Start Getting Your Mind Right- and Embrace Your Happiness!

I’ve always been a believer of the power of positivity and just positive thinking in general.

That’s not to say that I never have a negative thought, or have even had phases in my life where I dwelled more in that negative head space than I would have liked. But, in general, I feel that living your life with a conscious realization of your mental headspace, policing your thoughts, and cultivating a positive mindset is something that is critical for ultimate happiness in my opinion.

But it’s not easy!

We’re told millions of ways to “get our body right.”  How to “tone up.” How to perfectly prep Instagram-worthy meals. And there is just so much focus on our bodies, our appearance, and how others perceive us. But we really need to “get our mind right,” first.

In order to truly succeed and seek happiness in life, it’s so, so important to conquer what’s going on mental y and try to cultivate an abundance mindset.

So…What is an Abundance Mindset?

It’s a belief that there is plenty of positive and goodness to go around. That you’re meant for great things, no matter the current situation you’re in. Even if things aren’t great at the current moment- it’s living your life with the feeling that something great is just around the corner. That someone else’s success is not equal to your failure.

What’s the opposite of an abundance mindset? A scarcity mindset. Feeling like you’re not good enough. That you’ll never have enough money, enough time, enough love. That someone else’s success means that you’ve failed. That everyone is out to get you. That people actively look for reasons to hate you and you’ll never amount to anything. It’s that little nagging voice that brings you down…if you let it.

I don’t have to tell you which one makes for a happier existence.

And I’ve definitely been there. It wasn’t pretty.

One of the best teachers of positive thinking in my life was my dad. While he never spoke explicitly about an abundance or a scarcity mindset, it was absolutely videnced by his life.

When I was 15, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Leukemia, out of the blue. I spent most of my freshman year in high school in the hospital every afternoon, spending time with him. We’d laugh, reminisce, and talk about the things we would do when he would defeat the horrible disease and get out of the hospital for good.

Throughout all of this, the one thing I will always remember was his attitude. He had an unwavering positivity and strength about him that never faltered. Not even when things looked grim. Not at any moment. He always talked about healing, and was very strong in his faith, constantly reading the Bible and writing down verses and positive mantras that spoke to him. He smiled a lot.

He was in remission for a while, and we were positive that this was the end of this horrible disease, once and for all! But unfortunately, after the leukemia came back unexpectedly, he died 3 days later.

But his legacy and his positive spirit didn’t. It’s always with me.

He was one of the most inspiring  person I’ve ever known. I miss him all the time, but I know he would want me to live a positive, fulfilled life, pursuing the things that bring me joy because I know that would have made him happy. I knew I couldn’t let his passing define who I was or who I was going to be. I allowed myself to grieve but I didn’t allow it to overcome me, because I just didn’t accept it as an option.

We are all fighting battles, some external, some internal. You never know what others are going through, and no matter what you’re going through, there is someone out there that is dealing with something similar. We can’t control what happens to us-

But we can control how we react to what happens to us.

You have 2 choices. “Fall into the pit,” or climb yourself out step by step. I don’t care what situation you are in, there is always a way to get out and to soldier through. There is always a way to find the silver lining. At the very least, have hope. A belief that things WILL get better- because if you believe it- they will! I truly believe that.

Now I’m not saying that you have to *only* believe things for good things to happen to you, and not put any effort in! Not at all. In fact- most of the time, it’s a lot of freakin’ work. It takes a lot of tears and sweat and failed jobs, business ventures, and relationships before you get to that good place sometimes, but my philosophy is this:  Even if it’s not by much, if I am always moving forward in some way, then I am making progress. I am making my way towards where I want to be.

Also- you have to think long term. Understand that you’re not going to solve every single one of your life’s problems in a day. Or a month. or 6 months. But give yourself a year, maybe- with a positive attitude, drive, and belief that things will come your way, you’d be amazed at what can happen!

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One major aspect of a positive mindset and in attracting good things into your life stems from practicing gratitude.

Gratitude is such an essential component of being happy and getting to that next step in your life. Because if you can’t appreciate what you currently have- how can you expect better things to come along? They  just won’t!

