How Do You Wash Your Hair?

Did you know there is a plethora of ways to wash your hair that involves very minimal usage of shampoo? Here are three ways of washing that you probably knew little to nothing about.

Water Only Washing

I stumbled across this video on YouTube about washing with water only. With me having really short hair I wash with only water all of the time. However, I had never thought about it in regards to longer hair. I was thinking: “How does that work out?” I mean, there is product build up happening. After watching the video I read a blog post that also talked about washing with water only. Obviously this is a thing and maybe I should partake in this “thing” as my hair grows out because washing my hair is serious business. So I need something that is effective and does not take all day. I have taken the liberty to bless you all with the blog post so you don’t have to search for it. http://blackgirllonghair.com/2015/08/can-water-only-washing-improve-natural-hair-growth/

Co-Washing

What is co-washing? Co-washing is short for “conditioner-only washing.” It means skipping shampoo and relying solely on conditioner, whether you’re a daily or a weekly washer. The result is something between squeaky-clean and second-day hair—that is, smoother, softer, and easier to manage. Co-washing may not be for everyone, but I like it. It does cut down on wash time and is not this arduous process. See, the thing with co-washing is that it does not totally clean your hair. However, it is great for in between wash days for when you semi clean hair, but you also need to get up and go. It is also good for detangling your strands before shampooing.

Dry Shampoo

I will admit that I was a little skeptical about dry shampooing. In my mind, it’s like putting dirt on top of dirt. Apparently that’s not what it is. Basically, it’s a powder or spray formula that works to soak up excess oil, water and residue from your scalp and hair, leaving your hair with a refreshed smell and texture. It’s pretty much a spray wash-n-go in a bottle. The bigger question would be: Can black women use dry shampoo? We can and we should. If you are a woman who works out a lot then dry shampoo would be very beneficial for you. Here is a great article that explains dry shampoo and gives recommendations on some good products out there on the market. http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2014/05/15-dry-shampoos-black-women-should-try/

What’s better than using dry shampoo? Making it yourself. Here is a link to making your own dry shampoo: http://www.thirtyhandmadedays.com/2015/05/diy-dry-shampoo/

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What other ways of hair washing do you know of?

Spa nudity: Are we just that modest, ashamed of our body, or is it something else?

Avianca and I visited Burke Williams about two weeks ago to celebrate my birthday and for much needed R&R. As we walked to our lockers, we encountered two fully exposed women changing into their clothes. Nothing odd about that…. After all, we are in the women’s spa area. We proceeded to our lockers to change our clothes by removing our outer garments, immediately placing on a robe, and then removing our bra and panties. We tightly closed our robes and walked over to the waiting area for our masseuse.

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Photo credit: Diva Scribe

My 50 minute Burke Williams Massage was excellent! It definitely reminded me of how important it is to make time to take care of your mind, body, and spirit. I really wished that I could have purchased the 80 minute massage, but anyway I digress… I returned to the women’s area to search for my sister after my massage. Not finding her, I decided to take a shower so I can enjoy the other amenities of the facility. I tried to find her again after showering. I noticed a younger female, that I initially thought was Avianca, near the locker area. I realized it wasn’t her, but I instantly picked up on one thing about this young woman; her apparent unease about changing in an open area.   Her swift movements to cover up as quickly as she could were awkwardly familiar, but I hurried along not fully formulating my thoughts.

Still not finding my sister, I made my way to the sauna. I thought the sauna was empty so I reveled in the idea of being alone in my thoughts and even considered removing my towel while I was in the sauna. I opened the door only to see a naked woman lying on the floor with her legs propped up on the wall. Excuse me, I thought as I scurried past her and sat at the top landing tightly pulling my towel around me.  Moments later, I noticed the same young female from the locker area outside the sauna. She had a towel wrapped around her and it appeared that she also had on either her under garments or a bathing suit. She looked as if she was trying to decide where to go next. Interestingly, I pretty much predicted what would happen in the next few minutes. The young lady decided to come into the sauna, because from her viewpoint, I was the only person in the room; however, as soon as she opened the door, she also noticed the naked woman lying on the floor. She quickly turned around and walked out.

