Core Beliefs + Affirmations

Years ago I did an exercise where I had two pieces of paper and on each one I drew three circles—a small core, then a bigger circle around that, then a bigger circle around that. One page was titled “Positive Core Beliefs,” the other titled “Negative Core Beliefs.” In the most centered circle, the Core, I wrote “I am…” then wrote the positive or negative beliefs I had about myself (example of positive: I am creative; example of negative: I am not worth the time). The next circle out from the core was for Emotions. In this circle, I wrote the emotions I felt when I was living in those negative or positive core beliefs (example of positive: fulfilled; example of negative: depressed). And finally, the outermost circle was for Behaviors. When I am experiencing these positive or negative emotions, what am I doing? How am I behaving?

I wrote out these core beliefs about three years ago, and they’re still the same. Maybe that means I haven’t worked through the junk, or maybe they are just ingrained in me and will be something I have to work through my entire life. Probably a mix of both. But I think the thing to focus on is:

What core am I living out of?

Make those charts (or make lists of Core Beliefs → Emotions → Behaviors, or whatever version of this activity resonates with you). Put the paper with your Positive Core Beliefs somewhere you can see it every day (pin it on your wall, tape it to your mirror, put it by your bed, etc.). Aim to live in these positive beliefs + emotions + behaviors a majority of the time. If you fall into negative beliefs, that’s totally fine. Be mindful, be aware, and come back to those positive core beliefs. Take it minute by minute, hour by hour, whatever you need to do. Aim to make those stretches of time in the positive beliefs longer, and the times in the negative beliefs shorter and less frequent.

This can be hard because at least for me, those negative beliefs are very real. They all have a basis and my mind can easily be triggered and fall into that place. But that’s where the next exercise comes in:

Affirmations.

Grab a new piece of paper, a pen or pencil, and reference your Negative Core Beliefs paper. On the new piece of paper, write statements that directly oppose each negative core belief. One by one. Let’s work off of that example I said earlier: “I am not worth the time”. So for this, I could write something like “I am worth the time.” Do this for each negative belief.

Seems simple enough, right? And maybe even so simple that you think, how could this make any difference in my life?

Now take that piece of paper, find a mirror, look at yourself, and say those counter-statements to yourself. “I am worth the time.” Say it 10 times. 20 times. 100 times. In my experience, it becomes a very powerful phrase.

So, to summarize: Reference your Positive Core Beliefs daily, and actively work to change your Negative Core Beliefs into Positive Core Beliefs by stating your counter-statements daily.

One of my favorite books about this is called You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. I wrote about it here. This book is all about affirmations—which sounds so simple, but she goes into so much detail, with so many ideas and exercises to do. I highly recommend it. I think I borrowed it from my library, then got it in audiobook to listen to on a road trip, then came home from that road trip and immediately ordered the book from Amazon. It’s so good. There are many exercises in there that I have yet to practice, but I will begin to be more diligent about this, and look forward to sharing what I learn with you.

We can heal our lives, friends. I have faith in that.

*By the time this is published, I will have done an Instagram Live on this topic on Saturday morning at 9am MST. I hope both help explain this idea! Let me know if you have any questions and I can do a follow up!

*Photo by the amazing Alicia Fish.

Why downward facing dog is one of my FAVORITE poses/stretches

WHY I LOVE IT:

Downward facing dog stretches the calves, hamstrings, shoulders, arms… from toes to fingertips, this pose does it all. AND, there is so much you can do with it.

While there is value in holding the pose (deep stretch! endurance!), I love continuously moving in this pose—bending my knees, sometimes both at the same time, or peddling the heels back one at a time, sometimes going into a side stretch when I’m peddling each heel back… coming up onto my toes for a moment… dropping the forearms down to dolphin for a bit… dropping onto my forearms for dolphin pose… rolling into plank pose, then back into downward facing dog… there’s a LOT you can do here.

