Falling Off Track in College

Back home I was super disciplined and lowkey had my life figured out. My mornings were something that I took immense pleasure in because they were structured and gave me clarity. I enjoyed waking up to the loud chirping of the birds and the beam of sunlight on my forehead that escaped between the curtains. I adored the moments leading up to drinking my morning cup of coffee as I got ready to journal, meditate, and workout.

Now, as a full-time college student, my mornings have been anything but structured. I really did try to maintain them the first week of college: I woke up at 5:00am every day, got a meditation and a workout in, didn’t skip breakfast – I was doing great at being an adult. However, starting from the second week of college, I just completely lost my structured morning routines – no longer sleeping enough, working out, eating. This has to do with the fact that I am now staying up WAY later than I’m used to because college is not just about academics. It’s also about our social lives and unfortunately for me, social interactions tend to be a lot more fun only post 10:00pm 😉.

I now wake up feeling burnt tf out – not just because I sleep later, but because college is so much work ya’ll. We have to study hard, make our own food, be social creatures, attend club meetings, keep up with extracurriculars, talk to our families, take care of ourselves physically AND mentally. It’s exhausting.

I catch myself feeling so freaking guilty and anxious when I have to skip meditating or working out because time does not allow for it or because my body is just so tired. I started hating on myself for failing to take care of myself. Meditation and exercise were my sources of therapy every day. It was during these allotted periods of time that I could let go of the world and just tap into myself. Therefore, no longer having those moments to myself is anxiety-provoking.

To cope with these newfound emotions due to the sudden change of routine and lifestyle I had to constantly remind myself of the following:

  1. Not everything can be planned for. Life is unpredictable and I cannot control every single situation.
  2. Sleep is just as important as meditation/exercise, so it’s okay if I skip a day or two if that means I get some extra hours of sleep in.
  3. I do not work out to look a certain way. I work out because of the way it makes me feel – internally. Don’t get caught up in this superficial BS that most college students are hung up on.
  4. The days I stayed up late to go party or meet up with people are filled with good memories! So don’t feel guilty for wanting to make the most of college and create amazing memories.

For any of you folks who may also be feeling something similar, just know that we’ll get through it. We’ll reflect back on our undergrad years and think “Damn, we squeezed the living life out of every opportunity that came our way and we worked our butts off, and we also had an immense amount of fun while doing so.”

6 Months of Using the Five Minute Journal

I completed my first Five Minute Journal recently and I can’t help but feel a bit proud of myself. I’ve never been able to make a consistent habit of journaling up until this point.

The fact that the Five Minute Journal only takes five minutes or less to complete made it so much easier for me to incorporate into my morning/night routines. There were, of course, still days when I forgot to journal, but I still kept up with the practice for 6 months!

Here are 2 examples of my early entries that brought a smile to my face 🙂

As I reflected on my entries, I noticed some common themes.

  1. I’ve started to love my body a lot more. One of my biggest insecurities has always been my body, so reading the entries and seeing how my self-body image has been improving brought me so much joy.
  2. I am the happiest and least anxious when I am with family, friends, and nature. I never realized that this was such a big deal for me until I re-read the entries. I can now intentionally carve out time to be with my closest people and go out in nature as often as I can so that I can have some mental peace.
  3. My job makes me so anxious. I should write and state affirmations to myself to enable me to think past the negativity and focus on the things that I can control.

I think the important part about journalling, which I only recently understood, is that it doesn’t really help (at least for me) in the moment. Sometimes it may feel like a burden or a hassle to sit down and write. Journaling is so much more effective when we take that minute or two to go back and read our entries because we literally see our evolution on the pages. I saw how I changed my perception of my body, for example, as I kept reading through the entries. Journalling provides subtle, yet drastic effects and I think that’s why so many people are always stressing the importance of it.

Sleep is a Waste of Time

Note: This post is also published on happy2thrive.org

“I sleep only 4 hours a day,” one says. 

Someone replies, “Wow, that’s impressive! You must be so productive and hardworking.”

“Yeah, I am. Sleep is a waste of time. Every second you’re sleeping, you’re missing out on a chance to accomplish all your life goals.” 

Since when has our productivity become linked with our physical and mental health? Although incorrect, society continues to teach the growing generation that hard work trumps everything. Known as the “Hustle Culture,” it has been ingrained in children early on that if they are not constantly at their maximum productivity, they’re falling behind in life.

But on whose standards has that person fallen behind? Who deems how hard someone must work to achieve their own life goals? Who says that you can’t achieve all your goals in life while also making room for sleep, food, exercise, family, and friends? 

The modern education system thrives on “Hustle Culture”. Students are provided a motive to put their health on the backburner simply for grades and the “pride” of making it onto the Honor Roll or Dean’s List. Many social media influencers glorify “Hustle Culture” and toxic productivity by posting content of themselves up at 4:00 am and working until 11:59 pm. Parents support “Hustle Culture” by comparing other children to their own. 

