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By Better Days Global, Jul 25 2019 08:02PM

There have been times in my life when I’ve been so in my head that the best parts of me were dead. I was taken over by my negative mind running my life, my mood, and my self-worth. I was unhappy, jealous, frustrated, angry and, at the worst of times, depressed to the point of debilitation.

I saw little hope or future. I assumed everyone else had the same negative thoughts about me as I did. I was in my head, and in so many ways I was dead.

Why I Started Meditating

I needed a break from always thinking. I needed to get out of my head. Sports, particularly ultimate frisbee, used to be my outlet. This was the only way I really knew how to get into my body. After the onset of a groin injury that kept me from doing most physical activities, I embarked on meditation in hopes of getting some of the mental relief that I previously got from sports and exercise. I wanted to learn how to be more in the present moment. I had read several books and watched countless videos that talked about living in the present (especially those by Eckhart Tolle). I was inspired that there was a different way of living than I had ever really considered. I wanted to fully feel what this type of living was like. Yoga encouraged me. Whenever I had done yoga in the past, the biggest benefit was how my mind felt after. Savasana – the part at the end when you lie on the floor was always my favorite part. I noticed something in others who meditated. People I knew who spent time meditating were people I looked up to. They had a way of finding happiness in everyday situations that I didn’t.

Why I Meditate Now

It’s been 4 years since I started meditating, and 2 years since I’ve made it a daily practice. The reasons I meditate now are quite different from why I started.

Self-awareness. This has been the biggest gift I’ve received from meditation. I’m so much more aware of my thoughts and patterns of thinking than I used to be. I’ve been able to make BIG strides in how I feel, how I react to others, and how I exist in my relationships – with my partner, friends, family, and strangers.

Feeling my emotions. I originally thought meditating would be all peace and quiet, and I’d always be in a calm state once I got ‘good enough’ at it….I was wrong. Because of the constant cycle of ever-changing thoughts and emotions that come up, I sometimes have to sit through very heavy and challenging experiences. I used to either avoid or mask these feelings. Now that I try to deal with them head on, I feel more empowered and more in control of my life.

Peace and quiet. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it does happen. Especially 4 years in, I can now find this state much more frequently. Once I get into it, I don’t want to leave it. It’s warm, fuzzy, and cozy.

Momentum. I’ve seen enough benefits that I now feel a strong need to meditate every day…Even though I don’t feel like I make progress every day, and sometimes I even feel like I regress in my practice, when I look at the big picture, I can see that I am evolving and growing a deeper understanding of myself and my place in the world.

The spillover effect. My meditation doesn’t just happen when I sit down for 20 minutes every morning to do it. It happens in moments throughout my day too. Like when I’m walking down the street in a rush and catch myself entirely in my head. I’ll slow down and pay attention to my surroundings – the trees, the houses, the people. My practice also spills over into my day when I’m listening to someone else speak. I’ll catch myself thinking about what I want to say and then stop to re-focus and fully listen to what the other person is saying.

There’s no doubt meditation has made me a better person. I’m less reactive, better able to deal with stress, and spend more time in my body than I used to – without even having to chase a frisbee to do it! There are several forms of meditation and tools you can use and it’s easier than ever to get started.

How to Start Meditating Consistently

So how exactly do you start to build the habit? I’d love to tell you!

Make time for it every day. Seems simple, but this is probably the most important step. Pick a time of day when you’ll do it every day (or at least every weekday). Most meditators will tell you the best time for them is in the morning, soon after they wake up. Our brains are generally quieter than in the middle of our hectic day. This is true for most people. Plus, by doing it in the morning you’ll get the reward of achieving your goal early every day.

Start small. Like really small. Start with 1 or 2 minutes. If you start with 10 or 20 minutes, you’ll likely get bored, distracted or frustrated that “It isn’t working”. You don’t start training for a marathon by doing a 10-mile run. 1-2 minutes may seem really short, and that’s the point.

You are more likely to stick with it and to experience moments that give you the momentum to continue. Focus on your breath. This is the easiest form of meditation for most people. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. If you start thinking about something, that’s ok! It’s totally normal and happens to even the most experienced meditators. The goal is to develop the awareness that you started thinking about something, and then let that thought go to return to the breath. This is waaaay harder than you might think, as your brain will want to keep thinking. And in most cases, it will. Also, totally normal. Keep coming back to the breath. You’ll continue to do this back and forth dance from thought to breath… from breath to thought… That’s what meditation really is – a development of awareness, recognition of thoughts, and intentional letting go of thoughts. As you improve you’ll get better at recognizing thoughts and letting them go. Over time you’ll develop a much greater awareness of your thoughts, which can lead to significant changes in your overall health and happiness. But beware, this takes time, patience and regular practice. Just like training for a marathon, you build your capacity over time through repeated and expanded practice.

Use a timer. When you start, set it for 1 minute. When you are ready to go to 2 minutes, do two separate 1-minute meditations. Continue to do this when you expand to 3 minutes, 4 minutes and 5 minutes. Having the timer go off every minute will give you the opportunity to check in with yourself and see if you are lost in thinking. If you are, it’ll be your cue to go back to focusing on your breath. If you don’t give yourself some credit for staying focused (a smile, a first pump, perhaps even a jig) and reset the timer. As you start to see progress, you can set the timer for longer intervals.

Experiment with other forms of meditation. There is so much more you can do than focus on your breath. You can focus on a candle or a tree. Your feet. Your hands. Your heart. The key when starting to meditate is to find a focus point and stay with it for as long as you can, then keep coming back to it. Use online tools. There are some great meditation apps – try Headspace, or Insight Timer.

Start Now. Do a 1-minute meditation. If you really want to start meditating, what better time than now!? Set a timer for 1 minute and focus on your breath. When you finish, commit to a time tomorrow when you’ll do this again. At the end of each session make that commitment to the following day.

I can’t think of a better way to truly get to know yourself, love yourself, and evolve yourself. Beyond that, the wider societal benefits of empathy, compassion, and connection are nothing short of necessary in today’s world. And of course, there are no nasty side effects

By Craig Kulyk

By Better Days Global, Jul 25 2019 09:24AM

“What nine months of attention does for an embryo forty early mornings alone will do for your gradually growing wholeness.” ~Rumi

We would likely all agree that manicures, baths, and cozy movie nights on the couch all fall under the umbrella of self-care. But I believe that it’s time—actually, beyond time—to go deeper and re-claim what self-care truly means. It’s also time to see self-care as imperative, and to move it from the lonely bottom of our to-do list and plant it firmly at the very top.

