Category Mental Health

Less Stress, More Focus: Meditation for the Chaotic Mind

I am, for all intents and purposes, someone who is really, really bad at getting things done. No, really. It takes a special amount of motivation to get me to finish the things I start—from cleaning the kitchen, to making a schedule, to writing my novel. I have to be in the right mood; or at least in the right feeling. However, no matter how much I may not want to do something, life is such that I have to do things anyway (we’ve all been there). The biggest question I’ve had to answer for myself is this: how do I find more motivation within my life? How do I find more mindful productivity when the things I should be productive about feel more stressful than desirable? The clearest answer I’ve been able to find is meditation. To give myself time in my day to meditate, clear my mind, and

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Finding Strength in Loss

My dad was ridiculously determined to make me into a golfer (for real 😂). For years, I was so ashamed because when I thought about memories of him, our stupid fights about golf were often the first thing that came to my mind. I didn’t realize until recently just how important these moments were in shaping me into the [business]woman I’ve become today. Our conflicts taught me how to stand up for myself, to search for reasoning behind things I “had to do”, and how to negotiate (sure, I’ll suck it up and go golfing today if you take me to the mall tomorrow 😝). I’m now grateful for the resistance he challenged me with and I love him even more for it. 8 years ago today he took his life. I’ve spent a long time running from our memories out of fear they would only bring up pain. I can’t help

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Stay Focused and Productive with a Not-To-Do List

Do you ever feel like there’s not enough time in the day? Is “busy” your go-to response when people ask how you’re doing? Do you ever end your workdays feeling like distractions got the best of you and kept you from getting enough done? If so, you’re preaching to the choir. I’m a business attorney for creative entrepreneurs. I love running my own law firm, but staying focused and productive is always a challenge for me. Like many of my creative clients, I struggle with staying on track and not chasing the latest shiny objects. My job is all about protecting businesses, but in order to do that it’s really my productivity that needs protecting. Now, I’m not a productivity guru. But I’ve done a ton of research on the subject, and I’ve experimented with different tools and practices to keep myself on track. There’s one productivity tool that’s been

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From Self-Harm to Superbands: How I’m Saving Lives Through Music

My name is Jessica Villa and I’m the Founder/CEO of a nonprofit organization called Superbands. Having been known as the ‘quiet girl’ for most of my life, never did I envision taking on something that is so beyond my comfort zone, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision to jump into pushing Superbands forward, which has undoubtedly been the most rewarding experience of my life. At age 13, I moved from a small town to a bustling new community where I struggled to fit in and make friends. Afraid to speak up in class and too anxious to approach my peers, I found myself slipping into a dark place, soon suffering from depression, self-harm, and anxiety. I refused to speak out about my mental illness out of fear of being bullied, judged, or mistreated. This soon escalated to suicide attempts at the young age of 17. I felt so

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The Comfort of Feeling Uncomfortable

Oh, comfort.  It’s actually quite a versatile word.  The number of things and situations it can be applied to is almost limitless: in terms of fashion (leave it to Allyn to come up with a metaphor involving sweater weather and your comfort zone), being around people, your position in life, how much of yourself you put out into the world, etc.  The phrase “stepping out of your comfort zone” is so overused and cliche at this point that it’s easy to dismiss as useless rhetoric.  But it’s not. If I’m being honest, I think it’s some of the best advice a person could ever receive.  Why?  Because, as humans, it’s in our nature to get comfortable and stay put.  Can I blame anyone for feeling that way?  Absolutely not.  I’m just as guilty of it as anyone else.  As a general example, I love to come home and immediately slip

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When It Comes to Thinking About Your Intuition: Don’t

Intuition. I used to really hate intuition. Everyone can agree that intuition is a subconscious sense of knowing. Knowing where to go, what to do, who that person is, or what will happen next. I used to think some people were blessed with more intuition than others. I used to think I had a gimpy one. How completely unhelpful… Then I began living and studying yoga more intently and a certain amount of fog lifted, but most of it just changed colors. I could still hate intuition, but it’s kind of like shooting yourself in the foot. Hopefully, if you follow me down the rabbit hole here, you’ll join me at the end in a healthier perspective on the whole intuition-thing. As a yoga teacher, we reference chakras a lot. These spinning wheels of spiritual energy located in our bodies which correspond to physical nerve clusters and major organ centers,

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How To Battle Perfectionism + Not Let It Break You

I’m not perfect (gasp).  No one is.  No thing is.  It’s a simple idea, and something that should be chalked up to common knowledge.  So, why is it so difficult for me to admit?  Why do I cringe when I read what I wrote to open this newsletter? I’ve long struggled, and continue to struggle, with the idea of perfectionism (our previous Gem of the Week, Steffi Keung also opens up about this in her interview here).  When I was young and naive, I was convinced that ‘perfect’ was something attainable; that I could someday be the perfect person to everyone.  So I worked toward that goal.  I planned to be the perfect son, friend, student, worker, and significant other.  Every detail of every area of my life would be covered.  I would be accepted by all, and I’d excel in everything I attempted. Related Read: 3 Questions to Help You

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12 Reads to Help You Understand the Importance of Mental Health as a Creative

There are two secrets to success: 1) hard work and 2) a strong mindset. The first one takes a long time no matter who you are, no matter what you do. However, there are always those people who seem to skyrocket to success, but I’m realizing this isn’t the case. The people who seem to succeed faster, with less “effort” have simply just learned to master their mindset earlier than the rest of us, which allows them to be fulfilled within each step of the journey. And by mindset, I don’t mean this fluffy space in your head that only has room for positivity where visualizing a rainbow magically zaps away any problematic struggle or situation. By mindset, I mean the strength of your mental space and developing mental toughness and emotional intelligence. Today is World Mental Health Day, and because there is no cause out there that I think is

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