It was after this observation in the sauna that I began to think about my past experiences and cultural differences I’ve noticed around spa nudity. I’ve been to the day spa numerous times either by myself or with friends/family for various reasons. Based on my experiences, it seems that Caucasian women tend to be more comfortable with being naked while women of color, particularly African-American women, are not. Of course, this doesn’t mean that every Caucasian woman walks around as free as the day they were born or conversely every woman of color spends their spa time covered up like a complete shrewd. Additionally, research shows that Americans generally have more conservative views around nudity; and therefore, are more modest about being so in a spa setting  when compared to other countries.  However, over the years and as I witnessed that day, I’ve noted this “modesty phenomenon” more so with minority women. The lingering question percolating in my mind, especially as we are reflecting on self appreciation and love for our bodies this week, is why is this the case?

I thought about this further as I reflected on my most recent actions in the spa prior to my massage. My sister and I didn’t leisurely take off all our clothes and then put on our robes. To avoid full disclosure, we removed our undergarments only AFTER the robe was in place. In essence, our behavior was very similar to the other African-American female which is why I could identify it so quickly. Even after the massage, I considered removing my towel once in the sauna, but changed my mind once I saw the naked woman lying on the floor. Why did I change my mind? She wasn’t paying attention to me nor was I paying any more attention to her than I needed to ensure that I didn’t trip over her while walking to where I wanted to sit.

My sister and I talked about it once I finally found her in the steam room. Why are we, as African-American women, modest about our body? Is it just a L.A. or West Coast thing? Are we ashamed? Are there underlying ramifications from historical injustices that have been passed along through generations thus making us generally more modest and uncomfortable with nudity? Did our moms tell us it wasn’t hygienic to walk around the spa or use its amenities while naked?  Are we concerned about what other women may think about us being naked (although they are naked too)? Are we so victimized by objectification and sexualization that we have internalized this to be modest about our bodies even when we are in a relatively safe space away from that level of scrutiny?

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Photo Credit: Kevin “Wak” Williams

We couldn’t come up with a definitive answer as maybe it could be none of those reasons or a little bit of all of them. It was at that point I felt liberated by our conversation so I removed my towel while in the steam room. This actually wasn’t a major stand given that the only person in the room has seen me naked throughout the years anyway (lol). I will say that I was a little less conservative in my approach to changing back into my clothes. Maybe next time, I’ll forego the towel when entering the sauna or steam room regardless of who is in the room.

Oh How I Love Me, Let Me Count the Ways: Love your body and your body will love you back

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Your spirit, mind, and body are all connected. Do you have a routine that takes care of your whole self? Do you wake up with gratefulness, recite your favorite mantra to keep you going for the day, and end with a great workout to get your body going? No? Maybe you should. We all know that one way to take care of your body is by exercising, but there is more to body maintenance than running around the block and lifting weights. There are a plethora of ways to maintain your body– which can be as simple as lying in the grass and taking in the earth we live in.

Take time to de-stress. Stress can cause a myriad of physical problems, such as acne breakouts, weight gain, loss of appetite, and loss of hair. It can even make you sick. Here are some ways you can reduce the stress in your life:

  1. One of the best ways to de-stress is to do yoga. I know I always mention yoga, but it is a great way to accomplish every form of taking care of you. Through yoga you can spiritually connect, relax your mind and tone your body all in one.
  2. Take a moment to lay in the grass on a warm day. Try not to think of anything. Allow your body to relax every muscle. Concentrate on your breathing to help push out your thoughts. Take as much time as you need. Once you are done you will feel very relaxed.
  3. Take a walk. It will work your whole body and ease your mind.
  4. Did you know that reading is a form of exercise for your brain? Take some time to read a book from your favorite genre.

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Clean up your skincare regimen. You can start by incorporating more water into your diet. The amount of water you may need will vary but experts say to drink approximately 64 oz of water a day. That’s eight 8oz glasses or a little over three 30 oz water bottles.    Substitute that fruit juice for fruit infused water. Fruit infused water not only adds flavor to the bland water taste, it also helps cleanse the body from the inside out. You will immediately notice a difference in your energy level, hair, and skin just by increasing the amount of water you drink on a daily basis, so drink up!

