Prenatal Yoga Pros: Do Now, Reap Later!

Pre-birth or prenatal yoga is one of the best things that you can accomplish for yourself, and in addition for your developing infant. It’s essential that you locate the right yoga practice for you, whether it is setting off to a yoga studio, finding a DVD, or building up your own practice at home. Listen to your body and do what feels right to you. One advantage concerning yoga is: it makes you stronger everywhere. You’ll require that additional strength in your lower body to convey the additional pregnancy weight. Also, you’ll need it in your abdominal area to handle the weight you’ll be bearing for the year or so after birth, which is carrying your child.

Doctors strongly are in the favor that all pregnant women should do yoga and listed below are a couple of reasons why it’s so strongly encouraged.

Relieves back pain
Back pain is a typical pregnancy problem, frequently aggravating as the weight of the uterus and the infant in it is on the rise. Pre-birth yoga strengthens the muscles that support this weight, taking pressure off the lower back. Numerous ladies experience inflammation of the sciatic nerve during pregnancy, and yoga can likewise be awesome for this. The pigeon stance and half-moon posture can extend this range to counter agony and inversions can make space in the pelvis to diminish inflammation. To help make pregnancy easier you can also use the aid of certain items that are designed to help you ease your back pain such as maternity belts that help share the baby’s weight or you can also try some exercises to strengthen your core.

Stress levels dip
Yoga can help reduce all that anxiety and stress that you’re constantly under when pregnant. It helps you relax and gives you space you need for yourself and for your baby. Yoga makes you relatively calm so you tend to handle chaotic situations better which is vital when you have a life growing inside of you. Plus, studies have indicated that stress affects your baby’s health and the key to delivering a healthy child is to remain calm all the time.

It’s good for your hips
Pre-birth yoga can help you with flexibility, relaxation of muscles and bone structures in the front and back of the hips. Hormones discharged throughout pregnancy often unwind joints and ligament between bones in our pelvis to set it up for labor. Be that as it may, getting the muscles prepared helps in making delivery easier. Lower Body workouts and Mindful yoga practices specifically for this part of the body would be of tremendous benefit at the time of delivery as it would strengthen the center of gravity where all activities would eventually be taking place.

Reduces constant nausea

Ask any woman what the worst part of pregnancy is and they’ll tell you that it’s the constant morning sickness and throwing up. You always feel sick and certain smells make you puke instantly that aren’t actually that bad. Yoga helps with the morning sickness, it helps you feel fresher and active and there’s a significant reduction in nausea.

Helps practice breathing
Yoga as we all know is all about breathing, taking in the atmosphere, connecting to the environment and strengthening your breathing. This is very helpful during contractions and moments just before the delivery.

Balance and feet
Our feet get us around the whole day and we barely take proper care of them. The focal point of gravity in your body moves as your pregnancy advances, this changes our position and weight in our feet and joints. The two most basic issues arise during this phase are over pronation and edema. These issues can
prompt agony at the heel, arch, or the ball of the foot. Numerous ladies might likewise encounter leg cramping and swollen veins because of weight gain.

All in all, there are innumerable benefits that could be reaped once you do it while the baby is inside and the fruits of your efforts could be reaped later!

This post is written by Brittany Whistance  who is a health and lifestyle blogger currently associated with Wish Shape.

Peace In Peace Out Europe Tour

Peace In Peace Out Europe Tour is a number of inspiring workshops and lectures in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Latvia. The speaker is Venerable Teaching Monk John Paramai.

Peace In + Peace Out = Sustainable World PeacePeace In + Peace Out = Sustainable World Peace.

Agenda:

BELGIUM

16/10 – Leuven – Sancta Maria High School “The meaning of life” (closed event)

16/10 – Gent – Nest “In pursuit of happiness” https://goo.gl/aYBYX4

17/10 – Leuven – Ricolto “Stress-management” (closed event)

17/10 – Brussels – Diving clubs Le Ceap, Le RWPC, Happy Freediver “Peace Culture”

18/10 – Brussels – Centre for European Policy Studies “Increase Productivity and Focus”

19/10 – Brussels – UNICEF

NETHERLANDS

20/10 – Amsterdam – Jellinek Addiction Care Clinic “Finding peace”

21/10 – Amsterdam – FREE SPOT for event! / to be confirmed (Contact us to host the event)

21/10 – Amsterdam – Studio 191 “Finding Happiness through Inner Peace” https://goo.gl/ank77T

22/10 – Amsterdam – FREE SPOT for event! / to be confirmed (Contact us to host the event)

22/10 – Amsterdam – New Yoga School “City Enlightenment Project: Meditation and discussion”

