By MJ Stegemann, BLY Instructor
Humans have between 50,000 and 80,000 thoughts per day. If you had to guess, what percentage of the thoughts are about YOU? And what percentage of those thoughts about YOU are positive?

How you think and speak about yourself plays a huge part in improving and/or maintaining a positive and fulfilling “YOU” relationship. I’ve always loved the analogy of your mind being like a garden and your thoughts are the seeds. With that in mind – take a moment to reflect on the kind of seeds you are planting. Oftentimes we are not even aware of the automatic reactions, limiting beliefs, or negative thought patterns we have become to think of as the “norm”. But these patterns are not normal. When you begin to become aware of name these thought patterns you can “plant” new, positive and nurturing thoughts in your mind’s garden.

So where do you begin? Baron Baptiste, founder of the Baptiste Power Yoga Institute, suggests that “halting your cycle of reactiveness allows you to have a perspective shift, so that you have the chance to respond in better, more positive ways”. One way to initiate this perspective shift is to utilize the HALT! method. When negative thought patterns, self-doubt or highly charged emotions being to rear their heads: Pause, take a few deeps breaths. Become aware of your breath in your body. Take a slow, deep inhale and count to six (6). Hold your inhale for one count and then exhale just as slowly for a six (6). Continue until you feel your breathing normalize. As your breathing becomes rhythmic self-reflect on the questions below:

Hungry – Are you hungry? When was the last time you ate something? Did you skip any meals today? Did you eat the first thing you saw or did you ask your body what it needed? Choose healthy food that nourishes your body and drink plenty of water.

Angry – Is your mind or judgement clouded by anger right now? Can you identify and name what is causing you anger? Naming your anger will help put the brakes on your emotional response and allow you to self-reflect and choose a more appropriate, healthy response.

Lonely – Are you feeling disconnected from other people, whether alone or in a group? Reach out and do something kind for someone else; be of service. This isn’t too complicated just “help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you” said Mother Theresa. This small act of kindness nets big results as it immediately changes your perspective, re-energizes you and provides true connectedness with another person.

Tired – Did you get enough sleep last night? How much sleep does your mind/body require to function at optimal levels? Not sure how much sleep feels “normal” for you? The National Sleep Foundation suggests at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults ages 18 – 65, but these numbers vary by person, lifestyle and health needs. Always talk with your doctor if you are concerned about your sleep patterns.

Utilizing these points as guideposts helps you to become aware of problem areas and, without judgement, address them in healthy, positive ways. One of the best ways to practice this awareness is through daily meditation. Bottom Line Yoga offers open mediation times throughout the workday and small-group mediation workshops. Email info@bottomlineyoga.com to find out more.

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