What’s the purpose of thinking positively?

**Click here to listen to me read out this post on my Podcast instead**

The title is a little dramatic. But sometimes our existence in our surrounding environment can feel awful.

Think about how perspective can make things seem more awful on one day compared with the next. Swing that perspective in another direction and things don’t seem so bad. Your boss was piling on the work without acknowledging your amazing report? You are affected by the person’s behaviour but you aren’t the cause of it. Perspective. It’s not your fault, you are amazing. Now you can communicate this with your boss or you can use the extra work to show that you deserve a promotion. You are in control of your present. See my previous post for why the present moment is so powerful and how to get there.

You are in control of your happiness if you want it. Hear me out. Happiness isn’t a destination, it’s a temporary feeling you can choose to enjoy. All emotions are temporary. Even anger and sadness. Yes, I suffer from depression and I’m going to share a brain training exercise that anyone with any level of mental heath can utilise. It takes pratice and won’t be easy to begin with. Your mind is so powerful that it can make new pathways when you keep pratising a skill until you master it.

Let’s practise right now.

Do a body scan and check in with yourself on how you’re feeling right now. If your shoulders are tensed and you’re biting your nails you might be feeling stressed or anxious. Relax your tense muscles and breathe deeply. Shallow breaths are a sign that you are not relaxed. You’re allowed to feel any emotions or think any thoughts but when any of them come into your mind imagine them floating back out of your mind. They can float down a stream as a leaf floating on the water’s surface, they can flow out of your body as you exhale. When you’re just noticing your breath or the sounds around you or just enjoying being in your body, that’s when you are in the present moment. You have found it! Well done.

Now that you have found the present you can choose your next thought or action or your next feeling. Feel happiness if you want to. Be without fear or pain if you want to.

The next part is a little more advanced but give it a go.

Look at the present you as though you are looking at yourself, a step away from yourself and outside of your own mind. Without your emotions. Look at yourself with kindness, as though you’re looking at your best friend. You want that person to be happy, content and safe.

Of course this all helps if you don’t struggle with self hatred…actually I do experience that myself so this is a helpful tool to get perspective on how I am treating myself. This tool can help you too. I have also felt the benefits of doing, what some people call, loving kindness meditation. Basically you send love and gratitude to yourself, your friends and family, then to your enemies and finally to everyone in the world. It’s a bit challenging when you’re mad at some people but to let go of that and feel gratitude and kindness towards those people is incredibly therapeutic. It’s easier if you remember that all people are like us in that they are also searching to be without pain or fear in each moment.

Surround yourself with positive thoughts and the positive things will continue to happen to you. It’s not that the number of positive situations increases but your perception of each situation changes the outcome. Perspective. It’s all perspective.

The 5 types of boredom The Full Cup Wellness

Which type of boredom are you feeling? You can read this episode as a post at https://thefullcupwellness.com/2021/08/20/which-type-of-boredom-are-you-feeling/
  1. The 5 types of boredom
  2. Environmentally friendly leather?
  3. You're Worth More Than A Number
  4. Crafting With A Conscience
  5. Australian Bush Tucker In The Kitchen

Mindfulness Anytime Anywhere

Tip: At the bottom of this page you can hear me read this blog post out for you in the podcast player. Some other blog posts are available too.

Mindfulness is the art of being in the present moment. I say art because it’s something that can be practised and honed. You may not be an expert at mindfulness meditation but you can be if you want to be. The trick is to practise. Mindfulness is a brain training exercise that will benefit you in surprising ways. When I first heard about mindfulness meditation I thought it was only for hipsters, hippies and monks. True! I had no idea what it involved or how it could help me. Now I know it can help anyone. Mindfulness is beneficial for children, teens, adults and those who don’t identify with any particular age group.

If mindfulness is being in the present moment, how do I get there? And stay there?

It’s all too easy to worry about the future or be upset by thoughts of the past. There is a better, more productive way to live. In the present. There are some meditation techniques to help you find the present moment in your mind. Try some of these techniques and figure out what works best for you. It could even be a combination of techniques that you find most helpful.

Use your senses

The five senses can be used to gently move your focus back to the present moment.

Touch: Bring your focus back to the present moment by feeling your way there. You don’t need special tools to do this. Your clothing may be soft or you may have a pet at home. Feel some fabric or the soft fur (or scales) of your beloved pet and focus on how your fingers receive this sensation. Is it smooth? Is it warm? Acknowledge any thoughts and feelings you may have. Let yourself feel those feelings and bring your thoughts back to the absolute present moment. There are no worries of the past or future when you are focused on the present. Another form of touch is the feeling of your feet on the ground or your body against your chair. There’ll be more on that sensation later.