23/10 – Nijmegen – Beleef Yoga Studio “Self-Development. Dhammakaya meditation technique” https://goo.gl/yZMvzf

23/10 – Nijmegen – Beleef Yoga Studio “Meditation Clinic”

23/10 – Nijmegen – De Kleine Wiel “Creativity and meditation” -https://goo.gl/MJEmCn

24/10 – Nijmegen – Radboud University Student Chapel “Time and Stress-Management” – https://goo.gl/9Y9QFM

24/10 – Nijmegen – De Klinker “Non-violent resistance: case of Buddhists in Thailand”

25/10 – Nijmegen – FREE SPOT for event! / to be confirmed (Contact us to host the event)

GERMANY

26/10 – Kleve – CONFERENCE in Hochschule Rhein-Waal “Inner peace and sustainability”

27/10 to 29/10 – Kleve – RETREAT in Vlierhof https://goo.gl/mpa6NP

30/10 – Cologne – Pauenhof Meditation Centre “Mindfulness Teacher Training”

30/10 – Cologne – Allerwelts House “Benefits of meditation for stress-management”

30/10 – Bonn – Alanus University “Stress-free in university”

31/10 – Iserlohn – Naturheilpraxis Yoga Centre “Loving Kindness”

31/10 – Cologne – University of Cologne “Benefits of meditation”

31/10 – Cologne – University of Cologne “Stress-free in University”

1/11 – Cologne – Sansorio Centre “Resilience and loving kindness”

LATVIA

2/11 – Riga – How to Detox Your Mind? – Digital Freedom Festival

2/11 – 5/11 – Liepupe Manor – meditation retreat “Into the East: meditation holidays near the Baltic Sea”

7/11 – Riga – LU Indijas studiju un kulturas centrs(LU India study and cultural centre) – “Peace Energy”

7/11 – Riga – Laima Chocolate Museum – “daily discipline” and “how to be happy here and now”

8/11 – Riga – Latvian National Library – “The Art of Stillness”

8/11 – Riga – knowledge space “Zikurāts”- “Mindfulness practice”

9/11 – Riga – Latvian National Library – “Work-Life Balance”

9/11- Riga – BITE telecmmunications

10/11 – Riga – University of Latvia/Faculty of Humanitarian Sciences – Theravada Buddhism in Thailand: a story of Monk John Paramai

… Our acts are the consequences of our thoughts. Our thought is powerful. It can be the source of innovation, prosperity, and peace. Yet, equally likely, it can also be the source of human misery, corruption, and tragedy.

Those who can change their thoughts for the better are the ones moving forward to a better future.The right thoughts arise from clarity of the mind. Clear mind comes in the moments of stillness…

Come and get inspired at these Peace In Peace Out Tour talks. Info and registration via individual Facebook events.

Do come!

Support us by inviting your friends. Donate with remark “PIPO EU Tour” at Anna Ovchinnikova NL30 ABNA 0616 8766 61All received funds will be divided equally to provide for transportation and food costs of the tour.
Host event last-minute requests: +3164 586 6563 or PM Anna van Hulst-Ovchinnikova.

Who are we?

Volunteers at Peace Revolution project

What do we believe in?

We believe in importance and power of peace inside and out. Peace In + Peace Out = Sustainable World Peace.

More information:

Peace In Peace Out Europe Tour Facebook 

Peace Revolution Europe Facebook page

We are looking forward to sharing the peace with you.

All the best,

(in order of cities)

Philou, Tom, Gea, Bruna, Anna, Santosh, Dinah, Raul and Agnija

5 Ways to Develop Your Inner Power and Strength

Everyone in the world would desire to attain success in their life. People face a lot of problems in achieving their goals. Moreover, some of the people often get confused about what they want to do in their life. Others make a plan, but fail to execute it. All these problems can be overcome by developing inner power in you.

In this article, we will talk about your inner power which will help you in achieving the goals of your life. Hence, the inner power is referred to a state of mind which enhances your work ability. It keeps moving you ahead in the right direction in life. Precisely, the spiritual power is what makes you more confident. It makes you optimistic and positive in life. The inner power increases your focus on work instead of thinking about all the other unnecessary things in life.  You just need to follow some simple tips, and you will be on the right track of doing things.

1. Meditate daily

Meditation increases your focus; it makes you stress-free, it enhances your mental capacity. Please follow these steps to start your meditation practice:

  • Find your most comfortable posture either sitting on a chair or on the floor with your legs crossed and place your hands on the knees;
  • Start breathing and forget about everything else;
  • Count the breaths so that your focus remains entirely on the breathing;
  • You will feel quite relaxed in your mind, with freshness and clarity. All the things that were annoying you before are now gone away from your mind;
  • Repeat these steps to feel better.

