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Try a Social Media Fast for an Instant Confidence and Happiness Boost

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Social media can be a great way to stay connected with friends and family. Unfortunately, it can also be an environment that leads many of us to feel bad about ourselves. It can also be a place of divisiveness and arguments. Taking charge of your social media use can be quite empowering and lead you to a feeling of well-being. Taking a complete break from Facebook, Twitter, and other sites can really do you some good, especially if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by it all lately. Read on to discover why you might want to try a social media fast for an instant confidence and happiness boost.

About a Social Media Fast

A social media fast is simply choosing to stay away from social media for a certain period of time. It can be a week, a month, or even a year. Perhaps more if that’s what you feel you need. There are lots of reasons for taking a break from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These sites are often places where people talk about their happy times, hiding any stressful events or difficulties they’re having. It can also be a place for bragging and overselling how well one is doing. If there are people in your social media feeds whose lives seem too perfect, it can lead to comparison or insecurity for you. It’s also easy to get caught up in social media, spending much of your free time there and checking it all the time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with social media and missing out on more important things, it may be time to take a break.

Benefits of a Social Media Detox

When you walk away from social media, you’re removing yourself from the temptation to compare. You can focus on the good that’s in your own life and on pursuing your personal goals. There’s no need to compete with outside ideals on a regular basis, and you may find that your peace of mind improves. You also lose the fear of missing out. Instead of worrying about what others are doing, you can begin to seek out your own opportunities for fun and entertainment. You’ll have more time to reconnect with people who are important to you in real life, as well as to pursue your other interests.

You may be surprised if you track how much time you waste on social media. Imagine if that time were spent on tasks that got you closer to your goal. How much faster would you get there?

How to Get Started

There are lots of ways to take on a social media fast. You can go cold turkey and just drop it completely. Perhaps you want to ease into it by limiting access to social media to just one device or checking it only in the morning. Turning off notifications so you’re not constantly being called to check in is good. So is choosing just one app to use and eliminating the rest. There are also several apps that you can use to block social media on your devices for the time period that you choose.

Taking a break from social media can be good for your self-esteem and contribute to a greater sense of positivity and self care. Give it a try.

being brave

Practice Helps You Get Better at Being Brave

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We’ve been talking a lot about your inner naysayer. That little negative voice inside your head. That’s because this pesky little voice can cause you big problems throughout your life if you don’t get a handle on it. It can hold you back and keep you from experiencing great things. Staying in your comfort zone is a symptom of listening to that negative self-talk. You’ll find your world expands a great deal when you get a handle on your inner critic.

Breaking free of negative thinking and stepping outside of your comfort zone gets easier with practice. Courage isn’t something that comes easily to many of us. However, you can gain more of it with practice. Take a look below to get some ideas of ways in which practice helps you get better at being brave. Your confidence and self-love will soar once you start implementing these strategies into your daily life.

Try Something New Each Day

Tackling one new thing each day is a great way to get used to being brave on a regular basis. Even the smallest new thing inches you further out of your comfort zone than you were the day before. Before long, you’ll gain momentum and you’ll be trying even bigger things. Soon, it will be much easier to move past your comfort zone.

Tackle a Phobia

Something that might be a bit tougher is facing a phobia. It doesn’t have to be a big phobia that causes you real fear. Something like that might be best managed with a professional therapist. However, facing a manageable fear you’ve been avoiding is something most of us can handle safely on our own. Pick up the phone and make a call if you usually avoid talking on the telephone. Go on that roller coaster with your child. Whatever you try, you’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment once it’s done.

Stand for a Cause

Speaking out for something you believe in can be a great way to stretch those bravery muscles. It can be intimidating to put yourself on a limb, especially if important people in your life might disagree. Standing up for something you feel is important can be a real confidence booster. It also shows great integrity.

Learn to Say No

Saying no is something that seems quite simple. However, for many, it’s one of the hardest things in the world. Setting any kind of boundary can be tough. This is definitely a good practice if you want to cultivate self-love. It can also be a real show of bravery to learn to say no and set limits with your time and energy. You don’t have to please everyone, and you’ll be so much happier when you’ve reclaimed your time.

Give a few of these strategies a try if you want to get better at being brave. You’ll see your confidence soar, and you’ll be setting a good example for those around you. We often wait for courage to show up to step outside our comfort zone. But courage happens when you are afraid and do it anyway.

