3 Steps For Finding A Silver Lining (In Any Situation)

3 STEPS FOR FINDING THE IN ANY


Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.

Buddha

What’s an attitude of gratitude? It’s living your life from the perspective of appreciating what you have instead of focusing on what you do not. You may hear this phrase when people talk about an ‘abundance’ mindset vs. one of ‘scarcity’.

We all struggle with finding positive value in the shitty things that happen in our lives. Believe me, this is something I have struggled with my entire life. In fact, I remember when I was 29 years old I had a terribly toxic boss and suffered with so much anxiety. One day I was helping the HR director – telling her about how tough my prior year had been after losing my job, health insurance, and a personal financial crisis and that things, “couldn’t get much worse.” Naturally, her reply was, “Love, if there is anything I know in this life it is that things surely get better but they can definitely get worse.”

She was right, less than two years later my father was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer and passed away. Things can definitely get worse.

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Believe it or not, as much as I miss my father – I learned so much about life helping to care for him during his illness and in losing him. Of course, I would trade anything to have him back, but I also don’t know if I would be the person I am right now – typing this blog – if I didn’t go through one of the worst things a person can endure, the loss of a parent.

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful." – Buddha Click To Tweet

A major lesson I have learned in all of my professional training is how find a way to utilise all of my losses and failures as a way to make the path for the hope of better things to come.

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We’ve all had times in our lives where something we’ve put a lot of ourselves into didn’t work out.  There are not enough words to describe the negative emotions we feel when this type of rejection or loss occurs, not to mention what it does to our motivation and self-esteem.

The truth is, we can learn to internalise and these negative experiences and transform the energy associated with them into positive choices and new directions.

3 Steps For Finding A Silver Lining In Any Situation

  1. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this situation?”  Maybe you’ve lost your job, ended a significant relationship, or found out some crappy news in general.  Regardless of which end of the spectrum an event is perceived to be on, there’s always something to be learned — whether it’s about yourself, another person, or situation.  Maybe the lesson you learned is that you have to be more or less trusting.  Maybe the lesson you learned is that you didn’t feel happy in the job you lost (I’ve so been there on this one)!  Maybe the lesson you learned is that you need to take better care of yourself or start making your well-being a priority. Or even that you need to tell the people you care about how special they are more often. Choosing to take a bad situation and turn it into a lesson learned will enable you to grow emotionally and spiritually.
  2. Ask yourself, “What am I able to do now that I wasn’t able to do before?”  In any situation, your opportunities will change.  Try to focus on how this opportunity will give you the ability to do something (or many things) you weren’t able to do before.  What skills did you gain from your last job?  If you’re out of a relationship or toxic friendship what time — more importantly energy — do you have to now devote to something that will make you happier, stronger, and more fulfilled?  Maybe now you’re more able to speak up for yourself and communicate what you do and don’t want out a relationship/friendship.  There is no way that you have not gained the ability to do something bigger and better today that you couldn’t have done yesterday.  Discover this, rebuild and go forward.
  3. Ask yourself, “Do I have perspective?”   Not to belittle yourself or your struggles, but if you can step back from any situation and answer yes to any, some, or all of the following, you’ve got a lot to be thankful for:
    Do I have my health?
    Do I have a place to live?
    Do I have clothes on my back?
    Do I have food to eat?
    Do I have a support system and people whom I love, and that love me?

While some of these things may seem basic and not like much to celebrate, take some time to appreciate each and every item you answered yes to. Being able to truly appreciate all that you do have – right now – is the biggest silver lining of all. Well that and giving back to others who are struggling with something that you may take for granted is one of the most powerful exercises in gratitude out there.

Practicing an attitude of gratitude is all about appreciating everything for what it is right now, and sometimes that means choosing to be content with all the silver (grey) events.

Do you look for the silver lining in bad situations?  How do you practice an attitude of gratitude?