If you are not able to continue your daily practice then try reading some inspirational meditation quotes.

2. Breath deeply

Sometimes you need to take a deep breath to make your thinking ability more active.  Here are some steps to follow:

  • Breathe through your nose until you feel full, you will feel that your abdominal area will fly out and chest will rise;
  • While exhaling draw your lower abdominal area followed by your upper area. Stay in that position for half a second and then continue with the exercise again.

This exercise will open up the narrow cells of your brain and increase the blood flow in your brain.

3. Laugh freely

It is quite an easy technique to increase your internal strength. Laughter also helps you to increase the energy level of your mind as it increases the endorphins in your mind. When you laugh genuinely, your heart rate and blood flow increases.

4. Learn to forget

When you feel hate or anger towards someone, there is some weight on you. Any kind of grudge for someone can be hazardous for you. It makes you weak from inside. When you feel that somebody has done something wrong to you, you start feeling sad or feel like a victim. In order to forget and let go, learn to forgive the ones who have disappointed you in the past.

5. Handle obstacles

In different phases of life, you will face different kind of obstacles. You have to believe that there is no obstacle so big to stop you. Be confident enough that you can do it and don’t make yourself indulged in any kind of controversies.  Think positive to attract positive things in your life.

Image Source:  openheartedrebel.com

10 Uncomfortable Things You Should Do to Feel Your Inner Strength

How do you find inner strength? Do you just sit down when you’re stressed, close your eyes and find it? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work quite that easily.

Meditation is a long journey. It’s not all that comfortable as it seemed before we tried it. At first, you’ll be dealing with the monkey mind. It won’t like being still. Your body will be giving you troubles, too. As you start getting more comfortable in the position, you’ll encounter another challenge: the things you’ve hidden deep inside. They will start coming out on surface. We know we need to do this. In order to grow, we need to deal with all things we refused dealing with. Meditation makes us stronger, but it requires strength, too.

Without strength, you lack self-confidence. You don’t believe things are getting any better. You don’t believe you’re strong enough to make a change.

We’ll reach that peaceful place, eventually. If we keep putting in the effort, the results will come. The journey to that place, however, is long and bumpy. You won’t be comfortable on that road. Inner peace doesn’t come for granted. You know what? That’s the beauty of it.

When you’re ready to work for it, you should start building up on your inner strength. We’ll list 10 uncomfortable things you should do to get there.

1. Clarify the Worst-Case Scenario

You don’t like your job, but you can’t find the strength to quit? What’s the worst thing that could happen? That’s an uncomfortable vision to have, is it? Have you heard of the term affective forecasting? It’s about predicting how you’ll feel in the future. Your present feelings prevent you from imagining how bad something will feel when things go wrong.

Okay, so imagine that worst scenario that would occur if you made a step forward. Chances are, the step will still move you forward, and that’s always a better position than staying in place.

2. Accept a Challenge

The comfort zone feels oh-so-good, but it’s not a good place to stay in. Why? Because it prevents us from growing. Without growth, life doesn’t really make sense.

Do something you’re not used to. Try new tastes. Meet new people. Travel to a random place you know nothing about… You’ll become stronger just by stepping out of that comfort zone. You’ll prove to yourself that you were meant for big things.

3. Try Harder

You’re trying to accomplish something and things are not going as well as expected? In such situations, most of us are usually looking for an easy way out. What does a student do when they can’t complete a research paper? Outsourcing is a good thing when it helps you get better results, but you still have to do your part of the effort.

When you feel like you’ve tried and you’re still not strong enough, then try harder.

4. Do a Headstand

The journey to a headstand is not pleasant. You’ll have to beat the fear, which we naturally feel when someone tell us to get upside down. When you get into this position, however, you’ll realize you can do things you never thought you were capable of doing. You’re stronger than you thought.

5. Meditate Every Day

Meditate. For at least half an hour, every day. You can do it. You have time. Who doesn’t have 30 minutes for themselves? If you really don’t have that time, then it means you need meditation more than anyone. Make the time!

The seated position will be uncomfortable at first. Your mind will wander around. You won’t be able to control it. If this is your first time trying to meditate, you might start thinking: “This is not for me.” It is. Meditation is for everyone. You just need to be persistent, so you’ll allow the practice to make you stronger.

6. Remember the Times When You Were Strong

Life is an amplitude. We rise and fall, but we rise again. When we’re at the bottom, thinking of the moments when we were going strong is like a torture. It reminds us of the failure. Don’t have that attitude towards your own success. It should remind you that you’re strong. You’re still that person. You can find your strength again.

