How to Overcome Self-Criticism

Learning to deal with the negativity of other people can be tricky but it often pales in comparison to trying to deal with the criticism we hand out to ourselves. We all have constant thoughts and feelings throughout the day but who can honestly say that the majority of these are positive? Hearing affirming statements of support and encouragement from other people can do a great deal of good to our confidence and the same is true of the things we tell ourselves.

The inner struggles of each person are of course different depending on their circumstances and aims in life, however, there are several things that are true for many people. These common self-criticisms are usually in relation to career progress, family life and self-image. Even the slightest incident or comment from somebody else might prompt us to start doubting ourselves in massive ways and it is also true that we begin these thought processes by ourselves with no outside influence!

Negative thoughts are not only distracting but can also be incredibly damaging to our self-esteem. So how can we overcome this negativity and move towards a happier and healthier sense of self? First of all, it helps to identify what you are feeling and to say it out loud to yourself. When these thoughts are trapped inside your mind they can quickly spiral into something worse. Saying it out loud helps to isolate the feeling and make it seem much less intense. You can then flip your statement around. For instance you can turn, “I have not accomplished what I wanted to at work today” into, “I tried my best to be productive today and tomorrow will be better”.

Secondly it is also beneficial to try and trace your negative thought back to its source. Try to figure out if someone in your life makes you feel that way or if there are certain behaviours that you indulge in that encourage these thoughts. Once you have a better idea of why these thoughts are occurring in your mind you will be better equipped to deal with them.

Finally, try to remember instances where you have previously overcome negativity and moved towards productivity. Remembering these times will help to boost your confidence and push any fears to the back of your mind! It is important to give yourself credit for your accomplishments instead of only concentrating on the things that have gone wrong!

Bring Meaning to Meditation

Finding ways to focus your meditation is a great way to keep your practice fresh and to continue to get the most benefit from this time. When you sit down to meditate with a purpose, you are actually focusing your mind on the things you want to achieve as opposed to giving your mind the potential to wonder.

Only when your meditation has a purpose will you be able to find real power in what you are doing. As you continue to address this purpose in each session you will be able to deepen your experience and unlock thoughts and feelings that are connected to this purpose.

Meditating on forgiveness is a common purpose for this practice. When someone in your life has done something that negatively affects you this is often cause for unhappy emotions. Even if this person has sincerely apologised to you, there may be some residual feelings of resentment on your part. It is important to address these feelings instead of just pretending that your relationship with this person has completely returned to normal. In order to meditate on forgiveness you must sit in your usual position and then envision the person in front of you. As you take a deep breath in imagine what you want to say to them and as you breathe out say it to them with meaning. Repeat this sequence several times and then end your last breath out with a finalising forgiving statement such as, “I truly forgive you”.

Another worthwhile purpose for meditation is your own self-love and self-worth. This is a great time to use any affirmations that you adopt regularly and is also a good time to come up with new ones. Remember that the point of this type of meditation is to build your confidence in yourself. Choose short but meaningful affirmations, say them in your mind as you breathe in and then feel this thought flow through your entire body as you breathe out. You can either do this with the same affirmation over and over again, or have several in mind that you can go through in turn. It is important that you really try to feel connected to each affirmation as you use it and believe each one as you say it.

Focusing your meditation in these ways can help to bring a greater sense of peace and well-being into your life and allows you to make the most of your meditation time.

How to Embrace Body Positivity

A massive amount of people struggle with eating disorders and a driving factor behind this issue is a perceived negative body image. Struggling with the way you see your body is completely natural but you can overcome it! Being body positive all the time might seem like a challenge but when you take the time to re-evalute your relationship with your body then you can work towards this way of living!

Looking at yourself with more love is the key to improving your body image. You have to realise and accept that you are perfect the way you are. You must also understand that the body you may envision will not make you a happier person or improve other areas of your life. Take the time to notice things about yourself that you love, things about yourself that do make you happy. This in turn will encourage a healthier state of mind when it comes to thinking about your body. Spend time affirming these thoughts in your mind or even saying them out loud. Be sure not to allow negative thoughts to seep into this process and if they do then take a deep breath and get back on track!

We talk frequently about nourishing our bodies but it is absolutely true that our minds need nourishment too. Our minds are constantly taking in information from the things we see, the people we talk to and the sounds we hear. If this information is persistently positive than it is much easier to remain happy and confident. When we exist like this it is much easier to love ourselves and our bodies because positivity is being encouraged. When negative interactions appear during the day then the potential to extend this negativity to all of our thoughts becomes very real. Nourishing your mind in a constructive way and being sure to avoid destructive situations and people is essential in the journey to happiness. This in turn will help with your body image because this self-love will continue to grow.

If you regularly turn to exercise in an attempt to align your body with the way you think it should be then try substituting a workout session for a yoga lesson. Yoga teaches us relaxation and focus. It also teaches us that it is the journey which is important, not the end goal. Applying this thought process to your exercise regime will help you to apply it to every other part of your life. When you stop thinking of life in terms of milestones to reach and specific achievements that you have to accomplish then you can truly just enjoy the path you are taking.

Blueberry and Chia Spelt Muffins

Healthy treats are my favourite things to make and my four children seem to enjoy it too! My love of healthy treats is due to the fact that I enjoy the challenge of making something that tastes amazing that is also great for the body! My Blueberry and Chia Spelt Muffins definitely tick both of those boxes and don’t take long to make.

Blueberries are a tasty superfood that are perfect for using in muffins because of the colour and the flavour that they provide. They are so good for you because they contain high levels of antioxidants that work to protect our bodies and prevent cell damage. Research also suggests that blueberries can improve your memory and cognitive function when eaten regularly. As with all foods, I would recommend the organic kind for maximum health benefits but if you can’t get hold of them then regular blueberries will still do wonders for your body!

To make a delicious batch of my muffins for yourself you will need the following ingredients:

2/3 cup coconut palm sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp. chia seeds mixed with 6 Tbsp. water (allow to absorb for 10 minutes)
1/2 cup almond milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

IMG_1005First you will need to preheat the oven to 180C/375F. Next you must line a muffin tin with paper muffin liners. Then, in a large bowl, add in the coconut sugar and then stir in honey, chia mixture, almond milk and vanilla.

In a second large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Then stir the spelt flour mixture into the chia mixture until it is combined well. The next stage is to gently stir in the blueberries. Finally, spoon the batter into muffin liners and then bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. This should take about 30 minutes. You can then leave to cool briefly before you enjoy or even share!

Hurdles to Jump on Your Journey to Happiness

As we get older we come to realise that we will only get from life what we put into it. If we do not strive for the things that we want and invest our time and effort into them, then they are simply unlikely to manifest!

The same logic applies to our emotional state. We can’t expect to become happy people without focusing our time on considering happiness. We have to devote our days to promoting positivity in all that we do in order to allow our minds to accept this as our reality. If we spend great amounts of our time wondering why we are experiencing negative feelings then these feelings are not likely to stop! We have to find ways to adjust our outlook in order to overcome our emotional hurdles.

Everybody has the power to jump these hurdles and not allowing potential perceived problems to influence your mood is a powerful way to start. There are three incredibly common things that many people believe their happiness depends upon. As soon as you realise that they don’t then your ability to find your own happiness and hold onto it will continue to present itself.

The first of these things is believing that your success in life is moulded by your career. You are more than your job! However, some people get bogged down with the assumption that they have to have the amazing job title they often dream of in order to become fulfilled. It is unrealistic to assume that you are going to walk out of education into your fantasy job and realising that you have to work your way to where you want to be will help to keep you positive in the long run.

The second of these things is your romantic relationship status. Many people jump from one relationship to the next without taking the time to understand why these relationships aren’t working. It may sound cliché but it is absolutely true that you can’t be genuinely happy with someone else until you are happy with yourself. So try instead to focus on your relationship with yourself, your own self-love, and the rest will come in time!

The third and final point is to try not to focus too heavily on your finances. The majority of people believe that life would be easier if they had a bit more money but would it really make you happy? If you are able to support and care for yourself and those who depend on you then you are not doing anything wrong! Instead of thinking that life would be better if you had a higher income, think of all of the good things you have been able to provide for yourself and your family in the present day!

As you sprint forwards and jump over these hurdles you will will notice that your positivity affects other areas of your life, creating a happier, calmer you!

The BEST Refried Beans

This recipe comes from a wonderful company called Hello Fresh that I recently started using. And I can’t tell you how amazing they are! Their boxes include chef-created recipes and all the fresh ingredients you need to cook at home. Because I’m working full-time and have four kids, it’s sometimes hard to have to prepare a meal every single night of the week on those nights when I’m rushing off to teach and that’s why Hello Fresh is SO amazing. All the fresh ingredients are right there for me, with instructions and I’m easily done cooking a SUPER healthy meal for me and the kids in 30 minutes or less. And on those evenings when I can’t do the cooking… well, luckily I have a 17 year old daughter who not only follows the instructions but loves to cook too! So, here’s one of their fabulous recipes that we all love!

Refried beans are simple to make with just a few ingredients and with this delicious recipe is the BEST recipe I’ve discovered so far for this meal! Once you have prepped all of the ingredients it will take less than fifteen minutes to have it on the table!

Cumin is one of my favourite spices as it brings such an incredible flavour to food. It is crammed full of phytonutrients which have both antioxidant and anti-flatulent properties. It is also a great source of dietary fibre. Additionally, coriander contains a range of vitamins, minerals and essential oils. When eaten regularly, coriander can help to lower LDL cholesterol levels in the body.

This is the perfect meal to make if you come home late after a busy day and want something, quick but nutritious to fill your stomach. To make some for yourself, you will need the following ingredients:

1 x 400g tin of mixed beans, drained and rinsed
1 red onion, chopped
1 lime, zest and juice
1 tsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. tomato puree
1 tsp. of your favourite hot sauce or 1/4 tsp. chilli powder
Fresh coriander
1 Tbsp. coconut oil

The Best Refried Beans TheFlexiFoodie2To get started making this recipe, take a large pan and melt the coconut oil over a medium to high heat. You can then add the chopped red onion into the pan. It should take about five minutes for the red onion to become soft. You can then add in the beans, cumin, hot sauce/chilli powder and the tomato puree. Mix well and begin to mash the beans using a fork. Next, add the lime juice and zest and reduce the heat to low. You must then cover the pan for an additional five minutes. Once mashed, mixed and warm, put the beans in a large bowl and top with the fresh coriander – enjoy!

To learn about nutritious cooking and healthy foods head over to my e-learning portal – The Flexi Foodie Academy!