Why Giving Yourself Ultimatums Will Never Motivate You to Change

why giving yourself ultimatums will never motivate you to change

By nature, people do not like ultimatums. They are threatening, limiting, and just plain passive aggressive.

So, imagine how terrible it is when you give yourself one ultimatum, or worse, many.

For some people — especially perfectionists and black and white thinkers — giving ultimatums is a way of life. Even though it may seem like ultimatums are a motivational tool they are very self-destructive.

I know because I used to give myself ultimatums.

Frequently.

It was part of my “all or nothing” thinking. Either I was going to get “x,” or I’d never get “y” .

In fact, here are some examples of ultimatums I used to give myself on a regular basis.

“Either this guy is “the one,” or I’m through with dating.”
“Either I get this promotion, or I’m quitting.”
“Either I stick to this diet, or I’ll be a failure forever.”

Those are all pretty threatening, limiting, and passive aggressive, right?

So, why would I do this to myself?

Why giving yourself ultimatums will never motivate you to change

When I would propose these scenarios to myself, I was literally retaliating against myself.

By only ever give myself the choice between complete success or total failure, I would unconsciously attack myself. I wouldn’t just limit the action itself as a success or failure; I would confine myself to being a complete success or total failure if I didn’t receive a desired outcome.

Do You Give Yourself Ultimatums? #SelfHelp #Coaching #Mediation #Happiness #MentalHealth #StressRelief Click To Tweet

The problem with this way of thinking was that when I was only giving myself one of two possible outcomes — I always placed every problem 50% against myself.

With those odds, I wound up struggling between the demands I had placed on myself and the results of those requirements. This is where my inner conflicts began, and one of the ways to fight internal conflicts is to start allowing yourself to have more than two options when you desire a specific outcome for yourself — or others.

One of the ways to fight internal conflicts is to start allowing yourself to have more than two options when you desire a specific outcome for yourself — or others Click To Tweet

Instead of declaring, “Either this guy is “the one, or I’m through with dating,” I began saying things like, “Perhaps, I’m not what he is looking for, but that’s okay.  I’m now one step closer to finding someone who thinks I’m amazing – so, really this is progress.”

Positioning the relationship prospect as being only a success or a complete failure, provided the potential for only adverse outcomes – and put way more pressure on myself (and potential) suitors

My expectations were setting me up for disappointment 99% of the time.

I learned that changing the way I placed my expectations (and allowing for a range of possibilities) created higher odds for positive results.

Also, I’m now happily married, so I’m quite happy I gave myself more options!

I know it can be tough to stop giving yourself ultimatums and creating unnecessary inner conflicts.

Remember, there is no reason to be more demanding of yourself than anyone else would be of you.

And, really, there is no need for anybody to be that demanding of you in the first place!

Be kind to yourself.  Always.

If you are interested in working with me on ways you can make lasting and positive behaviour changes, send me an email and don’t forget to subscribe to receive new posts via email!

Are Overpriced Fitness Classes Worth The Cost?

ARE OVERPRICED fitness classes WORTH THE COST

As a health and wellness professional, I am all about trying to help people achieve fitness. When I say this, I mean it. I charge SUPER reasonable prices for my services and am willing to work with people’s budgets whenever possible.

I do not believe that exercise (of any kind) should be reserved for the Lululemon-toting population only and that’s why I’m not crazy about brands that charge the price of a compact car for a package of their classes.

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Overpriced fitness classes are a d**k move.

 Some of them won’t even participate in ClassPass or Groupon.  

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In my opinion, these brands are promoting “you can’t sit with us” fitness, and it pisses me off.

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I mean, the first time I read the price of a single boutique cycling class, I was sickened.

I know everybody is trying to make a buck in this industry – hey, we all gotta make a living.

But don’t even get me started on the cost of branded apparel.

I take issue with the athleisure racket going on these days.

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A single pair of leggings that cost what a week’s worth of groceries for a family of four does? And they are only available in straight sizes (for the most part)?

Nah.

