Determination vs. Obsession

Ever had a goal that you absolutely had to reach, or an idea that you just were compelled to make happen? Life gives us many opportunities and allows us to go after whatever our hearts desire.

Some people are more laid back and work towards what they want at a slower and more carefree pace and others are strongly determined from the beginning and won’t stop until they have what they sought after. I am one of those people. Sometimes I focus so much on what I want that I expend all my energy until I have it.

Determination after a while can start to feel almost like an obsession. We live and breathe our desire and at some point it may be all we can think of and focus on. Our minds can really run away on us and we can lose ourselves. We must remember to keep control over ourselves and not let our minds run wild and become so wrapped up in our desires!

The Secret Behind Triggers

Do you ever feel like you are just going about your day and a certain situation, or person’s actions changes your mood in an instant?  We all have certain triggers in life that evoke a very strong and emotional response from us, these triggers vary greatly from one person to the next, but are very powerful as they are connected deep inside of us.

A trigger is something that evokes a strong emotional response, something that goes way deeper than average.  Triggers are anything that remind us of certain events from out past, they can be arguments, holidays, abandonment, traumas, public speaking, socializing, medical issues, the list is truly endless.  Sometimes we are triggered by something we are not even aware of, but our subconscious picks up on it.

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I am a pretty even-tempered person, even though my mind is steadily going, I’ve been told that I have a very laid back personality.  Just like anyone else, I have things that trigger me.  For me, the biggest thing that triggers me is when someone disrespects me.  I make every conscious effort in my being to respect others, so when that is not given, or returned, I have a very hard time dealing with it.  I am also triggered by being in a group of people, certain social situations, and being talked down to, or criticized.  These all create a deep emotional response within me.  I know that these things are triggers for me, so I work extra hard to think logically and not let my emotions get the best of me when they arise.  Due to triggers often being tied to past events, it’s even more difficult to control your response, which is often quick and automatic, but by realizing what upsets you and allowing yourself distance from the trigger, you can better manage and reflect.

Knowing your triggers and knowing yourself in general are very beneficial when encountering things that you know set you off.  If you are getting into a situation that you know will cause you stress and anxiety, you can prepare yourself mentally and hope for a better outcome than if you had not prepared.  Often times talking out a series of events, or even journaling can bring about some amazing insight that you may have otherwise not found.

It’s natural to want to avoid what triggers us because we don’t want the unpleasant feelings that come with it, however if we do not push ourselves to go against our fears, we will never conquer them.  Growth happens when you make an effort to challenge what controls you!

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Hamster Wheel

Our brain is a very interesting and powerful organ. Whatever we feed it can make or break us. Our minds soak up a lot of information including the thoughts that we have and if we are not consciously filtering our thoughts, they can really take over us. Sometimes this process is slow, or we do not recognize how we are shaping our brain, but it truly does eventually have a great impact.

Have you ever been thinking of something, or worried about something and then before you know it you are thinking about that thought over and over again? Or, maybe your mind may have thought up many new thoughts that led to other thoughts and then you forgot the one you were originally thinking about! Our minds can take a thought and run with it if we let it.

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You may have heard of the terms hamster wheel and snowball effect. Both describe what happens to our brain when we overthink, or think in an anxious manner. The hamster wheel basically describes how someone persistently thinks the same thoughts over and over again, but gets nowhere because their thoughts go around and around in circles like a hamster running on a hamster wheel. The snowball effect states that our thoughts continue to gain momentum and power the more that we keep thinking. Like a snowball that gets bigger as it rolls down a hill, the thoughts keep gaining speed and power as it collects more momentum, our thoughts are fueling more thoughts.

These patterns of thinking happen to all of us, but I feel like they may be more common in individuals that are deep-thinkers, or are prone to anxiety. I know that I fall into both of these categories and once my mind gets going, it can be very hard to get it to stop. I have found ways that have helped though. First, it helps to calm the mind from all of the racing thoughts. Ways to do this include meditation, focusing on your breathing, observing details in the objects around the room you are in, anything that can shift your brain away from the current thoughts you are having. Once your mind is calmer, then you can put your energy into a project, or your to-do list, keeping active to avoid overthinking too much. If your mind was running because you were pondering a decision, or because of a question that you have, once you have relaxed some, try to look at the decision or question at hand logically and try to remove as much emotion as possible. Try to be mindful when your mind starts to wander astray from focusing just on the task at hand, which is to solve your question, or make a decision.

