So I tested positive for the Vid! 3rd wave definitely came in with a bang. Made me feel a little less invincible, which is humbling I suppose. Incredibly grateful for my body’s ability to manage the symptoms and keep it under control.
I actually wanted to use this post to run through some of the thoughts that I had while I was recovering. Can I also just say that I’ve been having peculiar dreams over the past few weeks, that I’m still desperately trying to make sense of. Anyway, back to the Covid Chronicles.
God bless the antibodies.
The first thing that triggered the whole situation for me was getting into direct contact with someone who tested positive. Grateful that they called me to tell me about it. I was still very convinced that I had escaped getting infected. I eat a lot of naartjies and apples, btw.
A few days after that call, I started feeling sluggish and a little under the weather. There was no doubt at that point that it was probably Covid. Yet, my inflated ego somehow managed to find a way to believe that it wasn’t. To be fair though, it was relatively mild; just a sore throat and fatigue.
After a few more days of that intense fatigue, I decided it was time to get tested (3 days after experiencing symptoms).
So I try to get myself booked for a Covid test, but because of how wild 3rd wave is in Joburg, most centres are pumping. I had to wait till the next day. Woke up fresh and early on a Sunday morning and got myself geared up for a Covid test. Up the nose and away we went.
Got home, took a nap, and eagerly watched Verstappen and Red Bull thrash Mercedes at the French Grand Prix.
Because of the fatigue, I’ve been taking naps at random times throughout the day. On that Sunday, after going for a snooze at 6 pm, I ended up waking up at like 11 pm. It was quite disorienting, but I decided to watch some Peaky Blinders. 1 episode in, and I get an sms from the labs – Covid hypothesis confirmed; I was positive.
Quickly stocked up on Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc and Panado – oh and ofc more apples and naartjies. Managed to get some Ivermectin as well, which may or may not have helped.
10 days later
The tragic thing is that during this period, I also infected my flatmate, who is vaccinated. Tbh, it definitely made me question how effective those injections are. Thanks capitalism.
Took off from work and basically spent the day: sleeping, eating, watching Netflix, watching Euros, reading books – repeat. Sounds like a dream, but it got boring rather quickly.
An interesting coincidence was the fact that I had a dream of a friend of mine who I hadn’t spoken to since like 2017. When I reached out to her, it turned out that she had Covid too! So we bonded (virtually) over the whole struggle to recover. I think she had a lot worse than I did, but it was still relatable content.
A week after testing positive, I started feeling a lot better. The only thing that was really lingering was the fatigue. Could definitely get used to the lifestyle of taking 3 naps a day. One thing I’m incredibly grateful for is not losing my sense of smell or taste.
Did you know that 80% of our taste comes from smelling?
Now that we’ve fought this bundle of protein, I’m hoping the antibodies will keep me sorted for the rest of the year. Thankful to everyone who supported me in this swift recovery. I’m also here if anyone who is infected needs some virtual help.
There’s a lot that I’ve reflected on over this experience and I’ll dive deeper into that in the next blog post. I wish you all the best and try to stay safe! This too shall pass.
This blog officially marks my 100th post! I’m so grateful for how far we’ve come since my first post in 2014. If I’m being honest, I still can’t believe I started that long ago. To truly show you why I’m surprised, have a look at my very first post:
Here’s another one (showing this as inspiration tbh):
And here’s the comment I got in response to my ‘Diary?’ post. Grateful for the people who believed in me before I believed in myself…
I’d like to use this post to show my appreciation to each and every one of you, to go through the overall blogging journey, my intentions and moving forward with this platform.
Grateful for you!
First thing’s first, a big shoutout to my parents who have been my #1 fans throughout the journey. I can’t emphasize enough how much they are responsible for where I am today and all that I’ve managed to achieve (it’s not a lot but it’s worth celebrating!).
Also grateful for my siblings, family members and friends, for contributing to incredible discussions, inspiring me to keep pushing and helping me grow as an individual.
What I’ve realized over the past few years is that the relationships you form are probably going to be your most valuable asset. The best way to continuously develop these relationships is by regularly showing gratitude. Making people feel appreciated. Giving more. Being kind and compassionate.
The more you give, the more you get.
More than just that, being grateful for where you are in your life and all that you have. I say this over and over again, but I promise you it will completely change your life. When you focus on what you have, your blessings start appreciating.