7. Just Do It

Are you overthinking things? That’s a mistake, which gets you settled in the comfort zone of doing nothing. Prove your self-confidence to yourself by taking action. Do not procrastinate. Do not overthink. Just do something to get out of the momentary situation that doesn’t make you happy.

8. Don’t Fall into Distractions

Let’s have some time off social media, shall we? Unless you absolutely need them for your work, start spending less time on these platforms. Try spending an entire week without them. You’ll realize you have time for exercise, meditation, and making plans. When you’re not distracted, you find time for things that make you stronger.

9. Stay Optimistic

This must be the hardest thing ever. The essence of being confident is believing that everything will be fine. It’s easier said than done. However, the more you keep trying, optimism becomes a habit. When you believe you deserve good things, the inner strength will come.

10. Live According to Your Values

That’s what really matters. When you’re making decisions, ask yourself: do you believe in what you’re doing? If it’s the right thing, nothing should stop you from doing it. Define your values and they will give you strength.

It’s important for all of us to keep working on our self-confidence and inner strength. It’s a never ending process, but you’ll see progress all the time. Just stay committed to your journey.

 

 

It’s the Little Things in Life: Happiness Practices Around the World

Happiness Practices Around the World

Happiness isn’t all about grand ambitions and big achievements, it’s also about the little touches that make daily life a bit nicer.

All over the world, people have found their own ways to brighten up a difficult day without the need to spend money. Our new series of illustrations takes a look at a few that you might like to try for yourself.

Japan: ‘shrinrin-yoku’

Happiness: ‘shrinrin-yoku’ Peace Revolution
Japan: ‘shrinrin-yoku’

It may sound like an ancient rite, but Japanese forest-bathing was first developed as a scientifically verified aid to conventional medicine in the 1980s. Take yourself for a mindful walk through the woods when you feel low and you can rejuvenate mind, body and soul.

Hawaii: ‘Ho‘oponopono’

Happiness: ‘Ho‘oponopono’ Peace Revolution
Hawaii: ‘Ho‘oponopono’

Hawaiians have a good awareness for the idea that anger and resentment hurt the person that feels those emotions more than the one who provoked them. Literally meaning “to make right”, the double use of the word pono – right – indicates that you must make things right with yourself as well as the other person. When you feel your anger swell, sit down with that person and talk openly about your feelings.

Norway: ‘friluftsliv’

Happiness: ‘friluftsliv’ Peace Revolution
Norway: ‘friluftsliv’

Norwegians define themselves by their connection to the natural world and outdoors living. The winter is so dark that they have to roam a little to keep their spirits up, and summer days last so long that there’s always time to visit nature. Putting some time aside each day to walk in the park or really listen to a nearby river can help you find your place in the world.

Germany: ‘gemütlichkeit’

Happiness: ‘gemütlichkeit’ Peace Revolution
Germany: ‘gemütlichkeit’

When you picture a group of Germans sitting around and laughing, that’s gemütlichkeit. Difficult to directly translate, it describes a very special kind of social bonding where being playful and lively can create a sense of belonging. You can create this feeling with your family or friends by treating each meeting as an occasion and always taking an opportunity to dance or sing together.

Spain: ‘siesta’

Happiness: ‘siesta’ Peace Revolution
Spain: ‘siesta’

The famous Spanish afternoon nap has been around for thousands of years and, if it used to be considered a physical necessity, today it is often regarded to be a luxury. Even if you don’t live in a hot climate, a 20-minute nap after lunch can help avoid that energy dip that derails so many good starts.

Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil: ‘mate’

Happiness: ‘mate’ Peace Revolution
Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil: ‘mate’

“Yerba mate raises morale,” wrote the French Society of Hygiene in 1909, “sustains the muscular system, augments strength and allows one to endure privations. In a word, it is a valiant aid.” This miraculous tree leaf tea can be taken alone as part of your morning ritual or sipped from a calabash bowl and passed around with friends.

Turkey: ‘keyif’

Happiness: ‘keyif’ Peace Revolution
Turkey: ‘keyif’

If keyif is a central part of Turkish national culture it is also, in practice, a very personal thing. Keyif means just finding a moment to be by yourself and to quietly live in the moment. You can choose to do so on the beach, on a park bench or in the bath.

Bosnia & Herzegovina: ‘kafa’

Happiness: ‘kafa’ Peace Revolution
Bosnia & Herzegovina: ‘kafa’

The tempo in Bosnia is somewhat slower than elsewhere in Europe, and kafa – the coffee break – is a big part of that. Sitting down with this specially prepared brew means committing to a discussion of world affairs and personal gossip, and forgetting about time for a few moments to concentrate on the flavor of the coffee and on the quality of your company.

