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.*

New Beginnings, Self-development

Does the Limit Really Exist? (How to Realize your Endless Potential)

I’m sure we all recognize a Mean Girls GIF when we see one. What an awesome part in the movie, right? Cady answers the final question correctly in the math competition, and her high school mathlete team takes home the title!

But that’s not the important part. What’s important is what comes right before she answers the question. Cady approaches her competitor, Ms. Caroline Kraft, who “seriously needed to pluck her eyebrows” and wipe the cheap lip gloss off her front tooth.

Mean girl's character, Ms. Caroline Kraft

But then Cady immediately recognizes, making fun of Caroline Kraft wouldn’t stop Ms. Kraft from answering the math question correctly. And it was at that moment that Cady realized, “all you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.”

Then that’s when she says it… “The limit does not exist!”

No Limits, No Worries

Hiker achieves her goal by climbing to the top of a mountain.

Think about your goals. Maybe one of them is to run a 5 km race in a time of 20 minutes. The “problem” you now need to solve is “how do I run 5 km in 20 minutes?” And the obvious answer: train.

So you train hard for 3 months and end up reaching your goal – woohoo! But then what…? Well, option (1) you maintain the same training methods to maintain a 20 minute time for next race; or option (2) you give yourself another problem to solve – you decide to crank your training up a notch and shoot to make a time of 19 minutes and 55 seconds for the next race.

Long distance runners in a track event.

That’s what I love about being limitless – once you reach a goal, you can push harder to reach a more difficult goal. You are completely capable of getting out of your own way, and working to solve the new problem in front of you.

And if you are ever doubting yourself, remember this phrase:

“You can do anything!”

…wait, what!? You think that’s a cheesy and unrealistic statement?! Hmmm… I think not.

Maybe that statement is just a fact. Maybe the problem is you don’t believe in yourself enough to understand that fact as true.

Well I think it is true. What’s more, I think that if you are a human being, the improvements you can make everyday and the problems you can solve everyday are limitless.

Your Limit Does Not Exist

What do you think it means to be limitless? And in what sense can a human being truly be limitless?

Let’s break down the answers to those questions:

To be limitless is to recognize who you are today, and then recognize that you can be so much more tomorrow (and more the day after that, and more after that … you get the picture).

Now in what sense can you be limitless? Well that answer is interesting for the following reason. You see, most people immediately answer the question with “we have limits because we are human”. Most people think, because we are human, we just can’t do certain things (for example, flapping our arms so hard that we fly, or growing a fury coat to keep us warm in the winter). However, an answer like that tells me you don’t truly understand the power of being limitless; because an answer like that simply focuses on physical abilities.

So to answer my earlier question: we are limitless in the sense of our mental capabilities, not our physical abilities.

The Proof is in the Pudding

Think about every time you trained or studied for something. If it was a race, maybe you achieved a personal best time. If it was a test, maybe you got a 90% and scored the highest in the class.

Whatever it was, you were successful because you worked hard.

Now here’s something to think about: what if you worked harder? What if you used your capabilities to take you further next time around?

Let’s start with the example of writing a test. “Hold on Ella! I have no plans on taking the EXACT SAME test twice. So then how can I tell if I’ve pushed myself to new limits the second time around?”

That is a valid question.

But you have to remember, your limitless potential has nothing to do with answering a multiple choice question correctly, and EVERYTHING to do with HOW you go about answering that question.

Think about it, even standardized tests like the MCAT, LSAT, and SAT use a variety of questions across each individual test. But what is similar for each test is 1) knowledge testing 2) analytical testing 3) and communication testing. So if you focus your studying to improve those 3 areas, it is likely you will improve your test scores regardless of the questions being asked.

So let’s say you want to read test questions quicker. If you simply physically try to read as fast as you can, you probably won’t see much improvement. Alternatively, if you use your mental capacity to research ways to read faster and implement them on a daily basis (ex. using your finger to guide you as you read), you will start to notice improvements.

Think about the hundreds of thousands of people who, over history have said, “I have no idea how to do this”… and then thought and thought and until they figured that sh*t out!

Think about all the athletes in history who have set world record after world record. It seems there is always a new and better way to train.

Whether it was Einstein, Napoleon, Federer, or Musk all those people had to use their mental capacity to solve their problems.

So if you want to take advantage of your limitless potential, you need to be able to think your way out of difficult situations.

Defy the Odds

Can you picture your limit? Can you aactually visualize a moment where you are working hard but cannot work any harder?

