Staying Young-Growth Mindset
One of the secrets to staying young, or at least feeling young, is adopting and keeping a growth mindset. I have pondered this as I’ve watched the world of my parents and inlaws shrink. With never-ending doctor appointments, meal planning and regular responsibilities that seem to take more and more time, where is the time to develop new friends, contacts and even read?
Is Your World Shrinking?
One very positive thing both sets of parents have done is get involved in local church groups. As both my sisters are married to ministers, this has been an easy call for my parents. They visit both my sister’s churches each weekend, (Beach Cities, Bay Cities) resulting in an expansion of their social network. They even keep up with the sermons with a growth mindset, recalling some of the messages in our conversations! (They are turning 88 this year!) For my in-laws, the situation was similar in their later years, as their church offered both support and engagement. As we just said goodbye to my mother-in-law, it was so sweet to see the continued support from her extended church family.
Your extended groups will most likely be different, but it’s important to be open to expanding your social network at every stage of life, especially at halftime! We hear stories every day of those who lose special people all too early as their close circle shrinks. As a musician, I have had the privilege of honoring many lives, graduating from this life much too young. The reality of a shrinking world is all too real to me! But what if you’re hesitant to meet new people you don’t know? Read on!
Ideas for Keeping the Mind Active
Remember, a growth mindset is a decision! Find activities that will help you engage in conversation as you exercise your mental muscles! Even though opinions may differ, being able to voice an informed opinion is very helpful when meeting new people. Here are a couple ideas:
- Read at least 30 min. a day. Expand to different types of books, magazines, and journals.
- Learn about a new hobby. Take notes from watching YouTube videos–you will learn more quickly! (it’s still O.K. to use pen and paper!)
- Learn a new language. Duolingo is actually the most popular way to learn a language in the U.S.! Greg and I are learning Italian together!
- Join a group where you will be challenged, such as Toastmasters for speaking or a local service club as Rotary, Kiwanis or other. They love new members!
What to Say?
What if you have a hard time engaging in a conversation with someone you don’t know? For many introverts, this can feel like an insurmountable dilemma. But no worries, there’s a solution! Listen carefully, then ask questions! Don’t worry about your question sounding stupid. If it’s about the other person, they won’t care! They will keep talking and will think you are the most interesting person in the room! It really works-try it!
If you have adopted a growth mindset with some of the ideas above (plus a few of your own!) you will be able to engage in the conversation with what will at least sound like an informed opinion! This really works. There is so much focus on I, ME, and MINE in our society, so when you give your attention to THEM, you will be a breath of fresh air!
Staying engaged mentally with a growth mindset will help you continue to connect with more people. I speak and write about the importance of picking those in your close circle very carefully, and also to form a lifetime small group. However, outside of those small, close circles, it is important to expand and engage with others. This is a decision, then requires action. As I usually donate my time speaking to at least one local service club a month, I find many of those groups in dire need of fresh new faces to take up the torch for very worthy causes! Those groups are plentiful! I look forward to hearing about your progress! Remember, it’s never too early or too late!
22 Ways Happy People Get Their Groove On
What are happy people up to? What do they do that others don’t? Happiness is not a “one size fits all” but there are a number of things you can work into your life to increase positive emotions and good vibes in your quest for happiness. Research has given us a solid roadmap to follow so pick what resonates with you from the list below and get moving!
22 Ways Happy People Get Their Groove On
- They spend time with people who are reinforcing, reciprocal and generally positive but are also compassionate and loyal when they are struggling.
- They stay aware of their emotional health; checking in on their mood states and practicing self-compassion when needed.
- They recognize their negativity biases and counteract by savoring positive experiences for at least 10 seconds to allow the transfer from short-term to long-term memory.
- They do activities they are passionate about or even achieve a state of flow while doing them.
- They are attuned to themselves and others.
- They avoid over-thinking and social comparison.
- They express gratitude freely and openly as studies support it’s strong ties to greater happiness.
- They meditate, building an awareness of their inner state and physical body while building resilience and distress tolerance.
- They take care of their physical bodies; nutrition, sleep and exercise.
- They think positively but also realistically.
- They dream, imagine and set goals for the future as this has been shown to create meaning and purpose.
- They enjoy helping people in the many ways that exist; interpersonal relationships, volunteering, donating or being a helping professional.
- They know that they alone are responsible for their feelings regardless of how other’s actions might be a catalyst.
- They have good coping skills for the tough times and support to help get through.
- They practice forgiveness when necessary as research has shown that unforgiving people tend to be hateful, angry and hostile.
- They set good boundaries, knowing the difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness.
- They are aware of their own vulnerabilities and actively work on them.
- They spend time in nature as studies have shown this reduces stress.
- They have at least one confidante who knows them inside and out.
- The outer life and inner life is in alignment; they live authentically rather than wear social masks to adapt to how they believe people want to see them.
- They are adept at finding the good in people and situations, if possible.
- They have done any needed personal work around a family of origin wounds, traumas or other historical pain points.
How I Gave Up the Dieting Struggle and Found Myself
“Can you imagine what would happen if the women of the world stopped being worried about the number on the scale?”
That’s the single question that changed my life. Rocked me to my core. Was the initial kernel of an idea that led to our mission — and, quite frankly, made me feel like the biggest asshole on the planet.
At the time, I was 20-something, educated, holding a great job in a field I liked and was months away from getting married. I had it all going for me. And yet there I was, sitting in the chair across from a registered dietitian who specialized in emotional eating and intuitive eating because I was miserable.
Turns out, the “healthy lifestyle” it looked like I was living … wasn’t healthy at all. At least not for me.