I know that it’s not easy and there are moments where we just want to give up. It gets tiring. It requires conscious effort. It requires consistency. It requires discipline. But remember:
Let’s look at how this blogging thing started and how we got to where we are today.
How we started
As you have my have seen, I started in 2014 (when I was like 16 years old). I’m pretty sure it was just for banter, although I was philosophically inclined at the time. I would always engage my friends in incredibly interesting conversations and we learned a lot from each other.
The main reason why I actually decided to start posting my thoughts online were to share the insights I was gaining, and to also use it as a platform to vent; kind of like a diary.
I wasn’t consistent at all and I only posted once in a while, probably like 3-4 posts a year from 2014-2016. After that, it kind of stopped altogether when I started uni. I got back into things in 2018 when I started reading again and learning more about myself. You can read more on the details of that journey in my 50th blog post.
Since then, I’ve developed a little mission statement for myself that helps me find purpose in everything that I do:
“Aspire to Inspire. To help each and every one of us live life to the fullest and reach our greatest potential.”
What my intentions are
The purpose behind my writing is to try and help people develop. To provide a pathway for growth. To shed light on difficult topics. To help each and every one of us aim to achieve our full potential. To genuinely live a life that is worth inspiring. To make a difference and motivate people. To incorporate a growth mindset and move from thinking that it’s impossible to ‘not yet’.
What I’ve noticed is that despite how different and unique we all are, we share a common humanity. We struggle in similar ways. We have similar goals and objectives. We have similar roles and responsibilities. We all get anxious, stressed, happy, joyful, upset and excited.
Utilizing our common life experience has been incredibly valuable to me. It’s the way I connect with people. It’s what allows me to be vulnerable and connect through honesty and authenticity. When we are able to feel connected and have a sense of belonging, it empowers us to be our true selves.
I’d like to use this platform to help us find a common ground. To help us all connect and find a sense of belonging.
Where I’m going with this
In alignment to my intentions, I’d like to keep the momentum going with this blog and keep trying to share valuable information. It’s never been about getting an insane following or viewership, but just about making a difference in people’s lives. Even if a single person learns something from one of my posts, I’d reckon mission accomplished.
“Little by little, a little becomes a lot.“
I’d like to encourage all of you who are reading this, to share the posts you find relevant with people who you think could find value in it. Whether it’s about developing habits, seeking discomfort, learning new skills, meditating, emotional intelligence, book summaries or incorporating a growth mindset, there’s always something for us to expand our knowledge on.
If you ever have a specific topic that you’d like me to talk about or if there any topics that you’ve thoroughly enjoyed over the past few years, please let me know in the comments. I always appreciate the engagement and support.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you again for everything.
Memento Mori; remember that you will pass away at some point.
Little by little, a little becomes a lot. I had no idea that I’d be reaching 50 posts so soon. I started off back in 2014, just before I finished high-school. Let’s talk a little about how we got to this point, 6 years later.
As with everything in life, it started off as an experiment. There’s no better way to learn than from actually trying, so I attempted to use this space as a virtual journal. In this post, I’ll run you through the timeline of how things developed.
In 2014-2015, I was a little obsessed with my online presence. I took a lot of pride in the follower-following ratio, the aesthetic of my IG feed, twitter cliques and getting enough likes.
I was showcasing the best moments of my life, as social media often lures us to do. I’d say that I wasn’t mature enough to understand how to virtually socialize. I started this blog for the sake of starting a blog, coming from an egotistical place. My intentions were not aligned with my goals.
I carried on blogging every other month, about the most random aspects of my life. In 2016, it kind of all just stopped. When you’re inconsistent and your why isn’t clear, the motivation tends to dissipate.
Throughout 2016-2017, I went through quite a bit of emotional turbulence. I didn’t really know how to deal with my own insecurities or how to love myself. Those were key ingredients for low self-esteem. I’ve mentioned this before, but at the end of 2017, I took a social media sabbatical. (You can read more about it by clicking on the hyper-link)
That’s when things really started to change.
You don’t truly realize how toxic social media can be, until you step out of it. I had way more time than I could’ve previously imagined. I also had a lot of emotional energy that I needed to utilize.
At the beginning of 2018, I started journalling, meditating and reading! It started off in that specific order. Having a journal completely changed the way I took charge of my life. My thoughts and habits became a lot clearer to me. And as I’ve said before: Better awareness – Better choices – Better results.