If you just said “yes”, you are limiting yourself! Here’s the thing about being limitless: potential exists in the future and limits exist in the past.

If you can visualize your highest potential, you believe there is an end point. You believe there is a point you will reach and never be able to move past.

So if you want to visualize your highest potential without turning it into an end point destination, here’s one of my absolute favourite tips:

Your highest potential is just a dust door.

So if you hit that 20 minute record in the 5 km race, in that moment you might believe you reached your highest potential. But as soon as you knock on that door, POOF it disappears!

And once you have no door in your way, you continue to set more difficult goals. You continue push yourself to a new level because you are thinking smarter not harder.

That’s why the #YearofYou mantra is so powerful. Because it truly embraces the power of being limitless. Each day, you can truly take another step toward making the next 365 days the best you’ve ever experienced.

So as always, I hope you have a happy Monday, and don’t forget to make this the #YearOfYou!

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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.*

Self-Discipline

Societal Pressure Does Not Exist … 🤔

“Society pressures us to go to university.”

“Society pressures us to buy name brand clothes we can’t afford.”

It’s crazy to think I’ve been telling myself those lies until just recently.

What’s even crazier is that those statements only become true if you allow them to be.

I understand that mainstream media portrays a certain way of life which seems ideal. And I understand that impressionable children and young adults can be feel swayed toward living their lives a certain way.

But what I don’t understand is why people equate being pressured, with pressuring themselves.

The truth is, we create pressure. It is something which manifests as a result of fear. Fear that we won’t find friends, fear that we won’t make an income, or fear that we’ll lose a relationship most commonly including the love of our parents.

A young adult feeling pressure about which major decisions to make in life.

Unless you are under some sort of duress, you probably aren’t being forced to make major life decisions. [Note: This article assumes “decisions” are ones that do not cause harm to you or others]

And I know you’re probably pissed because you don’t want me to tell you to be responsible for your own decisions. And you’re probably thinking about all those times society or your parents pressured you into doing something… Well I’m here to prove you wrong.

False Assumption #1 Other People Care About Your Decisions

They don’t care. In fact, nobody cares more about you, than you.

I’ve personally made major life decisions thinking they would satisfy other people, and then as a result, I would be satisfied. Guess what happened?…no one ended up satisfied! So the reality is, unless you make decisions to satisfy YOURSELF FIRST, you’ll never be satisfied.

Nobody cares if the logo on your shirt says “Old Navy” or “True Religion”. And if someone does make a snarky comment about it, they themselves falsely believe people care about material items. In addition, nobody cares if you’re a plumber, or a professor, or a YouTuber. People just ask each other about that shit because it’s a great way to make conversation. Your career and your life are you business. And if somebody else wants to make those things their business, then you need to ignore their opinions.

“But Ella, I’m 17 and I feel so much pressure from my parents. And I KNOW they care about me!”

That is a tough situation, especially since your parents probably do have your best interest at heart. I know lots of you have probably felt pressure and a result of your parents’ words or actions.

But, at the end of the day, just remember that you are your own worst enemy.

YOU put pressure on yourself as a result of not wanting to lose your parents’ approval. And although your parents probably have your best interest at heart, when you hit 18 and have to make major life decisions, you need to make them on your own. And if your parents don’t agree with your decision, move out, start your own life, and stop relying on them.

Harsh I know. But if you want to make independent decisions, you need to be an independent person. Eventually, either your parents will realize they were trying to micro manage you OR you will realize you made a bad decision.

Oh and if you’re a parent reading this, please realize your kid does not have to be the next Elon Musk or does not have to make $100 000 a year for him/her to be worth your love … So don’t make them feel like that is the case.

And if you still think people give a serious f*** about your life decisions, flip the situation around and think about all the people YOU don’t give a f*** about. Think about it, you must have heard at least one person in your life say something you disagree with. Whether it was on the internet, in a presentation, or in a large group setting, you heard someone say something you didn’t agree with and you probably didn’t care. You didn’t care because you didn’t / don’t have a vested interested in that person.

In those scenarios, you either exited out of the disagreeable website, didn’t bother responding to the disagreeable YouTube comment, or you didn’t say a word in the large group setting and instead thought “what an idiot for saying that.”

So just like you didn’t care about that other person, other people dont really care about you. That said, make decisions that satisfy you first and don’t worry about judgment from others.

False Assumption #2 You Need Approval from Others

Not only do you think people care, but you want them to care.

