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Self-Love

Be Inspired

Do self-help books actually help?

They are no longer hidden in the back corner of the book store. Today self-help books are a huge business and offer to solve pretty much any problem. The only question is – do they really help?

I can’t really recall when I bought my first self-help book. I’m a big fan of reading, but this selection was unknown to me until sometime in my mid-twenties. Books were a magical escape into a new world and I had not seen them as something offering a solution to my life problems. Then one of my friends recommended one of his favorite self-help books and my bookshelf became home to more and more titles that promised to improve my life in one way or another.

As I read, I started noticing something; First, none of these books offer magical solutions, because there are no magical solutions in life. Secondly, they can’t do much, other than to inspire you to take actions that will lead you to the desired outcome. And thirdly, just reading them without implementing their messages won’t get you anywhere. However, getting a book that will help you with your problems is a step in the right direction as you’re taking action and you are willing to make some changes.

What I noticed from my personal experience is that in order for the books to help, you have to read them with an open mind. You may feel tempted to roll your eyes every once in a while, but try to stay open minded.

It took me a while to understand that knowing something and actually doing it are two different things.

That’s why these books work more as reminders and a source of inspiration and will hopefully give you the little push you need in the right direction. That is also why I like to come back to them, to make sure I stay on the right track and I don’t forget to apply the wisdom to my everyday life. It has no use if it stays on the pages.

I guess my point is that self-help books can, like any other books, be good or bad. Some authors are better than others and some you may not like at all. If you decide to give them a chance, research a bit before you click ‘add to cart’. Also, be open-minded. In my case self-help books helped me learn some things and they helped me improve my life to the extent of how much I worked on it. And for me, there will always be more room on my bookshelf for new self-help titles. After all, life is a work in progress.


By: Ivona Iwarra Josipovic / Photo cred 

Be Inspired Mind

I changed the rules

For years, I’ve been living by the rules. Or what I thought were the rules. Turns out I was interpreting them all wrong.

Be nice: let others walk all over you.
Be respectful: do not utter your own opinion.
Be humble: stay within your comfort zone.
Be polite: do not stand up for yourself and constantly apologize.

Let’s say I have built up a fair amount of frustration over the years, until I realized what a waste of time and energy it was trying to please everyone. But it’s one thing to recognize it, and admit it. It´s a whole different thing to actually act on it. You can repeat to yourself that life is short, you can buy postcards with empowering quotes, but when you find yourself facing challenging situations, habits die hard.

When I turned 30 I told myself (I even wrote it down) that this year would be the one I do what makes me truly happy. 6+ months in the year it’s time for a check-up:

While my changes are neither “drastic” nor spectacular, I am proud. I stood up for myself on several occasions. In my own way, but I did. What I am probably most proud of however, is getting out of my comfort zone. I gathered the courage to tell people I liked what they were doing/wearing/standing for. I reached out to them and told them I felt the same way and that I had dreams and skills in spades. I shut up the little voice in my head saying “who do you think you are? Why would people care? You really think one else thought of that before you?!”.

And what happened? People reached back. People wanted to meet and brainstorm. In six months, I made more new friends and interesting contacts than I had in years, people who took me to where I am today.  And the best part: it brought me to the beautiful adventure that Best of You is.

My rules haven’t changed, but they now have a whole new meaning:
Be nice: take care of yourself to be able to care for others.
Be respectful: always hear others out before letting them hear your voice.
Be humble: share successes, admit and learn from failures.
Be polite: never stop smiling.

Habits die hard. Key word being: die. Like everything else in life, with practice come progress.


By: Morgane Oleron

Be Inspired

The beauty of blank space in your calendar

I looked at my calendar this morning and realized I have something going on every single day the next few weeks. Having planned every single day into detail made me realize how little I set aside time to do nothing.

We have become a culture that is severely uncomfortable with blank spaces in our calendars. We rarely set aside time to be alone and do nothing, mostly because it doesn’t sound so fun. And for some it may be hard being alone, having to face their true emotions and take the time to reflect upon life. Scrolling through our phone or continue running from one social gathering to another just seems so much easier, right?