That’s exactly what started to happen. With my self-awareness slowly increasing, I started making much better choices that were aligned with my values. This ultimately led to better results.
I started off being a little skeptical with regards to meditation, especially from an Islamic point of view. But through constantly being grateful and remembering God, I opened the space for myself to sit in presence every morning. It’s all about intention, don’t forget that.
At the beginning, I was barely able to focus on my breath for 2 minutes at a time. So I had to use guided meditations for a while, until that increased to 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 15 minutes. After that, I was able to sit with my own thoughts and just focus on my breath without needing a ‘guide’.
I used to read a lot when I was a child, thanks to my mother. Growing up in Saudi Arabia however, changed that quite a bit. Throughout middle school and high school, my focus shifted entirely to sports and gaming. I had no interest in reading anything, be that academic or even fiction.
After my mindfulness practice and journalling routine, I realized that I had a lot more to learn. Not only about those particular habits, but about the world in general. That led me to reading ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle.
It took me a few months to read that book, but once I actually completed it, my identity started to change. I was now a reader. Someone who could actually commit to finishing books.
As with every other habit, the more you deliberately practice, the better you get. I started reading books a little bit faster and started learning more about how to retain the information I was learning.
From finishing 3-4 books in 2018, I started finishing 1 book every month in the beginning of 2019. I had to make a conscious effort to achieve that goal. It got even better towards the end of the year, where I started finishing around 2 books a month. A few months after that and I now objectively read at least 4 books a month.
To bring us back to how I started blogging more seriously, I had an urge to share the knowledge I was gaining from all those books and the few habits I was forming. I tried blogging again, with consistency and intention. It started with the The Journey. I (Click the hyper-link to read my first post in 2018)
“The teacher learns the most.”
2019 was the year a lot of my habits fell into place. Everything that I had attempted to do over the previous year was now becoming part of my identity. My intentions were finally aligned with my goals and values.
“First you create your habits, then your habits create you.”
I became passionate about helping other people and serving the world around me. Aspire To Inspire became the motto. To help each and every one of us unleash our full potential and spread the knowledge we gain.
The objective now is to publish at least 2 blog posts per month. I’m also trying to get more people involved in the journey with me, to expand and grow.
Life is temporary. We’re all going to die eventually. Keep that fact in mind and allow it to vitalize your every day. Starting small and staying consistent will always help you sustain your habits. This will then help you become the person you wish to be.
Make it obvious. Make it attractive. Make it easy. Make it satisfying. Don’t only focus on what you need to get done, focus more on who you need to be.
A friend of mine recently told me something really inspiring: “The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.”
I’d love to know more about the aspects that have helped you develop into the person you are today. Please feel free to share your story or comment your views on mine in the section below.
Equilibrium. Before my science nerds start geeking out, I’m going to be talking about a different kind of equilibrium here. A balance between Mind, Body & Soul. Maybe more of a triangle, considering how stable of a shape that is.
I’ve discussed the mind a LOT in this series, and the most relevant topic to this sub-section will be from The Journey IV, where I spoke about the growth mindset. The reason for this is because I want to emphasize how important your mindset is, on perceiving the events that occur to you, and what you can do to develop that.
Taking care of your mind comes in many forms, but a large portion of it comes from seeking discomfort and confronting new challenges. This includes doing things like brain exercises; solving puzzles,playing chess, reading, learning new languages or any form of active engagement which requires thinking. Why? Because of something called neuroplasticity. This is the brain’s ability to physically change throughout your life. Whereby new neural networks and connections are formed in response to new information, sensory information, and learned behaviour.
Let’s simplify this a little, think of riding a bicycle for example. The first time you ever did it, may have seemed quite tough. You struggled a little, couldn’t really balance and maybe even fell off. But the more you practiced, the better you got. This is because the neurons in your brain (neurotransmitters), kept firing in response to the active learning, strengthening the muscle memory. That’s how you get better at things. When you push yourself and try to leave your comfort zone, through consistent practice and dedication, you physically strengthen the neural connections in your body. This allows the process to get easier and easier.
How does this now relate to the growth mindset? Well, if you believe that the more consistent and deliberate you are in your practice, the better you get, the more dedicated you can allow yourself to be. So your beliefs inherently allow you to physically change the synaptic connections, and thus allowing you to further grow. It’s the mindset, which leads to behaviour, which in turn produces better results.
