[:en]Stay motivated during covid-19[:]

How to Stay Motivated During COVID-19: 3 Tips for Getting Things Done

It can be easily overlooked that we are in a global pandemic, and it is okay to not feel as motivated as you did six months ago. Although, finding motivation can be challenging and taxing, it is important to find ways to stay motivated during COVID-19.

[:en]staying motivated during covid-19 can be challenging[:]

Some days, it is hard to even create a running list of all of the tasks you need to complete in your day, let alone check multiple items off said list.

Oftentimes, we place immense pressure on ourselves to perform the very best we can each day, which can leave one feeling stressed and overworked.

However, it is also important to ensure that you find a balance between implementing self-care tactics and completing tasks asked of you.

This article will provide you with 3 tips to help when you are feeling unmotivated by balancing self-care and accountability.

Maintaining your Motivation during COVID-19 (and Always)

[:en]3 simple tips for staying motivated during covid-19[:]

1) Create a start-of-the-week routine you feel confident in

Every Sunday, I ensure that I set myself up for a successful week by taking a couple of hours to think about what my week will look like.

This includes any foreseeable tasks or projects I need to work on, or “adulting” responsibilities of my life outside of work.

I also really like to take care of myself on Sundays. This means painting my nails if I feel like it, doing a facemask if I can, and stocking up on the food I will need for the week.

[:en]Create a routine for the start of the next week[:]

If you can give yourself just a couple of hours on a Sunday to plan for the week ahead, it can drastically improve your outlook on how successful your week will be.

Set yourself up for a week filled with what you can control and let everything else come when it does.

Create a list of things you would like to do on Sundays to set yourself up to be successful. Be intentional in following through with those things.

You can practice mindfulness by being intentional about holding yourself to completing the things you need to complete.

2) Write down your tasks (don’t just keep them in your mind!)

I document all of these tasks on an agenda —but you do not need an agenda to do this.

[:en]Write down your tasks[:]

Write them down on a sticky note and place that note where you can keep track of what you need to accomplish.

Physically writing out what you must accomplish can be extremely helpful in allowing you to visualize what you will need to do to be successful.

Writing down your tasks can also help you to prioritize the tasks that are most pertinent to complete.

For example, start by writing down everything you know you need to do that week. Check over the list.

Then, star any tasks that you know are time-sensitive or urgent. Finally, re-write your list with your priorities at the top and keep that list with you or place it in an area in which you can regularly check back.

3) Reward your success

What did you accomplish from your task list so far? It could be as simple as making your bed or brushing your teeth.

Reward yourself for what you have accomplished. Train your brain to recognize putting effort into and following through with completing a task.

[:en]Reward yourself for what you have accomplished[:]

According to a study from Cornell University, people who received frequent rewards for completing small tasks reported more interest and motivation.

When you are feeling unmotivated, accomplishing anything can feel like a victory —because it is! Therefore, treat it as such.

Create a reward system that is tailored to what you like. For example, whenever I complete a task I needed to do, I give myself a 5-minute brain break.

Increase the luxury of the reward with higher prioritized tasks you need to accomplish on your list. For example, if I finished a project I really needed to get done, I treat myself to a reward that makes me feel good.

This could be arranging a dinner date with some friends or allowing myself to “unplug” after I get done with my workday.

When you train your brain to expect rewards after motivating yourself to complete your task, you will be surprised at just how much more motivation you can stimulate within yourself.

Key Takeaways

Give yourself a successful head start to your week by planning out what you know you will need to do for that week.

Ensure that you are intentional about completing these tasks ahead of you, by preparing yourself for that success —go grocery shopping, plan out what you will wear to help keep your mornings peaceful, etc.

Keep a list of things you need to accomplish and rewrite that list as many times as you need as your priorities shift.

Reward yourself for what you do accomplish and keep a running list of things you know you enjoy, to hold yourself accountable to the reward system.

Following these simple tips will ensure that you stay motivated during COVID-19 and beyond.

Mindshine is a great way to practice being intentional about giving yourself tools and resources to be successful when you are feeling unmotivated.

Download the Mindshine App (iOS or Andriod) and check our personalized goal plans that give you the tools you will need to stimulate and maintain motivation.

