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Self-expression

”Creativity is magic, and magic only happens if you’re free to release it.”

I am ”I just want to sit in front of the ocean for a little while” kind of person. Whenever I need to find stillness I go to the ocean. The sense of aliveness, as well as the sound of waves crashing against the shoreline, always bring peace to my soul. For the most part of my life I’ve lived close to the sea; I grew up on the coast, in a small town in Finland, and I’ve always seen myself living close to the water, also in the future. Wherever I move there needs to be water.

Water is life.

”A quiet mind is able to hear intuition over fear.”

The last two years I’ve been posting a letter on my blog in the beginning of each and every month. Dear January, Dear April, Dear October… This quickly became my favorite way of writing. I allowed myself to become still, and to let the words flow to me, not forcing, simply creating space. To be able to quiet the mind, and to listen to what lies underneath is, however, my main purpose while seeking stillness. When the mind is turbulent it’s difficult to hear or see anything, however, when the mind is calm, everything becomes clear blue sky. I believe this is how creativity enters, and transforms into either words, art, inventions or wisdom.

Let yourself become still.

The power of silence

People are so familiar with noise, distractions, sounds, talking, interruptions and opinions that silence has become rare, and sometimes even frightening. Silence is a powerful tool because people don’t expect silence. People expect argument, disturbance, debate, and they seek every opportunity to be right, to have the final word. Make them uncomfortable, hence, force them to think before they speak. Let them become aware of the peacefulness that surrounds the moment.

To master silence is to master your voice, it’s to master your surroundings and it’s to master yourself.

Make space for silence, and you’ll make space for sensational thoughts to enter.

Dear April

Text: Linda Maria Vestman

Edited by Emelie @kreativaklipp

I read somewhere that ”to spend time in nature is to witness a thousand miracles”, and isn’t that true. Nature is the best place to visit when one wants to get in the ”zone”, find inspiration or simply just be. Whenever I sense a lack of inspiration coming over me I go outdoors. After listening to the sound of the waves, feeling the sun caressing my cheeks or the fresh air embracing my skin my mind is clearer, and space has been created for new, insightful thoughts to enter.

There is nothing more relaxing and rejuvenating than observing nature. Finding stillness while for example hiking in the forest or in the mountains will do wonders for your entire being. Escaping the real world for a couple of hours, or even days, might boost your creativity and feed it with new flourishing insights.

”The more room you give yourself to express your true thoughts and feelings, the more room there is for your wisdom to emerge.”

– Marianne Williamson

With this being said, allow yourself to be embraced by serenity. The tranquility of simply being. When you’re present with the stillness, you create space for magic to enter. And then, it’s up to you how you choose to release it.

Dear April…

… I swear, you got my feelings playing butterflies.

”April darling, nature must be head over heels for you, the way she blossoms when you arrive.”

Animals and humans awaken from the darkest of night. From the deep, deep slumber we all return to light. The bright golden sunrise, burning through our windows. Caressing our cheeks, awakening our hearts. Dreaming of doing everything in life, and nothing on rainy Sundays. Watching captivating sunsets, and counting countless numbers of stars. Happily having you, blooming in my arms.

April is for getting lost in translation. Being curious and bold. Breathing in lust, breathing out fear. Breathe me in like air. It’s about a new earth, hope, and letting go. Soft raindrops against the window, purifying dark winter souls. Touch me without the hand, with the mind, undress me with the eye, baby darling be aware, those feelings will be playing butterflies.

April is for being affectionate, playful and passionate. Confident, happy and alive. Stop looking for it on the outside, when it’s already resting within, patiently awaiting for you to come out of your coma. It’s about letting go of the idea that you always have to be the one you have been. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself, it’s never too late to flourish like an early spring day. Whatever flower you wish to be. Just bloom, darling, bloom. 

Grow, expand your horizons, as the birth of this new, flourishing season.

The voice within, screaming for attention, eager to come out and play. Wishing for you to speak your truth, dive into creativity, and to blissfully watch life through the eyes of your inner child. Playful, excited and filled with compassion.

Now is the time to take a glimpse at nature, a glimpse at the stars, and believe, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.

Be still, yet alert. It’s time to give birth.