Another point to add to this, as part of the triangle, is that you need to take care of your mind by facing your fears. This is again to create newer and stronger synaptic connections. The more you train yourself to deal with what makes you scared, the stronger your mind becomes at overcoming it. I’ll give you a great place to start: have a cold shower every day! It doesn’t have to be the entirety of your shower, but just the first 20 seconds or so. Where you know your mind is anticipating something dreadful, but you dive into it anyway and realize that you’ll survive. Doing these kind of activities on a regular basis allows you to physically develop a healthier brain. I could go on about the benefits of a cold shower, but I’ll leave that research for you. Let’s move on to the second aspect of the equilibrium; taking care of your body.
Ahh, this is where all the fun starts for me; being active! Through rigorous physical exercise, your body releases a chemical called endorphins. Endorphins are your body’s natural antidepressant, as they reduce your perception of pain by interacting with receptors in the brain. This occurs through neurotransmitters as previously mentioned, and the neuron receptors which endorphin binds to, are similar to that of pain medication.
Exercise also gets the blood pumping in your body, which increases the oxygen levels, helps promote nutrient absorption and even eliminates toxins from the body. This in turn, strengthens your heart, increases your energy, lowers blood pressure and also helps reduce body fat. If that wasn’t good enough, it also has other psychological benefits; boosting your self-esteem, reducing your anxiety, and helps you sleep better.
“A healthy mind lies in a healthy body.”
The picture above depicts one of my favourite Arabic quotes. And that couldn’t be any more true; the better care you take of your body, the better state you allow your mind to be in. We can now slowly start to see how important the balancing aspect is. But, taking care of your body doesn’t just end with exercise, you need to properly fuel yourself too. I’ll start with something I myself, dreaded to hear as a kid:
Eat your fruits and vegetables!
Drink lots and lots of water, your brain needs it. (2L per day)
Avoid processed (junk) food as much as you can.
Reduce sugar consumption.
Essentially, focus on foods that will support your equilibrium. Do some research on brain foods, which include things like: Almonds, avocados, blueberries, broccoli, salmon, walnuts & plenty other ingredients. Once you start adding fresher and more natural produce into your diet, you’ll immediately feel the difference. Not only in your physical health, but your mental health too. I’ll now move onto the final aspect of the triangle, your soul (or spirituality).
Spiritual practices give our lives meaning, by bringing serenity and peace to the heart. It’s very personal and unique to every individual, and comes to each of us in different ways. Islam is what truly keeps me grounded, through constant praying and strengthening my relationship with God (Allah). That’s where true contentment really comes from, when you can understand and appreciate your blessings more, by thanking & worshipping God.
(This is my own opinion and beliefs, so I understand that it’ll differ from person to person) But like I mentioned in previous posts, we’re here for a greater purpose. It’s not a coincidence or an arbitrary existence. Spirituality in turn, creates discipline. It allows us to understand that we shouldn’t act on every impulse or desire, and that our actions have consequences. This keeps us in check and brings about a different kind of balance.
Something especially lacking nowadays from my observations, are people consistently following a spiritual practice. This leaves a certain gap or hollowness, which ultimately disrupts the balance and can mess with the mind and body. This directly relates to the post about death, because when we’re spiritually lost (or without direction), it creates fear around what comes next. This fear is very subliminal and manifests itself in different aspects, but will definitely affect the way we live our lives. So what I’m suggesting is that if you don’t already have a belief system or foundation, take some time out for yourself to figure it out. We’re here for more than our university degrees, job statuses, bank accounts and social media followers. (I’m not saying don’t strive to achieve your goals, but don’t make that the only objective in your life.) The only thing we truly take with us when we pass on, is the state of our soul.
Any form of meditation in essence, allows you to ultimately find a balance between all 3. When you’re able to better control your mind, through your body, using your spirit; you develop equilibrium. Naturally, happiness is the result of achieving this.
To bring this triad of information into a pyramid, we need to understand that as multi-dimensional beings, the mind, body and soul are deeply connected. Each plays a vital role in supporting the other, as this forms your whole self. By understanding how your mind works, through its physiology and neuroplasticity, we can develop a growth mindset and work on being better each and every day. By taking care of your body through exercise and a healthy diet, we holistically strengthen our health. Finally, by forming a deeper connection with ourselves and the world, through spirituality, we can find contentment in our lives.
