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Mindfulness

Happiness mental health Mindfulness Psychology

Is Instagram making us unhappy?

July 12, 2017

 

When scrolling through Instagram on any given day, you will easily come across beautiful photos of friends or strangers, depicting themselves as if they are living their best lives. It has been widely discussed and debated online whether or not these views are realistic. Perhaps the most notable argument was that of Essena O’Neill, when she claimed that Instagram doesn’t depict real life. Today I would like to look at the so-called “Instagram Culture” through the eyes of Carl Rogers, a psychologist that lived long before Instagram was a speckle of anybody’s imagination.

Carl’s theory is pretty cool and easy to grasp. He believed that people have an “ideal self”, the kind of person that they wish to be, as well as a “real self”, the person that they are the very moment.  His theory belongs to the field of humanism, which states that as people, we are inherently self-aware, and can shape our personality by constantly striving to reach our fullest potential. Thus, the more similar our ideal and our real self are, the happier and more fulfilled we become. Perhaps the best part of his theory, is that as humans we are born with free-will, and have the mind-capacity to constantly strive to be better. The broader your imagination, the more likely you’ll be to reach the good life.

So, if we were to apply Carl Rogers’ theory to today’s Instagram Culture, wouldn’t imagining ourselves in the best light possible be a positive trait? Shouldn’t it help us become better, happier, and more fulfilled people? And of course, if this is the case, why are people such as Essena O’Neill so unhappy with Instagram’s ability to distort reality?

I believe that Instagram can be an amazing tool for the mind, if used correctly. If you imagine your ideal self, and then feel motivated to push yourself to live your life in such a manner, this will allow you to get closer to happiness. Many people launch successful businesses, portray aesthetically pleasing lifestyles, and create opportunities for themselves through the photographs they post on Instagram. Using Instagram as a visual tool for self-fulfilment is something that I firmly believe in, as it has helped me become more self-confident. On the other hand, if your ideal self doesn’t match up with whatever image you are trying to portray on Instagram, which I believe is the case of Essena O’Neill, you will end up drained and unhappy.

What do you think about Carl Rogers’ theory of self? Do you think that Instagram is good or detrimental to our self-actualizing process?

I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Until next time,
Srna

 

Creative writing Happiness mental health Mindfulness

Meet my Higher Self (and maybe your Higher Self too!)

June 27, 2017

Sit down and visualize your ideal self. Not your prettiest or fittest self, but your true state of being. The image of you with the highest vibration, that is the most spiritually aligned and vibrant. That is your Higher Self.

I wrote these answers almost two years ago and just found them in an old journal. It baffles me to tell you, but I am so much closer to my Higher Self than ever before. Let me share my answers with you!

What is she like?

  • She is confident, helpful, nourishing, motherly even
  • She wake up early and manages her time in a productive manner
  • She loves, cares, and looks after not only her family, but the community around her
  • She is able to find peace in quiet, rather than finding anxiety and fear in it
  • She thrives off of helping other people reach a state of happiness, joy, or comfort
  • She loves creating warm moments and happy memories

Where does she live?

  • She lives in a house, in a warm, family-driven community
  • She’s about a 20-30 minute drive from a medium-sized city, in a small town on the outskirts of it
  • She lives in the USA

What does she practice?

  • She practices a healthy, mindful lifestyle
  • She takes time in the morning to get in touch with her senses
  • She has a healthy romantic relationship
  • She’s an artist

What does she sound like? What does she feel like?

  • She has a warm, welcoming voice
  • She’s great at hosting friends and strangers alike
  • She’s quiet when she needs to be
  • She’s lighthearted and can take a joke
  • She’s also thick-skinned and can cope with life
  • She feels calm
  • She feels feels like her career pushes her to think critically
  • She feels like the work she does is important, and if it truly impacts even one person, it’s all worth it
  • She feels grief and empathy
  • She doesn’t feel a sense of insecurity
  • She never allows jealousy to get the best of her

How does she think? What is important to her?

  • She thinks about injustice
  • She ponders about the human experience
  • It’s important to her to feel safe and joyous
  • She believes in talking through issues
  • Expression through creativity is important to her

Wha does she do when she’s upset?

  • She talks
  • She writes
  • She cries
  • She is rational

What kinds of people does she surround herself with?