Nigeria: ‘ubuntu’

Happiness: ‘ubuntu’ Peace Revolution
Nigeria: ‘ubuntu’

The word ubuntu is taken from the Zulu phrase ‘Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu’, which is the idea that a person only exists and thrives through community. If you are open and affirming to your neighbours, you can acknowledge your part in society and strengthen yourself by strengthening others.

Next time you find yourself in need of something extra to brighten up your day, remember these nine things that make people happy around the world.

Source

Shinrin Yoku (2017). Take a walk in the forest. shinrin-yoku.org
James, M. (2011). The Hawaiian Secret of Forgiveness. psychologytoday.com
Gelter, H. (1999). Friluftsliv: The Scandinavian Philosophy of Outdoor Life. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 5, Summer 2000
Whiteoak, J. (2007). Making ‘Gemutlichkeit’: Antecedents of ‘Bavarian-style’ Musical Entertainment. search.informit.com.au
Willis, S. (2017). Siesta. msu.edu
Trigg, R. (2017). The aperitif: All you need to know about France’s ‘evening prayer’. thelocal.fr
Smith, J. (1988). More Than a Drink : Yerba Mate: Argentina’s Cultural Rite. latimes.com
McKirdy, C. (2016). How to Drink Yerba Mate in South America. vice.com
Thomas, O. (2010). Cultural encounters in Istanbul. bbc.com
Sarajevo Times (2016). Drinking of Coffee in BiH: A Ritual that is much more than plain Need for a Drink. sarajevotimes.com
Kimmerle, H. (2012). Ubuntu and Communalism in African Philosophy and Art. rozenbergquarterly.com
Ifejika, N. (2006). What does ubuntu really mean? theguardian.com

Illustrations: NeoMam Studios

4 Ways Spending Time With Your Immediate Family Benefits You

The contemporary lifestyle is very demanding and has several facets which need to be catered to simultaneously. According to modern standards, a person must remain vigilant and conscious about several things which include social status, health, beauty, a promising career, a happening social life, and so on and so forth. Attempting to satisfactorily achieve all of this can sometimes be very aggravating and can lead to a person becoming agitated and even downright depressed when things are not going well. In this whole ordeal, one aspect of life that is likely to suffer immensely is the time you spend with your immediate family.

With increasing pressures and technological distractions, communication between immediate family members is often hindered and they seldom spend quality time with one another. While some may consider themselves to be too busy, others may simply lack the empathy to make plans or give their immediate family the required attention.

However, if you knew how much spending time with your immediate family is likely to benefit you and them, surely everyone would make it their first priority. Spending time with your immediate family does not only provide something to do on a weekend but also has several health and well-being benefits.

Here are 4 ways that spending time with your immediate family will benefit you.

  1. You will relieve stress

There is no place like home and no better friend than your own family. Spending time with your immediate family gives you a cushion to everyday stress and allows you to release stress levels by having an engaging and heart-connecting conversation. When a person feels close to his/her immediate family, he/she realizes that they have a proper support system and this can substantially decrease their risk of stress-related diseases.

For example, spending time with a parent reduces a key stress hormone and also injects oxytocin into the brain, which is a chemical that makes you feel good. Hence, whether you are spending time with your kids for their benefit or spending time with your own parents to give yourself an uplift, it is a win-win situation.

2. You are likely to live longer

Having meaningful relationships with your loved ones is associated with longevity as explained by a study from Brigham Young University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researchers. Hence, if you take out time every day or at least every week to spend time with your immediate family, this is likely to give your lifeline a boost and you will potentially live a longer and happier life.

Having a family is a blessing as parenting is also a proven aspect of living a more fulfilling, meaningful and thus a potentially longer life, void of major health issues. Therefore, those who cherish their families and make it a point to spend more time with them, definitely add to their years.

3.  You are less likely to have mental health issues

Mental health is a very important aspect of a fulfilling life and as life becomes more pressurising, many people are likely to suffer from several mental health issues including dementia, ADHD, depression, anxiety, and others. However, spending time with your immediate family helps you develop a bond that gives you the required strength to deal with everyday pressures and allows you to keep your brain balanced. A Swedish study that examined adults aged 75 and over stated that those who had satisfying and meaningful relationships with their family were less likely to suffer from dementia.