This is nonsense. 

There is no point in staying up to work if the work you do is of bad quality! It is not necessary to sacrifice your health for your dreams and aspirations. In fact, there is no way you will attain those aspirations if you sacrifice yourself in the process. 

Hustle culture inevitably leads to burnout, which is defined as a “state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.”

According to Brian Dyson, CEO of Coca-Cola in the 1900s:  

“Imagine life as a game in which you’re juggling 5 balls in the air. You can name them work, family, health, friends, and spirit. And you’re keeping all of these things in the air. You will soon understand that work is like a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls are made of glass. If you drop them, they’ll be scuffed, damaged, and potentially even shattered. They will never be the same again.” 

With the constant stimulation from the outside world, we become our worst enemies. We feel guilty if we take a day to just relax because all of the celebrities and “successful” people supposedly never stop “hustling.” But do not forget, social media shows us only the best of people, rarely the worst.

Don’t compare yourself to others’ standards. Compare yourself to the holistic standards of your mind and body combined. Productivity should not come at the price of your health, family, friends, and ultimately, yourself. 

Be present. Be mindful. And be “productive,” in your own way. 

Sources:

The Power of Manifestation

Note: This post can also be found at https://happy2thrive.org/the-power-of-manifestation/

I used to have a hard time going to sleep. My grandma would attest to that. I would roll around and take a good 30-45 minutes to fall asleep. That was maybe a few years ago. 

Now, at around 11:00pm, I cozy myself into bed and am able to fall asleep in 10 minutes. It sounds stupid to even talk about it, but this one action truly changed the way I function every day- manifesting. 

When I get into bed, I picture and imagine myself doing exactly what I hope to achieve in the future. This ranges from the wildest, like walking at NYFW as a supermodel, being on the Forbes Under 30 List, to the simplest, like traveling to Varanasi, India and finding my spiritual self or succeeding during a simple pediatric surgery. Picturing myself in the moment doing what I love and being awarded for doing what I love puts me to sleep in minutes. Why? Because I’m at peace with myself in those wavering minutes before I close my eyes and wait for the day to restart. 

Manifestation is real folks. I would tell you how Merriam-Webster defined manifestation, but I didn’t like their version. However, I totally agree with Kelsey Aida’s definition: “to me a manifestation (noun) is something you bring forth into your physical life experience through past thoughts, feelings, or beliefs. This could be an experience, an object, a person… anything!” Beautifully said! 

The best part of this whole manifestation spiel is that it’s so easy to practice! I mean it’s “so easy” only if you are so clear on what exactly you want. 

Let me list out the steps that you can take to realize the power of manifestation and even implement it into your life. 

I’ll be quoting Kelsey Aida’s Manifestation 101 (How to Manifest Anything Your Heart Desires) throughout the steps because she is a manifestation queen! 

Step 1:

Hone in on what you want and what you want to ask for. Yeah, I’m literally asking you to ask yourself “What do you want? What do you want the Universe to listen to and reply to you with?” 

A few years ago, I hosted and organized my very own TEDx event called, TEDxYouth@ConinesMillPond. The event occurred during my late junior year of high school. It took me over a year to put that event together not because it was hard finding relevant and amazing speakers or locking a venue or finding volunteers or advertising. It was hard because my application got rejected 5 times. 5 freaking times. 

TEDx organizer applications are not short and easy. They take an immense amount of thought and effort. The first 2 times, I guess I didn’t really care that much. My ego was hurt for sure because I’ve never been rejected THAT many times for anything before, but it still didn’t kill me because hosting and organizing was not a burning passion of mine. 

After the third rejection, I don’t know if I became more engrossed in the event than I was originally, but it hurt. It hurt a lot. I was thinking of giving up. I was over it. I was sick of it, but then I realized I really really really wanted it. I wanted to host and organize the first ever TEDx event in my town and talk about mental health openly. 

I started to completely involve myself in re-building the TEDx application. I went to bed picturing myself on the stage, hosting and anchoring the event with professional cut-outs of “TEDxYouth@ConinesMillPond” in the back. I would be in the middle of school and would suddenly get an idea for a theme or venue or speaker and would immediately ask the teacher to use the restroom, but in reality would go to my locker and jot down the idea. I was constantly thinking about the event and picturing myself IN the event. Took 5 tries, but it happened folks: I got accepted! 

The Universe obviously listened. It didn’t react as fast as I would have liked it to, but there’s definitely a reason for that too: it wanted to wait until I was absolutely sure that this was what I wanted to do. 

Step 2: 

Patience my friend. Patience. 

In her post, Kelsey says “the Universe wouldn’t plant an idea or inspiration in your head that it could not achieve for you.” 

