Easy Morning Routine

Fall season is almost upon us and with every new month comes new routines and practices. Are you looking to lose a bit of weight, maybe get a clear skin, or just looking for a general morning routine? Then keep reading.

I like seeking and trying new ways to better myself emotionally, physically and spiritually.  It goes without saying that positive mind gives you positive life. And as much as that is true, I also believe we should form rituals and habits that contribute to our overall well-being.

Here’s a morning routine that you can practice for at least 10 to 15 days before you can achieve great results. Be consistent with it everyday.

  1. Drink water with lemon first thing in the morning as soon as you wake up. You can also add apple cider if that is your thing.  I mix both lemon and apple cider. Try to wait for 20 to 30 minutes before eating breakfast. This practice will wash out any toxins in your body.
  2. Keep your breakfast light and healthy. I usually go with smoothies or an oatmeal for breakfast . Avoid mixing bananas or mangoes in your smoothie. This is what I prefer using: Spinach, Kale, blackberries, almond milk, with a pinch of black chia seeds and turmeric ( Use fruits or veggies that are high on antioxidants).
  3. Keep your lunch flavorful with tons of protein and mix greens. Almonds and pumpkin raw seeds can be used for snacks.
  4.  Next: Make a gratitude list. Write down 3-4 things that you are grateful for. It can be anything. Make it your daily practice and jot down 3-4 things daily (preferably this should be done early in the morning when you wake up). Maybe you are grateful for your new hair cut? or your new renovated home?  Second: Write down 3-4 main things that you want to get it done in a particular day, and make sure you get it done by the end of the day. Third: Do something nice for others. Find 2 to 3 persons and genuinely compliment them. It can be as simple as calling someone to check on their well-being or help someone with something that they may need help with. Try this practice for at least 10 to 15 days before you see a positive shift in your perception and life.

Please comment below if you find this practice easy to follow or would want to give it a try? Do you want to add anything else to it? I would love to know.

 

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Travel

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I recently visit this small village. I’ve been to Whistler few times, but never explored Whistler mountains. However this time, I did it.  I saw the ‘Black-Comb suspension bridge,’ which has recently opened this summer. It was such a great experience! “The bridge spans from the Peak Chair across part of Whistler Bowl and ends at West Ridge.” It is considered as the highest spot of any suspension bridge in North America. It is 130 meters long with an elevation of 2000 meters. If you are looking for a doze of mountain therapy then this place is for you. It is an easy drive from Vancouver 2 – 2.5 hours only.

Have you explored this village? If so, what did you like the most about this place?

I am also planning two more trips for this summer, which I am excited about. What are your traveling plans for this summer?

 

Thanksgiving!

This is going to be a short blog entry. In light of recent events (what is going on in the world?), and thanksgiving weekend around the corner, I’ve been thinking of all the basic things I am thankful for that I may have taken for granted. My warm bed, family, food in my fridge, friends, my birds, my comfy shoes ( haha yes that deserves a mention!!).  I’ve literally been wearing them all week – simple things that I get to enjoy every day and grateful for all my small blessings.

What are some simple things you are thankful for that you usually take for granted?

 

 

How to be in a Beautiful State of Mind

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There are few motivational speakers that I enjoy listening to, and Tony Robbins is definitely one of them. He was here in my hometown last week for a talk, but I couldn’t make it. I watched his show later thanks to someone uploading it online. His talk inspired me in many ways, as usual, and as a result I decided to blog about it.

How to break free from a foggy state of mind?- follow these steps as suggested by Tony Robbins.

  1. Focus on your goals. What is it that you want? It is really important to focus on what matters to you and don’t allow yourself to think about things that don’t matter. Don’t focus on the negatives, but focus on the positives.

So, the first step is to know what you want.

  1. Take massive action – execution. Do something about your wants. Start somewhere and put on some work to get some results.
  2. Have believe and faith in your dream.  Believe in God. He calls it “GRACE.”

Now this may sound simple, but it is challenging for many to put their goals into action. When we take an action, we either accomplish our goals or we don’t. When that happens what do we do? We try again, again, and again until we accomplish what we are after. We eventually find a way to get the work done.