Well the fact is, you don’t need them to care. Nobody else knows your life like you do, so it makes zero sense for them to approve or validate YOUR LIFE DECISIONS.

Someone feeling like they are being told how to live their life.

Be confident in your decisions and learn to say “yes” to yourself. You don’t need to have the support of everyone around you before making a decision, and you don’t need other people to tell you your decisions are good ones.

“But Ella, I want to have friends in my life. Having people around me who like me, makes me happy.”

Listen kid, fake friends don’t make you happy. You’ll be happier with just 1 or 2 true friends than you ever will be with 10 fake friends. And if somebody is a true friend, they’ll like you regardless of your decision to take a fifth year of high school or go to post-secondary school immediately.

When you are reliant on the “blessing” of other people, you often forget to acknowledge your own wants. And when your actions in life do not line-up with your wants in life, I guarantee you won’t be at peace and you won’t be happy.

False Assumption #3 It is Easy for the Media to Brain-Wash People

This assumption is interesting because I actually agree with it! For sure it is easy for people to be brain washed…heck we can even brain wash ourselves!

The problem I have with that assumption is that we are perfectly capable of choosing our media sources and challenging our own beliefs. So if you feel pressure to live your live in accordance with media source x, then start listening to media source y!

A person making a decision about which media outlet to read

In fact, you should make it a habit of switching up your media sources as soon as you notice you are completely ingrained in a particular line of thought. Think about like this: (1) you believe x, (2) you recognize that x is the best solution, (3) you recognize that you probably don’t know enough about x because you think it is the best solution, (4) research information about y and z to challenge or confirm your beliefs about x.

Don’t Socialize Your Beliefs

Be an independent thinker. If you come to conclusions based on your own research, the only pressure you’ll feel is the kind that motivates you to live a better life.

Diamonds

I like to think about it like this, “No pressure, no diamonds. No pressure, no diamonds.”

So if you feel pressure, make sure it’s as a result of your wants and no one elses. And once you start riding that good pressure wave, the momentum will leave you unstoppable.

As always, have a 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 advice.*

Self-development, Self-Discipline

You’re Doing the Math Wrong! (Why You Need to be Ambitious in 2019)

Habit coach selfie with flowers.

“Ambition”

That’s a good word, right? I mean, I’ve never met anyone who said ambition was a bad quality.

Think about it, to have ambition is to have “a desire to achieve something, or succeed, accompanied with motivation, determination, and an internal drive.”

Sounds like a pretty sweet quality, eh? I’d say so!

Tell me something: Would you consider the following 5 people ambitious?

(1) Jeff Bezos – founder of Amazon

(2) Bill Gates – founder of Microsoft

(3) Warren Buffett – master investor

(4) Mark Zuckerberg – founder of Facebook

(5) Larry Page – founder of Google.

I certainly would! And funny enough, those are also some of the wealthiest people in the world. Ambition is a quality of a high-achiever. And for that reason, I personally try hard to embody ambition.

Now here’s the interesting part…

… If it seems that ambition is such a great quality, why does it also seem that so many people are quick to shoot down and dismiss the ambitions of others?

Question mark

So to all those who knock down people’s ambitions (and maybe that’s you) I’m here to change your mind on the subject…

So what is ambition anyways?

You see, the etymology of the word ambition comes from the Latin word ambitionem which literally means “to go about” to either solicit votes, strive for flattery, honour, or popularity. So to be ambitious is to attempt to reach a uniquely high status.

So to say “I want to be the next Bill Gates”, or “I want to be the next YouTube sensation” are unique goals and therefore ambitious goals to set. To reach either of those 2 goals requires an immense amount of hard work and strategy. And because the paths to reach those 2 goals also require tenacity, smarts, and consistency, people often equate ambitious goals with impossible goals.

A person taking a literal leap of faith.

You’re Doing Your Math Wrong

My advice is to always be realistic.

Is it mathematically less probable for you to achieve an ambitious goal as opposed to a more “normal” goal? …YES…BUT that depends on your variables.

Usually people think about the probabaility of achieving a goal by using the number of applicants and the number of job opportunities as variables. For example:

If there are 100 mechanical engineers and 500 job opportunities for mechanical engineers in for world, the probability of getting a mechanical engineering job is pretty f***ing high.

In fact, the probability is 1 for 1 PLUS room for error.