For me, self-care has become my fuel and my fire. When I claim time on my calendar on a regular basis for things like play, sister time, and self-reflection, I stay in connection with myself and the things I actually want to say yes and no to.

Self-care is about clearing out the cobwebs in my mind with daily journaling and going to the gym. It’s about telling my husband, “I can’t make dinner for us tonight, my love; I need to go and have some time alone and take a bath after a long day.” And doing so without guilt.

And the miraculous thing is, the more I claim time for myself, the more I overflow with generosity and patience for the people I love most. See how that works? The more I give to myself, the more I can give to others from a place of fullness.

We would never dream of driving cross-country without stopping for fuel, snacks, and water—or trying to make the drive on an empty tank. Yet we seem to think that we can keep pushing through our own exhaustion without consequences.

When I look back at my own journey from physically, emotionally, and spiritually falling apart, to reclaiming myself on all levels, I see it all began with a decision to stop caring so much about what others thought, and to make my own wellness, happiness, and voice priorities again.

I began to notice that when I gave myself permission to speak up for myself in the moment, even as my voice was shaking, I left the conversation with a sense of wholeness, without any lingering emotions that were not honored.

When I didn’t speak my mind, and held in my opinions and needs, I ended up at Best Buy yelling at the customer service manager because I had so much pent up sadness and anger from stuffing things down and being “nice.”

The more I was honest with myself about my self-care needs, the more I could be myself with those around me.

It all started over a decade ago. I had just dropped my son off at pre-school. As I sat in my car in front of the coffee shop where I had intended to work for a few hours, I found myself unable to get out of the car.

I felt the tears start bubbling up, but they weren’t quite ready to flow yet. After all, I didn’t really have anything to cry about, did I? My son was healthy, my husband loved me, we had a steady income from his job, and I had the freedom to create a business.

Our home was warm and furnished. We had friends and family to call on. Admittedly, my sister and mother were both thousands of miles away. And my best friends were on opposite coasts. But I’d thankfully found a few new friends to share the early motherhood journey with, and they were truly lifesavers for me. I’m sure I was that for them as well.

Yet, there I sat in my car, stuck in a fog of confusion, unable to step inside the coffee shop. All I could think was, “Who the hell am I now? Where did the me that I knew so well go? And who the hell am I about to become?”

That’s when the phone rang. It was my sister (i.e. divine intervention). She asked me how I was, and that’s all I needed to hear. The floodgates broke wide open and the waterfall of tears began.

“What’s wrong??? Are you okay???” she asked.

“Yes, no, yes… well, everyone is fine, I’m fine, it’s just…I don’t know what the hell I’m feeling… I’m just… sad.” There was some kind of relief in letting myself cry and saying it out loud. It felt like a valve that had been screwed on too tightly had suddenly been released.

I realized during our conversation that part of me had been hiding for a while. This was the part of me that had been letting go of who I was little by little. As I became a wife, a mother, a resident of a new state, and a homeowner, the parts of me that were used to more freedom, more expression, and less constraint in speaking my truth, began to emerge. And this part of me was pissed, hurt, sad, and ready to run.

But I knew that I couldn’t run back to who I was before I got married and became a mama. And I couldn’t run forward either because the ground in front of me had become uncertain; I didn’t know how I was going to step into all of these new roles while still maintaining a sense of myself. All of my attention was now focused on keeping another human alive, and being the wife of this man who was now my only family in this new place.

Instead of running, I just imploded, but it happened slowly, over time, so that I hadn’t noticed.

Over the last several years of hustling to build a business, raise a baby, and build a home, my body had taken a backseat to my brain and my to-do list. And now, at this very moment, after years of pain in my belly, and sheer exhaustion, my body was ready to be honored again.

Back in the car, my sister asked me the one thing that would shift the trajectory of my life: She asked me if I felt like going to a yoga class. She said she remembered a time in our lives when I was shouting my enthusiasm for yoga from the rooftops. And admittedly, it had been years since I stood at the top of my mat and held my hands in front of my heart.

After I stopped crying, I promised her I would get me to a class.

The very next morning I was in this gorgeous azure blue and gold studio that would become my anchor over the next two years.

I cried at some point during almost every yoga class for the next six months. And I slowly began to feel my body arrive in the moment again. I could feel the parts of myself that had been hiding begin to show up and talk to me on that mat. Each pose was slowly coaxing me back to myself, and molding me into the new self that I was becoming.

About six months into my new yoga habit, Deborah, my powerhouse yoga teacher, offered a six-month yoga teacher training intensive. Even though I had no desire to teach yoga, I felt an instant yes in my heart and body.

We met every other Saturday and every other Wednesday evening. This was the first time I committed to being away from my son on a regular basis. The guilt I spread on myself was thick, but I knew I had to do this. I knew it would be what I needed so that I could actually be present when I was home and give to my family in the way that they deserved.

One of the aspects of the yoga teacher training was to commit to doing yoga every day. More specifically, every morning. As the mama of a young kiddo who was still not committing to a regular sleep schedule, my morning sleep time was not something I was willing to give up.

But I trusted Deborah as my guide and mentor. She had taught me to connect with my body and emotions on a deeper level than I had ever considered before. Through movement, writing, and meditations, she showed me how to recognize my emotional triggers and to release my tension so that I did not hold it in my body for years to come (as I had been doing all of my life). So I begrudgingly decided that I was willing to try this morning yoga thing.

I thought, “I could give up five minutes of sleep and start there.” And that is exactly how it all started. The magic was born in those first five minutes.

I noticed something shifting for me during those first few days of my new morning commitment to be someone who wakes up a little earlier to move my body, meditate, and breathe.

I noticed that my patience level with my son was expanding. I noticed that the things I had normally found frustrating became amusing. I was more peaceful during transitions, and my son began to notice as well. Even at three to four years old, he told me I looked happy. That was all the motivation I needed.

