How to Create Your Life Vision

Your Life Vision is the reason why you should be waking up everyday eager to build and work towards what matters most to you in life. My sincere take on depression and other “mental illnesses” is pretty much based on the idea that people need a “Why”, they need dreams to follow, a meaning and a sense of purpose in order to live mentally healthy. In a society where dreams are seen as foolish fantasies, and living your purpose as a total act of irresponsibility, no wonder that 400 to 500 million people throughout the world are currently diagnosed with some sort of mental health problem. So I thought today I should share with you my personal and professional notes on how to create a life vision for yourself.

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3 Tricks To Walk More

The third day of the Wellbeing Challenge on Instagram is dedicated to… walking everywhere!

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✨10-Day Wellbeing Challenge✨ Day 3: Walk Everywhere 👟 Walking everywhere is the easiest way to be active and burn a few calories. Whenever you can, choose to walk instead of using your car or any other means of transport. It will boost your cardiovascular system and give you the feeling of being lighter. I also recommend to go for a walk after having a meal, because it helps digestion and blood sugar regulation too 👣 Download the Wellbeing Workbook at any time for free to do all the practical exercises of this challenge – #LinkInBio @thewellbeingblogger – you’re still on time to join♥️ . . #wellbeing #10daysofwellbeing #thewellbeingchallenge #thewellbeingblogger #wellness #wellbeingblogger #wellnessblogger #health #healthylifestyle #walking #healthtips #coaching #wellbeingcoach #stayactive #fitness #fitfam #instablogger #instalifestyle #lifestyleblogger

A post shared by Vanessa 🎓 Psych Doc (@thewellbeingblogger) on

 

When I started my weight loss journey at the age of 15 (I think I haven’t shared the story here yet, but I was a morbid obese teen back then – and yes, I’m not kidding), the very first thing I started doing was to walk at least 60 minutes every day. That was the only thing my body could handle at that time and with a simple daily walk I immediately dropped a few pounds and inches even long before I started to follow a balanced meal plan.

At that time, it worked and it made wonders for me because I transformed walking into a ritual. There were no excuses. It could be sunny or raining, it didn’t really matter: I would be there walking those damn 60 minutes. When you have reduced mobility because you are too heavy (like I am now, but more about that after we finish the challenge), walking is probably the safest kind of exercise you can do. Combined with a few minutes of stretching, you will soon notice the difference. That’s why I highly recommend everyone to start walking first, even before any further changes to diet and physical activity.

I do know however that walking can become boring after a while. I especially recognise that right now because I moved back to Canterbury and I already know this city like the back of my hands… there are, nonetheless, a few tricks to reset our mood and motivation to walk. In this post I will share 3 of my favourite tricks to walk more.

 

1. Practise Mindfulness While Walking

Walking the same streets, alleys and paths, all the time becomes boring, right? Lack of novelty can crush our motivation to walk. One way to avoid this is to practise mindfulness while walking. This means that when you go for a walk, you will do your best to pay attention to your surroundings and to what is going on inside of yourself. Mindful walking is a good exercise not only to develop your attention skills but also to discover new details and ideas that make walking fun and which otherwise you would miss. Most of the time we walk in a very mindless way and we often miss small and big treasures on our way. I will give you one personal example: I passed by a certain tree at least three times this week and I had never noticed there was a carved figure inside the tree until today. You would say it was rather easy to spot such a beautiful detail but I have been walking so mindlessly that only today, when I finally paid attention, I then noticed the beautiful work you can see in the picture below:

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Captured in Canterbury, UK

 

2. Wear Comfortable Shoes

There is nothing worse than walking in uncomfortable shoes – well maybe there are other similar or equally uncomfortable things but you get what I mean. You may not even notice it – I sometimes don’t – but finishing a walk and having foot pain is another motivation killer. Who wants to suffer, right? Make sure you invest in a pair of sneakers or shoes that are comfortable to your feet. They don’t have to be expensive, they just need to be the right fit for your feet. Believe it or not, there are many different models and kinds of sneakers. Some pairs are more suitable for running, while others are more suitable for walking. Even within each category you will find different models according to the type of path you will be walking on. Ok, I didn’t want you to panic or make your life more difficult: next time you decide to buy a pair of walking shoes, just ask for help in the store, explain them what’s your walking goal, and they will show you the best options.

3.  Walk and Help Helping Others

There is one app called Charity Miles, which I shared here in the blog around this same time last year. This is one of the many beautiful ways how technology can improve our lifestyle and make a difference in the world at the same time. Charity Miles is an app that counts the amount of miles you make and then transforms it into a monetary contribution to an organisation of your choice. Last year I was walking to support Operation Smile. You can read more about it here. I’m thinking of getting back to it as a way to motivate myself to go out more and walk – might even try to challenge a friend to come with me and even consider using it to plan a more lengthy walking adventure in the future.

What’s your favourite way to motivate yourself to walk? Let us know in the comments box. 😉

 

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If you are interested in the 10-day Wellbeing Challenge on Instagram, you can still join in and download my Wellbeing workbook for free.

FREE Online Class: Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation

In this online class you will receive a brief introduction to Mindfulness Meditation.

Learning goals:

  • understand what mindfulness meditation is
  • know the 3 components of mindful awareness
  • get acquainted with the practise of mindfulness meditation
Continue reading “FREE Online Class: Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation”

3 Important Steps When Meditating at Home

In this blog post you will learn about three important steps to make your meditation at home work for you. 

Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger; and that is very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work.

Thich Nhat Hanh

From time to time I get some messages in my inbox about practising meditation and the first steps to integrate meditation as a daily habit. Most of the messages I get are from people who are not sure about whether they are doing the “right” or “wrong” thing so, with that in mind, I recently recorded two Youtube videos in order to provide (hopefully) some answers:

Continue reading “3 Important Steps When Meditating at Home”

Mindfulness Meditation for Beginners

According to Jon Kabat-Zinn:

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.

I was first introduced to Mindfulness in 2009, when I decided to take a module on Positive Psychology. By that time, few people talked or knew about mindfulness. No one was running or competing to be the best mindfulness meditation teacher and the researchers who were investigating it were on it because they had experienced the benefits of mindfulness for themselves in the first place.

So much has changed. To be totally honest with you, Mindfulness didn’t create much of an impact on me when I was introduced to it – it was a concept easy to embrace and understand at that point in time, living in Lisboa. Little I knew though that a couple of years later I would be conducting experimental research on it as a disguised way to help myself cope with stress and anxiety or that I would even be today teaching it to students and communities in my second language.

For the last 6 years, I have been doing research on Mindfulness, three of them in the UK. My results have shown that mindfulness meditation can not only reduce momentary stress and anxiety, but it can also contribute to a better society by reducing personal prejudiced beliefs and biased reactions. I confess that I particularly love this last aspect!

I deeply believe that Mindfulness can be life-enhancing when embraced at the right time. It can be a powerful tool for both personal and social change. As such, I decided to make a totally FREE mindfulness meditation online workshop for beginners, based on the several workshops I have been leading face-to-face over the last couple of years. My aim is to reach those who can’t travel or attend my classes but still want to learn and know how to start practising mindfulness meditation in their day-to-day life.

Here are some of the benefits you may experience after attending the workshop:

  • lower levels of stress and anxiety
  • greater awareness of your own thinking pattern
  • increased emotion management skills

And there are a lot more which I will share with you in the workshop! If this is something you are definitely interested in, you can book your place for free here.

**UPDATE** You can now watch my introduction to mindfulness meditation on YouTube.

As a final note, I would also like to remember that I do a free meditation class every other week on Youtube – you just have to subscribe to my channel in order not to miss any of them.

The 2 Psychological Barriers That Prevent You From Changing

We are gladly waiting for Spring time to come. I think this post is actually somehow influenced by the energy that Spring brings with it, an energy that propels us to clean ourselves from Winter’s excesses and renew or change all that has been weighing us down and stopping us from being our best selves.

From the coaching work I’ve done with incredible people and reflecting upon my own experience as a human being, I have noticed that there as essentially two issues that we need to “clean”, “get rid of” or make ourselves aware of, in order to make all the changes we need to happen. These are:

  • conscious or unconscious fear of change, and
  • uninspiring goals

I talk about each of these barriers to change in more depth in the video below. Hopefully you will get some useful tips as well to unblock your path to change.

 

The Fear of Not Being Good Enough at Work

It’s a Friday evening and the building is pretty much empty already. I have been designing, rearranging, and rethinking models so my data can speak and tell an interesting story. As a result, I am still here, sitting in front of the computer, hoping that soon I can call it a day.

Sometimes I fear that I don’t go as fast as successful researchers seem to go and my heart sinks when I see all their apparent productivity and achievements: a publication here, a conference there, a report here, and a BBC interview over there. In that moment, I compare myself to others and soon a spiral of negativity and self-doubt takes control over me. My heart starts to race, my mind jumps from thought to thought, and my body becomes like a heavy stone. Why can’t I go faster? What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I be more like them? Am I good enough? And if not, when will I be?

The question marks go on and on, until I mindfully note how pointless it is to compare myself, my work and my lifestyle to anybody else. It’s true that I could go faster, if I stopped listening to my colleagues’ human needs, if I didn’t care about the message my students actually take home, if I had the guts to walk over other people, and specially if I went back to that moment in time in which work was making me physically and psychologically ill.

I can’t say exactly how long it takes me to stop the negativity spiral, but when I finally step aside and observe the roots of my own self-threatening thoughts, I realise that I am just happy with the way I am, and that it is ok to have different principles and priorities. This is where my mindfulness practise and training have helped me to cope through work and life, because it allows me to connect with myself and see everything in a different perspective. Over the years, I can surely tell that it takes me less and less time to stop the negative thinking and to tune my mind into a more positive state.

Therefore, watching it all in perspective, to go faster would mean that I would have to change who I am. I would have to walk over my colleagues in every opportunity I get, I would have to act based on an alfa personality type that doesn’t fit with my true self, and I would have to become numb and indifferent to people’s issues at work. So the important question now is ‘Do I really want to go faster?’ and ‘Do I really want to choose faster results over what is a right way of living for me?’.

The answer is a sounding ‘no’. I rather prefer to be myself, which I am more and more comfortable with, than to act like someone that I am not. And as soon as I grasp this, the fear of not being as good as other researchers goes away; it becomes smaller and smaller, until it fades away. Maybe I do indeed take more time, maybe I don’t get as much opportunities, and maybe I won’t publish, but at the end of the day I want to feel like a functional human being and I am certain that I don’t want to go back to that stage in which I have no aspirations besides living in my office.