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Category: Life

– The Five Minute Journal experience –

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I wouldn’t call myself a negative person, however I have to say that sometimes I have difficulties fighting some dark thoughts. These thoughts are usually directed towards the negative feelings that I feel for myself or what I do (or don’t do). Positive thinking can turn into really hard work for me sometimes. And this post is not actually about that… I just wanted to share a tool that really helps me direct my thoughts towards the path of positivity, productivity and self-love.

To be honest, I have several people that I get inspired by, however the Ikonn family currently has been a great encouragement to think and act differently, not to be afraid of analysing myself and my own thoughts, as well as trying to figure out what the hell is happening in that vast mind of mine and most importantly to focus on the good and happy things in my life.

I am definitely not sponsored by them (they have more then enough PR that they do themselves…) but I really wanted to share their invention that is called ‘The Five Minute Journal’ and my experience while filling it in.

Why the 5 Minute Journal works?

It has been scientifically proven that positive behavioral traits and thought prolong your life and make you less stressed about your everyday experiences. Thus you are not so easily drawn to temptations and you are able to control your thoughts and mind, and consequently your actions. This control translates to will power. It means that will power can be trained and enhanced by positive thinking. According to ancient wisdom the ‘Beginning and the end of the day is a time to think, evaluate, and correct course’. (1) Filling this journal in is a powerful experience that challenges you to step out of your comfort zone, reflect on your actions, observe your thoughts, which leads you to understanding yourself and your state better and finally knowing which way you want your thoughts, your actions, your life to proceed.

My experience

It felt crazy sometimes to be practicing gratitude… I always thought that you either feel the gratitude in your heart or you don’t. But that is actually not true. These little questions you answer forces you to think a little bit deeper about the positive things that happen, or what you can do to improve your mood and attitude.

Honestly, I have missed quite a few days of entries. However, in my opinion this is another hidden purpose of this journal, which is quite a positive experience as well. I feel like this is exactly how you find out that you need to work on your discipline and train your will power to move yourself towards improvement. I am definitely one of these people who always want to improve and think the actions taht need to be taken all the time, but never actually does anything about it. Which is annoying! Following this pattern the only thing I end up feeling is guilt, because it is me who is an obstacle to myself and it is me that does not have enough will power. Usually these things are quite a hard thing to admit without proof. All your decisions and deeds are never documented, thus are past and does not matter anymore. But this little journal is a tool that can turn this around, just because it makes you observe yourself in reality (you wrote it down/or you didn’t and it is the truth that you cannot escape – it is right there in front of you) – how you think, how you act and what you feel, thus you can actively try to change it.

I feel like I still need to work on myself a lot and I have a long way to go in order to train my will power, gratefulness and positivity. Nevertheless, I am sure that the step of starting to write this journal – observing myself, getting to know the person I am and the things I can get negative about – is the key step towards that goal.

You don’t have to buy it

They offer the outlay of the Five Minute Journal on their website, as well as a free subscription for the starting-up guide that comes with regular tips of filling the journal in and other positive little communications every week.

Thus, you can take a spare notebook and just start journaling yourself. Just add the questions (better to do it in advance, because in the morning you will be too sleepy to write them down – advice based on practice) and answer them after you wake up first thing in the morning and before you go to sleep last thing in the evening. You can add the quotes that you know or found that inspire you as well if you feel the need. That’s how I chose to do it!

5min journal inside

planner inside

However, when you buy the Original Journal you will find some extra information on the research done and the psychology behind creating it, as well as some little challenges every week that can encourage you to go out of your comfort zone. You also won’t need to write down the questions yourself.

If you are not a paper notebook kind of person, now there is also an app available. I have not tried the app, thus I don’t know how user friendly or effective it is. But it is definitely something to take a look at. The app is currently only available for iOS users (find the app here)

If you struggle filling the Five Minute Journal in to fill in then definitely check out the video of Allex and UJ on how to use your Journal and a few different approaches you can have to fill it in.

Links to the Ikonn YouTube channels:

They share some amazing recommendations on books and articles to read, as well as share their life, experiences and sometimes really great advice and attitudes. I personally don’t try to follow their way of life, but I definitely find them really inspiring especially when it comes to being a knowledgeable human being, relationships, being a generally good person as well as being positive and grateful one.

Happy journaling, you guys!

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(1) The Five-Minute Journal, Allex Ikonn and UJ Ramdas, pp. 13, 15.

– Sucked into the planner obsession –

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So the obsession started in February 2016 .I have watched so many YouTube videos about planning techniques, different planners, planner decor,  productivity, etc. There are so many inspirational people that definitely deliver the message – Life is hectic nowadays! You need a system to keep up.