Dare to show your true colors. Dare to be the person you are. Let wisdom and experiences fill your day, let it guide you on your way. Open your heart and mind to all possibilities floating around. It’s within pain we find strength. The strength to be who we are.

Humans smiling the brightest are usually the ones crying the loudest.

Let. It. Out.

April darling, I welcome you. You move me with your blooming nature, cloudless sky. Your enchanting soul makes my entire being come alive. You bring me peace, you bring me hope. One look at you, and I know everything will come through.

Three habits to embrace slow living

”Less mindless dwelling, more mindful attention.”

Slow living is about creating time, space and energy for the things that matter most to us in life. It’s about taking the time to do things properly, and thereby enjoy them more. Allowing ourselves to be fully present.

I think it was Socrates who said:

”The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”

There are of course many habits one can incorporate in order to embrace a slower kind of living. Here are just three of my favorites at the moment. I hope you’ll find enjoyment in them as well.

Stop chasing, start appreciating

Usually the more we want, or chase something, the more that thing keeps on moving further and further away from us. When we find ourselves being too attached to a certain outcome we’re blocking other things from flowing to us. If we operate from an ”I want” mindset it usually entails that we’re lacking something.

For example, instead of chasing love – start appreciating the love you already have in your life, whether it’s the love from a pet, from a friend or a parent. Start appreciating the beauty of a sunset, a leaf, a well written book or a calm, restful night in. Love is to be found everywhere, not only between two human beings.

The same goes with your job. Are you chasing a certain career? Start appreciating everything you’ve done thus far. Everything that has brought you to this particular moment. You might not know exactly where you are going and how you’ll get there, but the more you’re actually enjoying life, and not rushing through life, you’ll notice how much more life you have time for.

Where your attention goes, energy flows

In a way the mind believes it has to think all the time (or worry, dwell, reflect, analyse etcetera), otherwise it will collapse or cease to exist. As long as we think about things, we’re in control, or so we believe. There’s no way to control the future, or how other people behave and what kind of situations that are brought to us. The things we do have control over are the things happening within ourselves – How we choose to react to the people and circumstances in our lives, and where we choose to direct our focus and attention.

Of course we can contribute to society with our knowledge and expertise, we’re not powerless in that sense. However, we can’t control the actions of others, other people’s motives or predictions about the future.

You’re in control of your own attitude, your own actions, and in which mindset you wish to spend your day to day life. Where your attention goes, energy flows.

By being true to your innermost self, you slowly start to redirect the focus onto the things that matter most to you in life. All these desires you have, all these things you crave, whether it’s love, prosperity, connection, success, adventure, know that they all stem from within. Look at them as a seed, waiting to be nourished and watered daily, by you.

Listen to yourself

”I would like to spend the rest of my days in a place so silent – and working at a pace so slow – that I would be able to hear myself living.”

– Elizabeth Gilbert

The past few weeks I’ve allowed myself to meditate more, to just sit with myself, in silence. I’ve been having the urge to write down my thoughts on a day to day basis – making my headspace not only clearer, but creating space for anything new to enter.

In my last blog post I wrote about the courage to trust yourself, and how that can assist you in cultivating more courage, self-worth and compassion.

It’s very difficult to hear oneself when the mind is constantly caught up in the outside world. If we never take the time to just sit with ourselves, we won’t hear the silent, important whispers from the soul.

I encourage you to stop for a while. You see, the soul doesn’t usually scream out its desires; usually it’s a soft melody, unperceivable to the five senses, nevertheless, something never to be ignored. 

The courage to trust yourself

”Darling, there’s sunshine and stardust pouring out of your veins.”

A key ingredient in this beautiful, yet unpredictable life is trusting oneself. As soon as you begin to trust yourself you’ll learn how to dance through life, cultivating courage, self-worth and compassion. Wherever you go, begin to plant all these wonderful things that you are. When you start to put complete trust in yourself you’ll automatically become more confident in your own skin.

Go within, listen to your inner guidance. The answers are there. Trust yourself.

What determines your worth?

Think about it for a minute.

Is it your looks? The amount of friends you have? Your income? Your job title? Where you were born? Your skin colour? Or do you depend on other people in order to make you feel valuable?

Question your belief systems. Why do you have them, and where do they steam from? Be clear and completely honest with yourself when answering these questions. Writing your thoughts down might make it easier to understand yourself as you read your words out loud. The goal is not to judge yourself, but to better yourself, and thereby become more self-aware.