Next, I committed to ten to fifteen minutes of this morning routine. And on days when my son woke up earlier, I began leaving out a little basket of toys and books that would occupy him while I finished. There were definitely mornings when he just needed me to hold him or cuddle. And that was just fine.

I realized that this was truly an evolving practice and that he wouldn’t be four years old forever. There was no use in getting rigid about something that was meant to help me find more peace and joy.

Over the next decade, my morning yoga turned into the Magic Morning Mindset because the more I practiced, the more I found that synchronicity, laughter, abundance, and much more began to arrive with ease and grace.

I believe this is true for everyone. If you’re looking to take better care of yourself, mind, body, and spirit, the morning is where it starts.

Whether your morning mindset practice is short or long, includes yoga or dance, includes writing for an hour or for just five minutes, there’s always a benefit beyond the morning hours.

The way you start your day sets the tone for your day. Starting with the Magic Morning Mindset prepares you to be calmer, more joyful, more connected to yourself, and better able to voice your needs. By prioritizing self-care and putting it at the top of your to-do list, you’re telling yourself that your needs matter.

What is My MAGIC Morning Mindset?

M – Movement

A – Alignment

G – Gratitude

I – Intuition (or Intention)

C – Connection

How Can You Start?

1. First, set the intention that you want to create a three-step Magic Morning Mindset.

2. If you have a hard time waking up, commit to going to bed a bit earlier (even fifteen to twenty minutes will make a difference)

3. Decide what you want to do for your mind, body, and soul (you can find some ideas below).

4. Set yourself up for success—lay out a yoga mat the night before, or have your journal and a few pens ready. (I can’t tell you how many pens I’ve gone through over the years.)

5. Stay gentle by starting with five minutes.

6. Notice how you feel throughout the day after doing the Magic Morning Mindset practice.

Some Ideas To Get You Started


Write down your dreams.

Just write without editing, even if it feels really weird and you’re writing nonsensical words. Just write.

Write ten to fifteen I AM statements: ex: I am committed, I am loved, I am happy, I am light.

Write any thoughts or ideas floating around in your mind until you feel lighter. Journal about anything that comes up while doing these practices so that you can reflect on your journey as you go.


Put on your favorite song and dance.

Do three to five yoga sun salutations.

Stretch and move any way that feels good in your body.

Do some push-ups and jumping jacks until you feel warm in your body.

Journal about anything that comes up while doing these practices so that you can reflect on your journey as you go.


Sit quietly for three to five minutes just noticing your breath.

Choose a guided meditation.Meditate any way that feels good to you (there are countless resources).

Start with even one minute of stillness and see how it feels. Journal about anything that comes up while doing these practices so that you can reflect on your journey as you go.

As with all new things in life, you may feel excited about starting your morning with some magic at first, but then find you have less time on some days than others. Over the last decade of practicing this Magic Morning Mindset, I’ve had long stretches where I’ve felt fired up and have woken up early enough to enjoy a luxurious sixty to ninety-minute morning practice. But on some days, I’ve only been able to squeeze in five to ten minutes.

I can feel the difference in my day when I choose to invest more time in my morning. But I don’t give myself a hard time when it has to be shorter. The secret sauce is to stay open and flexible, and to take it one day at a time.

As long as you are showing up for yourself in some meaningful way each morning, you are saying yes to your wellness and your joy, and staying connected with yourself.

Make this practice your own and notice the changes in your day and in your life as you prioritize your own needs and get you back on the top of your to-do list.

By Elena Lipson

By Better Days Global, Jul 25 2019 09:08AM

1. You are inherently enough.

There is a common myth in society that we have to earn or prove our worth by ticking off a certain number of external achievements – like having a large house, successful career, impressive partner and acceptable body shape. The truth is your worth is innate – you were born enough. You are an unlimited being of divine origins and you can never be anything less than that. You did not come here to prove – you came here to play and laugh and love and learn and express and rise and create your wildest dreams. Have fun!

2. Comparison is a waste of energy.

Comparison misses the whole point of your life – to be you. To be the unique once-in-humankind blend of gifts, passions, interests, quirks and magic that you are. Comparison feels bad because it is out of alignment the truth – that we are incomparable. We are all valuable and shine in our own way – like diamonds and sapphires and rubies.

3. It makes sense to focus on your strengths.

You get more of what you focus on – so instead of focusing on your flaws and imperfections, focus on your gifts and strengths. Focus on what you do well, instead of only noticing what you do wrong. Replace self-criticism with praise and acknowledge, and not only will your confidence grow, but you will blossom into your full potential, because flowers bloom best with nourishment and love, not judgment.

4. You are not your past.

The philosopher Heraclitus once said: “You never bathe in the same river twice, because it’s never the same river and it’s never the same you.” In other words, you are a totally different person to who you were 10 minutes ago, let alone 10 years ago – your cells are regenerating, you are breathing fresh oxygen, and you are wiser from your experiences. So you are never the same you. This means that your past does not define you – because in every moment you are a new person. When you forgive your past you are free to become who you desire to be and live the life you were born to live.

5. Self-care is not selfish; it is essential.

When you get so busy with to-do lists and work and giving to others that you forget to make time for self-care and pleasure, your cup is going to run dry and then you have nothing left for anyone – for you, your loved ones or the world. When you make time in your day and week to fill your cup – with a morning or evening ritual, doing the things you love, and small acts of self-care – then your cup will be overflowing with love, joy, creativity and inspiration. You also need time alone with your soul – instead of only checking in with Facebook and friends, check in with yourself to see how YOU are doing. What are your dreams? What are your wounds? Get to know yourself to find your purpose and path.

6. You are not your thoughts.

We all have a voice in our head that tells us that we are not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not charismatic enough, and points out our flaws and mistakes. The good news is – you are not your thoughts. You are the observer of your thoughts. Your thoughts come and go like passing clouds in the sky but you remain. This means you are above or separate to your thoughts. This means you can observe them without taking them so seriously. You can choose not to believe your self-critical thoughts.

7. Create empowering self-talk because you are listening.

As well as mindfully observing your self-critical thoughts without believing them, you can also cultivate loving, supportive and empowering self-talk. You can encourage yourself with kind words, a positive mindset and affirmations.Your self-talk matters because YOU are listening to it – and it has an impact on the way you see yourself and what you believe you are capable and worthy of. As Oprah says: “Create the highest grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe”. So empower yourself by choosing empowering words.