Today’s topic shall be about mindset, particularly what it means to have a growth mindset and how to think about stress. I’ve been asked about how I deal with stress & anxiety, considering how strenuous the degree I’m undertaking is. (I’m studying chemical engineering at the University of Cape Town). So I’ll also discuss certain techniques that could be useful when feeling overwhelmed by life’s adventures.
Let’s first differentiate between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A fixed mindset assumes that our intelligence, abilities & characteristics are static givens. Meaning they’re biologically fixed and that our innate skills can’t be changed. Contrary to that, a growth mindset emphasizes the ways in which we can constantly change and adapt when faced with challenges, and has a completely different outlook on success and failure. The diagram below clearly illustrates the 2 different mindsets.
A mental technique that I’ve learned this year is “Not yet”. Whenever you encounter a new challenge or something that you’re currently unable to do, tell yourself not yet. It’s the best way to keep optimistic whilst embracing the challenge. When you can convince yourself that no matter what it is you’re trying to achieve, you’re just not there yet, the hope stays alive and the dream lives on. I’ve tried this several times and it’s been extremely powerful, especially when pushing for things that seem impossible. Basically don’t ever tell yourself that you can’t. Just not yet :).
Adding on to the topic of growth mindset, complimenting people for their effort and dedication instead of the results or outcomes. Part of having a growth mindset includes realizing that it’s about the journey not the destination. That is especially true when it comes to academics. Parents & teachers need to realize that the effort and dedication students put in, matters just as much or even more than the results produced. The skill of pushing yourself and working hard is something to be admired and can help you in every aspect of your life.
Stress and anxiety often occur as a result of uncontrolled thought patterns. Essentially overthinking. From my own experience of dealing with intense project weeks and exams, I’ve learnt a few tricks that helped me get through them. The most important in my opinion, is staying present. When you have a deeper understanding of the Now, you’ll learn to accept that overthinking is just thinking about things that don’t really exist. When you have a certain amount of time to get something done, give it your best within the present moment. There’s no use worrying about how little time you have left or how much work there is to do. All you have is right now, so use that to your advantage. Cultivate a belief system and program your mind to make the most of the time you currently have. When you can filter your energy and time into that, instead of overthinking, you’ll be able to achieve all that you need. There’s also no use in stressing over things out of your control, so whenever you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, always start with recognition. Once you learn to acknowledge the feeling, accept it, write it down and let it go. Clear your thoughts and get back on the grind. Watch a motivational video or do something that’ll help distract you in a positive way, such as exercising or reading.
Another trick I learnt, was changing my mindset towards stress. I like to think of stress as my body’s way of getting me ready to take action, gearing up. Whenever you realize you’re stressed, think of it as a reminder to get things done. When you form a healthier relationship with stress, it definitely helps you deal with it better.
I’ve discussed the difference between a growth and fixed mindset, where the former allows you to constantly seek challenges to grow & the latter makes you feel threatened by obstacles and difficulties. How we should change the way we compliment people and focus more on the effort, rather than the results. How stress can be your friend and just a simple change in perspective can go a long way in dealing with the infamous feeling. I’ll end off with another brilliant quote that I love:
“We suffer not from the events that occur to us, but rather our perception of them.”
The most recent book I’ve just read is called Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, thanks to a very special friend of mine. As part of my own learning, I decided to write a little about this topic so that the concepts can stay ingrained within me. Part of this post will cover the meaning of EQ, and how it can help us in our daily commutes. As well as other forms of beneficial concepts to aid us with understanding ourselves better & how to deal with other people.
What is Emotional intelligence?
Let’s start with a definition. From the research I’ve conducted, it’s the ability identify & acknowledge one’s own feelings (& emotions) as well as that of others. So this links back to what I talked about in The Journey I, being a better interpreter of your own emotions & learning how to accept them. What I loved so much about emotional intelligence is that it teaches you how to connect with people. Unlike the Intelligence Quotient (IQ), EQ emphasizes on more than just your own measure of intellignce; but rather how intelligent you are with dealing with yourself & others. In developing EQ, a key factor to consider is empathy.
What is the difference between empathy & sympathy?
Empathy: Is the ability to understand someone else from their point of reference (putting yourself in their shoes).
Sympathy: Is the understanding of what another person is feeling.
The short video I have posted here is a perfect way to understand these different terms. Empathy fuels connection, sympathy drives disconnection.
