‘Comparison is the thief of joy’

Lets be honest, those who say they don’t love a good selfie, are liars….hehehe

Selfies, posts, likes, shares and tagging – all words that now make it into our everyday conversations – and multiply that for young people!

I ask you a question (ok, a few) – what is social media doing to your ‘sense of self’?  How can we possibly measure up to the often staged, filtered and photoshopped photos that fill our feeds daily??

Studies have shown us that a staggering number of people say social media has affected their self-esteem and yet, we go back for more of our social media ‘fix’, for most people, everyday!  Everyone wants to feel accepted and liked – but is it worth the damage it can do to our minds?

BUT knowledge is power – so the fact that we are aware of social media not always being helpful is a step in the right direction.  By choosing marvellous, we get to decide how much influence we allow social media to have our lives.  How about starting a conversation about this topic over the dinner table this week – especially if you have young people with you – the results could create questions for them.

I do however, find it so reassuring to see rebellion against this endless comparing.  The #nofilter pics and the ones that are portraying the downs as well as the ups.  That’s what we want, a generation who realise there is much more to life than how many likes they got on their photo post compared to their friends.

Let’s be real and honest and not let social media take over our ‘real lives’

 

**Also, I just wanted to add, I’m not anti-social media.  As I sit to write this blog – I feel like that’s the pitch I’ve taken.  Its not that at all, but my goal is to increase awareness of the potential effects it can have on our sense of self.

 

What’s your default?

Let me ask you a question – truly, when was the last time you really thought about all the good things you admire about yourself?  Was it this week?  Last month?  Last year?  Or at worst, never, maybe you have never taken the time to notice the positive things about yourself??

Well today, if you do nothing else, I want you to sit down and be truly kind to yourself. And maybe it has to wait until everyone else is in bed for you to have five minutes alone, that’s ok, it won’t take long!

You are going to practice writing a list of (or at least start with one thing) that you wholeheartedly admire about yourself.  You will be kind to yourself in a way you would be to a valued friend, this is the practice of self-compassion.

Let me get things started – I love how determined I am once I set my mind to something. When I was a child, I imagine this was quite punishing for my family, but it has absolutely set me in good stead as an adult.  What’s the first thing on your list?  Maybe you can write five, or more? Do that now.

Ok, good, tell me you have something written, or at least is in your mind – the task for the coming week is to pick one of the things you admire and say this to yourself each day.  Repeat as often as you like.

So, to be fair, it might take more than a week, but there are a couple of good reasons to practice this:

  • we need to regularly practice being kind to ourselves (so when there a threats to our self-esteem, self-compassion, not self-criticism, is our default),
  • Even our minds need reminding how awesome we are sometimes AND
  • when we hear something enough, it changes the way we think about ourselves – and that itself, is really powerful!

Image result for self-compassion

Featured Image Source:  https://www.google.com.au/search?q=self-compassion&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj_tarvkq7UAhUHW5QKHfnmChcQ_AUIBigB&biw=1366&bih=662#tbm=isch&q=self+compassion&imgrc=0_pS2RnnksMLBM:

How do you perceive physical activity?

As i write this, I’m literally days away, 2, in fact, from my first marathon – I’m not telling you that so you can send messages of congratulations – I’m telling you that to show you that the way we view physical activity is most definately about perspective.

This is a little about my running story, hope I don’t bore you, but really the morale of the story is about perspective and mindset.

5 years ago , actually, even 12 months ago, I’d say the thought of running marathon could have made me physically sick, or at least twitch a little! Of course, I wasn’t sick, but I viewed it as torturous!  It was SO far out of reach, not to mention, my comfort zone.

Since then, I’ve slowly increased my running, and along the way just decided I needed to do one marathon in my life.  That was pretty much all – I made a conscious decision, rallied my beautiful girlfriends to be support crew, booked flights, accommodation and registered for the event.  To be honest, I’m still feel amazed at what the body is capable of when we set our minds to it!

I’m not implying everyone needs to do a marathon or similar, for you, it might just be starting to committing to using the stairs every time there is an option, instead of the lift!

Today, I’m, yes, a little anxious but strangely excited – excited for lots of reasons.  Here are some random thoughts for race week and a few things I’ve noted and learnt in the last 6 or 8 months:

I’d be a liar, liar pants on fire if I said it’s all been super easy! Did I want to get out of bed and run every time the alarm went off? No! But I did (except for maybe a few times, when I couldn’t logistically sort my children to be safely looked after!)

