Tag Archives: Meditate

Self Love

9 Apr

Love and be lovedI attended a ‘self love and sisterhood’ seminar last week run by the lovely Jess Ainscough, Melissa Ambrosini, Tara Bliss and Amanda Rootsey and I was blown away by the energy of these inspiring women, who, after coming from adversity were able to turn their lives and health around for the better. They spoke about self love as a muscle that needs to be worked on every day. By making small changes you allow your self love muscle to grow and can create beautiful changes in your health, wellbeing and life.

What is self love? Self love is about fully accepting yourself. This doesn’t mean that you have to like everything that is going on in your life or every part of yourself but it does mean that you accept what IS. For me it’s about letting go and fully approving and loving myself, even the parts I wish to change. I’ve used these small changes to my thinking and actions in order to see great results.

1. Stop slating yourself: You know that voice in your head that puts you down? You wouldn’t talk to a friend like that so why talk yourself like that? It’s not easy to try to switch off this voice, which is the ego, as most likely it’s been running the show in your head for years now. Just be aware of the negative self talk and observe it. Observe all the silly things it says like ‘you’re too fat/skinny/pimply/shy or stupid’. When you witness your negative self talk you lessen its severity. You observe that these thoughts are not real and you are able to move on. Try writing down all the ways in which you scare yourself or talk down to yourself. Journal about why you scare yourself, what experiences and thoughts trigger it. Also describe the feelings that come over you when you are thinking like this and how does it affect your behaviours. Be patient, this takes time. But like growing your self love muscle, daily practice produces miraculous shifts in perception.

2. Use an affirmation: Next time you look in the mirror and subconsciously slate yourself, try replacing it with an affirmation like ‘I truly and deeply approve of myself’, ‘I am exactly where I need to be at this moment and ALL is WELL’. An affirmation is a positive statement you can say out loud or in your head that reflects how you wish to feel at this present moment. Louise Hay, the queen of affirmations, has many great books on the topic, find affirmations that sing to you and practice them daily. My favourites are:

‘I am happy, I am healthy, I am strong and I am lean’,
‘Every cell in my body radiates with love, joy and bliss’,
‘I am vibrantly healthy’,
‘I am independently healthy and wealthy, amazing things just keep happening to me’,
‘I am calm, I am balanced, I am serene’,
‘I love eating nutritious whole foods, processed sugary foods do not appeal to me’,
‘I CHOOSE to love myself today’,
‘I deeply love myself and am worthy of all great things’
Say your affirmation in present tense, and find your own set that really resonates with you. Say your affirmations regardless of any resistance that may come up for you. This resistance is the ‘as if’ or ‘yeh right’ voice that may pop up, tell that voice that it is not true and affirm your positive statements anyway. Remember that your thoughts inform your energy and your energy informs your experience. Therefore, CHOOSE thoughts that are nurturing, uplifting and supporting of yourself because you’re worth it.

3. Breathe: Sounds simple but all too often we don’t stop from our busy lives to take a deep breath. Diaphragmatic breathing helps to de stress and reduces cortisol (the fat storing hormone) and makes you feel calmer and more able to have a productive day. Breath slowly in whilst pushing your belly out, hold in for 2 seconds and slowly exhale while sucking your tummy in and pulling your shoulders down and back. This helps to centre yourself during the day, keeps you focused and balanced. During your exhale let go of any tension or fear that you might be holding. I use this at work when things get too much or I am flustered or pressed for time, I feel calmer and more able to do things without rushing and making a mistake.


4. Meditate: Sitting in stillness for as little as 5 mins a day can have a massive impact on the way you view yourself. Sit or lie down quietly, using mantras like ‘I am love’, ‘I am balanced’, ‘peace’ or ‘om’. Allow thoughts to flow through you but try not to hold onto any thoughts. Meditation creates the space for us to quiet down and listen to ourselves, and we are all very wise, so any questions or challenging situations that may be happening for you that may block your road to self love try meditating over it, ask the question ‘what is it that I need to know? What is it that I need to learn here’ you might be surprised with the answer. Read my previous post on “how to meditate” here.

5. Listen to your body: If you don’t do well on dairy then don’t have it, simple. If gluten makes you bloated, sluggish or have tummy pains then don’t eat it. Our bodies are very smart machines so if something isn’t working for it, it will tell you. Listen for the signs and love yourself and your beautiful body enough to say no to things that do not serve you. Start to be aware of what gives you energy and what slows you down. It’s an act of self love when you begin and continue to use food as fuel for your body rather than using food to punish yourself or stuff your feelings.

