have been active in following through with these goals for two weeks now. After a week of this routine I felt better. My mind had found a safe space and I began to understand how much I had truly been neglecting myself.

After two weeks, I am thrilled. I have started to see changes in my physical self and I am finally focused on creating a better me for ME, not for others. My path may not be the right path for you, everyone is different, but I encourage you to find one.

As the wise Buddha once said, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

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4 Steps For Self-Growth

How often do you find yourself looking in the mirror wondering where the 18-year-old version of you disappeared to? You look at yourself, thinking that the size of your jeans actually plays a part in your ability to make friends or fall in love. You may catch a glimpse of yourself while walking out the door and think that if you could look a certain way, maybe people would treat you differently. Negative thoughts of yourself swirl through your mind just to pollute the your self image.

Well, I’m here to tell you that those thoughts are not working for you. You will always be the only version of YOU and no one can take that away. As humans, we sometimes believe that growth is something that just comes with time. We think that things will eventually just change for the better and we will naturally just grow into the person we want to be. It is important to think deeper into that theory and imagine what our lives would be if we choose to do nothing and just assume growth will happen.

You can think of it almost like the life of a plant. Now, I have no green thumb but I do know that if you forget to water your plant and keep it out of the sunlight, it will soon wither away to a very little, frail version of its previous self. This is similar to what happens to us as humans. If we forget to love ourselves, to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, to love the body we have, we will become weak and frail. The best way to avoid this is to simply tell ourselves we are enough.

Now, I say simply, but I know this is no simple task at all. This will require work and dedication. It takes discipline. If every time we looked in the mirror we told ourselves we loved the body we live in, rather than hate it, eventually we will. Like a plant, we all need a little love, compassion, and sunlight to help us grow. Being mean to others never got you ahead in life. What makes you think being mean to yourself will?

Here are some steps to help you focus on your good qualities and the love you deserve to show yourself.

Step One: Locate the problem. What is affecting your self-esteem? Is it a relationship or an outside source? Where is it coming from?

Step Two: Avoid negative self-talk. Like we talked about before, speaking negatively toward yourself will only harm you.

Step Three: Connect with those who love you. This may be a relative or friend, anyone who sees the good in you that maybe you are having a hard time finding. Being around positive supports can help us remember why we love ourselves. .

Step Four: Set a goal and make it your challenge. Focus on the good around you and create routines to achieve it. Having good hygiene and a clean room will help clear your mind as well. Open the blinds to allow light and take a walk outdoors.

All of these things will be pieces of the puzzle that will eventually fit together to complete your challenge, finally showing you the full picture. Don’t forget, we are all human and no one is perfect. Rather, perfectly imperfect in our own ways.

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3 Ways to Treat Yourself this Valentine's Day

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, the longing for a significant other becomes overwhelmingly apparent for those of us lacking our “perfect person.” For those of us in a relationship, the pressure of Valentine’s Day can be growing and we may be running to find the “perfect gift.” It is impossible to walk through a retail store without feeling overwhelmed by oversized teddy bears and heart shaped chocolates. It is natural for us to want another half, someone to hold or hug, someone who brings out the best in us.

We all know a perfect first date doesn’t exist, even if we are in a relationship.

How can we make Valentine’s Day About Self-Love?

Movies portray an unrealistic vision of how love really looks like and ultimately forces us to create unhealthy and unnecessary expectations for a potential partner and Valentine’s Day celebration.

So, instead of blindly searching for your person this February, or the perfect gift, I challenge you to find your self-love.

Here are three tips to spend your day in a healthy way:

1. Galentine’s day (or we can call it Palentine’s day for the fellas out there): Have a Valentine’s Day exchange with some of your friends, Secret-Santa style. This time, focus your gifts on self-love: everyone loves a good face mask, scented candles, great book, a gift card to your favorite spa or restaurant.

2. Snag a friend for the day and take advantage of Valentine’s Day deals: A half-off couple massage and discounted dinner for two are definitely some deals to take advantage of. You do not have to be in a relationship to enjoy great discounts.

