How To Enhance Your Mental Health

Mental Health is your overall well being, and isn’t something that should be ignored. Here are a few tips to enhance your mental health.

Mental Health is your overall well being and isn’t something that should be ignored. According to the World Health Organization, one in four people in the world would be affected by neurological or mental disorders at some point in their life. Currently, around half a billion people suffer from conditions of mental health. It affects your social life, career, academics, and a lot more. Here are a few tips to enhance your mental health:

Positivity

Research suggests that your perception of yourself may affect how you feel. When you perceive your life and yourself in a negative light, your brain helps to confirm that bias through daily experiences. So, always promote positive feelings of personal power and self-worth. Tell yourself, “I guess I’ll have to work harder on the next interview” instead of “I’m such a loser, this was the third interview I tanked.”

journal houseplant

Gratitude

Your psychological mental health, well-being, and happiness have close links to gratitude or how grateful you feel. To become more grateful and find happiness in little things, you can adopt the practice of maintaining a gratitude journal. It encourages you to be grateful in general and make a gratitude list that you can refer to whenever you are feeling down. It fills up your heart with satisfaction and gives you that intangible warm feeling that has nothing to do with temperature.

Be Mindful Of The Moment

Living in the moment and being more mindful helps you to shed off negative emotions and move on from a difficult past. Being mindful means, you are more aware of your surroundings and sensations in everyday mundane routine like having breakfast, showering, biking to work or back home. Pay more attention to the sounds, smells, touch, and taste of your daily experiences.

Workout

A workout is great for your muscles, bones, and especially useful for a healthy and functional brain. During a workout, your brain releases plenty of hormones called endorphins. These chemicals improve your mood and relieve stress. It’s one of the reasons why people have an unexplainable smile after an intense session of sweaty exercise. These hormones work well to fight against depression, stress, and other conditions that may affect your mental health adversely.

link arms

Change Your Diet

A diet filled with nutrients goes a long way to nourish your physical self and your brain. Try to stay away from trans fats and fast foods. Instead, plan out a diet with a moderate amount of complex carbohydrates, proteins, good fats, and of course, veggies and fruits. These food items increase serotonin, dopamine, and more chemicals that have a calming effect on your mind and keeps you alert. A healthy diet also keeps you away from obesity that has been linked time and again with negative mental health.

Don’t wait for a resolution or the “right time.” Start with these tips today to take care of your mental health. A healthy and active brain keeps you productive and happy and it ripples into your social and professional life as well.

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Five-Minute Meditation | Easy Ways to Add Meditation To Your Day

No one has time to sit and meditate for hours. All you need to do is the following easy five-minute meditation methods to make this work. Read More!

Who has time to sit on a mat and meditate for hours? All you need to do is implement the following easy five-minute meditation methods to make this work.

Time is always of the essence of modern life. Our days are a blur of commutes and work. Most of us even bring work home with us, meaning that embarking on anything meaningful during our evenings is out of the question.

This is terrible news for our social lives, and for out of work activities like meditation. Honestly, who has time to sit on a mat when they don’t even finish work until the early hours? The trouble is that by scratching meditation and other mindful practices, we leave our wellbeing and mental health at risk.

Something has to give, and it often comes in the form of the time we dedicate to these tasks. For example, it’s entirely possible to fit meditation into even busy days by merely considering five-minute sessions instead of hour-long marathons. All you need to do is implement the following easy five-minute methods to make this work.

lady meditation

Keep Things Simple

You won’t have time to embark on an intense guided mediation in five-minute chunks, so don’t try. Instead, keep things simple to make sure you can enjoy the benefits of meditation in short timeframes. Focus on straightforward breathing exercises that can lead you into a whole new world despite the running time. This will stop you from feeling a sense of failure when you have to cut things short. It also guarantees some level of mindfulness despite your limited practice. 

