Want to be Happier? Stay Present!

pres moment
pres moment

What if I told you that you have all the power in the world to make yourself as happy as you want to be? 

Chances are you wouldn’t believe me. That’s because our consumption-oriented and instant-gratification seeking culture tells us that we can buy happiness. And to some extent, it works! We are happier in the moment of making purchases and enjoying them shortly afterward. But this kind of happiness is fleeting.

The reason why these purchases make us happy is that we’re excited and engaged in the process of actually buying them. That’s the key- being and staying present!

Ever go to dinner with friends and realized the time has flown and it’s 3 hours later? Or been into a great book and realize you haven’t checked your phone in forever?! That means you’ve been present and stayed in the moment!

Matt Killingsworth, of Harvard University, gave a brilliant TED Talk in which he outlined his research on happiness. Killingsworth concluded, “We're often happiest when we're lost in the moment. And the flip side: The more our mind wanders, the less happy we can be.”

This is even true of activities we despise - like traffic. Killingsworth assessed that when commuters are more present and engaged in their commute, they are happier than when driving while talking on their phones, on social media, or reading emails. You make think you’re being productive, but you’re just making yourself unhappy.

So how do you stay present?

This super easy tactic is bound to make you more conscious and present: ask yourself, “Is my head in the same place my feet are in?” You have the opportunity to bring yourself back to the present moment by focusing your mind on what you’re currently doing.

Why does a wandering mind make us so unhappy?

When our minds wander, they typically go to a few common destinations:

-       What I wish I were doing

-       What I wish I had

-       And who I wish I was

The space that exists between where you’re at now (doing, have, are) and where you wish you were (doing, have, are) is cognitive dissonance.  The incongruence that exists in how we feel about ourselves can be very uncomfortable and disheartening. This is the juice of what makes us unhappy.

What can you do about?

The good news is that cognitive dissonance exists only in our minds. We give it life, so we can also lay it to rest. Here’s how to erase dissonance in your life:

-       Activity: Think about the purpose behind what you’re doing right now. Is your current activity bringing you closer to a goal? If it’s a means to a greater goal, can you reframe your thinking around the activity? How engaged are in what you’re doing right now?

-       Possessions: Do you have everything you need? If you’re reading this article, the answer is likely “yes.” Only once all of our basic needs are met do we have the mental capacity to consider self-development, fitness, and lifestyle. There will always be someone with more possessions than you, but if you have everything you need, can you find more gratitude for that? Make a list of 5 things you’re grateful for right now!

-       Who You Are: We all have areas of shame in our lives that we usually don’t speak about. Our job, money, family, body, etc. But often these thoughts get out of control when our minds wander and stretch beyond reality. We make conclusions about ourselves aren’t even close to reality. Change this by staying present!

What’s Your Feminism Fitness?

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feminist

Have you noticed the rise of this “f” word in the past few months? Feminism has been on tips of tongues from the media, celebrities, politicians, and advocates since the beginning of summer.

So what’s the fuss about feminism?

There has been a recent resurgence of women declaring they are “anti-feminist” on the Internet. Think back to the occupy movement with people documenting their opinions on paper, held up for a selfie, and spread via social media. But before we get into all that, let’s get back to basics:

-       What is feminism?

The belief that women (and people of all sexes and genders) deserve equal rights and treatment; i.e. equal pay, civic rights, and treatment from others and institutions.

-       What is an anti-feminist?

Someone (or something/corporation/institution) of any sex or gender who doesn’t agree with the above statement.

With Hobby Lobby taking a religious stance against access to birth control through company-provided health insurance, and the judiciary decision backing the legality of this stance, many feminists have began speaking up.

Although it could be argued that Hobby Lobby is not anti-feminist, their actions have undoubtedly limited employees’ access to a medication that has advanced women’s control over their bodies, their right to choose, and their health.

In typical Lena Denham (from Girls) fashion, she asked why people use birth control after sharing that she takes birth control to treat her endometriosis. Women and men had some of the following responses:

-       Eliminate cramps

-       Decrease mood symptoms, like PMDD

-       Elliminate headaches

-       Battle fatigue

This really showed the breadth of the pill’s use and its popularity. But back to feminism…

So why would someone be anti-feminist?

The common argument from those claiming not be feminist is one that refers to the bra-burning beauties of the ‘60s. They claim that equality already exists and there’s no need to keep talking about it. Another stance is one of not wanting to align with pro-choice, which is a whole separate issue. Having access to birth control is just one small part of this movement. And even that’s a choice – you don’t have to take it if you don’t want to!

So what’s the bigger issue?

Equality people! Who wouldn’t want people you love to enjoy the same rights, respect, and access as everyone else? It’s important that we eradicate religious differences and the issue of pro-choice/pro-life from the feminist agenda. Lets work together to clean up the feminist message so that it can’t be misconstrued.

In my work, I push people to be their best selves as a means to actualize their full potential, live authentically, and pursue their greatest desires.

I want feminism to have a similar message: feminism allows everyone the right, access, and respect to be their best selves.

What are your thoughts on the issue? What do you think the message should be? And how do you support this movement? Share this and start a conversation!

The Best Anti Depressant on the Market

RI Fit anti dep
RI Fit anti dep

View this article in RI FIT's latest issue

In this day and age we’re all looking for a quick fix, instant gratification, and the least amount of work possible for the greatest reward. I know this because I do it too. And really, you’d be silly not to.

But sometimes, this can get us into trouble.

For decades, there have been endless trends in fitness and nutrition that suggest less-than-healthy ways to lose weight and get the body of your dreams. With these kind of promised results, who isn’t at least intrigued to learn more? Admit it!

What have resulted from such trends are tighter FDA regulations on drugs and food products that may be harmful to us, such as the use of ephedrine in diet supplements.

