What do you really want to change about your life? How could you do it?

Happy New Year!
I haven’t written in awhile. I am not entirely sure how to share my content here so, more people see it. I also have been going through a phase where I do not really have much to say. To get a bit of a inspiration, I found a random writing prompt generator today. Linked at the end. The prompt that came up was quite relevant: “what do you really want to change about your life? how could you do it?”. The question is a bit heavy but, I found it to be relevant with the New Year.

New Year brings a burst of inspiration. We’re motivated and fired up. The “high” of this motivation may last a week or two at most but, eventually it wears off. Then we go back to our routines again. Back to binging T.V. shows, food, and other things that are not so great for our well-being. Not so great things are comfortable though. They are familiar and easy. They provide momentary comfort. They give us enough of a hit that we keep repeating the cycle. But, underneath that comfort crawls with regret, self-doubt, and humiliation. This manifests into self-loathing and we’re back to repeating the cycle again.

This year, what I really want to change is to be more disciplined. I want to be disciplined enough to follow through with long term goals. Sacrificing that brief brush with comfort to long term happiness. I want to stay committed to my goals and plans. I also want to have more self-control in general. I tend to be a bit impulsive. I eat what I want and I do whatever I want at the moment. Lately, I have realized that there needs to be a clear distinction on what you feel like doing isn’t necessarily what you should be doing. I plan on doing things that my future self will thank me for.

How do I plan on doing it? I am not sure yet. I know in terms of doing work, I need to silence my phone, have a designated work space, and really make sure to do the work that needs to be completed. Right now, my goal is to spend at least 2 – 3 hours on my coding bootcamp so, that is a measurable goal that I plan on working on.

What do you really want to change about your life? How could you do it?

Generate a writing prompt here: http://writingexercises.co.uk/subjectgenerator.php

 

Rise of Self-Care Apps

If you’re living in 2018 – you have probably heard how important self-care is. As the stigma towards mental health issues slowly decreases and there is more of a focus on taking care of yourself – it has created a market for self-care apps. I personally love and use many as a part of my daily routine. Ranging from the default “Health” app on my iPhone to Calm, Headspace, and Mend. All of these apps play a role in making my life a bit easier and my cell phone an actual productive and a healthy tool for my life.

This got me thinking in regards of the exciting trend of increased self-care apps in the market. According to Tech Crunch, top 10 self-care apps in the U.S. earned $15 million in combined iOS and Android revenue. The projected growth in self-care apps in 2018 were listed as 804 for iOS and 2,640 for Android.[1] This focus on mental health, self-care, and mindfulness appears to be a trend that is being noticed by Apple and other companies as well. Personally, as someone who is oversaturated with content from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms, having Apps that allow you to disconnect from that space and take care of yourself is really revolutionary and innovative. I believe the trend of increase in this space will continue as more people realize the importance of self-care as well as disconnection from constant stimulation from social media platforms. In addition, various researchers have also cited passive use of Facebook (i.e. mindless scrolling we’re all guilty of) can cause a mental health risk. [2]

With this surge of the demand (people willing to pay for or actively seek for self-care) and the need (more threats to mental health such as social media as well as constant stimulation) – are Venture Capital firms willing to back these type of apps?

It turns out that the VC world has been aware of this market and investment in mental health space has jumped from 7 companies in 2009 to 30 deals as of June 2018. One of the biggest player in this space is the Calm app which raised $27 million in Series A funding from Insight Venture Partners as well as Ashton Kutcher’s Second Ventures. According to Pitchbook, 2018 was on pace to seeing more than $500 million funding invested in the mental health tech space. [3]

This is a really exciting time for both users of the various apps as well as companies that are providing these products. A shift towards self-care can only benefit society and increase overall social good. I am looking forward to seeing where the VC funding will be like at the end of 2018 for this space as well as how revenue models work for these companies. I am sure it will take balancing between creating more access but, also creating a profitable products to ensure continuance in VC support.

