How I learnt to build resilience

Hi Moms,

I’m back writing after a few weeks of a break (spending lots of time with my Issey) and truth be told since having the break it has taken me a bit of time to get back into the swing of things ;0 (however have really enjoyed the slow pace and just having fun with my little one).

So this week, I wanted to write about a practice that has really helped me and still does to this day.

This practice is meditation. I stumbled across this when I was quite ill after having Issey and was searching online for something to help me and I came across many testimonials explaining how much meditation had helped.

Initially, I was sceptical as anyone is when they first learn about something new. I had a¬† belief that meditation was for people that were enlightened beings, like monks, or those who spent time in ashrams, not for little old me ūüôā

However, I’m a great believer in trying things for myself and making up my own mind. So I purchased a guided meditation programme online and started listening to the 12 min audio morning and night.

After a couple of days, I started to notice subtle changes initially, feeling less stressed and anxious about my situation and noticed that I was sleeping better.  Over the next couple of weeks, the body pain was reducing and my overall mood was much lighter.  I was starting to feel that it was possible for me to get well and was feeling much more positive.

So after noticing all these benefits I got fascinated and started researching all about it and found that the experiences I was having were in fact backed up by science, for example:

  1. Lowers stress:¬†In an eight-week study, a meditation style called “mindfulness meditation” reduced the inflammation response caused by stress. Another study revealed that meditation literally¬†reduces the density of brain tissue associated with anxiety and worrying.¬† Before finding meditation I used to be a constant worrier and dare I say a control freak, however since meditating I don’t find myself doing either of these things anymore. If I happen to find myself heading down this path, I’m much more aware and observe the thoughts/feelings that are occurring and then reach for good thoughts/feelings instead.
  2. Reduces pain: One study looked at the effects of meditation on 3,500 participants. It found that meditation was associated with decreased complaints of chronic or intermittent pain. Meditation definitely helped me with my chronic pain and I can report that this ailment is thankfully gone Рgiving me back my quality of life!
  3. Better sleep: Another study found that participants who meditated fell asleep sooner and stayed asleep longer, compared to those who didn’t meditate.¬† We all need a good nights sleep right?!! – especially us moms, (even though that can be hard sometimes, with little ones) so my intention is always to meditate before sleep, sometimes I get to do this and other times it’s not possible. But I always try at some point during the day even if it’s just 5 – 10 mins.
  4. Better health: meditation appears to control blood pressure by relaxing the nerve signals that coordinate heart function, tension in blood vessels and the “fight-or-flight” response that increases alertness in stressful situations,

Note the above is just a small list of the myriad of benefits – there are so many more!

As I love meditation so much, over the years I have sought out teachers to learn more about it. I have bought online courses from Dr Joe Dispenza and have attended one of his progressive workshops when he visited Dublin back in 2017. I also have learnt a lot from Dr Sue Morter. Both Dr Joe & Dr Sue share similarities such as their breath work but that’s perhaps for another blog post.

As for now, the purpose of this post is to share how meditation has helped me so that it may pique an interest in you?

I really wish we were taught this from an early age as I do believe that meditation is a tool that we can all use to enhance our lives and help us face our challenges much more mindfully, ultimately building resilience! However, unfortunately, we haven’t been made aware of it…. thankfully it seems to be gaining more attention and it’s my hope that meditation starts to be taught in schools so that it helps our children have richer and much more peaceful lives.

Lastly, I’d also like to point out that it hasn’t always been easy for me to meditate¬†and some days it still isn’t, however, on the days where my body is fighting me to stay still I just give myself some extra time and extra grace and before I know it I’m in the ‘zone’ (also known as the sweet spot!!)¬† The key is to keep showing up until its just becomes a habit and part of your day.

So Moms, as always I love hearing from you – do you meditate and if so what benefits does it provide you? Or perhaps you’ve wanted to but never tried, maybe this will be a sign to get going… and if you do please let me know how you get on.