I’m cool with celebrities having the best of the best and being able to afford $75 indoor fitness classes and $3500/month for a personal trainer, but this ploy to get regular people to participate in this bullshit is beyond me.

As a former Mad Dogg Athletics instructor, I can also say without any hesitation that some of these high-end boutique classes are bad for you.  As in, they will likely injure you due to their heavy focus on exercise contraindications.

Are overpriced fitness classes worth the cost?

Don’t believe me about the contraindications?  Read this,  this, or this.

Are overpriced fitness classes worth the cost? #fitness #youcansitwithus Click To Tweet

Not that SoulCycle stands alone in this criticism.  As a former instructor of a popular dance fitness class, I had to stop after the first year because the monthly license fees, insurance, music, and apparel were costing me more than it was worth.

I thought to myself, ‘I love to dance, but there is no reason why people should have to pay me $15/class so that I could afford to dress like MC Hammer and teach classes using corporate choreography.’

The bottom line is; I am just sick of elitism in the fitness world.

I know that they have always been there, but right now, in a time when more than 50% of people earn £20k ($30k USD) or less a year, the fact that people have to feel like shit about not being able to take the “hottest fitness classes” is absurd.

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Want my professional advice?  Oh, well, you’re gonna get it anyway: Find something you love to do that isn’t going to cost you 25% of your salary and go for it.  There are plenty of free and inexpensive fitness programs out there.

Like, for instance, my jump-start workout eBook — which you can download it for free!

As well, if you’re interested, you can sign up for a service like Booya Fitness and get all the benefits of trendy, boutique fitness for a fraction of the cost.  Sign up for a 30-Day free trial and check out specially designed workouts by coaches like yours truly (small additional fees apply – but are worth it!).

Getting fit can be effective and affordable. You don’t have to be part of an elite craze to get in shape.

Believe me.

Have you tried trendy boutique fitness classes?  Do you find them to be worth the money?

The Connection Between Stress and Digestion (Guest Post)

the stress and digestion connection _ Erin's Life Bites

Stress is all kinds of evil and receiving certifications in Acupressure for Digestive Disorders, and Swedish massage has only reinforced just how detrimental stress can be to our digestion.

In case you didn’t already know this (though I have a feeling you might) our gastrointestinal systems are responsible for a majority of our body’s immunity. We are quite literally in need of listening to our guts!

Trysh Sutton from Pure Path, a naturopathic wellness site that promotes healthy living and healing through the use of essential oils and sustainable living, is going to give us some insight into the connection between stress and digestion.

To find out more about Trysh and Pure Path, please check out her bio at the end of this post.

The Connection Between Stress and Digestion

Today’s busy lifestyles, heavy workloads and daily bombardments of troubling news can quickly and easily result in high-stress levels. While we all live with some degree of day to day stress, too much of it can wreak havoc on your gut, resulting in chronic digestive issues that can affect our overall health and wellness.

How Stress Works

We all have a survival mode, known as the “fight or flight” response. It is an evolutionary feature in our bodies where, when facing a potential threat (real or perceived), our bodies go through various changes to prepare us to confront or evade the threat. Some of these changes include an increase in blood pressure and faster heart rate (to push more blood to the muscles and vital organs), increased alertness and sharper senses.

Being chronically stressed perpetuates some of these processes over an extended period, which can lead to a long list of issues (digestion being one).

How Stress Affects Digestion

When the fight or flight response is activated, blood flow to the digestive muscles is limited because precedence is given to the limbs and brain which are more necessary for fighting, running and thinking quickly. This affects your gut peristalsis and slows down the transition of food, leading to constipation.

Stress may also lead to intestinal muscle spasms which can affect the movement of food in the intestines. Depending on the type of muscles being affected, food may move too slowly (constipation) or too quickly (diarrhea or inefficient absorption of nutrients).

Another muscle that may spasm is the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach. When this happens, stomach acids may back up into the esophagus, causing the painful condition called heartburn.

Speaking of stomach acids, stress affects that too! Studies have found that psychological stress can lead to an increase or decrease in gastric acid secretion in different individuals.

