Looking on the Bright Side of Life

Focusing on the bright side of your life is part of taking care of YOU and loving yourself.

People often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I say the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder!
-Salma Hayek

Last month I posted about how I made some positivity/blessings jars and you can check that out here: How Making a Positivity Jar Can Help You. This has proven to be a great tool for me because it helps me work through each day in a positive light. Think about it: you’re sifting through the parts of your day, much like files in a drawer, looking for each particular positive. You kind of have to work through everything that happened in order to find the pearls of positivity.

You don’t even have to make these types of jars in order to work through your day either. Sometimes simply exercising, journaling, or blogging can really help a lot. You might even find something else that you can integrate into your routine that will help you focus on the positive.

Know what sparks the light in you. Then use that light to illuminate the world.
-Oprah Winfrey

Teaching yourself how to focus on the positive in your life can really help you in general as well. This form of positive reinforcement is encouraging and can even be fun! You are basically rewarding yourself for all your hard work.

What you can do to establish this habit:

  • Review your day– work through the negative and emphasize the positive. Processing what happened throughout the day can be really therapeutic. You can do this in any way that feels comfortable and most natural to you.
  • Give yourself a pep talk– tell yourself how well you did today and praise yourself for all of your accomplishments. You have more than earned this recognition!
  • Talk to someone or blog– discuss your day, mention your concerns or worries, and most of all celebrate the positive!
  • Treat/reward yourself– Give yourself an actual “treat” for your hard work, such as time to yourself, getting your hair or nails done, going shopping at your favorite story, purchasing a book or game that you’ve wanted for a while.

What do you get in return (the results):

  • You are encouraging yourself to keep moving forward each time you acknowledge the positive that has already happened. It also allows you to picture what possibilities of positive that you might have in the future if you keep working hard.
  • By training your brain to look at the positive within yourself and your life, you are also becoming your own best support system and cheerleader… which can be one of the biggest things you can do for yourself in your weight loss journey. You are learning how to depend on yourself the most, instead of relying on others for that same satisfaction.
  • Any shred of light, happiness, love, peace, or comfort is all magnified when you choose to focus on these things!

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.
-Maya Angelou

Building this habit of focusing on the bright side of life can really help you feel happier and more peaceful. It may take time and lots of practice, but someday you will look back and see that you have come so far and you will be happy you made the decision to be more positive!

 

~Bonnie~

Advertisements

10 Ways to De-Stress When Life is Overwhelming

As I mentioned last week, with Valentine’s Day coming up soon, we are all thinking about love in some form. Whether it be a significant other, another family member, a crush, or even simply disliking the holiday… Let’s just accept the facts, we know it’s coming and it is probably on our minds.

What I feel is most important is loving ourselves and taking care of ourselves. Even if we have a loved one to spend the holiday or our time with, we need to take the time to take care of ourselves.

One of our biggest downfalls as human beings is stressing out. We’re constantly bombarded by anything and everything, we have mountains and mountains of work not to mention our home life to juggle, or we simply feel overwhelmed about life in general.

Here are some things you can do pretty much anywhere or anytime to de-stress when life is causing you to feel overwhelmed for whatever reason:

  1. Write. Journal, blog, or jot a few notes down on a piece of paper to work through what you’re feeling. It’s quick and it helps a ton. Not only are you organizing your thoughts, but writing and rereading what you wrote can help you discover new things or come to realizations you wouldn’t have otherwise.
  2. Read. Grab your favorite book or any good book and start reading it. It could be a novel, a self-help book, a real life story, anything that you find pleasing. Reading is relaxing because it gets you out of your own mind and into another world. While you’re taking a mental vacation between the pages, your mind can process other thoughts and feelings, which in turn helps you work through your feelings and calm down.
  3. Listen to music. This one can be a given to a lot of us, but even though I love music, sometimes I can forget that it’s such a stress reliever. Pump up your favorite tunes, turn on your favorite radio station, or watch music videos. Sing along and even dance along, let those tunes carry you away!
  4. Take a walk or workout. Taking a walk in the fresh air or getting a workout in can allow you to work through your thoughts and feelings as well. You can take out your frustration or disappointment and work super hard in your workout. Going for a walk is great too as it’s another way to get outside of your head while still allowing your mind to work through things.
  5. Call a friend. Do you have a buddy you like to talk to when you need to just get it all out? Call, email, or message them. A true friend will always be there for you, as a listening ear or to give you advice if you want it (or sometimes when you don’t want it). Talking through things allows you to hear things from another perspective, out loud as well as through feedback from your friend.
  6. Color. Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. Grab or print a coloring page and something to color with and start coloring. It is really therapeutic. It allows you to zone out and do something with both your mind and hands that is constructive. Your pictures do not even have to be pretty for this to work. If you think this is something for you, I would also encourage you to go to the store and pick out a kids or adult coloring book and coloring utensils that make you excited to color: colored pencils, markers, crayons, colored pens, anything works!
  7. Housework/organize. Work on cleaning, organizing, or decluttering your house, yard, or car. Making everything clean and fresh is remarkably refreshing to your mind as well!
  8. Pamper yourself. Go see a movie on your own or with a friend/loved one, get your hair cut or colored, get your nails done, go to the library to spend some quiet time, visit a museum, spend some time in nature, or just do anything that makes you feel pampered and relaxed. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Just give it some thought and pick something that works for you.
  9. Play. Play with your kids or pets, or those of friends/family members. It will help release the inner kid in you and help you feel more carefree and alive! Trust me, it is fun! Be silly and throw yourself into it!
  10. Hot shower/bath. Water therapy. Take a nice relaxing bath if you can, or a hot shower. If you have access to a pool or hot tub, those can be amazingly relaxing as well. Whatever floats your boat!

My personal favorites are walking, writing, and reading. If I’m really antsy or anxious, putting myself to work picking up the house or organizing things helps me too. It gives me something to do physically that betters my world in some way! I also love to pamper myself whenever I get the chance to.

What is your favorite way to de-stress when you feel overwhelmed?

 

~Bonnie~

Loving Yourself as You Are

With Valentine’s Day coming up in less than two weeks, so many of us are thinking of love… So I wanted to mention how important loving yourself is! Whether or not you have a significant other, you need to love yourself. This is definitely easier said than done and I know that from experience. It took me a long time to accept myself as I was and love what makes me, me. However, now that I do, I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin.

Thinking about what you like about yourself at least once a day can seem like a huge task, but is so worth it. It’s like an exercise for your mind and helps you strengthen your view of yourself, a little at a time. Journaling your thoughts might be the easiest way to make more concrete progress because actively writing down what you like about yourself really helps you absorb it better, but you can also just simply take a few minutes each day to reflect on these things. Start or end your day with a few minutes of dedicated time spent appreciating yourself.

Another thing you can do to learn to love yourself is to think kind thoughts as you go about your day. Each time you think something negative or put yourself down, correct yourself gently and replace that with something positive and kind. It takes practice but before you know it, it will become more of a habit! Becoming your own biggest cheerleader will pay off so much in the long run. Practicing positivity and kindness towards yourself will help you cheer yourself on and learn to rely on yourself the most!

First of all, I want you to remember that you are beautiful, and you are worth it.

Here are some questions to ask yourself
(Just do your best to answer each one):

  1. What are you most proud of? Think of things you have accomplished, whether you had set out to accomplish them or not.
  2. What do you like most about yourself? List any and all things you like about yourself. Even just one thing about yourself will be better than none!
  3. List three physical qualities you like about yourself. It could be something as simple as your eye color or something more complex, you decide!
  4. List three personality traits/characteristics you like about yourself. Again, list things that are simple if it helps. Anything you feel comfortable listing is the right answer. Just make sure you list all three!
  5. List three skills that you are proud to have. You have many skills, whether you can see that or not. Now is your chance to really think about what skills you have that are valuable to yourself or others.
  6. List three experiences or lessons learned that you feel have shaped you into the person you are today, in a positive way. We all have many experiences like this. It can be hard to see the positive that comes from them sometimes but they are there!
  7. What are three positive things that have happened recently?
  8. What are three negative things that have happened lately that you can put a positive spin on? Think about what positive things have come from negative happenings.