8. You deserve your own compassion.

The same way that you feel kindness and compassion for other people when they are sad or afraid or feeling self-critical, you deserve your own self-love and compassion. When you feel less than your best – sad, hurt or afraid – instead of reacting with frustration or judgment, respond with love and comfort. Be there for yourself like you would be there for a child in need. Because it is your inner child who needs you in that moment.

9. You are not your body.

Your body is a beautiful and precious temple for your soul. It is also a gift that lets you adventure on earth and dance and love and create and play. So instead of focusing on your flaws or imperfections, begin to appreciate your body and treat it with love and respect. Nourish it with good foods and movement. Treat it like a temple.

10. You are not what others think of you.

You couldn’t possibly be what others think of you – because everyone has a different opinion of you. Everyone is also viewing the world through their own beliefs and past experiences – so their opinion of you might not be even close to the truth. So instead of seeking approval from others in order to feel like enough, begin to approve of yourself. When you accept yourself, you no longer need the acceptance of others because you already know you are enough.

11. You are worthy of your dreams.

Your desires were given to you for a reason – they are what the Universe wants to experience through you. You can trust in them and feel worthy of them because you are inherently worthy of love, happiness and success. The Universe is on your side and will support you with synchronicity and miracles as you step into your power and create your dreams. You can work on raising your worthiness every day in small ways – receive a compliment without deflecting it, upgrade the things in your life that make you feel less than your best, and remove yourself from relationships or jobs that do not serve you.

12. You have to love yourself first.

Many of us make the mistake of putting off self-love until some day in the future – we think when we get the loving partner, the perfect job, the bigger bank balance, or the weight loss, then we’ll love ourselves. The truth is the world is a reflection of you – so if you want your reality to change, you have to rise first. Want love? You have to love yourself first. Want success? You have to own your gifts and worth and celebrate your successes today. If you think you will love yourself once everything in your life falls into place – you have life backwards. Know that you need to love and accept yourself first, then everything can fall into place.

13. You are perfectly imperfect.

Many of us believe the myth that we have to fix ourselves or be perfect for 17 days in a row in order to be enough. The truth is that we are already perfect – we are divine souls – and yet we will always be imperfect as humans. This is the nature of being on earth. I meditate, go to yoga, read philosophical texts, forgive, cook whole foods, write and keep our apartment tidy. I also eat too much peanut butter, scroll too much on Facebook, procrastinate, judge myself and others, go more than a week without washing my hair, have stretch marks, cry a lot, and binge eat carrots when I’m stressed. I am a divine spiritual being made of stardust and magic and the core of my being is pure love – and I am a human with challenges and imperfections. They do not make me any less perfect. You can want to work on yourself and improve – and still feel like you are okay now. As the Buddha said: “We are all perfect just as we are, and we could all use a little work.”

14. Self-love is essential for your life.

Many of us dismiss self-love as cheesy or just not that important. We know we could do with more self-love but don’t prioritise it. The truth is that self-love is essential to living your best life. Why? Because you are the person you spend the most time with in this life, and you are the common factor in ALL areas of your life, so your relationship with yourself is going to have a huge impact on your quality of life. Because self-love gives you the courage to believe in yourself and go after your wildest dreams. Self-love radically increases your daily joy and happiness levels because let’s face it, it’s hard to feel good when you’re living with negative self-talk. Self-love and worthiness empowered you to stop settling for less than you deserve, so the quality of your relationships improves. And self-love gifts you a lifelong best friend, ally and supporter, which is priceless. The truth is self-love matters and should be a key part of your daily life.

15. You are way more magical and magnificent then you know.

Do you know those moments where you catch a glimpse of your best self? You’re giving advice to a friend or watching a sunrise or dancing to a song you love or creating a painting and you feel tapped into your inner wisdom and power… it feels like you sparkle? That is who you really are. You are not your flaws, your self-doubts, your bad moods, or the guilt you carry around. You are a spark of the divine and your authentic nature and true potential is incredibly amazing. This is what true self-love should be based on – knowing who you really are deep down below all the titles and roles. When you get in touch with this part of yourself, you will discover the inner well of unconditional love and infinite worth that has been within you all along. Keep believing in your inner magic and you will find it.

Elyse is a writer, life coach and happiness teacher at She teaches people to connect with their soul, create their dreams and expand their happiness. For updates and inspiration, sign up now.

By Better Days Global, Jul 25 2019 09:08AM

“I don’t run to add days to my life, I run to add life to my days.” ~Ronald Rook

Growing up, I was always a bit on the tubby side, or, as my mum would say, “stocky.”

Old and grainy camcorder footage from the early nineties shows me at four years old, waddling sassily around the garden naked on a summer’s day. Watching the nostalgic home footage recently, I thought to myself, “Wow, I had a beer belly long before I began drinking beer.”

Apart from a couple of years playing football in my teens, competitive sports and exercise were not a huge part of my life—unless we count the frequent visits to the Chinese buffets with friends, when things got competitive as we shovelled down plate after plate to see who could eat the most.

Last year, however, after an inspiring conversation with a keen runner, my sedentary days were over.

The man was in his forties and an ultra-runner—meaning he ran distances greater than a regular marathon (26.2 miles). I became curious as he told me about a recent 100-mile running event, and wondered to myself, why would you put yourself through that, by choice? What does one get out of this running malarkey?

Having well and truly caught the running bug, I can now say I get it.

It’s well known that running is beneficial to our health and fitness, but I get so much more from the experience. Here are seven ways running helps me live my best life.

1. Through running, I take control from my mind.

Wouldn’t you rather stay at home and watch Netflix?

You’re not built for running!

Who do you think you are, Forrest Gump?

Ah, the mind.

On days I normally run, I can guarantee thoughts like these will surface, luring me to stay in my comfort zone so they can try and shame me later on for not running.

Don’t get me wrong, there are days where the kind thing to do is to cancel a run—if I’m hurting physically or it’s too hot—but that’s not usually why I encounter internal resistance before and while running.

C’mon, that’s fair enough for today, my mind whispers.