You can find more about Confidence, Productivity, and Happiness in our Magazine.


[:en]Swimming improves mental health[:]

3 Reasons Why Swimming Improves Mental Health and Performance

Swimming has long been a passion of mine. It requires focus and strength in our bodies and minds. Therefore, swimming is intrinsically linked to strengthening the muscles in our physical bodies, but even more importantly, swimming improves mental health.

Reflecting upon the peace and joy that one feels while doing something that we are passionate about leads to gratitude and perseverance.

Knowing that you have an activity that you can count on in relieving your stress or worries adds a sense of hope to your day. In turn, this hope can help become a coping skill to stressors of our everyday lives.

This article will present 3 specific ways in which swimming increases our physical and mental performance, as well as creating a positive, long-term impact on our mental health.

Here are 3 reasons why Swimming Improves Mental Health and Physical Performance

[:en]3 reasons why swimming improves mental health[:]

1) Provides Mental Focus

When you are swimming, your mind is focused. You are focused on maintaining your breath, your speed and your pace. You are focused on keeping form and maybe even competing.

[:en]Swimming and mental focus[:]

Take notice the next time you are swimming -what are the specific physical aspects your mind is focused on?

After doing so, reflect on just how powerful the act of swimming can be, in getting your mind to simply focus on the task at hand.

Once you start continually assessing and noticing how your body and mind react to simple tasks that you are doing, think about how you can apply that focus to tasks outside of swimming, as well.

Again, we are making an effort to build both our physical and mental strength, which helps to improve our overall mental health.

2) Increases Endorphin Release

Any form of exercise can increase endorphins—the magic “feel-good” stuff. Endorphins help our bodies to feel good by stimulating our central nervous system.

[:en]Endorphins help us feel good[:]

They improve our memory and actually increase neuron growth within our brain. Endorphins also help to improve the ways in which we cope with stress.

If every time we feel stressed and are able to swim, we are effectively creating a coping mechanism to face our stressors—thereby, improving our physical and mental health.

With the added bonus of endorphins improving our cognitive functioning and health, we are able to improve our focus, therefore positively impacting our performance in other areas of our lives.

3) Makes the World Quiet

This is the simplest way in which swimming can improve our physical and mental health.

When we swim, what do you hear? Often times, it is quiet. What other forms of exercise can make you feel weightless, while being quiet, yet physically stimulated?

[:en]Swimming makes our world go quiet[:]

The quietness of the water offers no judgment. You are free to be who you are no matter what. You can focus on noticing your body and how you are feeling while still maintaining focus on the activity at hand.

When you give yourself the love and attention you need through activities like swimming, you are making time for yourself and your mental wellbeing.

Key Takeaways

Try noticing how you are feeling the next time you swim. Notice how you feel in your body and mind right before diving in, and once you are finished.

Sometimes all it takes is giving oneself the space to practice self-awareness to grow.

Swimming helps improve your mental health, as well as your physical performance, through providing mental focus, releasing endorphins in your body, and making your world quieter.

To find out more about Confidence, Productivity, and Happiness, go ahead and download the Mindshine App (iOS or Android) or read the Magazine.

Learn more about How to turn positive stress into personal growth or How to boost the immune system.


[:en]Positive stress for Personal Growth[:]

How to Turn Positive Stress into Personal Growth | 3 Effective Ways

Stress is unavoidable. Currently, reported levels of stress are incredibly high, and with that, comes an immense strain on your physical and emotional wellbeing. The good news is that you can turn your unhealthy stress into positive stress for personal growth.

How Stress Impacts You

[:en]How positive stress can help us with personal growth[:]

When we experience prolonged, high levels of stress, our bodies and minds suffer. We experience difficulty thinking, concentrating, and performing at our best.

Physically, we experience difficulty sleeping, which impacts how well our body functions, as well as how well we take care of ourselves and notice what our bodies need—particularly if we are having difficulty thinking due to the stress.

You may be noticing, within this description of stress, that there seems to be a pattern that is almost circular in nature.

