Posts

Mindfulness for teenagers
, , , , ,

Be mindful

Mindfulness for teenagers

Ive been practicing more mindfulness lately. To me its a necessity.

Its easy to get overtaken by thoughts and emotions, but with practice it can be just as easy and automatic to be present with each task.

Just for today, notice your thoughts and how they make you feel. Thoughts can just be thoughts if we allow them to be. It’s when emotions kick in and we start telling ourselves the old familiar story that things start to get tricky.

If and when you find yourself in a panicked state, ask yourself, what am I believing about myself or this situation? Is it really true? Even if it is, will focusing on it resolve the problem?

Write down your findings or share them below. 🙂

, , , ,

7 Gifts I Give to Others and Our World

7 gifts

Day 17. Here are the topics:

1) How do your Gifts heal others and our World?

OR

2) How do you use your spiritual Gifts to change lives and make a difference?

Here are the 7 Gifts I Give to Others and Our World…

#1 The gift of awareness

Because I am so sensitive, I’ve had to hone my awareness. When I first got clean, I started working with my coach with whom I learned all the “stuff” I was carrying around. She helped me clear all that so I could be conscious and aware of energies of people and places, blocks within myself and others, planetary gobbledygook, etc. This awareness, along with the necessary boundaries (physical and energetic) allows me to see, feel, know and appreciate things that can be easily overlooked by the untrained eye.

How this helps others: When I’m talking to someone or am in a session with a client, my awareness/intuition is my guide. It helps me ask questions that get people to the root of the problem, know what cues to listen for, when to speak and when to listen.

#2 The gift of empathy

The gift that nearly killed me might just be my greatest gift to humanity. When I was younger, my empathy was so strong I couldn’t tell where others ended and I began. I had no clear energetic boundaries so I absorbed the weight of the world. Without knowing what was happening, I turned to drugs to numb me. But when I decided to stop I also decided to face everything. In doing so I learned to honor this gift because I remembered, in my darkest moments all I wanted was for someone to understand.

How this helps others: The teens I work with tell me all the time. “I feel so alone. I just want someone to understand.” Because I’ve learned when and where to use my empathic abilities, I can give these young people the gift of someone who truly understands. Not only because I’ve been there, but because they can feel, in the moments we’re talking, that I’m tapped into their feelings at a deep level.

#3 The gift of knowing

With awareness comes knowing. I don’t know how I know things, I just do. It still surprises my husband sometimes. A few days ago he said, “you know what I would have liked to have done for a couple of years?” Before he finished asking the question, I heard loud and clear, “peace corps.” He asked how I knew that. To which I replied, “I just did.” And it happens a lot. When you’re aware you just know.

How this helps others: It shows others what’s possible and what they are capable of. It helps me know which direction to take a session, how to handle a situation and guide my clients out of stuckness gracefully.

#4 The gift of listening

I’m not much of a talker, but people love talking to me. Which is great because I love to listen. And not just with my ears, but with my whole being. When I’m listening, I’m also feeling and radiating love and acceptance. When I’m listening, I can hear what someone is really saying, beyond what their words are conveying.

How this helps others: My clients and people in general feel safe talking to me. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said, “I’ve never told this to anyone before…” Because they know I will listen without judgment and offer genuine feedback, support and guidance.

#5 The gift of communication

I have a way with words. I have been in love with language since I was a young girl and know how to clearly articulate exactly what I mean – especially through writing. As a small child exposed to constant fighting I learned that the words we use and the place from which we speak can either separate us or connect us. So often when people speak, they are unaware of themselves and can therefore not be aware of others. I can recognize this in a heartbeat.

How this helps others: I can tell when someone is not in alignment with what they are saying. By first helping them identify their true feelings, I can then help them speak from a place of openness and authenticity rather than judgement and blame. This in turn allows the lines of conversation to be open and the heart of the issue to be easily addressed.

#6 The gift of feeling

What I mean by this is I help other people feel. Whenever I am with someone I make sure they know they have the right to feel what they feel. As someone who has struggled with BPD, I know the importance of acknowledging, honoring and truly feeling the feelings. When we deny our feelings, we add another layer on top of them and never get to experience the true feeling – which is the only way to move past it.

How this helps others: If you work with me – I will make you cry (in a good way). I will get you to feel whatever has been eating away at you. I can call BS like no other and get someone into the deep stuff they don’t want to feel, but must in order to make real and lasting changes.

#7 The gift of light

Because of all the energy work I have done in the last seven years and how much I have cleared out, I can transmit A LOT of healing energy. I can feel it running through me, energizing me and helping me create miracles and awakening others to what is possible.

How this helps others: The love and light I emanate supports not just my clients, but everyone I meet. With this light comes safety, serenity, peace and courage for others to be all of who they are.

