That way of living does not guarantee a successful lifestyle. In fact, those lifestyle choices won't guarantee longevity. When I first became an entrepreneur and my own boss, I made significant lifestyle changes that have profoundly impacted all aspects of my life. Within the last year, I've drastically improved my diet, became more physically active, and eased my anxiety a great deal.
Even now, I realized just in the last month, my anxiety can at times be quite dominant and debilitating. Now, I search for ways to improve my lifestyle and began seeing some trends from the most successful, high power women in the world today, women that are strong mentally as well as emotionally. Here are the five things successful women (including me) do daily and how you can jump on the band wagon. Get a pencil and paper and jot these down.
1. Control over thoughts, keep gratitude journals, and stay positive:
This was always an issue with me at first. Since my career first took off, I had a hard time being grateful even for the smallest victories. Staying positive use to be very hard and I use to tell myself, "it's because I have health issues and that's why I can't achieve what I want." That was me in college. Everyone has a choice and now, I've chosen to be positive despite what others may say or do.
Each morning, I begin the day telling myself at least 5 affirmations and remind myself that living is not about what you do in your life, it's about how you do things. It's about the type of person you are and how you've participated in the lives of others. It's my second time reading Arianna Huffington's book THRIVE, and I actually bought the book while recovering from lung surgery about three to four months ago. I was struggling with depression, insomnia and feeling the need to push, push, push until I crashed. What got me to stop was several things, but in her book, a few passages caught my attention.
She wrote about how every day, people are writing their eulogies without even knowing. If you notice, eulogies are focused around the kind of person the deceased was, how they treated others and themselves, and of course, their character and humility. I didn't want to be known as some washed up artist or celebrity that didn't treat others so nicely and picked favoritism based on the successes of others. We are all the same soul in different bodies, with the same wants, needs, desires, fears, and on this planet, we are all on it together. I've been reading many thought provoking books lately and my way of thinking, feeling, responding, and doing, or actions, have indeed changed.
Successful people also have control of their thoughts. When I feel my thoughts wanting to spiral, in my mind, I'd immediately say "stop", and remind myself all that we worry about is pretty much self-induced, meaning we ourselves create unnecessary worry. Tell yourself, "stop" three or four times if you need to. One time, I had to say stop countless times while recovering from lung surgery because it felt like another blow or slap in the face from a higher power, but really, I'm grateful for that time to recover. Though the pain was immensely difficult and I was debilitated, after things simmered down and I could sleep peacefully after seven weeks of pain and struggle, I saw those episodes as clues of what I needed to change with my lifestyle. Like a post I did a few weeks ago about living free from back pain with scoliosis. Where I felt the most pain during that rough time, I focus on now in my exercises like swimming, Yoga, and weights. With my new exercise routines, I've been happier, more level headed and with a clearer mind. I wake up a lot earlier and accomplish a lot more.
If you start having destructive (as opposed to constructive) thoughts, interrupt them with a constructive or positive thought immediately. Be kind to yourself and realize you have purpose, a reason for existing. Acknowledge that everybody has things they can and can't do, because this is human nature. If you've been labeled "disabled" and are reading this, know that you have abilities too and don't abandon them. It's really 50/50 with people in terms of what people can and can't do, as everyone has things they can and can't do. If you view things in a Yin Yang kind of way, your mindset will change.
2. Meditate daily, each morning: At first, I was skeptical about meditation. Truth be told. Even when I first started, I was like..."wait, I'm not doing this right." I had to learn how to do it and many people have the wrong idea about meditating. Meditation is practicing being in the present moment, getting centered within myself, in tune with my breath and what's happening inside of me as well as outside.
For me, after now two years of meditating regularly, I've noticed a change in my way of thinking. I also realized how my way of thinking in the past kept me from being successful. How self-sabotage had such a grip on me, but now I released that grip and stopped doing self-sabotaging behaviors. These behaviors ranged from big to small. When we are more mindful of things, that being our habits and our behaviors, life does improve and get better. I've come to know myself better through meditation, which has saved my life.
It's important for me to meditate every morning. Some people do it while they are still in bed, but I need to get out of bed once my eyes open. I go outside onto my deck, sit down in a chair, close my eyes, and focus on breathing, the surrounding environment including smells and sounds. I am utterly still. Since I've started meditating outside, wow, I've noticed about 10-15 health improvements I couldn't believe (which I'll cover in a more lengthy post also this week, so stay tuned for that.)
3. Yoga or stretching exercise routine: Yoga has always been a huge trend in the worlds of successful women. I've been doing Yoga now for two years, mostly in the evenings though. In the morning, I do more energizing workouts that increase my heart rate and really give me a workout. In the evening, I do Yoga as a way to relax, wind down, shut off my mind, shut off communication with the outside world, and get my breathing and movements in sync with each other. Since I've been breathing into my stretches and doing Yoga poses, I'd feel stress just rolling off my back.
Yoga reminds me that there is nothing or no one in the world worth stressing out over. If you truly seek a balanced life, Yoga at night before bed is the way to put the mind in a restful state to prepare for sleep. It immediately wipes out the stress of the day. If your mind is moving at a million miles per hour before bed and you wind up waking up 3 or 4 times a night, that will not give you balance or a good next day. Yoga resets my mind and system and helps me get my evenings and mornings straight, to prevent sleep pattern disruption. Yoga resets everything and provides a balance you might not realize your body is craving.
4. Eat a Super-foods Diet: If you've been following my Snapchat (user: tessakoller) you see I eat a super-foods diet. I make sure to power kick my smoothies with super-food additives such as Maca Powder, Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds, Goji Berries, and organic locally made honey. Every morning, I have hot lemon water with a touch of honey (so the lemon isn't so darn sour) and I feel amazing after.
5. Get enough sleep, take naps, and manage sleep schedule: I'll admit, this was the hardest for me in the beginning too. I used to be on my phone until 12:45 in the middle of the night checking emails with my media volume on high to keep up with notifications. If someone tweeted me at 1:45 in the morning, I was on game and would usually reply. That's the sure way to make yourself sick and crazy. Within the last two years, I've kept my phone light and volume off and while I still keep it somewhat near my bed (on the dresser) the phone is dead to me.
Lately, I've been actually moving my phone and electronics out of the room at 8:00 P.M, brushing my teeth in the 8:00 hour, doing Yoga, and winding down much earlier. Even on the weekends when I'm out with girlfriends, I still manage to be in bed by 10:30 (though, I still think that's too late). I hate to be a party pooh-per, guys, really I do, but sleep is important.
Another things I've started in the last month or so, is taking cat naps in the 2:00 P.M hour. Wow, cat naps are saviors. After a cat nap, I have more energy than ever and can coast through my afternoon with alertness and focused attention. Naps really do increase productivity and make you happier, so I'm doing those daily now. Many work places are enforcing mid afternoon cat naps so their employees have good energy and are in good spirits. With that said, I really want to work for Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, because she encourages her employees to take naps.
So, those are the top five things successful women do each day to keep their mental health and well-being in check. And, those have been my top five lifestyle rituals I've been doing almost daily the last three years. Success means different things to people but success to me is when I can maintain my well-being each day and feel good (and inspire others to do the same). Your health and well-being comes first and helps you function a thousand times better when those things are in tip-top shape.
Be sure to subscribe to this blog and never miss a post, because more is coming. A lengthy, in depth post is coming about the power of meditation, and a big volume series on my travels through Italy from my top ten restaurants, to "off the beaten path" sights to see, and my experience in Sirmione, Italy speaking at a conference and putting on a fashion show. Keep checking back, a lot is coming your way!