And so, as any girly girl I needed a planner that is also fun and stylish and decorated nicely. Thank God, I have the most amazing boyfriend who likes seeing me happy no matter how ridiculous ideas I have. And so he ordered me this gorgeous planner from KikkiK (A5-large, Perforated in the colour Mint).

And then I’ve just gone crazy. I bought a lamination machine, tons of stationary supplies, printed out lots and lots of stuff to get my planner going, with the intention for it to reflect my chaotic personality.

For me this was amazingly satisfying. The planner not only gave me joy of decorating but also actually helped me to stay on top of things in my life. Before my system looked more like this Képtalálat a következőre: „laughing emoji”:

Then I tried journalin. However it didn’t work out for me because it was too static. I couldn’t take out what I wrote without tearing pages or regroup something to different categories, etc. And a planner with rings that open up is a perfect solution for this – you can always change anything you want in there.

Of course, I am still transitioning from the old system. I think you really need to experiment with different techniques of planning to really find what works for you, especially with day-to-day things. For now, I usually just sit down and put all of my sticky notes into the planner by category. In my planner I have these categories sectioned-out:

  • The actual calendar (I have ‘one month on two pages’ with some space for notes);
  • Address book (and somehow Recipes became a part of that section);
  • To Do lists;
  • Blog;
  • Personal (this contains a lot of different categories – wishlist, bucket list, goals, book lists, etc. and some stuff that cannot be categorized – random ideas and random notes).
  • There are also a lot of printables inside that help me to follow up every thing (like yearly calendar, budget follow-ups, etc.)

I am still using a lot of the original stuff that came with the planner. But I think you can transform anything into anything. Even when the pages say ‘Meeting notes’ you can just stick some washi tape and make it into what ever you need it to be.

So this is a little look inside my planner and how I personalised it

planner insidejpg

My month on two pages view:

planner august

Wishlist come in a form of a vision board:

wishlist2

Some of my stationary:

stationary

Details on the stationary I am using

Here are some links to some of the stationary and printouts I have used, if you are interested:

  • Laminator machinehttp://amzn.to/2bOpGj9 – when I bought it it was a little bit cheaper.
  • The Charmed Shophttp://www.strangecharmed.com/shop/?orderby=price – Alexis has pretty nice covers and calendars for free (just sort the shop according to the price). Also you can watch her on YouTube teaching you to make some DIYs for your planner as well as, teaching techniques to plan your day, week, month, year, personal life, work life, etc.)
  • I also got some nice printables here: http://www.wendaful.com/free-printable-inserts/
  • Most of the washi tape, stickers and stationary I have purchased in the Tiger shop. So If you are in Europe, you are in luck! http://uk.flyingtiger.com/en-gb
  • The planner cards: I just Googled some pictures, printed and laminated them to make them into planner cards. They are very functional, you can stick to them your ToDo lists, write on them with erasable markers, etc.
  • And my pens… I don’t usually buy any pens. I usually just take them when ever they are available for me for free (e.g. I stock up on them in fairs Képtalálat a következőre: „cover eyes emoji”, I also use a lot of university, workplace merchandise, etc.)

 

Inspirational videos for Planner DIYs

Some paperclips for your planner

Some Folder dividers (very functional!)

 

It is really fun to sit down at least once a week and just decorate and plan away. You get kind of a broader look on your life and how busy or not busy you are. I  find that I really need to write down what I want to do in life (doesn’t matter if it’s now or some time in the future). At least for me, it is sometimes so, that I want to do something and I just talk about it. However, if I write it down, it makes me rethink and maybe even make a plan of how exactly that thing can be done. Thus, I become active towards that goal. And of course, the planner saves you the trouble of remembering everything you need to do as well as some brilliant ideas that sometimes slip away if you don’t jot them down really quickly.

Hope you enjoyed this post and found something useful and inspiring.

Happy planning!

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– Dealing with Uni work: emotional struggle and stress –

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I am currently faced with a challenge to write my Master Thesis project in 2 months. To be honest I have been doing pretty good. Of course, a little bit off the schedule, but still… I have already a few parts of my thesis sorted. However, to do it, it cost me literally, random freak outs, early morning jumps out of bed, because of the heart racing like crazy, and that constant guilt of laying in bed a minute longer or doing something else pleasurable when I should be writing the thesis… In a way I am thinking it is not worth to feel like this over some paper. But it would be kind of unreasonable to stumble upon the last obstacle.