PREACH! If you believe and want something so much, then there’s obviously a reason you got the idea to believe and want it! So, be patient and let the Universe do its thing. 

Step 3:

Implement the chemistry concept of “like dissolves like” into your life. 

Your “manifestation powers” are not going to immediately give you what you want because “your energy has to match that of what you are asking for in order for it to come anywhere near you.” 

Just like how “like dissolves like” in chemistry with the solvents and solutes, what you want will only appear to you if your energy vibes with what you want. 

All of us have days when we really want something. For example, a close person to me really wanted to pursue a PhD. She talked about it for a couple months and was passionate about it, but there was always some hesitation. After really contemplating if gaining a PhD was what she truly wanted, she realized that she wanted to pursue a PhD not for herself, but in fact, for her family- to prove them a point. 

Yes, she really wanted that PhD for a little time, but her “energy” was not at the same capacity as what she asked the Universe for. 

Step 4:

Stop, Drop, & Be Content

Kelsey mentions that “you have to be in a place of nonresistance in order to receive your manifestation.” 

Nonresistance means at peace with yourself. This can be done differently for everyone. For me, it’s running in the mornings. I find that when I run in the mornings, long before my whole house wakes up, I am more zen and aware of my thoughts and actions throughout the course of the day. For others, this might mean doing some yoga or meditation, painting, driving, praying, etc. 

This works because “when you stop thought you are open and connected to the Universe.” 

Step 5:

Constantly opt for thoughts, people, and things that will increase your “energy”

Increasing your energy will match it with the Universe’s and you will be that much closer to gaining your manifestation. 

This process of practicing manifesting may also throw you down a path of honing in on the toxicity in your life and disposing it. 

This toxic energy can come from objects as well as people. Dispose of the objects. Maintain a distance with the people. 

Conclusion

Wanna know a little secret? I manifested the idea of creating a non-profit and having a website for the longest time- 3 years to be exact! 

Try manifesting. Give it time and really choose the high energy path. Immerse yourself in your new visions and ideas. Give the Universe time to reply. 

For more detailed and expert steps on manifestation, be sure to check out Kelsey Aida’s Website!

Catapult #3

Earl Nightingale’s 30 Day Test

With COVID-19 forcing us to remain isolated in our homes, I sought comfort in being alone and built a relationship with my own thoughts and feelings. Being restricted from social connections propelled me into a space of comforting loneliness to the point where it is an abominable hassle to interact with others.

Since September 2020, I have been reverting to the girl I was in 2016: insecure, self-conscious, and anxiety-ridden. These feelings only arise when I am forced to be in the presence of those I do not know, like being on ZOOM with my camera on for classes, having to participate in a discussion with everyone’s focus spotlighted on me, or even running errands that require social interaction. I don’t want to be haunted by these daunting feelings once again.

Confidence is a skill, which means it can be acquired over time. I taught myself confidence so that I could become the person I am today. Nonetheless, I am afraid that I’m falling back into that vicious cycle of feeling worthless and constantly judged. So I decided to embark on a journey.

This is Day 2 of my listening to Earl Nightingale’s “The Strangest Secret.”

“We become what we think about.” – Earl Nightingale

I have heard this often but not in the way that Mr. Nightingale describes. It is absolutely incredible that our thoughts are what govern our behavior, happiness, and success.

In psychology, those who believe that their life is a culmination of events that are out of their control and are governed by external stimuli are said to have an external locus of control. On the other hand, those who believe that they are in charge of their own life have an internal locus of control. It is evident that having an internal locus of control does far more good for us Homo sapiens than having an external one. An internal locus of control is only gained by controlling our thoughts because thoughts are what govern our body and mind to function harmoniously and blissfully.

We can only succeed (whatever “success” may mean to you) by progressively, or continuously, realizing that our goals have purpose and meaning. It is because of this idea that manifestation is so darn powerful. When we manifest, we think, imagine, and entangle ourselves in the life composed of our fulfilled goals. Because we become what we think about, it is inevitable that whatever we ask the universe for, we shall receive.

Therefore, in an effort to block out the noise from the external world and prevent myself from going down the path of insecurity and self-consciousness again, I am catapulting myself into starting Earl Nightingale’s 30 day test. There are only 5 main parts to this test:

  1. Write down your clearly described goal on one side of an index card.
  2. On the other side of the card, write the following: “Ask and it shall be given you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened.”
  3. Block out the thoughts that plant worries in your mind because “worry brings fear.”
  4. If you fail before the 30 days are up, meaning constant negative and toxic thoughts did make their way into your mind, then start the 30 days over again.
  5. Listen to the above podcast multiple times throughout the week to constantly be refreshed and motivated.

I got my card ready and now all that remains is blocking out the potentially poisonous seeds that can contaminate my mind. Here it goes for my 30 days of growing self-confidence and psychological liberty 🙂