Focus on What You May Be Missing if You Listen to That Inner Naysayer

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When your brain is giving you a negative thought it is usually trying to protect you from something. Sometimes this presents itself as your intuition or gut protecting you from real harm, and you should learn to identify this voice and listen to it. Most often, however, your inner critic is acting in a defensive way to keep your ego from getting bruised. It can truly hold you back from having some great experiences. That’s when you really want to employ strategies to manage that nagging voice.

You’ve learned a number of ways to recognize and deal with your negative self-talk. Today, we’ll cover one more. Examining the things this inner dialogue is keeping you from can push you forward and help you to overcome the damaging effects of that little voice. Take a look below to learn how you can focus on what you may be missing when you listen to your inner naysayer. Once you know what’s at stake, you’ll be more apt to take positive actions that can lead to tremendous personal reward.

What You’re Protecting

When you give in to your inner negative voice, you are protecting yourself from a number of things. You can avoid hurt or embarrassment if you decide not to try something new. Avoiding risks rewards you with a feeling of safety. You protect yourself from rejection, failure, or vulnerability. It’s very tempting to give into your inner critic. It can feel much safer to simply not try than to put yourself out there. It’s self-protection.

What You’re Missing

Listening to that inner critic can feel like such a relief. It takes the pressure off and saves you from trying something hard. However, it can also keep you from experiencing something great. It also often leaves you with the regret of what could have been. Instead, learning to recognize and push past your inner naysayer can bring you rewards beyond your imagination. Think of the friendships, romances, career successes, passions, and novelties you can experience if you silence that critic and do the thing.

What You Have to Gain

You have so many amazing things to gain by acknowledging the negative voice, thanking it, and then moving forward with action. Beyond the wonderful experiences, you’ll gain confidence and self-esteem. The more you practice ignoring your negative self-talk, the easier it will become. You’ll soon notice you have the confidence to try more things because you’ve learned that you can do it and the world doesn’t end. You’ll have more fun, meet more people, try new things, and just feel better about yourself when you learn to overcome that inner naysayer.

Keep these tips in mind the next time self-doubt tries to hold you back. Do it, anyway. Then, see how good you feel.

The Power of Letting Yourself Be Vulnerable

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Being vulnerable can feel challenging. Vulnerability isn’t weakness. It’s allowing yourself to be open, to be yourself, to accept help. It’s showing the world who you are with the understanding that not everyone will like or accept that person, but you show up anyway. Vulnerability is showing your soft side and admitting that you don’t have it all together. Society rewards stoicism, being strong and getting by on your own. It can be tough to let your guard down. There are lots of advantages to it, though. Let’s look at the power of letting yourself be vulnerable.

Sense of Belonging

When you’re unabashedly yourself, you’ll find that you attract your tribe. The people in your life will want to be there because they see the real you. You aren’t drawing friends who are only interested in the parts you’re willing to show them. Being truly vulnerable means showing the world your authentic self, flaws and all. This can help them feel safe being themselves as well. As you begin to open up more, you’ll notice that the people around you feel natural. It’s easy to be vulnerable around them because they accept you for who you are. This can lead to a real sense of belonging. You can build community around like-minded folks.

Earned Trust

People can spot a fake. If you’re being inauthentic, those around you will know. This is especially true in situations where you are a leader or boss. Being vulnerable shows others that you’re not perfect. It encourages them to be open, too. Your vulnerability lets them know they don’t have to be perfect around you and that you will understand. They’re more willing to come to you with problems. All of this is because they trust you. It’s easier to trust someone who shows their flaws and who admits that they don’t have all the answers.

Improved Relationships

Your relationships will improve when you’re able to be vulnerable with the people who are important to you. They will. That’s because, as already noted, people appreciate vulnerability. When you can share your emotions with people you care about and let them see your flaws, they are able to do the same. You get to know each other better and will feel closer. Demonstrating vulnerability invites you and others to do more often, allowing for even deeper relationships to form. When you begin to accept yourself for who you are it can also help you accept others as they are. You won’t feel such a need to try and get others to change. They can just be themselves.

There truly is power in letting yourself be vulnerable. You’ll improve your relations with the people around and, in the end, begin to accept yourself and others…even with the flaws.

Practice Mindfulness to Feel Better About Yourself

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You may have heard of the practice of mindfulness. This simple concept can deliver powerful results. Mindfulness is really just being aware of yourself and your emotions in the present moment. It involves bringing your thoughts back to the present when they begin to wander, or when they are swirling with worry or confusion, much like meditation.

