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LEAF MINDFULNESS WOMEN'S HEALTH

What you need to know about stress

about stress

Stress, the enemy of the modern woman. The truth is, not all stress is necessarily ‘bad’. Stress is a physical response of your body to an unexpected situation that causes the fight or flight response. It demands you kick into action and react. Sometimes that can be a good thing. The point at which stress goes from being that additional push to having a negative effect on your mind and body is when it becomes chronic. Chronic stressors include a variety of things such as an overload of work, financial difficulties, marital arguments, family problems or even the frustration of traffic jams. It is the cumulative effect of all the minor situations that you push down during the day, that end up summoning forth the stress monster.

How does stress really impact your body?

Chronic stress will weaken the immune system and cause high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and even heart disease. The impacts of stress on health vary amongst people, but what most have in common are feelings of anxiety, depression and sleep problems. Things that can greatly impact your everyday lifestyle and hinder you from fulfilling your true potential. Luckily, there are ways to combat stress and lessen its impact on your mind and body.

The first step is determining which physical aspects will make you more susceptible to stress. While we are unable to predict external stressors or create an emotional barrier that would be able to serve as protection, we can train our bodies to be better resistant to stress.

Leaf to the rescue!

Therefore, step one is becoming aware of which aspects of your physical health will impact your stress levels, and how.

A good tool for that is our health tracker, Leaf. It will track your activity, sleep, reproductive health and use the cumulative data to estimate your physical resistance to stress each day. It helps bring awareness as to which areas of your health have room for improvement, and how much each factor contributes to your decreasing stress resistance. Perhaps one of the best parts of the Leaf is that it doesn’t just stop there. It offers a way to de-stress, if you ever feel overwhelmed, in the form of meditations.

about stress

Meditate the stress away!

It’s possible you’re rolling your eyes now, or just very convinced that meditating isn’t for you. Many assume that they simply can’t meditate, because they don’t like what they are currently familiar with in terms of meditation. Maybe you just can’t relax when someone is talking, or you find it hard to clear your mind especially when someone else tells you to. Maybe you see no point in repeating some mantra all the time in your head because it just makes your mind wander away more. Everyone is unique, so why should the way everyone meditates be the same or similar?

The goal of meditation is to push other thoughts out of your head, and exist in the moment. Why is that important in relation to stress? Stress is caused by worrying about the future, about the way a current or past situation will impact the following days or even the next few hours. Which is why stress usually comes hand in hand with anxiety – creating additional worry about the future and your place in it, and depression – there to help you convince yourself of failure before you’ve even started. That’s why meditation is the perfect tool to fight stress away. Meditating will help you stay in the present, without overthinking about the future, and often once you’re done with your meditation things will seem a bit clearer and less dark.

Give it a chance!

Hopefully this has at least made you consider giving meditating an honest chance. Now, the trick to doing it successfully is finding what works for you. Audio guided meditations aren’t your thing? You don’t like continually repeating the same mantra in your head?

Have you tried playing ambient sounds and just focusing on your breathing? Sometimes that is all it takes, just taking deep breaths and relaxing with sounds that will take your mind away from the present. If you feel your thoughts drifting, don’t try to force yourself not to think. Focus on your breath, and let the inhale and exhale take over your mind. After a while your thoughts should start fading out.

Try this method the next time, or use it to find one that works for you. Meditation is for everyone, but not everyone meditates the same way.

About stress

The meditations in the Bellabeat app come in a variety of forms – those that are guided by a soothing voice, or simply 3D ambient sounds that can take you on your own journey. All meditations are monitored by the Leaf which tracks your breathing and determines the quality of meditation you’ve accomplished. You also have the ability set your own meditation goals and enhance them as you progress. A great tool to help you improve on your meditation step by step.

 

 

December 6, 2017
BELLABEAT LIFE MINDFULNESS

At Bellabeat we are thankful for…

Thankful for

When thinking of Thanksgiving for a lot of people the first thought might be food, or rather, the Thanksgiving feast. But the real meaning of Thanksgiving is in the word itself – giving thanks, and appreciating everything you have in life, especially your loved ones. It’s the time to try and look towards the good things in your life, even when you are having a hard time. Giving your gratitude and finding things to appreciate in your life, might end up making tomorrow a slightly brighter day to wake up into.