There are two different state of minds: lower and higher state. We tend to be happier and positive when we are at a higher state of mind. When we are in the lower state of mind, we often feel stressed, depressed and or anxious. When you think negatively, it puts you in a lower state of mind. When you are in a higher state of mind, you achieve your goals. You usually gain victory and success, but there is no self-fulfillment. You are not content from inside. We are accomplishing our goals and getting things done, but there is no inner peace or happiness. When this happens we do things what seems to be right or do things for the sake of others. And in the process, we forget about ourselves. There is no self-fulfillment because we are too busy making others happy that we tend to forget about our own happiness. What Tony suggests is that we shouldn’t be in higher or lower state, but to be in a ‘beautiful state’ of mind. A beautiful state of mind means being happy with the outcome. It’s okay to think about one’s happiness as well. It is a well known fact that you can’t make everyone happy, so might as well do things that will put your heart at ease. People often mistake achievement with happiness. I liked the saying that goes “Don’t achieve to be happy, but happily achieve your goals.” It is very true if you think about it, we chase our dreams and goals with the intention that if we accomplish our goals then we will be happy. We often think, once I get that job then I will be happy. Do you think that to be true? Wrong! Just accomplishing goals cannot bring true fulfillment and happiness. There is more to it.  It is important to have a purpose in life. To gain internal happiness, we should always be in a state of gratitude.

We don’t have control over what people say or do, but we have control over how we react to it. Lastly,  I would like to end this post with my favorite line from Tony, “trade your expectations with appreciation,” and I couldn’t agree more.

His piece of work was definitely stimulating for me, I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I did.

 

 

 

Norvan Falls & Cypress Falls

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Summer 2017 is the year to explore BC – go on hikes, and chasing waterfalls. I have lived in B.C long enough, but it is a pity that I didn’t get to explore these hidden gems long ago. I have a newfound love for waterfalls. I was so excited to get to these falls and to spend some time with nature.

Norvan falls, Cleveland dam and Cypress falls were on top of my list to visit for many reasons – they are well known hiking trails and they are close to home.  They are easily accessible via public transportation, which makes it even more appealing.

Norvan Falls is a spectacular waterfall hike located in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, in North Vancouver. There are two trails that takes you there: Cedars Mill Trail and Lynn Headwaters Trail. My friend and I decided to take the longer trail via Lynn headwaters, which is 16km round trip – approximately 5 hours trip. It was an amazing experience. Glad we took the longer trail – it was scenic and we experienced beautiful forest view. This trail is rocky, but the hike itself is not steep or too bumpy but it is a long walk. I remember asking other hikers for the distance and how far more to hike to get to our destination – which was Norvan falls (though there were signs indicating the distance in km, but we didn’t seem to notice it at first). It took us approximately 2.5 hrs. to get to our destination.

As soon as I reached to the waterfall – I took off my shoes and couldn’t wait to dip my toes into the icy river. It felt so good because I was extremely exhausted. It was a perfect spot to rest. And I was glad my friend liked the place as much I did because I sort of  made her to hike with me.

On the way, back we hiked the shorter trail via Cedars Mill Trail, which was a flat hike.

Cypress Falls – this is a short hike in West Vancouver. The trail is very close to the city, yet one gets to experience such a beautiful forest view. I was shocked to see a forest so near to the city.  I hiked this trail on my own, so I was more self aware and mindful of where I was headed. I saw few small waterfalls and the hike is relatively short compare to Norvan falls. I also enjoyed the great forest view as you pass through the woods, and I found the trails to be wider and bumpy. Also, trails are not marked and so it can get quite messy and difficult because you don’t know where you are going. It is easy to get lost, I suppose, so it’s better not to hike it alone. Though I liked the lush green forest and the fact that it was less crowded. It was also a perfect spot to meditate while enjoying a quiet and peaceful walk.

Cleveland dam is another great place to hike and to be in the presence of nature. Again this hike gets you to couple waterfalls, but you only get to see them from a distance, and it is a short hike. I noticed different trails, but they were all marked, so it was easy to follow through. And the hike was flat.

My overall experience, I loved them all.

What is your favorite hiking trail in B.C or outside B.C? Share in the comments below.

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Norvan Falls

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Norvan Falls

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Cypress Falls

 

 

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Cleveland Dam

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How I am Preparing for 2016: The Importance of Goal Setting

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I think, goal making requires our conscious decision of what it is that we want to achieve –  a change in our behavior? Improving our quality of life? Whatever is the reason, the truth is that small and realistic goals are easy to achieve, and they are often measurable. Our goal don’t have to be vague. The simpler it is, the better.

But why writing our goal is such an important practice? Because writing thoughts down on a paper creates a sense of awareness into our minds, and it puts it into perspective for us.

 Here’s my short-term goals for 2016. Also, sharing them here will help me achieve my goals, and I can hold myself accountable for it.