Love and best wishes,

Lisa X

PS: there are lots of free meditations out there especially on YouTube, however, there is one app that I love and use from time to time and that’s insight timer and it’s also free ;0

References

Science-backed benefits of meditation 1

Science-backed benefits of meditation 2

Dr Sue Morter 

Dr Joe Dispenza

Insight Timer

 

Getting ready to Shred!

Dear Moms,

This week I wanted to share with you my plans to do a shred for 10 days starting this Monday. I hear you say first of all what’s a shred and let me tell you I asked the same thing once I first heard about it!!

For me, the word shred initially conjured up images of small pieces of shredded lettuce and shredding my food into tiny pieces. However, this is not the case at all ;0)

What I learned about the shred 10 programme

Firstly, the shred runs for a 10 day period and it’s a time to jump-start your health and ‘shred’ certain foods and habits and focus on cleaner healthier foods thereby flooding our bodies with whole food nutrition.

We use this time to become more mindful of what we are eating and allow our body to have a break and a time to rejuvenate.

It’s part of the healthy living revolution that Juice Plus has rolled out and invites us ‘shredders’ to participate so we can ultimately achieve better health and energy whilst allowing our bodies to safely detox.

Also, this is not a programme that counts calories, there is no deprivation so you can eat as much as you like as you are only consuming whole foods.

Preparation

shakes image

In preparation for this, I’ve purchased the Juice Plus¬†complete shakes (plant-based protein) to try them out before I started the shred. I’ve since purchased another set of shakes as we love them so much. Rok, Issey and I have either a chocolate or vanilla shake every morning for our breakfast. I’m also enjoying one in the afternoon or just before bedtime.

I’ve mentioned before in a previous blog post that I’ve started using the Juice Plus premium blend capsules which is a trio of fruit, vegetables and berry blends. Together with the shakes, my body is taking in over 45 fruits, vegetables and berries! So ensuring only whole foods, eliminating processed food and removing dairy, gluten, alcohol, artificial and refined sugars and caffeine for 10 days, I think my body will be very grateful!

And what I love is that I am getting all this for just ‚ā¨5.80/day (based on 30 days of capsules and shakes) and replacing my breakfast! How amazing is that?!! You know what’s interesting to me is that I used to pay ‚ā¨3.50 for a Starbucks back in my corporate days and sometimes would have two! So I think this option is a no-brainer for me.

juice plus trio

This January I took on a 7-day juice cleanse which was very challenging however this one seems far more achievable to me as I’m still eating food, I’ve also got more support as we have an online community that checks in with one another every day. Also, there is an amazing recipe book with tasty ‘shred approved’ recipes and I’ve also got my whole food capsules and shakes this time.¬† So I’m confident I’ll make it the whole way through the 10 days.¬† The only thing that may be difficult for me will be my morning small cup of coffee, so I plan on weaning myself off this slowly.

The key for me will be ensuring that I’ve stocked up on an array of pantry staples, fruits and vegetables and plan out what I will cook every day during the shred for lunch and dinner. This weekend I will be sitting down with Rok to plan this out and ensure we get off to a great start! So please watch this space, I’ll be reporting back soon on how I’m getting on. I’m actually very excited as I do love a challenge however also nervous of which habits might try and get the better of me, however, I’m so grateful that I got my Shred 10 community to check in with.

So, Moms, have you taken on a challenge like this before and if so how did you get on… as always I’d love to hear from you so please feel free to post in the comments below.

Wish me luck!

Love & Best wishes,

Lisa X

Resources

Shred 10 video

Learn more about Juice Plus 

The power of affirmations and how they’ve helped me

Dear Moms,

This week I wanted to talk about the topic of affirmations?!! I think the first time I stumbled upon affirmations was about 3 years ago when I watched a great movie on¬†FMTV¬†called¬†‘you can heal your life’¬†which is a Louise Hay film and speaks about how our thoughts and our language can hugely affect our lives. Shortly after that I downloaded some of her books to my kindle app and got straight to reading.

