A Simple Guide To… Affirmations

Do you ever think “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not capable,” “I don’t deserve love”, I don’t deserve the things I want?” If you do, you need affirmations in your life. Affirmations are quick, positive sayings that you can either say to yourself, in front of the mirror, write them, read them or say out loud. There are many benefits to using affirmations and I’ll be honest about the ones that I have seen in myself since I started this daily, quick practice.

My First Thoughts

My first thought about affirmations was a negative thought. I thought they were too cheesy, they made me uncomfortable and they were a waste of literally two minutes. I didn’t take affirmations seriously at all while I was writing them down in my journal. I continued to write them anyways because it was part of my daily journal routine and I really enjoy that part of my morning. But even though I wasn’t taking them seriously, I was still seeing a slight benefit. During stressful situations or when I was feeling incompetent, I found those morning affirmations sneaking up to the front of my brain. It was odd. I didn’t take it seriously enough for this to happen. I had been writing affirmations since January. It took me 5 months to decide that I was going to try more with affirmations.

Accepting Affirmations

I continued writing my affirmations in the morning but I also included mirror writing. Every other day I would write a positive affirmation on my bathroom mirror so I would see it each time I looked in the mirror. I would say this affirmation in my mirror every time. I found I didn’t really enjoy mirror writing so I stopped doing it and tried the light box. I have the light box in the bedroom with an affirmation and I see it every morning when I wake up. Right now it says “You are valuable.” This one has been up for a while now because it has been my favorite and I have found myself saying it when I am feeling down. I was feeling pretty positive about myself and really good vibes were starting to settle in my brain. Writing my affirmations and the light box started to show its benefits. My thoughts were transformed from negative to positive. The times I felt down or stressed out, my affirmations would kick in quickly to help alleviate the negative. My mind wasn’t in such a constant battle anymore. Let me tell you, the battles in your mind are exhausting. I was overwhelmed with all the negative thoughts and wanting to get rid of them but not knowing how. These battles have started to sbuside the more I work on affirmations.

I decided to try one more thing. I wanted affirmations to be present in my work environment. I purchased affirmation cards to take to my work. I place one affirmation card on my desk where it is visible. The first thing I do, before I even turn on my computer, I read my affirmation card. I keep the same card for a week so it sinks in. Then, I switch to another card and do the same thing all over again for the next week. This was a great way to start my work day and has helped me stay positive throughout my day. The cards I have used are pictured here in my blog if you want to give them a try. They are quick, easy, empowering, positive and some are even funny. They inspire me and have been a good addition to my affirmation practices.

Reduce Negative Thoughts

After doing my own experiment, I decided to look up the scientific research and benefits of affirmations. One benefit is you become more aware of your daily thoughts. If you’ve never paid attention to your thoughts, I encourage you for one day to be more aware of what you are thinking about yourself, others, your environment, the things around you. Think about how many negatives there were compared to positives. This will give you a good idea of how you should practice affirmations. Do you need more of it in your life or a small amount? Affirmations are small but you will notice your thoughts starting to change. There was a day when I accidentally scheduled a dentist appointment and hair appointment on the same day. I was stressing out. I really dislike being late to anything. My heart was racing, my face was red. Within minutes of my heart starting to race, an affimation popped into my mind. A fleeting, one sentence affirmation ” I am okay and I am in control.” My racing heart slowed down and I smiled. I made it to both of my appointments on time, with time to spare. I realized my affirmation practice had become a habit and it was sinking in everywhere I went. That’s the great thing about affirmations… they go, where you go. A daily habit of affirmations WILL reduce your negative thoughts.

Keeps Small Things In Perspective

Affirmations help to remind you that the small successes in your life are just as important as the bigger ones. Most days, you have small accomplishments and don’t even realize them because they are not as obvious as the big ones. It’s really important to be aware of the small wins because so many people walk around looking for something big when in reality those things do not happen as often. This leads to feeling like a failure which leads to more negative thoughts. You have to look at where you came from to where you are now… your journey. Those are the small successes and they happen every day! Every one is on a journey. You have to go on the journey to reach those big wins. Affirmations have helped me remember my journey and I am more aware of my small successes which has lead to a positive mindset. I use a stainless steel straw to drink my coffee with and just the other day I was told “You use a straw to drink coffee with… that’s weird.” The old me would have been upset and I would have gotten defensive with this person. Here’s what happened… all in about 15 seconds. At first, I thought “really” while imagining the eye roll. Then , an affirmation came “I am in control of my emotions.” I very calmly told her why I do it and walked away. While walking, I thought about what the old me would have done and what actually happened… a journey. That was a small success for me and I was aware of it because of my affirmation habits. Affirmations KEEP small things in perspective.