One of the most important traits you can have as part of your character is being empathetic. Understanding how to make yourself vulnerable in order to connect with other people & feel what they feel. When dealing with conflict or confrontations, the best & easiest approach for me would usually be: How do I want to be told this? This question shows how important it is to understand yourself, in order to understand others. When you know what works best for you in difficult situations, you’ll be prepared to figure out what works best for others too. Being emotionally intelligent allows you to make the best possible compromise when juggling with difficult emotions.
How much should you compromise for a relationship?
Discovering yourself is just as important when it comes to forming healthy relationships. The answer to that is a bit more complicated but there are a few tips that I’ve gained from a great monk that I’ve watched, Jay Shetty. “The problem is that we have a list for the person we want to be with, but we don’t have a list for who we need to become.” Before rushing into relationships you need to dig down and find out what you really want from a relationship. When you have that self-awareness, you’d know what you’re willing to change and what you’re not, in order to be with someone else.
Another point that I believe is crucial for this point is self-love. If you think of the love you have as a bar, like a health bar in video games, our instinctive behaviour would be to try and fill that up. If for example, you’ve only managed to fill that bar up halfway by yourself, you’d often seek the rest of the fulfillment from other people or relationships. When they aren’t able to complete it for you, that’s when a sort of lacking starts to appear and you feel like there’s something wrong or missing. If however, you’re able to fill up that bar completely by yourself, then everyone else in your life would just be adding to an already filled up bar. Allowing for an overflow of love and compassion.
To tie the laces, I’ve mentioned how important empathy is for genuine human connection, as well as differentiating it against sympathy. Why we need to be self-aware before jumping into relationships, & how important self-love is for that same task. I’ll leave with a lovely quote that I’ve found to be very true:
”The quality of your life is dependent on the quality of your relationships.”
After receiving such lovely feedback from the previous post, I thought I’d keep this consistent with new insights. In today’s post, I’d like to speak about something almost every successful person you know has, a solid morning routine. Emphasizing on the ways to kick-start your day and keep your productivity boosting.
Ever since I was in primary school, I remember my dad constantly nagging me to wake up early in order to prepare for the day. It was something that just made no sense to me at the time, with me rebelling by staying in bed for longer and getting annoyed. As I transitioned through high-school, that mentality stayed with me & I was still grumpy and dreaded getting out of bed any earlier than I really needed to. Things started to change as I phased into university life, when I started staying on my own.
I learnt that waking up early enough to make the 8 am lectures wasn’t all that fun. I needed to wake up early enough to make something to eat, fetch the other people in the lift club, and STILL try to find parking on campus. Which as we all know can be an Olympic sport on its own. There was a lot to be done at the earliest hours of the day & I couldn’t slack around if I wanted to keep things in order.
After I tried approaching my mornings with more positivity, the outcome of my days completely changed. I was so much more productive & energetic when I looked forward to waking up early. The key to having a successful day I realized, was having enough time to comfortably structure & start the day. Starting your morning earlier, means you’re creating more time during your day, to make the most of the 86400 seconds you have. (This entails getting the healthy amount of 7-8 hours of sleep)
Herein are a few of the habits I’ve implemented into my morning routine:
Morning pages: A technique in which you journal at the start of your morning to clear your mind of any lingering or cloudy thoughts from dreams or the previous day. It doesn’t have to speak about anything specific, it’s used to express yourself & allow your thoughts to have an outlet.
Praying (Gratitude) : This is just something that personally grounds me & allows me to keep going. Think of all that you are grateful for and start your day with thankfulness, it’ll only make you appreciate life more holistically. A personal motto of mine is : “The more you give, the more you get”, all I can say is that it hasn’t failed me.
Meditating: Definitely don’t need to speak about how beneficial this has been. Clear your mind and connect with yourself for a few minutes. Treat every moment like it could be your last.
Showering: This may be obvious to some of you, but also something many people tend to underestimate. Starting your day off with showering goes a long way more than just cleansing your body. It’s a way to cleanse your mind by allowing the free flow of ideas & letting go of any residual thoughts.
Eating: DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST! I know damn well you’ve all heard this a million times before, yet still try to carry out a full day without breakfast. It’s extremely vital to eat a wholesome meal & to stay hydrated before setting out on adventuring. It sustains your energy levels & keeps the blood sugar level consistent. It also allows for your mind to stay well-nourished.
To-do lists: This to me is one of the most structuring aspects of the morning routine. Setting out your objectives for the day. When you have a to-do list, you make yourself feel a little more responsible for the task at hand, because you have physical proof of it. Start off with simple things, such as making your bed, and tick that off at the very start of your day. It allows you to feel motivated considering you’ve already achieved a task for the day, and it’ll keep you boosting to want to tick off the rest.
