Remember the self-care ratio we shared? It narrowed down the focus of self-care to: future relief, instant relief and basic needs. Instant relief is also known as self-soothing, which is a short-term fix to a stressor. It’s the candles, bubble baths and other quick remedies that provide us with short-term stress-relief.
Self-soothing is a skill that can help us cope during these overwhelming times and tolerate the uncomfortable emotions we’ve been feeling on a daily basis. From experiencing big life changes, to emotional exhaustion and burnout, it’s become crucial for us to know how to handle these tough situations by calming ourselves down, making space for difficult feelings and developing a perspective.
If you shake your legs when you’re agitated, or bite your nails when you’re nervous, you’ve actually been self-soothing. Without even knowing it, that’s how you’ve been comforting yourself when facing anxiety, fear and trauma – it’s your way of letting yourself know that you’ll be okay. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to learn how to self-soothe.
Learning how to self-soothe teaches us how to notice the strong, unpleasant feelings during moments of stress and anxiety, before we start to feel overwhelmed by them. Being able to identify and acknowledge these negative emotions allows us to consciously choose healthy ways to cope, find our balance and be kind to ourselves. Without it, we may find ourselves turning to unhealthy coping tools, lashing out or completely avoiding the situation.
To self-soothe, pay attention to your five senses – touch, sound, sight, smell and taste. What self-care activities appeal to each one of them and, to put it simply, feel like a warm hug? Remember that we all find comfort in different things, so it isn’t a one-size-fits-all practice. Here are some self-soothing strategies to get you started!
- Put on comfy clothes
- Wrap yourself in a blanket
- Take a shower or a bath
- Give yourself a massage
- Squeeze a stress ball, clay or slime
- Listen to binaural beats
- Play nature sounds
- Follow a guided meditation
- Singalong to your favourite songs
- Turn on ASMR
- Dim the lights
- Put on your favorite TV show or movie
- Watch “oddly satisfying” videos
- Use mood lights
- Wear a sleeping mask
- Get some fresh air
- Light scented candles or incense
- Put on scented lotion
- Spray air freshener
- Turn on an essential oil diffuser
- Make yourself a warm drink
- Chew on gum or suck on a lollipop
- Have a hot meal
- Eat something with strong flavours
- Savour a snack
Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms, like drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and binge eating, because these compulsive cravings will cause further stress and anxiety.
Lately, we’ve been experiencing information overload and consistent bad news, so scrolling through social media isn’t the best way to relax and unwind after a stressful day. Reading can help you relieve stress and escape from the anxieties of the real world. Some self-help books feel hard to read, they’re either too practical or too spiritual, and forcing yourself to focus will be more exhausting than relaxing.
We’ve found five entertaining books that you can add to your self-care ritual! They’re inspiring, fun to read, and will help you improve your life. These books are written as if the author is right next to you, guiding you and cheering you on. Remember to choose the right book for you, one that you can benefit from, and apply what you read to your life. Reading can make you happier and healthier!
The pandemic has reminded us of what is truly important in life, which is also the foundation of a minimalist lifestyle. This book shares how to find happiness in simplicity, and use minimalism to improve your health and relationships. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately, this book can help you eliminate unnecessary commitments and stress from your life, as well as bring more joy by celebrating the small things.
Self-care books can be cheesy, but this relatable read offers a refreshing and engaging experience. Written by a fellow millennial, the author is honest, and hilarious, as she guides you on a journey of self-love and acceptance with simple self-care rituals that have worked for her. For realistic advice to help you refine your daily routine, pick up this book and put her self-care practices to play!
Written by a psychotherapist, who is also a New York Times best-selling author, this book is for those who are curious about giving therapy a go. It gives you a behind-the-scenes look of what it’s like to be a therapist, and at the same time, places the therapist in the patient’s chair, opening you up to the process and importance of therapy. The book demystifies therapy, de-stigmatises mental health and humanises therapists in a witty and wonderful way.
Although this book is written for those who live in the US, the financial wellness advice from most chapters can be helpful for everyone and applied everywhere. It offers a friendly approach to finance, which can be a tough and intimidating topic, but this book manages to make the complex ideas easier to understand. Grab yourself a copy and you’ll be well on your way to financial literacy!