Now let’s look at another example:

If there are 20 people who want to be a motivational speaker, the probability of achieving that goal seems low; it seems low because there are NO employers looking to hire motivational speakers at their businesses. Instead, motivational speaking – along with all other entrepreneurial pursuits – don’t have job openings waiting to be filled. Ambitious entrepreneurial jobs have to be created from the ground-up. Therefore, if you have 20 potential motivational speakers compared to a seemingly non-existent number of job opportunities, the likelihood of you becoming a motivational speaker based on those variables alone, is ZERO.

Now here’s my argument…

Change Your Variables

If there is 1 of you, and 1 type of job you want, and you have all the qualities necessary to do that job… you have a high probability of achieving.

In fact, your probability is 1 for 1.

If you employ what it actually takes to be the next Bill Gates or the next YouTube sensation, you will achieve your goal.

And if you’re the type of person who tells people to “stop being so ambitious” and “more realistic”, you might need a reality check yourself. And hey, so what if Person X never ends up achieving his/her ambitious goal. If he/she tried their best and is living a happy life, you should not put him/her down or discourage him/her.

Person walk up stairs that say

Lastly, and to further prove my point, there are intelligent and affluent people in the world who both trust and provide money to those who are realistically ambitious. Those intelligent people are angel investors.

Pragmatic Optimism Pays

An angel investor “is an affluent individual who provides capital for a business start-up, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity.”

Angel investors have faith in ambitious people, and realize that innovation and therefore ambition can lead to large profits.

Dollar sign

Don’t Shoot Down Ambitions

If you are in fact an ambitious person, meaning you have smarts, tenacity, patience, and persistence, the probability of you achieving an ambitious goal is a lot higher than someone without those 4 qualities.

So as much as it sucks to start working toward a goal from the bottom, achieving your ambitious goal will make the view from the top worth it. Be realistic, use the proper variables, and trust your ambitions!

And 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 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 ❤✌

[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 health advice.

New Beginnings, Self-development

Do These 3 Things BEFORE Getting Into ANY Relationship

Heartbreak. Break up. Let down.

I’m sure we’ve all felt some sort of gut-wrenching feelings after experiencing any of the three things mentioned above.

So how do we get past those feelings? How do we stop feeling lonely and start feeling whole with nothing but ourselves?

Answer: Heal yourself.

And before you roll your eyes at my seemingly woo-woo answer, please know that healing through coming to understand your true self is in fact practical, possible, and functional.

You have to heal yourself before you can love yourself.

…and most importantly, you have to do those things before giving your whole self to someone else in a romantic or platonic relationship.

How We Can Heal

Step 1: Stop the Perpetuity

Stop sign

Is who you were, who you want to become?

Do you want to perpetuate the same poor behaviour you might have learned when you were younger, possibly from parents or guardians?

Maybe you grew up with role models or guardians who held particular beliefs or ideas about life that you don’t want for yourself. And that doesn’t have to mean the beliefs or ideas were bad ones, just that you don’t want them.

Maybe you saw broken/bad relationships around you, so you picked up some habits of those who were in the bad relationships. Well I am telling you to recognize that, although you never wanted to be like “mom, dad, big sister, or person X,” being around them and having relationships with them probably caused you to pick up some of their behaviour whether you like it or not.

So it is important to recognize AND write down, which traits or behaviours you do NOT want for yourself when it comes to being in relationships.

Then everytime you act in a way that exemplifies those traits, WRITE THAT EXAMPLE DOWN.

Eventually you’ll create a report card for yourself; you’ll record concrete evidence and feedback so you can accelerate your learning.

Step 2: Get to know YOU…again and again and again

Me and words describing who I am. For example, I am honorable and capable.

Understand who the f*** you are.

What do you hold sacred based on your values? What are the beliefs that shape you? It is VERY IMPORTANT to note that these things will change throughout your life. And for that reason, you have to come to know what kind of person you are, at multiple points throughout your life.

Recognize that your adult self might be very different from your teenage or young adult self. If you reflect on who you are in each stage of your life, you will understand that what you wanted in a relationship as a 15 year old may no longer hold true.

To be clear here, I don’t mean that, at 15 you were into broad shoulders and a chiseled jaw, and now you’re into blonde hair and blue eyes. WHAT I MEAN IS, 15 year old you didn’t know what you know now. And when we gain knowledge, we adjust our beliefs, values, and wants accordingly.

Step 3: Accept that change is a must.

What is the next step? To be agile means you ca. adapt quickly and efficiently for the best results.