For example, a stimulus triggers our feelings of stress, which then impacts our emotional wellbeing, which then impacts our physical wellbeing—leading to poor management of our initial stress and usually creating more stressful stimuli.

As mentioned, since stress is undeniable and unavoidable, it is essential to figure out and explore ways to effectively manage and cope with the stress we experience within our lives.

Healthy stress differs from unhealthy stress in that it allows you to experience excitement and joy in anticipatory events.

This article will provide you with 3 specific ways that you can use to shift unhealthy stress to healthy stress.

These tools can be used to your advantage for personal growth as an individual.

3 Ways to Shift Unhealthy Stress to Healthy Stress for Personal Growth

[:en]Turn positive stress into personal growth[:]

1) Reframe your mindset

What is causing stress in your life?

What moment, activity, or event-triggered your stress response?

Understanding exactly the root of your stress can be difficult, but it is essential in establishing healthy ways to respond to stress.

Additionally, understanding where your stress comes from or what triggered it can encourage you to reframe your perception of the trigger and thereby encouraging you to better respond to the trigger.

[:en]reframe your mindset[:]

Reframing your mindset looks like this—say that you signed up for more tasks than you had initially planned. You may begin to notice feelings of stress arise within you and you may begin to worry about how you will complete all of the tasks you need to complete.

Notice how your mind will begin the cycle of stress and where it is experienced within your body.

Then, try to shift your mindset. Start to think about the tasks you need to complete first and rank each subsequent task with a level of importance.

Then, looking at the tasks you have labeled as most important, shift how you perceive these tasks.

Change your thinking from “I have to do this” to “I get to do this”.

For example, “I get to pick up my kids from school today… I have not been able to pick them up for a while and I am so excited to hear how their days went”.

This shift in perspective can immediately begin to shift how we are feeling and experiencing the task.

2) Understanding what a growth mindset looks like

In addition to reframing your mindset, it is important to understand how your brain deals with stress and how utilizing healthy stress can increase a growth mindset and personal growth.

Growth mindset is how people recognize that through persistence, resilience and perseverance, you can improve any ability that you would like to improve, just by believing in yourself and your capabilities.

Growth mindset is essential when thinking of ways to shift unhealthy stress to healthy stress.

When we feel stressed, we often feel like we are not capable of completing any task or doing anything that we need to do.

Therefore, it is important to understand how a growth mindset can increase a more positive outlook on stressful events—changing “I cannot do this” to “I can try to do this”.

3) Using eustress to mobilize

Now that we understand how to shift our mindset and incorporate a growth mindset into our daily experiences when combating stress, we can now begin to mobilize.

As mentioned previously, healthy stress is often called eustress—positive experiences with stress that can often result from unhealthy stress once you reframe your perspective.

It is important to understand that because stress can leave us feeling unable to move forward, we must shift our perspective and mindset to mobilize through eustress.

Begin to recognize ways that you can reframe your stressors to appear more positive in nature. Try incorporating the reframing messages as mentioned in tip #2.

[:en]reframe your stressors to appear more positive[:]

This ultimately leads to a sense of relief from the strong grip of unhealthy stress.

When you reframe your stress in a way that sounds more inviting, it makes you feel excited to achieve or complete your tasks at hand that once caused you unhealthy stress, thereby mobilizing you.

Main Takeaways

  • Understand ways in which you experience stress. Once you understand where the root of the stress comes from, you can better combat it.

  • Incorporate reframing methods when you are looking at your stressors—how can you reframe the task or experience to make you feel motivated to continue and overcome it?

Reframing your stressors is not an easy task and takes practice. That is why a growth mindset is so essential—you must begin to think that you can do anything you want to do, simply by believing in yourself.

An additional way to ensure you are incorporating reframing and establishing a growth mindset is through going to the Mindshine app (iOS or Android) or the Magazine.

Learn more about The Key for Happiness or How to Make Better Decisions.

Either way, keep moving forward and give yourself rewards and a pat on the back along the way. You got this!


[:en]every day we face many decision making situations[:]

How Your Values Help You Make Better Decisions

What do you value most in life? When you are faced with making a difficult decision, what thought processes help you to reach a conclusion? It turns out that decision making is influenced by our own values, and thus we can improve them.