6. Move your body: We were made to move. Daily. Find ways of exercising that you enjoy. I love weight training, all types of yoga and high intensity interval training. Challenge yourself with new and different training styles. Take care of your body as it’s the house you live in. Find a training buddy or a personal trainer for some motivation.

7. Know your boundaries: Learn to say no to things that do not serve you. Listen to what it truly is that you would like to do it and DO it. This has been massive for myself lately, I’ve been saying ‘no thanks’ to invitations out when I know I’d rather be catching up on sleep, study or exercising or doing whatever the hell I’d like to do. Setting your own boundaries is an act of self love as you are telling yourself that you are number one, that you no longer feel the need to please everyone by saying yes to everything.

These are a few suggestions that I find work for me. See if you can adopt some of these into your life and build up your self love muscle. Thinking well of yourself and making small changes to build your self love muscle is an act of kindness that will have an enormous effect on your wellbeing and life.

The thing is, once I allowed myself to truly love and approve of myself I allowed miracles to enter my life, things just got easier and I can honestly say that I am a happier person because of it. It’s still a daily practice for me though as I often criticise myself for silly things, but I’ve learnt to recognise that voice and although there are areas in my life that I would like to change I am OK with it and can accept what is.

“Events come and go, but the love you have for yourself is constant.” Louise Hay

How to Meditate

4 Feb

Be MindfulMeditation these days doesn’t have to be too woo woo or in fact spiritual at all. If meditation can significantly reduce your stress levels and increase your creative ability and quality of life then who doesn’t have 5 minutes to sit in stillness?

Davis and Hayes researched the benefits of meditation and mindfulness and published their article in the American Psychological Association Journal (Vol 43, No.7, 2012). They found the benefits include a reduction in depressed feelings and stress, boosts to working memory, decreased emotional reactivity, improvement in cognitive flexibility and significant improvements in relationship satisfaction. J Also evidence suggests that meditation has numerous health benefits, including increased immune function, and assists in weight loss.

Meditating reduces stress which lowers cortisol (a fat storing hormone), therefore your body is better able to detox and lose weight. Also you’re less likely to overeat when you are not stressed, and personally since meditating I feel more in tuned with my body therefore I’m able to choose the foods that are best suited right for your body.

But how on earth do you do it without the mind wandering?

“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.”– Leonardo da Vinci.

I’ll let you in on a big secret; no-one can quiet their mind, experienced great mediators’ take years to become just that and those that say it’s easy are pulling your lotus sitting leg! I’ve heard the mind being referred to in meditation like wandering sheep, if one thought (the sheep) goes astray you just gently heard it back in line, this is what meditation is all about.

The easiest way when starting out that I have found is to count my breath, breathe in and count one, exhale and count 2 until you reach 10 then start all over again. But if you forget to start over again, like sometimes I get to 18 or so cos I’ve wandered off again, don’t scald yourself, just return to 1 and start over again.

Loving kindness meditation. If you feel like you are in need of a little loving kindness then the easiest way is to wish it upon someone else. Start with yourself by saying ‘May I be well, be happy, be healthy, live with ease’. Then move onto those close to you and repeat the above statement. Then those that you may have met that day, or exchanged a smile with walking down the street. Then (this may be difficult for some) wish loving kindness to those that you may be resenting, like ex partners or maybe someone at work who you’ve been disagreeing with. Or even the next door neighbour’s dog who won’t stop barking when I’m trying to sleep and have been on nights… ‘may that little yapper be well, be happy, be healthy, live with ease…’

Guided meditations are a great idea and can be downloaded from itunes. Try Gabrielle Bernstein, Deepak Chopra, Yoga Nidra or Orange liquid.

Walking Meditation

If the idea of sitting in stillness is too much to handle then try a walking meditation. Go for a slow walk, ideally somewhere in nature and count your breath. Walk at a slow leisurely pace and either don’t listen to music or have some calming music playing, and leave your phone at home or turn on flight mode. It’s amazing how relaxed and focused you can feel.

Meditation can be like going to the gym, you don’t have to like it once you are there but it still has the same effect, and you might not see any results for the first month or so, but then you start noticing the difference in how you feel, then people start to notice changes, then before you know it you’re (gasp) enjoying it!

So give it a go, what’s 5 minutes of your day to sit in stillness and watch your breath? (Candles, incense and woo woo music optional)