At the end of the day, people want to be in relationships with nice people. In fact, I don’t know anyone at all who is actually seeking out a miserable relationship.

Be someone that people want to be around.

If you recognized you need to change your behaviour or start hanging out with people who have values closer to yours, make those changes. And if you completed step 1, you should have a report card of your behaviour recorded to help you change.

Being a good person is hard, I get it. I like to think I put a lot of effort in to being kinder, more patient, and less confrontational everyday (YET I still have a LONG way to go). BUT my effort has attracted amazing people into my life whom I have formed relationships with.

At the end of the day, nobody wants a relationship with someone who is negative and inhibits their growth. So your big takeaway from this blog post is to NOT being that person.

Heal yourself, love yourself, and be the best version of you.

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.

Self-development

I discovered the meaning of life – it’s less complicated than you think

“What is the meaning of my life?”

… That may be the most-asked question of our generation. Maybe even more-asked than previous generations.

…What do you think?

Haven’t you noticed the influx of YouTube videos, Instagram influencers, and bloggers heavily discussing the meaning of life? Why do you think it has become SUCH a prominent topic?

What is the meaning of life? Man searching with a magnifying glass.

Well, that question has been brought up to me a few times now, so I figured I’d finally answer it.

So why do you want to find meaning?

Reason 1)

This generation is exposed to an incredibly vast amount of media… ALL. THE. TIME. (not to say parents aren’t the ones permitting this exposure to their kids under 18).

Anyways, this addiction to vanity which is encouraged through likes, comments, comparisons, and not to mention the general idea of the Social Media Façade, has created a generation of depressed, anxious, and unconfident people.

So for example, when young Sally feels fat, unpopular, and ugly because of her thirst for positive comments on her IG selfies, it is no wonder she wants to know the meaning of her being on planet Earth.

And since this vanity addiction has been noticed by many intelligent people of our time, the message of “find meaning in life” is being throttled toward us left, right, and centre.

Reason 2)

The time period we are living in is by far one of the best (if not the best) times to be alive.

Jump for joy because 2019 is an amazing time to be alive.

At least in Western culture, this generation does not know what it is like to live through war, suffrage, segregation and Jim Crow laws, nuclear threats, a Great Depression, or a dictatorship … so yes, it is a pretty damn good time to be alive.

And because we are so lucky (again, I am generalizing Western culture), we have no idea what horrible experiences of suffering are like. So the negative experiences of young people nowadays might be minor, but since we don’t have worse lived-experiences to compare to, minor problems become “like the worst ever” and we “just can’t even”.

So with all this lack of actual danger, but all this presence of actual heartache, I think this generation has lost value for the good things in life. We just don’t realize how good we actually have it. Marriage, sex, religion, and science are major parts of existence that I’ve seen taken for granted in media and public spaces time and time again. And without life values, young people don’t know what to live for anymore. So if we feel we have little to value, how can we feel fulfilled?

Reason 3)

We’ve lost a sense of community – a sense of something that unites us.

Community holding hands

Do you attend a Church or are you part of a social group?

Do you feel oneness with your fellow Canadians, Americans, etc.?

Do you stand for anything?

I find people are becoming more agnostic when it comes to choosing values and opinions in life.

So when you have no in-group, no uniting ideas, and no sense of shared culture, then you feel like an outsider. And even worse, you feel like an outsider on the inside.

And when you’re lonely and without anyone to go to, it is no surprise that you feel your life is meaningless.

Choose what you stand for, research it, stick with it, but be willing to accept other points of view. Find a group that believes in the same thing you do and you’ll begin to feel belonging.

Now here’s the interesting part:

Humanity has always will continue to always search for meaning. It might just seem more prominent nowadays because of social media.

About 2 months ago, I read the most amazing book called Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. Frankl used his experience in Auschwitz and other concentration camps to discover the meaning of life. He discovered that meaning is the tension between who you are now and what you can become.

Man's search for meaning, book written by Viktor E. Frankl. As a habit coach, I use the teachings of this book to help my clients improve their life.

Remember that your meaning to live comes from your capabilities and potentialities. So if you’re feeling lost, think about what you represent and what you can be if you work hard. 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, medical, or legal 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.

Self-development

How to be Happy for Other People + 3 Deep Questions You Need to Ask in Order to Ditch Jealousy

“Jealousy is the root of all evil”

Have you heard that expression before? Maybe you’ve experienced the backstab (or frontstab) by a jealousy-fueled person… or, maybe you’ve been the dealer of similar jealousy-fueled actions…

Worry about you and no one else!