Also, here are some positive affirmations that might help you go about your day in a more positive and kind manner:

  • I am strong and I am capable!
  • know I can do this!
  • Just do your best. You don’t have to be perfect and as long as you’re doing your best, or striving to do your best, you will achieve so much!
  • I am beautiful and I am worth it. 
  • I am lovable.

 

~Bonnie~

P.S. You can download a worksheet copy of these questions to fill in or print and answer later. Just click this link: Love Yourself as You Are.

Make This Year the Best Year

Life ain’t always beautiful, but it’s a beautiful ride.
-Gary Allan

Finding inspiration each day to live a healthier life can be a huge task sometimes. Motivation naturally wanes as the novelty wears off. If you have trouble finding inspiration and things to motivate you each day, urging you to move forward day-to-day, I might just have the perfect tool for you!

My 365 Days of Inspiration: Quotes + Words of Wisdom can be just what you need. It is an eBook that contains daily inspiration for those striving to live a healthier life and lose weight. There is a quote for each day, including some words of wisdom from yours truly where I put a spin on the quote to show how it applies to your weight loss and healthy lifestyle journey.

365 Days of Inspiration

You can check it out here: 365 Days of Inspiration: Quotes + Words of Wisdom.

The most valuable skill or talent that you could ever develop is that of directing your thoughts toward what you want.
-Abraham Hicks

Now, how do I know that this will help you with your weight loss and healthy lifestyle journey? It’s simple… Making it helped me with mine! As I mentioned last week in this post: How to Survive a Big Slip-Up, I had a big slip-up. When someone ordered this eBook and I had only finished about half of it, I crunched to put it together. Making it and typing it out ended up having an effect on me similar to that which I hope my readers have while reading it… it inspired me and helped me feel motivated again! It lit a fire under me and helped me get myself more on track again.

This can be a great tool to save to your phone, tablet, or computer and take a peek at each day. Inspiration will be at your fingertips and will be fresh each day. You can also print it to have a physical copy of the eBook as well.

If you are interested, take a peek at the official page here: 365 Days of Inspiration: Quotes + Words of Wisdom

For a limited time, you can also get all THREE of my products to-date for a special price, here: Getting Started Weight Loss Bundle which includes my previously free Getting Started Weight Loss Workbook, 365 Days of Inspiration: Quotes + Words of Wisdom, and Goals to Become the Best You Workbook + Guide. This bundle and it’s low, low price will only be available for a short period of time!

 

~Bonnie~

How Making a Positivity Jar Can Help You

Many of us can find it hard to stay positive, especially when life keeps throwing lemons at us. I am not naturally a positive person myself. In fact, when I had just graduated from high school, a friend gently informed me that I complained too much. Still, it hit me hard and that’s when I began to make a transformation. It has been slow going and it isn’t all continuous. I make progress here and there but it adds up in big ways. The lesson I learned then has stuck with me.

When I began my weight loss journey this time, one of my focuses was to be more positive. I’m not even sure how or why this got driven home so well, but I’m glad it was! I’m thinking it was a combination of reading motivational articles and receiving consistent positive support and encouragement from my friends on SparkPeople. Part of it had to be a natural gravitation on a personal level as well though, because I know it wouldn’t have had this much of an impact if not.

Either way, I still may not be the most positive person but I learn more and more each day on how to be more positive. One thing I have learned is that the more positive I am in general, the happier I am and the better my life is. I can see so much more beauty in the world each day than I ever could have before!

Here are some questions to ask yourself in the moment:

  1. What can I learn from this negative experience?
  2. Is there any way that I (or someone else) benefits from this?
  3. Can I spin this problem/experience around and squeeze any amount of good out of it?

There is always something positive to be found in each day and there is also something good in every bad. Sometimes we just have to dig deep or look hard for it!