Own who you are

We put so much value in other people’s opinions that we forget about our own opinions. Darling please, stop putting value in other people’s assumptions about who they think you are, and who they think you should be. In the end it’s nothing but their expectations and beliefs about you.

Step outside your comfy shoes; the ones that taught you how to walk. It’s about time you go and buy yourself a new pair of shoes. And as we all know it takes a while before it feels convenient to walk in new shoes, but don’t let that discourage you.

While you’re busy walking, or dancing, in your neat and somewhat uncomfy shoes, remember; you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but as long as you stay true and authentic to yourself you’ll make the right decisions in life.

Go within. Be introspective. 

Whenever you have a bad day, feel anxious, unworthy and out of alignment with yourself trust the timing of your life. Know that you’re exactly who and where you need to be right now. Nothing will ever be enough externally than what you have within. It’s the biggest treasure you’ll ever have. It’s a vast world you got there – explore it, dive right in, let sunshine and stardust pour out of your veins.

Clear your mind. Clear your thoughts. Be there for yourself.

Embrace your flaws and harness your talents. Learn about yourself – when are you at your best? What comes naturally to you? What skills do you need to work on? Never stop educating yourself; read books, listen to podcasts and fine-tune your competencies.

When you befriend your inner voice, and become conscious and alert to what’s happening on the inside you’re present. As soon as you become aware of the untrusting voice in your head you’ve the power to let it go.

Do you even know how powerful you are?

Be still and alert, the earth is dancing. 

Meditation has been a huge part in my life the past years. It has helped me tremendously when it comes to trusting myself, my intuition and my abilities. Furthermore, it has made me realize that we are so much more than our physical appearance.

One doesn’t have to meditate in order to find peace of mind, however, it might help. Needless to say, it’s not the minutes that count; it’s what you carry with you, after you’ve been sitting in silence – the patience, the alertness and a greater sense of awareness. Meditation is not sitting with no thought – it’s letting the thoughts pass by, not dwelling, but simply being aware. It’s a perfect way to practice slow breathing, going within, and trusting oneself.

When seeking stillness you allow your mind to go beyond thought. You might for example struggle with a challenging task, and seek more intelligent ideas on how to proceed – when you allow your brain to unwind, and ”turn off”, hence, getting rid of all the pressure, you allow your creativity to come alive, which in turn may lead to more creative solutions to your problem.

We can always choose to be a bit more here, and a little less somewhere else.

We are walking on this planet called earth, spinning around in the middle of an infinite universe, and just like the limitless night sky we’re far greater beings than our human mind can ever grasp.

You attract what you are

”I attract what I am, what I do, what I feel and what I think I deserve.”

When it comes to attracting the life you want and desire there’s no shortcut – you’ll have to do the work. You’ll have to put in the actions needed for it to become a part of your future reality.

But first things first. If you’re not happy with where and who you are in this moment it will become slightly more difficult to move forward. As you might notice this is kind of a paradox – being fully content with where one is right now, and still wanting to evolve.

However, I do believe it’s completely natural for us humans to expand and constantly want to develop. It’s part of the human life – it’s how we survive. We need to be able to adapt to the changes happening in the world, and we need to be aware of when and how we’re holding ourselves back.

Embrace the moment

But how does one become content with the present moment? How does one stay satisfied with what is, when the mind is obsessed with living in the past or worrying about the future? It’s like it does anything to escape the now.

”I don’t want to be here, I need to get to there. To be there will be much more fulfilling.” ”I’m not satisfied with where I am – I need to have more, do more, be more, then my life will be complete.”

Your life is already complete. If you exist, if you breathe – then you are complete.

The ego, however, will never be fulfilled. No matter how much recognition, admiration, power or success it receives the ego will always crave more. More, more, more. Give me more. I’m nothing, no one, without all this.

The ego doesn’t strive by being in the present. Nevertheless, the present moment is all there ever is, and ever will be. When something happens, it always happens now. Nothing ever happens in the future, it happens in the moment.