Mindfulness is knowing where your attention lies. You can use this concept when you discover that your inner voice is sending you negative messages. You’ve learned some strategies for recognizing this inner critic in previous posts. One other way to overcome it is to use mindfulness to manage these thoughts once you recognize them.

Countering your own negative self-talk immediately in the moment with mindfulness is an effective way to deal with it. Read on to discover some ways to use mindfulness.

Use Visualization

Visualization is a way of helping to make your positive thoughts a reality. When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, counter them with a vision of things going well. Try to include details in that vision, such as what you’re wearing, your surroundings, and even how you feel. Doing this practice routinely has been shown to actually rewire your brain to act as though your vision were actually happening. Over time, you’ll begin to gain the self-confidence you have in your vision.

I like to imagine what I call my future self. She is the person I am becoming who has already achieved the goals I have set for myself. She thinks differently. In order to become her I need to think like her, do the things she does, read the books she does, etc. Spending time thinking about who she is helps me to become the person that achieves the goal.

Examine Your Thoughts

Actually taking time in the moment to examine your negative thoughts is a powerful act of mindfulness. Ask yourself questions about the negative self-talk you just heard. Analyze it. Try to discover its roots or meanings. Question if any of it is true. Getting to the bottom of these messages and their resulting feelings as they’re happening can help you to decide whether they are thoughts you want to keep or if you want to replace them with kinder thoughts.

Take Risks

Being mindful can also mean being proactive in your actions. Deciding in the moment to try something new or push past your fear to take a risk is a fantastic way to feel more secure in your abilities. You’ll gain lots of strides the more you practice taking risks, so give it a shot today. Feel free to start small and increase your reach over time.

Acknowledge What You’re Doing Right

Counter your thoughts about what an awful person you are or what you’re doing wrong with an acknowledgement of what you’re doing right. There’s always something good about yourself you can note if you dig deep. This will get easier with time, so don’t feel like you have to immediately heap tons of praise upon yourself. Try just taking note of one small thing you’ve done right today to offset the self-critical thought you’re having. Then, see how much lighter your mood feels.

Give these practices a try when you find yourself succumbing to your inner “Negative Nancy.” Using mindfulness practices can be a very effective way to overcome your inner naysayer and feel better about yourself.

How to Reframe Your Negative Self-Talk into Something More Productive

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Negative self-talk is made up of the messages your brain tells you. It comes from the beliefs you hold about yourself, based on what others have expressed to you throughout your life and the feelings you have internalized. Your brain is trying to protect you, but these thoughts usually just end up holding you back and making you feel bad about yourself. Because you’ve been formulating and accepting these messages nearly your entire life, you may not realize you can overcome them. These beliefs come simply from thoughts you’ve thought over and over. It takes some practice and effort to start to learn new habits and form healthier mindsets. Take a look at these ways to reframe your negative self-talk into something more productive.

Recognize Your Negative Self-Talk

As we’ve noted previously in this series, it’s crucial that you recognize your inner negative voice if you hope to learn to manage it. Pay attention to the automatic thoughts that pop into your head that trigger a strong negative reaction in you. Feelings such as fear, anger, sadness, worry, or dread can be indicators that these thoughts are your subconscious working as a defense mechanism. Once you recognize your negative self-talk, you can start to analyze it and determine what is true.

Throughout this process have compassion on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for having negative thoughts. It’s a normal part of how your brain works. But you don’t have to believe all the thoughts your brain offers you.

Consider the Evidence

Don’t hesitate to take these negative messages apart bit by bit. Examine them thoroughly, and analyze them to discover whether the words are true or if they’re simply automatic thoughts you’ve come to adopt over time due to your insecurities or life experiences. We all have hang-ups that we’ve developed throughout our lives in various ways. That doesn’t mean these things are true. Look for evidence for and against what your self-talk is telling you. This objectivity can shed a lot of light on the issue.

What is True?

If the evidence points to the fact that your internal messages are wrong or exaggerated, it’s time to frame them in a more realistic way. Look for words like “always” or “never.” These absolutes are easy to change into more realistic statements. Other words to watch for are “should” or “shouldn’t.” Messages you’re giving yourself can probably also be reframed into statements that make more sense. Once you begin to question your self-talk you’ll start to feel more secure in yourself.

These are some things to consider when your inner naysayer takes over. Reframing your negative self-talk into something more productive takes practice, but it’s well worth the effort. Doing so will move you closer to embracing self-love.