 

In this blog, we would like to share the things we are grateful for.

As a company, here at Bellabeat we are most grateful for YOU, our users. You are an infinite source of inspiration and motivation. We celebrate each success you achieve with the help or support of your Leaf as if it had happened to us. Without you, there would be no Bellabeat.

 

Thank you for your continued support, and the trust you have placed in us.

Thank you for being the very heart of our Bellabeat family.

Thank you for working on your health so persistently and never giving up on your goals. You are an inspiration.

 

Thankful for

Of course, since everyone is unique, we all have things we are grateful for in our own lives. We decided we would share some things the valuable members of our Bellabeat team are thankful for, and maybe help you find out even more things you can be grateful for in your life as well.

 

Some of the things our Bellabeat team members are grateful for are…

 

“Meeting new people and making lifelong friendships.”

“Getting to travel more and experiencing different surroundings and cultures.”

“I am thankful for being healthy, happy and alive. What more can you ask for?”

“For both the positive and negative experiences in this past year. Even the bad things taught me a lot about myself.”

“I am thankful for the freedom I have and the inner growth I achieved during the year.”

“I’m grateful for all the kind and humane strangers I met this year.”

“I’m thankful for the love I received from my boyfriend, family and friends.”

“I’m happy about getting a job here this year!”

“Super thankful for all the amazing, talented and passionate people I work with and all the things I learned from them in this year.”

“I am thankful for myself and that I never gave up no matter what happened to me. If I did I would have missed the good things. I’m also grateful for those good things.”

“I am thankful for every new day – whether there is sun, rain or clouds – because it gives me the chance to spend it with my loved ones and the opportunity to do something good.”

“For best friends. The friends that are there for you in good times and bad, without judgement. The ones that are my support when ever I need it.”

“I am thankful for music. It calms me down when I’m anxious, makes me happy when I’m sad and best of all, always inspires me.”

 

Thankful for

How about YOU? What are you grateful for?

Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

November 22, 2017
MINDFULNESS WOMEN'S HEALTH

Unhealthy habits gone in 3, 2, 1

Healthy woman with flower

One evening an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He explained that there are two wolves inside all people.

One of them is bad, and represent self-pity, resentment, inferiority. The other one is good and stands for joy, peace, and love.

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’

The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’

Woman running on beach

Which habit do you feed?

This story can be interpreted as a parable of good and bad choices we make, actions we do, and habits we “feed”.

I’m sure you’ve learned by now that repeatedly doing the same thing turns it into a habit. When you form a habit, there is no longer any need to think about it – you do it naturally. This can be anything from washing your hands as soon as you get home, to stretching first thing in the morning. Habits can come in pretty handy if they’re supportive habits that help you live at peace, save you time and make you feel happier. Picture yourself eating healthily automatically. Or a scenario in which working out becomes your second nature. Just imagine… But, in order to start developing a good habit, first we need to get rid of the bad ones – those that undermine us on our road to living the optimal way of life.

How to unlearn unhealthy habits?

Stage 1

In order to break a bad habit, we need to determine what that habit is. Even if there are more, start with one. Have a clear understanding of what that habit is and what makes it harmful to you. If you want to stay adamant in vanquishing it, go the extra mile and ask yourself these questions: Is this habit stopping me from achieving my goals? What kind of a person would I be if I kicked this habit? Are there any benefits of keeping this habits?

Stage 2

Let’s say that your habit is reaching for the cookie jar. Take notice of when you turn to your habit. Try to catch the thought that precedes your action. When does it usually happen? How do you feel in that moment? What type of situation makes you do it? Next, create a substitute action plan. Next time your hand goes for the sweet temptation, have a plan B planned: grabbing a glass of water, leaving the room and calling your friend, grabbing pen and paper and writing down the answer to the questions above.