“No, we’re digging deeper and going further,” I reply.

Our minds will always try to hold us back, but we don’t have to act on every thought. We can become more aware of when our mind is attempting to limit us, and, if we want to, dig deep and keep moving forward.

2. Running reminds me that the hardest part of any worthy pursuit is just starting.

Once I’m outside and running, the initial resistance disappears, and I just get on with it. I’ve never, after two minutes of running, turned around and headed home.

This speaks to an interesting truth—so often in life, the hardest part of any worthy pursuit is just starting. If you want to write a book, the hardest part is sitting down to capture those first few words. If you need to initiate a difficult conversation, the hardest part is finding the courage to say, “Hey, we need to talk.”

On days when my mind creates resistance and begins a battle, I gently remind myself the hardest part is putting my running shoes on and heading out the door. Once I’m through the door, I’ve won the battle—and I almost always enjoy myself.

3. Running reminds me to keep my head up and keep moving forward.

A few weeks ago while on a run, exhaustion suddenly hit me. My head dropped. My pace slowed, and my legs felt like they were stuffed full of lead. A feeling of dread slowly sunk through my body as I imagined the distance I was yet to cover.

I knew, though, I was hitting “runner’s wall,” and remembered the Navy SEAL’s 40 percent rule—that even though I briefly felt exhausted, I’d only reached 40 percent of my potential.

I took a deep breath before slowly raising my head up so my eyes were no longer looking at the ground. I was now looking straight ahead, my eyes fixed on where I wanted to go, the path ahead. Inside my head I repeated, “Left, right, left, right,” over and over again, commanding my feet. And then I ran.

When life hits us hard, it’s normal for our heads to drop down, but we can’t let them stay down. Moving forward may seem impossible, but eventually there comes a day when we have to dig deep and find the courage to take a step forward, no matter how small.

As Winston Churchill said, “When you’re going through hell, keep on going.”

4. Running helps me appreciate my body.

Sadly, the media pushes down our throats what a “perfect” body looks like, and most of us don’t have it. As a result, many people view exercise as a punishment. A punishment for being out of shape or for eating overeating the day before.

Exercise of any form needn’t be a punishment. In fact, we can view it as a celebration of our body as it is.

When I finish a run, I thank my body for a job well done. I’m fortunate enough to have good health and a functional body, a blessing not everyone has.

A friend of mine suffers from a chronic health condition, and although his body is extremely limited compared to most, he’s chooses to live life being appreciative of what his body does enable him to do. For example, he can’t finish long hikes, but he’s grateful that he can walk at all—and that he has friends who’ll carry him the rest of the way when he has to stop.

5. Running emphasizes the importance of rest and recovery.

Since running, I’ve become kinder to myself and more accepting of my need to take time to rest and recover. Once home from a run, I normally do some light stretches before taking it easy for the rest of the day, because I’ve learned that I need to give my body a break or it will eventually break down.

I used to believe rest and recovery made we weak and it was in someway honorable to keep myself busy all day, every day. I now believe there’s a time to push ourselves while in doing mode and a time for simply being, and both are equally important to our overall well-being.

6. Running has taught me that what I consume makes a difference.

Since starting to run, I’m now far more aware of what I’m consuming, both physically and mentally.

I feel the difference when I’ve been eating well and am hydrated versus when I run on a belly full of junk food and dehydrated. What we put into our mouth really matters.

I believe it also matters what we put into our heads—the types of media we consume. I once spent an entire forest run on high alert, looking over my shoulder ever second step. Why? Before leaving home, I’d read a local news item about a Puma that had escaped from a zoo 100 miles away. Although logically I knew it was highly unlikely I’d cross paths with this runaway Puma, it didn’t stop my mind from freaking out at every rustle in the bushes.

On the hand, when I read or watch an inspiring story before leaving home, I notice a spring in my step and feel empowered as I run.

If the media I consume affects my life (either positively or negatively) in the short-term, just imagine the affect is has in the long-term. What we consume matters.

7. Running reminds me of what’s possible.

Perhaps the biggest way running helps me to live my best life is through showing me what is possible. I can now run farther than I ever thought I could, way further than my doubtful inner critic would have predicted.

I’ve gone from being someone who would rarely (and barely) run to someone who runs several times per week. Most of all, I’ve gone from being someone who hated even the thought of running to someone who looks forward to and, dare I say, loves, running. And if I can transform into a runner, just imagine what else I can do.

Do I think running is for everyone? No.

However, I do believe that everyone can benefit from my lessons. Don’t let your mind control you. If there’s something you want to do, just get started, even if you only take a tiny step. When things get tough, keep going. Appreciate what you can do instead of focusing on what you can’t. Take time to rest; it’s not lazy, it’s necessary. Be mindful of what you consume and how it affects you. And remember, you can do so much more than you think.

By Will Aylward

By Better Days Global, Aug 17 2018 12:09PM

What if other people could see beyond your physical appearance and look at your insecurities, pride, shame, or malicious thoughts?

Those are the kinds of things our society urges you to cover up. After a while, you create masks to hide your true thoughts and feelings and present an image you hope will prove your worth. The longer you wear your masks, the more comfortable they feel. But you cannot enjoy healthy relationships unless you remove the masks and show others who you really are. Here’s how you can take off the masks you present to the world and be authentic:

Realize the price of the masks you wear.

Understand that your masks prevent you from experiencing real life. Your masks give you a distorted view of what is really happening in your life and people begin to view not you, but the masks you wear. Instead of living for other people’s approval and praise, live to please God alone no matter what others think of you. Shift your focus from establishing your identity on earth to something much more meaningful. Understand that your mask prevents you from experiencing intimacy in relationships. Rather than trying to prove your value to other people, seek to simply connect with them.

Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to honestly ask yourself deep questions about your existence, worth, emotions, thoughts, and purpose. Stop living according to the status quo and consider what changes you need to make to become more authentic. Too often we follow trends, formulas, and ways of living because we do not believe we are enough. Give yourself time to step into the core of who you are and allow your blessings to come to you. When you model your life, personality, or business after something that is outside of you, you block your own potential. When you stay true to who you are, you’ll be in your own unique and authentic lane. Trade lies for the truth about yourself. Instead of just trying to feel good about yourself, let the awareness of your brokenness lead you to the wholeness awaiting you. Find real confidence, not the temporary feel good fix. Rather than basing your confidence on how smart, beautiful, successful, talented, or charming you are, base it on your true authentic self. Stop pretending to be someone you’re not to try to feel more confident; pretending will only lead to deeper insecurity. Accept the truth about yourself, tell the truth, and live in that truth. Then your life will catch up.

