Category Archives: gratitude

Self-care: How to start a gratitude and success journal

I am starting with a notebook I had in my desk.

I heard about gratitude journals years ago and brushed them off as a waste of time (I have a very “left-brain” background).

After starting my work with Indrani’s Light Foundation I would hear Indrani talking about her gratitude journal, but still filed it away as “something I didn’t have time for”.

Last year in October, I finally decided to give the gratitude journal idea a try but didn’t really have any idea how to get started. I knew that writing a traditional journal entry in complete sentences didn’t feel like something I would actually do, so I worked through a few ideas, and finally landed on something that worked.

Now, when I say “worked,” I mean that I successfully journaled for 17 out of 61 days in October and November before stopping completely in December.

You must get started somewhere right?

In episode 15 of the Caring for the Cargivers Podcast Indrani, Amy, and I discussed some of our self-care practices. One of the self-care practices I want to improve upon in 2018 is keeping a gratitude and success journal. When I started keeping my own journal in late 2017 I had no idea what I was doing, but over time I managed to find a system that works for me.

To kick off 2018 I thought I would share how I am using my gratitude and success journal in the hopes it might help you give the idea a try.

How to start a gratitude and success journal (the Jeremie way)

My template includes: gratitude, habits, and successful day.

  1. Buy a journal – I found an empty journal we had sitting around the house (see the image at the start of the post).
  2. Decide what you want to track daily in your journal – I track gratitude, habits, and successful days.
  3. Create a template for your journal entries on the first page – or if you are less worried about structure skip this step. Remember this is YOUR journal.
  4. Pick how often you want to write in your journal – I am committed to writing in mine every week day, if I make entries on the weekend that is a bonus. I also try to write in mine first thing in the morning before starting my work day.
  5. Start using your journal – I am re-kickstarting my journal Friday January 26th.
  6. Don’t beat yourself up when you get off track. Just start again.

How I use my journal

An example of my entry for January 26th.

Section One: Gratitude

I start each day’s entry by reflecting on the previous day and writing down three things that I am grateful for from that day.

I reflect on my previous day for a couple of reasons:

  • I find I am usually too tired before bed to properly reflect on my day and write down my thoughts. If I try to journal at night, I just don’t do it.
  • By writing these three things down first thing in the morning I get an instant boost of energy to my day.

Section Two: Habit Formation

This middle section of my journal entry is dedicated to forming new positive habits. Currently I am trying to go for a walk, drink 4-8 glasses of water, and take my vitamins and other meds every day.

To form these activities into habits I know I have to repeat them enough times that they become routine: actions I take without even having to think about them. By recording my success with each habit in my journal I am reminded to complete each daily task and eventually (hopefully) form a new habit.

Section Three: Successful Day

Every day I select 3-5 tasks from my much longer task list that, if I finish them, will make me feel like I accomplished something and made my day successful.

This section is super important to my day. In the past I have always worked through my day using a long list of tasks I need to complete. What I discovered was, even when I finished a lot of the tasks on that list, I wasn’t feeling very accomplished. There were so many more tasks on the list.

For the end of 2017, and for 2018 I have stopped working of my long task list. Instead, I record 3-5 tasks that I need to complete each day that will make me feel like the day was successful.

If I manage to get more tasks done…great! But achieving more than the five tasks listed in my journal is not a requirement. Only the three to five in the journal need to be finished for my day to be successful.

At the end of 2017 this tweak to my daily routine made a big difference. I found that, at the end of the day, while wrapping things up and transitioning to family time I was feeling much more accomplished and had higher levels of energy.

By limiting my expectations of myself (which usually were not very realistic or fair) I have set myself up to succeed and put myself in a better headspace for the rest of the day and evening.

Journaling every day

Right now, I have a one-day-in-a-row streak going for my 2018 gratitude and success journal.

I am hoping that I can make writing in this journal a successful part of my self-care routine. However, I am also not going to beat myself up for not getting this self-care practice “right”. I think that is an important piece of any self-care routine: if the self-care routine makes you feel worse because you aren’t doing it, then find something different to try.

A self-care routine that makes you feel guilty isn’t doing its job.

