Do you journal? It is my absolute favorite thing in the world. I love words and when I can’t vocalize them, I write them. As a teen and even now that I’m a mom too, I use journaling every day. Join me every Friday for JOURNAL TIME where we explore a new journaling prompt every week.

Suicide prevention tips for the holidays
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3 Suicide Prevention Tips for the Holidays

Suicide prevention tips for the holidays

So, I’m a member of the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention and this is an article I submitted to them to be used in a statewide newsletter, but I also wanted to make sure it reached my readers first. Please share these suicide prevention tips with as many people as possible. You never know who might need them.

The holidays are meant to be a joyous time for all, but let’s face it, it’s also when a lot of emotions get stirred up for many of us. Whether it’s memories of those we’ve lost, a family gathering gone wrong or the disappointment of not being able to afford gifts. But I’d like to offer a new perspective on this. What if instead of viewing these events as wrong or bad, we allowed the memories to surface and gave ourselves permission to express how we truly feel? And what if this created opportunites for forgiveness and deeper connections with those we love?

Perhaps this holiday season can be a time for healing and connection. Maybe our love and presence and choice to uplift others will lend hope to those who need it most. And maybe when we allow others to uplift us, we’ll give them a sense of purpose and belonging. You never know.

Here are three simple guidelines to experience more joy and connection for the holidays – two things that may just save someone’s life.

#1 – Have keen awareness.

This is a time to be really tuned in. To yourself. To the world around you. And to all those you love. Each person you encounter is a reflection of you. Every human being on this earth is unique and offers value to the world. When we choose to look at our life in this way, it appears a little brighter and in turn has a positive impact on those closest to us. So, be present to the gift each moment has to offer. And be aware of the gift that is you. As you know and feel your own worth, you inspire others to find it within themselves. YES, you are that powerful!

#2 – Let connection be the priority.

Before your interactions with others, set the intention to connect and experience more love, laughter or anything you’d like. For example, if you’re about to have a conversation with your best friend, first make it clear in your mind (and your heart!) that you want to feel connected – imagine the two of you laughing and enjoying one another’s company. You can also make your intentions known by sharing them with your family and friends. Tell them what you want and how you feel and ask them what they’d like to see and feel more of in their life. A lot of the time we assume others know what we want, but the only way to be abolutely certain is to speak up. You might be surprised to discover it’s all the other person wanted too, but he or she was afraid to ask.

#3 – Let love be what fuels you.

Actively look for evidence of love in all people, including yourself. If something is going on with someone you love, you can feel it. If you notice something is up, don’t take it personally, but definitely take it seriously. Offer to help (not fix) in any way you can and ask for help when you need it. Find little things you appreciate about yourself and everyone you encounter. At the grocery store, while you’re waiting for your food or even by offering a smile to the person sitting in the car next to you at a stop light. When you make a point to put love at the top of your list and are driven by the desire to love and be loved, anything is possible.

As you keep these three concepts in mind and practice them on a daily basis you’ll create healing for yourself and your entire family. You are such an asset to this world. We all are. And we’re all in this together. So this holiday season give those you love something greater than presents or the “perfect”occasion – give them the gift of being seen and heard and allow others to see you and hear what you have to say.

 

Journal Time:

As a journaling exercise for today, write about some other ways you can deepen your connection with those you love…and even those you don’t.

How can you deepen your connection to YOU?

 

As always, thank you for reading and please leave your comments below. How did this article impact you?

journaling prompts for teenagers
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3 Fear-Crushing Journaling Prompts for Young Dreamers, Visionaries and Future Superstars

journaling prompts for teenagers

This article is for people of all ages (teenagers, parents, etc.) who are on a mission to make a really big impact in our world. It’s a personal journal entry turned public with added journaling prompts for you to explore.

 

For all the things I  think I can’t do or haven’t done, there are so many things I can do and I have done.

I’ve sent out 100s of emails. I’ve made more phone calls in the past year than I have in my entire life. I’ve talked to people. I’ve opened up. I’ve shared my story and have had the opportunity to hear others’.

I’ve done so many things I thought I’d never do.