Other ways stress may affect digestion are by upsetting the balance of good to bad gut bacteria and comprising the integrity of the intestinal barrier (in extreme cases).

Relieve Stress

It may seem easier said than done, but we can all find time to take simple steps to calm down and ease our stress levels.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Moderate exercise

Even short walks 4 or 5 times a week can raise endorphin levels and reduce stress.

Practice mindfulness

Create a calm place in your home, free of electronics and with low lighting, to sit and concentrate on pleasant thoughts for a few minutes every day.

Try Essential Oils

Aromatherapy has been shown, in countless studies and personal testimonies, to reduce stress effectively. Some essential oils you can buy for this purpose are lavender, roman chamomile, bergamot and ylang ylang.

Eat more omega 3 fatty acids

These nutrients help to reduce stress levels and make your body and mind more effective at handling stress triggers. The most reliable sources of omega 3’s are fatty fish such as mackerel and salmon.

Play with your pet

Spending a few minutes petting or playing with your four-legged friend gives you added purpose and brings you joy.

Write

You don’t have to be a best-selling author to put pen to paper and jot down your thoughts and feelings. Journaling helps us get things off our mind and can help us identify solutions to everyday problems.

Listen to Music

Turn on some familiar, soothing tunes and spend a few minutes singing along. Music can take your attention away from everyday pressures, giving you valuable time to decompress.

Say No

One of the main causes of stress is having too many obligations and not enough time. Sometimes we take on too much and don’t realize until it’s too late.

Saying no, not just to others, but yourself as well will allow you to have more time to get through your tasks, as well as the wiggle room to deal with any possible inconveniences. Proper time management is a crucial skill to hone if you want to improve your stress levels.

All of these approaches are healthy and sustainable approaches to relieving stress. Stay away from unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol.

Don’t let too much stress negatively impact your digestive system. It’s a vital component to your overall health and wellness and, by caring for it properly, you can significantly decrease your risk of long-term and serious health concerns. Click To Tweet

Why Good Digestion Matters

Aside from reducing the risk of chronic health problems, an excellent digestive system provides better immunity, a healthy metabolism, and heightened mental clarity. We also experience increased energy and better mood. Because of this, a healthy gut helps us better cope with daily stressors.

Don’t let too much stress negatively impact your digestive system. It’s a vital component to your overall health and wellness and, by caring for it properly, you can significantly decrease your risk of long-term and serious health concerns.

About Trysh

Trysh Sutton is a wife, mother, strategic leader and teacher. She runs a website called Pure Path, which is a naturopathic wellness site that promotes healthy living and healing through the use of essential oils and sustainable living.

You can follow her on social media to learn more about the benefits of essential oils, and healthy living practices.

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Youtube | Google Plus

How do you manage the stress in your life?

Why I’m Happy, My Husband Pointed Out My Worst Quality

WHY I'M HAPPY MY HUSBAND POINTED OUT MY WORST QUALITY _ERIN'S LIFE BITES

Why I’m Happy, My Husband Pointed Out My Worst Quality

(And why it’s not a BAD thing.)

For the 12 years before marrying my husband, Luke, I jumped from one unhealthy relationship to another.

I always had something missing in every relationship.

I had something missing alright, but it wasn’t the need for a boyfriend.

I needed to find meaning in my life and work through the issues which were causing me to be so lonely and miserable.

The importance of being alone

I have had some DARK times in the past half decade.  I lost my father,  lost my sense of identity, and for a short while, lost hope that I could ever be happy or find a healthy connection with another human being.  I would push people away like it was my job, but I never understood I WAS PUSHING myself away from those people by being destructively passive-aggressive, which not only brought the worst out in myself but also brought out the worst in my partners.

Why was I destructively passive aggressive?  Well, because for the majority of my relationships I was depressed, anxious, unhappy, and suffering from an eating disorder. As well, every time I got out of a relationship, I would vow that I would take the time to be alone and deal with myself.