Let go of your concerns about how other people make you feel. Don’t worry about being affirmed, being right, demanding respect, judging others, keeping score, harboring bitterness, competing, gossiping, or bickering. Be more interested in genuinely connecting with others rather than impressing them or saving face. Speak the truth in all your relationships. Admit your mistakes and ask for forgiveness. Do your work well. Don’t disengage with your work, viewing it just as a job that you have to do, but don’t really want to do well. Don’t be so driven that you try to prove your worth by working hard. Instead, do whatever work you do, from cleaning, or answering phones to inventing a product or speaking to crowds, with your very best effort, remembering that absolutely everything you do has eternal consequences. Look at every task you undertake as an opportunity to serve God through your attitude. Instead of working just for a paycheck, fame, or praise from other people, work to honour God. Ask yourself: Am I Authentic? Start from there.

There are levels to living authentically.

This is not how your story ends;

Written By Steve Whyte

By Better Days Global, Aug 17 2018 11:55AM

It can be easy to become influenced by voices that don’t get what you’re trying to do. People who don’t approve of you or your work, will always try to discourage you. Once you make your mark, you’ll attract erasers. People who are intimidated by your prime will always try to shorten it. Maybe there are people who drain your energy by constantly demanding you to justify the choices you make, to explain yourself to them so that they can argue with you. By all means spend some time explaining your why, but don’t lose sleep over the fact that they don’t listen and don’t approve of it. Whatever you do, don’t change the way you’re doing it because of them. They don’t really care and they don’t matter to the work you are doing. They provide an excuse to quit. Don’t let it be that. Don’t let the desire to have your work approved drive the work itself. If that was what drove the greatest minds in history, the world would look very different and we would probably still be living in caves, or extinct. Do you approve of yourself or do you seek the approval of others?

When we lack confidence and in particular have a low understanding of our worth, we find ourselves needing the approval of others to feel good about ourselves. Unfortunately, in this day and age of being over worked and under valued, the approval of others may take years to come or never will. Saying “well done” or “thank you” doesn’t seem too common in language in modern society, and how often do you say such things to others?

Being self critical is an easy habit to get into, and forms the basis of our needing approval from others. The root of our self-criticism is usually being at the receiving end of criticism from others as we grow up. I like the expression that “criticism is negative feedback badly delivered”.

Constantly receiving messages like “you’re too slow/stupid/bad/ugly/…” etc leads to us believing that this is a reality. And language like “don’t do that” “why did you….” “you shouldn’t have” “you always” “you mustn’t” doesn’t exactly help a child feel good about themselves. Every expression is a sign of disapproval, so it’s not surprising we grow wanting that approval from others. Comparing ourselves to others is another way we end up being critical of ourselves, as we usually find ways we don’t match up. This perpetuates our own self-disapproval. If you must compare, find positive things in the process and use your comparison to grow not to shrink yourself. Even if you find yourself with role models you are trying to emulate, there will be aspects of their personality, perhaps particular skills or attributes that you already have but they don’t possess. We all have a special fingerprint and God carefully made us all unique for a reason.

Identify situations where you find yourself seeking the approval of others. Is it with particular people, boss, parent, in particular environments, workplace, home, social? Is there any reason you can identify why this should be, why you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to their moods and frustrations? Whether or not you can find reasons for your seeking approval, start getting in the habit of getting approval solely God and from yourself. One easy way to challenge such thinking, is to remind yourself that most people are quite self centered and will speak from their own perspective and opinion of who you should be based on their own beliefs. The problem with this perspective is that they have completely travelled a different path to you, which led them to this train of thought process which doesn’t make it 100% accurate to your situation or even the truth. It is flawed. In the same way you spend most of your time full of self talk, worrying about you, other people are not as concerned about you as you think. They’re mostly concerned about themselves.

The bottom line is while you’re worried about others opinion or approval of you, they probably haven’t given you any thought at all. Like you, when they’re thinking about other people, it’s mainly in relation to themselves. None of us know what anyone else is thinking. Whether or not they’ve even noticed you or what you have done, you may never know. So why beat yourself up about it?

Seeking approval of others and listening to the opinions that don’t resonate with you is detrimental to your happiness. People who ignore their own identity and instead choose to act on the preference of other people never find their true calling or purpose in life. They become the puppets of this lifetime in control by whomever they hand the strings to. This happens because other people do not know your deepest needs and desires, so they cannot help you find your life’s purpose. Almost everyone seeks approval of others on some level, mainly because we were trained to do so since our childhood. That’s what all educational systems and many other institutions and traditions teach us.

If we behave well, our parents are happy with us. If we do what our teachers tell us to do, we are rewarded with good grades. If at work we do our best, the managers are happy with us. Everything seems to be based on the obedience model and bound to someone else. So when there is no defined model to follow, it seems like something is missing. And we automatically start seeking approval to check if we are doing everything okay. We find gurus and other intelligent people and seek their approval. But you should realize that sometimes you’ll have to create a path instead of following someone else’s. If every decision you make is based of another person’s ‘yes’, you will lose your own sense of direction in life and end up on their path unequipped. If you blindly follow others, you will not be happy. Sometimes you will have to be the first that ever did it. If you firstly try to consciously disregard such critics, it will be hard, but with time, it will be increasingly easier to not care what others think about your choices when you completely free yourself from the approval-seeking mode. 

This is not how your story ends;

Written By Steve Whyte

By Better Days Global, Aug 17 2018 11:41AM

Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:9-13:

9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

If you’re a Christian or you’ve ever been somewhere when the Lord’s Prayer is being said, you might be familiar with these words. So often we recite them corporately but how often do we actually think about what it is we’re actually saying?

Recently, I have been particularly challenged by one line in particular ‘Give us today our daily bread.’ Verse 11. Have I really understood what this might mean for me? The answer to that is definitely not.

