New Beginnings, Selfcare Tips

How to make this the #YearOfYou 😃

“Capitalize on your experiences to optimize your life.” Ella Sofia

What do you think that quote means? What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read that quote?

Are you thinking about money? Opportunity? Spiritual growth? Health and fitness?

Well if that’s what you’re thinking about…don’t stop! Those things, plus all the other facets of your life are what should come to mind after reading that quote.

“But why is that Ella?”

It is because the focus of the quote is on the experiences that make up your life…ALL OF THE EXPERIENCES. And if you can use each and every one of your life experiences in the best way possible, you will optimize the total outcome of your experiences i.e. you will live a good life.

I know that’s a lot to take in, so let me break down the process of capitalizing on life experiences into 3 steps.

1) Remember Your Life Can’t Be Exclusively Good, But it Can Be “Good Too”

“Ella, you have no idea what I’ve been through. How can you say I will have a good life?”

I can tell you that because YOU have the power to judge your own experiences. And although you will live through objectively bad experiences, if you can make those experiences “good too”, you will give yourself an advantage. Remeber, if you want to capitalize on anything, you want to “gain by turning something into an advantage.”

Here’s why that’s easy:

I’m not even asking you to 180° flip the way you perceive the experience.

Flipped image

I mean, if you want to continue seeing something negatively, be my guest. HOWEVER, what you do need to do is ask yourself additional questions so you can start seeing at least some positive as well.

Here’s a classic example (it’s actually one that I saw in a Tony Robbins live event):

Woman to Tony Robbins:

My father passed away when I was young and I feel like I’ve never been able to get over it. I feel like I missed something in life because he unfortunately wasn’t around. My own children can’t even meet their grandfather.

Tony Robbins’ response to woman:

You may be sad because your father was not around while you grew up and cannot be around for your children now. That feeling is both natural and normal.

BUT, what have you learned from your father passing early? Maybe the value of being a present mother for your children. Also how to love and appreciate your children. As well as how to be a present and supportive partner for your husband.

Maybe you also learned the importance of providing for your children in case something horrible ever happened to your husband.

All valid points right?

Well the woman sure thought so.

In summary, you have to remember that shitty stuff is going to happen in your life. You can totally view it as shitty, BUT if you can ADDITIONALLY find a way to view the situation positively, then you will ultimately make a gain.

Picture it like this:

Life Optimization Chart

Let’s say experience 1 was: you passed an exam with flying colours. You will likely view that experience as purely positive.

Now say for experience 2: you failed an exam. And now you have to retake the entire course!! That is definitely a negative experience… Now you have to spend more time and money learning the same material! BUT, where can you find positivity in the shitty experience?? Well let’s see… you are going to have the opportunity to learn the material a second time. That means you will be able to dive deeper on certain subjects and see things you didn’t see the first time around. And because you will review the material for a second time, you will retain the course material better i.e. you will be able to recall it quicker and remember it for a longer period of time. That knowledge retention will come in really handy when you have to apply it in real-life scenarios.

So although experience 2 is mostly shitty, you are capitalizing on the scenario in order to optimize your life in the future.

…which leads us to step #2

2) Optimize Don’t Fantasize

You don’t need to falsify positivity to impress others with your life. You don’t need to fake it ’til you make it. All you need to do is be grateful for the little things in front of you.

When you falsify positivity instead of just appreciating the positivity you already have in your life (even if that’s just a little), you become future-focused. By being future-focused, you do not optimize your life with what you currently have, but instead, you think about how your life could be optimized in the future.

My favourite tool you can use to help optimize your present life, is practicing gratitudehttps://gratefulness.org/resource/what-is-gratitude/.

When you practice gratitude you focus on appreciating and being thankful for the valuable things in your life, no matter how big or small, how significant or insignificant. A true mark of conscious gratitude is when you recognize and appreciate what is ordinary in their life; being consciously and outright thankful for experiences in your life which are a daily occurrence and not “out of the ordinary” for you, will allow you to be happy with what is in the present instead of what could be in the future.

Alternatively, living in fantasy land and pretending your life is full of positivity and sunshine, will remove your focus from the present and cause it to be on the unknown future. You will miss out on what life has offered you.

Remember to take life for what it is: multiple experiences that just happen. You can either stack your experiences like building blocks, or stagger them like lily pads. And if you choose to hop along the lily pad route, you choose to stand on false positivity (the kind of positivity that could enter your life). The lily pads – like your future-focused positivity – are not stable so you will never find yourself moving quickly or far across the pond.

However, if you choose the building blocks route, you will climb higher in your life using what you’ve learned from your past experiences. Each block stack represents deep-rooted gratitude for what you have in your life. That type of strong appreciation will allow you to optimize your way of living.

3) Do it Through Habit

I know what you’re thinking… “Jeez Ella. I’m not generally a positive person. I don’t think I can work to find positivity in everything like you mentioned.”

Well then let me ask you, do you enjoy being negative? Perhaps you had parents / role models growing up who were negative and thus you picked up that quality. If that is the case, please know it is 100% (yes i did say 100%) possible for you to change your mindset.