  • People that haven’t given up on their dreams
  • People that are kind and caring
  • People that inspire her to be strong
  • People who believe in her and what she’s capable of
  • People that are willing to work hard
  • People that she can enjoy coffee with
  • People that appreciate the concept of a community

What does she believe in?

  • She believe in love
  • She believes in cheesy traditions, presents, dinners, twinkley lights
  • She believes in the healing power of music
  • She believes in innovation
  • She believes and art and creativity
  • She believes in grief and sadness
  • She believes that life should be enjoyed
  • She believes in feeling passionate about all aspects of life
  • She believes in helping
  • She believes that people can change
  • She believes in herself

 

If you’re a little bit lost, I urge you to fully immerse yourself in this writing prompt and then put it away in your journal. Reflect back from time to time, and see what you would like to change or alter in your life, in order to become as close to your Higher Self as possible.

All my best,

Srna

Happiness Mindfulness

Where have I been?

June 6, 2017

Sweet friends, it has been a while and I cannot even describe how excited I am to be back. I mean, I could try. I feel like I confetti cannon that’s about to burst and cover you with colorful pieces of excitement. THAT’S HOW EXCITED I AM TO BE BACK.

It has been a rough couple of months. In March I  traveled from Belgium to Macedonia where I spent about two (difficult) months. I felt suffocated, uninspired, and my eczema was severely acting up. I also started gaining, gaining, and gaining weight. I felt miserable and I couldn’t wait to get back to Brussels. Now that I’m back and things are finally falling back into place, I’m starting to finally feel like myself again. As some of you know, my fiancé Dylan and I began our US visa process in January, and while we’re almost at the interview phase, we have a few more documents to gather before I can call and schedule my appointment. Earlier in March, before my trip to Macedonia, Dylan came to visit me in Brussels which was absolutely incredible. We hadn’t seen each other in a year and a half, and having him here was blissful.

While I’m still as body positive as ever, this past month has been very transitionary for me when it comes to food. I went from strict ketosis (low carb high fat) , to basically eating a plant-based diet (high carb low fat). Ketosis did wonders for my weight loss, but my body is rebelling through eczema, so I decided to listen to it. I’ve lately felt like I need a break from both meat and dairy, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m eating a lot of fruit, a lot of veggies, and tons of grains, rice, potatoes, and legumes. Even though I’ve gained, I’m not chasing weight loss at the moment. I’m chasing a settling feeling that’ll allow my body to truly exhale and stop fighting itself. I’m not claiming to be Vegan, but for the time being, I am definitely following a plant-based diet.

 

My creativity is finally back and stronger than ever. These past few weeks I have been drawing, paining, journaling, as well as playing my ukulele. The world feels more colorful, and these feelings inspired me to color my hair pastel pink. I love how it turned out, it’s just a shame that it’s a wash-out dye that’ll be gone in a week.

That’s my update for now. I’m sitting here as patiently as I can and enjoying gorgeous Brussels, before it’s time for me to pack my bags and move to Wisconsin to be a blushing (and ecstatic) bride!

xo

Srna

Happiness Mindfulness

#FeelGoodFebruary – a FREE happiness workshop

January 17, 2017

happinessworkshop

Hello Friends!

The big day is here – I am so excited to announce #FeelGoodFebruary or #FGF for short. #FGF is a completely free, month-long happiness workshop that will begin on February 1st. Join me on this journey of self-love, care, and kindness, and together we can bring happiness and positivity back into all of our lives.

 

 

Also, I highly encourage you to follow my facebook page. I will be posting there daily throughout February, and it will serve as a safe space for discussion, growth, friendship, and kindness.

 

30 days to a happier.png

I’m looking forward to an amazing month of positivity!

Srna

Happiness mental health Mindfulness yoga

The Ultimate Guide to Bedtime Yoga

December 12, 2016


**This is a guest post written by Lindsey Dirats. Not only is she an amazing Yoga teacher, but she’s also my soul sister!