I’ve gotten a lot of “nos.”

I’ve gotten a few “yeses.”

I’m still going.

I haven’t fizzled out.

 

Maybe it’ll take 5 years to have the kind of success I want, but the way to reach it faster is not by beating myself up. But rather, to keep looking for evidence of my success in every moment of every day.

I can focus my attention on what I am doing well.

I can choose to focus on who I am becoming.

I can choose to focus on the progress I’ve made.

And the people I’ve inspired.

 

Doing those things brings me closer to having what I want than focusing on what I think I’m doing wrong.

I’m sure I’m making a lot of mistakes – some I’m probably not even aware of.

But the more I fear making mistakes, the more power they have over me.

Even in the moments I feel weak, part of me is strong.

Even in the moments I feel hopeless, there is still hope.

And I find it by looking.

I find it by remembering I’ve found it before.

I find it by reminding myself I always manage to land on my feet.

Somehow.

 

And I find it by realizing it’s not as far as I think.

The answers are right in front of me.

And in fact, they are within me.

 

And they might not always look the way I thought they would.

I might not always feel the way I’d hoped I’d feel.

But if I listen closely…

And if I love myself even when the answers are different than I thought they’d be…

That’s when I’m free.

 

And then I remember freedom is all I’ve been wanting the entire time.

But here’s the secret:

It didn’t come from any outer circumstance.

 

Freedom is always within us, waiting to be acknowledged.

 

I understand I don’t have to push so hard.

I get there is a part of me that does allow ease and grace. And just because it’s not the dominant part in this moment, does not mean I can’t choose to find comfort in knowing it’s there.

For every part of me that feels something unpleasant, there’s a part eager to rise to the surface – the one who knows life is meant to be joyful.

That I deserve to feel balanced and in alignment.

It’s okay to trust.

The acceptance I want first comes from accepting myself.

Peace is just a breath away.

And freedom doesn’t cost a thing.

 

And now, I feel complete.

I am whole.

This is where I want to be.

 

So now, it’s your turn to write. Think of something in the future you’re worried about – an upcoming event or interaction with someone.

#1 Write about your fears and the worst thing that could possibly happen.

#2 Write out the best possible outcome.

#3 Come up with something even better.

 

Thanks so much for reading. Please leave your comments and insights in the box below!

addiction in teenagers
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The Art of Becoming Bigger Than Your Addictions – 5 Tips to Help You Clean Up Your Act

addiction in teenagers 
 
This post is relevant to teenagers, parents of teenagers, teachers, therapists, social workers, life coaches or anyone who works with teens and anyone who has ever struggled with addictions. 

 

As a teenager, I had many addictive behaviors. I was a cutter, I smoked stuff, I snorted stuff, popped pills, drank and was completely out of control.

There is nothing cool about this.

These things will never be cool.

And they will definitely never make you cool.

But I get why you might think so. That’s what I thought.

 

Part of it was wanting to be accepted (not so much with cutting, but I’ll save that for another post).

Part of it was not being able to process my emotions.

Part of it was because I didn’t like who I was – and actually had no idea who I was.

But I think (know) the bulk of it was I didn’t feel like I deserved any better.

In other words, I had given up on a better life because it seemed impossible.

 

So I let myself become lost in my addictions.

They became stronger and more powerful than me.

Because I let them.

It was easier to just be high all the time.

You get it.

 

I had friends who weren’t my friends.

Who made fun of me.

Who talked about me behind my back.

 

And it’s okay.

 

I wasn’t very nice myself.

Because I didn’t know how to be nice to myself.

So how could I be nice to other people?

How could they be kind to me?

We just didn’t know anything else.

 

When I decided to stop, I had one person by my side. My boyfriend at the time was the only person there when I was ready to quit. In fact, he saved my life. Well, he helped me save my own life.

 

By believing in me.

By believing there was more to me than my addictions.

And by just being there until I could learn how to be there for myself.