Personally, I am terrified of days where I have nothing planned! I get so restless and I got this idea in my head that I need to do something all the time. I need to be active, social and productive. Days of not having to do anything, what is that? And by doing nothing I of course don’t mean sitting and stare at the wall, I mean have a day where you don’t plan anything. Simply clear your calendar and let the day unfold.

No agenda, no rushing around. Just be.

Sometimes the best thing to do is give your body and mind a break and remove all social obligations, turn off your notifications and put your projects on hold. Simply take a day and just be.

Why, you may wonder?

It’s healthy! It may sound boring, but taking time to do nothing often brings everything into perspective and gives your mind a little break from all the images, noises and impressions thrown its way. And it actually takes the absence of an agenda to really get to know yourself.

So, time to turn this around and clear my calendar. Make room for some empty pages and see what the day will bring. Be spontaneous again, feel and embrace! Going on autopilot may be efficient, but maybe not the best way to live.

What about you? Will you give it a try with me? Simply wake up and resist the urge to immediately DO something. It might take some time to break the habit (at least it will for me), but let’s try! But let’s start with once a week (babysteps, hihi)!


By: Henriette Danielsen

Guest Posts

Being a good girl in 2017

Performance anxiety is a word I hear many young women around me, myself included, use very often. Living in a society that is characterized by speed, success and increased individualization it’s not so surprising.

It’s primarily young women who suffer from this type of stress. The experience of high demands and low self-esteem seems to be some of the causes.

I guess most of you have heard about the “good girl”- syndrome? Something I myself can identify with. Which has made me start thinking about the factors behind it. How young girls are characterized the role of being a responsible and caring person. And this starts already in preschool, where they are taught to be calm, nurturing and kind and are often rewarded based on their presentations, which in the long run can lead to difficulty distinguishing their performance from their value as a person.

My own performance anxiety and my need to be a “good girl” has given me many sleepless nights. I can lie in bed all night long, planning and preparing for the upcoming day, since I want to be in control of any situation. I need to be, so that I can do a good job and make everyone around me happy. In social situations, I am often the one who takes responsibility as well. If I see someone sitting by themselves I walk straight over to them and start a conversation. Include them and make them feel seen. In a constant need to make the people around me happy.

Exhausting you might think? Yes, it is…

I remember last year, when I received the results of my exam at the University. It turned out to be far from what I wanted and had hoped for, leaving me with the feeling of being a complete failure. In that moment, I lost myself a little. My mom tried to comfort me, saying it’s ok not to walk out of there with top results when you have a fulltime job on the side, but in my head I only heard one voice: telling me I was useless. I forget all the factors in my life playing a huge role in my performance on this exam. All I could think about was that I didn’t do well enough, I wasn’t good enough. But the results of my exam doesn’t define me as a person, now does it? It doesn’t define more than my performance right then and there, that Saturday in April.

The statement “good girl” sounds negative in many people’s ears, and for good reason. Our need to be on top of our game all the time, achieve everything we set out mind too, be kind, be caring, be the best. I know exactly how it feels. But at the same time, I have started to reflect upon my performance anxiety and see what it has given me; A job where I am appreciated and been given a lot of responsibility. Friendships that are as deep as they are, thanks to all the commitment I have been putting in them. People who feel loved because of my caring nature.

I think it’s time to fight back

I think it’s time to fight back against the negative meaning this statement has been given and instead lift all the talented young women who struggle daily for a better society. Be proud of the high-performance person you are, but never forget that it’s more than okay to fail. I truly wish more people who recognize themselves in this will settle with the fact that: you are not your achievements, you are so much more valid than that <3


This post is contributed by Anja Hertzberg, who works as a preschool educator in Stockholm/ Photo cred

Be Inspired Featured

Embracing my own power – This is my story

Looking back on the last 13 years always makes me a little sad. Not because I didn’t have a nice life, filled with friends, boyfriends and family. Not because I didn’t have a roof over my head, an education or a job. No, it makes me sad looking back because I spent years of my life at war with myself.