How you can stay positive each day:

  • Embrace the good times. Whenever you are happy or enjoying life, take the time to be grateful for it! It helps train your brain to focus on those happier moments. Those little things you might otherwise not give a second thought to, are some of the best ones to focus on.
  • Never stop looking for the positive. Even in moments where you might not otherwise take the time to really see your surroundings, simply be observant. Notice all the positivity going on in your life.
  • Appreciate the beauty around you. Whether you are in a car, bus, on a bike, or walking… or even playing the waiting game for whatever reason; look around you and appreciate the beauty in the little things.
  • Repeat positive affirmations to yourself. Tell yourself nice things: “I am beautiful” or “I am worthy.” My favorites are “I am strong and I am capable.” The more kind things you say to yourself each day, the more the world opens up to you!
  • Do nice things for other people. When you are nice to other people, even doing something as small as smiling at someone passing you by, it can lift your spirits and remind you that there is so much good in the world!

You may be wondering by now, what is all this about a “Positivity Jar” mentioned in the title. Well, I have been seeing this idea all over the place but on Facebook mainly, about a New Year’s memory jar. You write down good memories and put them in a jar to look back on at the end of the year.

My spin on this is to put anything positive in there, not just memories necessarily. You can write anything good that happened each day on a piece of paper, fold or roll it up, and drop it inside. Then you can take them out and read them throughout the year, whenever you’re having a hard time or needing inspiration, as well as at the end of the year. This encourages you to focus on all the good happening in your life instead of letting your life pass you by. Then you get to remember even the “little” things that happened throughout the year when you read them again.

Some ideas for jars:

  • Positivity Jar: To put positive happenings in each day.
  • Positive Affirmations/Positive Thoughts Jars: Fill the jar right away with positive affirmations, or positive thoughts, that you can pull out whenever you need a boost!
  • Gratitude/Thankfulness Jar or Blessings Jar: These you can write down things you are thankful for or consider a blessing and drop them in over the course of the year.
  • Smile or Happiness Jar: Whatever makes you smile or feel happy each day or whenever the feeling grips you!
  • Inspiration Jar: This one kind of works similar to the positive affirmations/thoughts jars. You can fill a jar with things that inspire you and then read them as needed to spark your inspiration. You can also add inspiration ideas as you go along as well!

What you can write down to put in the jars:

  • Weight loss or fitness related achievements
  • Goals of any kind, progress or achievement
  • Career happenings
  • Finance progress you’re working towards
  • Life in general

Really, anything goes for what you want to write to go into your jar each day. You can make the jar however you want. I personally used the coffee cans you see in the above picture. Then I put labels on them and wrote what I wanted it to say. Your ideas for your jar might change over time. Also, don’t be afraid to make two jars. It can be double the fun and double the dose of positivity.

In the short amount of time that I have been using my jars, I have noticed great results. They are a fun way to focus on the positivity in my life and end the day on a good note. Not only that, but they are also very easy to make and use. Now, who doesn’t love easy things that actually work?

Here are some blog posts by some women who are doing similar jars themselves:

Michelle from Dishes and Dust Bunnies has a “DIY Dollar Store Memories Jar” with a free printable for the jar! This post is from 2015 but she has made an update in there for a 2016 printable. Check it out here: Memories Jar.

Heather from Mommypotamus discusses making her own as well. You can check it out here: Gratitude/Happiness Jar.

And finally, Vicky Barone has a post from this year for making a “Happy Things Memory Jar 2016” and also has a free printable for it as well. Check hers out here: Happy Things Memory Jar.

You can also search Pinterest for even more ideas or just visual inspiration for your jar! Remember you can use anything. There is probably what you need in your house right now. Either way, take the idea and run with it if you want!

 

~Bonnie~

How to Change Your Perception of Yourself

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall.”

Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

What is it that you see in the mirror each morning? Do you see the beauty that is within you? Do you see all that you have to offer yourself, others, the world? Believe me, you have plenty to offer.

I see your reflection, you’re unsure and maybe even scared to follow your dreams… to believe that you are truly beautiful, inside and out. However, I ask you to trust me. Trust me when I say that you are beautiful.