The easiest way to change your mindset is to create habits out of things like gratitude and asking questions that focus on positivity. Once these practices become habitual, it will be much less difficult for you to optimize your life. You will be happier, feel more successful, have an easier time being resilient to negative experiences, and of course, you will be able to climb out of your rock bottom.

Most importantly…

If you want to learn the step-by-step guide to creating new habits, make sure you sign up for my FREE #YearOfYou course by clicking here!

In the course you will learn

1) How to identify good and bad habits in your life.

2) Areas in your life where habits are missing.

3) The habit formula to help you create success habits and break habits that are hindering your personal development.

So don’t wait on this opportunity! Click here to enroll now.

As always, happy Monday ❤✌

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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional advice.*

Selfcare Tips

You’re Missing Something Vital (Mental Health vs. Mental Illness)

“You’re fine”, says the inner tough-guy.

Habit coach smiling in the face of adversity

…but maybe you’re not fine. Maybe you feel sad, lonely, anxious, and upset. But maybe that’s okay…

Sad and Anxious are Normal Emotions

Do you know what mental health is? I know the subject is heavily talked about nowadays, but do you fully comprehend what it means to have “mental health”?

Answer: It is literally the health of your mind. The good and poor health of all minds!

If you are a human with a mind, you have mental health. Just like if you are a human with a body, you have physical health.

And then we can go a bit deeper and ask, “what is a healthy mind?”

A healthy mind is one which enjoys life and living, is realistic and at peace, and is resilient after undergoing a difficult situation. A healthy mind properly balances the 3 parts of the personal development loop: self-care, self-development, self-discipline.

This seems pretty straight forward, right?

So then why does it also seem that the normal feelings of occasionally unhealthy minds (such as sadness and anxiousness) are quickly being labelled as feelings which require medication?

I think the push on mental health awareness has exploded since the recent BOOM of social media and campaigns like #BellLetsTalk. And as a result, mental health echo-chambers have been created online, opinions on such matters have been instensified in the hope mental health will improve, and poor mental health has been conflated with mental illness.

“Wait Ella…what is the difference between mental health and mental illness anyways?”

I’m glad you asked!

According to the DSM-5 (the Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5 Ed.), mental illness is, “… a syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behaviour that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning. An expected or culturally approved response to a common stressors or loss […] is not a mental disorder. […]”

Interesting definition. There’s 1 sentence in there that catches my attention, and that is what I want to talk about today (I’d also love to know your opinion in the comment section below).

The eye catching sentence is…

“an expected or culturally approved response to a common stressor or loss […] is not a mental disorder.”

This statement is pretty easy to understand – normal negative emotions are not mental illnesses.

So what is normal?

In my opinion, normal is stress, anxiousness, and burnout after hustling hard through 4 years of university. It is not wanting to eat or get out bed after the loss of a loved one. And it is feelings of being incredibly sad and distraught after having a limb amputated.

As you can see above, there are feelings / responses which can be expected from people after experiencing something negative. And most people (maybe other than those with sociopathic tendencies… which can be attributed to a mental illness) would experience poor mental health in these circumstances.

So here’s where my issue comes in…and I’ll tell you about it using my personal circumstances for “credibility”

I believe that the push for raising awareness about mental health and mental illness has become so loud yet very unclear. I see individuals, business, and media outlets discussing poor mental health as one-in-the-same with mental illness. I see (although I whole-heartedly believe this comes from the right place) young people being told that feelings of sadness COULD be depression, which I believe is a problematic statement for one major reason:

It is correct! (Yes, you heard me right! The statement can be problematic for, in particular, young and impressionable people, because it legit makes complete sense

“Wait ..what?? Ella … what the heck are you talking about?”

Yes, I understand you’re probably confused, so please let me explain.

The Negative Feedback Loop of Mental Health

You see, by using the word “could” in a statement, the statement assumes that x (ex. sadness) might OR might not be y (ex. depression). The use of the word “could” leads to the acceptance of 2 assumptions, polar opposite of each other.

Now, the possibility that somebody may or may not have y (depression in this case), in combination with that person feeling like they’ve hit rock bottom, will tend to put them on the side of caution (…the same side I was on in 2017 when I thought I had depression).

Now, when someone sides with caution they take on a “just in case” mentality. This means, “just in case I have depression, I should take the necessary precautions such as get on medication and stay home when I feel like I am so sad that I can’t get out of bed.”

[which is exactly what I did]

Now fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with the “just in case mentally” because it is completely natural; it is essentially a flight or fright response to a dangerous situation.

And although the “just in case” mentality is natural, it still leads to an acceptance of a detrimental assumption (ex. the assumption, “I have depression”). And honing in on this negative thought can take someone to a dark place and leave them stuck in a negative feedback loop.

[Which is where I was stuck in 2017]

The negative feedback loop of mental health

Here’s the explanation for the logic model you see above:

Statement: I could have depression (remember that there is nothing wrong with this statement in and of itself)

HOWEVER, this statement then leads to an acceptance of two polar opposite assumptions: (1) I do not have depression and (2) I have depression

And because 1 of the assumptions is detrimental, you side with caution and the “just in case” mentality kicks in.