Simple Journaling – Focus on What You Did Well Today

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Journaling is an activity that can benefit you in so many ways, and there are many different kinds of journals you can keep. This is an underrated ritual that can truly help you toward increasing your self-love. One simple journaling idea is to just focus on what you did well each day. It involves finding one thing that you did or accomplished that made you feel good. This one little act can have surprising results. Continue reading to discover more about journaling and how this practice can enhance the amount of self-love you feel.

About Journaling

Journaling is pretty much what it sounds like. It involves writing your thoughts in a dedicated place on a regular basis. This can be in a traditional paper journal or you can choose a digital format. Your journal doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be a simple college-ruled notebook or the notes app on your phone. If you want to make it more personal or detailed, choose a beautifully bound leather journal or an app with lots of features dedicated to the practice of journaling. What matters is that you use it on a regular basis to help process your thoughts in some way. You can free write, jot down what you’re grateful for, or follow writing prompts. There are countless ways to use your journal.

Benefits of Journaling

The benefits of journaling are numerous. Keeping a journal can help you to gather your thoughts and make sense of your feelings. It can help you to note patterns in your life, helping you to make change. Writing in your journal can be cathartic and help you to heal past traumas. It can improve your emotional intelligence and relationships by helping you get in touch with and make sense of your feelings. Journaling can create a sense of mindfulness, focusing you on the here and now. It can also spark your creativity by providing you with an outlet for your thoughts, feelings, and moods.

Why Journal Your Accomplishments?

Taking the time at the end of each day to journal just one good thing you did that day can be an empowering exercise. As you already know, it can be so easy to give into that naysayer and listen to the negative messages in your mind. You forget about your positive qualities and what you do well. Even the smallest thing can count. Writing down these accomplishments boosts your self-esteem. It also gives you written validation to return to on the days you’re feeling down or defeated. Just look back through these journal entries to see all the ways you’ve been successful, and you’ll see just how capable you are and that you will succeed in the future.

Hopefully, you now see how such a simple journaling technique can make a big difference when it comes to changing a negative mindset. Give it a try and see how it works for you.

Do you journal already?

mind drama

Managing Mind Drama in the Midst of Crisis

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The world is in the midst of crisis with this COVID-19 pandemic. Our minds are overwhelmed with current difficulties as well as many, many imagined future crises. We are continuously consuming information that further inflames our mental drama. So, how do we get through this without losing our minds?

First of All, It’s Normal

Your brain is designed to scan for danger. It’s how it keeps you safe. If you are having mental drama it just means you are a human with a normally functioning brain. We live in a world of information at our fingertips. We watch the news, read the paper, scroll social media – all of it vying for our attention with headlines and information that scare us even more. Your brain wants you to think that you need ALL this information. You can decide how much information to let in. 

It’s understandable to want to learn the current updates. But be sure to give equal (or more) time to good stuff. Learn something new, read your Bible, play some great music, make a list of things you’re grateful for or that you’ve noticed in the last week.

Mind Your Thoughts

Pay attention to your thinking. Now is a great time to practice the habit of doing a thought download. Every day grab a sheet of paper and empty out your brain. All the crazy thoughts, the anxiety, the words swirling around in your brain. Literally write it with a pen or pencil. There’s something therapeutic about the mind, hand, paper connection. You can keep the paper or throw it out when you’re done, but get them out of your head.

thought download

Write, write, write.
Empty out your brain.
Don’t think about proper sentences or proper grammar or punctuation. Just write.

Feel Your Feelings

Once you’ve done that, let yourself feel. We spend so much time and energy pushing away negative emotions. We buffer them with food, alcohol, TV, games and more. Anything to not feel them. Go ahead and feel the actual sensations in your body. Let it flow through you. Sometimes it helps to name the feelings and to describe how they feel in your body. Often, in doing this, you will feel the intensity lessen. You may feel some relief from not trying to push them down.

Focus on the Good

Now that you’ve let your brain do what it was designed to do, and you’ve let yourself feel your feelings instead of trying to tamp them down, it’s time to redirect your brain. Spend some time focusing on things that you know to be good, and true, and right (Philippians 4:8-10). Write down the things that you are grateful for, think about what you are learning through your situation and the areas for growth, speak out loud what you want to spend time focusing on.

As you practice this – the negative and the positive things of life – your brain will get better and better at acknowledging your fears and concerns, feeling your feelings, and then acknowledging that there is also good out there.

Ask for Help

If you’d like some help sorting out your thinking and going through this process, I’m offering some free coaching sessions over the next few months.
Grab a spot here.