Training for a marathon is a rollercoaster of emotions – on the days I didn’t run, especially if a few in a row, I’d start to talk myself out of it! Questioning my decision and perspective! In comparison, after I’d run,, I knew I could do it!

A runner I know was telling me how he cried at end of one of his marathons!  At the time, I felt sorry for him and was thinking, he’s soft, who’d do that?!?!? I so get it now, after all the training and commitment, the support (and well meaning questioning) from loved ones, the ups and downs, I might just get a bit terry too!

I’m going to be towards the end of the finishers, and that’s cool, but I absolutely cannot wait to know I am capable of a marathon! I feel like, my view of the world will change even more – I’ll let you know!

My marathon perspective took on a whole new level of meaning when I also decided that the Jake Garrett Foundation would be my beneficiary for my fundraising efforts.  Again about perspective.  The Jake Garrett Foundation provides emotional and financial support for parents whose precious children have passed away.  Thank you to everyone who has generously donated. When you see a friend and her family having to face this, marathon training isn’t even on the radar of degrees of difficulty.  The marathon is half a day and families have to be without their little person forever.

Please, let my gradual shift in perspective be proof that once we change the way we view things, what we’re capable of changes!  For physical activity – just get moving!

I have a gorgeous friend who has been sending memes in the lead up to race week – all supportive, some hilarious – so I have a few quotes to share:

You will never grow if you stay in your comfort zone – cliche but true – how we view a challenge matters!

We always over estimate what we can do in the short term but under estimate what we can do in the long term – just start!  Go for a walk around the block to reward yourself. Make it a priority instead of making excuses why you can’t, just make it happen, and see how it feels!

That’s what I’ll be doing on Sunday!

My house is still messy.

Changing your perspective really can be a personally restorative act.

Let me explain – take cleaning the house for example – I feel like it’s a chore, so, given a chance, I avoid it! If I just took the view that by keeping the house clean it would be easier to live here, things might be different…(note, I haven’t mastered this yet and as a result always struggle to keep the house respectable!)

It’s the same with exercise – if we see it as a chore, quite simply, it will be!

But yet if we see it as not only being protective of our physical health but also our mental health – the game suddenly changes!!  When we are soaking up endorphins and achieving – we can easily choose our marvellous life, largely because we are feeling strong and confident from our efforts.  Are you following?

Perspective by definition is “a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view”**  We make our best decisions when we can be aware of our own attitudes and points of view.

Now for the questions – how do you view physical activity?

Do you do it because you love the endorphins or because you think you should because of that chocolate slice you had for morning tea (or similar)?

What if you chose to view physical activity as an act of self-care and not torture?  It puts a whole new perspective on it really, doesn’t it?

Do you think choosing to change your perspective would make your life more marvellous?

** Reference – http://www.dictionary.com

 

Photo via Visualhunt

Know what makes you tick.

Topic – Mental Fitness

Best way to look after your mental fitness – know your real self and know what you need.

It makes sense really, doesn’t it?  Knowledge is power – so if we know what our preferences are – we can work towards using that knowledge to choose a marvellous life?

No one else will benefit from this.  Just you, which is 100% the goal here!

Here’s a few questions to start you thinking about your level of self-awareness:

When was the last time you engaged in an activity you walked away from taking you could take on the world?

When did you get so irritated by something that it made you ‘explode’ or ‘implode’ as the case may be?

Do you prefer your own time or to be surrounded by people and/or sounds?

What do you do to ‘recharge’?

How do you prefer to approach conflict?

How do you show people you appreciate them being in your life?

Once we are consciously aware of the way we prefer things to be, life is more likely to be marvellous!  Decisions just get easier.

It is also important to remember – we should never stop learning about ourselves!!

While our basic values don’t tend to change much, our experiences do!  And we know experiences can have profound effects on how we view the world.  That’s why we need to keep checking in with ourselves to make sure the action we are taking, does indeed, line up with the person we are at that time.

These are a few great resources I can recommend to ‘check in’ with yourself

  • Via Character – http://www.viacharacter.org – a free strength profiling website – you do a quick survey and in exchange for your email address, it gives you your results.
  • Personality Plus – there are lots of great personality sorters out there – this is one I have used and recommend – such an interesting exercise! There is also a ‘for Parents’ version of this one – personally, it answered lots of questions for me as a mother!
  • The Five Love Languages – a book, or I think there is an online version too, that profiles the way individuals prefer to give and receive ‘love’ – a must for anyone in a relationship!