Woman doing yoga

Stage 3

Go time. Now you know which triggers to be on the lookout for. When you catch your trigger thought/situation say stop out loud. This can be tricky if you’re surrounded by people, so in that case, count to 10. Not 3, not 7, 10. This will give you time to reassess. Next, divert your mind and replace your usual habit with your plan B action. If one doesn’t cut it, go for the next one. In case the need doesn’t stop, think of all the benefits losing this habit brings. Switch perspectives – you’re trying out something new, and that is a wonderful experience. Take the first step, see that is can be done. Then take another one, see what lies beyond. Your fear will soon give way to curiosity.

Stage 4

Stop beating the drum of what makes you feel bad and start deliberately focusing on the things that make you feel good. On the occasions you succeed, allow yourself to feel good and empowered. On the occasions you don’t succeed, accept it and remember you’ve taking quite an undertaking. One failure does not define you, get back on your feet and be even more determined next time. This ongoing encouragement will help you feed the good wolf inside you and the unhealthy habit is bound to disappear.

Stage 5

Focus on empowering yourself. You are NOT your habit. You did not always have this habit, and you can be free of it again. You can create greater peace, confidence and a more positive outlook by learning how to manage your thoughts. After all, you can do whatever you set your mind to because you have the power of choice. Seize it and see where it takes you.


November 14, 2017
MINDFULNESS

Learn to meditate, and find your zen

Learning to Meditate

You’ve probably heard us mentioning meditation and how much we love it. (Here, we said it again, in case you missed it the first 100 times!) But meditation doesn’t always come as easily to everyone. Maybe you’re just sceptical and think there’s nothing a little meditating can do for you. Perhaps you tried it once or twice, decided that clearing your mind of worries or thoughts of the dinner menu is entirely impossible, and deemed anyone able to do that as someone who clearly doesn’t worry much in life. Hey, you’re not alone. Meditating doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people, even during your sleep your mind is working so trying to actively stop it from thinking might seem like a long shot.

 

However we like to believe that everyone can learn to meditate. It doesn’t have to be the same way everyone else meditates, the point of meditation is to relax and connect your mind and body, and find your own best way to do so. You have to start somewhere though, so here are some suggestions we learned while teaching ourselves how to meditate.

 

Come up with your own mantra.

You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s a really good technique that helps you in keeping your mind clear from thoughts. Think of a short mantra, it can be one word, or a few words, that you will repeat in your head while meditating. The thing is that it’s easy for the mind to wander. Maybe you decide that your mantra of choice is ‘Love’ and then 4 minutes into meditating, that ex you really don’t want to think about just pops into your head and there goes your zen. Try to choose a word you don’t feel would cause your mind to associate any worries to. Or our suggestion would be – choose a mantra on a different language. This will make it easier for you to keep repeating it, without your brain immediately connecting the dots with 20 other worries currently plaguing your mind.

 

Don’t try to forcefully empty your mind or push out your thoughts.

As mentioned, it can be easy for our brains to wander. This will also be more likely to occur the less you’ve practiced meditating before. Your brain is not used to relaxing so relaxing is something you need to teach your brain as well. The trick is not to try and dissuade yourself from thinking something once the thought pops up in your head. Telling yourself to stop thinking something is counter productive. First, it will just make you think about it more. And secondly, even if it doesn’t you’re already filling your mind with the thought ‘Don’t think about XY!’ which instantly defeats the purpose. So what do you do when this happens? Keep silently repeating your mantra in the same pattern you had been repeating it in before. The thoughts should fade out eventually.

Learning to meditate

Try out different meditations.

We’ve done our best to provide a variety of meditations you can try in the Leaf app. We have audio guided 3D meditation exercises – this means that a soothing voice will paint a relaxing picture for you, and all you have to do is close your eyes and visualize. Not everyone is big on visualization, or maybe someone else telling you what to visualize is cramping your style – not to worry, we have a way for you to meditate as well! There are a few 3D meditations that are not audio guided, but rather sound effects based on your choice of exercise. This gives you the chance to play one of the meditations while repeating your own mantra in your mind. Give this a try and see if it works for you!