I began hating my body when I was around 13 years old. I gained a lot of weight, really fast and spent the next 3 years hiding in oversized clothes, laughing away comments thrown my way. Food became a comfort and I pretty much ate everything I could find, and of course refused to exercise. But this all turned when I turned 16 and got sick. I couldn’t eat for days, and I lost a lot of weight during those weeks. When I finally got better I realized how good I felt, having lost a few kilos, so I decided to lose some more. And some more. And it didn’t stop.

My health didn’t matter, as long as I looked good.

As it happens for many girls I got obsessed about my looks, wanting to be skinnier and prettier. My health didn’t matter, as long as I looked good. The more compliments I got from the people closest to me, the more obsessed I got about looking even better. So, I stopped eating. Breakfast was switched out with water and cigarettes became my main diet. I started working out like crazy, practically living at the gym. During the same time, I partied a lot, since alcohol seemed to help, distracting me from my painful inner war. My body could of course not handle it, and I ended up fainting almost every time.

During this period, I was so unhappy. I was thinner than ever, but my body couldn’t keep up. I was sick all the time and had no energy. On the outside I looked happy, but on the inside I was tearing myself apart. I spent the majority of my time lost in self-critical thoughts, hating my body and constantly comparing myself to others. I lost myself on the way and even more, I lost good friends.

My turning point came, but when I look back at it today I am not sure what it was. I remember my mom pushed me to eat, my best friend at the time too. But what turned my switch? I really can’t say. But something happened and I started to eat regularly again and gained weight. But that’s when the real struggle began for me. Because the negative and destructive thoughts wouldn’t go away. My head continued a war against my body, the only difference now was that I ate.

Not being able to love myself is one of the most painful things I have experienced. Not feeling worthy of somebody else’s love, always thinking I was inadequate. My low self-esteem destroyed many good relationships and turned me into a very jealous person, leaving me heartbroken more often than I can count.

As I got older, I found myself in a relationship that was on the tipping point because I still thought I wasn’t worthy of love. I talked myself down in front of this man day after day, until one day he had enough. He told me to stop it. That he didn’t find me attractive anymore because I was so insecure. It may sound terrible, but I guess that was just what I needed. Because then and there I decided enough was enough. I was so ashamed. Hearing something like that from someone you love so deeply does something to you.

So how did I free myself at last? I embraced my own power!

I finally found the will to change. And not through a new diet, but by chancing my way of thinking, my language of communication and my relationship with my own heart and soul. By slowly challenging my mind I learned that kindness and self-love does so much more than all my hatred ever did. I slowly began to love myself. It didn’t happen overnight and I still have days I criticize myself, quietly or out loud, but the difference now is that I know I am worthy, and I know it’s just a bad day, not a bad life.

My story isn’t special. Sadly, there are thousands of people out there who have gone through, or go through the same thing, fighting a battle against their own body and mind. And this is what made me want to start up Best of You. I want to show people that they can be healthy without being extreme and that health doesn’t mean abs and a tight ass. It has absolutely nothing to do with your looks. Being healthy first and foremost means being happy and grounded, and most importantly: loving yourself and finding what feels good. Why spend time hating something as holy as your body, curvy or not? Because in the end you and your body is all you got, and you’re pretty damn awesome! Skip the hate, skip the restrictions and have fun instead. As Dalai Lama once said: “Happiness is the highest form of health”, and I couldn’t agree more. I will never regret that I freed myself and embraced my own power, even though the journey was long.


By: Henriette Danielsen, Editor in Chief / Photo cred: Anja Hertzberg

Featured Mind

Find what feels good  

In our high pace society, we often run around doing everything at once in the hopes of checking of yet another thing on our to-do lists. We need to have it all; the perfect job, family and relationships. But the pursuit of having it all leaves us with no time or strength to take care of ourselves.

We all need a break every once in a while, for the sake of our sanity, but how do we do that?

Realize that you need it
First off you need to realize that you’re not running on super fuel and we all need to refill occasionally. Taking time for ourselves, away from the many distractions that surround us, is of the highest importance.