You have valuable and helpful things to offer to others. You do them every day. To you they might seem small, but they are big to those watching from the outside. Try looking at yourself as others might see you. See your actions how others would see them.

___

Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

How does one change the perception of themselves?

  • First of all, when you look in the mirror, push out all negative thoughts. Anytime a negative thought about yourself enters your mind, cast it aside and replace it with something positive. What physical features do you like about yourself…? Your hair, your smile, your eyes, your body shape, anything at all!
  • Look at all you do for others, your family and friends or even total strangers. You have so much to offer others. Some things you do on a daily basis can be considered valuable and beautiful!
  • Approach the mirror mentally prepared… ready to search for all the beautiful things about yourself. Start with something you already know you like about your appearance. Then let your mind naturally wander to another thing you like about your appearance. Going in with a blank mind ready for positivity will allow you to think of all those things that are good instead of automatically focusing on things that you don’t like so much.
  • Even without the mirror, you can spend a few minutes a day thinking about all you accomplished recently, and all the good works you do on a daily basis. This doesn’t make you conceited. Boosting your self-esteem actually makes you more efficient and productive. You can be more helpful to others if you believe yourself to be just that.
  • Every time you take a peek in the mirror, allow yourself to be proud and happy with your appearance and all you have accomplished outside of what the mirror can tell you. Mirrors don’t tell the whole story, obviously. They can only show you what you can physically see at any one given moment. What about all of those other moments accumulated throughout the day that happen that are positive?

So what do you think of your reflection…? Physical reflection, the reflection of yourself that you see in others, and the reflection in your mind based on your thoughts of yourself. It is a process in itself to change these thought processes to be more positive and not put yourself down every time you think of it. It takes hard work and consistent practice, but you are very much capable of that!

So often we think of ourselves as failures just because we don’t accomplish everything we set out to accomplish or everything we “need” to do in a day. We are so much more than that! We need to focus on all of the things we do accomplish, all we do for ourselves and others that is good.

Tell me a bit about you and what you want to accomplish this week. Are you going to be kinder to yourself if you don’t accomplish everything? Are you going to try to alter your mental reflection of yourself?

~Bonnie~

If We Were Sitting in a Coffee Shop…

If we were sitting in a coffee shop, sipping coffee together… I would tell you what has been on my mind lately. Besides all of the Be the Best You events coming up, such as the BTBY Friends for Healthy Living weight loss support group meeting tonight and the Be the Best You: The Party on Facebook on Wednesday night, what has been on my mind recently is thankfulness. With Thanksgiving just ten days away, many of us have been thinking about what we’re thankful for this month. November is famous for the “30 Days of Thankfulness.”

So if we were sipping coffee together, I would tell you what I am thankful for. I’m thankful for all of you who read my blog. You are the main reason I write it. I am also thankful for my family. Where would I be without them? They have helped shape me into the person I am today. They continually provide support and encouragement, always standing by me. Same could be said for my friends, both in person and online. I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I have if I didn’t have all of these people on my side. I am also very thankful for my cat who helps give me love and comfort when I’m not feeling my best. Not to mention all of the obvious things: a roof over my head, food to eat, clean water to drink, clothes and proper shoes to wear, and phone and internet service. All of these things keep me safe and comfortable, or allow me to do things I need to do.

If we were sipping coffee together, I would start a lively discussion about why being thankful ties into weight loss. Reflecting on all the good and positive aspects of my days has been vital for my mind shift to a more positive person. That positivity helps me when things are tough in my journey. It gives me a reason to continue moving forward. Seeing the positive aspects of my life has also made me realize that there is always a bright side to the negatives as well. I know that when things are hard or I’m feeling really horrible, there is a reason behind it, even if that reason is just that it is helping strengthen and shape me into the person I’m meant to be. Growing mentally and having a positive mindset provides a great basis for my weight loss and persistence to keep it off. A large part of this is simply being thankful for all of my tools, lessons, opportunities, achievements, and every other part of my transformation.

If we were sipping coffee together, I would ask you… What are you thankful for?

~Bonnie~