 

[1] https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/02/self-care-apps-are-booming/

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/dec/15/facebook-mental-health-psychology-social-media

[3] https://pitchbook.com/news/articles/a-look-at-the-boom-in-vc-funding-for-mental-health-startups

Is Closure a Requirement?

Closure.

You probably have heard of that at some point in your life. Maybe you got your heartbroken and spent many nights wanting for closure. Or, maybe you broke someone’s heart and they requested you for a closure that you weren’t able to provide. Both parts are difficult and wanting closure is a very normal thing.

A lot of conversations about breakups revolve around closure. People often say things like “of course you’re hurt, you didn’t have any closure!” which leads us to believe that closure will be the key to fixing our broken heart. We look for closure as if it will provide a light to our darkness and maybe some sort of remedy to our pain. We seek that explanation that would fix everything – a neat conclusion to our story that would allow us to turn the page and move on.

But, that isn’t reality. Our world is not black and white. Any explanation that is provided will not suffice and will not be enough to move on.

That leads us to think, is closure imperative to move on?  Is it like the final ribbon we need to add to our relationship to completely wrap it up and be done with it? Will it alleviate our heartbreak?

I am here to tell you that closure is not real and you do not need closure to move on. And, even better than that – that is a GOOD thing.

Not requiring closure puts you in control. You are not waiting for permission from someone to be able to move on. You can do that all by yourself.

When I think of my previous relationship, there are times where I have wanted to ask my ex for a closure. I wanted to send that text and wait for a response. I wanted to ask why or how could he move on so quickly. But, the more honest I was with myself – the more I realized that what I wanted was not closure, what I wanted was contact. I was holding on to some type of relationship that I still had with my ex. That request for closure would lead to a conversation and would reassure me that at one point we did have something. It would ensure that even if he was not in my life anymore, I could still hold on to some shred of relationship that we had together.

So, whenever you want closure – ask yourself – do you want closure or do you want contact?

Are you doing everything in your power to have some type of relationship with your ex? Even if it is toxic, one-sided, and painful – are you holding on to that as a way of reassuring yourself that you are still a part of their life? If so, please give yourself permission to let go. Tell yourself that you are more than capable of moving on from something without a formal closure. That you have all the tools that you need to let go of a relationship.

Overall, please be reassured that you do not need contact with your ex to survive. You can gracefully let go of a relationship. It seems difficult but, it is the best thing you can do for yourself and also for your ex. Imagine you wanting to let go of a relationship and someone forcing you to stay in it. How difficult would that be for you? Give the gift of grace & let them freely live their life. They deserve to do that and in return, you will be free to live your life in your own accord.

Healing is a choice & closure is not required here at all.

Spur of Happiness

Do you ever randomly get happy?

I went to the gym after work yesterday and a shameless target run. While I was done with my work-out, I could see a flurry of snow through the street light outside of my gym. Then on my drive, I listened to all the ratchet music that I could possibly listen to (don’t judge) and I just stayed in the parking lot admiring the snow. I could see the streetlight reflecting the flecks of snow on my dashboard and I felt happy.

Do you ever get scared that happiness is fleeting?

Right when I was happy for no reason, I also got scared that it might be a delusion. Was I just being oblivious to my problems and pretending to be happy? Would I lose this feeling and mourn it forever? I wanted to hold on to the feeling and didn’t want to forget it. I don’t think happiness is an illusion. Even if it comes from utter insanity, delusion or some sort of an accident – I think we should savor these moments of happiness.

I am so grateful that I got to feel that yesterday. I still have that lingering feeling today and I hope to hold on to it as long as it stays with me and I am ready to let go of it when it wants to leave.

 

 

Self-Love Equals Enlightenment?