Last week I was serving at a holiday club and during the morning reflection, the woman leading it referred to this line, explaining that so often we go to God with a big list or massive things and we become disappointed in the answers to prayer we don’t see. But this stops us from seeing the things in the everyday, that if we should go to God and ask for our daily bread, as we are told to by Jesus.

I’ve since been reflecting on this, I can hardly get it out of my head. I have been so challenged but also so encouraged. We see and hear, so often, stories of miracles, very clear answers, but how often do we hear ‘you know, actually I believe that God helped me to do life today’? Yes, that’s challenged me to recognise the smaller things, the daily provisions but it’s also really encouraged me. (Of course there are times and places to share the miracles and the clear answers, I am not dismissing these in any way, shape or form, they should be celebrated without a doubt.)

If you’ve read my previous posts you will know about my journey with mental health and how much of a rollercoaster that has been. So many times I’ve prayed that God would take it all away, I’ve sat thinking that it isn’t fair, asked why me, asked when it will stop. But as I consider, almost the last year of my life, I can see the greatness of God woven into the everyday. Whether that’s simply been making it through the day, making it to work, realising that I’ve been smiling more than I’ve been crying or a bar of chocolate that’s made it’s way into my life at a very timely moment!

How many more times a day, week, month or even year would we be able to say ‘God did this for me’ if we did focus on the how we get through each day, the blessings that might seem small but are so present. Of course life is going to be difficult and at times we won’t be able to pinpoint what is good but I hope and pray that each one of us, even retrospectively, can see all that God does in and for us daily.

God really knows each one of us. He knows exactly what we need. And He provides for us.

I believe that He is a good God and He will provide that bread daily.

Written by Kate Newhook

By Better Days Global, May 22 2018 08:54AM

I write the following not aimed at any church or people in particular but out of my personal experience over the last eight or so years. Previously I have tried to voice this but either it falls on deaf ears or is forgotten quickly. Many people are in similar situations, and in the same way that we would continuously call people up on other unacceptable behaviour, this is something that needs addressing time and time again, until we do a better job of it. What I write is personal but I know many other people who are either living this now or have done previously.

Dear Church,

It is with trepidation that I address what I am about to write because I feel that for the most part it is done in love, but please see things from the other point of view and how this can make people feel. Be reminded of what it’s like to have a physical wound that you repeatedly injure...a cut perhaps, that you keep knocking, causing it to bleed again and again, over time, the cut is going to get worse and take longer and longer to heal. Maybe the area becomes infected, the cut won’t go away, people look at it, wrinkle their noses, it hurts...but it’s physical, so we can see it and we know that it hurts or it’s frustrating. What I write is like that cut, only it’s unseen, and you can’t see the damage going on underneath the surface.

For years I have been on the receiving end of comments and prayers and ‘banter’ regarding my relationship status, been told ‘I’m on the shelf’, and felt that the ‘people who have prayed for years for a partner’ comment at the end of a sermon was directed at me.

Please stop.

Why do you define me by this? Because it really isn’t who I am, yes it is a part of me but I am so much more.

Why is my singleness something that you feel the need to draw attention to? Rejoice about something I do have, the talents and gifts God has given me.

Why do we need to linger on this fact? Quite simply, we don’t.

Do you feel I need another person to make me whole? I don’t, I have Jesus, and he makes me whole.

Would you approach a widow/er in the same way? Or the divorcee?

Would you go up to a childless couple, of whose story you know nothing about, and give them banter or tell them you were praying they would conceive?

I hope and pray that the answer to that is no. Please stop drawing attention to what I don’t have, and focus on what I do have. You don’t know my story and how I feel in my current life stage.

I would be surprised if anyone really knew and understood the journey I have been on, my life has been an adventure, with ups and downs, people have come and gone. My past is full of a variety of stories, a lot of these include testimony of all that God has done in my life, all that He has led me into, the places He has taken me, the people I have met, friends I have made, experiences I have had. I have been so fortunate to do and achieve so much in my life but there are also stories tarnished with disappointment or sadness and I don’t need to you to make me feel like a failure because things haven’t worked out.

I do not need fixing because I’m not in a relationship or married. But those comments hurt. Media already tells me I’m not good enough and I don’t need to be made to feel that way by you as well. I need you to love me and accept me for who I am and the stage of life I am in now.

I also don’t need excluding because I am a single person. It’s not an illness or a label hanging around my neck. Please look past that and see me for who I really am.

I am a person. A human being. Created by God, my Heavenly Father.

Just the same as you are.

Please, from this day on, would you think before you make those uninvited comments. Please would you remember that who I am is enough. Please would you encourage me to walk closer with Jesus than make marriage an idol. Please would you go against the pattern of this world and recognise that living for Jesus is far more important. Please would you build a meaningful relationship with me and get to know who I really am.

Like I try to do with you.

Church, we are all here for a purpose, to serve the risen King, let us do that in unity, spurring each other on, recognising what we have each been gifted with and not pointing out what someone might be painfully missing. It can be hard enough with someone highlighting it.

This doesn’t just apply to singleness, it covers a broad range of subjects. There are many people that we will meet in our short lives, many of whom are fighting battles and struggling with issues that we know nothing about. Treat people lovingly, welcome them with open arms for who they are and with what they are working through.

How much more of a unified Body of Christ would we be if we looked beyond what one another didn’t have but valued the opportunities that can provide? God loves each and everyone of us, with the same amount of love, we are called to mimic that. Let’s start today.

By Better Days Global, May 11 2018 12:14PM

While tears are seen by many as a sign of weakness, not the trait of one who has dedicated their life to helping people to become the best versions of themselves, and quite the opposite of the better days that one proclaims, I feel it is essential for me to share the truth about these misconceptions.

Throughout my life, I have had an ongoing battle with depression. I didn’t always know what it was, but it was always there, sometimes right in front of me blocking my very vision of hope, and other times beside me waiting on me to drop my guard and think that everything is ok, before suffocating me once again. As the years went by, and I began to become more aware of this burning, deep dark and heavy sensation that would take over my mind, body and spirit, I had no energy left to hold back or hide my deep innermost feelings. Waking up on a cold pillow drenched in tears has been a normal part of my life and though I smile throughout the day and live to be an encouragement to everyone whom I encounter, the reality of the countless times my pillow needed to be turned over to the warm side, consumes me even now.