Embrace the moment. Learn how to be kinder to your mind. Take your power back, and lean towards love and curiosity. Fear will most likely show up along the way – don’t repress it, instead invite it in. Let it know that you don’t need it anymore. Let it know that you will survive without it. It’s completely fine to feel afraid, it’s human. But don’t let that fear stop you from moving forward. Don’t let it stop you from taking baby steps towards your dreams.

Take action

Let’s say you want a killer body; a strong, healthy physique. Writing down on a piece of paper about your strong, healthy, killer body won’t magically attract it to you. Repeating affirmations day in and day out ”I have a strong, healthy body” won’t make your body change just like that. Visualizing and writing things down is, however, one piece of the puzzle, but you’ll have to put in the effort as well. You have to schedule time for your workouts, you have to choose nutritious, healthy foods, and last but not least you have to know that you’re worthy of having a strong, healthy body. You have to be patient with yourself, and you have to know that if you want something you’ll have to be consistent.

Things just don’t magically appear in our lives. We actually need to put in the work. You want to run a successful business? – Start planning what you’ll have to do, in order for that to be your reality. Baby steps is better than no steps. You want to find the love of your life? – Become the love of your life.

You attract what you are, what you do, what you feel and what you think you deserve.

How to improve your self-worth

”Know your worth. Don’t ask for it – state it.”

In the end, it all comes down to self-worth. If you don’t believe that you’re worthy of neither success, love, abundance, compassion nor enjoying beautiful experiences it will be very difficult for you to attract any of these things into your life.

”Because of the continuous negative programing that we face in society, we focus on the bad and unpleasant things and project this negativity onto ourselves so often without even realizing it……… There is never a day that you are not worthy. Self-worth is not determined by anything; you don’t have to do anything to be worth it. You just are. (Mutiwasekwa, 2019)

To start with – Never, ever apologise for being your most authentic self.

When I was younger (and sometimes even today) certain kind of people often describe me as being sensitive. Like being sensitive would be something bad. Now I usually laugh if I get a comment like that. ”Yes, I’m a sensitive human being. And I embrace it, I embrace my vulnerability. And by the way you should try it; it might benefit you, helping you being more attuned with your feelings and emotions.” This is not meant to be a post about sensitivity and vulnerability, I just want to use it as an example as to demonstrate the importance of staying true to yourself – cause you’re worth it.

This sensitivity of mine enables me to tap into other peoples’ feelings, and makes it easier for me to put myself in another person’s shoes. It allows me to be more empathetic with others, as well as with myself. It allows me to be less judgmental towards others, as well as towards myself. In other words, this sensitivity of mine allows me to be more human. And I wouldn’t want to change it for the world.

Ok, with that being said, let’s go back to self-worth.

The day you decided that you’re not worthy was the day you chose to abandon yourself. You decided that your self-worth is something that is in the hands of other people – if someone rejected you, you thought that it has to do with you not being worthy, you not being good enough for that person. You chose to give your power to someone that is not meant to play with it – it’s an innate strength and force that no one else but you have power over. You possess that power, so don’t you ever give that away. Don’t you ever adandon yourself.

When you realise that you’re as worthy as anyone else on this planet, and that you too have the possibility to live life as you wish you start to grow better confidence – Suddenly you don’t feel the need to constantly compare yourself to others, and you don’t feel the urge to please others all the time.

How can you overcome feelings of low self-worth? And are there any particular habits to improve your self-worth?

Your biggest critic is usually yourself. Start noticing the way you talk to yourself on a daily basis. What kind of words are you using to describe yourself? Are they uplifting? Or do they make you feel even more miserable? Let the thoughts arise from your subconscious mind. Oftentimes we’re not even aware of how negatively we talk to and about ourselves. It’s like we’re operating on autopilot.

Keep a journal – write down all the negative thoughts you’re having at the moment, and start rewriting them. Transform the negatives into positives. For each negative thought you have about yourself come up with three positive ones. Write down what you’re thankful for, what you love about yourself and the things you’re good at. Accept the parts of you that you’re not proud of. Is there anything you can do to become better than the person you were yesterday? Focus on what you can do. Focus on what you already have, and how you can evolve and grow.

Keep on learning and dare to try new things. I’m a firm believer in learning something new on a daily basis. I genuinely have a love for learning, and I strongly believe it has assisted me towards becoming a more confident woman. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t say that we have to learn in order to gain recognition or validation from others, but to learn simply beacuse we want to learn. If you’re interested in a certain topic – do your research and allow yourself to dive right in.