Journaling prompts

Write down and answer the following:

  1. How can I turn my biggest challenges into my greatest gifts to the planet?
  2. How have I used these gifts today?
  3. How will I use them in the future?

I would love to hear from you. What do you feel your greatest gift to humanity is? Why? Leave me a comment!

Journaling prompts for teens
, , , , ,

[Day 15] 5 Journaling Prompts to Enhance Emotional Intelligence in Teenagers

 

Journaling prompts for teens

Today is the half-way mark of the blog challenge. Woohoo! The goal: repurpose a previous post. So here’s one from a while back that I’ve enhanced.

This article is for teenagers and/or anyone who wants to increase their self awareness and ability to process and express their feelings in a more calm and balanced way.

The teenage years are an especially tumultuous period (as you know) and a critical time to focus on emotional intelligence (if you can start sooner, by all means, do so. My son is 3 and he labels his feelings and always feels better after doing so). Though challenging, these years can be seen as a series of beautiful opportunities for learning and growth for the entire family.

Many issues teens face are due to lack of self awareness and/or emotional intelligence. It’s not something that’s taught in schools – but it should be. When we feel out of control, we lose our power of choice. It becomes increasingly harder to decide upon what we want because our emotions have taken over. And when they run our lives, we no longer have a say.

So often we want something better – we talk about it, dream about it and long for change, but our emotions won’t allow us. They say “whoa whoa whoa wait stop.” But the magic happens when we listen and actively seek the gift within each moment of emotional turmoil – not by staying stuck in it and not by ignoring it, but by choosing to send our deepest love and compassion to ourselves. That’s when everything changes.

Here are 5 journaling prompts (to be used in this order) to help you do just that.

First, recognize your triggers. Ask yourself questions like…

What makes me angry?

What am I afraid of?

When someone said this I felt ______________.

This emotion feels like ____________.

I feel it in my _____________. (throat, chest, stomach, etc)

Anything that will allow you to connect with the feeling so you can release it.

Accept it. Don’t make anyone right or wrong and don’t believe you deserve to feel bad.

Ask yourself “What can I learn from this?”

Forgive yourself.

Write down everything you need to forgive yourself for. And everything you need to forgive others for.

Empathize.

Know you aren’t the only person who feels bad. Others handle things differently and it doesn’t make them wrong.

Write down what you think the other person (or people) are experiencing.

Choose something new.

Get creative with what you want. Write down how you want to feel and why.

For example: I want to feel empowered because when I do I feel like I can conquer the world and I can be who I really am.

As you take the time to go through these prompts on a regular basis, you open yourself up to new possibilities and interactions with others that weren’t previously available. When you are able to connect with and accept all of who you are, you will no longer need to dance between the extremes. You’ll feel more in control of your experience and will therefore feel calm and confident in your ability to handle whatever comes your way.

I’d love to hear how it goes. Please share your comments and insights in the comments box below.

Panic attack help
, , , , ,

How to successfully release worry, anxiety and other sucktastic emotions (includes 3 journaling prompts)

Your thoughts are happening non-stop. And if you think something long enough you’ll start to believe its true. This is how beliefs are formed.

Those of us prone to depression and anxiety tend to dwell and obsess about anything and everything – especially the negative. It’s not usually a conscious choice, but something that became default when we were small children.

Negative thoughts and beliefs are therefor louder and more burdensome because:

1. We are acutely aware of them
2. We think we shouldn’t have them (perfectionism and unreasonable expectations)
3. We think too much in general

For those diagnosed with anxiety disorders and a plethora of other mental illnesses, the mind chatter is incessant, overwhelming and really really annoying. And we make the mistake of believing this is all there is.

Because it blinds us if we let it.

Folks who experience a lot of anxiety are incredibly intelligent, usually perfectionists and almost always highly sensitive people. They feel things (everything) down to the core of their being. So it’s easier to stay in a head space because it feels safer.

But it’s a trap.

Self-created.

Sometimes intentionally, usually unconsciously.

There is, however, always a choice.

Even when something better seems unobtainable, exhausting, impossible. You do have options.

You know how to make yourself feel better, but you forget how when you’re trapped in the infinite thought loop of impending doom.

And I’m not kidding. It can get that bad. Very quickly. You know this.

But if you can remember and demonstrate your power of choice the moment you notice what is happening, you can (lovingly) hijack your thought process and start a new one.

For example, start telling yourself, either in your head or out loud, things that bring you even the slightest bit of relief. Nothing is going to get resolved by you freaking out about it. And the longer you hold yourself in that place, the worse it’s going to get. So try saying something like:

“It’s just an illusion. It’s not going to last forever. I’m just freaking out about nothing. I made a mistake. It’s just my mind. Even though my thoughts feel very real, very scary and true, I love myself anyway. They might be true. Even if they were true, I’d be okay. I always land on my feet. I always get through this…”

And keep going until breathing becomes easier and you start to feel lighter.