Our values influence decision making

When we reflect on our values and the things that make us who we are, we may be able to further understand some of the decisions that we have made in our lives.

However, the key to understanding our values is to understand how they shift over time. When we experience a stressful life event, usually we walk away with learning a lesson that helps us the next time we are faced with a similar stressor

For example, if you were tasked with fulfilling a deadline at work and you said yes to another opportunity that added more work to your plate because you knew it would be helpful to your colleague, what types of values impact your decision-making process?

Understanding and acknowledging your values is what helps to determine how to make the best decision for yourself in your life. Understanding your values can increase self-growth, happiness, a positive attitude and can help increase resilience to life’s stressors.

Overall, making an active effort to trust your values and know how to utilize them can help shift your mindset on how you view life and increase personal efficacy.

Want to improve your decision making skills?

Start by Creating a List of Tangible Values

[:en]Making a list of tangible values help in decision making[:]

Dr. Steven Hayes, considered to be the founder of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) suggests that when you begin to look at what your values are, it can be helpful to first think of those around you that you look up to and what traits they possess that you admire.

Think of the first person who comes to mind when you hear the words “personal hero” or “mentor”. What traits does that person have? Are they compassionate, patient, and accepting?

When you are able to recognize these traits and important values you admire in others, it often makes it easier to then recognize what your values are. We often surround ourselves with those who have similar traits to our own, therefore, assessing these traits in others, can help us understand our own.

Then, Look at Your Most Resilient Moments

[:en]Resilient moments improve decision making process[:]

What are the moments in your life that were so tough you thought you could not possibly get through it?

After reflecting on this question and creating a list of three to five examples of times when you were resilient and pushed through immense challenges, think about what aspects of who you are helped you to get through.

What personal values aided in your resilience? Was it patience, dependability, or honesty?

Once you have got three to five words down that reflect the values you hold, keep them in a safe place and refer back to them whenever you are faced with making a difficult decision.

Finally, Understand that Values Shift Over Time

[:en]decision making and values change over time[:]

What used to be important to you and what influenced your decision-making process in the past, can look completely different today.

Understand that you are an ever-changing, unique individual and self-growth is required as a human being.  You are not required to always remain the same, in fact, that can be more harmful and dismissive than you might imagine.

When we think about how we have grown as individuals throughout our lives, we recognize just how much our values can impact our decision-making process. Traits that you used to find valuable, may not be of importance or necessity to you now, as you make difficult decisions.

Therefore, keeping an up-to-date list of values that you feel are integral to who you are, can be helpful in understanding how you have grown as an individual through time.

To Wrap Up

Take the time to assess what your values are. If you are having trouble deciding or determining what these values are, try thinking about those you admire. Where do you see yourself in them?

Then, understand where you faced a challenge so big you thought you could not get through it—what aspects of who you are helped you to get through?

Lastly, understand that you deserve to get to change and shift in your life. What was important to you before, may not be as important now. Think about how your decision-making process is impacted by the values you hold and recognize moments of personal growth.

Utilize the Mindshine app (iOS or Android) for assistance in supporting your ability to determine your values and actively incorporate them into your decision-making process to make the best personal outcome.


Confidence is a mindset

Practicing “I am enough” by Building Self-Love and Confidence

How Mantras Like “I am enough” Influence Self-Love and Confidence

Continuing our conversation on unrelenting standards, I wanted to discuss the importance of incorporating mantras into your daily life. These mantras, like “I am enough”, help to speak to your subconscious unrelenting standards and remind you of the progress that you have made thus far—ultimately establishing self-love and confidence in who you are. When we think about self-love, we may think about self-care actions. These may include taking time for ourselves, such as taking a long bath or going for a walk. Self-love can also be more complex. For example, confronting aspects of your mindset that are not healthy—like unrelenting standards. Self-love can be recognizing that you may engage in negative self-talk and negative thinking patterns that are not benefiting you in any tangible way—and then doing something about it. Your self-worth is not determined by how much you have accomplished or what standards you are setting for yourself. When we practice self-love by acknowledging areas we need to work on, all the while accepting ourselves for who we have become, we can build our confidence and progress towards our goals. 