This anti-diet book dismantles diet culture and helps you reclaim your health. The author highlights how harmful diets are for our mental and physical health, and shares how to stop feeling guilty about eating, allowing us to enjoy food better. It promotes intuitive eating, which is when you listen to your body instead of society, and aims to heal unhealthy relationships with food for a healthier version of yourself!
Do you constantly feel overwhelmed, run-down or anxious? If you answered YES to at least one of them, it’s time for you to have some ‘ME-time’ and focus on your self-care.
Self-care is any behaviour, action, or tool that helps reduce a person’s stress level and possibly avoid health problems, mentally and physically. Our proposed ratio is 20:30:50. 20% for Future Relief, 30% for Instant Relief, and 50% for Basic Needs. All of it comes together to ensure you lead a well-balanced life!
20% : Future Relief
We should always strive to live in the moment as “now” is the only time that matters; but when we practice these healthy habits, we are helping our future selves to be more mindful, centered, and calm.
For future relief, you should utilize these ‘tools’:
Keeping a journal helps to analyze your moods, problems, concerns, and fears. Tracking this daily helps you recognise your triggers and stressors, and you can find ways to better deal with them.
- Resolutions & Goal-Setting
Align your focus and goals to sustain good momentum in life. This is an easy method of guiding you to your end target.
Feel free to check out our guide to making mindful resolutions for your life!
Explore your feelings, thoughts, patterns of behaviours, and trauma causes through therapy. Learn new coping techniques and skills to manage daily stressors, as well as symptoms that may be associated with your diagnosis.
There are many types of therapy, explore which you would like to try out here.
30% : Instant Relief
There are plentiful ways to instantly raise our ‘happy’ hormone levels! Try these out when you want a little pick-me-up:
- Turn Up The Music
Listening to happy music alleviates your mood and stimulates creative thinking. Shake your booty while you’re at it too! It doesn’t just burn calories, it boosts moods and body image. Here’s our fun self-care playlist that you must check out!
- Laugh Out Loud
Laughter truly is the best medicine. Our mental and physical health improves when we let loose with a little laughter. Here’s a plan of action: Watch a funny movie or comedy series – those reruns of “Friends” and “Brooklyn 99” may actually be beneficial for your heart!
Practicing meditation proves that it doesn’t take a lot of time to do the body and mind good. Quieting the mind for just a few minutes helps reduce stress and anxiety. If you dislike the ‘typical’ meditation method of sitting cross-legged, fret not – There’s More Than One Way To Meditate – Find Out What’s Best For You!
50%: Basic Needs
Often ignored but extremely necessary, these Basic Needs are what make up the majority of leading and living a good life. Maintaining this helps us sharpen our physical and mental health through better stress management, better self-esteem, and overall well-being.
Prioritizing snooze time is important for a healthier, happier you! Skipping out on shut-eye may hurt your productivity and reduce your abilities to make rational decisions – not to mention the imbalance of hormones it could cause. It is vital for you to allow your mind and body to rest and recuperate so you can function at 100%!
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Drinking enough water every day is crucial – the body needs it to perform its tasks well. From regulating the body temperature, ensuring your organs function properly, and preventing infections. When you’re well-hydrated, you also improve cognitive function, mood, and sleep quality.
The benefits of exercising are bountiful – it decreases risk of diseases, releases stress, reduces feelings of anxiety, increases “happy” chemical levels in the brain, and many more! Sneak in a quick 10-minute workout or a 15-minute walk and get your body moving.
- Fuel Up On Healthy Food
Indulging in ‘junk’ food is necessary self-care from time to time, however, you should fuel your body daily with foods that nourish you best. Consuming fewer sugars, salts, saturated and industrially-produced trans-fats ensures a healthier diet. Plan your meals and choose nutritious foods, so you can perform your best, every day. Healthy you = Happy you!
Assess which parts of your life require more self-care and attention; and reassess your life often! As your daily situation changes, so should your self-care needs. When you are caring for all areas of yourself, you’ll likely see an upgrade in many parts of your life – especially your health and relationships.
Have you ever experienced shavasana during a yoga practice? If yes, then you’d know how relaxing shavasana can be while simultaneously providing you with more energy, and clarity, after. If no, then here’s another method to feel the same: napping!
Why You Should Nap More
When thinking of ways to boost your productivity while working from home (WFH), napping is most certainly not the first idea to come to mind. In fact, most people view napping as an activity strictly reserved for children and / or seniors. To some, napping is even considered a waste of time – an interference to minutes spent productively.