Since you are now preparing for the detrimental scenario, you have to adopt the idea that the detrimental assumption is true. That said, since the two polar opposite assumptions cannot both be held at the same time, you drop the assumption of the best case scenario in order to prepare for the worst one.

So back in 2017 when I fell into this negative feedback loop, I began to adopt bad behaviour that I subconsciously thought someone with depression would carry-out i.e. my mind behaved like a depressed mind, because I believed I had depression.

And once the negative behaviour started, my mind honed in on it and I started digging my rock-bottom hole even deeper. And once that happened, I started connecting the “depressed” dots of my life in hindsight; I thought, “all those times I was sad in my life make sense now. I must have depression.”

The mind is so incredibly powerful, it’s almost unbelievable how it can take hold of a thought and hone in on it. That’s why the power of self-talk is so incredibly important.

So as you can see, if a young, impressionable teenager hears a statement like, “if you’re sad you COULD have depression,” they might associate their rock bottom experience with actually having depression. AND THEN they might get stuck in a negative feedback loop.

“I can see how the power of thought is important Ella, but how does one get out of that negative feedback loop? How does one turn their rock bottom experience into their breakthrough moment?!”

Well here is how I did it, and maybe this can help you too:

1) I accepted the fact that I am more emotional than other people (at least it seems that way to me, and I’m totally cool with that). I realized that my über emotional state is actually an advantage, and if you think you’re emotional too, you can read about the benefits here.

2) I realized I needed to practice good self-care. (Even if you don’t have a mental illness, YOU HAVE MENTAL HEALTH so you need to take care of it. Don’t wait until you hit your rock bottom to start cultivating your self care tools.)

3) I simply decided that my mind’s focus must be on improving my life. And I accepted the fact that trying to improve it will be difficult at times.

I hit my version of rock bottom, so I needed to work hard to get out.

Let go or be dragged. - Zen Proverb

Do NOT be ashamed of hitting your rock bottom

Remember that suffering is relative, which means rock bottom is relative…

So maybe that means depression is relative too??? And if it is relative, maybe that’s ok… But since medication probably shouldn’t be used as a blanket cure-all for a relative and subjective human experiences, I think medical doctors and psychiatrists should be putting more emphasis on things like mediTation instead of mediCation. After all, any circumstances of sadness, suicidal thoughts, anxiousness, and overwhelm NEED to dealt with by the patient him or herself so that those feelings can be managed in the future.

In my experience, I can confidently say my weekly visits to the psychologist were what truly helped me end the downward spiral of my poor mental health, NOT the SSRIs my doctor prescribed me.

It was by learning to fill up my mental health toolbox that built my resilience and prepared me for the normal yet unfortunate challenges in life.

So even if you don’t have a mental illness, you have mental health… and in either circumstance you need to cultivate self-care practices. Don’t get caught in the “just in case” mentality, hone in on positive thoughts, and focus on making this the #YearOfYou

As always, Happy Monday ❤✌

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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional health advice.

Selfcare Tips

Why active rest is NOT just for fitness

“I need a break… But I don’t understand how taking a break will help me become more productive!”

BE HONEST: Has the above statement ever crossed your mind?

Better yet, has that statement crossed your mind and then you actually continued to work?

And final question: Did you burn out after continuing to push yourself?

👋 Well I answer yes to all those questions, and I unfortunately learned the hard way about the necessity of taking breaks.

Habit coach sitting on a bench in Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton,  Alberta.

And that’s why I’m here now to explain what it ACTUALLY MEANS to take a lil’ break, and as a result, boost your productivity.

Remember that a “break” should be an “active rest”

When it comes to physical fitness, active rest is very important for productivity in the gym.

Active rest (or active recovery) is when you engage in low intensity and short duration movement, after an intense workout.The benefit of active rest as opposed to passive rest is that your body and muscles recover at a much quicker pace.

So, the quicker you physically recover, the quicker you can engage in high intensity workouts again. Therefore by taking active rests, you will be able to do more workouts, lose more fat, build more muscle, improve your cardio, and overall improve your physical fitness.

Now let’s apply the active rest concept to your mental and emotional recovery:

When you engage in light activity to keep your brain thinking and your thoughts organized, you’ll be able to more quickly recover from stress and burnout, as opposed to breaking by turning your brain off completely.

“So How Do I Active Rest for My Mental Health?”

1) Utilize Your Time, Don’t Abuse Your Time

A clock, which signifies the importance of time

Here’s a big myth: people think drinking and tanning on a beautiful beach will help them “clear their minds” when work becomes almost too much to handle.

And here’s the reality: a vacation definitely could clear your mind! But just remember, if you don’t utilize your time, the vacation will eventually end and you’ll end up back where you started.

To best utilize your vacation time, do some research on self-development tools to help counter stress and burnout.

So instead of simply mentally removing yourself from daily life, I recommend you keep yourself slightly engaged so that your daily life can be better tackled after your break.

When you fill your self-developmemt tool belt with the proper tools, you will be able to diffuse your work/life stress as soon as you get back to your job.

One of the most useful tools I’d recommend is meditation. Learning to be okay with isolation instead of stimulation can help manage the stress and overwhelm experienced in day-to-day life.

In addition, reading self-development books and listening to self-development podcasts can also provide you with amazing tools to be resilient when returning to the stresses of daily life.