3. Pamper yourself: Maybe you don’t want to go out, that is totally fine. While others stress about the pressure of planning the most romantic day of the year, you can sit and relax in your bathtub, watching standup comedy or horror movies, while eating your favorite chocolate. Soak in those positive endorphins and focus on you.

Love is everywhere we look, including inside ourselves. Searching in the wrong places will just leave you finding something you were not looking for. By finding and loving ourselves, we attract others who have the same energy. Your Valentine’s Day is what you want to make of it, be positive about your relationship status and focus on the relationship you have with yourself.

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3 Tips to Reduce Stress

Hello, I’m Ciara Gorby and I’m the new Administrative Assistant at Serene Mind Psychology. I just graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Biological and Behavioral Health Science and recently applied to the Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling Program there as well.

Since I am currently not in school, something I had been accustomed to for my entire life, I have run into some stressors revolving around purpose. Although this was brought on by the removal of education in my daily life, this can be brought on by many things for different people. A mother can struggle with a sense of purpose when her youngest child moves out to go to college. A boy can struggle with purpose when he breaks his leg and can no longer fulfill his dreams as a professional athlete. A college student can struggle finding their sense of purpose if they decide they have picked the wrong major, with no back up direction in sight.

What I’m saying is: This is fine, it happens to all of us.

Every once in a while, we think we have it all together and then we take a long moment and figure out that we just DO NOT. And that is okay for a little while. It is totally fine to have a break down and freak out for a few hours. When the weight of a tough semester, the job you hate, and the stresses of a rough breakup get to you, it is okay to momentarily question all of your life choices. It is okay to lock yourself in your room and cry about absolutely nothing. It is definitely okay to eat an entire pint of ice cream in pajamas and binge watch Netflix for a night.

But, eventually, we have to get it together. Eventually we have to get up and leave our room. Eventually the meltdown has to end. When life starts to get though, whether by the stressors of school, a relationship, or your job, when you cannot seem to find your own purpose, I have some tips and tricks to just give you a little push on your road to feeling better.

1. Exercise: Some people benefit from a long run around the block and other people like to lift weights. Yoga, on the other hand, is my guilty pleasure and (BONUS) does not have to be strenuous or even hard at all. Any form of exercise is healthy and can be beneficial but sometimes when your head is up in the clouds a little Downward Dog is all you need to bring you back to reality. If your school offers free yoga classes, give it a try. If you don't have access to free classes and you don’t feel like paying to go, there are plenty of apps you can download on your smart devices to get you started with the basics. Following inspirational people like Rachel Brathen, also known as Yoga Girl, and listening to podcasts might help you realize that you are not alone in your struggles. Some Sava Sana may be all you need to kick that funk you are in.

2. Self-love: When you realize the only thing you have had to eat for the past week is Target brand coffee and microwaved Ramen Noodles maybe it is time to splurge. Go treat yourself to your favorite sushi roll, put on a face mask, wear PJs all day because you can. When you notice... hmm maybe you do not remember the last time you trimmed your facial hair or shaved your legs... take a long shower. Clean yourself up. The better you feel physically, the better you will feel mentally. Do not be afraid to tell your friends you are busy and take a personal day.

3. Connect with someone: If all else fails, we are here for a reason and we are all human. Find someone you can talk to and find some support in them. Maybe it is your sibling, or your parent, or maybe even your roommate, but it may help to just let it all out. But if you do not, talking to a therapist or counselor can really do your mind some justice by giving you a safe space to vent. Some schools offer free help sessions for student who feel like they can not handle the stress alone, too. The world may seem like a lot sometimes and it is not wrong to ask for someone to listen.

Being a person is hard. Sometimes we forget how much we do, and how stressful everyday life can be. Taking time to focus on ourselves and finding purpose in our day to day routine can bring us great happiness and joy. Be grateful for your struggles, they will only make you stronger.

 
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