Face Your Fears

Stress

As Halloween quickly approaches we find ourselves surrounded by eerie stories, haunted houses, and some seriously menacing decorations. There is one purpose, one common thread branding this anticipated eve, and that is fear.

Fear.

It’s that feeling you you get when you turn off the lights and run upstairs, the pounding in your chest when you wake up from a horrific nightmare, the racing thoughts in your mind when you get that phone call.

It is all around us yet we are constantly trying to mask it and shove it in a corner to be dealt with at a later time. For some of us it is more than a mini heart attack, or a wave of goosebumps. It engulfs our lives prohibiting us from existing to our full potential. It leads us to second guess every decision, every occurrence, fostering insecurity and a lack of motivation. We find ourselves out of touch with the now and lost in a repetitive cycle of worry. For others it’s the little fears that sneak up and hinder our success. A lot of us fear rejection, failure, and embarrassment. We fear that we are not good enough, that no matter the effort we will never live up to our expectations or reach our goals. Why do we as human beings allow these feelings to manifest in our lives? Is it simply human nature or is it the result of an ill mannered society?

It could be a little bit of both.

There are two types of fears: innate and learned. Innate fears encompass those of which we are born with. These include the fear of falling, and the fear of loud noises. Yes, these are the only two, which means every other fear is acquired from our experiences. As children we are extremely susceptible to new knowledge and behaviors. We have nothing in the way of experience in the world and that means that every occurrence has some sort of impact on our mind. Parents play a major role in this development. Seemingly insignificant events such as scolding, negative talk, and threats instill the first traces of fear in young children. Now this is not to say that parents who reprimand their children are poor parents. It is natural to lead children down the right path and astray from improper behaviors, but it is important to be aware of the emotional future they are being set up for. Moving on from childhood and into adulthood fears continue to manifest through negative experiences. When we encounter events that stimulate troublesome emotions, our mind holds onto that feeling and associates it with the specific event. This way when we are reminded of the event or faced with a similar situation the same feeling of pain is triggered, leading us into fear. Fear then becomes a survival mechanism. The fight or flight response is activated and we search for a way to avoid the discomfort we anticipate. These feelings are natural, and play out in the lives of all human beings, the true test is wether or not we are able to conquer them.

Overcoming fear is a huge and daunting task, seemingly impossible for many. Fortunately, there is a way around it. When we encounter fear we often tell ourselves to simply get over it and move on. We reassure ourselves that we are not afraid, and believe that somehow if we continue the fear will magically disappear. Hate to break it to you but it doesn’t work that way. Conquering fear is similar to learning to walk, or ride a bike. It can not be done in one simple step, it requires a series of learned strategies and tactics in order to achieve the goal.

Here are a few proactive steps you can take to move toward letting go of fear:

  • Become Aware-the first step in restraining fear is to full heartedly accept it. Bring yourself to terms with the fact that you are afraid and consciously recognize what it is that you are afraid of. Remind yourself that you are not your fears.
  • Find the Roots-one of the most important aspects is looking into what causes you to manifest these fearful feelings. What are you thinking when you find yourself feeling scared? Which thoughts trigger the fear? Once we are able to locate the source of fear we can then look into ways of addressing it.
  • Work With Your Imagination-our subconscious mind is unable to see the difference between imagination and reality. Buddha once said “what we think we become.” Picture yourself repeatedly overcoming your fear. Use all of your power to make the experience feel as real as possible. Eventually, this will flow over into your subconscious mind.
  • The Power of the Present-focus your thoughts on the present moment, do not dwell on the future or past. Center yourself. Take a deep breath and immerse your mind in the moment at hand.
  • Put it in Perspective-Avoid looking at your fears through tunnel vision. We often focus too much on the negative and fail to think of all the possibilities for success.
  •  Focus on the Positive-Everyone has had failures. It is human nature. Instead of dwelling on failed moments think about your success. Recognize your ability to be successful and cultivate a sense of confidence.
  • Prayer and Spirituality-seek refuge and comfort in your religion. Consider your belief system and address your fears in a spiritual way.
  • Take Action-Take a step in the positive direction. Do something productive and worth your while, avoid sitting around and letting negativity engulf your life. Think of everything you have to be grateful for, read a book, watch an insightful documentary, release your mind of tension.
  • Plan-this one can be a little difficult. Some of us are planners, we plan every minute of our lives down to the second. Others go with the flow and avoid preparation at all costs. If that’s you, ignore this one as it will do you no good. For all the planners out there, use it to your advantage to precisely work through your fears. Plan out the steps you are going to take to address your insecurities. Make a list and check each item off as you complete it.
  • Just Breathe-The breath is a powerful tool. It is the key to freedom and relaxation of the mind. When you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed bring yourself back to the basics of the breath. Focus on each individual inhale and exhale, and allow your mind to find peace.