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Eat well. You really are what you eat. Have you ever noticed how sluggish you get after eating a burger and fries, yet when you eat a banana you have a burst of energy. I am not going to tell you not to eat that burger, however; I will strongly suggest that you incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet. It does not hurt to indulge every now and again in food that is not so good for you, but moderation is key. Diet and exercise go hand in hand. So if you are concerned about packing on the pounds, how about you walk to the hamburger stand and burn off some of those calories. Or instead of the hamburger, grab a salad and fruit for dessert.

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Sleep well. Beauty rest is a real thing. Getting some sleep is essential for proper body functions. You will feel more energized, happier and look more refreshed. I have issues with sleeping. Either I fall asleep, wake up in the middle of the night and take forever to go back to sleep or it just takes me forever to fall asleep, period. Well, I stumbled upon these awesome pills that Shea Moisture makes called, Shea Moisture Evening Sleep Supplement. Initially I purchased these pills to help with my skin. After using them for about a week or two, I realized that they actually help me sleep. I feel much more rested like I actually went to sleep and slept. The combo of herbs and daily essentials really work! Here is why: I have a bit of insomnia so the theanine as well as melatonin relaxes me before I officially call it a night. I am not getting paid to endorse this product, however; I strongly recommend them to anyone who has issues with sleeping. These pills take care of your beauty and your rest. BOOM!

Shea moisture pills

Have a spa day. Going to the spa is a total body experience. Let someone take care of your body while you get a little R&R, rest and relaxation. Spa outings are not just for the ladies. Men need to take care of their bodies too. Make it a couple’s thing. Here are some black-owned great spas that cater to both men and women in a few major cities that will help you get your body at its best:

Atlanta:

Celestial Spa
2930 Cascade Rd
Atlanta, GA 30311
404-691-2448 http://www.celestialspa.com

D’Lor Salon and Spa, Inc
Cascade Professional Park
1180 Fairburn Road. SW, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30331
(404) 344-1622 http://www.dloratlanta.com

Nubiance Salon & Spa
2325 Cheshire Bridge Road Northeast #100
Atlanta, GA 30324
404-492-8046 http://www.atlantagabeautysalon.com

Los Angeles:

Le Skintique Day Spa and Beauty Salon
1620 Centinela Avenue, Suite 302
Inglewood, CA 90302
310-337-9555 http://www.leskintique.com

Nefertiti Day Spa and Hair Salon
5253 West Slauson Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90056
(310) 568-8780 http://nefertitidayspa.com

Skin Essence – 3 locations http://www.skinessence.net
2622 West Manchester Boulevard
Inglewood, CA 90305
Phone: (323) 750-8446
Fax: (323) 750-7325

940 East Dominguez Street, Suite K
Carson, CA 90746
Phone: (310) 354-7935
Fax: (310) 354-3933

4914 1/2 Slauson Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90056
Phone: (323) 296-6261
Fax: (323) 296-6253

Spa 313 Salon & Spa
313 N. LaBrea Avenue
Inglewood, CA 90302
(310) 590-1234 http://www.spa313.com

New YorK City area:

Bed of Nails
2272 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd
New York, NY 10030
(212) 694-2200 http://www.bedofnailsnyc.com

 Cynergy Spa
87 Fort Greene Place
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Phone: 718.403.9242
Fax: 718.403.9274 http://www.cynergyspa.com

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Self-love is an essential part of life. It helps you to grow, love others, and teaches others how to love you. Self-love is about living in your truth and accepting who you are, flaws and all. So go ahead and love yourself. Be #flawsome and get prepared for the #glowup.

 What are ways that you love your body?

Mindfulness: Are you living in the present moment?

Do you ever feel like you are drifting from moment to moment without a real attachment to each experience? This can happen as we are so busy with work, school, and/or family that each passing event seems like a mundane task versus a unique instance in our lives. As John Dixit further explains, “When we’re at work, we fantasize about being on vacation; on vacation, we worry about the work piling up on our desks. We dwell on intrusive memories of the past or fret about what may or may not happen in the future. We don’t appreciate the living present because our mind likes to vault from thought to thought like monkeys swinging from tree to tree.” If this rings true for you in some form or fashion, it’s time to reevaluate how your mental health is impacted by the “busyness” of life and make changes that will help you have a more enriched existence.