Yet, science has proven again and again how napping, regardless of age, is beneficial:
- Napping actually reduces sleepiness (shocking, we know)
- Napping can aid in memory formation
- Napping can improve learning abilities
- Napping can help regulate emotions (ideal for you if you need an emotional rest)
What Type Of Nap You Should Take
Considering the aforementioned benefits, it makes total sense to incorporate napping into your WFH schedule. However, napping will also be of benefit to you in these scenarios:
- Prophylactic Nap: Knowing sleep loss is about to occur is why a prophylactic nap is taken; it’s to prepare the body in advance as to avoid sleepiness and to stay alert (think night shift workers).
- Recovery Nap: All-nighters or interrupted sleep can lead to feeling sleep deprived the following day, so it’s a no-brainer to take a recovery nap to compensate for lack of sleep.
- Essential Nap: When your immune system is fighting any disease it requires more energy which in turn, requires more napping. Thus, napping while unwell is literally essential as to recover.
- Appetitive Nap: This type of nap is taken purely for the enjoyment of napping – if you’re an Aries, Cancer, Pisces, Sagittarius, or Taurus then this is probably you.
What To Keep In Mind
As to really reap the benefits of a nap, timing is everything. For those unaware, while you’re asleep you move through various stages of sleep, depending on the brain waves you’re accessing and its effects on your eye movement. Without getting too science-y, here’s what you need to know:
- A 5 minute nap is too short for notable benefits
- A 30 minute nap, or longer, provides enough time to enter deep sleep
- If you nap for too long, though, you may feel groggy for up to an hour after (known as sleep inertia)
With that in mind, the ideal length for an in-between work nap would be anywhere from 10-20 minutes. Napping within this timeframe is commonly referred to as a ‘power nap’ as it provides recovery benefits without any of the grogginess post nap. As for what time to nap, aim for the halfway point between when you awoke and when you plan to sleep. Reason being that if you nap too late in the afternoon or in the early evening then you may struggle to sleep – which you definitely don’t want!
Wild Ginger wishes you happy napping ahead 🙂
The holidays are coming up and traditionally, it’s a much-anticipated time to get together with loved ones and enjoy a hearty meal, but it can still be physically and emotionally taxing. From hosting gatherings and visiting family, to backhanded compliments, passive-aggressive comments and political debates, these stressors and challenges can leave us feeling exhausted by the end of the holiday season.
Instead of spending your holidays in a state of discomfort this year, Jade Goh, a junior associate mental health practitioner at The Mind Faculty’s TMF Academy, shares her professional advice on setting healthy boundaries with your family for a happier holiday.
Why must we set boundaries?
“Boundaries are important because they protect our time, our energy and our resources. They teach people how they can and can’t treat us. They also teach us how we should and shouldn’t treat ourselves. For example, look at the boundaries you’ve set with how you allow people to talk to you. Do you allow them to discuss your body image? Does this make you feel comfortable or does it affect how you view yourself? Is it okay for you to feel bad about yourself so long as you are not upsetting someone else?”
How can we set boundaries with hurting anyone’s feelings?
“In Asian cultures, we are taught to conflate love with sacrifice and obedience. For example, “After how much we’ve paid for your education, you treat us this way”. Consequently, when we set boundaries with our family members, it is very common for someone’s feelings to be hurt as they may construe this as you not loving them. When setting boundaries, acknowledge the effort that your parents have made and remind them that you love them. For example, “I am so grateful for the opportunities you’ve given me and I do love you very much. However, it is important to me that I spend time with my friends to take care of my mental health. Let’s plan a family lunch on Sunday”.”
How can we set effective boundaries?
“Effective boundaries are kind and firm. When you set a boundary, be prepared to follow through. For example., “I’m not comfortable with you talking about my weight. Can we please discuss something else?”. If your boundary is violated, remove yourself from the situation. If the person doesn’t respect your boundary – an example of this is calling you rude for walking away – re-state your boundary kindly and firm. “As I said, this conversation makes me feel uncomfortable. While I can’t stop you from discussing my body, I need to take care of myself”.”
What if we feel guilty for setting boundaries?
“When we first set boundaries, we may feel guilty because we feel that we have to show love or care in a certain way. For example, choosing a career your parents want or spending all your free time with your parents. However, ‘love’ becomes an obligation and we may feel resentful or drained. When we set boundaries around our time, resources and energy, this allows us to better show up for our relationships because we are making a choice to be there. For example, taking the initiative to plan a family board game night instead of feeling obligated to have dinner with them every night. Consequently, we’ll be more present and more engaged in our relationships.