Surmounting fear takes time. Do not rush into conquering your biggest fears in a short span. It is about learning to cope with fear that will lead you to relief. Listen to yourself, focus on methods that work for you, and take action necessary to move forward in your journey.

105427-fall-love-photography-tumblr-gif-love-photography-vintage-inspiration

 

 

 

 

Positive People

Uncategorized

 

Hello Beauties,

Today as I was doing the daily social media run through  I came across something that really resonated with me.

e7727ad0838aa369f213980d1d34d0d9

 

As I continue to grow and learn I have come to realize the importance of my surroundings. This can be anything from feng shui to friendships. There is no doubt the energy around us has an influence on our mentality. Think about it, have you ever been around someone who is constantly complaining, and moaning about everything? Come on, we all have that Debbie Downer in our life, and if you don’t maybe you need to do some personal reevaluating. On the contrary there are the happy go lucky people; the ones that are always smiling, excited to be alive, and radiating positivity. This is the type of person I want to surround myself with. In the past few months i’ve done some soul searching and evaluated some of the relationships in my life. I realize the importance of positive, healthy relationships and the amazing gifts that come out of them. When you surround yourself with uplifting, joyous people you start to radiate that energy and implement it into your life in ways you did not think possible.

Life is short, all we have is a blip of time to make an impact. The next time you’re in the shower, laying in bed, or just have a few minutes to think, asses the relationships in your life are they beneficial and worthwhile?

Just a little food for thought to spice up your day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

50 Healthy Habits

Uncategorized

My name is Julia Hatzigeorgiou and i’m a pinterestaholic.

Yes, for the past five years I have been struggling an ongoing battle with this little demon.

With the sensational images of food, surreal vacation destinations, and an “ultimate guide” to pretty much anything you can think of, it’s a sneaky little time consumer. One of my favorite elements of this beautiful scrapbook is it’s wide variety of quotes. It is here where I find inspiration, motivation, and the occasional afternoon pick me up.

There is one image/list I always find myself going back to.

It is called “50 healthy habits.” As I turn back to this list day after day I have decided to do some rearranging and create a list of my own.

  1. Start Fresh every single day
  2. Put down your phone when you’re out with people
  3. Try the 2/30 rule- 2 hours of TV 30 minutes of exercise
  4. Enjoy the outdoors
  5. Cut back on (evil) sugar
  6. Drink warm water tea with lemon daily
  7. Don’t try to keep up with the Jonses, you’ll lose
  8. Start biking (even if it’s a little)
  9. keep healthy snacks on hand
  10. Stop beating yourself up 
  11. Don’t do drugs. It’s that simple
  12. Take care of your clothing (and yourself)
  13. Eat whole foods
  14. Don’t overdo the booze
  15. Use SPF and wear a hat in the sun-this one’s for you mom
  16. Don’t rely on pills if you can’t sleep
  17. Don’t look to pills when there are other options
  18. Drink at least 8oz of fluids a day
  19. Make your home a place you want to spend time
  20. Don’t buy things you’ll only wear once
  21. Use youtube for free exercise YOGA videos
  22. Make your own cleaning supplies
  23. Drop loose change into the same jar daily
  24. Stand up for yourself
  25. AVOID TANNING BEDS like the plague 
  26. Take medication seriously (look for natural remedies)
  27. Listen to your body
  28. Don’t skimp on sleep
  29. Do mental health checks
  30. Read labels on everything from food to makeup
  31. Prioritize stress management
  32. Always wear a seatbelt
  33. WASH YOUR HANDS
  34. Floss once a day
  35. Sneeze into your arm NOT your hand
  36. Count to 10 when you’re angry
  37. Never let google diagnose you
  38. Take constructive criticism
  39. Treat everyone with respect
  40. Make time for yourself
  41. Practice creativity
  42. Think before you speak
  43. Embrace optimism
  44. Eat breakfast
  45. Surround yourself with positive people
  46. Try something new
  47. Wake up early
  48. Eat avocado
  49. Inspire and be inspired
  50. Enjoy simplicity

 

 

 

Meditation, Is it For Me?

Uncategorized

Google “Meditation.” What do you find? A picture of a Middle Eastern and or hippie guru sitting legs crossed, hands in some funky circle thing humming “om.” For as long as anyone can remember the idea of meditation has been consumed by a stereotype of chanting, deep breathing, and a whole lot of incense. In more recent years, however it has gone mainstream, more and more people are adopting a practice and marveling in the supposed benefits. Here you are-along with 95% of the population thinking, “come on. Meditating? That can’t be for me.”