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I really noticed this distraction phenomenon in my life once I was promoted to an administrator. My entire work day seemed to float by without me even knowing what really happened. I was busy from the time I stepped into my office until I ended my work day, which was usually 10-12 hours. I rarely left the office to eat lunch and during my worse days, I lost focus because I would try to complete every task or solve every issue all at the same time. I eventually developed what I like to call work induced ADD which admittedly trickled into my personal life. It created a sense of disconnect and monotony. It almost felt like I was a robot simply charging along. Ultimately, I was in need of reprogramming.

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Photo credit: Cauldrons & Cupcakes

Earlier, we presented tips to mentally help as you continue your journey toward really loving yourself. These are all very useful activities that will allow you to keep a pulse on your mental health status. Mindfulness is also another profound practice that has positive mental, spiritual and physical benefits. Mindfulness is the art of truly being present, moment-by-moment, to your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and your immediate surroundings. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindful Based Stress Reduction Program in University of Massachusetts Medical Center explains that “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way–On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” It essentially involves doing activities that encourage the practice of being present without distractions.

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Mindfulness activities can include formal mediation, but it can also be incorporated into activities like taking a shower, eating, brushing your teeth, exercising, or any other routine daily tasks.   For example, being mindful while showering would include noticing how the water hits your body, being aware of your physical actions like how you use the bar soap or wash your hair, and your breathing patterns. If your mind wanders off to what you plan to do after the shower or the many tasks you have to accomplish at work, you bring your mind back to the present moment and focus only on taking a shower.   It sounds simple, but you will be surprised how many times you will have to redirect your mind to focus only on the present. There are several other examples that will help you live a mindful-based life. Aetna has a month long challenge, #Mindful30, which serves as a great resource with tips on how to add mindfulness to your daily routines.

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Photo credit: Gainesville Scene

We are living in a society with an increasing number of distractions, so you can find yourself aimlessly on life’s journey without true direction or focus. None of us have the luxury of wasting time. Your greatest possession is the 24 hours you have in a day, so manage it accordingly and be present for every second of it. Incorporating mindfulness activities can have long lasting positive mental, spiritual, and physical effects. It’s been noted to boost immune system, increase positive emotions, improve memory and focus, and enhance relationships. Therefore, it is an excellent way to broaden your perspective, be present, and experience a more fulfilled life.

Oh How I Love Me, Let Me Count the Ways: Mental Health

Now that we have made some progress on improving our spiritual connection, we can work on our mental health. Mental health is extremely important because it shows how resilient we all are. We, at Iyami Naturals, believe that one should take care of their mental state to keep going and keep pushing. I spoke with several friends and asked them what they do to help maintain mental health. Here a few ways to help you keep your sanity:

Talk about it: Sometimes it feels really good to get it out. If something is weighing heavy on your heart, let it out and let it go. The black community has a long standing stigma about seeking a professional for mental health because we tend to think that someone will look down upon us or judge us. Listen….. I’d rather you judge me for talking to a psychologist as opposed to you judging me because I never talked about it and became bitter from it. Depression is real y’all and in all seriousness depression is not pretty. I cannot stress enough the importance of  communication.

Photo credit: Cope.Heal.Love
Photo credit: Cope.Heal.Love

Happiness is a state of mind: If you think that happiness comes from another person, then you have another think coming. Honey, happiness starts with you and the joy within. You can have everything and be miserable or have the bare necessities and be extremely happy.

Happiness

Photo credit: Alicia G. Tyler

Laugh: “Joking and being funny is definitely a good coping mechanism and mental health practice.”, says Nikki Blak, poet and author of Uppity Negress and upcoming book All My Exes Want Me Back. Laughter is good for the soul and laughter is contagious. Find your funniest friend and call them up for a good laugh. Go to a comedy show. Write a mad lib. The added bonus: laughter helps you lose weight…. I’m just saying.