I am looking forward to getting better at journaling, and I would love your help. Let me know in the comments below what your gratitude journal (or any sort of daily journal practice) looks like.

New Year’s Resolutions: Do They Work?

One of the beautiful things about the New Year is that it traditionally makes us feel like we can start over, improve on what was not working, and gives us an opportunity of “letting go” of what went wrong during the past year.  As 2018 was approaching a few weeks ago, I reflected on all of the things I just mentioned.  I listed the people, things, events, and work that served, or didn’t serve me in 2017.

{Amy Jaffe with Saza in Chiangmai, Thailand – 2017}

I made New Year’s resolutions last year, as I do every year, and I had to force myself to recognize that I can’t remember one year that I stuck with my resolutions religiously. I gave many a good try, but I have not been fully committed after the excitement fades. Last year was another one of those years.

Here were a few of my 2017 resolutions:

  1. Develop better communication skills, and be clearer about my own needs.
  2. Develop a regular yoga and meditation practice.
  3. Be more aware of my body weight, diet, and exercise. Plan a diet that fits in with my life and body. Lose weight, and exercise on a regular basis.

Do any of these look familiar to you?

These are some common resolutions that I hear quite often, and I jumped on the bandwagon last year on all of these.  At the end of the year I actually celebrated one of the resolutions regarding my weight, diet, and exercise.  I lost over 40 pounds last year that had been creeping up on me the past 6 years, and I feel great!  I’m on the treadmill at least 5 days a week, and my diet is mostly gluten free, vegetables, a few grains, and vegetarian.  I have kept my weight off all year and grateful to feel healthy and whole.

Now, for the “not so celebrated” resolutions….

What kind of feelings do YOU go through when you reflect on your failed commitments?  Do you feel like a failure?  Do you believe you shouldn’t try again because you just know you’ll fail again?  My feelings are similar, AND the feeling of fear rises up when I want to try them again.  How can I be better at these commitments?  Why are these resolutions so important to me? And how can they become habits?  I am sitting with all of these questions and feelings, and ready to stand up and move forward with the desire to keep trying.

Brené Brown is one of my teachers in life, and two of her books, “Daring Greatly” and “Braving the Wilderness” are my new bibles.  At the end of every year I beat myself up with guilt because I did NOT stay committed to my New Year’s resolutions.  I am a perfectionist at heart and mind, and when I am not perfect …. the guilt and anxiety take a hold of me.

“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”
― Brené BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Where do I go from here?

I am setting my intentions and resolutions again this year!  My intention is to follow Brené Brown’s advice and focus on healthy striving in my life.  I am one of the hosts of Indrani’s Light Foundation’s “Caring for the Caregivers” podcast.  Indrani Goradia, Jeremie Miller and I publish a bi-monthly podcast to support our Caregivers who work as staff members in domestic violence shelters.  (Available on iTunes)  In our newest episode for 2018, the three of us discussed how we can reflect on our current self-care practices, and plan for new ones as an important step in being intentional about our self-care.  We also talked about what practices worked for us in 2017, and which ones need improvement in 2018.

I am excited about starting this New Year free from guilt and shame, and acknowledging that intentions and striving for a healthier life is what my New Year’s Resolution will be!

I would love to know if this blog and our podcast episodes have been helpful for you this first month of 2018.  What have you learned so far?  Have you freed yourself of guilt, and discovered your New Year’s Resolutions?

With gratitude,

Amy

Amy Jaffe | Director of Education & Outreach
Indrani’s Light Foundation

“Savor the Season” by Stacie Kenton

plink-share-be-all-there-1024x692

“Tis the season,” so it is said.  For some, it’s a season of joy.  For others, a season of sorrow.  And yet for others, it’s a season of chaos and the feelings of the “unknown.”  At Indrani’s Light, we teach a workshop series called, “Live A Brighter Life.”  One of the modules focuses on self-care.  We talk about daily routines and ways to practice self-care that can be accomplished at a moment’s notice.  One of those ways is using the outdoors as an outlet and release of negative energy, or absorb the beauty of nature to fill your spirit up with happiness and joy.  Whatever your need is in the moment, nature is calling your name!

stacie-kentonOur Director of Relationships & Executive Administrator, Stacie Kenton, wrote an amazing blog this month to get us through the end of the year.  It can many times be a stressful time for us, and we need a reminder to take care of ourselves.