More on Confidence…

When you think of confidence—what comes to mind? Is it a person who has accomplished their goals and stands tall and proud of who they are? Is it someone who accepts themselves and loves themselves unconditionally? For me, confidence looks more like the latter. When I notice someone who has made a mistake, for example, I look for how they respond. Confidence to me is taking accountability for where they went wrong, actively apologizing, and committing to move forward in a way that ensures they are continuing that accountability to correcting their mistake. Looking at the mantra highlighted so far— “I am enough”—we are accepting ourselves for who we are, despite our flaws. We are building our self-esteem through consistent acceptance and commitment to ourselves. This is not to say that you have to accept your flaws in way that keeps you stuck where you are. This mantra is simply saying that right now, you are enough, and you are committed to yourself in all areas—even those areas in which you are actively working to improve. Self-love does not come at a price—it is priceless. You have all of the resources to implement self-love in your mind. Here are some mantras to start implementing in your every day that will boost your confidence and improve your overall mindset, self-esteem, and self-worth. 

5 Mantras to Help Boost your Confidence

  • “I am enough”
  • “I am worthy of good things happening to me”
  • “I am not my mistakes, but rather, I stay accountable to them”
  • “I am not my past, or my future, I am just me right now”
  • “I am deserving of my own love and acceptance”

To Sum Up

When we think of increasing our confidence and shifting our thoughts to a more positive mindset, we can begin by incorporating mantras into our everyday routines. One tip that increases the likelihood that you will incorporate the mantra into your day, is to write the mantra some place you will look at when you first wake up. Waking up and starting your day with the mantras listed can increase your mindset, encourage you to practice self-love and acceptance, and will boost your confidence over time—as long as you stay accountable to yourself by practicing it. To help with the accountability, incorporate Mindshine into your morning routine as well. Emotional intelligence is a training plan that encourages people to notice their unrelenting standards and their reactions to those standards. Incorporating the emotional intelligence training plan can also boost your overall mindset and increase your self-esteem by teaching you new ways to be mindful and understanding of your emotions. Additionally, incorporating mindfulness and meditation practices can help to bring the unrelenting standards you set for yourself to light, and give you tools to directly challenge them, such as using the mantras as a response to negative thought patterns. 


[:en]Mindset is essential for well being[:]

Increase Your Limitless Mindset & Overall Well-Being

Where Unrelenting Standards Begin and Mindset is Impacted

We have all experienced the sensation of feeling as if no matter how hard we work, no matter how much effort we integrate into all we do—there remains a feeling of needing to do more or work harder. Like it doesn’t ever feel quite enough. How does this impact your mindset? For example, when we log on to our social medias, or walk into our workplace, we are faced with the successes of others and the opportunities others are receiving. It may seem as if nothing we ever do, is enough to reach the standards that we set for ourselves and standards we believe we must reach. Additionally, thoughts that surround unrelenting standards or perfectionism lead to a negative mindset that can actually impact your ability to connect with others, motivation, and potential. While unrelenting standards may rear their ugly heads subconsciously, you are in control of how you react and choose to respond to them. Here are two simple tips to help challenge your high standards you place upon yourself, while shifting those thoughts to a more effective mindset and improve your peace and overall well-being:

 

  • Incorporate daily small acts of self-love

 

What is self-love? Dr. Andrea Brandt describes self-love as an act of “not settling for less than you deserve”. When you begin the cycle of placing unrelenting standards onto yourself—how does that make you feel? Do you feel pressure, stress, discouraged, unmotivated, unworthy? This cycle of negative mindset can be toxic and harmful to your potential and progress. Even more importantly, unrelenting standards can impact our relationships and how we connect with others—which actually showcases a lack of self-love. Instead, when you begin to notice your reactions to a colleague’s successes (i.e. a promotion) and you start to feel frustrated, as if you are not doing enough – your inner critic is ignited towards that person and/or yourself. How can one have meaningful and authentic interactions when our inner critic towards ourselves or others get in our way?  Try countering that thought with a positive act of self-love. Give yourself space to notice how you are feeling, and then take a moment to look at your successes. What have you accomplished that you are proud of? Right now, take inventory of everything you are proud of. What have you accomplished that makes you feel motivated, excited and powerful? When you begin to notice the cycle of unrelenting standards beginning, combat those thoughts with reminding yourself of your accomplishments and take note of how your wellbeing is impacted. Notice how your mindset will shift. 