 

Make sure you are sitting in a comfortable and quiet location.

Your surroundings are very important. It will make a huge difference if you have a lot of background noises around you or a lot of people moving in the background. These will distract you and cause your focus to break, not to mention ruin the experience. Make sure you are alone in a quiet space, and that you are sitting somewhere comfortably. Creating the right mood is key to everything in life – including meditation.

 

Those are a few tips that we gathered while learning how to meditate. We hope they will help you reach your zen the same way they have helped us.

 

And remember that there is one very important factor to meditating – you need to actually believe in it. When you give it a try you need to leave any scepticism on the side and go into it with an open mind and an open heart. If you’re not ready to approach meditating before eye rolling into tomorrow, it won’t work for you, no matter how hard you try. However if you approach it with curiosity and belief, it might just do wonders for you.

Learn to meditate

September 26, 2017
MINDFULNESS WOMEN'S HEALTH

How to keep your cool when people try to push your buttons

How to keep your cool

We all have those moments when someone pushes you too far. All that goes through your head is ‘I’m done’ and you just want to toss everything to the ground, throw a peace sign in the air and take a vacation from life.

Most times though, the above is not a plausible scenario. Here’s how it really goes down : Your face turns red, you grit your teeth so hard you get nicknamed Beaver, and when you’re away from the people that cause this frustration you explode on everything and everyone that is near. Worst case scenario, you can’t hold it in long enough and end up exploding on the person who is likely most deserving to get burned by your flames – and then you have to deal with the consequences. Which are rarely pleasant.

 

Here’s some advice on how to calm yourself, when people push all your red buttons.

 

Breathe.

You were breathing when someone made you angry and yet here you are, fuming, despite ‘Just breathe’-ing like everyone seems to tell you. We can understand how sceptical that might make you, but the trick is to not just breathe but be aware of your breathing. Take a few deep long breaths, and only focus on your inhale and your exhale. You should feel at least a bit of tension release from your body. That is because taking deep breaths oxygenates the blood, which causes our brain to release endorphins. In turn, these endorphins help reduce stress in the body and even decrease levels of pain. Best part? You can do this anytime, anywhere. You’re in a meeting, and your colleagues or boss are being really hard on you? Just take some time to ‘think’, take a few deep breaths and hopefully that will make it easier to place that fake smile on your face.

 

Vent it out.

When people put you down, or anger you – especially when you think it was unwarranted and that they are in the wrong – it can be hard to keep the Mother of all angry word vomits from escaping your lips. You have so much you want to say, but maybe you’re not able to say it – because the consequences are too big. Keeping your opinion in will drive you crazy. Your brain will obsess about it, you’ll just keep finding more and more reasons why you’re right and they’re wrong, your anger will keep building up (instead of dissipating) and eventually that word vomit will come out after all. The trick to stopping this is venting. Is there a friend of colleague that has a similar issue, or has experienced similar problems? Talk to them about it! They will understand you, they’ll maybe even agree with you, and it will ease some of the tension from your back. Then again, maybe you don’t like talking about your issues, or feel like you would just be burdening others. Well, there’s a solution for you as well! How about writing a letter to the person, or people, that caused your frustrations? Address everything in this letter, whatever you wished you could just say to their face. By the time you write the last word, you’ll feel much less angry. Just don’t make the mistake of accidentally sending this letter out! It’s for your eyes only.

 

How to keep your cool

Accept your emotions.

If someone is hard on you, since you can’t be hard back towards them, you’re hard towards yourself as well. You might blame yourself for getting so worked up and letting other people get to you. But hey, you’re human! You have emotions, and you weren’t built to just nod meekly to everything in life. You have your own opinions and ideas, so of course, if someone else devalues this, you will feel defensive and hurt. Finding ways to blame yourself for that will just make a bad situation worse. Accept your feelings, and validate them. But not just that, find their cause – why are you feeling frustrated? It’s not just because someone said something – you either expected more from them, or from yourself. Define the source of your feelings, and they’ll be a little easier to handle.