Smell and taste: Ask yourself what smells can you detect right now. Are there any tastes on your tongue? Mindful eating is the perfect way to enjoy your meals because you will fully engage with the flavours and sensations of the food. Breathe in the aroma of your cup of tea or coffee or cocoa.

Hearing: Focus on the sounds reaching your ears within in the room or nearby area. Then extend your awareness to the sounds outside of the room or area. Acknowledge the sounds without judgment. If your thoughts begin to wander show yourself patience and allow your thoughts to drift back to the present moment.

Sight: Whether your eyes are open or closed you can focus on what they are seeing. While they’re closed you can acknowledge whether the environment is bright or dim. Or visualise a candle, which is a common meditation technique, and see how long you can focus on the imagined flame. If you need to have your eyes open, such as during a walk or while driving, you can use the world around you to stay present. The next time you’re out for a walk try a walking meditation to stay in the mindul present. During a walking meditation you can ask yourself, what’s the sky up to today? Are there any clouds or birds or sky writers? Acknowledge your surroundings and your position within them, how tall the trees are, how the leaves move in the breeze. You can add in the other senses too, focus on how warm or cool the air feels on your skin and what smells are reaching your nose.

Grounding

If you have read the paragraph on the sense of touch above you will have an idea of this one already. Grounding involves feeling your connection to the Earth through your feet or your body. You can do this with socks or bare feet or in shoes while sitting or you can be lying down or sitting upright. The point is to envision your connection to the ground while feeling the physical connection through your body. Focus on the space at which you feel your body touching the ground. Remain in the present moment by just being and feeling your existence physically. You are present in this place at this time. No past or future concerns are harming you and they have no power in your present moment.

Breathing and heartbeat

Your breath and your heartbeat are always there. Often it’s not quiet enough to hear either of them, but it is normally possible to feel them. You can feel your own pulse by pressing your forefinger and middle finger (not your thumb as it has its own pulse) against the inside of your wrist or your neck next to your windpipe. Sometimes it’s difficult to find your pulse. I find it easier to find my breath. Sometimes when I’m trying to sleep I hear my heartbeat is too fast because I was WORRYING about the past or the future. In those moments I tell myself I can learn to slow my heartbeat by focusing on my breathing. They seem to go hand in hand. With enough practice you can have this other level of control over your body.

Breathing deep, soothing breaths is a common way to calm yourself during moments of stress that have caused an increase in your heart rate. You can also focus on the calming breaths as you breathe them to bring yourself to the present moment. The breath is very powerful in this way. It’s something you can always bring your awareness back to. Observe yourself in the moment just breathing. Your eyes can be closed if it’s safe to do so. If any thoughts or emotions come to your mind you can let them pass by and float away with your breath. Let your focus be only on your breath and how it feels flowing in and out. Be in the present moment with your breath. No worries or emotions can hurt you in the present moment.

Curiosity

When was the last time you were a beginner at something? Or looked at something you’ve never seen before? When you learn something new you focus on each step carefully, individually. Once you’ve mastered a skill you no longer think twice about performing it. You don’t look at the steps closely or consider how each part comes together, it is just assumed. The world around you can also blur together as you assume the common objects you see every day. Un-blur your mind and focus on an object like you are a baby and have no understanding of the object. Create curiosity within your mind and come back to the present by really fully focusing on an object or a skill such as hula hooping or throwing a ball. Consider how it feels but without emotion or judgement. No judgement of causes or effects. Just see it for what it is in the moment and enjoy every one of those moments. You are present. You exist and it is amazing.

Key points:

Remember to allow yourself to feel emotions and acknowledge your thoughts when they wander. Be kind with yourself, no need to be discouraged when you stray from the present moment.

It’s okay to feel anger, happiness, all of the good and bad emotions are valid. But remind yourself that good or bad, the emotions are only temporary. You can control how you feel. The past cannot harm you.

The worries of the future are holding you back from focusing on your present moment. The future will happen whether or not you fixate on it. Fixation on the future cannot help you prepare for it. You have total control of your body in the present moment. You have the power to make it however you want it to be right now. You choose if you stand up and breathe in the fresh air or stay where you are. You choose whether you sit in sadness and worry about what others think about you. Are you worrying about those people? No. Then they aren’t worrying about you. You’re here in the present moment, make it whatever YOU want it to be.

Side note: Every other fellow human is also living and existing on the Earth just like you, searching for contentment and safety. If you or they are displaying angry emotions then it is because you/they are scared or hurt. We are able to choose how we react if we are wholly in the present moment. We are powerful enough to create the present that we want to exist in. Remain present, ask yourself why you are feeling a particular emotion and you can choose whether you alter your behaviour based on your anger, hurt or fear. Or choose to breathe and stay in control of your present.

