What does having a more positive mindset mean to you? A few weeks into the year and I feel like a word that keeps circling around in my head is mindfulness. It was something that I thought about a lot in the second half of last year and I feel like it will continue to be a focus this year, especially when it comes to having a more positive outlook and inner sense of peace and calm.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing your attention to what is happening in the present moment. Not worrying about the past or the future, but being fully present in the now. The idea being that focusing on the present will bring you inner peace and calm rather than worrying about things that can’t be changed in the past, or the ‘what ifs’ of the future. This inner calm and focus takes practice and is developed through practices such as meditation and other actions/ activities, such as breathing exercises.
For me, mindfulness has come to be a daily focus, working towards healthy mental habits. On a good day, it’s a lot simpler, more of an enjoyable habit. On my bad days it’s a constructive, challenging exercise to help manage anxiety and stress. Like honing any habit it takes time and effort, but it’s something I’m making an effort to work on a little bit every day and slowly but surely these efforts are paying off and I am developing new tools to manage my anxiety and counter it in a positive way by redirecting the way I think about things (ie the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘should bes’, etc).
Mindfulness is a word I heard a lot last year, but it wasn’t something I pursued until towards the end of the year. To be honest, I sometimes had a hard time focusing and this is where a lot of my effort comes in. In order to be more positive, more mindful, I needed to turn inwards and focus, not fall into old mental patterns simply because they were my old internal go-tos.
In other words, focus on the present.
Don’t focus on things in the past you can’t change and don’t worry about the future. Easier said than done, but not impossible. By living in the moment, by being present, you can free your mind from things that are weighing you down and infuse more positivity. There are many simple things you can do each day to help create a more positive, calm mindset, and the best part is you don’t need much else outside of yourself to do so.
From chatting with others, I think mindfulness is something a lot of us are thinking about. We’re becoming more self- aware and reflective; we’re looking for ways to bring peace and calm into our lives, and for all the external things we can do, there are just as many internal things we can do as well. Enjoying a happier, calmer, more fulfilling life doesn’t depend on anyone else or our circumstances- though those things can certainly have a big influence- it depends on our outlook and how we travel through each day.
I’m no expert. I don’t have a degree in psychology and I navigate this mindful path anew every day- because what two days are the same, right?- but I can speak from my own experience and share about it here, hoping some of the simple actions and rituals I try to include in each day will be helpful to others trying to focus on the positive, seeking peace, and a more fulfilled, content life not chained by anxiety, worry and stress.
I still have bad days, bad moments, I still stumble and fall. But what I notice is that I can pick myself up a little better, combat anxiety a little easier, and focus on the positive a little faster to pull myself out of a negative thought spiral than I could before. And this is because I’ve made it a personal goal to be more mindful of where my mind is in this present moment, working to keep my mind traveling down a positive path, redirecting it when negative thoughts jump into the mix and try to take the driver’s seat.
So if being more mindful is something you’re also working towards, for whatever reason(s) you’re seeking it out- a sense of calm, better sleep, feeling more content, having a more positive outlook- etc, I hope some of the simple tools that I’ve turned to will also be helpful for you. I try to use methods that can easily be incorporated into my daily routine, but I’m also trying to put aside 5- 10 minutes each day to help focus on a more calm, positive mind space. Nothing over-the-top or fancy, just simple things that add up over time to create positive, mindful habits.
None of these ideas are necessarily groundbreaking, you’re probably familiar with some if not all of them, but the reason I’m sharing them with you is that they have been helpful for me and I have found that over time they’ve become positive triggers for me, working a little quicker, becoming more of a go-to response than that of unease and anxiety. Finding inner calm is unique for everyone, but these ideas will hopefully give you some ideas or have you reconsidering ones you’ve heard of when you hear it from someone who has herself felt overcome and trapped by anxiety and has found ways to combat it through mindful practices.
I would love to hear what you think and what methods you use to create a more positive, mindful mental space for yourself. Have you tried any of these methods? Liked or disliked them? Sharing ideas around this can be so helpful, especially when you realize you’re not alone. So here they are, my 5 favourite mindful habits.
5 Ideas to be More Mindful Every Day
Think: the smell of something baking in the oven, the scent of a loved- ones perfume/cologne, etc- smells can be comforting. Find a scent you enjoy, one that is calming and encourages you to breathe deeply. Essential oils and diffusers are a popular choice, but scented candles, room sprays, and fresh flowers are other options. Take long, slow, deep breaths, calming your mind and body from the inside out
Put aside a few minutes to quiet your mind. Even 5 minutes at the beginning or the end of the day. Think about goals, things you’re grateful for, etc. My mind tends to wander. A lot. So this is a positive, challenging exercise for me and one that I find very helpful. Ideally find a quiet spot to sit or lie down and put on some relaxing music, light a candle, and create a calming space. You can even meditate while going about your day- while making breakfast, sipping your coffee, etc, activities like this are great opportunities to focus on the moment you are in and focus/ quiet your mind without stopping what you’re doing (I find this especially helpful since my anxiety will often creep up during the day when I’ve got things to do and have to find ways to quiet my mind while carrying out my to-do list).