Invest In Techniques To Help You Focus Fast

Many of us take between ten and twenty minutes just to settle into meditation, but that’s not a luxury you can enjoy. Instead, invest in sure-fire ways to focus attention fast for efficient meditation. Apps like Calm are invaluable as they provide plenty of five-minute sessions. Equally, mala beads can get you into the zone in seconds. Simply take the time to learn how to cleanse mala beads so you can get straight down to business when it matters. With these tools, you should be able to focus in seconds and get down to serious meditation for the remainder of your sessions.

lady doing yoga

Let Go Of Your Need For A Set Meditation Space

Set meditation spaces are fantastic, but letting go of your attachment to a ‘meditation room’ is vital to make fast meditations work. There’s just no point wasting time getting to your meditation space in the first place. Instead, quick-fire success rests solely on your ability to meditate wherever you happen to be at the time. You could be in your kitchen or riding public transport, and you should still be able to switch into meditation mode to fit that five minutes into your daily life. 

Making time for anything every day can be a challenge, especially something like meditation that’s often pushed to the side. Luckily, five-minute sessions could be the key you need to unlock this habit at last. Simply make sure to keep these points in mind and stick to your schedule to enjoy the benefits you always assumed were out of reach. 

This post was written as a contributed post. Contributed posts are written by another party who may wish to be anonymous. Further, all posts are edited and formatted by Elizabeth Ghekiere. Want to guest post for ElizabethJournals? Learn more here.

The Power of Gratitude & The Law Of Attraction

The practice of gratitude and law of attraction are powerful. I see gratitude as a way of shifting into a future version of ourselves - one we dream about.

Happy National Gratitude Month! The practice of gratitude is incredibly powerful. It’s something that I teach my patients about on their very first visit and continues to remind them of in the future. Further, I see gratitude as a way of shifting into a future version of ourselves – a version we often dream about.

You know, the one that doesn’t have the intense reactions when things aren’t going our way. 

The one that has no self doubt when wanting to launch the business we’ve been crafting in our minds. 

The one that has no fear of judgement and can completely be herself. 

You know, the one that is actually happy living life because she knows she’ll be provided for. 

YES, it really is that powerful!

Gratitude & the Law of Attraction

You see, the more we harness the feeling of gratitude (that loving feeling in our hearts), then, we are actually sending out vibrations to the universe. These vibrations are saying that we want more of those circumstances in our lives !!

This is how the energy behind gratitude works, it’s called the Law of Attraction. Quick digression before I continue explaining how to create a life you want to live, it’s important, I promise. 

Do you remember the film, The Secret

If you have not, it’s all about the Law of Attraction. I personally don’t think it articulates it in a practical way. After I watched that film I became obsessed with my thoughts. I thought that any sort of negative thought I had would manifest. It was actually quite exhausting and anxiety-producing. This is not the way the Law of Attraction works. Just because you have a thought does not mean that that thought is going to come true. 

The Power of Gratitude & The Law Of Attraction

The “secret” aspect of the law of attraction, is that you have to continue to place out the vibration of what you want while believing that you already have it. 

Yup, you read that right. You have to believe you already have the thing that you’re wanting to call in. 

*** This is because you have to become an energetic vibrational match for that version of yourself in order for it to land.

Say you want to be a famous musician, but you are terrified in front of crowds. Well, in order to manifest that dream, you have to step into the person that can rock it in front of crowds. Beyonce Knowles actually had an “alter ego” named Sasha Fierce to help her do this!

Law of Attraction & Health

Dr. Joe Dispenza spends his time teaching people these principals while helping them heal from physical ailments by believing that they do not have the disease they are trying to get rid of. Dr. Joe has them see themselves in life without the disease, and feel into what that feels like. In doing this, his patients are actually aligning with a healthy version of themselves. For some people, it’s a spontaneous instant healing. For others, it takes them weeks, months, years. It all depends on how powerful you truly (at a bodily level) believe yourself to be. 

What this means is that we can create the life we always wanted to live – we just have to believe it to be true. We can’t just mentally believe it to be true, that mental knowing MUST be translated into the BODY. 