There are a lot of other helpful tricks that can help you achieve stupendous results on a daily basis. I’ve discussed some of the techniques I’ve found useful to me; writing, praying, meditating, showering, eating & setting up a to-do list. The aim is to figure out what combination works best for you, and keep consistent with it. After a week of this, you’ll feel the difference and get addicted to early mornings!
Choose the latter, live as though everything is a miracle. Wake up with a smile on your face and feel grateful for having another beautiful day,then tell yourself you’re going to have a spectacular day. It won’t let you down ;).
Here we are, a solid 3 years later. What have we learnt in that time? Let’s give that a little discussion. Since the start of this blog, my perspectives on myself and the world around me has significantly changed. I’d say this journey into self-discovery started around a year ago, nearing the summer of 2017.
That was the time some unprecedented decisions influenced a change in me. I started paying more attention to myself, my thought patterns & my general attitude towards life. Mindfulness. That’s essentially how the self-awareness implemented itself. I started meditating during that period, to better deal with my mind.In the upcoming blogs, I’m going to try and express the knowledge I’ve gained in different ways by focusing on different topics. Today’s post will focus mainly on meditation & emotions.
Before I really dive in, let me quickly summarize what meditation is to me. It’s the act of clearing your head space before starting your day or at any other time, by focusing on a single point of reference such as your breath. It amplifies clarity, calmness, attentiveness, focus & gratitude (And much more). So how did this habit get implemented into my life?
I started trying it out every morning, just after I’d get out of bed. I used an app called “Insight Timer” that has wonderful guided meditations. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of just sitting there & allowing my body to relax. It was difficult at first, considering how chaotic and messy my thought patterns were. I didn’t really understand how to accept thoughts and let them go, without delving into them. But as I built on the practice and consistently worked through it, I started noticing significant changes about a week later. I formed a greater appreciation of just about everything.
What people don’t realize about this habit, is that it teaches you to deal with distractions. You recognize your thoughts better & so you understand how to let them go more easily. Focusing on the breath allows you to re-program your mind to just try and do one thing at a time. That can essentially help you in every aspect of your life.
What I’ve learnt from psychology is that emotions are your body’s response to external stimuli. Feelings occur as a result of your conscious interpretation of those emotions, or as a result of your thought patterns regarding them. From this we can differentiate between thoughts & feelings, whereby thoughts (mental impressions) precede how we feel. What I want to talk about specifically is accepting & understanding your thoughts & feelings. More often than not, the way we deal with our feelings involves either holding on to or resisting them. In either case it’s a result of something unnatural.
Holding on: When feeling joy or happiness, how foolish are we to hold onto them when we know that change is the only constant? A transitory stage such as peeing, would you consider that happiness? Fleeting moment by moment, the tendency to hold onto our feelings and attaching some sort of identity towards it, creates a distortion within ourselves. Once we stop feeling that way, something is wrong or we’re on the search for it again.
Resisting: When feeling sadness or grief, the urge not to feel a certain way arises. This results in some form of nonacceptance with the present moment. When we tell ourselves we shouldn’t be feeling this way or when we forcefully try to feel something else, it results in a strengthening of that emotion over you. You have less control over yourself and your decisions because you’re too busy juggling with the thoughts that arise.
The solution to these inadequate coping mechanisms in my opinion, would be through acceptance. What I mean by that is purely allowing yourself to feel without harboring any judgement. Self-love is a vital intersect in these points because in order to accept the way you are and how you feel about certain things, you need to have some sort of loving compassion towards yourself. Let me use sadness as an example: When something terribly wrong occurs to us and we start feeling an overwhelming sadness, our instinctive reaction would be to stop feeling that way. We’d resort to distracting ourselves or finding different ways to numb the pain. With acceptance, you’re allowing that feeling to encompass you without holding on to or resisting it. Just allowing the feeling to occur. That lets go of the grip the feeling has on you, and allows you to stay present.
Putting it all together, meditating helped me understand my own emotions and feelings better. From impulsively reacting or forcing myself to let go, to just allowing myself to feel. It matters a great lot understanding yourself in order to better understand other people.
The site title says: “Memento Mori”. Remember that you too shall die someday. Live life to its fullest and make the most of now. That’s all you have after all ;).