Nikki Blak Uppity Negress
Photo credit: Blak is Beautiful

The 3 A’s: Johna Taylor of Queens of Cuisine Catering Service says she follows the 3 A’s, “When there is an issue you’re dealing with that’s causing you stress or etc… you must practice the 3 A’s: you can choose to AVOID the issue, person, or thing and go on with your life. ACCEPT it for what it is and that it won’t change so you may have to. Or ALTER it by compromising in order to preserve your sanity.” Sometimes you just have to walk away from the situation to keep your cool.

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Do some dining: If you are a foodie like me then you will find food to be great for maintaining your sanity, especially dining with friends. I am not talking emotional eating here. That is the opposite direction we want to go. I am talking eating, laughing and having a good old time with your friends. You don’t even have to eat. It could be as simple as going to a local café, getting your favorite drink and actually sitting down to laugh and chat with a friend or pulling out a good book. You will find that the dining experience is very calming…. Or maybe that’s the effects of the wine.

dining with friends

Do a puzzle: Doing puzzles help increase patience, concentration and help ease your mind from whatever is stressing you. When I was younger, my parents had this huge puzzle that sat on the dining room table. Every time people came over to visit they would have them sit at the table to talk. Without realizing it, whoever would sit at the table would start connecting puzzle pieces. Eventually the puzzle was finished, but it helped people to get their frustrations out without even knowing it. They would leave the house happier than they arrived.

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Paint and sip parties: These parties are so fun. You can have them at your house, go to an art studio, or visit various restaurants that may be hosting them. Typically there is an instructor that supplies the tools needed and the patrons supply the libations. If you have not gone to one, you are missing out. This is a very relaxing social event that you will want to keep going again and again. No two paintings are alike. You get to express your creativity while having a good time. The best thing is that you do not have to know how to draw to do it.

paint and sip

Take a vacation: We work so hard in our day to day lives, not thinking about taking a moment to sit down and relax. A vacation is how ever long you need to just recuperate from the hustle and bustle. You do not have to leave your house to take a vacation, unless your house is just as hectic as the rest of your life. Go to the park. Go on a girlfriends get-a-way. Leave the city for the country. Take a walk. Go to the spa. Go get your hair and nails done. Just take some time to think about you and maintaining your happiness.

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Most things are easier said than done, but sometimes things are easier done than said. Everything always starts with you. So please take care of your mental state. Do not be afraid to speak up and seek help.

Self

 

What are ways that you maintain your mental health?

Self-love and Spirituality: Practice Makes Perfect

Having a spiritual basis is a fundamental component in the journey toward loving yourself. It defines your morals and values as well as your sense of purpose and meaning. Your spiritual connection also shapes how you perceive and interact with the world around you. Given that spirituality is the foundation to loving yourself, it becomes extremely important to cultivate it during your voyage toward a better you. How might you continuously nourish your spirit?

As the old adage goes, Practice Makes Perfect!

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You must intentionally, purposefully, and consistently practice in order to spiritually grow. Spirituality is not a concept that once you proclaim it—then voila! That’s all you have to do for the remainder of days. Just like anything else in life, if you want to be good at something, you must continuously work at it. Therefore, Iyami Naturals wants to provide a few tips to help you grow spiritually no matter what faith you profess.

  • Be real with yourself: Take inventory of your strengths and areas of opportunity. Write a list of your values and other aspects of life that are important to you. Where do you want to be in the next 3 months, 6 months, or a year? Periodically completing this assessment helps you focus your practice and also tracks your progression. Many people will do this exercise at least once around the New Year; however, I encourage you to do this at least 2-3 times within a 12 month period. Block off time on your schedule, grab your journey (or ipad), and visit a park, beach, or other scenic location to spend some uninterrupted time reflecting on your spiritual growth.

