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.

New Beginnings, Self-Discipline

Why Willpower is simple… but also hard🤔?

“Just do it.” Seems simple enough, right?

…Wrong! …but also, right!

Okay okay, you’re confused – I get it! But I am being serious when I say that “just do it” attitude is both simple yet not easy to master.

First I’ll tell you why it is simple:

Because there is one step to follow. Yup, that’s it. All you I have to do is “just work out everyday”, or “just not eat cookies”, or “just write a page everyday”. It’s as simple as frying an egg…you just do it.

And after you do whatever “it” is for a certain amount of time, the willpower you originally needed will lessen as your actions become habit. So sooner or later, all the effort it took to motivate you to hit the gym turns into no effort at all – going to the gym will become an automatic routine.

“But Ella, you don’t understand…. willpower isn’t as easy as you make it seem.”

Well wait a minute! I never said it was easy. In fact, what I said was, willpower is “not easy to master”.

You see, the word simple means “basic or uncomplicated.”

Whereas the word easy means “achieved without great effort”. So although willpower is uncomplicated, it requires a lot of effort to employ.

And the reason for this effort is…. THE FEELS, HABIT, and ADDICTION.

Let’s start with THE FEELS:

Feelings try to govern your decisions

So you say you want to lose weight and be more productive on weekends, but you continuously find yourself saying the following statements: “I should probabaly wake up and start my day, but I’m going to keep sleeping because my bed is so warm and comfy.”

“I should probably stop eating now, but this meal is so delicious that I have to finish it.”

You say these things because you want to do things that make you feel good. And more importantly, you want to do things that provide immediate gratification. So when you have to make a simple “do or don’t” decision, it is likely you will choose the action that makes you FEEL GOOD immediately.

Now let’s look at the same scenarios, but this time as driven by HABIT:

(1) “I don’t need an alarm to wake up! I am awake at 8 AM daily but I definitely need to be in bed by 10 PM the night before.”

(2) “I always find myself going for an afternoon cookie at work”

Bad habits like cookies everyday

Your brain wants to be efficient. And what better way to be efficient than to complete routines without thinking about them.

However there are problems with your routines: (1) you probably don’t need 10 hours of sleep every night, and (2) the daily afternoon cookie is not a benefit to your health.

So the downside is, you created habits out of those problems. And by consistently implementing these particular actions/problems, you have created automatic routines that will be difficult to break.

Now let’s touch on ADDICTION… which is a whole other ball game:

It is hard to break an addiction, but still possible. Don't be trapped by addiction.

Addiction involves a release of chemicals in your brain when you engage in a certain activity. This chemical factor, which can often lead to withdrawal and tolerance, make breaking an addiction much more difficult than breaking a habit. However, there are programs (such as Alcoholics Anonymous) and professionals who specialize in helping people break their addictions. So breaking an addiction is possible!

You can see that THE FEELS, HABIT, AND ADDICTION all create what I call the ambivalence of willpower. “Just do it” and “it feels good to NOT do it” create an unfortunate simultaneous dichotomy which makes the simple act of willpower an incredibly difficult task.

Ambivalence of willpower

BUT THE IMPORTANT PART IS…

It is completely possible to retrain your brain in order to create habits that work AGAINST the ambivalence of willpower. By analyzing the action you want to enact willpower against, you will be able to note whether that action is satisfying the feels, a habit, or an addiction. And once you know what is making willpower difficult, you will better understand what will make willpower easier for you.

Don’t take your human-ness for granted – you are completely capable of doing things that are hard. So remember to work smart, work strategically, and work for long-term success.

Don’t let the ambivalence of willpower slow you down, and make 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, 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.

New Beginnings, Selfcare Tips

Why I Don’t Want You to Kill Yourself … and Neither Should You 🙏❤

“It gets better,” they say.

And if you think they are lying, I will tell you first hand, they aren’t.

I’ll tell you it get’s better. From the absolute bottom of my heart I will tell you it gets better. But most importantly, I need you to believe that’s true.

You need to hear the whole truth:

For the rest of your life, you will continue to experience hard times, people will continue to hurt you, and you will occasionally fail. But the game changer is, YOU ARE going to learn how to deal with it all. So if you hang in there and put in a good fight, it WILL get better.

The whole truth is, you are going to learn how to find good friends. You are going to find and practice something you are good at. You are going to learn how to love yourself for who you are.

So maybe the whole truth is not that it gets better, but that YOU get a hell of a lot better at dealing with it. 💪🧠

You might need help to get your feet off the ground – that’s ok. Help comes in many different forms: from reading to journalling, social workers to doctors, from family to friends, from yoga to prayer, and even from medicine to weekly counseling. You might need to take a weekend off and spend it with yourself. And you might need to learn how to say “no” to people you love. But I promise, the small sacrifices you make will be worth it in the end. Because in the end you’ll be happy to be alive.