If your family members try to guilt you, they are trying to make you responsible for their feelings. For example, “If you don’t show up for dinner, your mum will be upset”. It’s important to remember that the only feelings you are responsible for are your own. It’s great that your mum misses you, but she is also making a choice to be upset about your attendance. If you do show up for dinner, she may be mollified for the time-being. If you don’t show up for dinner tomorrow, she’ll be upset. Over time, you may feel resentful if you have to give up the things you want to do to manage your parents’ emotions. You may lash out or withdraw from them. This does not build your relationship in the long-run.
So even if you feel guilty or you feel ‘guilted’, remind yourself that you are drawing boundaries so you can better show up for your loved ones.”
When should we set boundaries?
“Set boundaries if your relationship makes you feel:
- Bad about yourself.
- Unable to express what you want.
- Like you’re walking on eggshells.”
What should we do if our boundaries are disrespected?
“Follow through with the boundary you set. Remove yourself from the situation if you can or withdraw from the relationship until the person respects the boundary that you set.”
Although mental health is as important as physical health, the essential services needed to take care of our mental wellbeing are not as accessible as they should be. Many are not able to seek help for their mental illnesses or benefit from therapy because they cannot afford the premium prices.
The Mind Faculty, a private mental health clinic in Solaris Mont Kiara, aims to tackle this problem with TMF Academy. Their TMF Academy Associate Practitioner Program offers high quality mental health services at affordable prices, starting from RM120. To ensure that therapy is accessible without compromising the quality of services, TMF Academy’s Associate Practitioners are supervised by a senior practitioner from The Mind Faculty.
Seeking help is important for everyone, therefore, therapy should not be a luxury. Mental health services are a necessity for individuals and society, to reduce the cost and impact of mental illness, and enhance overall wellbeing and happiness.
What is your definition of rest?
For most, rest is synonymous with sleep but here’s a fun fact: there are actually seven types of rest needed for the body, mind, and soul to feel truly rejuvenated. If you’ve been wondering why you still feel fatigued after sufficient sleep, then now you know!
But which type of rest have you been neglecting? Read on to find out what type of rest you need:
What Is It: A creative rest is when you stop chronically brainstorming idea after idea. Instead of pressuring yourself to think of solutions, you’re allowing solutions to naturally arise. A creative rest provides you with time and space to widen your perspective.
Indicators: Feeling uninspired, creative blocks, and / or struggling to switch perspectives.
What Is It: An emotional rest is when you stop avoiding your emotions. By understanding why you felt certain emotions, you can learn more about yourself and your triggers. After discovering your triggers, you can handle your emotions without feeling overwhelmed.
Indicators: Easily triggered, prone to crying, and / or struggling to contain emotions.
Solution: Notice your triggers (caffeine, specific situations, specific comments etc.), embark on shadow work, and / or schedule time to emotionally express yourself to a friend or therapist.
What Is It: A mental rest is when you stop forcing your brain to work overtime. Instead of continuously overloading yourself with information, a mental rest creates time and space for your brain to actually process and store all the information you have been exposed to.
Indicators: Forgetful, trouble concentrating, and / or struggling to sleep.
Solution: Incorporate a meditation practice into your day-to-day (even just for five minutes), schedule short breaks in between work, and / or jot down what you’ve learned / need to do / nagging thoughts etc.
What Is It: Physical rest can be categorised into active and passive. An active physical rest focuses on improving blood circulation by stretching or massaging the body. A passive physical rest means literally resting by napping or sleeping.
Indicators: Lack of energy, constant yawning, and / or struggling to stay awake.
Solution: If you feel physically sore or stiff then practice yin yoga or even Qi Gong, book a lymphatic drainage massage, an d/ or take cat-naps with an eye-mask (ideally up to 15 minutes).
What Is It: A sensory rest is when you intentionally deprive your senses of stimulation. Just like you can become mentally overloaded, you can become sensorially overloaded, too. Some examples of what can cause sensory overload: electronic devices, background noise, bright lights, flashing lights, multiple conversations at once, etc.
Indicators: Eye strain, headaches, and / or struggling to focus.
Solution: Set a timer to remind yourself to close your eyes in between work, lower the brightness of your electronic devices, and / or limit your time with electronic devices (on Instagram especially!).