Thank you so much for reading. Be kind and be present.

Visit my Youtube channel for more Full Cup Wellness online. Visit my store on Storenvy for my crochet creations.

The 5 types of boredom The Full Cup Wellness

Which type of boredom are you feeling? You can read this episode as a post at https://thefullcupwellness.com/2021/08/20/which-type-of-boredom-are-you-feeling/
  1. The 5 types of boredom
  2. Environmentally friendly leather?
  3. You're Worth More Than A Number
  4. Crafting With A Conscience
  5. Australian Bush Tucker In The Kitchen

Finding Gratitude During Tough Times

Gratitude is already a difficult practice at the best of times. So how do you tap into those feelings of gratitude when you’re not feeling grateful for the bad experiences happening around you? Or maybe you’ve been feeling depressed for a whlie and you’re not sure how you can feel gratitude at all. There are some easy exercises you can introduce into your life that will help bring feelings of gratitude even when things around you seem grim.

Why would I want to experience gratitude?

  • Resilience
    • Resilience is a meta-skill that can help you get through the darkest days. Notice how difficult times are easier to navigate through when your thoughts are coming from a positive slant. Any negative emotions that could lead to unproductive actions or reactions can be challenged and re-framed into productive motivation. Gratitude isn’t about completely removing sadness and negativity, but it is used to help process those difficult feelings.
  • Good mental health
    • Remaining in depression and a negative mindset will hinder your path to better mental health. When your mental health hasn’t been tip top, it’s so important to address it just like you would any injury that is affecting your daily life. You may not see how poor mental health is affecting you day-to-day but it does affect the way you perceive every personal experience and your interactions with the people around you.
  • Life is easier
  • Everything around you is exactly what you need and want at this point in time. When you have gratitude in your life you will be completely grateful for your current possessions. You’ll notice that the importance you’ve placed on material objects is diminished and you are better for it. You’re no longer stressing about having more, being more, doing more.

How to begin your gratitude journey

Gratefully accepting the situation around us is the basic idea of the practice of gratitude. Life is already difficult, that is something we must accept. But we don’t need to accept the negativity and mental rut that can come from difficult life experiences.

  • Focus on the good
  • Your perception of the world will frame how you respond to your present situation. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but you need to identify the blessings in disguise. Maybe the unexpected loss of your job has led to you investing more time into your passions and a more rewarding type of work.
  • Time and patience helps
  • Be kind to yourself and grant yourself patience without judgement. Any negative jugemental thoughts about yourself will only hinder your path towards feeling gratitude.
  • Find joy in small things
  • Taking the time to focus on the little things in your life that make you smile will serve as a reminder of the positivity surrounding you. This practice also helps you feel less concerned with the things you don’t have and distracts your thoughts from negative emotions.
  • Thought swapping
  • Stay in control of your feelings and actions by reframing any of your unproductive and negative thoghts into the postive. This pratice is also known as CBT or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. You are acknowledging the difficult internal thoughts and making the choice to move away from them and towards reconnection with the world around you.

Wishing you all the best as you introduce gratitude into your life. Leave some comments below sharing your experience with gratitude.

Check out my youtube channel for more wellness and tutorials and click subscribe to show your support: https://www.youtube.com/user/queeenvk/videos

The power of journaling

What is journaling?

The basic idea is that you record your thoughts, emotions and experiences. Normally this is done daily in a book. The act of writing things down encourages the information to be stored more effectively in your memory.

Why journal? Is it right for you?

Writing down your thoughts right before sleep can help to release your brain from the noise of the day. Or you might like to keep record of exciting or happy memories. For example, I have a memory that I wrote in 3 separate journals because it was so exciting at the time. At the age of 10 I watched a dog give birth to a litter of puppies. In my first 10 years of life that was the most amazing thing I had ever experienced and I needed to record it. Eventually my young mind started worrying I would forget my memories and made sure to journal all my family holidays and various events in my life. Now in my 30s I gladly live mindfully in the moment without fear of forgetting the past. We do not need to be attached to our past in a way that affects our mental health negatively.

Writing things down can help you to let some difficult emotions go. Once the thoughts and fears are set out on the page in front of you they don’t seem so big and overwhelming. And bonus, you don’t feel the pressure to keep the thoughts and memories in your head because they’re recorded for you already. That takes a lot of stress off your brain.

According to various articles from psychological research there are positive and negative outcomes to journaling. It can either help you understand yourself in relation to others or it can hinder your self discovery journey if you only concentrate on “yourself in isolation”. The results of a collection of research articles include the following positive and negative outcomes of journaling.