The hardest thing in this is the fight against yourself. I really feel the lack of motivation, a kind of disappointment of how insignificant this thesis will be – no one will care about it later, not even me. But still, I feel responsible to hand it in on time, and not to be embarrassed to look someone in the eye over the quality of it. And there are always tons of these back and forth arguments in my head, trying to convince me to do it or not to do it. And I have been trying to somehow silence them. Here are a few things that worked for me to deal better with all the stressful uni work during my years of studies:

  1. Have a ‘mind dump’ notebook. When you have any thoughts about the task just write them down at any time, to clear your mind or continue the train of thought. It does not matter if you are already in bed. Get up and write your thoughts down, otherwise you will end up thinking about it during the time you should be sleeping. And in addition to that, I bet you that in the morning when you will want to use that brilliant thought of yours, it will be long gone leaving you with nothing but the frustration of forgetting.
  2. Make a schedule of actions. And I mean not deadlines or tasks, but actual realistic actions you can do to reach that goal (and finish the Master task) that stresses you out. I mean like: read two articles about…; finish up the reference list; write the methodology sub-section, make a plan for analysis. Don’t be too ambitious, when you won’t be able to fulfill it, you will feel disappointed in yourself. We don’t want that.
  3. Think of a rewards system. It can be little things like sweets, games, YouTube videos, an episode of TV series when you meet some deadlines, or complete some of the scheduled actions. Also, think of a big reward after the Master task is complete, that you would look forward to. E.g. buying something luxurious for yourself or get tickets for a trip somewhere.
  4. Destressing tea e.g. chamomile, or homeopathic valerian herb tablets. It really helps when you need to get rid of this stone on your heart, shake in your hands, rush of the heart at random and that feeling as if you are going on stage in front of lots of people.
  5. Let it out. Find someone who will listen. Talk, say what is bothering you, how stressed you feel and why. It is fine to cry, it is fine to sleep a lot, feel apathy to everything. Do it! But don’t trap yourself inside too much, you need to make some time for socializing and going outside too.
  6. Go outside at least for a little bit. Especially if it is sunny. Even if you don’t feel like it, it will pick your mood up. You can choose if you want some company or not.
  7. Try to be surrounded only by supportive people. This is very important. You don’t need anyone who is bringing you down, you are too vulnerable for that right now. You are already fighting a hard fight of discouragement and lack of motivation – yourself.
  8. Try some physical activity. Physical activity activates your happiness hormones (dopamine), which makes you feel better.
  9. Meditation. I know, most of the people are instantly skeptical when they hear the word meditation. Try reading about Vipassana. It is a kind of meditation of just observing ‘what is’ starting with your own body and breathing. Just close your eyes observe your mind and your breathing without changing something on purpose. It will seem difficult at first. That is when you will understand how little control you have of your own mind. However, it really helps to let yourself feel the emotions that you are dreading to feel and at least for that moment to order them away. It gives you time to relax and recover from the constant stress you are feeling (in my case, stress follows me around even when I am sleeping). You will not believe how freeing it is. Even if you are not in a deep state of meditation, it gives you and opportunity to feel how it is to have at least that one moment of mindful mind. If you are new to meditation it might be quite hard to reach the awareness of your mind and thoughts. There is a tool to help you. BiNaural beats is kind of a music (or sound waves) that treats your mind, helps it relax and unwind. You can find many different ones on Youtube. Here are some examples:

Just try to listen to them (don’t look at the videos) and you will feel how easy with them it is to relax your mind. Don’t over do it, or if it bothers you don’t listen at all.

Do all of the treatments, only one of them, or combinations that work for you. The most important thing is to stay positive! You have to admit, that it does not matter how bad you feel right now, deep in your heart you believe you can do it and that you can succeed! Which is the ultimate truth you should keep hanging on to! I hope this helps you to release at least a little bit of your stress and anxiety. Share your story of dealing with stress at work, uni or other places.

Lets keep going!

Stress less!

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– Redefining my relationship with food –

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I love food. And I am very guilty of loving all the ‘junk food’ the most. Burgers, fries, cola, chocolate, chips, beer, pizza, coffee, etc. Actually, I have really hard time to have a healthy relationship with food in general. I sometimes even have struggles to have control over the things that I am eating. So I have noticed some really bad eating habbits that I have:

  • I eat my food like someone will steal it from me. Fast, half chewed. Here in Denmark/Germany I am usually done when people are not even half way into their food .
  • I will always take something that is for free to eat, it does not matter if I really want it or not or if I am even hungry.
  • A buffet is an unending story. I need to try everything that looks good. And I will leave the restaurant with twice the size of a belly that I came in with. I actually thing I have this attitude towards buffets as Joey character in one of the Friends episodes have expressed: ‘This is where I win all my money back’  .
  • If I paid money for food, I have to eat it all. Does not matter how big the meal is.
  • Sugar is the frenemy. I go through a chocolate bar in a blink. However, people around me have noticed that I eat chocolate like a fast snack – putting the pieces in my mouth chewing, swallowing, not even enjoying it a little bit. So, I tried to not eat so much sugar anymore and I started feeling like a person with an addiction. I was craving  sugar as crazy – cranky, angry, always searching the cupboards for something sweet. This is actually caused by the hormone insulin that fights the overdose of sugar in the blood. It usually fights it too good and the blood sugar drops lower then normal, therefore you end up wanting more sugar again to normalize the sugar levels. It’s a vicious cycle!