Self-love comes up over and over again when you’re trying to get over a heartbreak. People will tell you that to love someone else – you must love yourself. It is cliché but, for a reason. Self-love is crucial to not only fixing your heartbreak but, also to being at peace with yourself. If you think about it, you are the most constant thing in your life. You have your family and your community but, your relationship to these external factor depend solely on your relationship to yourself. We should put as much effort to our relationship to self as we do to external relationships.

Recently, I watched a video by Teal Swan on YouTube. She talks about how self-love is the shortest path to enlightenment. She encourages everyone to ask this one question whenever you are faced with a decision: “What would someone who loves themselves do?” This question should be the guiding factor in how we treat ourselves.

What would someone who loves themselves do after a heartbreak? Would they wallow in their pain or would they try to move on gracefully? What would someone who loves themselves do with their finances? Would they spend recklessly or only make mindful purchases?

This question can be a guiding factor in how we move in life. When we treat ourselves with kindness and love – we can move on from the negative to our purpose. I plan on using this question with many decisions I face.

One thing I will say about this is that the answer to that question isn’t always the easy thing. You might be tempted to answer that question by saying “someone that loves themselves would take a bath and drink wine every night!” J ….and sometimes that is the answer. But, I think the answers might not always be what we want to hear. It might be difficult things we face. It might be choosing to make that cold call, choosing to finishing that assignment we procrastinated on, choosing to confront someone, and moving away from things that do not serve us.

Good luck with your self love journey.

Teal Swan’s video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQHv75ahYDQ

An App for Heartbreak?

After going through a fairly terrible heartbreak this Summer, I was on a quest to find a solution. I am a fairly logical person and I think break-ups are a part of life. Still, an end of a 6 year relationship was too devastating to use logic (even for me). I spent a lot of my time googling “how to get over a heartbreak” and listening to countless hours of YouTube videos. Some of them advocated for posting your best selfies in Instagram to show how well you’re doing without your ex and some just concluded only time could heal wounds.

I didn’t like either of those ways.

Yes, time is the only thing that heals breakups but, there are ways to cope with it that are much more healthier. Break-up is an obstacle we face that may cause us to feel extreme emotional pain. This pain needs to be taken seriously and be dealt with in the most healthiest way possible.

That is when I found Mend. Mend is a self-care app that helps people with heartbreak. Each day you go into the app and listen to a snippet that explains how we may be feeling. The person who reads the snippet to you has the most soothing voice ever (which helps). Mend was created by Elle Huerta who herself went through a difficult break-up and wanted a more healthier and better way to deal with heartbreak. And, she’s a Latina. Like, how perfect? 🙂

I have been using Mend for over a week and it truly helps me start my day off correctly. Whenever I listen to the daily lesson, it reminds me that my pain is not unprecedented. We all have gone through similar pains and heartbreaks. We have all dealt with difficulties. Although there might not be a pill to take and completely bypass our feelings – there are healthier ways to deal with heartbreaks. You do not have to succumb to resentment or anger and you can actually learn to be grateful for your ex (plays thank u, next by Ariana Grande).

Mend helps me take a better approach to heartbreak. I do not want to be a victim. I do not want to be bitter. I want to let go of my relationship gracefully with love and kindness. That is exactly what Mend is helping me do.

Despite all this, it would be careless for me to not mention how difficult the process actually is. There are days where I fall victim to the occasional social media stalking. There are days I cry myself to sleep at night. There are many days where I have to catch myself from crying at my desk at work. The pain is real and that is okay. We can accept the pain and treat the pain with kindness and love. We can embrace the pain and use healthy tools like Mend to help us heal in the way.

Happy healing.