I’m here to tell you you’re wrong.

I, similar to many others rejected the practice for years. Sure, I tried it a few times. I found a youtube video that looked promising and focused on silencing my mind but I felt that I could never truly get it to shut down-the thoughts were always racing. Recently however I have approached the process in a new way. After some research I found that I had been doing it all wrong. Contrary to popular belief it is not about complete and utter silence, it’s about mindfulness and the idea of being in tune.

Meditation doesn’t have to be sitting in a candlelit room connecting to the spiritual world. It can be closing your eyes for five minutes and just breathing, or repeating a mantra to yourself as you face a stressful situation at work. You don’t have to censor or block out your thoughts, let them come to you and pass without judgement. If you want to move, then move if you want to cry or laugh do it. Be sensitive to the sensations of your body, allow yourself to feel and just be. If religion is a part of your life implement that in your practice. Use this time as an opportunity to connect with God-or whoever else you believe in. There are many different methods and means of meditation, take some time to explore them and find the way that is best suited for you. The most important aspect is focusing on the breath. If you can learn to do that the rest will follow.

As you dive into your meditation practice you will find your level of self awareness beginning to rise, your thoughts becoming more positive, all the while your stress levels fall to the floor (as much as they can in this high stress world).  From mental struggles and physical ailments, to delayed aging and an improved immune system this awe inspiring practice has the ability to better your life in a host of different ways. Harvard conducted studies show that meditation literally changes the brain. One study in particular included 16 participants practicing various forms each day for 30 minutes. After eight weeks an MRI  found that each of the participants supported increased grey matter in the brain(Harvard.edu). This indicates an increased ability in learning and memory, as well as cognitive function, compassion and introspection. Big time corporations such as Apple, Google, and Nike encourage their employees to take time out of their workday to find mindfulness. Entrepreneurs meditate as a form of professional development. Even Kobe Bryant utilizes a meditation practice to improve his athletic performance. Maybe this is not some ludicrous phenomenon after all.

Now that I have immersed you in my knowledge, what do you think about the guru stereotype? A little less mystical and a little more attainable? That’s the goal. Everyone, yes even you, can benefit from the remarkable practice of meditation. Make it your own, embrace the experience and watch the benefits unfold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unplug and Unwind

Uncategorized

It’s two in the morning and you can’t sleep. Your mind is racing, body wide awake and all you can think of is how desperately you want to be in a deep, mesmerizing reverie. Thoughts begin to bounce around in your mind; “do I get up? walk around a little bit? “Maybe I need some water…” “Counting sheep is always a possibility.”

AHA! got it, i’ll check my  phone. And that’s it. Once again you find yourself in the trap of scrolling, refreshing and slowly deepening into depression because you didn’t get invited to that party.

We’ve all been there. I’ll admit i’ve been absorbed by the taunting little screen more than once. With the world at your fingertips they make it pretty hard to stay away.

The world of technology can be a beautiful thing, bringing us quick access, easy communication, and best of all online shopping but does it cause us more harm than good? , Mental exhaustion, chronic insomnia, lowered energy levels and let’s not forget FOMO, are all direct results of the use of technology in society today. Immersing ourselves in our phones, or computers for hours on end induces a warped sense of reality and even raises stress levels. We become caught up in this expectation of “perfect.” A lot of the time we walk away with a false perception of the way the way life should be lived leaving us feeling empty and belittled. Nobody deserves to feel these feelings. It’s  saddening that something intended to do so much good can inflict so much harm .

The question now is what do we do? We can’t say put down the phone, computer, and all other technology forever and go back to an indigenous way of life (although I would love it if we could) in our society that is simply not possible. We have to learn to bring ourselves to unplug and take a break. The problem is we are over-attached. If we could learn to enjoy the miracles of technology without overindulging the world would be a better place. Remove yourself from the comfort of your screen and find comfort in the silence. Meditate, find space, allow yourself some peace and quiet. Solitude can be a beautiful thing, allowing us to feel grounded and find true contentment. If quiet is just not your cup of tea go outside, create, discover, embrace face to face contact and find the beauty in a real relationship. The most authentic version of life is happening before your eyes don’t miss out on all the opportunities it has to offer.

“We’re born, we live for a brief instant, and we die. It’s been happening for a long time. Technology is not changing it much – if at all.” —Steve Jobs

With that I will leave you to find the power button and immerse yourself in the freedom.