Do you ever start falling into negative thought cycles where you feel like you will never get out of a bad situation? Here is something practical you can do- you can just do it in your head or physically write it out.

List 10 things you are grateful for, right now.

This list can include anything and everything.It’s an important exercise because we take so many things for granted. Are you healthy? Are you able to walk? Do you have shelter? Do you have access to clean water? Are you able to be well-fed? Do you have a family that cares about you? Do you have a good friend who is always there for you in hard times? Are you able to provide for yourself? Are you able to see? Are you able to live in a war-free zone?

See? It’s not that hard to find things to be grateful for! I promise if you do this every day, maybe right before you go to sleep, in your head- you’d be amazed at how much more at peace you will feel.

It’s just a little step towards a happier life. And sometimes that’s all it takes to get the ball rolling!

If you like, you can even write some of your list in the comments below! Let’s share the gratitude all around 🙂

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I’ve Barely Worked Out in 2 Weeks- and I’ve Never Been Happier.

When I first started getting seriously into the fitness scene, I was totally immersed in it. I would say it was a defining factor of who I was. I would NEVER skip a workout. I followed every fitness guru I could find on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook. I was part of the “fitfam.” (The casual term for the fitness community on social media.)

I posted progress photos, drank protein shakes like it was my religion, and looked forward to beating my PR every time I got in the gym.

Over time I settled into a more relaxed outlook on fitness, which led me to my angle which now is more involved with doing what is best for ME and not what I SHOULD be doing necessarily, and working out for more than just aesthetic reasons.

And you know, at this point in my life, I obviously consider fitness and working out to be an essential part of life. But- I don’t think being a “fit person” is a defining factor of who I “am” if that makes sense. Maybe it was at one point.

You see- over the past few years I’ve made some huge transitions in life and had some moments where I was unsure of who I was and what I wanted to be or do in life. I took on some side careers, got really invested in weightlifting- and thought at one point I wanted to compete in some way in the fitness realm, even. I think I was honestly really uncertain about my career path and gravitated towards that as it was something I could control and that I was excelling in, you know?

But for those of you that know me solely through my fitness lens may be surprised to know that I’ve actually been an actress for most of my whole life. Since I was 7 years old I’ve absolutely loved singing and acting- and my degree is actually in Theatre Performance! But let me tell you- the life of a professional actor is NOT an easy one. It goes without saying that rejection is rampant, insecurity seethes below the surface and it isn’t hard to have these thoughts, like- “What the heck am I even doing?!”

I’m grateful to have had some wonderful opportunities in my career so far- such as apprenticing at a Shakespeare playhouse and doing some educational children’s theatre, touring elementary schools with a show that, ironically, talks about eating healthy!

But even amid that, it was so easy to get lost in the shuffle. To take each rejection as an indication that “I just am not good enough.” I got a little jaded. I put acting in the back of my head. I threw myself into my new jobs I had- web design, helping with healthy lifestyle coaching with my husband, becoming a thermography technician, etc.

But you know what- in the back of my head- I missed singing. I missed musicals. So. Much. But for whatever reason- it just wasn’t in the cards for me. And I was ok with it for a bit. But it wouldn’t quit gnawing at me in the back of my head.

So I continued to audition for musicals. And- would continue to get rejected. (I honestly blame it on my less-than-ideal auditioning skills. I’m definitely a “blossom in tech week” type of actor, haha.) But working with a dear friend of mine who is also an amazing voice teacher this time really paid off- and I finally got cast in my first musical in YEARS- The Addam’s Family Musical! And not only that, but I’m one of the leads, Wednesday. An extremely vocally challenging role for me (Hello, belting high Es!) which definitely put the pressure on- but has been a huge blessing for me because throughout the process, I realized something. That this is what I’ve been missing. This is it, man.

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A shot from our music director’s point of view during dress rehearsal!

It’s been an amazing feeling. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this show right now because it’s just more than playing a part- it really opened my eyes back up to what my true passions are and where I belong.

We may look miserable, but we're really a happy family- promise!

We may look miserable, but we’re really a happy family- promise!