I pledged to everyone (except myself, apparently) that I would soul search and I wouldn’t make the same mistake with the next partner.

Now, If you’re anything like I am, you would do just about anything to get outside of your head.  But to “deal with your stuff” — you gotta sit with it, break it apart, work it out, and make peace with it if you REALLY want to grow.

So, if there’s one thing I have learned it’s this:  The only way you can start to soul search is to become comfortable with being alone.

Along came Luke

When I first met my husband, it was like all other connections go.

You know what I mean, right?  I’m talking about that period when the other person can have no faults and do no wrong — and neither can you.

The building blocks for “false happiness” — according to the relationships, I was used to cultivating.

Then we had our first disagreement, and his reaction wasn’t like the others I had always encountered in the past:  he didn’t nurture my need to feel like a victim.  

I was like…

Of course, I didn’t realise all of this at first, but my husband’s immediate call to action about my self-victimisation was HUGE for me.  What I never actually realised before was this: I NEEDED to be a victim

Everything was always happening TO me.  I convinced myself that I had zero control over the unfolding of my life and relationships, which honestly, is funny (and not in a “haha” kind of way) considering just how much CONTROL I needed to (feel) I  had over everybody else.

At first, I didn’t know how to feel about how Luke had reacted to me, but then I reflected and played the conversation back and forth in my mind.  I realised that I turned what he had intended to be a funny comment to one that felt like I was emotionally blindsided and wounded.

Much like I couldn’t process what had happened, neither could Luke.  He immediately said (and I will never forget this),

It seems, to me, like you’re playing a bit of a victim right now, Erin.

I was like…

However, he was right.

It wasn’t immediate, but in the days and weeks following that conversation, I began to evaluate my past relationships.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t using Post-It’s to create flow charts of all my previous relationships (romantic or otherwise) trying to draw connections between my actions and why things hadn’t worked out.

However, it was a major Oprah-style “Aha!” moment for me.

I also refused to see this quality as something I forced myself into not like about myself.  I had learned to be more forgiving of my self-criticisms (and judgments toward others) on the outside.

I had learned how to be alone with myself and allow the universe to provide me with limitless possibilities (if I let it be so).

However, this victim crap was the quality that had sabotaged so much of my happiness for far too long.

try this post _ erin's life bites

The power of knowing my worst quality

Have you ever noticed that throughout life we often end up hurting the people we love the most?

Do you ever really stop and think about why this is?

Or do you spend too much time focusing your battle scars on looking at the situation objectively?

The truth is, we’re all walking around bruised and battered in this life.  However, some of us embrace these scars, and some of us walk around projecting them onto others and repeating cycles of pain and emotional turmoil, subconsciously or not.

I might sound like I’m back-stepping a bit here, but it wasn’t my fault when I was projecting and playing a victim in the past.  I was only ignorant about my behaviour.  However, now that I know I possess this quality, and have the awesome responsibility of not only being aware of it but also for making sure it doesn’t harm myself or anybody I love in the future.

With great responsibility comes great power.  

Yes, I said that the way I meant it to read.

The very fact that we are all responsible for our happiness gives us a tremendous amount of power to cultivate it.  Being given the responsibility of owning my unsavoury habit of playing the victim in emotional situations has forced me to harness the potential not only to choose NOT to be a victim but also the power to have a more profound and more insightful connection with the people I care about the most.

Insight is one of (if not) the most valuable and powerful things a person can have in their life.  So, if someone cares for you enough to let you know when you lack crucial insight, it’s important to take the time to sit with it, break it apart, work it out, and make peace with it.

If someone cares for you enough to let you know when you lack crucial insight, it's important to take the time to sit with it, break it apart, work it out, and make peace with it. Click To Tweet

Has anyone you love ever told you a harsh truth about yourself?  Do you believe that sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind?  What’s one harsh truth about yourself that has prompted a significant change in your life?

This post originally appeared on BeetsPerMinute (my old blog!).