The Power of Gratitude & The Law Of Attraction

Embody as in feeling into that belief, knowing that it is already yours. 

Embodiment is the missing piece when I talk with patients who already have gratitude and affirmation practice. They spend time changing mentally, re-writing the tapes their minds like to play or at least recognizing that they can shift their minds. The issue here is that it is not translated down into the body. 

Concluding

Over time, I think embodiment can come if they begin receiving positive feedback from their environment. Yet other times, it seems as if they’re saying these affirmation mantras over and over in their minds but they’re not seeing any changes in their day to day lives. 

Sometimes this happens due to conditioning that has to be uncovered first, the body must deal with the wounds that created the belief around control, self-doubt, judgment, unworthiness, you name it.

Stay tuned for my next post on how to shift out of these conditioning patterns. For now, I invite you to work on the future self visualization process that I give to all of my patients on their first visit. It’s a simple yet powerful process that can be implemented daily. I’d love to know how it goes for you!

Download Dr. Sarah’s Future Self Visualization PDF here

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Meet the Author

Hi, my name is Sarah. I am a naturopathic doctor, reiki master, and intuitive empowerment coach. 

Through my naturopathic medicine internship, I began to realize that the body has a lot more to say than what I was conventionally trained to look for. I’ve found that the body stores many emotions, memories, and unhealed past events which all contribute to physical disease. 

During this time I was also on my own healing journey. It was on this journey that I began to realize how powerful awareness is.  I concluded that in gaining awareness, our perspective will shift, and in perspective shifts, our entire lives will shift and we will begin to live life authentically, with meaning. I hold space for people to explore these unknown aspects within themselves, spaces they otherwise wouldn’t explore. Through this exploration, we come to the awareness that will ultimately set them free and allow them to heal. The way I see it is that I’m just a human, supporting another human with an open heart and a nonjudgmental mind. 

I received my Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences from Western Michigan University in December of 2013, my Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from the National University of Health Sciences in April of 2018. Additionally, I received my Reiki Master Certification in January of 2019, and I am currently in a Masters of Acupuncture program at the National University of Health Sciences, will graduate in December of 2020. 

I live in the suburbs of Chicago with one of my best friends and my dog, Reece. I love exploring the nearby forest preserves and occasionally venturing down to Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Parks. Being outside, specifically in a forest, is where I find myself happiest. I also enjoy reading, writing, and talking about universal concepts with my friends. They always joke that no conversation with Sarah can happen without it turning existential. Good way to be if you ask me!

Feel free to email me at sarahghekierend@gmail.com or DM me on IG @sarahghekiere.nd! Check out more posts by Sarah HERE.

The Best Way To Bullet Journal For Mental Well-being And Self-Care

Are you getting into bullet journaling and are trying to figure out how to incorporate mental well-being or self-care into your journal? It is so so easy to add mental health into your bullet journal. Here is a brief breakdown of the bullet journal planning method, several ways to incorporate mental well-being and self-care into your bullet journal, as well as some layout inspiration!

What Is A Bullet Journal

At its core, a bullet journal is a personalized planner. These planners are generally done using the bullet method made popular by RyderCarroll, read more about the bullet method here. Besides this unique method, what makes bullet journaling unique is its limitlessness. The bullet journal can be used in nearly any way you want. Some people use it for planning, for art, for travel, for journaling, or any combination of anything they can think of. While there are still pure bullet journalers out there, bullet journaling has morphed into so much more. One really popular use for the bullet journal is for mental wellbeing and self-care.

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How to Use Your Bullet Journal for Mental Well-Being & Self-Care

There are countless ways to utilize your bullet journal for mental well-being and self-care. One of the most popular ways is with the mood tracker. A lot of people keep track of their moods on a day today basis. They might color code a grid known as a year in pixels, or they may create monthly pictures from their mood. However, you decide to track your moods, its one of the easier ways to view your mental well-being all in one place.

Another popular layout for mental self-care is a self-care list of schedule. These layouts have no limits and are often set up like a list or routine schedule which focuses on self-care, how to practice self-care, when self-care was practiced, or any combination of these options.

For people with mental illness or more severe mental concerns, there is an array of ways to use your bullet journal to help. Some trackers that I have made for clients with these concerns include medication trackers, symptom trackers, trigger trackers, sleep trackers, exercise or other habit trackers,self-care lists, hygiene schedule, self-care schedule, rewards schedules, water trackers, etc.

One final layout idea for mental well-being is a gratitude layout. This can be in the form of a tracker or can be a reminder list, or really anything you want it to be. I personally like creating word art out of my gratitude. You cannot go wrong is a mindful and positive approach like gratitude

Bullet Journaling is a great way to keep an eye on and improve your mental well-being and self-care practices. There are unlimited ways to use your bullet journal in this way. If you want more inspiration, check out my gallery here!

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Bullet Journaling to Manage Your Mental Health

As you know, I am a huge proponent of self-care and mental health topics. I think that being aware and knowing how to take care of our mental health is hugely linked to other forms of well-being; however, are not taken as seriously as other forms of health. This post is an inspirational list of mental health bullet journal layouts. These include mental health trackers, self-care lists, gratitude pages, and other mental wellness related layouts. This post may contain affiliate links

Mental Health Tracking

My favorite part of this layout by @wild.woman.rising is that it is not only mental health tracking but also incorporates various forms of tracking like habits, sleep, etc.

This is a layout of my own which I created for a client, it’s a generic mood pixels layout but horizontal to fit into an A6 sized notebook!

This is another year in pixels created by Little Coffee Fox which I adore! I love the use of watercolor and how she only outlined the grid, it looks very nice!

This layout is a trigger tracker by @juliettestudios inspired by @lindsaybraman. I love this layout because it is not like most other mental health layouts. This layout is far more specific than most but SO useful.

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Bullet Journal Layouts to Help Manage Your Mental Health

This layout is another year in pixels by me. This particular one tracks 5 different moods.

This layout is another perfect example, by @akiyamahanayu, of a layout that incorporates not only mental health items as well as spending and other habits.

While a sleep log is not necessarily a mental health tracker per say. However, I am a strong believer that sleep affects mood and well-being so closely. For that reason, I have included sleep tracking into this post.

Mood trackers are incredibly popular in bullet journaling. What I like about this one by @bu.joos is that it is not a pixel grid but instead a line graph. I love this!

I love the very creative ways moods can be tracked. In this article are several examples. This one by @megobujos is a geometric mountain range.

This is one of my favorite layouts which I have done for a client. This one is in an A6 size notebook and looks so fun!

Bullet Journal Layouts to Help Manage Your Mental Health

Similarly to the above sleep log, this log is not necessarily about mental health but it includes tracking medication, sleep, and water. Also, this one was created in an A6 sized notebook.

This final mood tracker by @rachelbujo is beautiful. I love the wheel design, green color scheme, and natural vibe. A circle or wheel design is a fun way to track moods!

Customizable Hand-Drawn Bullet Journals

[etsy-shop shop_name=”JihiElephant” section_id=”23060710″]

Self-Care Layouts

Bullet Journal Layouts to Help Manage Your Mental Health

I am a huge proponent of self-care. Sometimes you don’t need a super intricate layout to incorporate self-care into your bullet journal. A simple list can be perfect.

This is a layout that takes a simple list of self-care ideas and ads cute doodles! Love this one by MissLouie.

Similar to the layout previously, this one by @mashaplans is a creative way to list self-care ideas!

I love this idea by Little Coffee Fox because of the creative alphabet twist! I think this layout can be so beneficial for someone who is struggling to come up with self-care ideas.

This self-care bullet journal layout is different than the ones previously mentioned. However, I love it! It’s such a simple idea and looks so clean. This page is a great layout by @hollylovesplanning.

[etsy-shop shop_name=”JihiElephant” section_id=”23060710″]

I know I have already shown a ton of self-care list layouts. BUT this one by the Bullet Journal Addict is so pretty so I wanted to share it too.

Gratitude Layouts

Bullet Journal Layouts to Help Manage Your Mental Health

I love gratitude layouts. I think the practice of gratitude is so important. Simply remembering good things can change your mindset for the better. This layout is a simple list page where you can add anything you want to the page that reminds you of things you are thankful for.

This gratitude tracker by @heartistic.jess is a fun twist on sunshine. Each day of the month you write something you are grateful for in one of the sunrays.



Other Mental Health Wellness Pages

This worry tree by @sparklymalarkey is unlike any layout I have seen previously. I love it for someone who might struggle with anxiety or someone who worries too much (aka me). I would love to learn more about the process of creating it!

Mindfulness is such a beautiful and useful idea and practice. Having a layout that helps you to be more mindful is an awesome idea! This page was made by @the.petite.planner and is so creative yet simple!

It is pretty common for people to incorporate quotes and motivational words into their bullet journal. I personally LOVE this concept. I personally have created pages to list positive and inspirational quotes. This page by Productive and Pretty is just like that, beautiful!

Similar to a gratitude list or a list of quotes, a list of items which make you happy is a fantastic idea for someone struggling with depression or any level of sadness. This one by @PassionPlanner is so beautiful.

https://littlecoffeefox.com/love-yourself-first-bullet-journal-self-care-spreads/

Here is a list of needs by Little Coffee Fox. I love this idea because it is so easy to forget to take care of our own needs!

Bullet Journal Layouts to Help Manage Your Mental Health

There are so many benefits of mindfulness and meditation tracking or listing out your meditation topics or experiences are great for your mental health. I love this idea by @bujo.casio.

These mental health pages are not for everyone, but for some people, it is a game changer. Want to check out more bullet journal layouts, check out my Instagram! Let me know what you are thinking in the comments below!

Customizable Hand-Drawn Bullet Journals
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Holiday Quotes + DIY Holiday Decorations

This time of year is my favorite time as the leaves have fallen and the holiday festivities are beginning! This is the time of year that brings people together as we celebrate togetherness, kindness, gratitude, family, and giving. In celebration of the upcoming holidays and this season, I have put together some beautiful and amazing holiday quotes, a list of holiday DIY projects, and some great charities to take part in!

Beautiful Holiday Quotes + DIY Holiday Decoration Ideas

Holiday Quotes

I love all the holidays and getting to see my family a lot during the fall. I also love the weather and getting to wear sweaters and jackets.

Melissa Ordway

The holidays are a rough time for the homeless, but it’s a year-round problem we have to solve.

Mike Binder

Holidays have been commercialized. It has become about material things. But the holidays are about sharing stories and being in each other’s presence.

Malcolm D. Lee

Holidays are all different depending on the company and time of your life.

Dominic Monaghan

Holidays are about experiences and people, and tuning into what you feel like doing at that moment. Enjoy not having to look at a watch.

Evelyn Glennie

I love everything about the holidays: the decorations, the parties, and spending time with friends and family. What I love most is that feeling of giving back. Every bit counts.

Brad Goreski
Beautiful Holiday Quotes + DIY Holiday Decoration Ideas

Thanksgiving Quotes

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.

William Arthur Ward

I love Thanksgiving because it’s a holiday that is centered around food and family, two things that are of utmost importance to me.

Marcus Samuelsson

Thanksgiving just gets me all warm and tingly and all kinds of wonderful inside.

Willard Scott

Thanksgiving Day is a good day to recommit our energies to giving thanks and just giving.

Amy Grant

We’re getting ready to sit down at the table and have Thanksgiving, and there’s people that are not with their families. There are people that are in dangerous areas, putting their lives on the line to keep our country free, and I think that’s something we should all celebrate every day.

Guy Fieri

You may have heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There’s another day you might want to know about: Giving Tuesday. The idea is pretty straightforward. On the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, shoppers take a break from their gift-buying and donate what they can to charity.

Bill Gates

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year because it reminds us to give thanks and to count our blessings. Suddenly, so many things become so little when we realize how blessed and lucky we are.

Joyce Giraud

Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.

Henry Van Dyke
Beautiful Holiday Quotes + DIY Holiday Decoration Ideas

Christmas Quotes

Christmas and the holidays are the season of giving. It’s a time when people are more kind and open-hearted.

Gisele Bundchen

The smell of pine needles, spruce and the smell of a Christmas tree – those to me, are the scents of the holidays.

Blake Lively

Christmas is the day that holds all time together.

Alexander Smith

Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store.

Dr. Seuss

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.

Charles Dickens

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.

Charles M. Schulz

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.

Calvin Coolidge

Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.

Edna Ferber

Some people are born for Halloween, and some are just counting the days until Christmas.

Stephen Graham Jones
Beautiful Holiday Quotes + DIY Holiday Decoration Ideas

Gratitude and Kindness Quotes

A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money.

John Ruskin

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

Aesop

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

Mark Twain

A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.

William Arthur Ward

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.

Oprah Winfrey
Beautiful Holiday Quotes + DIY Holiday Decoration Ideas

Family Quotes

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.

Richard Bach

Nothing is better than going home to family and eating good food and relaxing.

Irina Shayk

Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.

Michael J. Fox

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.

George Burns

I find that it’s the simple things that remind you of family around the holidays.

Amy Adams

I love holidays. It’s such a wonderful time for the whole family to be together and not have to worry about schedules and that kind of thing.

Toni Collette

Holiday DIY Ideas

Pine Cone Christmas Tree

Beautiful Holiday Quotes + DIY Holiday Decoration Ideas

Via: HomeBNC

Burlap Gift Boxes

Beautiful Holiday Quotes + DIY Holiday Decoration Ideas

Via: Smart School House

Felt Christmas Trees

Beautiful Holiday Quotes + DIY Holiday Decoration Ideas

Via: Little House of Four

Decorative Sign

Beautiful Holiday Quotes + DIY Holiday Decoration Ideas

Via: My DIY Envy

Decorative Candle Holders

Beautiful Holiday Quotes + DIY Holiday Decoration Ideas

Via: Inspiring Pretty

Thanks Pumpkins

Beautiful Holiday Quotes + DIY Holiday Decoration Ideas

Via: A Diamond in the Stuff

Paper Leaf Branch

Beautiful Holiday Quotes + DIY Holiday Decoration Ideas

Via: Happiness is Homemade

Canning Jar Pumpkin

Beautiful Holiday Quotes + DIY Holiday Decoration Ideas

Via: YellowBlissRoad

Decorative Fall Candle Centerpiece

Beautiful Holiday Quotes + DIY Holiday Decoration Ideas

Via: That’s What Che Said

Etsy Ad Printable Downloadable Quotes Inspiring Decor

Means of Giving

Amongst all this joy and wonder, it is also important to recognize that this is not the case for everyone. Not everyone feels blessed and joyful this time of year and this is important to recognize. Here I would like to share some great charities for the holidays.

MAP International

MAP International provides medicines, prevents disease, and promotes health in some of the world’s poorest communities. They also provide immediate assistance and relief aid to people after disasters.

Oxfam America Unwrapped

These guys provide practical gifts to those in need and simultaneously send a card to a loved one.

Heifer International

Like Oxfam, Heifer allows you to pick a gift that is practical such as a cow or beehive.

Family Holiday Association

This association provides a holiday or vacation for “families struggling with issues such as disability, severe and sudden illness, bereavement, mental health issues and domestic violence.”

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12-Day Gratitude Challenge

This week on ElizabethJournals I have been planning an Instagram challenge and I want to share it with you amazing people! The goal of this challenge is to express gratefulness publicly with the hope that it inspires gratitude in those around us.

Being grateful is so so so important and wonderful, which I have talked about before for my Gratitude Artwork post. So if you want to learn more about my journey with gratitude click here.

Otherwise, let’s get to the challenge!

#GratefulWithElizabeth Gratitude Challenge

The #GratefulwithElizabeth Instagram challenge is all about expressing gratefulness publicly to spread that therapeutic grateful feeling. This challenge is 12 days long and can happen at any time! There is no specific date for this challenge, but if you want to participate in the challenge with me, I will be starting Monday, September 11th!

12 Day Instagram Gratitude Challenge | #GratefulwithJihiElephant

One | Something I am grateful for

Two | Someone I am grateful for

Three | A life-changing event I am grateful for (positive or negative)

Four | A memory I am grateful for – #TBT

Five | A state of mind that I am grateful for

Six | A part of my daily routine that I am grateful for

Seven | Something I am grateful for today

Eight | A positive experience I am grateful for

Nine | Someone I am grateful for

Ten | A struggle I am grateful for

Eleven | A memory I am grateful for – #TBT

Twelve | Something I am grateful for

Don’t love a prompt? Alter it to fit you better! The images are completely up to you, what picture really shows what you are grateful for? I will be doing a rundown of my own Instagram posts, after all is said in done, so stay tuned to this #gratefulwithelizabeth Instagram gratitude challenge!

Love participating in #GratefulwithElizabeth? Try practicing weekly Instagram gratitude with me!

You can use the hashtag #GratefulwithElizabeth no matter when you’re practicing gratitude or if you’re participating in the challenge! Let’s spread gratitude!!

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12 Day Instagram Gratitude Challenge | #GratefulwithJihiElephant

My Gratitude Journey | Meaningful Artwork

I’ve titled this post ‘My Gratitude Journey,’ though it is mainly about a piece of artwork I spent a year creating and the story behind it. Warning, I have to get a little vulnerable to tell this story.

The Back Story

I’d like to start from the beginning. I was in a toxic relationship which ended in November—though he continued to harass me until I went to Cambodia in January. On my way to Cambodia I lost my phone, and with it, his demeaning text messages. I then spend 3 weeks in Cambodia exploring and learning about the culture. A lot of this trip was spent learning about human trafficking both in the country and in the world. I spent time with women, men, AND children who had gotten themselves out of sex slavery. I also witnessed a lot of poverty and kindness throughout this trip. (If you’re interested in learning more about my trip, I wrote about it here).

ConvertKit

The trip was the easy part though. Arriving home was incredibly difficult for several reasons. First, cultural reintegration kicked my butt! Getting used to carrying a phone around again, going back to class, listening to people complain—it was all incredibly overwhelming. So much so that I found myself experiencing incredible anxiety every time my phone went off and angry every time someone complained. The second reason getting back in the United States was hard, was my ex-boyfriend. He started contacting me again, and admittedly, that is probably why I became so scared of my phone. I had to turn it on silent because every time it made a noise or vibrated I felt panicky, and counseling didn’t seem to be doing me any good.

The Project

It was at this point that I felt the need to begin practicing gratitude. I couldn’t tell you what inspired the actual execution of my gratitude project. I don’t know if I had been browsing Pinterest, or if I had walked by the art building and had seen something similar. Not sure. But I decided to fill a large 18 by 24 size paper with things I was grateful for. The catch was to make it aesthetically pleasing. I wrote each word in a different handwriting and in all different sizes in a silver ink.

My Gratitude Journey | Meaningful Artwork

Every day I began adding a few more items that I was grateful for. I found myself writing down more than the indented 3 items a day for the first month or so. Eventually, I began feeling better, not only about myself but about life in general. It was amazing because soon enough I found myself hanging out in my room dancing to some fun music and writing new words on my project. My fear of my phone started to fade, as I began putting my phone back to vibrate and did not cringe or experience anxiety when I’d get a notification. PROGRESS!