In her personal blog, “Savor the Season,” Stacie gives us 4 tips to connect with nature:

  1. Take it outside
  2. Take full advantage of sunny days
  3. Savor the season’s pleasures
  4. Be present

We encourage you to GO HERE and enjoy Stacie’s full blog.  As Stacie says here …. “I hope you choose to live in this winter and not just through it.”

15 Days of Impact

15-days-of-impact-final

 

This holiday season we are celebrating “15 Days of Impact.”  It’s our way of acknowledging and offering gratitude for all of you who supported and donated to our foundation this year.  Because of your donations, you made an incredible impact on our mission to end violence against women.

So many lives have been touched.
So many women and children have been affected by our Live A Brighter Life curriculum.
So many caregivers who work at women’s shelters are feeling healthier, and navigating their jobs with more confidence, and practicing self-care.

 

“15 Days of Impact”

___________________________________________________________________________

15-days-of-impact-finalDay #1 Impact:  Those of you who donated and supported Indrani’s Light Foundation in 2016 made it possible for 9 people to become certified trainers for Indrani’s Light Foundation!

15-days-of-impact-day-2Day #2 Impact:  Those of you who donated and supported Indrani’s Light Foundation in 2016 made it possible for two of our new ILF trainers to teach the Live A Brighter Life Curriculum online to their own communities!

15-days-of-impact-day-3Day #3 ImpactWithout your support and donation, we would not have been able to send our master trainers, Jeremie Miller and Amy Jaffe, to Houston this year to pursue our Caregiver Project, and teach our LABL curriculum to the staff at the Fort Bend Women’s Center, and keep them from burning out of this challenging career.

15-days-of-impact-day-4Day #4 ImpactWithout your support and donation, we would not have been able to continue monthly follow up calls to the women’s shelters who are involved in our Caregiver Project.

15-days-of-impact-day-5Day #5 Impact: Those of you who donated and supported Indrani’s Light Foundation in 2016 made it possible to complete our summer online Live A Brighter Life course, co-taught by Amy Jaffe and our new volunteer certified trainers.

15-days-of-impact-day-6Day #6 ImpactWithout your support and donation, we would not have been able to send our Director of Education & Training, Amy Jaffe, and our newest certified ILF volunteer trainer, Yvette McIntire, to Houston this fall to teach our Caregiver Project curriculum to the staff of three women’s shelters!

 

15-days-of-impact-day-7Day #7 ImpactThose of you who donated and supported Indrani’s Light Foundation in 2016 made it possible for a Portland, Oregon shelter to sign up for our Caregiver Project for their staff!

 

15-days-of-impact-day-8Day #8 ImpactWithout your support and donation, we would not have been able to provide our new series of “Meditations by Indrani” for people ready to live a brighter life.

 

15-days-of-impact-day-9Day #9 ImpactThose of you who donated and supported Indrani’s Light Foundation in 2016 made it possible to support other domestic violence awareness campaigns, including Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the United Nation’s “Orange the World” 16 days of activism to end violence against women and girls.

 

15-days-of-impact-day-10Day #10 Impact:   Without your support and donation, we would not have been able to complete a second online fundraiser to raise money to teach the Caregiver Project curriculum to the staff of three women’s shelters in Houston, TX.

15-days-of-impact-day-11Day #11 ImpactThose of you who donated and supported Indrani’s Light Foundation in 2016 made it possible to share and document the global work Indrani is doing to increase awareness about violence against women.

 

 

 

15-days-of-impact-day-12Day #12 Impact:  Those of you who donated and supported Indrani’s Light Foundation in 2016 made it possible for our Caregiver Project to impact our caregivers by showing:

a) 47% increase in their understanding of personal boundaries and why they are important;
b) 43% improvement on understanding why personal boundaries are important to their well-being;
c) 41% increase in the caregivers’ ability to communicate when their boundaries have been crossed, and taking action to protect their boundaries.