So remember that taking a break shouldn’t mean “doing nothing”; it should mean “taking a quick step away from work so you can learn to do work better”. This is a great time to plug the phrase, “work smarter, not harder.”

2) Reorganize Your Schedule

Maybe you feel overwhelmed because you don’t manage your time.

Are you taking-on an appropriate amount of work? If you are, maybe you need to schedule yourself better so you know which tasks are top priorities.

When we don’t record tasks and projects in a planner, we end up storing them in our brains. This creates unnecessary stress and a lot of overthinking.

So instead of using a long weekend to take your mind off work, keep your mind on work for a brief time. Keep your mind on work for just as long as it takes to write everything in a planner. Then as soon as you write it out…LEAVE IT THERE. Remove the task from your brain and let it live on the paper until you need to revisit it.

You know what they say, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. So write it all out, and pick it up as needed.

3) Don’t Stop Using Your Brain… Even When You Think You Should Stop

So if you have your schedule organized and you have the right tools but you still think you need a break, then take one. BUT do not break cold turkey.

Keep yourself thinking lightly by reading, listening to podcasts, engaging in recreational activities and interacting with real people. Playing brain games are great and all, but for light and effective stimulation, nothing is better than sticking yourself in a real-life scenario.

By remaining in a lightly active state, you will have an easier time transitioning back to daily life and problem solving.

And if you still don’t buy the “active rest thing”, here is a common example of the same concept used in emotional recovery:

When someone close to you passes on, you need to grieve – you need to think about that person and remember how special they were to you during their lifetime. When you take a “break” from daily life to grieve, you are allowing yourself to continue living happily in the best way you can.

So remember, you aren’t “taking a break”. You are taking an active rest!

Utilize your time instead of abusing your time, and as always, have a Happy Monday ❤✌

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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional health advice.

New Beginnings, Selfcare Tips

3 MORE Steps for Getting Rid of Shame (Part 2 of 2)

“I need counseling”

“I’m having suicidal thoughts”

“I tried to kill myself”

Are any of those words familiar to you?

Does the thought of saying “yes, they are familiar” make your stomach tie-up in a knot?

That feeling of discomfort is called shame. And shame is the feeling of guilt or embarrassment after doing something dishonourable.

…Interesting definition, eh? Now here’s where my important question comes in:

What is there is to be ashamed of?

If you read my post last week, then you already know the first 4 steps to ridding yourself of shame. And you know I mentioned that shame can arise from (1) your actions that namely effected others and (2) your actions that namely effected you.

Since we’re talking about the second reason today, I thought I’d discuss the 3 steps you can take if you feel ashamed of having poor mental health.

#1 Question the Logic

Recall the definition of shame – it is the feeling you get after doing something dishonourable. Hmmm… something doesn’t sit right with me here. Why should anyone feel they have done something dishonourable simply by suffering with poor mental health?

Think about having a broken arm or a scrape on your knee… my guess is you wouldn’t be ashamed of those physical injuries. But maybe you made a stupid decision that led you to injure yourself (ex. You ran on a wet floor or jumped off a tall fence). So it is the action that you should be questioning rather than the result of that action.

In retrospect, I made a lot of stupid decisions when I was festering in my downward mental health spiral. But at the time of those decisions, I genuinely thought I was doing the right thing for myself. So on one hand, you could say that not making the effort to improve your mental health is a sign of disrespect toward yourself (also keeping in mind that EVERYTHING you do has some sort of effect on other people). HOWEVER, if you don’t know how to go about improving your mental health before you start spiralling downward, stupid decisions become easy solutions to your problems.

Remember that perspective is everything. So if you are spiralling downward, you might think your decisions are awesome but you have to try to take the perspective of a mentally healthy person. Should a mentally healthy person have thoughts like this? Is it okay for me to self-harm? Those are the types of questions you should ask yourself and the answer of a healthy person would be NO.

That leads me to the next step…

#2 Confront Your Discomfort

When you start that downward spiral and think decisions like calling in sick for work when you feel fine and starving yourself because you think you’re too fat, are good decisions, it is time to confront your discomfort.

If you feel like shit…or maybe even worse than that… you have to admit that feeling to yourself. And more importantly, once you admit that feeling to yourself, you need to admit that your feelings are not good ones.

And with those admissions, you will and should respond by wondering how you can feel better.

For example, “I feel upset and sad all the time. Those are not good feelings. I should ask a professional for advice so I can feel good again.” Your response can be as simple as that.

Confront your discomfort instead of burying it deep inside yourself. As Dr. Brené Brown says, “When we bury the story, we forever stay the subject of the story. If we own the story we get to narrate the ending.”

#3 Be Proactive

Although confronting your discomfort is a must, it is even better to be proactive and manage or minimize the discomfort that could arise in the future.

Follow the personal development loop by balancing your self-care, self-development, and self-discipline so you can avoid a downward mental health spiral.

Study-up on tools that you can implement when you feel stressed, over-whelmed, and over-worked.

Just like you are not born with the knowledge of cooking, or plumbing, or writing, etc., you are not born with the knowledge of personal development. You have to learn how to do things through reading and asking questions. So going to see a psychologist shouldn’t be any more “shameful” than picking up a self-help book.