And if you still aren’t buying my plead for your life, let me tell you my “life got better” story:

Every single night for as long as I can remember, I’ve said my prayers before bed. And every single night for as long as I can remember, I asked God to “please bless every person around the world with a long, happy, and healthy life.” And then the kicker — after asking for the best for others, I’d always ask him to let me fall asleep and never wake up. [FYI, I still say my prayers every night. And FYI I dropped the second part from my nightly prayers last year.]

Sad (and slightly embarrassing) to say, I spent a lot of years hoping the worst for myself. And after 23 years of life, I’d still wake up in the morning and ask myself why I was still f***ing living. I started to think, what the hell was so wrong with me that (1) I didn’t know how to live happily and (2) I was still living …?

It took me until age 23 to finally ask somebody for some help. And even though most of me was miserable, a tiny incremental part of me was saying “YOU CAN DO IT”.

I had lots of friends, a great education, a superb family, a sick job, and basically a sweet friggin life. I recognized all of that! So why the hell was I still unhappy?

It was only when I started researching about the brain that I realized I was missing a major ingredient: I never believed it could get better.

I never believed it. Yes, I put in the work to have a sweet life…that helped. But I didn’t believe it was reality. I always thought, “well it’s been a great week. That means a bad day is right around the corner.”

I was not doing myself any favours.

It was like this:

Imagine you have a delicious plate of food in front of you. You have not taken a bite yet, but the food was prepared by a famous chef. Everyone knows it will taste good, including the chef. But you tell yourself it will taste horrible, so you refuse to eat it.

Why? … It’s because you primed your brain with negativity which stopped you from trying the food with an open and objective mind.

How many times have you primed your brain with something negative, which in turn altered your behaviour? You know, like if your friend tells you, “I don’t like that person”. Then you meet the person for the first time and you already dislike them. Or you read a bad review on a movie, so you go into the theatre already assuming you won’t like the movie.

Or in my case, I assumed I life was never going to get better so my attitude towards my life never changed.

Habits often begin with a simple belief – a simple daily prime of your brain to help you believe life will get better. If you believe it will never get better, it will never get better. But if you believe it will get better because you will try to make it better, you’re golden.

Now, when I look back at my sad years, I’m not sure what to make of them. Maybe I’m just an extra sensitive or emotional person. Maybe I have issues with serotonin and other hormones. But regardless, I’ve come to learn that my über emotional personality is not a bad thing.

Just like I did and many others have, you will have to work hard to be happy. But one day you’ll realize the hard work paid off.

I want you to live, work hard, find meaning, and learn to love existence. I want you to do all those things. And I want you to want all those things too.

After years upon years of not thinking I could do it, I actually did it. And you can do it too. I swear on my life that i love so much, YOU CAN F***ING DO IT.

I don’t want you to kill yourself. And neither should you❤.

[If you like this post and know someone who needs this message, please share it with them. And if you need to talk, I am only a message away! All my social accounts are listed at the bottom of this page if you want to get in contact. And my email is ellasssofia@gmail.com]

*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-Discipline

If You Think You’ve Got it Rough, Read This …

For every single person who has ever lived, their life has been difficult to some extent.

Yes you heard me right –

Every. Single. Person. I have a hard time believing there are people in the world saying their lives are perfect with zero difficulties.

Brain Injury Awareness Month - Rock Bottom

No matter if you’re Kylie Jenner, Tony Robbins, a 9 – 5 secretary, or living on the sidewalk … you’ve probably suffered some sort of hardship because:

(1) all people have different ideas about what life should be like, and

(2) all people are influenced to live life in various ways.

… So, the results are relative. Our vastly different lives result in experiences that might be hard for some and not as hard for others.

BUT does that mean some hardships rank higher on the “my problems are worse than yours” scale? Well interestingly enough, I think the answer to that question is both no and yes

Here’s a scenario to best explain:

If the worst thing that has ever happened to you is X, then you have no worse personal problem to compare X to. And if that is the case, X might just be your personal version of rock bottom.

Now, if you’ve hit your rock bottom you can either,

1) downplay your personal problem because you think it isn’t “as bad as someone elses”

OR

2) be ignorant to the fact that other people have problems, and claim your problem as the worst.

However those options aren’t mutually exclusive… so below you’ll find my explanation for surprise option 3 –

3) Acknowledge you have a problem and take responsibility for finding a solution. Big or small, you have to acknowledge your problem’s existence so you can start implementing actions to fix it.