Surrounds You With Things You Want In Life

When you surround yourself with positive energy, positive energy will come back to you. When you suround yourself with negative energy, guess what? Negative energy will come back to you. Affirmations help surround your mind with positive thoughts. Those positive thoughts show through your actions every day. When you are talking with friends about something negative, how do you feel? Is your vibe positive or negative? I’m going to guess it’s negative and that’s the vibe you put out, too. Compare it to how you feel when you have a positive conversation with your friends. Positive attracts positive. I like to surround myself with inspiring people and in order to do that, I have to be positive because negativity does not attract inspiration it attracts gossip. When you choose to add daily affirmations, you dream. When you dream, it leads to actions. The actions lead back to your dreams which become reality. Stay positive with daily affirmations and surround yourself with things that you want in your life!

Affirmation Examples

Affirmations are tailored to you. You can make them specific to what you want in your life. As long as they are positive. Try to steer away from using words such as “can’t” or “not” because that turns the affirmation into a negative saying. Here are some examples I’ve used and below is a photo of my affirmations from this morning. I look at the world around me and smile with joy. I love my partner for who they are and enjoy all their qualities. I want the best for my partner and will support them on their journey. I take bold action in spite of fear and use it as fuel for my success small or big. I am confident and live in the present moment. I am healthy and well on the inside and the outside. I have integrity and I am reliable. I have a strong immune system. (This is a good one if you are a teacher and everyone is getting sick, so the placebo effect kicks in and you “feel” you are getting sick to, when you’re really not!) I release my stress with every deep breath. I am peaceful.

A Book Review

I really enjoy reading personal growth books and I’d like to share ones that have really inspired me. Many of these books I enjoy, but they don’t get me fired up enough to take action. The one I will write about on this post is called You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero. It changed the stigma and definition I had with the word “rich.” I thought rich people were the people with all the money. She challenges you to change that and make your own definition that pertains to you. Are you rich with experiences? What makes your life rich? What kind of life do you want to live and what kind of money does that require? This book goes on to say that making money doesn’t always have to be hard. There are ways to make money doing something you find fun. The universe has given you the opportunities, you just have to take them! This book reads as if the author is talking to you face-to-face and it was funny! That personal feeling really kicked my butt into gear, I felt like she was talking TO me, not AT me! I highly recommend this book, I can’t recommend it enough, if you want a book that shifts your paradigm, makes you think about what you want in life, and gets your behind going to accomplish all those awesome goals you have in a personal, humorous way!

Featured Image: Photo credit to Brandon Allen @branndonallen

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A Simple Guide to the… Acupressure Mat

Photo credit by Brandon Allen Check him out on Instagram for your photography and videography needs! @branndonallen

Have you ever thought laying on something spiky would be good for your health? Have you ever heard of “a bed of nails”? If you think NO WAY…. that would be too painful! Think again! An acupressure mat has many health benefits and I am going to tell you the four that I have benefited from.

Acupressure and acupuncture have been around for a while now. It was introduced in Chinese medicine about 5,000 years ago. But there is a difference between the two. Acupuncture is invasive, where a professional sticks needles in your skin in certain points on your body. Acupressure is non-invasive and you can get the same benefits from the privacy of your own home.

The first benefit is natural pain relief. This mat has done wonders for my back, my shoulders, my neck, and my IT band. I have been to massage therapists who have told me the pressure points in my shoulder are tight and I need to come back. They said the tightness in my shoulders is causing the tightness in my neck. I knew exactly what they were talking about because I could feel the tension in my shoulders. My muscles just could not relax. I would have to tell myself to relax my shoulders and I could instantly feel my shoulders drop and the tension relieved. I heard about the acupressure mat and decided to try it out. I felt the tension relief very quickly so I added it to my nightly routine. My IT band has really benefited. I have an extremely tight IT band due to overuse from being an athlete for a very long time. The IT band is a tendon that runs from your hip to the top of your shin bone, that’s a pretty long tendon so it hurts my entire leg. Just an achy, dull pain. Very annoying. When I use my mat, I start on my back and then roll to the side of the tight IT band. In seconds, I feel the pain go away and the tension melt away. It’s like going to a beach in Aruba… it takes about 20 minutes for you to melt and your stress goes out to the sea! You can literally feel it. It’s a beautiful feeling. (Side note, I highly recommend going to Aruba, this sensation really does happen!) If you have tension or pain in your back, shoulders, neck, legs I highly suggest you get this mat into your life and into your bedtime routine.

