Why I Began Meditating In My 40’s.

Do you meditate?

I didn’t always. In fact, until this past four years hadn’t ever considered it! But, can I just tell you how happy I am that its a part of my life now?

Often, if you aren’t familiar with the practice of meditation, it’s often misunderstood as only a spiritual or religious practice. Although it’s commonly incorporated into a spiritual or religious practice, it’s also used as an effective calming tool to reduce stress in our lives.

Meditation has been a way to reduce the stress response in my body. 2008 became the beginning of a five year series of stressful events in my life. It seems by the time we reach the age of forty, many of us begin to experience massive storms in our lives. I was no exception. I experienced everything from losing my home, my business of 25 years, and five family members over that five year period. Stress had taken its toll on my body. (You can read more about that here.)

I was anxious, not sleeping, my hormones were in a rage, and my cortisol levels were through the roof. Beginning a meditation practice for myself, I developed a tool for learning to breathe through challenging, stressful events in life. By using this stress management tool, I began healing from those effects. It also brought clarity to my mind when times were not stressful.

It was difficult at first slowing down my pace enough to sit still for two minutes at a time. Who has time for that, right? There’s so much to do in the day – but then, slowing down is the point! I began allowing myself those few minutes each day to be still. I soon appreciated that I didn’t have to do anything in that short amount of time and I liked it. A lot. When I finished each session, I felt refreshed and sense of accomplishment. After a while, it became easy to increase the minutes of my sessions.

I’ve enjoyed using a few simple meditation apps on my phone. I found a free meditation app called Headspace that introduced me to guided meditation. The host, Andy, has a soothing and comfortable Australian voice. His voice quickly became a welcomed “friend” when it came time to meditate.

Within that app, I also discovered a sleeping meditation series. It changed my world! No longer would my head spin and thoughts bombard me when it came time to sleep. I could relax deeply and focus on my breathing, allowing my body to prepare to sleep.

The app made it easy to create consistency in my daily meditation. I began testing more apps to see which I liked best. Learning to breathe deeply, having an easy way to meditate, and calming my mind and body has been a game changer in my life.

As a result, I believe anyone over 40 should be incorporating a meditation practice into their day. In fact, at any age! It’s never too early nor too late to learn to let go, breathe and relax. There are so many benefits:

  • Meditation reduces stress.
  • It improves concentration.
  • It encourages a healthy lifestyle.
  • The practice increases self-awareness.
  • It increases happiness.
  • Meditation increases acceptance.
  • The practice benefits cardiovascular and immune health.

I want you to discover these benefits too! 

Download my FREE PDF here: EASY MINDFULNESS MEDITATION TECHNIQUES-

In this resource you’ll find my top five mindfulness meditation examples for beginners; including a list of my all time favorite meditations! If you’re new to meditation, this is a fantastic resource for you to test the waters.

Let me know how it goes in the comments below. Enjoy!!

 

The Mood Boosting Mirror Trick

It’s Summertime and I want to share something with you that I feel passionate about… it’s all about the thoughts we have when we view ourselves in the mirror.

Here’s the thing

When I wake up in the morning and see my reflection make-up free, I often think “Auuggh”… dark circles, a pasty face and then there’s my hair going every which direction. I’d be lying if I told you I enjoyed my reflection first thing in the morning.

But it seems for many of us when we see ourselves in the mirror our first reaction is “yikes” as we hone into all the perceived imperfections. It got me thinking that all these negative comments that go through our head when we see ourselves in the mirror can’t be good for not only for our self-confidence but for setting the stage on the remaining thoughts patterns about ourselves the rest of the day.

We wouldn’t say those things to our friends or loved ones so why be so critical and hard on ourselves? Rather than being our best friend, we’ve become our best critic!

BUT that’s all about to change…

Today I’m calling you to action: Join me on a 3-day challenge that will leave you feeling like the very best version of YOU! It’s time to let that negativity go!!

Welcome to the 3-DAY REFLECTION CHALLENGE!

It’s simple! Here’s what WE do:

Step 1. Every time we look in the mirror (or catch our reflection) we smile. (Even if you don’t like what you’re wearing or you’re having a bad hair day) we have to smile.

Step 2. While still smiling, we find ONE thing we find pleasing about ourselves – this can be either something visual or something that makes you feel proud for being YOU. If we look objectively we’ll have the ability to find the beauty in our reflection.

That’s it! Two simple steps- but if you’re willing to step up the challenge a little, see the bonus step below.

*BONUS STEP: 

Take a fierce selfie with that winning smile and find three more things you love about yourself in that pic!

**If you’re in need of some selfie-taking tips… check out this post from my Facebook group The Timeless Beauty Tribe.

The proof is in the science…

1.) Practice thinking positive thoughts when we see our reflection.

Researchers estimate we humans think up to 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those thoughts, 98% are repeated from the day before. Some research has even suggested 80% of our thoughts are negative. Eighty percent! Scientists believe that 95% of our emotions are determined by the way we talk to ourselves throughout the day.

The sad fact is that if we do not deliberately and consciously talk to ourselves in a positive way, we will, by default, pick out the negative. That’s why it’s so important to keep reminding ourselves of the good stuff and developing new habits in our self-care. View that positive talk as a muscle that needs flexing daily. Over time, that muscle will grow strong and be at its best.

No one else is responsible for controlling our self-worth but us. When we begin thinking positive thoughts toward ourselves, confidence grows. Inner confidence, beauty, and self-worth grow from acceptance. YOU are worth a lot. Embrace YOU!

2.) A smile a day.

Did you know there are neurotransmitters called endorphins when we smile? Endorphins help us lower stress levels and handle making us happy. When we move the muscles in our face, those movements are interpreted by our brain to release these chemicals (endorphins).

The brain doesn’t differentiate between a fake smile or the real thing. It interprets the positioning of the facial muscles the same way. This is known as the Facial Feedback Hypothesis. The more we stimulate our brain to release endorphins the more often we feel happier and relaxed.

So by practicing a smile at our reflection, our brain will start associating happy chemicals in response to the visual cue of our reflection. Done repeatedly over time, this will not only create a new healthy habit but you’ll notice how you feel about how you look will dramatically improve day by day over the 3 days. Plus, smiles are infectious!! By building a new practice of smiling at self, we’re more likely to flash those pearly whites when we’re away from the mirror. We begin to pay forward a smile that brightens someone else’s day too!

Last tip before you go…

When you take the time to nourish yourself from the inside, the more you’ll glow on the outside. It’s not about being vain or thinking that you’re perfect – because nobody is. It’s about knowing you’re incredibly worthy of all that life has to offer and reaping the rewards of living your best life possible. You’ll feel better on the inside and visibly beautiful on the outside by taking action on a just a few simple steps.

Be proud, be confident, be your fierce self and live the story of your own unique life.

Ready to join me on this 3-day reflection challenge?

Connect with me and let me know if you’re up for the challenge by posting a photo of your fierce smiling selfie and hashtagging #3DayReflectionChallenge on my Instagram @innerstrengthbeauty

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If you’d like further practice retraining your negative thoughts? Grab your FREE copy of my Mindset Advantage workbook below!