 

To spite being a teacher of yoga and mindfulness, I still find it so hard to slow down sometimes. My natural rhythm of operating is approximately a thousand miles a minute. Sometimes, I forget to take my foot off the gas at bedtime and falling asleep can be a struggle. Sound like you? Fear not! This posture sequence is a sweet and gentle way to wind down before bed, or any time you might want to take it down a notch. There are several torso-to-thigh postures (like in Child’s Pose), which relax your parasympathetic nervous system. This is relaxing because it decreases your body’s fight-or-flight response.

I recommend that you start this practice with the 6 rotations of the spine to begin to connect breath and body. I made a little video for you walking through those movements! I apologize that it cut off at the end and that it’s completely unedited (current unavoidable tech situation…oh well) but it still covers what we need to get started for practice tonight. 

 

Standing Back Arch – Urdhva Hastasana

  • Begin with your feet placed hip-width apart, feet parallel, toes facing forward, and arms down by your sides.
  • Take a deep breath in, and as you do, gently lift your arms up overhead, clasp your hands, and extend your index (pointer) fingers towards the sky.
  • As you exhale, reach backwards with your hands and lift your gaze up towards the ceiling – bringing a slight arch to your back.
  • Sustain for a few deep breaths
  • On an exhale, draw yourself upright again and let your hands float down by your sides.

 

Half Moon Pose – Ardha Chandrasana

  • Begin with your feet placed hip-width apart, feet parallel, toes facing forward, and arms down by your sides.
  • Take a deep breath in, and as you do, gently lift your arms up overhead, clasp your hands, and extend your index (pointer) fingers towards the sky. Relax your shoulders away from your ears.
  • Exhale, send your hips out the right and lean your hands over to the left.
  • Hips and shoulders stay parallel and facing forwards, and avoid collapsing over to the side
  • Sustain for a few breaths
  • Inhale, sweep your hands back up overhead, and exhale over to the other side – hips shifting to the left and hands leaning over to the right
  • Sustain for a few breaths
  • Inhale, sweep your hands back up overhead, and exhale to let them float back down by your sides

 

Forward fold – Uttanasana

  • Exhale, let your whole torso droop slowly forward, drawing your chest towards your legs
  • Bring as much of bend to your knees as you need to (it may be a deep bend, and that’s perfect!) to get your belly to rest on your thighs
  • Let the crown of your head fall towards the floor, head is loose on a relaxed neck
  • Let yourself hang like rag doll for a few breaths
  • To rise, make sure knees are bent, and slowly roll up, one vertebra at a time

 

Standing Wide-Angle Forward Fold – Prasarita Padottanasana

  • Take a wide stance, toes facing forward, feet about a leg’s length apart from each other, knees unlocked
  • Exhale, lean forward with a flat back – option to bring hands down onto your bed
  • Either sustain here for a few breaths, or let your torso drop down between your legs, crown of the head points down towards the floor, hands can either reach down to the floor, out towards feet – whatever is most comfortable!
  • Let yourself hang for a few breaths
  • To rise, bring a bend to the knees and slowly roll up, one vertebra at a time

 

Time to get in (onto) bed!
Seated Forward Fold – Paschimottanasana

  • Sit on your bed with your legs extended, toes flexed towards you, knees slightly bent
  • Inhale to sit up nice and tall
  • Exhale to reach down towards your feet and bring your belly down onto your thighs
  • It doesn’t matter if your legs are almost fully extended, or if they’re very much bent! Find what feels good in your body.

 

Head-to-knee Forward Fold – Janu Sirsasana

  • FIRST OF ALL let’s call this head towards knee, shall we?
  • Begin in the same way you started seated forward fold, but with the sole of one foot on the inside of the opposite thigh
  • Inhale your upper body upright, exhale, gentle bend to the knee, and belly down onto thigh
  • Repeat on the other side

 

Bound Angle – Baddha Konasana

  • Draw the soles of your feet together and hold on to either your ankles or the outside of your feet
  • Exhale to draw your chest forward and gently use your elbows to press on the insides of your knees, inviting your hips to open
  • Take a few deep, easy breaths
  • On an inhale, slowly draw yourself upright

 

Cross-legged Forward Bend – Adho Mukha Sukhasana

  • Cross your legs
  • Inhale to draw your upper body tall
  • Exhale to gently let your belly collapse down towards your legs and slide your hands away from you
  • Take a few deep breaths, and then inhale yourself upright again

 