That could mean removing yourself from the situation, changing your behaviour, grieving, praying, learning, practicing, etc.

BUT, at the same time, you have to remember your situation could always be worse. And somewhere around the world it is incredibly likely that there is at least one person suffering that “worse problem” you just imagined.

And if you’re still confused about option 3, here’s a sick analogy to help explain:

The other day I got home from work and went to wash the dishes. I put my hands under the running water but immediately removed them because of a stinging pain I felt. The culprit? Two small scratches. WOOPDY FRIGGEN DOO.. right?

At that point I could have stopped washing the dishes because my dinky little scratches caused me minor discomfort. But instead. I acknowledged that (1) my dinky little scratches would not kill me or cause me dire pain, and (2) I could be working 12 hour shifts on an assembly line in a developing country causing me to have 5000x more beat-up hands.

Be grateful for what you have - obstacles are gifts.

So after approximately half a millisecond of focusing on the stinging on my hands, I decided not to be ridiculous and fixed my problem by washing the damn dishes.

The fact of the matter is my scratches stung, but that problem was so incredibly minuscule it would have been utterly comical, ignorant, and ungrateful for me complain about it.

So maybe you are someone who’s only ever experienced scratch-type problems in your life. If that is the case, you should consider yourself lucky and empathize with those whose problems are worse than yours.

But at the same time, you suffered scratches and you’re allowed to take a moment and say “this sucks”. You have to acknowledge the scratch and then decide if it is worth bandaging-up or leaving as is.

And if you’re someone who’s mostly experienced factory labourer in a developing country-type problems, I hope you can do your best to find solutions. I, as well as others, empathize with you. But remember that those who’ve only experienced scratches have no clue what your pain is like; so try to make them understand your pain before you squash their pain as living “an easy life”.

So if you think you have it rough, maybe you do. I hope you can find a solution. But if you think you’ve had it the worst, I can’t be sure … And unfortunately neither can you. But I still have your back, and I still hope you can find a solution.

Whether your problems are scratches or deep cuts, you are responsible for finding solutions. And at the end of the day, the decision to take responsibility may be the hardest for all of us, no matter our pain.

As always, I hope you have a productive day and 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, Self-Discipline, Selfcare Tips

The Horror of Habit: Why Too Much of a Good Thing Can Seriously Break You

It’s easy to get stuck …

… in your daily routine, in your job, in your relationship.

The explanation for this? … Habit.

My Monday morning habits!

Since starting this blog, I’ve talked a lot about how staying disciplined to good routines can help you create good habits – therefore making the challenging things in life easier.

And if you haven’t guessed yet, my advice for sticking with a good routine is to practice self-care, self-development, and self-discipline, in that order.

(Side note: If you haven’t read my three-part series on self-care, self-development, and self-discipline be sure to check it out by clicking link 1, link 2, and link 3 which will open in a new pages.)

But did you know those three phases occur in a loop?

Let’s call it the “personal-development loop”.

The Personal Development Loop: self care to self development to self discipline.

My goal for you is to make moving through the personal-development loop a continuous habit. However, just like moving through the loop can become a habit, staying in one phase too long can become a habit as well … a bad habit that is.

Now why can habit be a bad thing?

Because it makes you reach for ice cream when you feel sad, and it causes you to change lanes without checking your blind spot. And believe it or not, it can also lead to laziness as an excuse for self-care, unorganized activity as an excuse for self-development, and over-working yourself as an excuse for self-discipline.

And now I’ll admit something embarrassing:

Not too long ago, I realized I was stuck in a bad habit of self-care. I needed to un-f*** … ugh sorry, autocorrect … I meant to say I needed to un-stuck myself.

This all started when I was caught in an equally bad habit of self-discipline. I worked my brains out, and because I stopped moving through the personal-development loop, I burnt out. I sought help and learned how to implement self-care to get back into the swing of things.

So I started practicing gratitude and meditation. I started sleeping-in when I woke up tired after a crappy sleep. And I started drawing when I had spare time after work. I pressed pause on my competitive edge and learned how to take care of myself first.

Here’s where the problem started…

Once I was ready to take the next step in the personal-development loop (i.e. self-development), I couldn’t break my self-care routine. I became too cozy in my self-care lifestyle that I let it turn into a bad habit.

So instead of waking up to my alarm each morning, I started sleeping-in because I thought I was “doing my body good”. And instead of doing my regular high-intensity interval training, I drew pictures because I didn’t want to “over-work” myself. What I was really doing, was justifying laziness by calling it self-care; I got so used to my former self-care lifestyle that I was inhibiting myself from personal development.

