Top 5 Tips to Deepen your Gratitude Practice

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So if you’re reading this blog post, the chances are you’ve come across the importance of gratitude in building a healthy, happy life. You’ll hear about it in most personal development books and now even science will back it’s super ability in being able to keep a smile on your face.

With that in mind, here are some tips to get you and awesome gratitude practice whether you are a beginner or been at it a while.

  1. START SIMPLE – when I first got into practicing gratitude I aimed to write 10 things per day I was grateful for. It lasted for a few weeks but realistically, it was time consuming and I didn’t really stick to it. Aiming for just 3 things per day that you are grateful for is totally doable. The 3 things can literally be anything from people to objects to the way it feels when you’re getting into freshly laid bedding. When this small action is integrated into your routine, you’ll reap in the benefits.
  2. MAKE IT YOURS – although my advice is to start with jotting down 3 things per day, do whatever fits YOU. You might prefer to say the things out loud in the mirror as opposed to writing them. Some do it when they wake up, some do it before bed. The main thing is, you pick a practice that you can make time for every day and that makes YOU feel good.
  3. INCORPORATE IT INTO YOUR DAILY LIFE – you will find this happens pretty naturally once you get into the gratitude mindset. As well as your daily practice of 3 things take the time to appreciate what’s working for you throughout the day. Offer thanks to the great cup of coffee you had; the fact that all of the traffic lights were on green and you got to work on time etc. When you incorporate this into your daily life, it will really start to switch up your mindset. You will become much more positive and in turn happier as a result. We all have many things to be grateful for, we just don’t always see them.
  4. MAKE SURE YOUR ACTIONS MATCH UP TO YOUR WORDS – proclaiming that you are grateful for something is only half of the job done. You must also take the time to PROVE it or SHOW it. Yes bringing awareness to your gratitude for something is very important but it mustn’t stop there. Take pride and nurture your self/belongings/relationships. If you’re grateful for your mum; take the time out of your day to call her; tell her you appreciate her and talk/listen to her. If you are grateful for the fact that you have a car; show it by keeping it clean; service it regularly and drive safely. There is no point in saying you are grateful for something if your actions don’t match up, you can’t trick the universe.
  5. DON’T SAY IT IF YOU DON’T MEAN IT – when you get into the routine of practicing gratitude, it can easily be used as a way of MASKING your problems and pretending  to yourself that everything is good and perfect. This is not healthy and it will not benefit you in any way. If there is something in your life that you are not happy about, take action. Change the situation and make it one that you are grateful for because whether you say you are or not; your vibration will always align with the truth. What you can be grateful is the lesson that you learned from the situation.

So those are my top tips to hook you up with a strong gratitude practice. I hope you enjoyed the post and have been able to take something from it!

 

Image: http://www.wanderlustworker.com

Understand that the human being is not weak

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Here we have a follow up to my previous post about bringing down that Great Wall of China. As mentioned, we are all walking around, trying so hard to protect our selves. Why? Because we believe that we are fragile beings that need to be guarded. Think about it, from being children, our parents are constantly trying to protect us from harm. We are taught to avoid things that could potentially hurt us and have the words ‘be careful’ drilled into every sense of our being.

Of course, we need to have caution in life when it comes to physical danger such as crossing a busy road or walking down a dark alley, however, we often get our wires crossed, for what IS physical danger and what we PERCEIVE as danger. For example, when crossing a busy road, it is necessary to act from a place of caution; if you just step out into the road, there is a chance you could be hit by a car and killed or seriously injured. However, this same level of caution does not need to be carried into our relationships, careers, finances or emotions.

The things is, we do act toward these things as though they are posing physical danger to us. For example, in relationships we act with caution by guarding ourself off from the other person – often in fear of hurt or rejection. But realistically, hurt or rejection is not going to kill us or impend physical danger to our lives. So why do we approach it as though it is? I think it comes from a belief that if we do get hurt or rejected, we fear we will not be able to handle it. Which, in our minds poses physical threat. We carry this mindset with us through all walks of life. A commonly used phrase in England is “I wouldn’t be able to cope if ________”. As in “I wouldn’t be able to cope if my boyfriend split up with me right now” or “I wouldn’t be able to cope if I got my hopes up about this job and didn’t get it” I will admit, I am guilty of using this phrase far too much too!

We play ourselves down as being weak, fragile beings with an inability to deal with things, but in reality, this could not be further from the truth. The human being actually has an astounding ability to handle/cope with things. Why? Because I believe that is what we came here to do. Take a moment to think about the first time you ever got your heart broken. You thought you was never going to get over this person, right? But my guess is that you did and probably came off better for it – with a new understanding of relationships and what you wanted from your next boyfriend/girlfriend. Why? Because that is how us humans learn. We get shaken; flipped upside down; turned around and in the end we wind up stronger and wiser.

This is something that is natural to us. We grieve; we process and then we move on with a clearer understanding. The only time when this does not happen is when we allow ourselves to stay stuck in the past and do not accept what is in our present. However, this is something which we have complete control over.

So, the whole point of this post is to remind you that you are not fragile. You are not easily broken. So stop living your life with caution! Stop living your life in fear that you might get hurt. By following that rule alone, you are subjecting yourself to a life of stagnation and mediocrity and THAT is something to be fearful of! Put yourself out there; allow yourself to feel and allow yourself to do. Most importantly, remember that whatever comes back to you – a lesson or a blessing – you WILL be able to handle it.

