The human brain is very complex. As much as you’d like to have control over it and stay positive to keep stress levels at a minimum, sometimes it’s just impossible. Or so it seems. Your brain can literally treat you like its puppet and take over your mind. And before you know it, you are flowing down a negative river and feeling bad for yourself for whatever reason(s).
It’s important that in times like this you find a way to ground yourself and be grateful. It’s not easy to do it, and I know I personally have a hard time being grateful when all I can think about are the things going wrong in my life.
Haven’t you ever sat back and thought, “Ugh, why me?”
Many times, it’s easy to feel sorry for yourself over things that you can’t control. For instance, if your car breaks down (uncontrollable), you typically get to fixing it right away because you know you need transportation to get to work or school the next day. I mean of course, I personally break down, cry, and wonder why this is happening to me. That something like this would happen to me! And I’m a jinx, and so on. But after the initial break down, I start figuring out ways to repair my car and figuring out how much it’ll cost me to get it done ASAP.
It’s very easy to get wound up in those initial negative thoughts. It’s easy to be negative when anything that isn’t going “your way” happens. But it’s important to remember that negative thinking is also something we, as humans, create and have control over. Instead of crying that my car broke down, I started to laugh at myself and smile really hard because I knew that in reality, I was lucky to still be alive!
So to help you find gratitude, think about this.
What are 3 things you’re grateful for today? Regardless of where you are in your life, just think hard about why you are grateful for being alive today. I am grateful for having a roof over my head, a family who loves me, and the ability wake up and walk with my own two feet, every single day!
Now remember those things you’re grateful for? Write them down. Email them to yourself and take a screen shot. Revisit that screen shot as often as possible. Life will continue to happen, and there will be situations that are out of your control, but your reaction to them is everything. Ask yourself every morning, “What am I grateful for today?” It’s so important to train your brain to be positive because without positivity, it’s a spiral down the negative river.
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve & State Beach
This month has been filled with so many exercises benefiting the spine. From flexion to extension, and a little bit of twisting, March Matness is officially coming to an end.
To wrap the month up, I’ve included a few of my favorite exercises for you below. Check out the benefits of each and what to look for when you’re performing these exercises so you get the best results.
💫Swimming – Spinal extension is super important for everyone. Do you sit all day? Drive a car for work? Text? If any of these sound like you, do a little swim at the end of your day. Swimming opens up your chest and helps release tension in your pecks. Focus on anchoring your shoulders away from your neck and ears and reaching through the crown of your head. Only lift your chest and quads up as high as they need to go to keep your lower back in a neutral state (natural arch in the low back). Try to avoid over extending and focus more on targeting the mid back muscles – your thoracic spine. Kick your arms and legs, alternating in opposite directions while keeping the torso still.
💫Rocking – Similar to swimming, rocking helps open up the chest and extends the spine. Challenge yourself to keep the legs as parallel to the ground possible. Rocking is accomplished mostly by breathing and small shifts of the body forward and back, activating your abdominal and back muscles. The ribs will naturally want to expand wide, but by engaging your abdominals try and control the ribs from popping out.
💫One leg kick – Glutes and hamstrings will definitely fire up if you perform this exercise correctly. Keeping your pelvis and hips slightly tucked to protect your back is super important here. If you can challenge yourself to lift your quads, you’ll feel the hamstrings fire up even more. Again, watch the ribs and turn on those abdominals to find control. Don’t forget to keep your shoulders anchored as they will naturally want to creep up into the neck area. Kick each heel back two times towards your glutes and switch.
💫 Side bend – Probably one of my most favorite Pilates exercises, and it only gets easier with practice. Strengthening your shoulders, back muscles, and oblique abdominals, the side bend also stretches the side body. Focus on keeping your palm directly under your wrist and creating as much space as possible between the wrist and shoulder. As you lower your hips, keep them squared off and avoid letting your weight shift into your neck. Pull up with the belly and hips while still lengthening through the crown of the head.
💫Side kick – This exercise focuses on the control from your belly while strengthening your butt and thighs. You can see in my video, my hips start to sway a bit. Try laying on your side in a straight line from your shoulders to ankles and use your bottom hand to prop up your head for more support.
Opportunity is available to people much more than they believe so. Growing up, I always limited myself because I was told that I can’t have everything I want and I need to be “realistic”.
That’s a lie.
Opportunity lives where you live. In the same house! You get the point. You can have everything you want, but just how bad do you want it?
I want to share my strategy of getting what I want and when I want it. First, you need to think your idea into existence. Thinking negative or limiting thoughts won’t get you anywhere. You are your biggest competitor so if you start off by thinking YOU won’t be able to do something, you’re right. You probably won’t. Start by changing your thought process. And then deal with the challenges you foresee getting in your way.
Challenges will always come up, always. No matter what type of idea you have, and no matter how much money you need or think you need, you’ll always be faced with hurtles. And you need to overcome them in order to succeed. This brings me to the second step of the strategy. Make a plan. Write your idea down.
Writing helps you organize your thoughts. And it helps you discover more thoughts that can potentially be challenges. Now don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean you write down a one pager of notes and BOOM. You made it! No, you need to continue writing throughout the whole processes. Document everything you do. All of the money you’re spending. Where are your expenses going and where can you save. It’s important to keep track of everything as you begin your process. Whether it’s writing a book, starting a blog, getting in shape, buying a dream house, or just paying off some debt. You can make all of it happen with a plan.
A plan is simply a way for you to discover what it will take to make your opportunity go from dream to reality. When you come up against challenges in your plan, write down ways you can overcome them and if it means starting a new plan, do it! You’ve heard of growing pains, right? We’ll get used to them.
You have to find the confidence in yourself when you think there’s nowhere left to go. If it takes talking about it with other people, overcoming insecurities, or just simply working on self-love and appreciation, work on it. You have to believe in yourself before any of this can happen. And remember, opportunity lies in you so stop looking for all the answers in other people’s opinions. Self-doubt often comes from the outside but can only be fixed from within. The door is half way open, you got this!
This month has been jam packed for me, but I haven’t forgotten about you guys!
No matter how busy you get, stay consistent. Set reminders. Create tasks. Do what you gotta do to stay organized, and follow through! The key to success is just that; consistency.
Check out a few videos below from my March Madness Series. I love how much length these exercises create in my spine when doing this little flow:
💫 The Roll Over
💫 Single Leg Stretch
💫 Double Leg Stretch
💫 Rolling like a Ball
The Pilates Roll Up is one of the best exercises for intermediate Pilates peeps. Once you have developed a mind and body connection, you start to challenge your core to follow along. I definitely feel my core fire up every single time I practice this exercise.
What are the Benefits to The Pilates Roll Up?
- Creates flexibility in your spine while building strong core muscles
- Targets the rectus abdominis (the “six-pack” muscle) 30x more than a regular crunch
- Increases blood flow and circulation while promoting deep breathing
How to execute?
- Lie back flat with legs straight on the mat and arms extended above straight above the shoulders. Slightly tuck your pelvis while still maintaining a neutral spine – AVOID over-tucking the pelvis.
- Bring arms forward, tilt chin down, and slowly curl upper body up, reaching hands towards the sky before folding forward to touch your toes. KEEP lower body stable on the mat.
- Rest spine and reach arms above your head towards the sky to lengthen your torso. Slowly curl chin in towards the chest and roll back resisting gravity, while continuing to keep heels glued to the mat.
- Repeat 8 to 10 times, slowly.