In talking with people since starting my blog, a question I often get asked is, why the f*** can’t people just be happy for other people?

It’s funny, I ask myself that question a lot too.

Why is it so hard for some to see a person happy in a career, a relationship, or any life circumstance and just say “congrats”? Why is it so easy for some to see a person happy then deliberately make that person miserable? …And what I think is the most frustrating question: Why is it so hard to NOT communicate the reason for being bitter toward the happy person? …I thought we were all adults here?

Are you green with envy?

Well, I think the reason some can’t be happy for others is jealousy.

And I know what some of you are thinking “wow Ella, who are you to say other people are mean as a result of jealousy?”

Well I can say that because (1) it’s my opinion and (2) I can actually recall times I’ve been jealous in the past (yes I will admit I have flaws) and noticed how it changed my view of other people’s success.

So that said, I’ve come-up with 3 questions you need to ask yourself if you’re having trouble being happy for other people:

#1 Are you in competition with that person?

Unless that person is in a life competition with you (doubtful), their is LITERALLY zero reason for you to be jealous of them. For example, let’s say you want to lose weight but you are having some trouble reaching your goal. One weekend you go to the beach with Sally and notice her shredded abs. You both go for lunch afterward and Sally orders a salad. You immediately tell her she is a boring friend for eating “rabbit food” for lunch. …Now, instead of poking fun at Sally for being healthy, try reconsidering your own decision to eat fries and a coke for lunch.

Now let’s say you’re looking for a long-term relationship. Then one day Sally tells you she found a man to share the rest of her life with. (…I know, it seems like Sally has it all. Don’t be jealous 😉 )

Anyways… after hearing about Sally’s relationship, you immediately cut her out of your life and start talking behind her back. Now, instead of being bitter, maybe you should just reconsider why you can’t find a happy relationship yourself.

So… if you are confused as to why I want you to ask yourself question #1, let me clear things up: YOU ARE NOT IN A LIFE COMPETITION WITH ANYBODY ELSE. The only person you should seriously be competing with is who you were yesterday. You can not control anyone’s life but your own so why bother exerting negative jealous energy towards other people, as if they should change their situation for you? The only energy you should exert is the kind it will take you to improve your own life.

Here’s an anecdote to help you understand better:

Top athletes like Lional Messi and Wayne Gretzky probably never made dirty, jealousy-fueled fouls against other athletes as kids. Instead, those athletes decided to improve their own tactical skills and techniques; they improved their personal talents so that they could be happy with themselves and become personally successful. They might’ve been jealous of other athletes at times, BUT they clearly manifested their jealousy in ways that never negatively affected those athletes.

Remember, you’ll never win the game by tearing-down people around you – you have to do things honorably and honestly. And the fact is, nobody is trying to go after the trophy of your life, so worry about your own trophy and be happy when someone else gets theirs.

#2 What about yourself are you not happy with?

Do you have any flaws to improve or insecurities to stop worrying about? Maybe you do…and maybe those flaws and insecurities are inhibiting you from getting what you want.

Furthermore, maybe you’re being ignorant to the fact that you do have flaws and insecurities (although I will admit, self-awareness is NOT an easy task). And yes, self-awareness requires effort and a break-down of your ego. I know what you’re thinking… it is unfortunate that you need to eat healthy and workout to get shredded abs, and it is inconvenient that you need to be a decent person if you want to be in any sort of friendship or romantic relationship. So just because someone else decided to put in that effort and you did not, that is no reason to NOT be happy for them.

#3 Can you clearly articulate the logical reason you cannot be happy for someone?

Has the person you aren’t happy for done anything to hurt you? Have they purposely done anything to make you upset? If the answer is “no”, but you still cannot articulate why you cannot be happy for them, my guess is you don’t want to admit the answer…And that’s because jealousy is nothing to be proud of.

If you find jealousy has boiled up inside you, IT IS OKAY because jealous is a human emotion felt by all of us. What is NOT OKAY, is allowing that jealousy to control your actions.

So please people, let’s all start practicing self-awareness. Why wouldn’t you want to be happy for others and why wouldn’t you want to be happy for yourself?

It might take a little hard work, but at the end of the day, you can win your personal life trophy and not have to worry about anyone else’s.

At the the end of the day, all you can do is focus on making the next 365 days the #YearOfYOU.

As always, have a very 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.