Always keep a list on you, that has at least ten things you can do instead of freaking out, or being depressed or whatever it is you struggle with the most.

For me it’s anxiety. So much like the list here, you can create one that says:

“My go-to list of things to do when I’m ______________ (insert poison here).”

Here’s mine:

Panic attack help

And here’s a blank one for you to fill out and keep on you:

image

Don’t be afraid to question the accuracy of your thoughts and fears. Your fear thinks it knows everything, but there is a part of you that knows better. Listen to that part, no matter how faint it is.

And the more you do, the better you’ll feel.

You deserve that.

You deserve to feel good. For absolutely no reason. Even when you make mistakes. Even when everything seems wrong.

Here are some journaling prompts for you to explore. These are also questions that can stop negative thoughts in their tracks, so keep them nearby.

1. My fear – is it a legitimate fear? If yes, why? If no, why?

2. What can I do to accept myself even if the worry stays?

3. What am a believing about myself? Is it true?

Let me know how it goes in the comments section below.

there is always hope
, ,

How being yourself changes everything (includes 3 journaling prompts)

What if we started each day telling ourselves, “have fun and be yourself”. Or “trust yourself. You’re going to do the right thing”?

Or be yourself and the rest will follow.

Or be yourself and everything will fall into place.

Or everything you need is already inside of you.

How different would your days be if you stopped focusing on all the things you think you do wrong and instead chose to focus on all the things you already are?

Notice I ended the sentence at are. Not all the things you are doing. All the things you are. All the things that make you who who are. Because while it’s great to feel a sense of accomplishment, if you need that to love yourself then you’re not doing it for the right reason.

It’s so easy to put conditions on love – especially when it comes to loving ourselves.

“I’ll only like myself when I complete this task or I’ll only give myself a break once I’ve reached xyz goal.”

While I absolutely believe in setting and accomplishing goals, I believe loving ourselves despite our accomplishments or perceived lack thereof is by far the most important (and difficult) skill to master.

This conditional love all started when we were very young. People (especially our parents) attempted to fix or control us so they didn’t have to feel bad. It was easier. And it was all they knew.

But by diligently practicing something new we can create new patterns that serve the greater good for all.

One person changing can positively impact the entire family. This became evident to me a few days ago when I had a conversation with my mom I never thought I’d have.

I felt like all the work I’ve done on myself throughout the years – though lonely and seemingly futile at times – actually made a difference.

She talked to me the way I always wished she would have. She let me speak. She listened. And while we have had many conversations like this in the past several years, this one felt much more powerful.

Because I stopped fighting and surrendered.

She was herself.

And I was just me.

If someone would have told me this were possible when I was a teenager I would have probably rolled my eyes and said, “yeah right.”

Which might be what you’re thinking too. Because when you’re in it, it’s much harder to see a way out of it.

But keep the faith.

And if you only take one thing away from this, let it be this:

The greatest thing you can ever do for you is to tell yourself who you are is okay.

Even if no one else ever sees it, you have to know it.

And when you do, miracles will happen.

 

I will leave you with a few journaling prompts that’ll help you peer into how you’ve been treating yourself and what you can do to start being kinder to you. Remember: be honest with yourself.

1. In what ways are you not treating yourself the way you’d like others to treat you?

2. In what ways do you deny who you are for the sake of other people?

3. What is one thing you can do right now to be kind to yourself?

 

As always, I welcome your questions and comments below.

Journaling saved my life
, , , , ,

Journaling saved my life (includes journal writing prompts)

Journaling saved my life

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again.

Journaling saved my life.

When I couldn’t speak my truth, I wrote it.

I always had trouble talking. Some would call it being “shy.” Many thought I didn’t have anything to say.

But I did.

I was just so overwhelmed by my surroundings and my thoughts and emotions were so strong that my mind felt constantly bombarded.

My journal then became the place to process all this stuff going on.

When I was having panic attacks on the regular writing helped me get through it.

When my addictions got the best of me, I found my way back to myself by way of my journal.

How?

Because it allowed me to identify what was going on within and around me. Self-awareness is the key to changing anything about ourselves. If we don’t have a clue why we’re feeling the way we are, there isn’t any (healthy) way to release it.

Some people can talk to others, but because I was (and am) so sensitive I had trouble telling the difference between my own thoughts and feelings and those from the people around me. I had to process everything in solitude.

For a long time I thought there was something wrong with me, but I’m just an introvert.

Some might also call it being an empath.

Whatever you want to call it, it was unbearable during my younger years because I didn’t know how to manage it.