What Is It: A social rest is when you dedicate time to connect with yourself. Maybe for you, connecting with yourself is equivalent to spending time alone; or maybe it’s through meeting a friend who understands you and can guide you towards clarity. Just ensure that the person you’re meeting makes you feel revived instead of exhausted.
Indicators: Feeling like you need a break from certain friends but not knowing why, feeling drained after socialising, and / or struggling with social anxiety.
Solution: Do something for just yourself, catch up with an old friend, and / or surround yourself with positive people.
What Is It: A spiritual rest is when you allow yourself time and space to feel connected to those around you and the world around you. By experiencing the power of unity, you will be able to uncover what life means to you and what you should do more of in order to feel fulfilled. If a spiritual rest includes religious elements is entirely up to you.
Indicators: Feeling unhappy about your life, feeling disconnected from the world around you, and / or struggling to empathise with others.
Solution: Find a mantra (like: I am connected to my Higher Self) and repeat it daily, volunteer at a local NGO, and / or find your purpose through trial and error.
So which type of rest do you need more of? Whichever you need, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, so keep coming back to this article if you need guidance 🙂
Sexual violence refers to all unwanted, forced or unconsented:
- Sexual acts
- Attempts to obtain sexual acts
- Sexual comments
by any person. These include, but are not limited to:
- Sexual assault
- Sexual harassment
- Sexual misconduct
- Child sexual abuse
Throughout the world, women, children and men are affected by sexual violence. It has a profound impact on the psychological, emotional and physical health of the survivor. Although victims and survivors have unique experiences and different reactions, sexual violence can have a lasting effect on their everyday lives. This also involves their social wellbeing as individuals have been devastatingly stigmatised and ostracised by their own families and communities for being a victim.
Some of the impacts of sexual violence include, but are not limited to:
- Nightmares and flashbacks
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Substance use or abuse
- Fear, distrust
- Guilt, shame and self-blame
- Physical injuries
- Sexual and reproductive health problems
- Self-harm and suicide
- Sexually transmitted diseases or infections
Although there are some commonalities, it is important to remember that victims and survivors respond to sexual violence in their own way – there is no “right” or “wrong” reaction. Some victims may keep their feelings to themselves for days, weeks, months or even years after the incident (if they ever choose to share their story), some may express their emotions right after and tell others what happened. These are both normal and common reponses. We must respect each survivor’s choice and way of coping with their trauma, and support them by:
Many victims of sexual violence withhold or withdraw allegations because they are afraid of not being believed or having their experience brushed aside. We must take all complaints of sexual violence seriously. If they entrust you with their story, provide them with assurance and support. Let them know that you believe them and are behind them.
Listen to the survivor without judgement. Put your opinions aside to allow them to share what happened and how it made them feel. Acknowledge their feelings with empathy and compassion. They need a space to be heard and feel understood.
Allowing survivors to make their own decisions
Victims of sexual violence have had their boundaries violated, so it is crucial to let them have control over their decisions. Even if they ask for your input, respect their boundaries and be a willing listener. They’ve experienced a loss of control and need to re-establish it.
There are a lot of myths and misinformation regarding sexual violence that puts the blame on the victims and survivors. These are extremely harmful. You must educate yourself to provide informed and compassionate support. This will also allow you to recognize acts of sexual violence, such as rape jokes and locker room banter, and call them out.
Sexual violence is a community problem – we all need to work together to address it. You can start by allowing victims and survivors to feel safe, respected and empowered. Showing support can make a difference, and have a positive impact on their healing process. Take them seriously, make them feel seen and heard.
If you or anyone you know is a victim of sexual violence, you can contact the Women’s Aid Organisation Hotline at 03 3000 8858 or SMS/WhatsApp TINA at 018 988 8058 .
As April comes to an end, we find ourselves reflecting on the previous weeks before embarking on another month with more self-awareness. But with work starting to move back to the office, it may have been hard to carve out some time for self-care while readjusting to workplace busyness and multitasking. What we’ve found helpful, when it comes to keeping up with learning and evolving during this time, is tuning into informative self-help podcasts. Make use of your daily commute, whether you’re looking to pump yourself up in the morning or unwind after work, by listening to these engaging podcasts. Here are our picks to help you stay on track of your personal growth journey:
You’ve probably come across some of Dr. Thema’s enlightening quotes on social media – the licensed psychologist is constantly sharing how to grow, change and heal, on her global mission to provide relief and empowerment to marginalized populations. Through her empowering podcast, she helps guide listeners on their journey home to themselves with weekly inspiration and mental health advice. Each episode aims to help create a safe space in your mind and body, with topics such as Getting Past Our Defenses: Truth Telling, Healing Unworthiness and Eliminating Self-Destruction.