Mend: https://www.letsmend.com/

Elle Huerta: https://www.instagram.com/ellenhuerta/?hl=en

Not anyway sponsored by Mend…..I wish though =)

Change

Is this the end of the year that is causing this feeling or is it just me? I have a strong inclination to change my life. Everything feels too familiar, comfortable, and close. I feel the need to be stripped away from who I am right now and start all over again. I feel the desire to get away from home, the same routine, the same job, and start fresh. Something feels missing. Something feels like it needs to be pulled away and ripped away from deep inside of me. Maybe it is sadness, maybe it is heartbreak, maybe it is old habits….whatever it is, I want to purge it out of my system. I want to escape somewhere new. I want to change my life. I want to get to a point where I feel free…and liberated and maybe even happy? I tell myself I am happy all the time. I am happy. I am grateful for what I have but, I cannot fight this need I feel for a new start. I imagine going home tonight after work and it makes me feel disgusted….not because there is anything wrong with my home. I love my home and my family but, just going to the same place makes me feel like my raw skin is exposed to the world. I feel like I cannot escape this sameness of everyday.

I looked for some ways I can change. Some new habits I can implement. I am writing it here so, maybe I will be inspired to do these things in the coming months.

  • Meditate: every self-help book, every motivational speaker, every corner of the internet has told me to meditate. I am so scared to be left alone with my thoughts that I avoid meditating. I am scared of my pain. I am getting more comfortable with this so, I will try to meditate at least 5 minutes per day. Even if I suck in the beginning – I will make it a habit.

 

  • Work out: I have been really good at working out and it has made my mental health much better. I will continue this trend and try to work out at least 15 – 20 days a month. Every other day.

 

  • Read: Reading has given me so many tools this year. I have really become a better person by just reading so, I will continue to read every day for 30 minutes.

 

  • Travel: This is a big one. It is so cliché but, I have been dying to travel. I think I need an escape and I know travelling has always soothed my soul. I have an intense desire to get away from it all. Go somewhere far way. I will travel at least 3 times. I will travel alone.

 

  • Gratitude: I will practice gratitude each day after work.

 

  • Work hard: Yes….changing your life requires hard work. I took the first step and signed up for a coding bootcamp this year so, I can finally transition out of my current job. I will practice coding every day for 3 hours for 6 months. 3 hours every single day with no excuses.

 

  • Less YouTube / Less Netflix: I will stop watching YouTube and Netflix mindlessly. I tracked my time on YouTube this week and by Thursday, I had spent 22 hours watching YouTube videos. That is almost an entire day. Granted, I listen to things on the background while I do work but, I could listen to positive things. Instead, I watch mind numbing negative content.

 

  • Stop Numbing Myself: Numbing comes in many forms…. For me, it is constant stimulation to the point that I cannot be alone. I need music, background noise, social media at all times to feel “okay”. I use all these to numb myself from how I am feeling. To completely disregard my emotions and thoughts. I need to STOP numbing. How can I do that? I am not really sure yet but, I think less time with mindless content and more time just being silent will help.

 

  • Mindful with Shopping: I have been spending A LOT of money. I think I use it as an escape. I think I use it to distract myself. I get a high whenever I get an Amazon prime delivery. My goal is to NOT spend any money on frivolous things for 3 months. That includes make-up, personal care items, and even books. I will buy a journal but, that is about it. No more spending sprees on Amazon. No more buying things when I am sad. No more spending money just because.

 

  • Move: Last one….I have an inclination to move. I hope it happens soon. I don’t know how or where….but, I want to MOVE away for at least a year.

 

 

Have you changed your life? If so, how did you do it?

 

Alma.

Man’s Search For Meaning

Lately, I have been reading more. This year, I have read 14 books and they have all changed my viewpoint / thinking in one way or another. Reading really makes us realize that we aren’t alone and our pain is mostly universal. I recently read a book that changed my thinking profoundly. The book is called “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl.

Viktor Frankel was an Australian neurologist / psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. He survived three Nazi concentration camps including Auschwitz. The struggles in his life are obviously hard to compare. When he was released from the camp, he found out his entire family including his wife was killed in concentration camps. Being passionate about neurology, he writes honestly about his thought process and mindset surviving one of the most horrific times in history.

The book is a gem and it will take forever to summarize the message it conveys but, I have summarized what I have learned and what resonated with me.