Outside of sun salutations, I love spending a few moments in downward facing dog before and/or after running. Try it out before or after your next workout.

Play around with this pose. I will say, I didn’t always like it as much as I do now, but I love it now. So play with it, keep moving and adjusting, and keep breathing.

TIPS:

Make sure you are “pawing” the mat/ground, distributing the weight through all the fingers to protect the wrists. Play around with this and find that feels good to you.

Start with your knees bent then work your heels toward the ground for a deeper lower body stretch.

Bend the knees for a deeper stretch through the shoulders.

Bend knees, tip pelvis forward, and straighten knees to go deeper into pose.

If you are pregnant, make sure there is enough room between your legs for your belly. (This goes for all forward folds as well).

I Can Do Hard Things! (Re-post, from June 2014)

It was the last mile and I pushed through it, and that is probably one of the most significant decisions I have ever made. My hips ached and I could feel blisters forming on my feet. I paused for just a moment and hunched over, then got right back up and kept going. The blue arch at the finish appeared to be closer but good heavens, it still seemed so far away.
Then the crowds appeared, and to my left I heard Kenzie and Marina’s voices shrieking my name with the most impressive early-morning energy they could have possibly mustered (it was incredible). And then I crossed the finish line and, as evidenced by the above photo, I was deliriously happy about it.

 
I ran further than I ever had at a quicker pace than I had ever maintained.
Yesterday, in the defeat of basically a week of various anxieties, I determined that if I could wake up on time (which probably accounted for half of my nervousness on that particular day) and finish this 10K, I could do anything.
Lo and behold, I can now do anything. 
I remember my mission president and his wife telling the missionaries repeatedly, “You can do hard things!” I’m pretty sure they even gave us little cards with that phrase to hang in our apartments as reminders. Out of everything, it was what they wanted us to remember the most. But there’s a difference in hearing such a phrase and living it. Three years ago, I was probably somewhere in between hearing it and living it. Over the past couple years—and predominantly over the past year specifically—this idea has become a living, growing, vital part of me.
I can do hard things!
I can love fully, be let down, and be okay. I can fail time and time again, and keep enduring. I can be hurt, and I can get over it. I can push my body harder than I thought I could, and I can keep going strong.
I can do hard things, and I’m already dreaming up what’s next!

Oils for an Active Lifestyle

I’ve been chatting on Instagram lately about my LOVE for Deep Blue Rub, and a couple other oils for an active lifestyle. I’ve been upping my mileage and activity each week, so recovery is so important, and Deep Blue is a part of that. When my muscles are sore, I rub Deep Blue on them. When I had tightness in my feet this week, I did some exercises to stretch them out (heat, stretch, then ice—BUT IM NOT A PROFESSIONAL so talk to someone who is for your specific issues, because it may not be the same as mine and you don’t want to make things worse— whew. That’s my disclaimer)—and then I put Deep Blue on them, either Deep Blue Rub or Touch, and put socks on. My feet are doing much better now, gratefully, and I’m back to pushing on workouts.

I also started using the Tri-Ease soft gels which are supposed to help with seasonal allergies. I think I’ve noticed a difference, and I gave some to a friend who said he noticed a difference immediately with his congestion. * If you have a diffuser, you can diffuse lavender, peppermint, and lemon—one or two drops of each together and this can help with allergies as well.

And finally, Breathe. A great go-to for congestion as well. I either diffuse the Breathe oil blend or use the Breathe vapor stick if I’m feeling congested.