Learn to speak up for yourself. While it’s very easy to go with the flow and play cool in order to not upset anyone, it’s very important that you learn how to speak up for yourself. If you don’t believe that you’re worthy of having an opinion, or being treated nicely and with respect, then unfortunately there will be those who will take advantage of that. You have to learn how to take care of yourself. Just because you have a different opinion or a different outlook on something doesn’t mean that you’re being rude – It’s just you being you, and owning it.

Learn to think for yourself, believe in your own ideas and values, and you will expand as a person.

References:

Mutiwasekwa, S. (2019). Self-Love. You cannot love someone else until you learn to love yourself. Accessed from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-upside-things/201911/self-love

How to care less about what other people think

”The world does not revolve around you and your world shouldn’t revolve around the opinion of others towards you.”

Why should we stop worrying about what other people think about us? Because, most of the time humans are caught up in their own thoughts and concerns, mainly thinking about themselves.

The world does not revolve around you.

A study from Harvard University shows that humans spend most of their time thinking and talking about themselves. Researches conducted a series of experiments to asses how much people liked talking about themselves and why. No matter the test, the researchers found the results pointed the same way: humans get a biochemical buzz from self-disclosure. (Luscombe, 2012).

Maybe it’s because most of the time we’re preoccupied by our own lives, that we assume that somehow other people must be as well. Newsflash – they’re precisely as you – mostly busy thinking about themselves. This is not us being selfish – it’s us being rather human.

With this being said, not caring about what other people think shouldn’t involve you being totally ignorant towards other peoples’ wants and desires.

”How much someone cares about what others think depends—or should depend—on the nature of their relationship.” (Neuman, 2013).

Caring about what your closest friends, family members and collegues/bosses think about you is to some extent very important. Of course you would like to know if you by mistake offended or disrespected someone. You want to be able to have an open dialouge with the people in your life with whom you spend most of your time.

However, if you constantly go around worrying about what others might think about your dreams and desires – comparing yourself to others and judging yourself for not being good enough – then you need to understand; this is not a mindset that will bring you forward.

Below you’ll find 5 ways that hopefully might help you care less about what other people think, and care more about what you actually desire out of life.

5 ways to care less what other people think

Concentrate on yourself

Let’s say you’re thinking about starting a side hustle. Instead of focusing on what you have to offer, you find yourself scrolling through other peoples’ lives, ending up comparing your weaknesses to their strengths. Or you spend your time worrying about what people might say when you finally launch your idea. Rather, redirect the focus back to you – what is it that you’re good at? How can you help or assist others with your skills? What are your interests? It’s vital to do a competitive analysis in case you’re launching your own business – you need to know who you’re competing against, and from there focus on your unique selling point. However, don’t let it distract you from concentrating on yourself and your ideas.

Stay true to your values

The clearer you are about your own set of values, the less you will care about what others think of you. If you’re authentic and honest in the way you’re presenting yourself you will start to feel more confident. Constantly feeling that you have to please others is both time consuming and self-deprecating. If you notice that others won’t like you if you start creating healthy boundaries, and staying true to yourself, then you need to realise that those migth not be your humans. Stay true to your values, the things that are deply rooted within your soul, and you will notice how other peoples’ opinions don’t seem to bother you anymore.

Surround yourself with people you love

As mentioned above, caring about what your closest friends and family members think of you is to some extent something you shouldn’t neglect. However, with a strong connection comes the feelings of comfort and security, withouth the fear of being judged. Therefore, surround yourself with people who care about you, and that want to see you succeed at life. Keep them close to your heart, and let them know that they too are allowed to be exactly who they are.

Share your own story

We all have our own stories to share. Something that might assist another human on his/her journey. You might have gone through something that is similar to what someone is going through right now. Sharing experiences help us feel less alone, and more connected. You might think that your story is nothing to be shared, and no, you don’t have to share your story with the whole world. However, you can start to share it within a smaller group of people, and from there notice how it might benefit another soul, in the most beautiful, authentic way.