 

  • Implementing gratitude each day

 

Here is a challenge—keep a journal, a notebook or a piece of paper with you throughout the day and write down an aspect of your day that you are grateful for experiencing. Acts of gratitude can look different depending on your day. Some days we spend more time relaxing and reenergizing—that is an enormous act of self-love that certainly qualifies as an act that encompasses gratitude. Did you know that a 2014 study found that regularly writing down a list of things you are grateful for can increase your optimism by 15%? Think about how great that number is. If you start to write down even three things you are grateful for each day—small or large—you can actually change the way you feel and look at the world. How powerful is that! Think about how quickly your standards you set for yourself will change. No longer will these standards focus on the need to prove your worth or how successful you are. You may even begin to notice that the unrelenting standards you used to be encompassed by, are not as important or dire as you once thought.

To Sum Up This Mindset:

Now that we have talked about two ways you can combat those unrelenting standards and replace them with acts that improve your mindset and well-being, let’s talk about how you can  continue your journey of self-love and gratitude through Mindshine. Take the guesswork out of your practice to combat your thoughts by training with the right exercises within the Mindshine App. For unrelenting standards, you may want to work on improving your confidence with “Athlete’s Confidence” training plan or deepen your self compassion in the “Love Yourself” training plan or expand your gratitude practice with “Attitude of Gratitude”.  Choose yourself, choose to practice self-love and implement daily activities that will aid in your progress towards improving your mindset, relationship with yourself and others, and your overall well-being. 


Consciousness Writing: Pandemic Kindness

During times of immense stress and uncertainty, how are you treating yourself? Are you full of kindness or is your mindset focused on negativity towards yourself?

Recently, I have noticed that the way that I speak to myself when I become stressed or worried has been very unhelpful. I get frustrated with myself when I feel as if I cannot complete a project, or when I feel as if I cannot focus. I tell myself how irresponsible or unproductive I am.

When I woke up one morning recently, my first thoughts were about how many different tasks I needed to complete for the day. I did not even take the time to stretch, to just lay awake for a moment or take note of how grateful I am for simply waking up safe in my home, while so many others do not have that luxury. Again, my negative self-talk was beginning to start it’s ugly routine for the day. But that morning, I felt done with that typical routine and pattern. Instead, I decided to speak out to those thoughts and say,  “Enough!”. I chose to lie in bed for a few moments, and begun my mindfulness practice in the morning rather than the evening. I had skipped practicing mindfulness the last couple of weeks, as I felt I could not get myself to sit down with my thoughts, as I was so stressed. However, encouraging myself to simply lie down, relax, and practice mindfulness, was extremely helpful to shifting my mindset that day. After practicing gratitude and kindness, I immediately felt less stressed and uncertain about the day. When we feel stressed or frustrated, we can lose sight of what we have that helps us throughout the day. Often times, I notice that when I am so frustrated with wanting to be somewhere further along than I already am, I forget about just how far I have come. Take this as a challenge to look inward, when you notice yourself engaging in negative self-talk, take a look at where those words are coming from. One of my favorite perspective taking activities is reflecting upon where I am now, versus where I wished I was when I was younger. Right now, as a graduate student of clinical psychology, studying Marriage and Family therapy, I am exactly where I wished to be eight years ago. My freshman year of high school, I only dreamed of being in this position. Yet, here I am today. I got here despite the negative self-talk along the way, I made it. Think about where you are now, how long have you wished to be just where you are? Would the “you” right now, engage in the same negative self-talk with your younger self? I highly doubt it.

Right now, we are in the midst of a pandemic. Treat and talk to your “pandemic self” as you would to a younger version of yourself. Give yourself kindness during this time. Focus on what you actually need to do. Can that project wait another 5 minutes, just so you can focus on gratitude practice or mindfulness? Give it a try, and see how different you will feel. Never neglect your needs for that of completing projects. You deserve more than that.