Work to fill your mental health toolbox so you can be prepared to battle your mental health struggles.

Be proactive, be ready, be resilient. And as always, have a very Happy Monday ❤

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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice.

Self-development, Selfcare Tips

4 Steps to Ending Your Shame (Part 1 of 2)

You’re ashamed…

Of your past, your actions, and your decisions.

You feel guilty or embarrassed about something you have done or a quality in your character.

But why do you feel this way?

I find the topic of shame to be quite an interesting one because I believe it is far more nuanced than you might think. It is especially nuanced because it can arise for 2 different reasons: (1) as a result of your actions that namely effected other(s), and; (2) as a result of your actions that namely effected you.

To break things down simply, today’s blog post will be about the former reason (make sure you tune-in next week where I discuss reason 2)

So Why Shame?

If you do something dishonourable toward another person, I think it is incredibly important for you to feel remorseful; an essential mark of self-awareness is to recognize actions that are unethical, immoral, and that have negative consequences.

BUT, I do not think you should live with shame forever, nor should you be shamed forever by other people.

So what are the steps to ridding yourself of shame?

Shame kills your mental health. Keep smiling and ask forgiveness.

1) Ask for forgiveness.

Admitting that you did something wrong is incredibly difficult, especially when you admit it to the person(s) you hurt.

But admission coupled with remorse and a sincere apology is necessary for taking responsibility of your actions.

You cannot hide from the fact you did something hurtful and you cannot expect others to forget what you did by “never bringing it up.”

Humans have the capacity to forgive. And if you are scared that the person you hurt won’t forgive you…well yes, that is a possibility. And although I personally believe people should ALWAYS find forgiveness, I can’t make anyone forgive if they don’t want to.

So if someone chooses to not forgive you, then take it as a learning experience — your words and actions can have long-term consequences that you never expected in the first place.

BUT if they do forgive you, then consider yourself 1 step closer to ridding yourself of shame.

2) Do NOT feel the following 2 things in response to your shame:

• You shouldn’t feel proud. Yes ok, you learned and important lesson. But talking about your learning experience like it was something you read out of a prestigious academic article is disrespectful to those who you affected. The fact is, you learned something the hard way, and although you learned, the difficult experience you learned from was probably not ideal for anyone involved.

• You shouldn’t feel indifferent. As I said earlier, we must recognize the consequences of our actions. So if you want to be considered a decent person, you cannot just “not care” about the hurt you might’ve caused/created in the past.

3) Feel Empathy

When you acknowledge your actions and regard them as forever shameful, you might just be correct. To clarify my point, your actions were bad and if repeated in the same context, they would render the same bad consequences. But where you are INCORRECT is if you transfer the shame surrounding your actions onto your being. So to clarify again, you did something bad but you are not a bad person.

You must have empathy for those who were effected by your actions so that you can understand their perspective and contrast it your personal perspective. And through that contrast, come to understand why the choice you made at the time was wrong.

4) Cut-out the people who continue to shame you after you’ve completed steps 1-3.

You don’t need to convince anyone you’re a changed person, and at the same time no one should convince you otherwise.

Plus being around people who inhibit your growth will only be of detriment to YOU.

So in conclusion …

Swallowing your ego and taking responsibility for your actions does not mean accepting shame into your life – it means becoming a better person.

Shame kills your mental health

The moment you understand your actions were wrong is the exact moment you grow as a person.

And hey!!👋 Make sure you subscribe to my blog by typing in your email below so you’ll be notified of next week’s post where I discuss shame as a result of your actions that negatively you.

As always, Happy Monday ❤✌

[Like this post? Then don’t forget to follow my blog by typing in your email below. And consider sharing it with your friends and family on social media!]

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice.

Selfcare Tips

Why You Should 🛑Stop🛑 Concerning Yourself with Self-Esteem

Give me ’til the end of of this 5 minute read to get you thinking differently about self-esteem.

Let’s start by looking at the definition of esteem:

Esteem ➡️ v. regard highly or favourably; regard with respect or admiration

Now hold that thought. And let’s look at the history of the word esteem:

“Esteem” comes from the Latin word aestimare and the Old French word estimer, meaning to estimate value or appraise (1) (2).

Now take the meaning of “esteem” and apply it to the way YOU perceive YOURSELF. Do you admire yourself? What sort of value you do you place on yourself?

High self-esteem; esteemed King.

If you value yourself highly, why is that? Do you have certain qualities that rank higher on the “esteem scale” than, say, your good friend?

And how about your friend … would you esteem the qualities of your good friend in the same way they would esteem them?

If you’re seriously thinking about those questions but not sure how to answer them, we are starting to get somewhere.

Do you esteem yourself?

Think about the intrinsic value of a human being (and yes, I said “intrinsic”). The intrinsic value of a human being (A.K.A. YOUR VALUE) is infinite.

So if the value of your being – your existence – is infinite, then why bother dissecting your being into qualities that you do or do not esteem?

When you describe the way you think about yourself, instead of saying “high or low self-esteem”, just use the term “self-worth”. Accepting the existence of your human-ness is preferable to a self-diagnosis of high or low self-esteem.