 

Don’t overthink it.

It’s easy to spin out of control when you’re upset. Your mindset just goes as dark as your mood, and you only think of the worst case scenarios. Everything that could go wrong has already played out inside of your head, and now you’re not just angry and frustrated, but also worried, depressed and self-deprecating – which will also deplete your energy and make you lose your creativity and motivation. All in all, don’t overthink stuff! Take it easy, and only deal with the present – the future hasn’t happened yet, so there’s no point in trying to become an Oracle and predict it. You are in charge, and your future is not set in stone, so the only thing you need to consider is the current situation, and how you can improve it. It’s easy to think negatively, but being positive requires effort, determination and a dash of hope.

 

Visualize and compartmentalize.

For some reason, most of us feel that having one issue to deal with isn’t enough – why not just pile up 10 more, and make it a party! It’s mostly subconscious and almost automatic. When someone points out one thing that is wrong, you, as a dedicated critic, will be able to come up with at least a dozen more. There’s a trick we hope might be able to help with that, but it will only work if you’re able to visualize things. We will share an example, but it is best to find a visualization that is personal to you and so it will be easier for you to imagine the scenario.
Close your eyes and take deep breaths. Imagine that you are in a huge room, full of various drawers and all of your concerns and frustrations are separated in those drawers. Each of them has only one issue for you to deal with. Only one concern. Only one insecurity. Only one critique. Take deep breaths and look around the room, and then firmly open just one drawer and let one of your worries out. Once you have assessed this worry, and came to terms with it, open another one. Things will be easier to deal with if you divide and conquer, and they might not seem as big and bad as they do when they all come at you at once.

 

Take a break.

You deserve it! While we can’t take a break from life in general, we can take a break from things in life at least for a few short moments. Do a meditation to just relax your mind and let it wander a bit. Take a short walk and reach to accomplish your goal in the Leaf app – a victory, no matter how small, is exactly what you need. Or sit down, breathe some fresh air, close your eyes and just focus on the sounds and smells around you. Overwhelm your brain with different sensations to identify, rather than different problems.

 

How to keep your cool

Find your happy.

We all have something that brings us happiness. Maybe that’s family or a friend. Maybe it’s a precious pet, though let’s be honest, they count as family too. Maybe it’s a hobby that always brings a smile to your face. Or maybe there’s just that one song that will make any day more bearable. Whatever makes you happy, even if it’s something small, take a few minutes of your time to do them. If it’s friends or family, call them. If it’s your cute pet, look at a few pictures and remind yourself you’ll be home to see them soon. Maybe it’s music, so just play your favorite song and just ignore the world around you for a while. Doing something that makes you happy, will keep the feeling somewhere in the back of your mind even when you have to face reality again. A short burst of happiness in your day will also lessen the anger and frustration you felt earlier.

 

Forgiveness.

Forgive doesn’t mean forget. To forgive means letting go of the anger so that it doesn’t consume you. It means distancing yourself from someone else’s opinion and creating a clear line between what you think and know and what someone else thinks. And it means accepting that they view the world differently than you and have different opinions – that you don’t have to agree with. Forgiving will lessen the anger and give you the air of being calm and collected – which means you won’t have to fake your composure. Why is this important? If people are able to see that you are emotional about something and that they can get under your skin, they will start to doubt you more. In their eyes, being able to rattle you will mean you were insecure from the start and that you don’t believe in yourself – which is especially bad in a professional environment. However, if you present your case in a composed way, it will show that you are sure of your opinion and are able to stand by it calmly – even when under attack. Best case scenario, this might even make the other person reconsider what you have to say.

 

Even if you follow this advice, there is no guarantee you will be able to keep your cool next time. Emotions are tricky, and there is no simple equation or theory that will help contain them or reign them in.

 

Luckily, practice makes perfect! If you practice these tips repeatedly, stress and frustration will be easier to handle, and eventually you’ll be able to stay cool no matter which buttons were pushed.

September 20, 2017