Today is our last performance of our Opening Weekend (We run until mid August! Ticket info here if you’re interested) and I was just thinking to myself, man- I’ve worked out like one time in the past 2 weeks. But I don’t even care. Honestly, the last 2 weeks have also been pretty tiring with our tech week and my body is taking a toll so I’ve had to listen to it.

But I was also realizing- that excited feeling I get before I get to go to rehearsal, or perform- I don’t get that before going to do my workouts.

10924183_10207399749017656_4390556956234798734_oThe adrenaline of nailing your song and having the audience literally whoop and holler afterwards- to me that FEELS BETTER than most anything in the world! Because you know that all of the hard work you’ve done, all the people involved to make that one moment come alive from the page to the stage- to make the audience just enjoy that moment- nobody is on their phones, people are living in the moment WITH YOU right there- it’s just powerful. Truly powerful. And it’s something I’m so grateful to be able to experience.

Also- making friendships, connecting with others over this crazy theatre world and feeling like you can be yourself on all accounts- there’s just nothing like it.

So I haven’t worked out in over 2 weeks. But I’m ok with that.

I’m excited to see where life takes me in the future, and how this blog evolves over time. I am so grateful, also, to all of you that find encouragement through this blog and I hope you will continue to do so even though it may not be 100% fitness oriented at times. 🙂

I want everyone to realize that your passions are REAL. And it’s ok if you find new ones, and it’s ok if you come back to old ones over time. Never put yourself in a box, and ever ignore the things that call to you under the surface. It’s really important. And of course- never let your quest for having “the perfect body” overrule your life. It’s not worth it.

If You’ve Ever Thought “Nobody Cares!”- This Is For You.

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I’m a firm believer in the idea that our thoughts control our lives as well as our outcomes.

While I’m not someone that necessarily spouts off “The Secret” style ideals 24/7, there definitely is something to be said for visualizing and dwelling on positive thoughts and putting those thoughts out into the universe instead of spewing negativity or accepting negative thoughts as your reality.

However- problems arise when you have an over-anxious and hyper-critical mind. It tends to throw a wrench into the system.

If there was one thought that I need to get rid in my consciousness, and that everyone else needs to get rid of too, it would be this one:

“Nobody Cares.”

As someone who enjoys creating original content and writing, and who spends lots of free time working on my blog or at least thinking about it, I find myself thinking far too many times than I’d like to admit, “What if nobody cares?”

This thought comes up a lot. And I’m not sure why.

I’ll go to post something on social media- “Nobody Cares!”  And I’ll stop. I find myself having a conversation with someone and I start getting a liiiiitle too deep– “Nobody Cares!”

Where does this come from? And more importantly- who gives a flying flip if “they” care or not? I’m not creating things for people that don’t care about me, right? I’m not living my life for the approval of others, right?

I know I can’t be the only one. It’s easy to get wrapped up in this way of thinking when you create anything. Writing a screenplay, painting a picture, showcasing your photography, selling your handmade crafts, or just sharing a selfie- the thought of “Nobody Cares” undermines your own work and what you want to share and bring into the world.

If you are creating something, there’s a reason for it. If you feel compelled to share something, there’s a reason.

Anytime anyone reaches out to me and shares that they enjoy or care about this blog or any other endeavor I do in any way- I’m truly humbled by it and I’m always taken aback- , because honestly I feel like I’m yelling in an empty room sometimes. And it’s not even for the lack of feedback- it’s because of this negative internal monologue that wants to hold me back and make me feel like my thoughts aren’t worthy of being shared.

Even if you don’t think people care about what you’re sharing with the world, whatever if may be, keep doing it. Because they do care. And those that don’t? Well, you’re not creating for those people anyway. If someone doesn’t need to hear your message then they just don’t need to hear it. And that’s fine.

This post isn’t saying you need to go barrage your friends and family with every waking thought or idea, or to take over every conversation with the things you’re working on- it’s just to help quiet that nagging voice inside that tells you that your work isn’t worthy of others to care about.

Don’t let negative thoughts invade your mind and take over, preventing you from sharing your vision or message to the world. Because if you’re investing time in something YOU care about, more than likely others will care about it, too.

[photo by h+d photography]