Let yourself be inspired

It’s a wonderful feeling when you find yourself being deeply inspired by another human. When you’re inspired by someone’s talents, skills or personality I believe it’s a sign that you have something similar within yourself. Something that you haven’t been able to put forth, simply because you might think that you’re not capable of doing it. Let yourself be inspired – but don’t let it distract you from your own dreams. Instead, let it help you guide you towards your own truth.

References:

Neuman, F. (2013) Caring What Other People Think. Accessed from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/fighting-fear/201306/caring-what-other-people-think

Luscombe, B. (2012) Why We Talk About Ourselves: The Brain Likes It. Accessed from: https://healthland.time.com/2012/05/08/why-we-overshare-the-brain-likes-it/

How to set and achieve goals

”Hi there, dear dreamer. Time to take some action.”

If there would be a picture in the dictionary of a dreamer I’m pretty sure there would be a picture of me. I’m the dreamiest of all dreamers. I dream day and night. Night and day. And while in my dreams I find myself dreaming. Yes I believe you get the point. And as I very much enjoy being a dreamer, there’s this part of me that now would love to take some damn action.

What can I do this month that will bring me one step closer to where I want to be?

Setting daily, weekly or monthly intentions is a great way in order to achieve the desired goals you have in life.

Many people are afraid of setting both short and long term goals. Goal setting is avoided because one is afraid of failure, and scared to let oneself down if the goals aren’t achieved. Things not working out the way you planned is not failure. You learn from everything you go through in life. Regret, however, is a feeling that should be avoided at all costs. I’ve always been inspired by courageous and ambitious humans. Humans that take action and believe in themselves. I like to think that there’s a human like that somewhere inside of me, however far I need to dig in order to find her.

WOOP

I’ve read about a theory called WOOP by Gabriele Oettingen (a Professor of Psychology at New York University and the University of Hamburg). This theory got me interested, and I would like to bring it to practise in order to see if it would help me reach my goals.

What is WOOP?

According to the site woopmylife.org ”WOOP is a science-based mental strategy that people can use to find and fulfill their wishes, set preferences, and change their habits.”

WOOP is an acronym for:

WISH: What is your most important wish or concern in your life? Pick a wish that is challenging for you but that you can fulfill.

OUTCOME: What would be the best thing, the best outcome about fulfilling your wish? How would fulfilling your wish make you feel?

Now take a moment and imagine the outcome. Imagine things fully.

OBSTACLE: What is it within you that holds you back from fulfilling your wish? What is it in you that stands in the way of you fulfilling your wish? What is your main inner obstacle?

Now take a moment and imagine your obstacle. Imagine things fully.

PLAN: Make an if-then Plan. What can you do to overcome your obstacle? Name one action you can take or one thought you can think to overcome your obstacle.

“The solution isn’t to do away with dreaming and positive thinking. Rather, it’s making the most of our fantasies by brushing them up against the very thing most of us are taught to ignore or diminish: the obstacles that stand in our way.”

– Gabriele Oettingen

Source: woopmylife.org

Setting goals bring happiness

The purpose behind goal setting can be seen as bringing more happiness into life. Firstly, it helps us focus on the things that are important to us, in other words it helps us draw attention away from things that are irrelevant. Secondly, setting goals makes us feel alive and energetic and helps us strive for the things we wish to accomplish. Moreover, it helps us become more enduring and patient. And last but not least, goal setting makes us look for, and create, strategies in order to achieve the desired goals.

Do understand that happiness is not achieved solely by achieving the goal, but through carrying out, and putting into action, one’s potential, skills and talents.

Mindfulness practises for setting & achieving goals

Writing & visualizing. The more specific you are about your goals the better. Write them down, try to be as clear and precise as possible. I strongly believe that putting words, goals – the desired future – on paper will take you one step closer to achieving your dreams. However, this is where I ususally end up, not moving forward – while I love writing about a desired outcome I sometimes struggle with actually doing something to achieve it. Nevertheless, now I’ll start incorporating the obstacles as well as an if-then plan, and hopefully that will make me move past the limiting beliefs and fears I hold inside.

Challenge thyself. Do something that scares you, and watch your confidence grow. It’s very easy to fall into a rut; routines become such a natural part of every day life, and all of a sudden, we stop challenging ourselves. Growth is inevitable in order to achieve goals. We have to push ourselves to do things that make us nervous and terrified (in a good way).