Which you would soon discover if you were to read any of the 20+ journals I have stacked in my closet.

But I digress…

The reason I’m sharing this with you is because I want to encourage you to find your “thing.”

You know, the thing that keeps you going.

The place you feel you can be unapologetically you.

Where you don’t have to censor your thoughts or your feelings or emotions. A place where you can say screw the filter, THIS IS WHAT I HAVE TO SAY.

We get so caught up in what other people think about us or what we believe others think of us that we lose pieces of ourselves.

This quote comes to mind:

“What other people think of me is none of my business.” -Wayne Dyer

But what you think of you is completely your business and it’s up to you to decide how you feel about yourself.

You have the right to feel how you feel.

More importantly, you have the right to be who you are.

It’s up to you to find the “you” you want to be.

Some questions to ask yourself:

When do I feel I am most myself?

How do I really feel about this situation vs. what I would say if someone asked me?

Where am I not being true to myself?

My favorite journaling people & their websites:

Nathan Ohren @ Write4Life

Mari McCarthy @ CreateWriteNow

Lynda Monk @ Creative Wellness Works

 

So tell me…

What’s your thing? Let’s get the conversation going!

A raw, real morning rant by Carrie Leigh Sandoval
, ,

A Raw, REAL, Unedited Morning Rant + Two Journaling Prompts

A raw, real morning rant by Carrie Leigh Sandoval

This morning (actually yesterday morning), I decided to do some free writing journaling. Or is it free-writing?

And by decided I mean I woke up and the words started pouring out of me.

That hadn’t happened in a while and I was really grateful it did.

I love journaling prompts, but sometimes I just need to write, you know?

Here goes my rant (sloppily hand-written in my journal and lovingly transferred to the blog for your reading pleasure):

I woke up from strange dreams of different planets and things I’d never seen. I woke up with these words in my mind:

“The world around me is in chaos, but I am at peace.”

I’ve been writing “how to” articles and all about the keys to this and that, but those mean nothing if you can’t connect with me.

I don’t want to be another person in your life who talks at you. I don’t want to be someone who you feel less than or better than.

I want us to be equals.

I don’t want to feel like I have to follow all the rules to be accepted.

And I don’t want “being accepted” to be the goal of anything. For anyone.

I don’t want censorship to dictate my way of speaking.

I don’t want to be a robot.

I don’t want to be perfect.

I just want to be me.

The me that knows I’m still in tact when I make mistakes.

The me that doesn’t follow all the rules.

The me that doesn’t strive to fit in.

The goal of life is not to blend in, it’s to stand out.

It’s to become more of who we are, not anyone else.

This is how I feel right now.

This is who I am right now.

This is my truth RIGHT NOW.

And I want to know yours.

I want to hear it.

I want to read it.

And I know there’s a part of you saying, “no you don’t.”

“No one cares about me.”

“I’m not that important.”

But you are important.

You do matter.

Your words, your actions, but most importantly your way of being – matters.

Despite your circumstances, your diagnoses, your past, whatever it may be. Despite whatever voice plays in your mind like a broken record.

I wish I could convey this so you’d never forget it.

You are worthy of ALL the GOOD this world has to offer.

You are worthy of connection to the highest part of you.

You are worthy of connection to other people.

You are enough.

And as I write this, I cry because I feel it too.

I don’t think you need any more “tips” or advice.

I have this feeling all you really need to know is, you’re not alone.

You’re not alone.

 

 

Feel like journaling today? Here are two journaling prompts to get you started.

What do I need to express today?

What do I want to experience more of in my life?

, , , , ,

3 Journaling Prompts to Encourage Self-Discovery

Self-discovery is one of the main goals of journaling. When I first began writing it was because I felt lost and had no idea who I was or who I wanted to be. It helped me connect back to the part of me that was greater, wiser and more confident than my thoughts and circumstances.

There is one constant in your life.

It’s you.

Other people will come and go, but you remain.

Which is why taking time to truly know yourself is one of the best things you can do. When you know how you operate, you’re less affected by what’s going on outside of you. You become more of a deliberate creator and conscious choice-maker.

Some people say journaling and other forms of self-care are selfish. I disagree. When we take care of ourselves and take time to know what makes us smile, laugh and cry we have more to give.

Which reminds me of this quote:

“The greatest gift you can ever give another person is your own happiness”
― Esther Hicks

So, do yourself a solid (you deserve it!) and take 30 minutes to journal today. Here are a few prompts to get you started.

Journal Time!

Write down and answer the following questions:

What makes me laugh?

What opens my heart?

What makes me want to be alive?

What did you learn about yourself today? How will you use this information to help others? Please leave your comments below!

addiction in teenagers
, , , ,

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
,

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.