Find Little Rituals
Light a candle, play calming music, water plants, dig in the dirt, or find some other little ritual to help you recenter/ refocus on positive, calming thoughts. Whether you sit and really focus on the activity itself or the action of creating a more calming space helps you subconsciously calm down, seek out visual cues and actions that trigger inner warmth and joy. Really focus on the simple task at hand, noticing little details, redirecting your mind from negative thoughts to become fully present with what is right in front of you. Pay attention to your five senses and try to allow yourself to be fully present in what you’re doing.
Practice an Attitude of Gratitude
It’s a pretty safe bet there will be ups and downs with every day. Some days those highs and lows are more pronounced and others the day seems to coast along nicely. But regardless, a helpful way to bring your mind into a positive space and create a positive mental habit is to think about what you’re grateful for each day. If you prefer to start your day with this practice, great, it’s a solid way to kick off your day. But it’s also something you can do throughout the day when you need a pick-me-up or notice yourself slipping down a negative rabbit hole. I like to think about what I’m grateful for at night before bed, it helps me wind down and sends me off to sleep in a positive mind frame. I have a gratitude journal that I jot bullet- points in, thinking back over the day and pulling out all the positives. Some days I make a few simple, general notes; maybe it wasn’t such a great day, but I find something to remind me of the positives. On others I fill the page, recounting everything from the biggest to the smallest moments that filled my heart that day. A simple little ritual that has had a big impact on my overall mental state and if you haven’t tried this method I hope you do. Even if a day feels hopeless/ lost, something as basic as fresh air, a cup of hot coffee, or hearing a favourite song can be a cue for other things that happened throughout the day that made it a little better. Let the positive flood gates open!
Focus on Breathing
Probably one of the simplest, most self- contained of any mindful practices I’ve come across and found helpful. But in moments of angst and panic this can feel like a much tougher task. Try and take long, slow, cleansing breaths. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Repeat. Feel your lungs and body fill with oxygen, spreading the calm throughout. Sometimes this can help almost instantly and others it takes a longer period, but slowing and concentrating on your breathing can help create an overall feeling of calm.
As I said before, I’m no expert. Just someone looking for methods to help enjoy a more peaceful, content, joy-filled life. Through these mindful practices I am learning how to address my anxiety and stress in a much more constructive way, and breaking it down rather than having it build up and become overwhelming. There are days that are more challenging than others, but the more I work on these mindfulness techniques, the better I feel that I can bounce back.
I hope you find this post helpful. Sometimes simple is better and I am finding that these simple techniques add up to create a big difference. If you’ve tried these methods I’d love to hear if you find them helpful, or if not, what you have found that is.
Hands up who wants to up their health game this year? Before you jump to conclusions and think this will be just another blog post about new year resolutions I want to let you in on a little secret: it’s not. This is about rethinking lifestyle choices on an ongoing basis by making incremental changes- such as giving your body a boost with a shot of plant-based protein in a tasty smoothie instead of reaching for that bag of chips, that bag of candy (hello leftover Christmas candy!), or whatever your naughty snack of choice is.
One thing we notice in our house is a general lack of energy (in the adults that is, the kids- yeesh can we bottle some of theirs?!). Some days are good, but many are clouded with that not enough sleep/ not enough coffee/ can’t wake up fogginess. I’ve enjoyed Botanica’s products for about a year now (see this post and this post) and we have recently been trying out some of their vanilla Perfect Protein Elevated Protein Powder in smoothies. We opted to try the Adrenal Support blend protein powder in a batch of smoothies as a family and everyone loved them. What I love about this plant-based protein powder is that it’s made with whole-food ingredients (quinoa, vanilla, coconut, brown rice) alongside superfoods recognized to improve/ balance adrenal function (more on those later).
Other reasons I love this plant-based protein powder:
I sometimes find that protein powders can be overpowering when you mix them into drinks- smoothies, shakes, etc- but that wasn’t the case with this one. It only made a slight difference to the flavour and texture, definitely not like others I’ve tried where the taste of the protein powder takes over and you’re left with a thick chalky consistency that isn’t very enjoyable. This powder isn’t lumpy or grainy, making it a subtle (and enjoyable) addition to smoothies.
Give your health a boost by rethinking your lifestyle choices.