…some food for thought:

1. To start my day early & be more productive
I am not a morning person, but I always wanted to be one. And, so the goal for me is to hopefully turn into one– why is that important? Well, because it is. I can dedicate a whole new post about the benefits of waking up early, so I’ll leave that for now. But here’s why I want to start my day early: To meditate; to plan my day better; to eat breakfast; and to read for 15 to 20 minutes, before I start work. And yes it is possible because I have tried it, it isn’t going to be easy in the beginning, but with practice it can get better.

2. To exercise
I always wanted to stay active. I am going to set aside 1.5 to 2 hours a day for my workouts in the evening – we are not perfect let’s face it, and I have my days too when I don’t want to hit the gym or go for a walk, but I’ll make sure to make time for it. The idea is to find an activity that you really enjoy.

But really, we shouldn’t be limited to going to the gym only or running outside. There are great workout videos on YouTube that you can watch. On my lazy days, I do two sets of 5 minute ab workout at home when I am not in the mood to go to the gym. You can find many such 5 minute clips on YouTube. It is fun, it is easy to follow, and you don’t have to step out.

Having said that, I feel blessed to have access to a gym closer to where I live now.

3. To meditate
I am practicing mindfulness – it is work in progress, but hoping one day I can master it. I will use this time to reflect on the past. And look how far I’ve come along. I will also be using this time to stay in the present and appreciate life for what it is. As the saying goes, our pasts shape our future, and so there are no regrets in life but just learning. This is what I believe. I am a product of my experiences, they shape us into who we are today; and if it wasn’t for these experiences, we wouldn’t been the kind of persons we are today. As I always say, having a perspective is vital. I think a person without one is someone living life in a bubble –  and too afraid to let go.

4. To read books
To find time to read as many books, and articles as I can. I am aiming to finish at least one or two books by the end of December 2015.

These are my short-term goals for the next couple months. I am hoping to build on this list as I move forward.

What are your short-term goals? How are you preparing for 2016? I would love to hear your thoughts. Comment below!

Exercising and Well-being

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Benefits of Exercising on Our Mental Well-being

It is no surprise that in general people are becoming more health conscious, and are looking after their well-being, and not just physically, but mentally also. We hear it all the time that exercising is good for us, but what is that really mean? We obviously exercise to keep fit, but I think it is important to look past that and to really understand the benefits of exercise on our overall well-being. Does exercising actually boosts our brains’ happy chemicals?

Research shows Yes!

1. Exercise helps with combating depression. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. Any kind of physical activity causes our brain to release these chemicals in a greater amount, and so we feel better mentally. Regular exercise has been proven to:

Reduce stress
Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression
Boost self-esteem
Improve sleep

Also, depressed adults have been proven to become better with a regular exercise, compare to adults who just rely on medications.

2. Exercise helps with our day to day productivity, I am sure there is no surprise there. A study was done to test the productivity of employees at work. The study discovered that employees who were incorporating exercise in their daily routines were more productive compared to those who didn’t exercise. Also the study showed that subjects that were active (like exercised few times a week) appeared to be calmer, and showed more patience and understanding towards their work colleagues.

3. Exercise also helps with creating new brain cells. Any sort of workout whether it is going for a run or doing your aerobic activity in general has been linked to creating new brain cells. Running gives birth to some neurons. As it was noted, (Click here) adults continue to grow new brains when they learn a new activity. A new review of the scientific literature, published in the journal of Trends in Cognitive Science, tells us that new cells can grow in the hippocampus, which is an area in the brain that is linked to memory and learning. So exercise has shown to help us grow new cells in that part of our brain. The literature also points out that sex and mating have also shown to grow new brain cells, in case you were wondering.

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4. Exercise also, as we know, improves our confidence and body image. Research indicates that a change in our diet, as well as including regular exercise routines have a positive impact on our body image.
5. It improves our overall strength and functionality- it is also linked to improving our memory and focus. Our brain changes in response to our environment, so when we learn something new, which involves something physical, it automatically changes the pattern of our brain. Study shows that when students are given a test after a 20 minute walk, their test scores improves by 10 percent.

What are some of the ways that help you stay active? What do you do for staying mentally fit?

I’ve constantly struggled with staying on top of my workouts. But I am aware of my problem, and as they say the first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. In my next blog I will share what I do to stay active; and share tips on the importance of making small goals.

For more juicy stuff on health and exercise, click the link below.

Shawn Stevenson