Yet sometimes, we feel we need something to get us out of our funk or motivate us to get started on a healthier path.

This is true for your mental health too. Many people report depression and fatigue as a reason why they don’t want to exercise or can’t improve their nutrition and overall wellness.

But what if diet and exercise is the very thing you need to feel less fatigued and depressed?

Get Educated!

Anti-depressants can be very effective in changing your mood. Deciding whether or not to take a medication can be made easier with education. Find out how your body’s hormones, neurotransmitters, and limbic system works in order to understand the effects a medication will have.

Realistic expectations

Think you should wake up happy as a clam everyday and have no worries? This elusive Super Happiness has become the object of people’s desire due to Facebook and other social media sites that show our friends living “the best lives ever” seen through pictures and posts. Make sure your expectations for your happiness are grounded in reality. You are only seeing a portion of their lives, so try not to compare. So ask yourself in which way you want to be a happier? And what would it look like? This can help define your goals and expectations.

Give it time!

Your happiness didn’t slip away overnight, so it likely won’t be fixed that quickly either. Find a way to measure your progress in this process so that you don’t get discouraged and lose hope. Use a calendar to track what you did that day, and how you felt as a result. Identify your behavior patterns that resulted in an uplifted mood, and do those more frequently! Some days will definitely seem better than others, and that’s the normal trajectory to success. It’s not linear.

Medicine for momentum

If you are in a place where you are struggling to perform your daily functions, such as work, self care, and familial obligations, medication may help you gain the momentum you need to get started. Consult with your doctor and work with a psychotherapist to oversee your treatment. Anti-depressants can affect people differently, as we all have different chemical make-ups. This may be a trial process to find the right medication for you.

Titrate

Once you build the momentum you need to get going, start incorporating your preferred activities back into your schedule. Maybe that’s a date with friends, an afternoon walk, or time spent outside. As this increases your level of happiness, start adding in the activities that seem more challenging to you: a yoga class, exercise regimen, or healthier food choices. These activities require more discipline and resilience, so build up your momentum before you tackle them!

3 Steps to Become a King/Queen of Confidence

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Think about someone you really admire or look up to. Maybe it's a mentor, a boss, or a good friend. What's is the key element that this person exudes that makes them so admirable?

Confidence.

Confidence is the frosting that makes a cake look so good and taste so sweet. It's the silver lining that makes us believe in someone, gives them credibility, and deems them trustworthy.

But, let's be honest, there are times when we could all use a little more confidence. Whether it's at work, in your relationships, or for a specific skillset, we can build confidence the same way.

Watch the video on these 3 ways to greater confidence:

  • Do the things you're already good at
  • Picture everyone in their...insecurity
  • Dust off your old trophies

http://youtu.be/WI4OPpAL_08

What do you use to increase your confidence on the fly? Which of these methods will work best for you? Let's continue the conversation in the comments or on the blog.

Don't forget!

The Get Your Head Back in the Game package is only $99 in the month of August. Find out EXACTLY what's stealing your drive, clouding your vision, and make a plan for your success. Contact me to schedule!

PVD Lady Project's Summer Guide

Looking for things to do, what to wear, and how to stay fit this summer? Check out the PVD Lady Project's Summer Guide! It's chalk full of great gifts, activities, and.... yours truly :)

Along with 3 other AMAZING Providence women, I was asked to play a part in the making of the Summer Guide. The Lady Project was looking for women who are fit, goal oriented, and like to have fun! I was happy to share some of my secrets to success in business and fitness (see pages 16 and 41)

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Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 2.01.23 PM

Check out my beautiful friends and rest of the Summer Guide here: http://issuu.com/pvdladyproject/docs/2014_summer_guide

What are your favorite ways to enjoy summer? How about in RI? How do you stay fit and motivated during this time of year? Share your tips in the comments section below!

Be your best self this summer,

Brittany

Vlog: Self Care is Essential!

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[video type="youtube" id="0njUhhG0_PY" width="624" height="351"] Happy Monday! Are you coming off of one of those weekends?! You know- the kind where you can't believe that you got no rest and feel even more tired than on Friday?

The likely culprit...No self care!

Think about it- what did you do for yourself over the weekend? This is not sustainable to not make time for yourself! You deserve to cared for too! Whether it's a bath, reading a book, or making time for exercise, it all goes into your emotional bank account.

Learn more about the emotional bank account and my self care catalogue in the video! Share your comments and self care success stories below!

You have 2 Options!

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When we are plagued by indecision, overwhelm, or a bad attitude we have 2 options:

Change your Mind or Change the Environment.

The former is the more difficult of the two - but definitely feasible! The latter can also feel like a struggle, but is a real game-changer! Which will you choose?

Change your Mind: Situations, behaviors, and interactions are most often benign. But we are conditioned to attached a thought and then an emotion to the event. See diagram. The resulting thoughts and emotions impact your future behaviors and reactions.

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You have the power to change this! Once your become more aware of your cognitive and emotional reactions to a situation, you can choose to attach a different meaning to it - a meaning that better serves you!

Change your Environment: It takes a lot of awareness, practice, and emotional control to exercise a cognitive change, like I just described above. Sometimes in the moment it's best just to move! Ever heard of fight or flight? Well, your situation may not be that serious, but you could still benefit from "fleeing" the situation and changing your environment. Pissed at your boss? Go outside for a walk. Take your lunch break outside of the office. Or go visit a colleague's cubicle.

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Take advantage of this great New England weather and increase your Vitamin D with a little sunshine! This can improve anyone's mood!

Bottom line: you have two options! Pick on that serves you and run with it! Tell us below which option works best for you? When have you tried using this before? Share comments to spread the love!

- Brittany