Botanica has a few protein powders to choose from, but I wanted to try the Adrenal Support blend because both Will and I are working to restore adrenal function in our bodies. So many of us seem to lack energy and/ or suffer from chronic fatigue and blame it on not enough sleep or not enough coffee (who is else is guilty there??), but these symptoms could also be indicative of other underlying imbalances in our body, such as adrenal fatigue. Lifestyle choices such as diet can have a large impact on how our bodies function and the quality of what we put in our mouths plays an important role.
Smoothies are a simple and convenient way to pack in nutrients!
I like smoothies as a quick and healthy snack or breakfast option and admittedly don’t make them often enough. When I saw how much the kids loved the smoothies we made with Botanica’s protein powder it reminded me how great of an option they really are. Even though at this time of year I’m definitely craving warm comfort food, I know I have to make more of an effort in the colder months, because the effort pays off. See below for the recipe we made + find out more about the adrenal-boosting ingredients in this plant-based protein powder.
Frozen Fruit Protein Smoothie
1 scoop of Botanica’s Elevated Protein Powder
2 cups of your favourite frozen fruits/ berries
1 banana (fresh or frozen
1 cup milk or non-dairy beverage of choice
1/2- 1 cup of water (add as needed to reach desired thickness/ consistency)
Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse to help break up frozen fruit/ berries. Blend until a smooth consistency has been reached (Tip: pour into popsicle molds for healthy popsicles!)
About Perfect Protein
Botanica Perfect Protein is a fermented and sprouted complete plant protein blend packed with naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats and fibre. All in light vanilla taste so it’s easy to digest and absorb. Crafted in small batches with just a few simple organic, fair trade ingredients. So good there’s no added sweeteners, not even stevia. Great to add to a smoothie or mixed into milk/ non-dairy beverage.
How do you maintain your wellness routine and keep yourself healthy this time of year? I’m excited to be teaming up again with Botanica Health heading into the holiday season with some ideas to help you stay calm and relaxed while enjoying something warm to unwind with at the end of the day. We all know eggnog is a hit this time of year, but if you’re looking for something warm and not loaded with sugar I’ve got two ideas you might want to try (plus a recipe!).
Botanica Health has just released two new products in time for those evenings you want to stay cozy indoors (or go for a Winter walk), and unwind at the end of the day: Reishi Hot Chocolate and Chocolate Turmeric Golden Mylk. Both are modern takes on traditional beverages (reishi mushrooms are believed to help the body relax and support a healthy stress response, while turmeric is a popular ingredient in ayurvedic medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties). With the added decadence of chocolate, they’re the perfect drink for when you want to enjoy something warm and comforting without being loaded with sugar and artificial additives (bonus points for actually being good for you!).
The Reishi Hot Chocolate is my favourite of the two, and I decided to give it a try in a recipe: reishi chocolate chia pudding, a new take on this chia parfait recipe. I like that chia pudding is a tasty, healthy snack full of nutrients and how simple it is to make. Whether you enjoy the Reishi Hot Chocolate Mix to make a warm drink on a cold day, or to add into a snack like this one, it’s a refreshing option worth a try. See below for the recipe!
Reishi Hot Chocolate Chia Pudding
2 cups milk (regular, coconut, or pick your favourite)
1/4 cup chia seeds
2 tbsp Reishi Hot Chocolate Mix
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Vanilla Greek yogurt (optional)
Cinnamon or cocoa nibs for garnish
1. In a jug, mix the Reishi Hot Chocolate Mix until combined, followed by the chia seeds
2.Cover for half an hour or overnight
3.When ready, pour the chia seed mix into mason jars and top with cinnamon or cocoa nib shavings
4.For an extra dose of protein, layer the chocolate chia pudding with Greek yogurt
What little things do you try to do as part of your wellness routine?
It can be drinking more water, taking your vitamins, or working on your mental health. Whatever it is, even small steps can add up to create healthy habits we can maintain. It can take a little time and patience, but over time these efforts add up and today I’m sharing how making Botanica Health a part of that routine is not only an easy choice, but a delicious one.
This has been something I’ve been working on for over a year, and even though I think I’ve still got progress to make, I’ve learned that I can’t change things overnight- but I’ve got to start somewhere and have a little patience. Creating new healthy habits has taken two forms for me: focusing on body and mind, and the two have gone hand-in-hand. Running has become a part of my weekly routine and something that has helped my body and mind feel better. But that’s just half of the equation; the other is paying attention to how my body feels and fueling it with healthy choices. View Post
Anyone else feeling the winter blues? I always get to this time of year and ask ‘is it Summer yet’? Once we get through New Years I wish we could flip a switch and bring back the warm and sunny weather, skip all the grey and rain (hey, the rain isn’t always a bad thing but we get a lot of it here and it can get to you when you haven’t seen blue sky in a few days). This time of year is hard for a lot of people, so I thought now would be a good time to think up a few ideas to try and keep everybody in high spirits. I’m sharing 5 below and would love to hear how you count down to the brighter days this time of year! View Post
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