Find your “me-time”
Whatever makes you feel relaxed and good is considered “me-time”. It can be to go for a walk, practice yoga, take a bath, read a book, try out a new recipe etc. “Me-time” means different things to different people, you just need to find yours.

Prioritize it
Solitude is like a little vacation for the soul. It may feel like a challenge to let yourself slow down, but is still very important. Make time in your everyday to find what feels good and make it a priority.

Tell people
Be clear about your needs to the people around you. If friends want to meet, but you want to spend that time doing something for you, let them know. Or tell your partner you will spend the next hour having “me-time”. Make them understand this is a priority to you.

Don’t feel guilty
Many of us are used to putting others first and may therefore find it hard to prioritize ourselves without feeling guilty about it. Taking time for yourself is healthy, and to be able to take care of others and share your positive energy you need to nurture yourself first. Feel good to do good, and leave the guilty conscious at the door step.


By: Henriette Danielsen 

Mind

The magic of self-love

We focus on being a good friend, the perfect partner and a loving family member. What we often seem to forget or at least set second, is loving ourselves.

Practicing self-love is often associated with being selfish, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! It will not only help you become the best version of yourself, but will also help you get in touch with your wellbeing and your own happiness.

Not sure on how to practice self-love or what it even means? We give you five simple steps that may inspire you.

Bring out your smile
Each morning when you wake up we recommend you to tell yourself something positive. How lovely you look, how great you feel or compliment yourself on how you handled a situation the day before. It can be whatever, but try to start each day with a positive thought and a smile.

Learn to say no
Feeling tired and not in the mood to go for a drink? Or maybe you don’t want to hang out with a friend or do that extra work your boss kindly asks you to? Learn to say no. It’s not selfish putting yourself first.

Notice how you talk to yourself
Have you made a mistake at work? Not upheld your new year’s resolution or said something you regret? Notice how you “talk” to yourself in those situations. Do you talk yourself down? Do you focus on your weaknesses rather than your strengths? Don’t! Learn to accept yourself, shortcomings and all, and be supportive.

Listen to yourself
Feeling like taking it easy and watch a movie or read a book all by yourself? Or maybe unwind by going to yoga? Learn how to prioritize yourself and take the time you need to take care of your needs. Find what feels good, clear your mind and just appreciate doing something nice for yourself.

Find your own happiness
We often expect others to make us happy and forget that we have the power and responsibility for our own happiness. Stop seeking happiness outside of yourself, long lasting happiness comes from within. The one person you always have to live with is yourself so be able to be happy on your own.

Lastly, remember that practicing self-love does not mean you’re being selfish. It simply means you love yourself enough to take care of yourself, creating your own happiness. You cannot make others happy if you’re not happy yourself first.


By: Henriette Danielsen

Be Inspired

Are you a Highly Sensitive Person?

Have you ever heard that you are ”too sensitive” or ”react too strongly” or maybe even ”too dramatic”? You are not alone; you might be, just like me, a highly sensitive person, a HSP as some call it. This can be very troublesome and you might have a hard time with anxiety, but here are some suggestions on how to cope and turn your sensitivity into a super power.

We all suffer from anxiety now and again. It can be right before a job interview, a test, a first date or moving to a new city. But for a highly sensitive person the anxiety can make it harder to fall asleep, relax or even concentrate, because your thoughts are racing. We, the HSPs, tend to be creative and have very active minds, which means that we can conjure all those great ideas, but also the negative thoughts that fuel our anxiety.

HSP basically means that sounds, strong smells and colors overwhelm you. You feel everything with a much stronger intensity than others might. Another example is that you can walk into a room with people and absorb the feeling straightaway. Other things that characterize a highly sensitive person are;

  • Getting rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time
  • Avoiding violent movies and TV shows
  • The need to withdraw during busy days, into bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from a situation
  • Making it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations
  • Noticing or enjoying delicate or fine scents, tastes, sounds, or works of art
  • Having a rich and complex inner life

So how do we cope with this?
Being highly sensitive means that you get the good and the bad. You’ll have problems with anxiety and might absorb other’s negativity, but you may also have more empathy for others, notice the details that most people miss and have an extraordinary creative mind. People want to be near you because your sensitivity is spreading so much goodness and love into their lives.

