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By Catherine Bares:

I have attended many training seminars and listened to many speakers over the years in my career. During one of these events, I heard a statement that resonated with me. After that, I changed the way I think and the way I approach ideas, people, and situations.

Our thoughts trigger our emotions

Our emotions trigger our actions

Our actions trigger results

—Author unknown

If my thoughts are negative, it will inevitably trigger negative emotions, triggering negative actions, therefore, triggering negative results. We are emotional creatures. Think about your emotional state and tie it back to your thoughts.

When I think back to some of my biggest mistakes that caused the most regret in my life, undeniably, I can directly attribute them to negative thoughts. Therefore, it all starts with the thought. Once I made that connection, I started changing the direction of my thoughts. At first, it was a difficult transition. Sometimes I revert backward and start with negative thoughts, especially in this day and time. Once I recognize that’s happening, I switch gears and redirect my thoughts.

Meditation helps improve my negativity.

There are several meditation techniques. Presently, I practice Mindfulness meditation, which encourages awareness of my existing surroundings. It's important to realize the key is to remove judgment and annoyances in the surroundings. Once I capture a memory in my mind, I can always go back there when I feel stressed or overwhelmed. As an illustration, here is one of my favorite mindfulness memories of my first paddleboard experience.

Soaking in the Scenery

After I paddled out of the cove and started heading to our destination spot, I worked through the challenges I faced. It was surprising how much technique and balance it took to convince this paddleboard to skim across the water.

Along the way, I soaked in the scenery. Presently, the aquamarine-colored water was clear as day, making it easy to watch a Garfish swim to the surface. He quickly darted down after spotting me. I watched water plants as my board glided over them. Meanwhile, the hillside that we were heading towards grew larger with each stroke. In addition, there were curious bystanders everywhere.

I paddled my way past some anchored boats. Their passengers were enjoying the cool water with their friends and family, on big floating islands. I saw Jet skis zipping around the middle of the lake, creating wakes that we had to maneuver our boards across. Simultaneously, I watched tour boats that were pulling out of a nearby marina, filled with adventurers. I heard screams from a nearby Zipline excursion that were exploding and echoing off the hills and traveling across the water. It was amazing how close they sounded.

Practice Mindfulness anywhere

You can practice mindfulness anywhere. When I end up in a stressful environment, I start observing my surroundings. It may not be a moment I return to for relaxing, but I use it to help reduce the stress at hand. I use this technique often while traveling and surprisingly, it greatly reduces my travel stress. It also helps my memory. When I am driving in a city that I am not familiar with, I observe landmarks, businesses, signs, etc. During the drive back to my hotel, I feel more confident in my route when I recognize what I observed.

What techniques do you currently use to reduce stress?


Catherine Bares is a blogger, wife, mother, grandmother, Profit Coach & Trainer in the AC and Heating Industry, and Group Fitness instructor, residing in Southern Louisiana. Her mission is to be a source of inspiration for self-improvement for others to live a happier and healthier lives.

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