How to Genuinely Respond to the Question: How Are You?

With all that is going on in the world, how are you doing? Many people respond to this question with a generic, “I’m doing great!” or “I’m doing well”. How are you really doing? What are you really feeling, what are your worries or stresses? Often, in times of stress and uncertainty, we can tend to ignore or overlook how we are feeling inside, in order to keep moving forward and stay productive. A 2017 study conducted by the American Institute of Stress, found that the top causes of stress in the United States are job pressure, money and health. Interestingly to note, what three aspects of our every day life are currently at the forefront of our minds? Each day, we wake up to more headlines that are impacting these three specific stressors. Yet, when people ask us how we are doing, how do you most often respond? Here are three tips on incorporating a more genuine and honest response to the question, “how are you?” that are authentic to yourself:

1. Incorporate something you have learned about yourself during this time

What have you learned about yourself now that our lives have all shifted? What are you beginning to notice about how you adapt to change? Incorporating a response that encompasses aspects of yourself that you have begun to notice can be helpful in creating connections to others. Have you felt innovative during this time? Have you filled your time with various hobbies or work requirements? Have you needed to slow down and take each day one by one? Noticing aspects about yourself during this time can also help with effective coping strategies.

2. Discuss something you have achieved while in quarantine

Achievements and accomplishments are not always huge. Sometimes, making your bed each morning can be a significant accomplishment given the current times. Try incorporating some of your achievements into your response. “I am doing okay, one way I know this, is if I can make my bed each morning”. Your accomplishments can be silly, they can be small, or they can be big. There are not many limitations on what constitutes an accomplishment. I challenge you think about the small or big things you have accomplished during this time—have you cooked a homemade meal? Have you tried a new recipe? Have you gone for walks outside? Have you tried a new hobby? These are all accomplishments that can be incorporated for a more genuine response to “how are you?”

3. Don’t be afraid of asking for help

There is certainly nothing wrong with asking for help, especially during times of uncertainty. If a friend asks you how you are doing, try responding with asking how they are coping with the current state of the world—“You know, I am struggling with ____, do you have any advice?”. Everyone has their own unique coping skills that we can all learn from. Some may even be helpful in incorporating into your own life. This is also a great way to connect with others and deepen the conversation to becoming more authentic and realistic. 

To Sum Up:

Practice implementing more honest and authentic responses to the question, “How are you?” You can practice looking inward and reflecting on how you are really feeling by practicing mindfulness and meditation exercises. After doing mindfulness practice, combine your authentic feelings with the above three tips to encompass a more honest response. Check out more information about mindfulness practice below to learn about Mindshine.


5 Steps Towards Managing Pandemic Worry

You wake up and immediately are bombarded with headlines, new stories, and conversations surrounding the panic people are feeling in relation to the current Global Health Pandemic. What types of feelings are you experiencing? Intense worry, stress, or fear? How are you responding to these feelings? These are normal feelings that come about when we just do not have all of the answers that we would like to have. However, these feelings of worry and uncertainty also contribute to panic and a sense of losing control. The purpose of this article is to provide you with five ways in which you can minimize and manage the worry you may be experiencing, as well as helping those around you to feel supported and heard. These small steps you can take—right now—will put you in the driver’s seat of managing your worry:

1. Take deep, meaningful breaths

One small way to increase your resilience in the face of worry is to take control of the one aspect that means you are alive—breathing. As you are reading this, let’s do a breathing exercise. Note how you are feeling before doing the breathing exercise—anxious or worried? Let’s begin: deep breath in through your nose for four seconds, hold breath for seven seconds letting the air fill your belly, and release the air through your mouth for eight seconds. How do you feel now? 

2. Limit your news and media intake

Just what the tip says—limit your excessive and consistent news intake. Stay informed about what is going on in the world, but set boundaries on what media you are ingesting. One way to do this is to set an intention to read or listen to recaps of important updates from reputable agencies such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). P.S. keep on the lookout for positive news stories you are seeing—did you know that scientists have figured out how the virus impacts human cells? This is a major progress towards treating the virus (Live Science). 