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  • Make time for your spiritual practice on a daily basis: Carving out time in the day is an important step to cultivating your spirit. Whether you say a prayer, recite your favorite mantra, practice mindfulness exercises, or mediate, you must take time out of your day to center your thoughts and be thankful. We make time for many things in our life, growing spiritually should be the #1 task on your daily check list. I carve time out in the morning by reading, The Word for you Today from Angel on My Shoulder usually after I get dressed but before I dive into any other task and my daughter wakes up. It only takes a couple minutes, but the results are long lasting.   I’ve been more focused and changed how I perceive work and life stresses just by incorporating these daily readings.

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  • Practice with others: Have 1 or more accountability partners that will help you along your spiritual journey. Exploring this journey with others fosters belonging and keeps you on track with your spiritual development. Yes, this journey can be very personal but sharing it with others can help you expand your perspective along the way. My team includes my mom, Sheree, and sister, Avianca (fellow Iyami Naturals cofounder). We talk to each other for a few minutes every morning on our way to work to discuss the meaning behind the word of the day. It’s great to share each other’s perspective of the word and how it applies to our lives. It also provides another opportunity to focus on our values and how we want to center our actions throughout the day.

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Part of my spiritual team: Avi and I enjoying the St. Thomas Carnival in May 2015

  • Find a spiritual coach: It is also equally important to check in with someone that is further along in their journey. He or she can be a great mentor when you are struggling or need an expert opinion. As Shane Raynor from Ministry Matters  stated, “While it’s important to have peers to help you practice, there’s no substitute for spiritual mentors. Getting guidance from people who have ‘been there before’ helps you make sure that your entire spiritual growth strategy doesn’t turn into a case of ‘the blind leading the blind.’ A mentor will help you see possibilities for improvement that you didn’t even know existed.”

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Developing your spirituality can be a huge task, but the beauty of it is that you don’t have to figure it out in a day. However, you must make daily deliberate efforts if you want to spiritually flourish. Whether you choose to use more religious based practices through a church, mosque, synagogue, or Buddhist temple; more philosophical approaches; or a combination of the two, you will only grow by consistently practicing to be a better you.

Self-Love and Spirituality

This week’s SELF-LOVE theme is spirituality. What is spirituality? One might ask. Obviously there is no single definition. However, it generally includes a sense of connection to something bigger than us, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. After all, we are spiritual beings living a human experience.

For most of us, spirituality is the most important part of our being. It is our soul. It is our core essence. It is what keeps us going each day. Iyami Naturals wants to help guide you with ways to being more spiritual.

  • Be thankful: There is nothing more rewarding than being thankful. Have you given thanks for waking up this morning? Have you given thanks to being in a far better situation than you could be in? Sometimes we take the little things for granted not realizing that those little things keep us going forward. Start each day by proclaiming what you are thankful for.

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  • Forgiveness: Forgive someone you have been holding a grudge against since forever ago. Did you know that being angry can make you sick and hold you back from moving forward in life? You do not have to forget what the person did to you, but you can accept that they did it and move on. Do not carry that negative weight with you. It only makes you grow old faster and we don’t want that.

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  • Proclaim it: Lay claim to how your life is going to go. As they say: “Put it out in the universe and it shall happen.” When you have faith then the possibilities are endless. Once you claim what you want, have faith that it will happen. Meanwhile, continue to work towards your claim. Faith without works is dead. You can’t expect things to just fall out of the sky and voila! It’s there. Most successful people have worked very hard to be successful. If you believe it, you can achieve it.

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  • Connect to the world through nature: Take a hike, do yoga, go to the zoo, go on a boat ride. Do something outside that does not require you being on your electronic devices. Sometimes you have to disconnect to connect. Pay attention to how the leaves fall from the tree. How they sway in the wind before hitting the ground. Watch how the squirrel scavenges for nuts and takes them to its favorite hiding spot. Pay attention to the world around you. You may realizes how disconnected you are from it and from yourself.

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  • Choose a mantra that will empower and inspire you when repeating it: Wake yourself up with some positive words.

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Practicing these techniques will help you stay spiritually centered.  You will feel connected to yourself and the world around you.  Staying in tuned spiritually will not prevent you from ever experiencing adverse events, but it will give you the strength to transverse across those tribulations to happier times. Therefore make building your spiritual practice a top priority as its the most fundamental step in the journey to loving yourself.