__

DoTERRA is continuing their awesome Deep Blue promotion from last month JUST UNTIL APRIL 15!—free Deep Blue Rub and Deep Blue Touch (pre-diluted oil safe to apply directly to the skin) ($94.67 retail value) with any order of 200 PV or more. …And I know, if you don’t already use doTERRA, that means nothing! Ha! Basically, if you’re already enrolled with doTERRA (like a Costco wholesale membership, so pay $35 and get 25% off everything for a year + free oils + education + an awesome team of girlfriends + more!) you put in an order of over 200 Point Value (roughly $200, or a bit more), and get $94.67 of oils for free. If you aren’t already enrolled, there are a couple enrollment kits that are over 200 PV, so you’ll get the entire enrollment kit PLUS these additional products. Just such, SUCH a good deal. Here are the basic kits that this deal applies to:

Click here for more info on the perks of enrolling and to see what is in each kit!

Seriously, joining doTERRA has been such a blessing in my life. (I wrote about that here!) I have options now when I’m not feeling great. I can support an active lifestyle, and having these tools empowers me to do more. (PLUS, a thing I don’t talk about often, doTERRA is a great business, and I am part of a great team! I’d love you to be a part of it.) 

Contact me to chat oils, wellness, running, yoga… anything! I’m here, and I love this stuff.

Doing things that scare + strengthen me

Quite a few Sundays ago, I was anxious. Which isn’t uncommon for me, and I have my tools to work through it, but this particular week I wanted to really give myself something to be worried and scared about. So, I decided to go on a night hike.

Well, I didn’t decide right away to go on a night hike. It was more like, I’m going on this drive—which I often do on Sundays—and I’ll just dress for a hike and bring my hiking boots just in case. And then, as I often do, I arrived at the trailhead and thought, yep, I’m hiking tonight!

I started off around 5:30pm, if I recall. I saw one person on the trail the whole time, coming back to the parking lot while I was heading off into the mountains. I was quietly praying aloud (I usually either pray in my head or, in cases like this when I think I’m absolutely alone, pray quietly aloud) when I saw this guy walking toward me. I quickly stopped and smiled and played it cool. SUPER COOL. Haha! Then I kept going, kept praying, and kept trekking along. The sun went down and I kept going.

I got to a fork in the trail, where I usually hike to alone, and I think I walked just a few steps further before realizing that the darkness + trail conditions probably meant I should turn around. A few steps after turning around I realized that the ground became more slick and I could no longer see the details in the snow to watch my footing. Luckily, I had a flashlight in my car that I had taken for this exact reason. I took it out of my backpack, turned it on, and kept going.

That is when I realized just how dark it was, and that is when my prayers turned to quietly humming hymns in a marching beat as I carefully but quickly headed back down the mountain.

And that is when I finally gave myself a reason to be scared.

I got back to the parking lot to discover that my car was the only one there, illuminated by the glow of the moon. I laughed and happy-danced in the parking lot, because that night, I did something scary, and I felt crazy empowered.

I never posted about this, primarily to avoid the common responses (“A woman shouldn’t hike alone!”), plus the newer expected responses (“A woman shouldn’t hike alone, and DEFINITELY NOT IN THE DARK ON A SNOWY COLD MOUNTAIN, ALLIE.”) I know. Thank you for your concerns. But truly, no regrets. I always bring the appropriate supplies (including pepper spray) when I hike, and I always let someone know where I am and when they should expect me home, and what to do if I do not return at that time (panic, find me, avenge my death, etc). I make sure I am safe when I hike, and I could go more into this, but that is not the point of this post.

an enthusiastic, slightly scared, slightly chilly, and slightly blind person hiking in a forest at night!

The point is, I felt alive, and I did something scary, and I felt alive, and empowered, and strong. In a personal season of grief, fear, betrayal, heartache, and perceived powerlessness, I needed that night. I still need the memory of that night. I have no desire to go out and do another night hike at this time, but I am trying to be aware of those things that make me feel alive, empowered, strong, and all the good things, and I try to do those things regularly. And so my question for you is…

What do you do to help you feel alive, empowered, and strong?

Send me an email at alliebarnesyoga [at] gmail [dot com], or DM me on Instagram at @alliebarnesyoga and tell me! I’m always looking for ideas, and I’d love to share your experiences on here or on Instagram if you’re okay with that!