Spending time with your family helps you reduce stress, connect with people who can help, and reassure you that you have an active support system to assist you in matters that are important to you.  Spending quality time with your immediate family is more beneficial than speaking to a therapist as regular family time provides the same stress-relieving therapy that you pay for. According to a study that surveyed 309,000 people, it was found that strong relationships are a cause for longevity and decrease the risk for premature death by 50%. Another study stated that caring behavior is beneficial for both the giver and the recipient and releases stress-reducing hormones, decreasing the chances of brain diseases.

4.  You are likely to have a sharper memory

We usually remember things that matter most to us, don’t we? When our minds are filled with meaningful information that also hold emotional relevance to us, this leads to a sharper and more accurate memory. As mentioned above, adults over the age of 75 who had meaningful relationships with their family and friends were less likely to be diagnosed with dementia. Studies have proven that emotionally charged events are more likely to be remembered and pleasant emotions are remembered more than unpleasant ones. Hence, creating happy memories with your family is definitely a plus point for your memory as it leads to brain exercises increasing your accuracy in details and allowing more retention.

These results are usually highly visible and signs of better cognitive abilities and memory can easily be measured. Your sharper memory will be a highly beneficial asset to your career, sociability, and other aspects of life.

Hence, spending time with family does not only benefit them but is also highly beneficial to you. As proven by several scientific studies, caring behavior is beneficial to both the giver and the recipient and does wonders for your stress and anxiety levels, significantly reducing them and leading you to a happier and healthier existence.

There are numerous other benefits to spending time with your immediate family which involve your emotional wellbeing, the way your children are raised, and benefits that can aid in elevating your career. Research suggests that professionals with a stable family life are likely to achieve more than those who do not have a very comfortable or fulfilling relationship with their immediate families.  Likewise, research also states that children who are raised in an environment which supports family time are likely to make better decisions in life.

Do not ignore your family, as they will lead you to a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life!

You’re Good Enough, And Always Have Been

If you’ve ever struggled or still struggle with loving yourself, know that you are not alone. And more importantly, know that there’s nothing wrong with you for feeling this way. In a world full of pressures and expectations, it is easy to feel less than. It is easy to compare ourselves to others or seek perfection when it is not necessary (or healthy).

Learning To Open Up About Your Struggles

I wholeheartedly believe that it is important to be open and honest about your own struggles. Without communicating our struggles, fears, and negative thoughts, it’s nearly impossible to start on the road to a healthy mind. Whether this means talking to a friend, family member, therapist, or even a journal, it helps tremendously to release your emotions.

Let me start by opening up about my own personal struggles with perfection and never feeling good enough.

Throughout high school, I put a lot of pressure on myself to get spectacular grades. While it was fabulous that I wanted to get good grades, my approach was not healthy. Rather than being satisfied with my achievements, I would dwell on the smallest mistakes. If I missed one question on a test, I would see only that mistake, not the achievement. Spectacular was not even enough. In fact, perfection wasn’t even good enough–it was just “all right.”

When my high school years came to an end and I no longer stressed about grades, perfection slithered its way in differently. This time, I became obsessed with weight loss and health, never seeing myself as worthy of happiness if I didn’t achieve a certain weight or maintain a specific diet.

This struggle was with me from a young age; even when I was in middle school, I struggled with my weight and in high school I attempted diets, but ultimately made a lifestyle change. At first, I lost weight healthily but then I began to obsess over it. Weight and calories were always on my mind and thin was not enough–I had to keep losing more and more weight.

The peak of my eating disorder lasted the first semester of my freshman year of college, but the mindset took a long time to fade away. Throughout these struggles, I’ve realized that if you don’t love yourself, happiness is hard to come by.

Taking Care of Yourself, Every Day

After I began focusing more on loving myself, my mindset began to change. I replaced negative thoughts with positive thoughts, bad habits with good ones, and hatred with love. My whole mindset needed to change. It took a lot of time and work, but it paid off, and I work every day to be good to myself.

I want to repeat those last few words: I work every day to be good to myself.

Loving yourself isn’t something that happens over night. It also isn’t something that, once learned, can be thrown under the rug. We are constantly changing, so we need to constantly reevaluate our approach to self-love, and cater our efforts to the needs of the moment.

I want to remind you of a phrase that has helped me tremendously: You are good enough, right in this moment, and always have been.

I think we can easily spend too much time thinking about the person we want to become rather than the person we are right now. If we don’t work on loving ourselves in the moment, how can we expect to love ourselves in the future?

Of course, we can always improve and strive to be better people, but we don’t have to give up our happiness during this journey.

Self-love starts with this very moment.

Without caring for ourselves and communicating our struggles, fears, and negative thoughts, it’s nearly impossible to start on the road to a healthier mind.
If you want to read more by Jerry Ehlers, please visit his website Discovery Overflow.