 

15-days-of-impact-day-13Day #13 ImpactWithout your support and donation, we would not have been able to share and support our mission through social media!

 

15-days-of-impact-day-14Day #14 ImpactThose of you who donated and supported Indrani’s Light Foundation in 2016 made it possible for the Caregiver Project to help our caregivers make big improvements in their own self-care, showing:

  1. 43% increase in identifying what activities they can do to keep themselves healthy;
  2. 80% increase in their commitment to making self-care a priority in their lives;
  3. 65% improvement in their ability to deal with burnout.

 

 

15-days-of-impact-day-15Day #15 ImpactThose of you who donated and supported Indrani’s Light Foundation in 2016 made it possible for us to teach, raise awareness, support caregivers, certify trainers, and take action to continue our mission to end violence against women.

 

___________________________________________________________________________

If you would like to know more about how you can support Indrani’s Light in making even more of an impact in 2017 you can donate here: http://indranislight.org/15-days-of-impact-2016/

OR DONATE HERE

*Meditate With Indrani* ~ Opening Your Heart

Meditate with Indrani image

Indrani would love to share some of her meditations with you.  Her desire is to assist you in beginning a meditation practice, if you do not have one.   If you have a meditation practice, these weekly meditations will help you to work on living a brighter life.

Today’s 8-minute meditation is about opening your heart and loving yourself unconditionally.  Self acceptance is the first step to loving ourselves without condition.  Listen to this meditation carefully, and then go to the mirror and say to the person you see, “I love you.”

“Opening Your Heart” Meditation Recording:

*Meditate With Indrani *
recording series

Click here to access her FREE meditations

[Meditate with Indrani} 

ILF logo_vert_trans

Live A Brighter Life
online workshop series

Click here to access our FREE online recordings

[Live A Brighter Life}

ILF logo_vert_trans

Send us to Houston
for the
“Caregiver Project”

Click here to support us with a click of a button

[The Caregiver Project}

ILF logo_vert_trans

*Meditate with Indrani* ~ May You Be Well

Meditate with Indrani image

Indrani would love to share some of her meditations with you.  Her desire is to assist you in beginning a meditation practice, if you do not have one.   If you have a meditation practice, these weekly meditations will help you to work on living a brighter life.

Do you need permission to be well today?  Would you like to feel free from suffering, and feel at peace?  Today’s 1-minute meditation is called, “May You Be Well.”  Take time to forgive yourself, and know you are perfect.

“May You Be Well” Meditation Recording:

*Meditate with Indrani* ~ Finding Your One True Love

Meditate with Indrani image

Indrani would love to share some of her meditations with you.  Her desire is to assist you in beginning a meditation practice, if you do not have one.   If you have a meditation practice, these weekly meditations will help you to work on living a brighter life.

Are you looking for your one true love?  Or maybe you need a way to renew the love you have with your current partner.  Today’s 10-minute meditation is called, “Finding Your One True Love.”  This is a meditation that will enable you to be in a space to draw in the love and qualities you would like to attract with your true love.

As you meditate, allow yourself to imagine the qualities you want to attract in your one true love.  Identify the qualities …. Is it kindness? Funny? Intelligent? Someone who respects nature?  Now imagine FEELING the joy and happiness as you surround yourself with your true love.  You are becoming the essence of all you wish to attract in your life.  Listen below, and let us know if this helped.

“Finding Your One True Love” Meditation Recording

 

Meditate with Indrani at *This Moment*

Meditate with Indrani Indrani would love to share some of her meditations with you, so keep an eye on the ILF blog for our ongoing meditation series, which begins with today’s meditation.  Her desire is to assist the members of the Indrani’s Light Foundation family a way to begin a meditation practice, if you do not have one at this time.  If you have a meditation practice, these weekly meditations will help you to work on living a brighter life.

Today’s meditation is called, “This Moment.”  It will help get you centered and grounded to whatever challenge or issue that is taking place in your life at this moment.  Looking to get freedom from the pressure that’s squeezing, choking, and stagnant feeling when you’re caught up in your head and can’t get free.