How to gain control over your own eating habits?

So now I am trying my best to redefine and rebuild my relationship with food. Here are some ways I have decided to improve my eating habits.

  1. Admitting to having unhealthy habits of eating. I think for most of my life I was not aware that there is something wrong with the way I eat. Only when you are aware and acceptant, you can actively change something. Human habits are proven to be changeable. That means we all can do it. So do I.
  2. Chewing longer. Enjoying the taste, revealing tastes I have not even felt before. This also contributes to eating until you feel the fullness in your stomach, which is said to take around 20 mins. This way you can avoid over eating.
  3. Eating sweets only one or two days per week. Going out of this sugar craving cycle is probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I am still weak when it comes to sugar – I catch myself thinking about sweets in really random situations. The only answer is ‘powering through’! It gets easier to say no to sweets after a few weeks. I am still on track for the most part and I give bonus points for this one too, because I already can see the difference not only in how I feel but also on my body.
  4. Asking myself two questions when I have an opportunity for cheap or free food: ‘Do I really want it? Do I need it in my body?’. To be honest, probably 95% of the time the answer is’No’.
  5. Incorporating some healthier options of food in you fridge and pantry. As I have noted in my ‘Goals for 2016’ post I am trying to incorporate some new ingredients to my cooking. Find some new tastes. It takes some work for me, because I am not a big fan of cooking or spending much time in the kitchen. I especially hate doing the dishes. However, I found that healthy food can be delicious too, you just have to make it delicious.
  6. Not eliminating anything I really like to eat. I find it very discouraging to tell myself I can never ever again have burgers or cola or chocolate. It really depresses me even to think about it. Therefore, I choose limiting these things to not having them every day, but once in a while. My cheat day is Friday. 
  7. Drinking lots of water. I am already pretty good at this, but now I try my best to track how much of it I am drinking. My goal is at least 2 liters per day. To be honest, I have seen major improvement in appearance of my skin all over my body it seems tighter, more even in color tone. For me to buy water from the store is too expensive, so I have just bought a Brita water filter, which works great for tap water here in Denmark. It’s delicious!
  8. Slowly incorporating some exercise.  For me it has to be slow, because I find myself always giving up fast if I go hard core right away. The most important thing is to move, not to gain muscle or loose weight. Humans were meant to move around, so that’s what we should do.

I am advancing slowly but steady  with the food, not so much with the exercise.  But I will improve in time. I am still in progress of controlling myself in all of these steps actually. I still have to think of how much I should chew the bite I have in my mouth, I am still struggling to having sweets only on Friday (especially saying no to the sweets that are right in front of me). I have built the habits that I have throughout 24 years of my life, so now it will take some time to change them. I am ready! Are you?

Comment on your experiences with food, your habits and where you think they came from. Share your story and struggle as well as your advice on how we all can improve our eating practices.

Subscribe, share and follow me on my social media!

Happy improvement!

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– Be simple, Valentine! –

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Valantine’s day. This year it’s Sunday. So why not make it simple. Well, me and my Man do not have much choice actually. We live in a small town in Denmark, therefore everything is closed on Sunday, so we choose to just SIMPLIFY!

I also believe that special surprises on this day are kind of worthless, they are not really surprises, you expect something already, therefore it is not a real surprise. You get my logic?

So what I suggest instead of spending time and money on your ultimate surprises is:

Plan your Valentine’s together. Just talk about it. What do you imagine it to be like this year? Just chillin’ together or going out?

If going out:

  1. Get ready together. Take a shower together. Put some entertaining music on, get dressed, put your perfume, make-up on while dancing around together… The things usually heat up and stay like that all evening while your out. Also, it puts you in a great mood.
  2. Overdress! To be honest, here I rarely see people dressed up. It is nice to imagine for an evening that you are super extravagant people and to act like a lady and a gentleman.

If you are staying in:

  1. It’s Sunday. Take a morning walk together.
  2. Play some games together. Board games, PC or PlayStation, whatever… Get competitive, and spice things up with some assignments for loosing.
  3. Instead of going out to a fancy dinner, cook something great together.
  4. Better yet, make some delicious deserts together. Baking together with some music on makes so much fun.
  5. Find a great movie that both of you would really like to watch (or re-watch).
  6. I leave it to your imagination to come up with what happens next…

Planning together is not only getting you closer, but also that way you save yourself any unnecessary disappointment about your surprise not working out, or that the other didn’t try as much as you did or in general you just don’t set any certain expectations, therefore you guarantee yourself a great Valentine’s day. Only happy emotions allowed!

valentines

Happy Valentine’s day!

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