Why we must let down that Great Wall of China

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I have noticed in today’s society that behaving like you are ‘heartless’ is meant to be a good thing. I have even been guilty of this myself. The thing is, heartlessness is all one big lie, it could be a well practiced lie, but never the less, still a LIE. As long as we are all human; we are all capable to experience a full spectrum of emotions; male or female; white or black; poor or rich.

But it seems that many of us are so desperately trying to run away from this.

I feel as though ‘heartlessness’ stems from an avoidance of what we perceive as ‘bad’ emotions. It is simply a coping mechanism for that that people are trying to not to escape from such as fear, sadness, anger etc. For me, I used to pretend that I was heartless when it came to guys. I’d play it so cool and then when things didn’t work out, I’d act like I wasn’t bothered and didn’t have time for relationships anyway. Really, this was just a front covering up my fear of rejection and fear of vulnerability.

The thing is, the more we tell this lie, the more practiced we are in it. We never become truly heartless but we do become numb. This numbness does not just hold space in the ‘bad’ emotions, it also holds them in the ‘good’. For example, because I was so used to acting numb in relationships; I never truly showed myself to the guys that I was dating. I surrounded myself with something that resembled the Great Wall of China and never really let anybody in. This meant that for a long time I missed out on many opportunities for a great relationship, all because I wasn’t prepared to bring my walls down and show my true self to another human being.

When I noticed this pattern, I decided to CHANGE. I stopped fearing rejection and started embracing my true ooey gooey, lovey dove self and guess what…. FINALLY I started attracting relationships that meant something. Yes, at times I got hurt, but what helped me to get over that was the fact that I knew that I had given it my all. I held faith that if I had been totally myself and the relationship didn’t work out, then it obviously wasn’t meant to be.

So, my message for you today, is bring down that Great Wall of China. Stop numbing yourself with the lie that you do not feel and grab every emotion with both hands. Not just in relationships, but with every aspect in life. Have faith; be transparent; be true; and embrace that big old heart of yours. You will not regret it!

Image: tinybuddha.com

 

Why we’re having a Self Love Crisis

The term self love is being thrown around in the realm of social media and personal development an awful lot lately, but what does self love really mean?
Well, to me, self love is the act of being your own biggest fan. It is the ability to wholeheartedly and lovingly accept yourself for your positives and your negatives. It is the understanding of your own personal power, knowing that you can achieve anything that you set your mind to. It is the desire to take your own personal power and use it for good, because you know you have an amazing mark to leave in this world.

If you’re reading this and think to yourself NOPE that don’t sound like me, then you are part of the millions of others in the world (including myself) that have been hit with what I call the ‘self-love crisis’. Before you say it, I know, self-love crisis sounds like a headline you would find on the front of a Sun newspaper, but I think it has gotten to a point where we can call it a crisis.

Lack of self love is not something that is innately built in us. Fresh out of the womb, we are not thinking that our nose is too big or our bodies are too chubby. The thing is, over the years we are exposed to many different things which may make us feel inadequate. This could be anything from unrealistic body images within the media; failing a test at school; getting rejected by the person we like; not living up to our parents expectations or things of a more serious manner such as physical/emotional abuse.

You will notice that if you look at any of your own insecurities, it will have stemmed from a significant memory (or several) which led you to believe that whatever it is you are insecure about is your truth. From these things, we manifest a self-fulfilling prophecy which becomes our ‘truth’ or are our ‘story’. For example, one memory I had as a child: I was about 6 years old and walking across the road to my friends house, an older teenage boy passed me and said to me “you’re pretty”, I immediately got all happy and flustered but then he ended the sentence with “pretty ugly”. That one, tiny, stupid comment led me to an insecurity throughout most of my childhood and through to later in life that I’m ugly. I’m sure there were other factors that contributed to that too and it seems completely ridiculous, but as children, we are like little sponges, taking in everything around us – the good and the bad.

If we are not equipped with the tools to deal with negativity from a young age and are not given the proper encouragement (as many of us aren’t), we will just go ahead and allow all of these small insecurities to become our truth and thus create a whirlwind of negative self belief.

The thing is, self love can easily be developed by creating healthy habits and taking control of our thoughts and behaviour. I feel like this crisis has led way to a vast amount of information available for people who are ready to stop looking outside and to truly love themselves. Which is actually something really positive!

I am going to be writing a series of blog posts on self love and what I am doing to achieve it, so please watch this space!

Image: http://www.powerfrominside.com

Tasty, CHEAP, Vegan Pizza

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Please please forgive me for my horrendous photography but thought I would post up some proof that eating vegan doesn’t have to be difficult; doesn’t have to include fancy, expensive ingredients and it doesn’t have to be boring!

This is a little throwback to when I was craving some comfort food in the christmas months and made some vegan pizzas.

All the ingredients were from Asda. I bought some napolina pizza bases, napolina pizza sauce and some mediterranean mixed vegetables.

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Literally, whacked the pizza bases out of the packet; whacked on some pizza sauce; whacked on the med veg and then whacked them in the oven (also added crushed garlic, salt and pepper to taste).

This would be a fun, alternate way to do pizzas with the kids and they can get involved in too! Also, much healthier than a take away.

They were nothing fancy but were so cheap and so quick to make and I loved them. Personally, I’m not too much of a fan of vegan cheeses, but if you do like them, a great idea would be to stick a bit of vegan cheese on there too.

The pizza bases cost £1.60 for two. The pizza sauce was £1.50 but could be used for around 4 pizzas (or more if you don’t smother it as much as I do) and I paid 24p for the med veg which were in the reduced section. That means the price of 1, large, healthy vegan pizza averages at £1.30. BARGAIN.