I had a birthday last month and to me birthdays aren’t just about cake and presents. I’ve always used my birthday as a reminder to reflect on my life and set new goals.
These last two years have been like no others. I’ve had my trials, many life lessons, a lot of personal growth and discovered inner strength I wouldn’t have known otherwise. It’s been interesting, terrifying, liberating and exciting to say the least. I’ve reconnected with old friends, had helpful disagreements with present ones, and had the friends that have always supported me and lifted me up confirm just how lucky I am to have them around. I’ve had ups and downs, highs and lows and I’ve managed to reclaim my life once again. I owe much of this to the support of friends who weren’t afraid to sit with me in the raw, who made me laugh through the pain and blessed me with the freedom to cry when I needed to.
However, I also owe a lot of my healing and “rediscovering” to a few practices I do that have helped me tremendously. A few simple exercises that I (try) to do everyday to centre myself and reenergize. These practices have definitely been a catalyst to getting through the hard times and humbling me in the good times. You don’t have to be going through a traumatic experience or a high stress situation to begin these exercises. Even if you’re at the top of your game you can still benefit from some daily positive rituals. Its because of these new habits I was able to empower myself into a new space of hope, courage, acceptance, forgiveness and faith in myself and my future.
Gratitude – Practicing gratitude everyday by feeling the emotion of gratefulness and thanks for all that you have is the most powerful way to change your circumstances. The quote “Be grateful for what you have and you’ll have more” is bang on the money. Gratitude is the great multiplier. Although I find myself still trying to truly understand this concept, I am definitely getting there. Everyday I write down what I am grateful for in my life and don’t stop until I feel the emotion all through me. On my worst of days, I feel better and can manage my daily tasks better. On my best of days, I feel like Im vibrating at a whole new level and like life is a magical gift.
Meditation – I am relatively new to mediation and have a lot to learn but so far it’s been really helpful. I typically reserve 10 minutes a day, which usually falls at the end of my day, for a guided meditation with Head Space, an app on my Ipad. On days my anxiety and fears get the best of me, I sometimes feel like I am mentally running around like a chicken with its head cut off, searching for answers and the next logical step. This gets me no where. The sooner I turn inwards and reconnect to my breath, the sooner my intuitive power makes its way back to me. Some days are hard for the first few minutes. I find myself almost in a state of panic, like my mind is resisting so much it’s a fight to take a deep breath. After a few minutes it always subsides and I enter a state of calmness and acceptance.
Journaling – Now, I’ll admit, I don’t get to this every day but I try at least every other day. The reason journaling can be helpful is very scientific actually. Not only is it a stress release for the mind and a way to express emotion intimately with yourself, it is also proven to help with stress on a cellular level. When we have hard days and have a rush of negative emotion and anxiety running through our bodies, getting it out through your fingertips and onto a sheet of paper gets the energy out of your cells and out of your body. There are many ways to get energy out of the body (like exercise, screaming into a pillow, punching bags, etc) but sometimes if its late at night or there are people around you don’t want to scare, writing is the only option we have other than holding it all in, which to me is not a healthy option. Even if that means scribbling a big mess around and around in circles until the pen rips through the sheet of paper, you’re getting it out.
Physical Movement – Moving my body, in some way, has helped me on a daily basis. Some days for me that means rolling my mat out and doing light yoga and deep stretching in my bedroom while my son naps. Other days are more intensive. The role exercise plays in my life helps me in ways beyond my physical appearance. Spiritually, I feel more connected to myself when I’m moving and tuning in to what my body needs.
EMDR therapy – For anyone who has been through a traumatic experience I highly recommend EMDR therapy. It stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It helps with any PTSD of any incidents that have had negative affects on your life. Its very helpful for people affected by abusive relationships and violence but it could also be something that happened during childhood, school years or an incident in the work place. It can cover all types of psychological stress that you’d like to heal. I started this a few months ago and I feel much more at peace with my past. I have come to a place where I am able to forgiven myself for allowing situations to have happened to me and have taken responsibility for my part in them as well. I’ve learned sometimes its harder to forgive yourself for not staying true to your values than it is to forgive the person who caused you harm. We can be tough on ourselves and feel like we should be able to do it all on our own but getting outside help of any kind is beneficial. I don’t know I would have had such clear realizations in such a short amount of time without these treatments.
I hope in the future I have a better understanding of all these concepts and can share more about them with more tangible “success stories” attached. As for now, my success is my inner peace and knowing there is a better future ahead than what I left behind and I owe it all to these simple daily practices, some very wonderful friends and a new platform to share this all with you.
Cheers to another year of life, new goals and new adventures. Happy Birthday to me.