3. Acknowledge your feeling, then find a productive activity to focus on

When we are feeling stress and anxiety, it can seem impossible to do anything else in that moment but feel those feelings. Take this as a challenge—after completing a breathing exercise, find one activity you love to do to focus on for the next 10 minutes. Do you like to run? Go for a run—did you know that incorporating a little exercise each day can help increase your white blood cell count (the cells that help fight off bad bacteria and viruses)? Find activities that you enjoy and can encourage you to divert your attention, which helps to minimize and manage worry. 

4. Practice Self-Compassion

One great way to combat anxiety is compassion for self. When we are experiencing intense worry or stress, it can be hard to focus on and be kind to ourselves. Try combating the negative thoughts you may be telling yourself in your head, by introducing at least one positive thought into your mindset. Try telling yourself a mantra of sorts—this could be anything that makes you feel good. Here is one mantra centered on facing anxiety created by James Philip to try: “Things are not being done to me, they are just happening”. Try repeating this mantra when you begin to experience the pangs of worry and recognize how you are feeling before and after repeating the mantra. Repeat as often as needed.

5. Gratitude Practice

Did you know that gratitude improves our limbic system—which is responsible for regulating essential human behaviors—and can improve sleeping patterns, which indirectly influences the reduction of stress and anxiety? Take this as a challenge to write down three things that you are grateful for—they could be small or big. Sometimes writing down that you woke up and got out of bed is enough to be grateful for. Recognize what you are grateful for, what you have, and what is around you, and notice how acknowledging these aspects of your life can improve your overall mood and wellbeing. 

To Sum Up:

It is more than okay to feel nervous or worried about the current state of the world. But what are these feelings serving you other than stress and more worry? Let’s incorporate healthy coping responses to these feelings through five small ways that help to manage and minimize your worry. For example, the MindShine App takes the guesswork out of your progress and helps you in applying these tips into overall practice—from managing your stress, to a deeper practice of gratitude, or guidance on applying positive psychology techniques, and so much more. Waking up and powering through your day is already an act of courage and bravery. Your wellness and overall health is impacted by your actions—try incorporating some that focus on things that bring you joy. You deserve it!


The Good Luck Jitters

Have you ever been up for a promotion, given a new opportunity you were looking forward to, or simply encountered sudden good luck and felt a sense of dread? When good things happen to us, we are told to be thankful, appreciative and excited. However, have you ever felt nervous or hesitant when you suddenly accomplish all that you had wished to do? Maybe there was a voice in your head that reminded you that these good fortunes will not last, or maybe you cannot enjoy these good things happening because you worry it may be taken away. While self-doubt is a common occurrence, it is not always discussed openly. Agapi Stassinopoulos, author and inspirational speaker, discusses this phenomenon and how you can feel good when receiving goodness. Modeled after Agapi Stassinopoulos’s framework, here are two simple ways to diminish negative-self talk when good things happen to you:

1. Start to recognize the small successes throughout your day and let yourself bask in the goodness they bring you.

Make an effort to notice everyday experiences that you go through and what small positive influences that they have on your day. Did you wake up early to enjoy cup of coffee? Were your kids out of the door on time and ready to go? Did you make it to work early enough to have a moment to decompress before heading in? These are all small positive influences that can shift the course of your day that we often overlook.

2. Talk back to that voice in your head, by creating a healthier mindset.

Okay, this one may sound a little silly. But in fact, recognizing when you are experiencing negative self-talk and understanding the fault in this way of thinking, can help to quiet that voice in your head. Try responding to that voice with, “I am experiencing something positive, let’s see where this goes”. See how this makes you feel in response to that self-doubt. Recognize that shifting your mindset by shutting down and confronting that negative self-talk directly can create a healthier mindset.

To Sum Up:

Feeling hesitant or nervous when receiving good things happening to us is a common occurrence. However, this self-doubt does not feel good and does not add to your strengths. Allowing yourself to recognize your small successes throughout the day and rejoicing in them, can help to build resistance to the voice in your head telling you that these successes will not last. Additionally, confronting that voice and shifting your thinking to encompass a more positive outlook, can aid in your feelings of hope and excitement when receiving goodness.