 

So that brings us to…

 

Tip #1: Have Support

Find someone who will reflect your beauty and perfection back to you. Someone who won’t judge you and who will encourage you. This person is there to support you in becoming more of who YOU are. It doesn’t have to be a boyfriend or girlfriend. And in fact that can sometimes get messy. I recommend (if you’re a teenager) finding an adult you feel comfortable talking to. It could be a therapist, counselor or life coach who specializes in working with youth (that’d be me).

 

Tip #2: Write in a Journal

Remember when I said I couldn’t process my emotions? Journaling made it possible for me to do so. Let yourself feel your emotions and express them without holding back. Get it all out. I loved writing throughout my recovery.

 

Tip #3: Know What You Want and Why You Want It

See this as an opportunity to go on an inward journey. As you release your addictions, you unravel layers upon layers of false beliefs. About yourself. About the world. About the entire nature of reality. Every time you do this, more of your truth is revealed. This is the time to dream about a better and brighter future. Write down everything you want to be, do and have and start taking steps towards your goals. Remember why you want to achieve them because the more you can connect with your “why” the quicker and easier you’ll reach your goals.

 

Tip #4: Meditate or Find Some Other Relaxation Technique

The goal of meditating is to get you connected to your wise inner self. Some benefits of meditation include: improved concentration, better health and a calmer + happier disposition. When you practice stilling your mind, you become more self aware and better able to recognize and acknowledge your thoughts and feelings and therefor increase your power and ability to let them go. You can start by sitting in a quiet place for just a couple minutes and breathing very slowly and deliberately. Listen to the sound of your own breath and if any thoughts come up, imagine putting them in a bubble and letting them float away.

 

Tip #5: Eat Good Food, Sleep Well and Take Supplements

One of the first things I did when I stopped using was focused on eating right. I was already a vegetarian, but now a very healthy one. I received many benefits from fasting, doing cleanses, taking vitamins and eliminating a bunch of stuff from my diet. Soy (in excess messes with your hormones, which is especially bad if you’re a teenage girl), gluten and dairy to name a few. Your inner ecosystem greatly impacts your thinking and mood. I strongly believe in the power of natural medicine as its truly the only thing that’s ever helped me.

 

So that’s it!

These 5 things have all proven to be effective for me and continue to be a huge part of my life.

I hope you find them as helpful as I have.

 

Now, let’s journal! Grab a pen and paper, jot these questions down and then write out your answers.

 

What do I wish to accomplish in the next year?

Why?

 

p.s. Today I made one of my favorite soups EVER. The recipe is from The Body Ecology Diet which was practically my bible for a good year. I scanned the recipe for you. Get it here.

p.p.s. It’s toddler approved.

carrie leigh sandoval loves adin isaac sandoval

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions? Comments? What was your biggest insight from this post? Please share in the comments box below. 

Brain drain
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How to Drain Your Brain and Stay Sane

Brain drainIf you tend to overanalyze things, this post is for you.

If you become easily overwhelmed by the amount of thoughts and choices in your noggin, this is also for you.

If you’re ready to let some perfectionism go, this is DEFINITELY for you.

I’m going to share something I (have to) use on a regular basis. My thoughts race so bad sometimes and the more I “try” to make it stop or “try” to organize them into something coherent, the louder they become.

And so I surrender.

Not to the contents of my mind, but to the situation. I understand it’s time to take a break because something else is going on.

And now it has my attention.

Thankfully, this happens less and less. And I think it’s because the thoughts, or rather the part of myself that identifies with these thoughts is just not as needy as she used to be.

Doing a “brain drain” as I call it has become an important part of my self care.

It’s simple. Just write everything out of your brain and onto a piece of paper. If you’re not a fan of using actual paper, I highly recommend you do so at least for this exercise.

It doesn’t have to make sense. It doesn’t have to be nice. It doesn’t have to make you or anyone else happy.

It’s just to get everything out of the way so there will be space for something new to come through.

It could just be:

“This sucks. I don’t want to be doing this. Bananas. Bagels. Wow I haven’t eaten a bagel in a long time. Bagel. Bagel. Bagel. Barf bag. Banana. Bears.”