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list – but these are ones I’ve used and encourage you to check out to move along on the ‘knowing yourself’ path. **  I receive no endorsements – I just genuinely liked them and feel they could help other people too.

In terms of knowing what you need – knowing yourself usually informs this – if I’m someone who avoids crowds – a music festival isn’t going to be relaxing for me, or if I like to be alone and i live in a shared house, these don’t match up, do they?!  You get the idea!

Please, be kind to yourself – be really conscious of knowing what makes you tick and take note of the positive effect on your mental fitness (and the moving closer to your marvellous life)!

 

Image Source – http://www.quotemaster.org

 

Motivation is rubbish?

So, let me explain why I’ve boldly claimed that motivation is rubbish….

I’m going to use your car to further explain:

Relying on motivation is equivalent to having to connect the battery leads on your car each day, instead of just turning the key in the ignition to start the engine.  Turning the key to start your car is an act you undertake when you want to start your car each day, isn’t it?  It’s logical and automated, and you do it without much thought.   (Psst, this is how habits ‘are’ in a sustainably healthy life)

To be honest, I wouldn’t be sure HOW to connect the battery each day and to be more honest, I couldn’t be bothered? Could you?

Ok, I know some people would choose to do it for awhile, but could you keep doing it every day, knowing you needed to do it everyday to get anywhere??

Motivation usually comes in short bursts too – because change is desired.  Habits, on the other hand are a commitment to who you are growing to be.

You get in your car because you know why and where you are going.  Similarly, if your habits support your values, goals and your ‘why’, you will do them with ease.  What you do everyday matters!

Do you really think you would or could connect the leads before you leave home each day, forever?  As if it isn’t enough of a struggle to get to work on time, without having to think about which leads go on which battery terminal???

Does that make sense?  If we can make sustainably healthy habits something we do automatically without a thought, we have more time to focus on nurturing and choosing our marvellous life!

A little deep I know – but I thought it was an excellent comparison to highlight that what we do everyday matters!

Good health information can guide habits that change lives.

I ask you to try it!

Try starting a new positive habit – do it for a week to start with, if you love it, try committing to it for a month.  Review it after a month and see what’s different? Or if you would go back to not having it in your life.

Plan, do, review and change according to findings – know sustainable good health is a process!  Make the process a habit, and it will go a long way to helping you choose a marvellous life!

Have a great week!

 

Photo via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/re/546f88″>Visual Hunt</a>

How personalised is your health information?

Here we are, working on this ‘project’ of you and your family’s health and subsequent marvellous life!!  Projects need research – which poses the question – where do you find your health information?

We live in a time when we have access to SO much information – but yet, this doesn’t always make our decisions easier!  How do we know it is reliable and a ‘good’ source?

It’s actually not easy sorting fact from fiction on the internet sometimes!  What I do know and want to share with those who choose a marvellous life is, that we need to be aware that specifically when in comes to health information – Google doesn’t have all the answers.  

Sure, some of your research might be done on the internet, but it can’t be your only source of information gathering.

I hear you say – where then, can I get information –  here’s just one suggestion (by no means the only place you can get good health information, but albeit, a great place to start your research):

Australian Health Practitioner Health Regulation Agency (AHPRA) health professionals have spent years learning and perfecting their profession – sounds ideal, doesn’t it?

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency

Find more details at http://www.ahpra.gov.au (note – it has a gov in the address – always a good sign when looking for credible health information)

As previously mentioned, the term health professional gets thrown around a lot these days – often by people who haven’t had as much training as AHPRA Health Professionals. Is your trusted health professional’s profession on the list above?

I absolutely acknowledge that sometimes reading articles on the internet can make us feel better about certain conditions, but it can also have the opposite effect.  The main point is that is generic information and not personalised to you.  Therefore, the odds of it being 100% accurate for you every time are very slim to nil.  Whereas, for example, when you see a health professional from the list above, they get so much more information from you, putting them best placed to form their diagnosis and plan of care accordingly.  Does that make sense?

Back to the concept of a research process – remember when you teacher asked you to compare and contrast at school?  That is the perfect set up for assessing health information too – put it all together (maybe not with highlighters or the need for cutting and pasting!) however you see fit, and then you are well placed to make an informed decision.

The term ‘informed decision’ is one that is commonly used in health care – informed refers to knowing ALL the facts about the particularly issue and being able to make the best decision based on those facts.

And if we are to truly and intentionally choose our marvellous life, we need to be making the best decisions that we possibly can!