It is definitely easier said than done, but try not to let your mind run away on you! I still struggle with this often, but it really does rob one of a peaceful day. Having some control of the mind makes for a much easier way of life!

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In the Night

Outside gets darker, the world gets quieter, and I seem to take on a different form. I’ve never been just a morning person, or just a night owl, I have always been a mix of both. I love mornings because I wake up feeling refreshed, motivated, energized, and hopeful of the day ahead. I love nights for the peace, relaxation, slower pace, and reflection that it brings.

There is something about the still of the night that shifts me mentally. I have always been a deep thinker and reflective person, the night is the perfect time for pondering and reflecting on life. At night, we become tired, our minds and bodies slow down in preparation for sleep and a new beginning ahead the next day. After all of the hustle and bustle during the day, the night allows us to sit with our thoughts, reflect, and just be.

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I know not everyone is like this, but I find great joy in sitting in silence with my thoughts and reflections. If I do not allow myself enough time to process my day, or how I am feeling, it creates great anxiety for me. Sitting in silence can no doubt be scary and uncomfortable, but I feel it is a necessary part of processing life. I can and often do get lost in my head, I have heard so many times that I “am lost in my own world.”

As I write out this blog post, I can’t help but mention the importance of reflection, self-awareness, and mindfulness. The night allows me to do all three with its stillness, peace, and quiet. I understand that for some people the night might bring about feelings of sadness, loneliness, or fear, but sometimes the still of the night is just what we need to work through our inner struggles. Without much time for reflection and self-awareness, we can’t go about making great change. Processing one’s life requires great energy and it is of the utmost importance to allow time to dedicate towards fueling your soul. Mindfulness is the act of focusing and being aware of the present moment. It is about tuning out all distractions and worries and focusing on what is right in front of you at that given moment.

Whether it is day or night, I hope that you find time for just you. Become in tune with yourself, take the time to take care of you, just like you take care of others, you completely deserve it.

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5 Simple Ways to Boost Happiness

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” – Kurt Vonnegut.  This quote couldn’t be more accurate.  Life presents us many challenges, struggles, and lessons, but it also gives us many joys, memories, and hope.  No one is going to be happy all of the time, life is just not that way, but there are many ways to boost happiness and well-being.  In this blog I will outline 5 simple ways to help boost happiness.

  1. Spend time in nature. The sun, sounds of life, beautiful colors, and fresh air really help lift our spirits and make us feel connected to a much bigger world.  No matter what kind of day I am having, a stroll in nature is sure to pick me up.  Walking itself is a happiness booster, walking in nature is an even bigger bonus, it has so much to offer us.  There’s nothing like a fresh breeze, natural scents, and feeling the warm sun on your skin.  Nature makes me feel whole.

    2.  Treat yourself.  We are so good at helping and lifting others, we need to also remember to look out for ourselves!  We all deserve to be pampered and treated and the effects are very beneficial.  Even a small treat has the ability to turn one’s day around.  Treat yourself to your favorite drink, meal, a movie, binge watch your favorite TV shows, take a hot bath, just do something that you love.

     3.  Connect with others. Spending time with loved ones whether in person, or on the phone is a mood booster.  Laughing and catching up with those that we care about is so powerful.  Even a hug boosts our mood, it helps us feel connected to others and the world.  Humans for the most part are very social creatures, we thrive and do best when we are with each other.  

     4.  Do a good deed. Helping other people helps us!  There is mutual gain from doing a good deed and making someone’s day, it makes us feel good in return.  Knowing that we have lifted someone’s spirits, helped them through a difficult situation, lended a helping hand no matter how small, these are all good mood boosters. 

     5.  Take a trip down memory lane. Spend some time recalling or daydreaming about your favorite memories, they are bound to make you smile!  Close your eyes and picture the last beach trip that you took, the smell of your favorite holiday dish, go back and look at pictures of some of your favorite events, holidays, a wedding, the birth of a child, happy times with friends.         Smell some of your favorite scents, they can elicit many memories and feelings of happiness. Just thinking of fond memories can give us a powerful happiness boost.

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I hope that you have enjoyed these 5 tips to boost happiness.  Take some time for yourself today and do something to lift your spirits…you deserve it! What kinds of things make you happy?

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