Nutritional Tips for Hectic Life

We live life at a frantic pace these days. The relentless demands of work schedules, meetings, errands, appointments, and the overlapping parade of children’s activities can sometimes make us feel as if we are being driven by a whip from one destination to the next. With no time to think, these brutal schedules are often fuelled by fast food, coffee, and adrenaline. Unfortunately, the grab-and-go technique leads to bigger problems when the caffeine and blood sugar levels crash later in the day, resulting in fatigue, irritability, and potentially bigger health woes. Proper nutrition may seem like an unreachable goal for the always-rushed, but the benefits of that extra bit of effort are worth it. Here are some nutritional tips for keeping your busy day well fuelled.

Plan ahead for your own “fast food”

When we’re out of time we often resort to eating whatever can be obtained the fastest, which is usually derived from a plastic bag or a drive-through window. Try making healthier snacks, such as fruit and nut mixes or single-serve peanut butter packs for dipping celery or carrots, and have them ready to grab out of the fridge up to a week in advance. Lean, protein filled burritos made with eggs, beans, or chicken can be frozen in bulk to toss in the microwave in a pinch. For quick snacks, especially if you have kids, keep a small variety of whole grain or vegetable crisps handy in your vehicle to curb the temptation of pulling into a fast food joint.

Go easy on the coffee

While you may drool in anticipation of that first cup o’ joe in the morning, use restraint. Caffeine can be a helpful stimulant, but front-loading it early often leads to a deep lag in energy later on. Limit yourself to two cups in the morning (and four for the whole day), or consider alternatives such as green tea or matcha, which deliver less caffeine per ounce and offer several other health benefits as well.

Focus on whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats

The quality of the food you choose to eat throughout the day can have a huge impact on the quality of your day as well. Whole grain products (those with the husk intact) such as oatmeal, brown rice, or barley, are composed of complex carbohydrates that digest slowly in the gut, promoting steady blood glucose levels that will help you avoid a mid-afternoon energy crisis. Protein provides a number of essential amino acids that the brain uses to synthesize important neurotransmitters like serotonin, while the complicated structure of protein, like complex carbs, imposes a feeling of fullness and slow, steady digestion. Be careful to choose protein sources that won’t also overload you with fat. Egg whites, Greek yogurt, extra lean bison or beef, and black or pinto beans are excellent choices. Fat is the most energy-rich nutrient, issuing a whopping 9 calories per gram. While this makes fat a valuable source of energy, it is easy to go overboard, so fats should be used to contribute the smallest portion of each meal. The healthiest fats are the unsaturated variety produced by plant products, such as avocados, coconuts, and olives.

Go big in the morning

You’ve heard the old adage “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dine like a pauper”. Turns out most nutritional experts are in accord with this one. Fifty to sixty percent of your daily calories should be consumed with breakfast. Loading up on a healthy, well-balanced morning starter will give you more energy, a better mood, a sharper mind, and greater endurance as you tackle a frenzied day. Consume balanced nutrition meals of protein and complex carbs and try to avoid foods made with processed white sugars and starches, which can sabotage your efforts with drastic blood sugar spikes and dips.

Busy schedules can be difficult to face every day, but doing so without energy makes the task seem unbearable. Arm yourself with good nutritional habits, along with a healthy regimen of exercise and stress relief, to make your busy life more enjoyable.

 

5 Ways Writing Can Lead You to Mindfulness

writing mindfulness

Mindfulness is a technique that helps you let go of your worries and concerns, and live in the here and now. If you find you’re often upset or anxious, then mindfulness can help you let go of the ‘what ifs?’ and come back to the present.

Writing can be a fantastic way of practising mindfulness, and it needs nothing more than a pen and paper. If you have those, and a willingness to try it out, then you’re ready to go. Here are 5 ways writing can help you achieve peace in your life.

1. Use a journal

When it comes to writing, many people start on a computer or laptop. After all, you spend all day at a computer, hence typing on a keyboard is basically second nature to you. However, the best way to practice mindfulness is to write using a pen and paper. This is because it forces you to slow down and really think about what you’re writing.

If you want to get started, buy yourself a nice journal and pen and use that to write every day. This book will be the place you’ll go to when you want to relax and understand yourself better. Make this investment now, and you’ll feel the benefit.

Of course, if you’re really not comfortable, it is alright to use a computer to write. When you do write, ensure that you’re taking your time over it. Give yourself the time and space to really explore how you feel.