But decide upon an amount of time beforehand and don’t stop writing until your time’s up. I guarantee you will feel a little better and maybe even laugh at some of the ridiculousness of it all.

That’s it.

It’s easy.

It’s fun.

And if you set your intention beforehand to feel clearer by the time you’re done, it’ll be even better.

Let me know how it goes and feel free to share some random thoughts with me in the comments box below.

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Let’s Talk About Suicide

suicide

Today my husband Alex and I participated in a local walk for suicide prevention. One of my biggest realizations? Not many people want to talk about it. And not many people care about it until it’s too late.

I would like to be part of a movement which changes this. One that says, “Let’s talk about it. Let us understand it so we can do something about it.”

And so…

To all the people who have ever wanted to end their life:

The ones who think they’re a waste of space.
A lost cause.

To those who have given up on the world.
Who have lost hope.

You are not alone.

I was insane.
Maybe I still am.
But I’d rather be insanely honest with myself,
Than a liar.
I’d rather be me.

I’d rather tell you that thoughts of suicide still creep in from time to time.
Because it makes the truth and importance of my words much greater.
My voice is louder than the voices of the past.
My heart is stronger.
My mind is clearer.

There is hope.
There is help.
People might tell you you’re crazy,
But not nearly as often as you tell it to yourself.

Don’t believe the voice that says you don’t matter.
But don’t try to pretend it isn’t there.
Instead say proudly, “I hear you,
But I am not you.”

“You are just a part of me.
And yes you’re really loud.
And yes I know you want my attention.
I love you.”

All this part of you wants is love.
Acknowledgment.
A precious moment of silent sincerity.
In which all that is required is a sigh of relief.

We’ve got to take time to celebrate ourselves.
And each other.
And all the annoying details and differences in between.

I don’t know why people wait to celebrate others lives until they’re dead.

Find a reason to celebrate your life right now.

Journal time. Grab something to write with and on and…

Make a list of at least 20 things you love about your life.

 

Today, reach out to someone who might need some encouragement. Be an uplifter. And allow others to uplift you. When you allow others to help you, you help them feel good too.

It’s not about being perfect.

It’s about being you.

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Drop Everything

dropeverything

And dance.

Then journal about it if you want to.

Just enjoy being alive.

Because you can.

And you deserve to.

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15 Reasons to Feel ALL of Your Emotions

feelingsaregood

As human beings, we have feelings. Lots of them. You know this. But, we forget it’s okay to feel. We’ve been taught to be nice or be good or “STOP CRYING!” It’s ridiculous.

Feelings are meant to be felt. And Expressed. And given a voice. You’re always going to have them, so why not acknowledge them and learn to appreciate them?

You’re not your feelings, you’re just the one experiencing them.

That said, here are 15 (really good) reasons to feel your emotions:

  1. If unexpressed, you’ll never be or truly feel free. Truth is, you are free. And you deserve to know it.
  2. When you don’t go through your feelings, you’re likely to continue handing over your power to your unconscious mind, where unexpressed emotions reside.
  3. If you do this, it will only get worse.
  4. If you do this, your relationships will suffer.
  5. If you do this, YOU will suffer the most.
  6. If you stuff it all down, you’re still going to (unconsciously) attract similar feelings + situations and people who intensify the feeling.
  7. When you express it, you tell your subconscious “I am important. What I feel matters.”
  8. And “I deserve to feel.”
  9. And “I am good enough.”
  10. And “I don’t have to be perfect.”
  11. When you express your (true) feelings, you learn to be honest with yourself. This is painful, but powerful.
  12. By doing this, you increase your capacity to love yourself.
  13. And you increase your self awareness. This allows you to address the feelings before they start to run your life.
  14. Which allows you to create a better relationship with yourself.
  15. And better relationships with others.

And now, it’s JOURNAL TIME! Here are 5 journaling prompts to get you to connect with your emotions. Write down and explore each of the following:

Time to be honest with myself. This is how I really feel about life:
I know it’s okay to be angry. And I now know how important it is to express it. These are the things that piss me off:
This is what I realized and felt after exploring the previous prompt:
This is why it’s okay:
I also know it’s okay to be happy. These are all the things I am excited about:

 

Don’t be afraid to let it all out. Your journal is the best place to do this.