Sure, I was working out and eating healthy foods — but my mindset? Not healthy in the least. More tortured than anything. So torturous, in fact, that it lead me to seek out professional help. No one really knew it from the outside (in fact, I was at the time teaching seriously fun group exercise classes and working as a personal trainer off and on — side jobs I truly did love), but I was simply and utterly consumed with my weight, how many calories I ate, and how many calories I burned. I’d overexercise, over-restrict or try some new diet — and then end up binge eating and even hiding the evidence of it.
This happened over and over and over again. As you’d imagine, I put on weight — and began to turn to food to comfort myself. Which, of course, only fueled the self-hate more.
Thinking that there was something wrong with me and that I had no capacity for self-control, I spent years internalizing feelings of shame and guilt, which harbored a deep distrust of my body and myself.
The pressure from society to look a certain way coupled with working in the fitness industry where I had the mindset that I HAD to have a six-pack and see a certain number on the scale to truly be taken seriously weighed (no pun intended) heavily on my soul. I never thought I was enough — and I took extreme measures to try to fit into a box that simply wasn’t me.
Until finally, I couldn’t take it any more.
I was planing my wedding and realized that — unless I changed something fast — I was going to walk down the aisle on my wedding day, consumed with worry that my arms looked fat or that I was barely fitting into my dress. Clearly, this was not how I wanted one of the best days of my life to be.
I wanted freedom from the pressure. Freedom from the arbitrary rules I’d set for myself. Freedom to enjoy the moment — an incredibly important and love-filled day — to the fullest, without interruption, and with a full sense of self.
It wasn’t easy. I worked weekly with this registered dietitian (I am deeply grateful for her work and approach — especially considering this was back in 2007 when it wasn’t even on most of her colleagues’ radars) and, through lots of tears and honesty, began unraveling years of patterns of thoughts that had led me to that place of poor body image and poor self-esteem. The work to transition away from obsessive dieting to intuitive eating wasn’t easy — and in many ways it’s ongoing, as it’s a life-long practice — but, DUDE, was it worth it.
Like, so, so worth it. So worth it, in fact, that looking back, I’m now grateful for that struggle and experience.
Yes, I said grateful.
In addition to leading to the creation of Fit Bottomed Girls, my struggles actually served as a gateway to finding my true self, my passion and my voice. I learned to trust my body, love myself unconditionally, and take my power back from the number on the scale.
Plus, I had one hell of an awesome wedding day.
These days, my mental space isn’t taken up with counting calories or figuring out when I’m going to get to the gym to “burn off” the pizza I had last night. I eat the foods I love with zero guilt. I work out because it makes me feel good. I love myself healthy.
And, now, I even have the privilege of paying my experience forward: by letting all women know that they are more than the number on the scale and helping them to break through, too.
How would your life change if you gave up the struggle and just loved yourself? —JennARTICLE BY JENN WALTERS, LEARN MORE HERE
HOLIDAY MINDFULNESS. KINDNESS, LOVE, AND REFLECTION
My cousin told me a story today.
She is a professional nanny, and was watching these three adorable little girls last week. Together, they were wrapping gifts for children in need. When they were finished wrapping, my cousin asked them if they realized how nice this act was. You’ll never guess what this little 4 year old responded.
I think it shocked the both of us. It shouldn’t have, what with all of the giving and quality time with loved ones we do as a family each year. But this child’s view of the holiday season, captured in this one sentence, was so pure. No matter how we try as adults to keep that sense of childlike purity, we cannot deny the adult-centric stresses of the holidays.
Most of us are only today beginning to unwind. Or maybe you’re just getting started planning for New Year’s Eve. This time of year can be overwhelming. Reflecting on the year and its accomplishments in the next few days can be both good and bad. We must be gentle with ourselves this season, because we can’t do it all. Don’t let yourself fall into this end-of-year trap.
How do we cultivate a few little moments where we can bask in the New Year’s glow? Make kindness, love, and positivity a priority again?
1. Do one thing mindfully each day from now until New Years.
Perhaps its a 10 minute meditation before bed. Maybe you choose to practice this sipping your cup of coffee each morning – in completely silent contemplation. You can use this ten minutes to clear your mind, reflect on the year, or even just look around at the remaining tree or decorations and soak in that quiet holiday magic. You might find your mood uplifted, focusing more on the beautiful, positive aspects of this season, and cultivate deeper feelings of gratitude for where you are at the present moment.
2. Make A Few Lists
I’m a big list person. I think there is a special power in writing things down. Spilling your thoughts onto paper is not only cathartic for the stuff you need to release, but it can also be very affirming. Things I Am Grateful For…Things I Wish I Did Differently…What I Accomplished….Lessons I Learned…etc. You might chose from one or a few of these lists or make up your own. Sometimes you might discover patterns or bigger pictures about yourself and the year you’ve just been through by looking at your words in black and white.
3. Do Something Nice For Someone
I’m a firm believer in karma. And that our actions have a chain reaction more profound than we may ever come to know. I think this is only heightened in this highly emotional season of change and loss and new beginnings. Make memories with loved ones. Carve out time to visit those you don’t normally see. Smile and hold the door, and say excuse me. Donate to a charity. Start the new year off with the beginning of a positive, feel-good circle.
4. Pick One Resolution And Plan It
I have many New Year’s Resolutions each year. Some I hold myself to. Some I let fall by the wayside. The secret is to pick one and really plan it. Develop a hardcore strategy. The more you know what you’re doing, the more likely you’ll keep your resolution. This way, you’ll at least fulfill one promise to yourself in the coming year!ARTICLE BY EMILY HIGHT, LEARN MORE HERE