How to Practice Self-Love

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Day 11 of Losing Weight with Love

By now, you should have a fairly good idea of what self-love is and why it’s important. You know that confidence and self-awareness are essential components of loving yourself. What you might be wondering is how to start practicing self-love on a regular basis so that you can begin to internalize new ways of thinking. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to cultivate self-love on a regular basis. Take a look.

Focus on the Here and Now

Too often, we find ourselves looking at the past with longing or waiting for someday. It’s hard to love yourself and your life when you don’t appreciate what you have in the moment. Centering yourself on the present, being mindful, and practicing gratitude are quick ways to cultivate an appreciation for what you have right now. We often think that the things that have happened in our past still affect us. But the truth is, only your current thoughts about the past can affect you. The past is over.

Work on Your Goals

Setting goals that reflect your values will help you to feel you’re living a life of purpose. You’ll know you’re taking real steps toward growing as a person when you’re regularly doing things that will bring you closer to your desires. Proactively using your time rather than just absent-mindedly going with the flow and putting out fires is quite empowering. One of my favorite coaching sessions to do with my clients is the before and after process. We talk about where you are now and what’s working and what’s not working. Then we work on where you want to be and who you want to be. And we get you started on the path to getting there. If you’d like to do a before and after session you can sign up here.

Take Care of Yourself

It can be hard to take time for yourself in this busy world full of obligations. This is especially true when you’ve gotten in the habit of putting yourself last on the list. To experience true self-love, you need to start giving yourself higher priority. You can do this by eating well, exercising, taking time for a hobby, pampering yourself, or any other activity that focuses on your wellbeing. Sometimes self-care includes self-discipline. Exercising, committing to the schedule you set for yourself, and following a nutrition plan are not always fun but are a necessary part of being accountable to your own goals.

Forgive Yourself

Most of all, you must learn to forgive yourself to truly love yourself. We all make mistakes. It’s a part of the human condition. Some of those mistakes will be serious and life altering. Allowing yourself understanding and care regarding those things will show you that you’re still worthy despite your faults. This is a crucial lesson on the road to embracing self-love. You give others mercy and compassion and you have to remember to practice this on yourself as well.

Become Aware of When Your Inner Naysayer Pops Up

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Day 10 of the Losing Weight with Love Series

Recognizing and becoming aware of your inner naysayer can be tremendously difficult. This is especially true because you’ve probably been living with it for as long as you can remember. That little voice that tells you all sorts of negative things about yourself and your abilities is there to act as a defense mechanism. It thinks it’s protecting you. Unfortunately, what it usually ends up doing is holding you back.

You can take positive steps to manage that voice and overcome its effects if you recognize it when it pipes up. That’s why today’s post is going to tackle that topic and give you concrete strategies to become aware of when your inner naysayer pops up.

Challenge Your Thoughts

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself or your abilities, be curious about that thought. Ask yourself if it’s entirely true. Identify which parts may not be true. Then, try to counter it with a more realistic and accurate message. This can be quite challenging at first, but with practice the new thoughts come easier.

Let It Go

When you do notice your inner critic nagging at you, acknowledge it, reframe the message into something more positive, and then let it go. Try not to obsess over the untruths your naysayer is telling you. This is called rumination, and it can keep you in a pattern of negativity. It’s hard to move to a place of self-love when you’re stuck in a cycle of worry. At the same time be sure you are not judging yourself for having the negative thoughts. That only serves to add negative on top of negative and that is never useful.

Consider the Worst-Case Scenario

What if your naysayer is telling you the truth, and the worst should happen? Sometimes, letting that scenario play out in your head can actually show you that you don’t have that much to lose, after all. That thing you fear might not be so bad in reality. Therefore, you shouldn’t let the idea of it scare you away from trying something new or going after what you want. You no longer need to worry about what others think or if something won’t turn out well when you realize the worst-case scenario really isn’t that terrible.

Accept Your Flaws

While it’s good to analyze negative messages and refute them, it’s also okay to recognize your flaws. None of us is perfect. When you are strong enough to admit there are things you could work on or improve upon, you’re demonstrating self-love. it can be hard to face our own difficulties. Knowing you have flaws and looking for ways to improve upon them shows emotional intelligence and courage. Embrace your weakness and strive for self-improvement on a regular basis.

Give these strategies a shot in order to be aware of and manage your inner naysayer. You’ll find it’s not so hard once you get the hang of it, and you’ll feel so much better once you master this skill. Coaching can help you work through these types of thoughts. If you’d like to see how a coach can help with this join me for a free call.

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