But what happens when both sides of the pillow are cold and wet and you’ve run out of contingency plans for your tears? What happens when you are left with a choice of cold and wet or discomfort? The reality for me was that the cold and discomfort were one and the same, as my pain wasn’t external, rather cold, wet and uncomfortable within. The feeling of treading carefully because you know that at any minute, it will show it’s ugly face. The moment I open my eyes in the morning and I check to see if it is there or if there is hope for another day. The reality that it doesn’t matter who is around you or what is happening in your life, it is no respecter of these variables. Many of these realities are not always obvious to others, for some of you, you may be able to relate to these descriptions. While there is no complete description of depression, it is personal but very recognisable once introduced.

Some days I know it is there, but I press on trying to stay busy so it doesn’t paralyse me. Most days it’s difficult to combat. It eats away at you from the inside, causing a silent and painful existence, an overwhelming feeling of heaviness and a deep burning that only your vulnerabilities can interpret. You feel off balance and at mercy to your own thoughts. For me, I feel out of control and weak with the inability to communicate that which I feel, and yet, the tears flow until they run dry. Society tells me that as a man I am to suck it up, man up, be strong, get myself together, but what happens when you have run out of every ounce of strength to continue pretending everything is alright? What happens when you don’t have it in you to bother another person with how you feel? What happens when you reach out for help but it’s not available? These questions are ones which I have had over the years, and I have many more unanswered than answered.

Sometimes in life you will be in situations where it seems that you're going round in circles. You overcome one storm and start to get your life back on track only to find yourself in a new whirlwind battered by the continuous trials of life. It feels like you never get a break and your energy is low. You feel invisible, heavy and like no one understands what you're living through. You feel like life is not worth living and that you'd be better off dead, free from the constant pain you feel in your mind and heart. It feels dark, lonely, cold and very painful. Your every effort is cancelled out by the heaviness of your heart. I know too well what this feels like and I have never claimed to be a guru with a perfect life, or someone who has all of the answers. I just want to share with you what has continuously worked for me. Experience teaches me that storms don't stop and that they are inevitable. Accepting this was the first part of my breakthrough. It was hard for many years because I didn't want to believe it. By me accepting it, I could then use all of my effort to planting myself deeper into the foundations of my faith so that when they do come, I'm shaken but not easily moved. It started with a diligent prayer life followed by a life detox. I had to let go of a lot of the negative influences in my life which included "friends" unhealthily relationships, career changes and what I allowed into my mind. This was a process and it took years of life shaping before it was my reality. My perception changed and altered my perspective. It gave me room to notice more of the good around me. Instead of complaining, I used my pain to inspire others, rebrand my life and be more productive. It lays dormant within me and often shows its ugly face, but I choose to feed myself life based on what God says about me and His plans for my life.

A few years ago I made a choice to step away. This decision lead to me being forced to my my own therapeutic space. It was uncomfortable as busy was no longer a refuge for me. I had to reevaluate my position and do a life audit. If you’re anything like me, you’ll know that this is a huge task as I do so much, but it still had to be done. This process however uncomfortable taught me a lot about myself, and it was challenging because I was doing it alongside managing the pain within my heart and mind. However, I committed to spending time with me and being still. It took a whole year before I began to see any results, and still I struggle with pain, but this grounding and balance has helped me to keep perspective, get closer to God and prioritise my health.

Sometimes we are looking for support, answers and help externally for things that only can be fixed internally. Once I took back the ownership of my internal world, I started to see my perspective of the external world change. The tears re-emerged, but I didn’t resist the healing power that comes from not holding them in. Contrary to the collective societal standard, crying is a part of my process. Sometimes the words are not enough and the inability to communicate them, often creates more frustration. Our language hasn’t evolved in sync with the complexities of our spirits, and so the non-verbal language of our heart connects with God and brings healing.

I’m writing this today as this is part of my healing, and I hope for someone a part of theirs too. Where ever you are and whatever you’re going through, together we stand and declare “This is not how my story ends;”

To the men and young men out there, your tears are not your weakness. They are your strength. Do not be ashamed of your feelings, experiences and vulnerabilities. They are an essential part of who you are in this moment, and they play a significant role in who you are growing into. To anyone out there who can relate to the above, be encouraged. If it sounds like I just described your life, be blessed. You're not alone.

Expressions from my life to yours. #SW

God Bless You All

By Better Days Global, May 2 2018 07:43PM

Here are 7 things which no one tells you about life. These thoughts have personally changed the way I see life and have transformed my thoughts to the fullest:

1. Life is short. (You may not even live 40 years, So, Go and follow your passion right now.

2. Life is a journey not a destination. Life isn't a one time event. Make every second count and live it to the fullest.

3. People would laugh at you. No worries, You just helped them to burn some calories.

4. You never lose. You don't win and lose in life. You win and learn in life.

5. There will be dark times in your life. Remember, Darker the night, Brighter the morning.

6. You will doubt yourself. That's completely fine. Sometimes, Fear and self-doubt is all that is required to make you work harder and smarter than anyone else.

7. You won't be doing great for a long time. Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba Group got rejected from all universities he applied, every job interview he attended, but, he kept doing what he loved. And, Today, He is one the most successful people on the planet.

YES, It is possible!

You can do what you thought you can.

You can achieve what you want to.

You can become what you want to.

Because YOU are awesome and you know it.

About the Author:

Vanky Kenny Kataria is a two time representative of India in public speaking and presentation .His work and accomplishments have been featured in books such as '30&Under' authored by Peter Cuderman. The book highlights the lives of the top 100 professionals from around the world under the age of 30 which includes Olympic athletes, Forbes Under 30s, Top UFC Fighters and others . He has also been featured in the book-'Love What You Do' authored by Maigen Thomas and also in top magazines from around the world such as - Entrepreneur (2x), Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and others. He is a Visiting Professor at Rasbihari International School, India and is also the brand ambassador for India for United Nations' recognized scholarship providing platform - Host Your Voice and is also a Global Expert for 'Better Days Global'.

You can follow him on LinkedIn to be posted: Vanky Kataria