If you’re looking for something more spiritual, you can find comfort in the Lightworkers Lounge. Hosted by Stephanie Powers, the lightworker has created a strong and supportive social media community of individuals who are looking to delve deeper into life, love and the universe. Tune into her uplifting podcast for candid conversations about astrology, relationships, holistic living, the law of attraction and other topics about life to help you on your path to awakening. Episodes include Healing With Crystals, Masculine vs Feminine Energy and Spiritual Maintenance.
From inequality to sustainability, the pandemic has pushed social issues to the forefront – there is no excuse for ignorance now that information is everywhere. One of these educational resources is The Uncomfortable Podcast, made available by creative activist, Dom Roberts, to explore the human experience and what it means to be Black in America. It features honest and entertaining conversations with guests from all walks of life and industries, covering thought-provoking topics like interracial relationships, body positivity, and doing your part.
Hosted by Master Certified Confidence Coach Kara Loewentheil, J.D., The UnF*ck Your Brain podcast is as hard-hitting as its title. The fun, feminist life coach (and former lawyer) aims to help other high-achievers who struggle with anxiety, self-doubt and importer syndrome. Each episode teaches listeners how to overcome social conditioning and own their self-critical thoughts, so they can reduce anxiety and insecurity, boost their self-confidence, and get what they want in life. The empowering topics range from productivity and perfectionism, to money mindset.
An hour of peace and wisdom dedicated to healing, XO Higher Self will shift your perspective and inspire self-compassion beyond self-love cliches. The podcast features spiritual coach and multidisciplinary artist, Bunny Michael, answering her listeners’ questions with advice and guidance to their Higher Self: the manifestation of love within all humans de-conditioned by the limitations of ego identity. No topics are off limits with episodes like You Don’t Need To Be Fixed, Your Wounds Are Not Your Fault and We Don’t Give Ourselves Enough Credit. It feels as if your own higher self is talking to you.
When you hear the word ‘wellness’, the first thing that usually comes to mind is meditation. The ancient practice has been around for thousands of years, and although it was first conducted for religious reasons, it has now been adapted by the mainstream as a therapeutic tool for better overall health. It is still met with skepticism, mainly by those who’ve tried it once and gave up after a few minutes of not being able to clear their minds, but these misunderstandings and incorrect assumptions are only preventing people from experiencing the scientifically-proven benefits of the wellness practice.
To debunk some of the common myths about meditation, we turned to meditation expert, Michael Teh. The registered yoga teacher was a young and successful investor and entrepreneur whose life changed after embarking on daily meditation. Other than reaping the rewards of good health, joy and positivity, meditation has also helped enhance his business performance – resulting in ease and abundance when it comes to investments, stock trading and other business. He now has a healthy outlet to relieve stress, along with other negative emotions, and has built more positive relationships with his family and friends.
Teh shares, “As a result [of meditation], you become more intuitive and often find the wisdom to overcome challenges. At the same time, you will find yourself being more patient, more positive and loving when faced with problems and challenges – where in the past, such challenges may have triggered you to become angry, sad, hateful, and other negative emotions”. Read on to learn more and transform your mindset.
The Most Common Misconceptions About Meditation
- Meditation is a religious practice and for those who are lost.
I would like to debunk the notion that meditation is a religious practice, and only for those who are lost. The underlying and ultimate purpose of meditation is to seek the understanding and realization of Who You Truly Are – which I termed as Self-Realization. Self-Realization is crucial in the evolution of Humanity, leading one to understand and live a life of purpose, fulfilment, contentment and joy. Knowing and realizing Who You Truly Are sets the foundation towards actualizing your fullest potential in this lifetime. The first step towards Self-Realization is to develop awareness through mindful breathing, and meditation is the tool used to develop mindfulness and awareness.
- Meditation is just for relaxation.
While relaxation is the fundamental principle for meditation, meditation practice is not just a relaxation technique. I always share with my students that meditation is not something that you need to do or perform, but rather create the right condition for meditation to happen naturally.