 

How did this post + the prompts impact you? Please share in the comments box below. 🙂

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Five Journaling Prompts to Boost Your Self Esteem

Feeling low and like nothing is going your way?

It’s easy to go into “why me?” and “what did I do to deserve this?” and other statements that make us into victims of our circumstances.

But did you know that you are really really REALLY powerful? And the moment you choose to redirect your point of focus, the universe begins to rearrange itself just for you.

I know this is a little hard to wrap your mind around at first, but perhaps you can think of a time when you’ve experienced this.

Maybe there was something you wanted so bad and you focused on it, just knowing it would be yours and then as if by magic, it appeared.

And it was amazing.

But then there are the times it doesn’t appear and you might start doubting yourself. And so the challenge becomes trusting ourselves again even when our outer world is not showing evidence of what we’ve asked for.

They key, however, is to not allow this feeling to overtake us. We can acknowledge and release it, but holding onto it will only delay the creation process even further.

So here are 5 journaling prompts to get you back into a place of trusting yourself and speeding up the manifestation process:

I am worthy and deserving of having ___________ because…
Because of this situation, I have learned how to:
Here is a list of all the things I have created in the past:
I am most proud of myself for:
Here’s why I know what I have asked for is on its way:

 

Notice how you feel as you’re writing this. Your emotions are powerful indicators that let you know whether or not you’re on the right track. The better you feel, the closer you are to having exactly what you want.

Please leave your comments below and share a time you created exactly what you wanted. Was it a situation? An object? An amazing friendship? I’d love to hear about it!

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Write a Haiku

haiku

Remember haikus? I always had a lot of fun writing them in school. How about you?

Today’s “JOURNAL TIME!” is simple.

Write a haiku.

A haiku has 3 lines. The first line has 5 syllables, the second has 7 and the third has 5 again.

The one in the photo (in case you’re not able to read my writing) says:

Magic awoke me.
Dreams of possibilities.
Feeling certainty.

I wrote it in my journal the other day. I felt so inspired when I woke up and so much like anything was possible.

Because it is.

This wiki will tell you everything you need to know about haikus.

I would love for you to share some in the comments box below!

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Free Bird

JimmyJam

Do you tend to overanalyze the sh** out of things?

Pardon my French.

I’ve found that a lot of creative people are big thinkers. Which is awesome most of the time and not so awesome other times. Awesome because it makes us unbelievable problem solvers. Not so awesome when there isn’t a problem to solve so we create one.

You know what I’m talking about?

It’s that (almost) constant need to analyze or improve or solve something. It’s the voice that won’t ever let anything just be. The same voice that we listen to and feel trapped by.

But you know it doesn’t have to be that way. I know you do.

You’ve got a choice. You know that too.

No one create your life better than you can. No one knows what you want better than you do. No one can decide how they want to feel better than you.

And every time you make that choice, that voice gets a little weaker. Your fears lose their power. You remember that you’re free.

Ah, freedom.

Like a dog with its head out the window.

Or laughing hysterically about who knows what.

Or dancing just because.

You know, the freedom to

JUST BE.

It is accessible anywhere. Anytime. You can find it. And often it will find you when you need it the most.

When you begin to activate the feeling of freedom more often, you’ll open your mind to new possibilities. Possibilities that couldn’t be discovered through analyzing. Because your thoughts won’t be coming from a place of fear and worry, they’ll be from truth and knowing. Your mind will be clearer. Your decisions will come easier.

All because you took a moment to remember that you are free.

To be happy.

To love life.

To be you.

 

JOURNAL TIME!

So hopefully this post began to trigger some amazing memories and moments where you felt absolute freedom.

Write about all the moments you can remember where you felt free.

And to go even deeper, write down and answer these questions:

What is freedom to me?
How would I describe the sensation?
What’s going on in my mind when I’m feeling free?
How does feeling free benefit me?
Who else benefits from feeling free?

Journaling sets me free. How about you? Post a comment below to share the magic that happens when you journal.