“But Ella, you’re over-thinking this. I am SUPPOSED to have high self-esteem! Having high self-esteem is good for my mental health!”

I SOOOO disagree.

First, I’m not over-thinking, I just like to use words properly. If words didn’t matter, I would start calling an apple and orange, and a house a car.

On that note, if you believe your humanness has value or purpose, then why use the word “esteem”? If you aren’t appraising yourself based on anything but your existence, then there’s nothing to appraise. You simply have worth as a human because you exist. Which leads me to my second point …

Neither appraising your qualities and placing yourself higher along the esteem scale NOR regarding yourself with esteem for no apparent reason are beneficial to your mental health. As I explained earlier, you have nothing to appraise – there is no scale of intrinsic human worth. And to the second point, your humanness alone leaves you capable of personal development and therefore capable of improving your life. You should not esteem yourself for no reason, but instead give your intrinsic worth meaning by improving your extrinsic qualities. It is always better to try to improving extrinsic qualities instead of lowering the value you place on yourself because of them.

Stacks of money represents not lowering your instrinsic value based on your extrinsic qualities

But most importantly, recognizing your worth does not mean you get life a participation trophy. Thinking you’re the bomb.com for no apparent reason is called narcissism. So instead, give yourself a reason to be confident in life. As a human you are COMPLETELY CAPABLE of giving yourself a good life by working hard for something that gives your worth, meaning. Take advantage of your humanness and give yourself a reason to keep living.

For example, both the alcoholic and brain surgeon have infinite worth. But only the brain surgeon has taken advantage of his humanness to give his worth, meaning.

And as you were probably expecting, here’s a nifty analogy to help you understand:

Let’s say you’re a soccer player. Your team never practices so they come in last place in the league. Your team should not get a trophy for simply participating. BUT just because you came in last place, that DOES NOT mean you or anyone on your team are no longer soccer players.

What your team decides to do is take advantage of their “soccer player-ness” and hold weekly practices. The more your team practices, the more your team gives itself a reason to keep competing.

So no matter your race, ability or disability, career, social economic status, etc., your existence as a human being has infinite worth.

You have self-worth because you are human.

Next time you say you have high or low self-esteem, remember that esteem doesn’t actually matter; what matters is the fact you exist and you can make your existence more meaningful everyday, and that alone is enough ❤

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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice.

Self-development, Self-Discipline, Selfcare Tips

I’ve been dying to ask you this! 💬

Habit coaching session. Coach asking student an important question for personal development.

So. I see you made it to my post. Well thank you for supporting me 🙏❤

But most importantly, CONGRATULATIONS! Seriously, congrats for taking the first step in your personal development journey.

“Uhm Ella… what do you mean ‘first step’? What other steps are there to take?”

Well I’m glad you asked! Generally speaking there are only two steps: (1) figure out what to do (2) do it.

That leads me to a question I’ve been dying to ask you:

Are you an anchor or an engine?

Have you actually been implementing these motivation Monday tips I dish-out in my posts? Or, have you been reading them, saying “seems cool”, and then going back to your daily routines?

Dude, you gotta be an engine!

Be an engine!

You have to take action when you think it might be helpful. If you have a problem – any problem at all – it will persist UNTIL you actually do something to solve it.

Inaction = stagnation
Action = progress

Don’t create a habit of inaction when you could spend your moments pursuing answers to your questions and solutions to your problems.

Don’t be an anchor. Don’t hold yourself down when you need to move up in the world.

Don't be an anchor. Boat anchor.

START YOUR ENGINE TODAY… AND HERE’S HOW TO DO THAT:

Fuel Up.

You need to put yourself (your mind and your body) in a position where you are able to take action.

1) Fuel-up using your mind

Belief, gratitude, discipline. Those are three things necessary for your mental development. Belief in a goal, being grateful for your opportunities to reach that goal, and being disciplined in your positive thoughts will you help create that “moving up in the world” type of mindset.

Affirmations, happy thoughts, I am kind, worthy, and hard working.

2) Fuel-up using your body

Nutrition, fitness, intuition. Those are three things that will improve your physical health that will in turn improve your improve your brain health. Your brain is connected to your physical wellbeing in more ways than you think.

Proper diet and exercise prevent inflammation in your gut. In fact, recent studies show that “microbiome [(the good bacteria that live in your gut)] may influence cognition and behaviour by altering the functioning of the immune system.” So your ability to have a healthy mindset depends largely on whether you have a healthy body.

By giving your body the vitamins and nutrients necessary to thrive, you will be in a better position to push to new limits. You will be less fatigued, stronger, and more importantly you will learn to intuit what type of food and exercise works best for your body.

Healthy and nutritious fruit bowl

… And just when you thought I wasn’t going to include a nifty analogy to explain why you need to FUEL UP … BOOM here is it:

You’re at home Saturday morning and you want to make a nice meal. …but you have NO FOOD in your house. So you decide to TAKE ACTION.

You get in your car and put the key in the ignition so you can go to the grocery store for food. But wait … YOU HAVE NO GAS IN YOUR CAR!

That’s a problem because no gas means you can’t start your engine, and that means you can’t get food at the grocery store.