- Meditation is selfish.
It may at times seem that a meditator is selfish – by sitting down on a cushion for long moments, and not seen as working or engaging with the family. However, finding time for yourself and taking care of your own mental wellbeing is crucial towards being a happier person for your family and community. Meditation is a form of self-care and self-love that leads to a healthier and happier life in the long run. It aids in removing negative thoughts and emotions from your body-mind-soul, leading to positivity, joy and happiness. When you are happy, you will naturally emanate loving kindness towards not just yourself, but all other sentient beings as well – including your family and friends. As a result, you will nurture and develop more positive relationships with the people around you.
The Health Benefits Of Meditation
One must seek to understand that our body, mind and soul are one unit that makes us a Human Being. If we are not able to balance the wellbeing of the body, mind and soul, we will not be able to live a life of positivity and lasting happiness. For example, if you are constantly living under stress and pressure, this will result in unhappiness, and also cause harm to your body by breeding diseases or mental sickness. Meditation cultivates inner peace, calm and balance. It can also be used to conduct inner-healing to remove the negative emotions that have been hidden or stored inside your body and mind – this inner healing brings forth lightness and positive mental health.
Before I embarked on a journey of meditation practice, I was not aware that there were a lot of hidden negative emotions inside our system. These negative emotions arise from our day-to-day lives, be it through our eating habits, conversations with people around us, the information we receive from social media, the conditioning of our minds due to environmental and societal factors, or the pressure and stress from work – these all contribute to the deterioration of our mental and physical health. What’s worse is that we are not even aware of it. Through meditation, you will be able to develop the necessary state of mind where you are mindful and aware of these negative conditions in you, and thus also giving you the inner power to shift from negative to positive. As a result, it heals and aids in developing a positive mental and physical wellbeing.
How To Start Meditating
Depending on the fluctuations of your mind (which is highly dependent on your state of mind – thoughts and emotions), one can start meditating daily in a short time span of 5 minutes, and slowly and gradually increase the time of meditation to 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes or even up to an hour. The aim is to not be distracted by your own thoughts and emotions, and seek to cultivate emptying your thoughts and emotions through meditation.
The goal of meditation is to develop awareness and mindfulness. Once mindfulness is developed, meditation can then be used to develop concentration. It is a mind exercise – like how we go to the gym and carry weights to build muscle, meditation can be used to train the mind by cultivating mindfulness and concentration. One should cultivate a daily meditation practice, and seek to realize the benefits of it and thus make it a way of life.
Michael’s Daily Meditation Routine
I wake up every morning to perform yoga Surya Namaska (Sun Salutation), Qi Gong movements, and meditation leading to stillness and a positive mind. I spend an hour every morning doing this prior to leaving the house – it sets the right tone and mood for the day before I start my busy schedule.
At night, prior to sleep, I will sit for a short 10-15 minute meditation to calm my mind – emptying all thoughts and emotions, leading to a very good, deep sleep. These simple yet powerful practices have indeed helped me to develop a positive and healthy state of mind, resulting in positive physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
If you are interested in attaining self-realization, visit Teh’s website for more information on his signature program “The Essence of Life Workshop Series” and weekly Yoga and Qigong classes. You can also follow him on Instagram for more mindfulness tips!
When we first started Wild Ginger, we wanted to avoid using the word ‘manifestation’. Although it is a new-wellness practice, it has also become a misunderstood buzzword with a whole range of TikTok tutorials and Twitter threads, appearances in the upcoming genre of spiritual memes, and plastered all over fast-fashion pieces. As we try to offer an achievable and realistic approach to health and wellbeing, the New-Age Internet trend has made manifestation out to be more magical than it really is, but here’s the quote that made us change our mind:
“Manifesting isn’t dreaming and wishing, manifesting is deciding and acting”.
Believe it or not, there is a science behind manifestation – psychology to be specific. It doesn’t involve wish-granting powers or spiritual energy, it’s as simple as believing that we are all capable of making even our wildest dreams come true. Read on to go beyond the buzzword and behind the power of positive thinking and habitual action!
What is manifestation?
If you look up the meaning of ‘manifestation’ in a dictionary, it’s defined as “a sign of something existing or happening”. This is often misconstrued and instead believed that if you merely focus on something, it will magically appear. What makes this popular belief harmful is that it doesn’t take into account those with anxiety, depression or other mental health diagnoses, as well as victims and survivors of trauma and diseases. Your thoughts are just thoughts – thinking about something won’t bring it into existence. We can’t control everything either – you are not to blame for your trauma.