2. Try writing exercises

So you have your journal. Now what? If you’re not sure where to start, try some writing exercises. They’re the best way to get the creative juices flowing and start expressing yourself on a paper.

For example, try using photos as inspiration to start writing. Fridge poetry words are another good option, as they can be mixed up, then two or three can be selected and used as a prompt. You can even write the phrase ‘I remember…’ then write whatever comes to your mind. Just see what comes out.

Don’t worry about how the writing comes out. The point is, you’re looking to just get anything down on a paper. If you want to edit it afterwards, use software such as Hemingway Editor, Academized or Pro Writing Aid to help you.

3. Use free writing when you’re stuck

If you’re really struggling and the writing exercises can’t help you, the best way to start is with free writing. This is when you set yourself a timer, and just start writing whatever you’re thinking about. Set a timer for ten minutes and just put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.

At first, you’ll find yourself writing things like ‘I have no idea what to write about’ and ‘this is ridiculous.’ However, your mind will soon start making connections and you’ll not notice how ten minutes fly by.

If you’re worried that what you write is nonsensical, it’s not a problem. Just get it written first, then edit later. Readable or Big Assignments will help you get it looking good.

4. Decide if you want to share with others

This step is really up to you. Some people like to share their writing with others, and discuss what they’ve learned through writing it. Others like to keep their writing for themselves, and use it for personal reflection. Either way is fine, but you need to decide what’s the best for you.

If you decide you want to share with others, then editing your writing will be important. That way, it’s easier for others to read what you’ve written and give you honest and useful feedback. If you want help, tools such as Write My Assignment or UK Writings can all lend you a hand.

Sharing with others can be a really uplifting experience. Writing can help you work through your feelings, and put names and words to those feelings. When you share them, you’ll soon see that you’re not alone in how you feel.

5. Take your writing further

If you’re finding that you’re having success with your writing, then you want to expand on what you’re doing with it. There are several ways that you can use your writing in order to help yourself and others. For example, if you’re under the care of a mental health professional, you can take it to them and share it. You can also use blogs and articles to share your findings.

If you choose to do this, your writing will need to be polished first. Use Easy Word Count to sweep for errors, and Cite It In to cite any sources you use properly.

If you’ve found that writing has helped ground you in the here and now, you may have the skill to communicate this to others. Try describing the prompts and techniques that you’ve used in the past, and how they’ve affected your mindset now.

Writing is just one tool that you can use when practising mindfulness, but it is a powerful one. Put it to good use and you’ll see just how much it can benefit in observing and understanding your mind.

FLEX Alumni Meditate Together

When we met in Global Peace on the Move 19 in Thailand in August 2017, we thought it was not a coincidence that we were three FLEX alumni in a group of 30 people from all over the world, and wanted to share with our alumni friends that meditation may be something they may like. This is how this article came about. Sardor, Irina and Katia took a photo together to promote meditation for FLEX alumni.

FLEX (Future Leaders Exchange Program) was established for the post Soviet countries and sponsored by the US Department of State to support young leaders to study in American high school for a year. During this year, young people from Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia learn about community service and leadership bringing the good skills back home to develop their communities.

WPI organises many events such as regional and international fellowships for young activists and peace builders. In many of those events we find things in common between meditators. When participants start talking to each other, many of them find out that they have taken part in some sort of US exchange program. In Bridge Peace Fellowship 2017 we gathered 5 of these alumni.

from top to bottom – Aylar Mammetmyradova, Saikal Muratbek Kyzy, Alina Abdisheva, Sardor Shaahmedov and  Kateryna Kulyk

Alina from Kazakhstan shares her feedback from the Bridge Fellowship 2017. “Bridge Fellowship helped me understand the usefulness of meditation. After the given retreat many magical coincidences happened with me in Georgia maybe because of the cultivation of inner peace and happiness 🙂 Also I made so many long lasting friends. Organisers made a great job, thank you all! I will highly recommend Bridge Fellowship to my friends!”

It is possible that Kateryna Kulyk, regional coordinator of WPI for Europe and Central Asia, as a FLEX Alumni, attracts other alumni into the circle. Another version is – FLEX alumni are open minded and curious and therefore pioneer in combining meditation and peace building into their countries.

Meditation is a new trendy practice, yet it does bring you a lot of concentration abilities and peace. It helps relax and be more efficient at work. It basically teaches you how to work hard and play hard, but remain relaxed all the time.

If you would like to learn meditation, but not sure where to start, you may consider joining Peace Revolution free online self development program . There you will have a Peace Coach, a person whom you can ask any questions and who will support you throughout the life changing 42 days.

See you online? Or maybe at a workshop with FLEX community somewhere around the world?