You need to fuel up. And in order to be in the proper position to fuel-up, you need to (1) locate the nearest gas station on a map, and (2) have your driver’s license.

If you’d like to wake up every morning motivated to reach your goals and thankful for your opportunities, you have to fill up your gas tank.

Fuel up so you can reach your goals. Fill up your gas tank

In conclusion …

… it’s not just about taking action, it’s about being it the right physical and mental space so that you can take action efficiently and strategically.

So pick a problem in your life. Start small and start with you. Don’t be concerned with rearranging the world around you until you address your personal short-comings. And if you want to start today, make sure you check out this blog post where I show you how to identify areas of your life to work on.

I hope you have an amazingly productive day and as always, have a very Happy Monday ❤✌

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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice.

Selfcare Tips

🤔 How to be Happy On a Monday

Happy Monday! … Right?

*insert awkward silence*

… What?

You mean you’re not happy? You’re telling me you’re miserable because you have 5 days left of work before you can relax again?

Damn…

Ok, well I really want you to be happy! And before you start questioning whether I’m oblivious to life’s problems, I’ll straight-up tell you I DO NOT THINK happiness is a 24/7 state of mind. I think happiness is something we choose to feel or find so that we can more easily be resilient in the face of adversity. This means you can be sad, anxious, stressed, or have any other negative reaction but you still decide to learn from experience, find positive aspects of your experience, and figure out how the hell you can keep moving forward.

You can find the key to happiness. I think I found it. Finding it was incredibly hard, but so incredibly worth it. Remember inner peace, positive mind.

That said, I need you to learn the key to happiness for the betterment of your health, your relationships, and your productivity. And as you may have guessed, I am going to tell you that key using this nifty analogy:

Think about the lightbulb in your kitchen. You know, the one you turned on this morning to make a cup of coffee before heading out the door.

That light works because a small wire inside the lightbulb creates a circuit of electricity, and that electricity is drawn-in from whatever source the lightbulb is plugged in to. So when you turn the light on…BOOM, HAPPINESS…wait no, I mean LIGHT! Hmmm… they are quite similar, don’t you think?

A lightbulb shines from within. Just like the lightbulb, you can find true happiness and shine from within.

Imagine yourself as that lightbulb.

If you want to shine, the little wire circuit inside of you has to (1) create a closed circuit, and (2) be plugged into a source of electricity.

So just like the light, happiness comes from within you; it is a decision you make to regard at least some part of an experience as positive (even if that just means learning from something shitty). HOWEVER you can’t forget about “plugging-in” to good sources of electricity like family, friends, content such as books and films, work, hobbies, etc.

But… remember that even if you’re plugged-in to the right things, you can’t find true happiness unless the wire circuit inside you is complete.

To find true happiness, you have to follow the personal development loop. What this means, is you have to give yourself the right doses of self-care, self-development, and self-discipline in order to live a balanced life.

Stressed from work? Use your lunch break to assess why that is.

Concerned about money? Take 2 hours on a weekend to set-up a budget.

Want to wake up earlier? Work on getting more restful sleeps then accept that you need to wake up when your alarm goes off EVEN THOUGH that will be hard.

You can do it. But that “it” you’re looking for can only come from you.

And to clarify again, I am NOT telling you to become happy 24/7 and therefore oblivious to the challenges of life. I AM telling you it is possible to learn how to manage shitty circumstances. Because the quicker you can bounce back from a tough time or pull through a struggle, the quicker you will get back to happiness.

So why is happiness important?

1) Your relationships will improve because others will enjoy being around you.

2) Your outlook on life will improve, therefore bettering your mental health.

3) Most importantly, happiness will motivate you to continue developing yourself.

And speaking from personal experience, my focus on happiness has VASTLY reduced my stress, improved my patience, and even improved my general attitude towards life.

Because I’ve trained myself to see the positive aspects of life while also learning from the negative aspects, there’s nothing that can stop me from moving forward.

So in conclusion…

… remember to be like that lightbulb in your kitchen. Because once you are, you’ll shine bright for everyone around you….once you are, you’ll be happy.

Shine bright like a lightbulb, bright with happiness.

So as always, I hope you have a very happy Monday ❤✌

“Outside, winter’s darkness closes in. Inside, you have found your own Light.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice.

Self-development, Selfcare Tips

So You Want to Better Yourself… But You Don’t Know Where the F*** to Start – READ THIS

Last week, one of my buddies asked me a fantastic question, what is the first step to re-training your brain?

I thought it was an easy answer. And then I realized I was incredibly wrong. DAMNNNN. How have I not written a blog post about this yet!?

So here I am about 10 days later, sharing the very first step you need to take to re-train your brain.

– LIFE AUDIT –

Retrain your brain through the power of habit. Self-care, self-development, self-discipline.

Have you ever done an audit? Not the kind you do at work which looks at policies or finances etc… For this audit, I want you to look at 6 main categories within your life. I want you to assess your daily routines so that you can make necessary changes for success.

HOW TO:

Step 1 –

Grab a pen+paper, then divide the page into 6 sections. Each section gets 1 of the following headings: Family/Relationships, Work/Business, Health, Personal Development, Spiritual, Finances.