Child’s pose – Balasana

  • From your cross legged position, roll up over your ankles onto hands and knees
  • Exhale to send your hips back, coming to sit on your heels
  • Arms extend out in front of you, belly drops onto thighs, and forehead comes to rest on the bed
  • Feel free to breathe gently in this posture for as long as feels right. It’s such a good calming position!
  • When you’re ready to come out of it, come back up to hands and knees

 

Wind-relieving Pose – Pavanamuktasan

  • From hands and knees, flop on over onto your back
  • Draw your knees in towards your chest and give yourself a hug around your shins, option to f
    ind a gentle rock from side to side
  • Alternately extend one leg and then the other, drawing knee
    towards chin and breathe deeply

 

 

Reclining spinal twist – Supta Matsyendrasana

  • Draw your knees back into your chest, and let them drop over to the right. Gaze out over your left shoulder for a few breaths
  • Inhale to lift your knees back through center and then exhale as you let them fall over to the other side

 

Corpse pose – Savasana

  • The pose we’ve all been waiting for! You might want to get under your covers for this one.
  • Option to place a pillow under your knees, and I like to put a lavender-scented eye bag on my face as well.
  • You can leave your arms down by your sides or rest them on your belly. Let your feet flop open.
  • Slowly, allow yourself to release all tension from your body. Let muscle melt from bone. You have nowhere to go, nothing to do. There is no need for effort in this moment. Enjoy the benefits of your gentle practice and let yourself drift slowly into sleep!

 

 

**If you want to see more from Lindsey follow her on instagram (it’s @lindseydirats) as well as her amazing Facebook page!

 

Take good care of yourself,

Srna

Mindfulness Weight loss

Mindful Eating Helped Me Lose 75 lbs

December 11, 2016

Yep, you read that title correctly. Learning to eat mindfully helped me lose 75 lbs and is continuing to help me reach my health goals. By learning mindful eating, I learned to control the emotional connection I used to have with food, and enjoy healthier meals. I wanna share what I’ve learned with you, so that you too can have amazing results just by learning this one simple and effective method.

 

So, what IS mindful eating, anyway?

To put it simply, mindful eating is learning to pay attention to the whole ritual of eating a meal without any judgement. It’s not about guilting yourself into eating healthy, or even differently. It’s just about being aware. I’ve put together a list of questions that you should ask yourself before, during, and after a meal.

  1. Why do I feel like eating? Am I just bored? Am I upset or anxious about something?
  2. What am I going to eat? Will it be healthy, or will I opt for junk food?
  3. What does the food on my plate look like? What does it taste like? Is there a smell? What do I think about the texture?
  4. How do I feel while eating this meal? What about after I finish eating it?
  5. How full am I before I start the meal, while eating it, and after I’m finished eating?
  6. Is there any physical discomfort in my body?
  7. Where has my food come from? Is it from a farm? Has it been highly processed? Is it an animal, a vegetable, a flakey pastry?

Now, the first time I attempted this, I was sitting down with a whole frozen pizza, and as you can imagine, I just sat there and judged myself for my food choices. I felt horrible.
What I did was not proper mindful eating practice, because in mindfulness, one should never judge. With time, I learned to be gentle with myself – and not only that, but I got some really amazing benefits out of my mindful eating habit!

  1. I learned to eat only when I’m hungry. I wasn’t snacking on cookies mid-day because I was bored, and I wasn’t downing chocolate bars because I was sad. I started eating because my body needed fuel.
  2. I learned to cherish the food that I consume. I now take time to really taste the food that goes into my mouth, rather than to chew it mindlessly.
  3. Unhealthy food makes me feel really sluggish and tired, I’ve learned.
  4. I’ve learned to stop eating when I’m full, and not finish everything on my plate.
  5. I treat mealtime as a self-care ritual, and I conciously nourish my body with good food.
  6. Most importantly, I’ve lost a lot of weight. I’ve completely changed my relationship with food in the best way that I could have imagined.

Minfdul eating isn’t the only way I lost all the weight, but it is the one that has caused the biggest difference in my day-to-day life. I wish I had someone simplify the process to me when I was starting out, so I’m really helping that this blog post will help you out!

Enjoy your food, love your body, and take care of yourself.

Srna