  1. You cannot control what happens to you but, you can control your response: You cannot control what happens in life and the injustices you will endure. Maybe you will be a victim of a horrific crime such as Mr. Frankl himself or face other tragedies in life like death of a loved one, a broken heart, failure in a job, an accident, and many others. These tragedies can make us extremely bitter and broken or they can be used as transformative tools to make us better human beings. We can use our pain in a way that allows us to be successful and happy. Sometimes the most horrific things we go through sets up us to be who we didn’t think we were capable of being and in turn makes us more understanding, empathetic and overall better human beings.

 

  1. Suffering is a necessary part of life: Suffering exists with life. We cannot avoid suffering and happiness cannot be attained without suffering. Suffering here does not mean self-inflicted pain (he strongly encourages you to avoid suffering if possible) but, when you do suffer – it is actually a good thing. A blessing in disguise of some sort. He says that a person isn’t supposed to be “free from suffering” rather, he should suffer for a meaningful or a freely chosen goal. Only then, can he truly be happy. This pursuit of “meaning” leads us to happiness.

 

  1. Serving others leads you to find yourself: Transcendence of self is the only way to reach enlightenment. You can meditate and be spiritual as long as you want but, if you do not dedicate your life in pursuit of making it better for someone else – enlightenment is hard to obtain. Be selfless and enlightenment will find you. I agree with this partially but, I think self-love and self-care goes hand in hand. We cannot serve others if we’re not happy in the first place.

These are just small things I learned from the book. The book is profound and I encourage everyone to read it.

If you have read it – what were the lessons you learned from it?

Alma.

Opening Up

One of my favorite rappers is J.Cole. I have loved him since his mixtape days and his way with words just touches my soul. He also seems so real and authentic– I can’t explain it. Maybe it’s his hustle or his commitment to stay true to himself. He has had my heart since Friday Night Lights and he still does. He recently featured on a 6LACK song called “Pretty Little Fears”. The first part of his verse just touches my soul.

“I’m lovin’ your light, vulnerable
Lettin’ your guard down, it’s honorable
‘Specially when the past ain’t been that
Friendly to you but there’s magic in that”

The whole song is magical but, these lines just touch my soul. I think it is because I have always been scared of opening up to people. Instead of wearing my heart on my sleeve, I think I wear my toughness on my sleeve. I don’t let people in and I think I am almost proud of the fact on how long it takes me to open up to people. From now on, I really want to commit to opening up and being more vulnerable. I want to be more open to having fun, talking to random people, and being more easy with life. I don’t think it’s an honor to be closed off to the world or it’s some type of a bragging right. I think it shows weakness and fear. I don’t want to be weak or fearful. I want to jump. I want to be more open and forthcoming. I want to be seen although, even typing that makes me cringe. I tend to hide or be to myself as much as possible. I keep to my guard high up. Even when I am walking down the street, I cover myself under a jacket or something – a hideout from the world.

This year, I really want to be more open and vulnerable. I want to let people in and be more comfortable with living my life. Be more authentic and more free.

Here is to flying.

Alma.

 

Daily Routine

Lately, I have been trying a daily routine. Waking up at 5 AM was a bit difficult for me but, I still thought of the main things I wanted to accomplish each day along with having a productive day at my job:

  • Read for 30 mins everyday
  • Work out everyday
  • Do one productive thing non-work related but, career focused each day
  • Practice Gratitude
  • Meditate

I have been doing all 4 except for the meditate part. I haven’t yet gotten into meditation yet but, I am trying to get there. These few things I do each day has played a part in how I feel. Literally, all self-help books and motivational gurus say to do these things. It’s funny how we know exactly what to do but, we still avoid it. Why do we delay things that may actually make us happy? Like, why can’t I just sit down and learn how to meditate? Everyone has said it will make me feel better.

Here is to pushing ourselves to do things that we know will help us and stop this process of self-sabotage.

Alma.

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