(If you want to add or replace a section that fits your life better, feel free to do so.)

Step 1 of life audit. Family/relationships, work/business, health, personal development, spiritual, finances.

Step 2 –

In each section, write down 1-3 goals that you’d like to achieve. They can be big or small; anything from mid-afternoon goals to goals that could take 1,5, or 15 years to accomplish.

Don’t worry about the details of the goal yet… just write down what the goal actually is. Go with your gut. If what comes out seems unrealistic, the next part of the audit will dissect the concrete from the exaggerated.

Add 1 to 3 goals under each section of life audit. Goals for success.

Step 3 –

Picture your life.

Visualize your in your mind, then scroll out like you would in google maps so you can take a look at your life through a giant objective lens.

Think about what do you from AM to PM 7 days a week. What routines do you take part in? What things should you stop or change-up?

Based on what you analyzed, write down 1-3 new routines that you need to implement ASAP in order to reach the goals you just set-out for yourself.

Make sure these new routines are realistic and practical, but also make sure they are challenging. Because no pressure means no diamonds…right?

Write down 1 to 3 routines/habits you need to implement in order to reach your goals.

Now start making changes. And because your changes and goals will continue to evolve, I recommend coming back to this audit every 6 – 18 months.

Keep in mind, you will have to work hard.

And if you aren’t prepared to work hard, then you aren’t prepared to change.

And that’s it! That is the first step to retraining your brain. If you’ve completed this audit, but you need help implementing your changes, let’s work together! I want to help you be successful. And SWEET BONUS: I am offering the first coaching session FREE to anyone who reads this blog post. Just make sure you send me a picture of your audit!

Alright, I hope you kick butt this week! And as always, have a productive and happy Monday ❤✌

[Like this post? Then don’t forget to follow my blog by typing in your email below. And consider sharing it with your friends and family on social media!]

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice.

Selfcare Tips

That thing you’re probably not doing, but need to start doing ASAP in order to tackle anxiety 👊

I bet 8 in 10 of you reading this post have trouble falling asleep at night.

Anxiety before sleep

And I bet that’s because you can’t quiet your thoughts at night and just relax. Whether you call it stress, anxiety, over-thinking, or constant worry, the feeling you get when you can’t shut off your thoughts is unpleasant and tiresome.

So, am I right? … Are you one of those 8?

Now what if I told you I know the secret to relaxing your mind and improving your sleep? And what if I told you that secret would help reduce your anxiety and increase your productivity?

Well, here it is:

You no longer give-in to life’s daily distractions like social media, partying, mindless television, or unnecessary thoughts about work. And most importantly, you welcome your thoughts when they enter your mind.

“Ella, you seem confused. I thought we were talking about shutting off my thoughts, not welcoming them…?!”

Yes, yes – we are! But here is the key: the trick to NOT thinking during the wrong time is to THINK MORE during the right time 😃

Let me break that down …

The reason you find it difficult to shut off your brain before bed, is because you actually have a lot of shit to think about. And believe it or not, all this shit you want to think about has already attempted to enter your mind throughout your day! HOWEVER THE PROBLEM IS, when thoughts begin to enter your mind during the day you immediately find a million +1 ways to distract yourself; social media, work, what to make for dinner, and why Sally can lift more than you at the gym are just a few things that can easily distract you from your thoughts. So once you get home after work, eat dinner, and crawl into bed, your mind says “HOORAY” because it finally has time to think!

When you distract yourself from your thoughts until the moment you actually need quiet time, your thoughts seize the opportunity and pour out like someone forgot to turn off the faucet.

So instead of giving-in to constant distractions, try giving yourself 15 minutes during the day to actually be alone with your thoughts. Whether it be during your lunch break, walking to your car, sitting on public transit, showering, or working out, I seriously recommend you give your mind the time it wants to think.

And the more you give your mind this time, you’ll notice some thoughts begin to expand and flourish into ideas. You’ll notice other thoughts fade into the “it doesn’t matter” space in your brain. You’ll be able to more easily prioritize your thoughts. You’ll be able to realize why you choose to wear certain clothes, why you associate with certain people, what hobbies you actually enjoy, what your strengths and weakness are… and many more things about how you relate to the world! All that fading, flourishing, and prioritizing is called analytical processing.

And here’s the best part: The better you get at analytical processing, the quicker you’ll be at dumping pointless thoughts, studying critical thoughts, and ultimately controlling what you choose to think about. And if you get all this thinking done during the day, you’ll ultimately get more accomplished, more planned, and more discussed before it’s time to hit the hay.

Work hard, sleep well

The mind is a limitless force – it can create, re-train, calculate, and more.

Imagine how YOU could FLOURISH if you simply allowed your mind to think when it wanted to. Imagine your outcome after you simply allowed yourself to be silent with your own thoughts.

So in conclusion, treat your mind like your friend – give it time, love, and attention. Start welcoming your thoughts during the right time and watch yourself become one of the 2 in 10 people who fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow. Give yourself 14 consecutive days to implement your new routine, then come back to this post to let me know if I was right.

As always, I hope you have a productive week and a very happy Monday ❤✌

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself […] .” – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice.