How to Cope with Loneliness

Loneliness is a common human emotion that can strike even when you are surrounded by friends and family. This feeling can quickly become a serious barrier to self-love and can demotivate you from caring for yourself in the way that you know you should.

The emotion of loneliness is characterised by an empty feeling, or a longing to connect with another person when this seems presently unobtainable. This can leave you feeling depressed, lost and even quite anxious if you feel like the state of loneliness isn’t going to pass.

When you feel like this it is important to remember that your self-care should not be compromised, and that you can actually nurture yourself through this period of loneliness.

Although loneliness can often be caused by a lack of human interaction, it can also be something that is born within you. If you have lost your connection with yourself, or if you have begun to lose sight of your goals and your ambitions, then it can become easy to slip into a place of loneliness.

In these moments, one of the most important things that you can do for yourself is to make an extra effort to love yourself. On my new wellness for women website – Truly Julie – we talk a lot about self-love and the different ways that you can effortlessly make self-love practices a regular part of your routine. For example, in just a short period of time spent meditating, practicing yoga, repeating positive affirmations to yourself or simply checking in with your own emotions, you can help to re-route negative thought processes to positive ones.

When you don’t make a consistent effort to understand your emotions and deal with any negativity that is arising, then you run the risk of letting this negativity take over. This is often because the voice of your inner critic starts to sound out any positivity – leaving you feel as though you are not good enough.

As well as working to care for yourself when feelings of loneliness start to take hold, it is also incredibly helpful to reach out to others for support. This doesn’t have to be as drastic as telling everyone that you are struggling and asking for help. It can simply be making a phone call to a friend and making plans for the near future. Alternatively, you could arrange to take yourself to a new activity class, or some other group session, with the intention of making new connections with people you haven’t met yet!

However you choose to cope with your loneliness, the key is to make sure that you are doing something pro-active to deal with it! Leaving these feelings to slowly simmer and grow will always ensure that they just get stronger and harder to deal with further down the line.

You can head to the Truly Julie website now to get the support and advice you need to keep your health, happiness and positivity on track!

Living a Life of Mindfulness

If you often feel like you are making your way through life on autopilot then you are certainly not alone! With busy, repetitive schedules it is completely normal to start feeling as though you are just going through the motions. A good way to discover if this is true to you is to try and remember your day at the end of it. How much of your day can you actually recall and how much of it were you simply not present for as you powered through on autopilot?

Living life in this way is the exact opposite of living a life of mindfulness. It is living a life of habit and unconscious actions because you have become bored or exhausted by your routine. When you exist in this way you will find that you spend a lot of time focusing your conscious thoughts on the past or the future, as opposed to engaging in the present moment. This will usually take the form of regretting moments from the past and worrying about the future.

So, how can you break this cyclic way of living to turn auto-pilot off and live a life of mindfulness?

The answer that I am going to offer you may seem incredibly simplistic but I can assure you it works! And that answer is to make a conscious effort to bring your attention into each and every moment. If you are not paying attention to your life as you live it then how can you possibly expect to feel satisfied and fulfilled by life?

You may feel as though you have too many mundane tasks to complete during the day to want to be continuously present, but that is the mistake that causes this mindlessness to seep into other areas of your life. By trying to conduct every moment with awareness and intention you will be much better equipped to be in control of your thoughts and your actions. You will rule your emotions and you will approach each new day with a positive attitude.

As each and every interaction and situation unfolds and develops during your day, make an effort to pay attention to it and deal with it as it is happening. Resist the urge to make judgements and always work to find resolutions. When you do so you will be less likely to have an emotional backlog at the end of each day that could prevent you being present in the following one!

My online e-learning portal will soon have a new course dedicated to self-love, letting go and happiness which are all concepts that can help us to understand our passions! Head to the Flexi Foodie Academy soon to sign up and Like my Facebook page to be the first to know when it comes out!

Understanding and Alleviating Anger

Anger is a natural human emotion and can occur for any number of reasons. Some people are much quicker to get angry than others but there is certainly not a single person on the planet who does not get angry at something!

Disappointment and frustration are two common causes of anger, alongside lack of control over certain ongoing events and isolated incidents. During these situations, your brain will be flooded with adrenaline and cortisol as your body enters fight or flight mode. Excess cortisol in the body can actually be damaging to the immune system as well as having the potential to impair memory function.

Persistent angry episodes are not only unhealthy for your body and mind, but can also cause further reaching problems in other areas of your life – such as your relationships with others.

Although anger is a natural response, understanding your reasons for becoming angry and being able to process this emotion in a positive way, will help you to deal with it in the long term.

As soon as you feel yourself getting angry it is a great idea to distance yourself from this reaction by rating your anger. When you do this you will start to see your anger as being separate from yourself and it therefore becomes much easier to process. When rating anger, I find it helpful to use a scale of one to five, with one being not very angry and five being the angriest you can imagine being. It is unlikely that you will ever rate your anger at a level five when you stop to think about it, and this realisation can be very helpful in alleviating your mood and temper.

I am a big fan of the benefits of breathing and I find it to be especially useful during periods of anger. Immediately making the effort to focus on your breathing when you start to feel anger rising will not only distract you from the situation, but will also work to relax your body. Anger can often cause your body to tense up and breathing is a great way to combat this.

Understanding why you have become angry in the first place can help to prevent the same thing from happening again in the future. Try to consider the reasons why the situation has left you feeling disappointed or frustrated. Consider the ways that you could regain control of the situation in order to gain better control of your emotions. Only then will you be able to work towards better control of your anger in the future and better maintain a positive outlook. 

My online e-learning portal will soon have a new course dedicated to self-love, letting go and happiness which are all concepts that can help us to understand our passions! Head to the Flexi Foodie Academy soon to sign up and Like my Facebook page to be the first to know when it comes out!

A Note to Highly Sensitive People….

Being told that we are too sensitive is something that many of us experience regularly! Being in touch with our emotions has become something that we are told we should apologise for, but in reality it is something that keeps us in tune with our lives. In the face of this kind of criticism it can be difficult to love yourself and appreciate how this part of your personality is actually beneficial to you and those around you! If there is one thing this world needs then it is definitely more sensitive people!

Being sensitive is one of the most fundamental things about being human, but as we have evolved many of us have lost touch with this part of ourselves. This is why those of us who have retained our sensitive nature often feel the need to apologise for our responses to certain situations. Although it is natural that this would make you want to change your behaviour, it is important to remember that it is the world that needs to adjust and you are in no way at fault.

As a highly sensitive person you are more than likely going to meet many people on your journey through life who will criticise you for being weak. Although it is often futile to try and debate the issue with these people, you have to remember for yourself that it takes strength to feel the pain in situations that other people turn a blind eye to. Far from being full of fear, you are full of the kind of courage that it takes to express yourself when it seems like the world wants you to shy away from your feelings.

In order to create a better world for yourself and those around you, it is essential that you retain your sensitivity; it is your awareness of your life and your environment. The way that you see the world and the way you navigate your time within it is dependant on your sensory perception. As a highly sensitive person you will feel things that others don’t and this is something that you should always see as a blessing! You might also find that you have certain qualities that seem to contradict each other, such as being a strong leader but also someone who becomes vulnerable quite easily.

As a highly sensitive person the chances are that you follow a healthier lifestyle than most. A tendency towards a plant-based diet is common – likely due to the suffering inflicted by the factory farming industry as well as a natural negative reaction towards toxic substances, like sugar and additives.

Regardless of how being a highly sensitive person sets you apart from your friends and family, you must always remember that it makes you the kind, caring person that you are!

If you are keen to learn more about plant-based nutrition then head over to The Flexi Foodie Academy!

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!

How to Make the Most of Meditation

In my previous blog post, How to Make Time for Meditation, I discussed the best ways to begin on your journey of meditation and how to avoid some of the common excuses people find to avoid meditation. If you followed my advice and are now incorporating this relaxing practice into your everyday life then congratulations! I am absolutely positive that you will have already begun to experience the many benefits of doing so. Even though getting started is usually the hardest part, it can also be tricky to continue with your practice, especially when our stressful modern day lives get in the way.

To help you continue to get the most out of your meditation time, I have compiled the following tips! These are things that I always keep in mind when I am meditating and find that they help me to stay focused on my goals!

Your posture is incredibly important. Your spine should always be straight with your head up and facing forwards. When you start to slump you will soon notice that your mind starts to wander. A good way to achieve proper posture is to imagine your head is connected with the sky and aim to keep it there!

Some people prefer to meditate with their eyes closed, however, it is often a good idea to keep them open. When your eyes are closed, your thoughts are more likely to drift to other things. Instead of trying to focus your gaze on a specific place in the room, just let your eyes settle naturally and try not to pay too much attention to whatever happens to be in your line of sight.

Similarly to yoga, it is important to pay attention to your breathing when you are meditating. When you are focusing on your breathing you will find yourself anchored in the present and your mind will be easier to settle. There’s no need to force your breath to be a certain pace, just let it come in and out naturally! When rogue thoughts enter your mind, bring your focus back to your breathing and these thoughts will soon evaporate from your conscious.

Finally, although there is an abundance of amazing music to meditate to, choosing to do so in silence is best for being fully focused on your meditation. Silence can be incredibly healing whereas music can often be quite distracting. Even just 10 – 20 minutes of silent meditation everyday will help you to get in touch with your emotions and better equip you to deal with the day. Regular practice of this kind for an extended period of time will help you to build a solid foundation for more intense meditation in the future!

Why it’s Okay to Cry

For many people apologising for their negative emotions is an instinctive response. We are told from a young age that we shouldn’t cry or express anger and that is an incredibly damaging concept! If we can’t express our sadness or our anger then these emotions remain inside of us, causing us unnecessary harm. We are told, as children, that crying is a sign of weakness and that we need to “suck it up” and be strong. However, it is important to be aware that crying isn’t a sign of weakness, it is a natural response to certain emotions and situations.

Not passing this negativity on to our own children is incredibly important if we are to teach them how to understand and process their emotions. Teaching them that crying is shameful is detrimental to their emotional development and will cause them to associate sadness with shame. Creating an environment in which our children feel safe and able to cry is an essential part of creating a loving environment for them to thrive.

In order to eradicate this negative association from our own lives, both for our own benefit and also to prevent psychological damage to our children, we must work to embrace our pain and anxieties. Allowing yourself compassion is the best way to extend your compassionate thoughts to others and to break the cycle of shame.

When you’re in a situation that makes you feel like crying, it’s important to remember that it’s totally okay to do so! Trying to stem your tears will cause you to lose focus of your emotions and lessen your ability to deal with the problem constructively. There are several additional reasons that you might not want to express your emotions with crying, such as being in public or the fear of making someone else uncomfortable. However, we have to be aware of the fact that everyone else around us is human too! Everybody has, at some time, felt what you are feeling and nobody is going to show any negativity towards you for simply expressing your emotions!

By first undoing the damage that has been done to us by acknowledging that there is no shame in crying, we can move towards accepting our emotions! It is only then that we will be equipped to navigate upsetting situations with a clear head, resulting in a more satisfying solution!

How Self-Love Will Change Your Life

Following my recent post on Taking the Time to Learn to Love Yourself, I thought it’d be an encouraging next step to have a look at how the people who have achieved this live differently to the rest! In the last post I discussed how an open mind and the desire to learn more about yourself and the world around you can change your life and your outlook. But how does that influence other areas of our existence? When you shift from negativity to self-love, what are the real changes that you can expect to start seeing?

Well, first of all, as you start to really listen to your emotions you’ll find that you’re much better equipped to deal with them. Instead of holding them in until you explode, you’ll let them out as and when they occur – resulting in a much calmer attitude and greater peace of mind. This means that when something negative does happen you’ll be able to accept responsibility and resolve the situation, or you’ll be much more capable of not blaming the source of this negativity, working instead to find a solution.

People who have love for themselves are much more at ease spending time alone than others. This fear of being alone can stem from many places and unpleasant experiences. It is essential to overcome these fears and understand that in your own company is a great place to be. Making time to be alone is just as important as spending time with those who encourage and support us. Use this time to partake in an activity or some relaxing meditation instead of wasting it in front of the television or anything equally mind numbing. The point is to be aware of yourself and the time you’re spending with yourself. It’s a great step on a bigger journey of self-discovery. When you do spend time with other people, you’ll notice that you’re less tolerant of toxic relationships and more inclined to form new bonds with other people who know how to love themselves.

When you have truly learnt to love yourself you’ll notice that your need to enjoy your creative pursuits and hobbies will be much greater. You’ll find time to do the things that you enjoy and this in turn will continue to add to your sense of self love. Absolutely everyone is passionate about something and discovering what it is that makes you happy, and then feeding that passion, will enable your happiness to grow and grow.

Mastering the art of self-love could easily cause your life to move in an entirely new direction as you seek the career you always wanted or embark upon the relationship you’ve always deserved. It’s a journey that might seem difficult to grasp at first but inevitably always one worth making!

Take the Time to Learn to Love Yourself

Learning to live in harmony with other people can sometimes be a challenging concept. The ability to compromise and be patient will get you far when it comes to this, but what is required of us when we consider how to be in harmony with ourselves? Learning to love and accept the person you are, flaws and all, will enable you to be at peace with yourself. This will quickly lead to good things in other areas of your life as you’ll radiate confidence and better understand the things you want.

The concept of learning to love yourself is often referred to as bonding with yourself and it is an incredibly powerful tool for self-healing. Before the process of learning to love yourself can begin it is important that you are willing to take responsibility for all of your actions and feelings. If you don’t know why you are doing something, or why you are feeling something, then how can you possibly aim to understand it? When you have an emotion, this is your inner-self making you aware of your genuine response to a situation. It is important to pay attention to these emotions and not to let other people make you feel they are less valid.

The next stage of this process is to approach each day with the willingness to learn new things about yourself and the world around you. Knowledge is infinite and being open to developing your beliefs and opinions is essential to self-progression. Allow and encourage others to challenge you and in turn you will inspire them to do the same for themselves. It’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean you have to be wrong or right about everything – it’s about being open to new possibilities.

You’ll find that once you’ve opened yourself up in the ways previously mentioned, that you’ll feel better equipped to accept the things that you previously thought of as flaws. If there are things that you want to change about yourself, or your life, then it is fully within your power to do so. So often we allow ourselves to become unhappy in circumstances that we have created ourselves. The key is to find practical and fulfilling solutions to these problems instead of internalising them as unhappy emotions. Take positive actions instead of allowing these problems to persist. With these positive actions will come self-affirmation and a stronger belief in your own capabilities.

The final stage of learning to love yourself is simply to always take the time to evaluate why you have done something and how you feel about it. If you find that you don’t feel good about something, or you don’t think it was a positive action, then find ways to remedy it!

Stress Management and Your Diet

In order for our nervous system to truly relax, so do we! If we don’t, our stress can destroy our health.  The body is CLEVER. When your body feels danger (like being attacked by a woolly bear or being screamed at by your boos) – the part of the brain that controls fear doesn’t know the difference.  And so our repair mechanisms within the body that kill cancer cells, fight infections and yes, my favourite, slow the ageing process, shut down during periods of stress.  And how many of us are actually stressed all day long……?!

Eating the right foods plays a huge part in managing stress levels and is one of the easiest ways to manage your stress. Eating wholesome and healthy foods will boost serotonin levels which calms the brain. Health foods also build up the immune system and lowers blood pressure which both contribute towards your stress levels. If any of the following seven points ring true for you then you are more than likely stressed and need to re-evaluate your diet.

stress_management_and_your_diet1.   You have backaches and headaches.

If your cortisol levels stay high over a period of time, you probably have adrenal fatigue which increases the body’s sensitivity to pain – back pain, muscle pain and even headaches.

2.   Your sleep is broken or you simply can’t sleep well.

At night is when we’re supposed to allow our bodies to relax and restore, but if your cortisol levels are too high, you end up tossing and turning all night and feel tired again the next day.  OR hands up if you do sleep well but you still wake up tired?  If so, those high levels of cortisol are depleting the adrenal glands which in turn predisposes you to chronic fatigue.

3.   You’re gaining weight.stress_management_and_your_diet

Even if you’re eating well and exercising, you can’t seem to shift the weight and/or you’re gaining it around your belly.  Yup, once again that’s cortisol.  It tends to make you thick around the middle and store those last 5 pounds…. even if you’re doing everything right!

4.   You always seem to catch ‘the’ cold that’s going around.

Your body’s immune system is deactivated with too much cortisol and that in turns leaves you prone to infections and colds.

stress_management_and_your_diet5. You crave the ‘bad’ foods.

Yup, this one too!  That nasty cortisol raises your blood sugar, then the high glucose levels raise your insulin levels which in turn drops your blood sugar!  So, you’re back to craving the ‘bad’ foods over and over again.

 6. Your gut goes nuts.

The stress hormone cortisol heightens the sensitivity in your gastrointestinal system. So things like heartburn, cramps, constipation, feeling sick or diarrhoea are a result of too much cortisol.

7.   You feel blue.

Unfortunately, high levels of cortisol reduce the production of serotonin and before you know it, you’re feeling gloomy.

So, if any of these sounds like your life you need to take a close look at the foods you are eating on a daily basis. Try to make gradual changes to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole foods and raw foods such as nuts into your diet. Steering well clear of processed foods will also help you manage your stress and should be the first step you take!

Once you have your diet under control, you will soon notice your energy levels go up whilst your stress levels decrease!