My Gratitude Journey | Meaningful Artwork
My Gratitude Journey | Meaningful Artwork

The Point

You might be wondering why you should be interested in my story. Well, really the story is about overcoming difficulties by using gratefulness practices. If I can do it anyone can do it. Gratitude is so powerful! When you sit around thinking about all that is going wrong, all that is awful, or all that you wish was different, naturally, you will feel sad or angry. But, if you spend your time thinking about all that is going well and all that you enjoy about your life, naturally you will begin to feel great! I chose to share my story with you as an example of the power of gratitude.

I’d love to hear about your gratitude journeys, tell me about them in the comments below!

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My Gratitude Journey | Meaningful Artwork

How to Love Yourself Better | A 30-Day Challenge

Need to take better care of yourself? I challenge you to 30 days of self-love! For the next 30 days, pamper yourself with this challenge!

Are you up for a challenge!? Awesome! I challenge you to 30 days of self-love! For the next 30 days, pamper yourself! Self-love is so important; I cannot stress it enough! This challenge calls you to spend 30 days indulging and taking care of yourself, working on loving yourself. Self-love is more than just loving your life. It is loving who you are and taking care of yourself. So many people spend their time taking care of others (their spouse, children, clients, friends, etc.). This is great, but we forget to take care of ourselves! Take part in the 30-days of self-love challenge!

So what is self-love? Well, according to Deborah Khoshaba over at Psychology Today, “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us. When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our shortcomings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our efforts.”

This challenge incorporates a ton of ways you can implement daily self-love in a small not-so-time-consuming way.

Without further ado…

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More On Self-Love & Loving Yourself

Self-love could be re-phrased as self-acceptance. When you accept yourself as you are right now, and love yourself just for being you (despite your flaws, despite your failures, and despite your past poor decisions) your life truly begins to open up. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a mid-life crisis or traumatic divorce to break us down. A bit like Humpty Dumpty, to allow us to build ourselves back together, we need glue (aka self-love).

Excerpt from A Lesson on Self-Love | The Importance of Loving Yourself

30 Days of Self-Love Challenge

This self-love challenge includes some of my favorite relaxation and self-care activities. But, please, by all means, love yourself the way that is best for you. If you don’t like puzzles but you like story-writing, then write a story on the days I challenge you to complete a puzzle. It’s completely customizable! Let’s get started!

  1. List 5 reasons why you are grateful for today
  2. Lit a candle when you get home
  3. Read 10 minutes before bed
  4. Do a puzzle or creative activity
  5. Stretch for 5 minutes
  6. Spend 15 minutes electronic-free
  7. Drink 60 ounces of water
  8. Get 7 hours of consecutive sleep
  9. Drink a cup of tea
  10. Clean or organize something
  11. List 5 things you are good at
  12. Take a 20-minute bath
  13. List 5 reasons why you are grateful for today
  14. Drink 60 ounces of water
  15. Spend 20 minutes electronic-free
  16. Meditate for 5 minutes
  17. Drink a cup of tea
  18. Stretch for 5 minutes
  19. Clean or organize something
  20. Avoid sugary foods
  21. Do a puzzle or creative activity
  22. Light a candle when you get home
  23. Get 7 hours of consecutive sleep
  24. Journal about your day
  25. Take a 20-minute bath
  26. Read for 10 minutes before bed
  27. List 5 reasons why you are grateful for today
  28. Meditate for 5 minutes
  29. Clean or organize something
  30. Journal about something that you love and why you love it
lady in red and white dress off white background

For this challenge, you will need…

  • An open mind
  • Willingness to love yourself
  • 30 days of commitment
  • A candle or multiple candles
  • A journal or notebook
  • Water
  • Tea, any kind will work
  • Bathtub
  • A leisure book of your choice

And if you don’t have all of this, don’t worry because you can change the challenge to fit you!

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