Remember that your feelings change and don’t panic when you feel a bit down. Feelings are only temporary and your anxiety will pass. Acknowledge its presence and let it move along and bring back those good happy thoughts again. This takes a bit of practice! But when in doubt remember to not let your feelings take control over your life.

Another tip is to talk to someone. Talk about what you feel, why you’re sad, angry or frustrated. It’ll help you to understand your patterns and sometimes you might even realize that the anxiety wasn’t yours to begin with, you just happened to absorb someone else’s negativity and kept it within. Most importantly, remember that whatever happens you’ll be OK. Your sensitivity is not a curse, but a gift. To be able to feel things intensely is a wonderful thing! You’re enjoying the beautiful and crazy mess we call life with every breath and you should never apologize for being the way you are.

Test if you are a HSP and read more about it here.


By: Victoria Thoors / Source: http://hsperson.com/

Be Inspired

The art of being yourself

In a world filled with pressure and expectations from friends, family, partners, colleagues and even society you might lose your way and what’s truly you. The dreams, the passions and curiosities are put on hold or forgotten. The question is – who are you and how do you stay you?

I’m sure most of us has felt that you have to hide the true you in a group of people, maybe at work or in school? As kids we seldom did. Sure, we could be shy and a bit cautious, but that was just a tiny part of the whole you. Until the age of 6-7 you felt like the greatest and could do anything you wanted, nothing was impossible. Why is it that so many of us lose this ability?

Speaker, teacher and coach Caroline McHugh explains the art of being yourself and how it all works from her perspective. Take a look at her Ted Talk and find the beautiful you again. You are in there!


By: Victoria Thoors

Be Inspired

When stress hits

We can’t always control what life throws our way and sometimes we find ourselves in stressful situations. What we on the other hand can control, is how we take care of ourselves.

A proper care of mind, soul and body is key for coping with stress. Here are some basic self-care strategies that you can apply to your daily routines in order to deal with stress before it dominates your health.

Get enough sleep
Sleep plays a vital role in your emotional stability and physical well-being. Lack of sleep can therefore deprive your ability to cope with stress. Unfortunately, stress caused by hectic work routines can make sleep more elusive.

Fortunately, there are many ways to support your sleep habits, like defining a proper time management strategy or adding some relaxation techniques to help you sleep better. If you really aren’t able to get a good night’s sleep, don’t neglect the value of a power nap.

Pamper yourself
Taking care of your body from the outside, for example with a spa treatment, can work wonders for your internal state. Don’t ignore the benefits of pampering yourself on a regular basis. It will revitalize you, giving you the energy you need to handle whatever life throws your way.

Find hobbies
Having some leisure time is important and hobbies can be a good distraction from stress. It helps you focus on the present moment and is the best way to relieve tension. I can recommend drawing and gardening, as they are both great stress relievers, but whatever feels best for you.

Maintain social support
Social support is key! Friends are all ears, when you’re sad; they provide you comfort, when you’re confused; they help you sort things out and when you’re feeling down; they are there, ready to make you laugh. Take care of your social circle and stay in touch regularly so you’ll have somebody to lean on when stress hits you. But don’t forget to provide a supportive ear when your friends need it as well. It goes both ways.

Have the right attitude
Are you an optimist or pessimist? The way you choose to meet a situation depends entirely on you. Either you panic or you take control. Try to stay positive and say no to negativity. Not only will it help minimize your stress level, but also bring you success.

Process your emotions
Keeping your emotions bottled up ultimately ends up with an emotional explosion. It’s usually healthier and more beneficial to listen to your thoughts and feelings, embrace them and let yourself process them. Writing can be a huge help, because it often helps you find a solution to the problem. Why not give it a try?


This post is contributed by Michele Smarty, a well-known author, blogger and freelance writer. With a passion for health, she writes articles about the latest trends, food and mental and physical exercises.