With this being said, as soon as that fear start kicking in I’ll start focusing on being fully present in what I’m doing. Furthermore, I’ll remind myself of how rewarding and satisfying it will feel once I’ve achieved my goals.

I wish you the bestest of luck on your journey towards achieving your goals.

How to find your flow state

”Don’t go with the flow – be the flow.”

At the moment Coursera offers a course called ”The Science of Well-Being” from Yale University. According to the course professor the course was created because she was worried about the levels of student depression, anxiety, and stress that she was seeing as a Professor and Head of College at Yale.

”When I first developed the class, I had no idea it would become the most popular class ever taught at Yale University. The Yale class was featured in both the national and international news media, and I was flooded with requests from people around the world to find a way to share the content of this Yale class more broadly.”

– Professor Laurie Santos

During the course professor Santos talks about flow state, and the health benefits that this state provides.

For me personally flow state can be described a little bit like this;

”When you’re enjoying what you’re doing you easily reach that so called flow state. A state of being when time passes by without you even noticing. A state of being when you’re your most creative self. A state of being when you’re guided by your inner voice. A state of being that can only be described by the words pure bliss.”

Some features of ”Flow” according to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (a Hungarian-American psychologist. He recognised and named the psychological concept of flow, a highly focused mental state conducive to productivity).

  • Challenging but attainable goals
  • Strong focused concentration
  • The activity is intrinsically rewarding
  • Feelings of serenity
  • Loss of self-consiousness
  • Timelessness/lose track of time passing
  • Lack of awareness of physical needs
  • Complete focus on thenactivity itself

”The best moment in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times. The best moments usually occurif a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish soemthing difficult and worthwhile.”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Reflect upon if or when you’ve experienced this kind of flow state, and what you were doing during that time.

Incorporating moments in which you challenge your skillsets in a voluntary way is a good method for a more fulfilling everyday life. It’s about maximizing your skills at the right challenge level.

One way of reaching this so called flow state is to incorporate your main signature strenghts into the job or task; thus will make the task more fulfilling and meaningful to you.

If you have no idea about what your core signature stregths are you can take a free test at VIA Institute. It’s a free self-assessment test that takes less than 15 minutes, and provides you with a wealth of information to help you understand your best qualities.

If you’re interested in wanting to know more about how to find, and reach a creative flow read my blog post 8 ways to get into a creative flow.

References:

Csikszentmihalyi, M (2008). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York, NY: HarperCollins

(This is not a sponsored blog post, I just genuinely want to inspire others to try out the course. It’s backed with a lot of scientific research, and offers many, good practical advice on how to level-up your well-being and happiness.)

Find stillness within the chaos

”In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”

– Deepak Chopra

In this moment you can find suffering or meaning, fear or curiosity. You can choose to see the world through the eyes of hate, or you can let love be the guiding force. Clarity might not always be found through the intellect, but experienced in stillness. Quiet down, and the more you’re able to hear.

Some might fear the stillness, simply because they’re not used to it. What to do with it? Complete silence, except the sound of the heartbeat. Rising. Thoughts popping up. Do something, don’t just sit there. Wasting your time. Becoming aware of the breath. In. Out. In. Out. Feeling calmer. Lighter. Sensing the energy in the hands. Alive. I’m alive.

The present moment – the only moment where there is freedom from the past, from the conditioned mind. You’re simply here, realising there is nowhere else to be. But here.

”To a mind that is still, a whole universe surrenders.”

Lao Tzu

To become aware is to become one with the present moment. All of a sudden you’re the observer of your inner state – the feeling, the emotion – no longer at its mercy. Awareness has stepped in. Freedom arises. The emotion can’t renew itself by using the mind. You might notice that the anxiety, the fear or the anger is still there, however, you’re not consumed by it anymore. The awareness gives it space to be, but while anxiety doesn’t rise up in the mind, and control the mind, it can’t renew itself anymore – it evaporates. As the awareness strengthens the energy transforms.

When you let go, and allow the moment to be as it is, you’ll find that the answers you seek won’t come when the mind is busy, they come when the mind is still. However, they might not come immediately. At times patience is needed, testing your ability to trust and believe in the unfolding of your life.

Let the silence speak to you. Be curious, and trust that it has something to say.

(Inspiration from Eckhart Tolle’s teachings.)