Firstly, I was amazed and humbled about all her work with Aids patients back in the 80s and that affirmation work was very popular back then however as I was merely a young child living in Ireland I hadn’t caught on to this great tool yet ;0

So now as a new mom, I was curious if affirmations could actually work for me. At this time, I was still recovering from chronic fatigue and peripheral neuropathy and was just about to go back to the corporate world full time. What I needed most was more energy and also less body pain so I started using affirmations and soon I found some favourites and here they are:

  • I say yes to life and life says yes to me (one of Louise Hay’s favourites)
  • I am willing to change and grow
  • I love myself just the way I am
  • I am enough
  • I forgive and set myself free
  • I listen with love to my body messages
  • All is well
  • I am in vibrant health
  • Only good lies before me
  • I am happy, calm and relaxed
  • I am always full of energy
  • I am the creator of my own life
  • I do the work I love

After a few weeks, I started to feel a bit lighter and had an increase in energy. I also started using affirmations if I was feeling a bit anxious about a situation and it helped me feel much calmer.  I did affirmation work in the shower, whilst I was driving, commuting on the train and found quite seriously that my mood was much better and also felt more energised.

What I discovered is that affirmations are simply replanting new seeds in our mind. It can be hard to do in the beginning as our mind is simply not believing what we are telling it…¬† So, from my research, a little trick that can help in this instance is to start with¬†‚Äėwouldn’t it be nice’

For example,¬† wouldn’t it be nice if I am happy, calm and relaxed today… Wouldn’t it be nice if I could do the work I love…, wouldn’t it be nice if only good came into my life today? This statement will be accepted by our subconscious mind until we are able to use the ‘I am’ statement…

Where’s the reward?

So, for me, this took a least a month to feel some changes. You must ‘do the work’ and repeat your affirmations throughout the day (unfortunately, there are no shortcuts!) However, the reward is worth it. As Louise herself says ‘when you plant the seeds in the ground you don’t expect them to grow the very next day, you plant the seeds and then wait as you know they will grow in due time’¬† I know this can be hard, as some of us (including me) are conditioned to want results instantaneously, however, there is an element of trust and the planting the seeds analogy is a great reminder.

More than anything affirmations really helped me bring an¬†awareness¬†to what my daily self-talk was and what language I was speaking, for example, I became more aware/conscious of how I might put myself down, or how I would not accept a compliment. I was also more aware of my negative words and started to catch myself and be mindful of how I spoke about myself and others.¬†Rok¬†and I would try and hold each other accountable so that we didn’t fall into the negative talk trap/spiral.

Around this time, I gave up watching the news as I found it was so negative and energy draining, there was rarely any good news stories. So, I began to choose what information I wanted to hear and see myself. This was and still is very empowering.

Science has¬†proven¬†that affirmations do work by rewiring our brain! A study published in the journal¬†Personality and Social Psychology¬†in 2015 showed that affirmations helped people at work perform better and calm their nerves! So, it‚Äôs not ‘woo woo’¬†stuff, thankfully it’s becoming more mainstream ;0

Nowadays, I still use affirmations, however, l don‚Äôt feel the need to use them as much, which shows how mich I have changed my thoughts and beliefs.¬† I also regularly share Louise Hay’s affirmations in our Mom’s private¬†Facebook¬†group as her work has really helped me and therefore I want to share this with other moms too.

Also, it‚Äôs important to point out (and even Louise Hay says this herself), there is no one panacea – affirmations are part of an self-help toolbox, just another tool to help you with your life’s journey. For¬†me I used affirmations in conjunction with many other things like nutrition, exercise, meditation and energy work, a holistic approach!

Firstly, observing our self-talk can really help us get started on the right path and this helps us with other key areas of our life too, like ensuring we eat healthily and work out our body. Starting with the right mindset means we are able to create more successful habits.  Using this approach really helped me change my life both physically and mentally.

So, Moms, have you used affirmations before and if so please let us know if and how they have helped you.¬† Maybe you have a favourite… please feel free to share ūüôā

Love and best wishes,

Lisa X

PS: ‘All is well’

Resources: 

References