Now let’s look a little deeper at how habits form.

I am currently reading a book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (and I freaking love it). The book explains that habits are formed in a part of the brain called the basal ganglia (see the figure below).

Your brain on habit - the basal ganglia.

The book states, “Habits never really disappear. They’re encoded into the structures of our brain […]. The problem is that your brain can’t tell the difference between bad and good habits […].”

The good news is, “once someone creates a new pattern, studies have demonstrated, going for a job or ignoring the doughnuts becomes as automatic as any other habit” (page 20).

If we want to form good habits, we need to start very clearly laying out our goals. We need to be self-aware and recognize when we are stuck in a bad habit. And to break a bad habit, we need to start implementing new cues.

Want to wake up on time? Write out your daily schedule down to the minute. Want to work-out in the morning? Sleep in your workout clothes. Want to stop with the ice cream? Stock up on frozen fruit.

So don’t fall into the same trap I did. Personal development is a loop and a balancing act. Create good habits, even though it will be hard.

But I promise once you create good habits, your routines will rock and you’ll truly begin to understand the power of habit!

If you want more information on habits, I highly recommend The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Click here to get yourself a copy.

Have a happy and productive Monday! ❤✌

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*Disclaimer: Please note that some links may be affiliate links which means I will make a small commission of each purchase. Any commission I make will help me to continue creating free content.

Self-development

How to Seriously Advance Any Career

Pressure

Societal, family, peer … I guarantee we’ve all felt it from one source or another.

As a “millenial“, I’d say one common pressure felt by a lot of Gen Ys and Zs is that university degrees allow you to achieve your dreams.

*insert eye roll*

For the record, I am not saying university is a bad place to be, especially if you need and / or want a particular degree (says the chick with 2 degrees herself). BUT, what I am saying is presenting university as the best place to be is misleading people whose wants lie elsewhere.

Alternatively, in the past year or so, I’ve noticed a huge push on social media for entrepreneurship.

Similar to the idea of attending university, entrepreneurship itself is not a bad thing (and I personally think it is a great alternative or complement to university based on the way the education system seems to be headed). BUT entrepreneurship should also not be presented as the best option for young people.

Let me provide some examples to better explain why.

Example 1) The other day I saw an Instagram post that said something like “most of us serve a life sentence in a 9-5 job.” … this person actually compared a life prison sentence to legitimate work. Seriously!? I can see what they might’ve meant but I think that comparison is both dramatic and unfair.

Example 2) The same night I saw a Facebook post where someone mentioned that “entrepreneurship is the most courageous thing to do on this planet”. Yes, that was the exact quote. The most courageous thing!? What about firefighters who often literally risk their physical wellbeing just by doing their job? Or those who go to the police after being raped? Or those who realize that they hurt someone in the past and need to apologize? Or neurosurgeons? Or people just trying to live in war torn countries!?!

Simply put, I do not recommend we push people in the wrong direction by telling them university is the best place to be, but it is equally as dangerous to push people into entrepreneurship. Instead, I think we should encourage people to be problem solvers and teach them how to grow within the career of their choosing.

If you want to promote entrepreneurship because you think it is amazing and we need more entrepreneurs in the world, go for it. I might actually agree with you. But to tell people that having a 9-5 job working for an employer is a bad decision!? Stop. And then to say entrepreneurship is the most courageous thing to do on the planet!?…..that is just wrong.

A 9-5 can provide you with benefits, a good wage, minimal stress compared to entrepreneurship, and work-life balance. That sounds freaking awesome to me. In fact, I lived that life for 3 years and I have no complaints about it.

Telling a mass number of people that working a 9-5 is like going to prison, is a very bad idea (if you ask me) and you’re probably not doing the world any favours. Imagine we lived in a world where we had more entrepreneurs than employees. How would any business survive? The entrepreneurs wouldn’t have anyone to work at their companies! The world needs journalists and sales associates and dental assistants just like it needs people like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk. And people who choose to work as employees instead of employers are hopefully doing it because they want to and because they are capable of that style of work.

Instead of making entrepreneurship the end-all be-all, I think we should advertise creativity.

We should tell people, that no matter what their job is, they should read books and problem solve on a daily basis so that they can make their place of work (where ever that may be) operate more efficiently. That might mean inventing an electric car, proposing a new curriculum for primary school students, or having the courage to propose a new working style to your manager.

So before you hop on social media to bash or promote a certain lifestyle, please consider something the world may actually need more of: creativity, analytical thinking, courage, and logic.

Work hard, be smart, and remember what’s right for you might not be right for the person next to you.

As always, Happy Monday ❤✌

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