The pros of journaling

  • Encourages you to evaluate your reactions and emotions
    • Identify action vs reaction. Reaction is what we do with our “monkey brain” when we act on impulse without consideration.
  • Allows you to find resolutions to open issues
    • You can see all aspects of a problem when it’s written out in front of you.
  • Clarifies your views and motivations.
  • Focuses your negative energy into creativity and positivity.
  • Increases your tolerance of change and unpredictable or unexpected situations.
  • Improves mental health by making you feel more connected to the world around you.
  • Helps you define your goals and encourages action through motivation.

The cons of journaling

  • Causes negative rumination
    • You live within your own negative thoughts.
  • Prevents you from living in the moment
    • You begin to focus on how you’ll record your life events instead of experiencing them.
  • Makes you become egocentric and obsessed with your needs.
  • Allows you to blame the situations around you but not come to any positive conclusions.
  • Prevent resilience by encouraging thoughts to remain on negative experiences.

Maintaining the habit of journaling regularly can be a challenge. Although it becomes easy once it becomes part of your daily routine. Encourage yourself to keep at it by making it a fun and rewarding experience. Use different coloured pens and highlighters to really engage with your journal pages. I have an old sticker collection from my youth that I’m re-purposing in my journals, cards, labels and craft. Some are those holographic stickers from the 90s, they really jazz up a sparse journal page.

Thanks so much for reading! Comment below with your journal experiences. Or share your tips and hints to make the most of our journaling journey.

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How to cultivate success in your life

It took me about a decade but I have finally learned valuable meta-skills such as resilience and self awareness. I’ve also been working on cultivating gratitude and mindfulness which has helped to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.” –Émile Coué

Here are some tips that you can use to improve your chance for success in life.

“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place.” –Lao Tzu.

..Take the opportunity to cultivate a positive mental attitude.

.. Practice gratitude and mindfulness daily so that it becomes a habit. This can prevent anxiety and negative thoughts from holding you back from success.

.. Clearly define your goals. Nebulous goals are a recipe for disaster. Clear goals give you something definite to work towards.

Share your positive habits or any tips for success in the comments below.

Your phone camera may be lying to you

I recently upgraded my phone to a Samsung Note 9 and it wasn’t until a few months later that I noticed the function of a particular setting that is default on. In the Settings menu this particular setting says that it corrects the shape of faces that appear distorted. I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant but I guessed it would help me take better photos.

So I was taking some selfies, trying to figure out my best angles to show off some cute new earrings when I noticed that the default camera app on my Samsung had distorted my face on purpose. Then I understood what the setting meant and it kind of broke my heart.

I love you Samsung. Why would you purposely distort my oval shaped face into a heart shaped face? Are you saying that my natural normal appearance, the features I have written in my DNA, are distorted?

DISTORTED.

In a time of low self esteem this is not appropriate. People are getting plastic surgery to look more like these camera filters. All humans have the choice to live their life however they wish, with or without body modification. But when we’re constantly shown fake images of what people are supposed to look like then we begin to feel that we don’t measure up to this impossible standard and it leads to mental illness. I struggled for many years before I gradually taught myself to have self esteem and if I’m being completely honest, it is the absolute best thing to do for yourself if you struggle with lack of self worth and self confidence. Future-you will thank you for it, trust me. Once you are no longer preoccupied with your perceived faults (Hint: they don’t exist) life is easier in every aspect. Bonus: Once people see the confidence you have in yourself they will have confidence in you too. It’s science. The branch of science is psychology.

Your physical appearance is irrelevant

Another setting on my Samsung that I turned off as soon as I could find it: the beauty filter. All it does is blurs the image so that you can’t see my pores and wrinkles and it seems to add extra dark pixels to my eyes and eyelashes to make them pop. If you’ve noticed any changes your particular camera app makes to your face, regardless of whether you prefer the setting on or off, write it in the comments below.

I turn these filters off because I know my face is acceptable as it is. I choose not to wear makeup most days because I know my face is great purely because it’s attached to me. I enjoy applying makeup when I feel like it because it’s fun, like an art project or special effects/cosplay.

Your physical appearance is irrelevant. Remember that. To me, I have absolutely no reason to judge your character based on a couple of features. Most of the time I don’t even notice appearance and it is extremely difficult for me to describe a person if they aren’t in front of me. It’s because I’m too busy focusing on your personality and that’s all I need to see. That’s the part that matters.

You are beautiful because of who you are and who you choose to be. Your appearance is irrelevant to me. Now go out there and get that self confidence.

You got this.

PS. I ended up taking the photos of my cute earrings with the camera filters off and a makeup free face. The only “flaw” I did notice is that I poke my tongue out a lot.

Featured image credit: https://kamdora.com/2014/07/16/how-to-tell-the-shape-of-your-face/