The second benefit is improved sleep. Are you an overthinker? Does your mind race at night? Are you up thinking about that project that is due in 2 weeks? Try the acupressure mat. The spikes on the acupressure mat are geared to hit certain pressure points in your body that help you sleep. It does this because the pressure points in your body that are being pressured are responsbile for also releasing endorphins, your feel good hormones! Those pressure points also help with tension relief. The reason why most people have trouble sleeping is because they do not have enough endorphins going to their brain or they are stressed out about something. The acupressure mat takes care of both of these things. I have been in such great moods and am able to maintain that mood all day long during my teaching day. My sleep quality has really improved as well. When your brain is happy and your body is happy, you feel more relaxed and are able to sleep better. If your mind is racingor your stressed, I highly suggest laying, standing, sitting, sleeping on this mat for at least 15 minutes every night.

The third benefit is relaxation. Even if there are no problems and you’re feeling really good one day, still use the mat! You are still getting the benefits of relaxing your muscles. Probably muscles that you didn’t even know were tense in the first place! You will notice a difference in how your body feels when you are the mat into your nightly routine and people will notice a difference in your mood throughout the day! Do your mind, body, and heart a favor and get yourself on an acupressure mat.

The fourth benefit is the privacy of your own home. You do not have to go anywhere to get all these benefits. You can stay at your own house! This was a huge benefit for me because I live out in the country and where there are not a lot of options around. If I didn’t have this mat, I guarantee I would be less likely to do acupressure because I would have to drive an hour just to go do it. With this, all I have to do is get my mat out, lay it on the floor, and it’s ready to go! Plus you can travel with it, which recovery after travel is super important if you want to enjoy your time adventuring! That’s for another post at another time though 🙂

Let me tell you about my first experience with an acupressure mat because I’m sure it will be similar to your first time and I don’t want it to scare you! I was having some issues with some shoulder and neck tension so I decided to give this mat a try. I was pretty scared at first. I thought to myself, “You want me to lay on this thing, that looks extremely painful, almost like I’m going to cuddle with a porcupine? I don’t think so.” I thought about it for a few more minutes to push past the fear of pain and decided to lay down anyways. It was painful at first, like I said before it felt like I was cuddling with a porcupine. It felt like a burning sensation. I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish, let alone ever get on the mat again. But in my mind, I thought about all the benefits of it and I wanted those benefits so I stayed on for a few more minutes. When I got up, I could feel that my muscles felt more loose and I felt more relaxed. I continued laying on the mat, building up a tolerance, starting at 5 minutes for a while, then to 10 minutes. I can now lay on the mat for much longer and sometimes almost fall asleep on the mat. I have definetely reaped the benefits of this amazing product! There are also two reviews from others who use the mat who have also reaped the benefits… don’t forget to check those out, too! Do yourself a favor and buy an acupressure mat, you will not be disappointed! Your body, mind and heart will thank you! Stay healthy and happy everyone! And remember to love yourself every day because YOU ARE WORTH IT!

Ashley

Jae and Nicole, owners of At the Core Lifestyle- “We’ve seen acupuncture work on animals (horses and dogs) and we were interested in the benefits but we especially like the mat because it gives us the privacy of our own home.  We incorporated the mat 3-5 days per week for around 10 minutes each session to help control pain caused by inflammation/overuse.  Try using it for about 10 minutes before going to bed and you’ll almost be asleep on the mat- before you can even get into your bed!  We highly recommend it.”

Check out At The Core Lifestyle, a health and wellness business, on Facebook or Instagram

@ATClifestyle @thecore_lifestyle

Nicole, from Florida, said “I bought the acupressure mat to help with some constant muscle tightness in my back. The mat hurts at first- but I felt much better after! I can count on it to help every time I use it!”

Why I Am Here

Hello everyone! My name is Ashley and I am a habit-minded self-care woman! I love taking some “me” time at night to make sure I am unwinding from long days of teaching little ones and preparing myself for a brand new day.

I have been practicing self-care for about 2 years now and have really noticed a difference in myself. I once was a very negative person, always seeing the worst. So I started researching and finding new ways to get out of the cloud of negativity. The way was through self-care. I started loving myself, making goals for my life and accomplishing them, being more mindful and more calm throughout my day. The purpose of my blog is to share my knowledge with others and to be as transparent and helpful to others as possible.

Everyone is deserving. Treat yourself the way you should be treated. Advice and tips on living a healthy and whole life.

With this blog and the knowledge I have acquired, I hope to inspire you to take care of yourself and love yourself for you because YOU ARE WORTH IT!

With love,

Ashley