Give yourself permission to feel whatever you’re feeling.  Don’t ignore it …. don’t judge it. Indrani wants to share a trick that will help you not feel like you’re a hostage in this moment.

Think of a time in your life when you were happy, or elated beyond belief.  Was it a birth of a child?  A recent vacation?  Or perhaps a face of a friend who you haven’t seen in ages. What is the feeling you have right now as you visualize this memory?  Why do these visualizations work?  Indrani will explain in this short 10 minute meditation.

“This Moment” Meditation Recording

Practice Gratitude

gratitudeThere are benefits of expressing gratitude as a daily practice.  Specifically, scientists have been able to verify that practicing gratitude on a daily basis positively impacts well-being and has a lasting effect.

How can you use gratitude to live a brighter life?

Do you write in a journal?  Whether you own a journal or not, we want you to write a note of gratitude to yourselves:  “What is it that you are most grateful for about yourself?”  Once you’ve written this out, what feelings come up for you?  Did you find it harder to write one for yourself, as oppose to writing one for someone else?

{A CHALLENGE}

If you are feeling a bit bold today, why don’t you pick up your smart phone right now and text a message to someone you have NOT been in touch for in awhile, and tell them something you are grateful for about THEM.  We’d love to hear the response you get from them, AND how it made you feel?

If you are needing more tools to help get you motivated to live a brighter life, please let us help you.  Our Live A Brighter Life online workshop series is completely FREE, and it can be anonymous if you need to attend privately.  It’s worth every minute!  Isn’t it time to THRIVE is life, and not just SURVIVE?

Join us this summer for our 6-week Live A Brighter Life Online weekly workshop series starting Thursday, June 30th.  It’s that easy.  Click here for all of the details and a way to sign up.

With Love & Light,

Team ILF

Repeat after me ….

Do you use affirmations in your daily life?

Here is just one of many definitions of “positive affirmations:”

affirmations“Affirmations are positive, specific statements that help you to overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts. They help you visualize, and believe in, what you’re affirming to yourself, helping you to make positive changes to your life and career.”

But before we give you some positive affirmations, we need to know if you BELIEVE these can help you.  Dr. Carmen Harra is a best-selling author, clinical psychologist, and relationship expert. Her newest book is The Karma Queens’ Guide to Relationships.  She wrote an article for the Huffington Post a couple of years ago about affirmations that can change your life. (Full article here).  She talks about the theory and the science around positive affirmations.  Here is an excerpt of the article we want to highlight:

“Affirmations are proven methods of self-improvement because of their ability to rewire our brains. Much like exercise, they raise the level of feel-good hormones and push our brains to form new clusters of “positive thought” neurons. In the sequence of thought-speech-action, affirmations play an integral role by breaking patterns of negative thoughts, negative speech, and, in turn, negative actions.”   ~ Dr. Carmen Harra

At Indrani’s Light Foundation we teach people how to restore themselves after suffering from shame and trauma.  One of the tools we use is an “Affirmation Checklist.”  It might feel a little weird or uncomfortable, but we encourage you to stand in front of a mirror and say these affirmations to yourself OUT LOUD:

  • I am WORTHY of unconditional love.
  • I love my BODY.
  • I love MYSELF.
  • I deserve GOODNESS.
  • I deserve ABUNDANCE.
  • I deserve to be SAFE and SECURE.
  • I am a GOOD PERSON.
  • I deserve to BE LOVED.
  • I DESERVE the life I say I WANT.
  • I trust my INTUITION.
  • I am CREATIVE.
  • My VOICE is beautiful.
  • My words are NECESSARY in this world.
  • I can envision a life of PEACE and JOY.
  • I BELIEVE that my life and work are MEANINGFUL and NECESSARY in this world.

Are you ready to BELIEVE you are worthy?  Are you ready to BELIEVE you are loved?  We want to help you with these affirmations and so much more!  Our Live A Brighter Life online workshop series is completely FREE, and it can be anonymous if you need to attend privately.  It’s worth every minute!

Join us this summer for our 6-week Live A Brighter Life Online weekly workshop series starting Thursday, June 30th.  It’s that easy.  Click here for all of the details and a way to sign up.

With Love & Light,

Team ILF