What really is manifestation? Taking action to convert your ideas into a reality. It’s a holistic strategy for achieving your goals that includes transforming your mindset and behaviours. Here’s how to use it in a sentence: Your success is a manifestation of your hard work and discipline.
What is the science behind manifestation?
A self-fulling prophecy is a belief or expectation that an individual holds about a future event that manifests because the individual holds it (Good Therapy, 2015). For example, if you think you’re going to perform well during a presentation, your positive attitude towards your presentation may make that prediction come true. How? You may unconsciously work towards affirming this belief by feeling motivated to practice your presentation, thus resulting in a confident performance, focusing on positive feedback and not dwelling on any negativity.
The Placebo Effect
In psychology, a self-fulfilling prophecy was proven with The Placebo Effect (Isaksen, 2012). Psychologists discovered that during scientific studies or clinical trials, some participants still showed improvements even when they weren’t receiving working treatments – their beliefs affected the treatments they were given.
How to start manifesting?
First, remember that thinking about something isn’t the same as doing it. Use that thought to help define your goals and as a daily reminder of your dreams – this should just be the starting point, either written down in your journal or represented through imagery on a vision board. In order to really manifest your dreams, you must develop a routine around these ideas, form affirmations to help you focus, and you’ll have reinforced the habit of working towards achieving these goals!
The shadow isn’t a popular topic that is discussed. Nobody particularly enjoys owning their weaknesses, flaws, selfishness, insecurities, and so on – we’d rather focus on our strengths, which is more life-affirming and enjoyable.
But, as disagreeable as it may sound, there is a dark side within every person. The nature of being human is to have both a light and a dark side, and we need to embrace that. Shining the light of consciousness on the shadow takes effort and continual practice. The more you take note of your behavior and emotions, the better chances you have of catching your shadow in the act.
What Is Your Shadow Side?
In psychology, a shadow is used to refer to the parts within us that we may try to deny or hide, consciously or unconsciously. This term was originally explored by Carl Jung who said, “Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the darker and denser it is”.
Your Shadow Self is part of your unconscious mind and contains everything you feel ashamed of thinking and feeling, as well as every desire, repressed idea, impulse, fear and perversion that for one reason or another, you have “locked away” intentionally or unintentionally. Usually this is done as a way of keeping yourself likable and “civilized” in the eyes of others.
Everything we deny in ourselves becomes part of the shadow. Anything incompatible with our chosen conscious attitude about ourselves is “exiled” to this dark side.
Why Must We Do Shadow Work
When you work with your shadow, you release a huge amount of energy you were unconsciously investing to protect yourself. This may improve your mental, emotional and physical health. It’ll boost your inner strength and give you a greater sense of balance, equipping you better when facing life’s challenges.
Accepting your own darker parts makes it easier to accept the shadow in others too. Hence, other people’s behaviour won’t trigger you as much and you’ll find it easier to communicate with others. There will be an improvement in your relationships with your partner, family, colleagues and friends.
How To Start Shadow Work
Start a writing journal where you record discoveries about yourself. Writing your insights and feelings, and reviewing them later, helps encode the discovery into your awareness.
Here are some topics to guide you in what to look out for when beginning shadow work:
- Pay attention to your reactions – By paying close attention, you train yourself to notice your shadow when you witness strong negative emotional responses to others’ behaviors. Whatever bothers you in another is most likely a disowned part within yourself.
- Be honest and courageous to face your flaws and accept them – No matter how uncomfortable they make you feel. It is easier to turn a blind eye, but the rewards are worth the discomfort as these honest confrontations with your shadow help you accept them. Acceptance is the first step to real change.
- Own your projections – A vital step in shadow work. Focus on who and what awakens an emotional charge in you. No matter the emotion, this is a clue to whatever you are denying within you.
- Accept your own humanness – Keep in mind that we all have a shadow and there is nothing wrong with facing it. Ignoring the shadow enables the shadow to own us and then, real problems will arise.
- Have a self-reflective mindset – The ability to observe and reflect our thoughts, feelings and behaviours is important to see our own shadows. However, before you get to know your shadow, cultivating a sense of unconditional friendliness with one’s self is helpful to ensure you don’t spiral downwards.