The power of thoughts…..

You may consider a thought about something is nothing important. Something transitory and fleeting and in many ways, this is true. Thoughts are impermanent but their effects on our entire wellbeing can be quite extraordinary. The power a simple thought has can be found in our reaction to it.

When we begin to identify and react to our thoughts, we allow ourselves to become what we believe to be true. ‘I am positive. I am rubbish at this. I can do this. Nobody wants to be with me. I am worthwhile.’ The list goes on. How many thoughts do you have during the course of a day that you would say are useful and positive?

You can think about anything you like. You can choose what to believe, what to feel and what to say. You are in charge of how you react to yourself and the world around you. When you are aware of this, it becomes so much easier to see that there is a choice when it comes to how we feel. We can choose which thoughts to react to and those we ignore.

Emotions are a constructive tool we can use when it comes to changing how we feel. Instead of reacting to emotions without an awareness of why we are experiencing them, we can effectively learn to watch our negative thoughts without reacting to them.

A lot of stress and anxiety can be managed simply through becoming aware of our emotional ‘triggers’. Only you can know what they are. Is it a thought or a feeling? An event perhaps? It could be anything.

What you need to remember is that the thought or feeling itself is just what it is. Your reaction (or non reaction) to it is the key point that will either create a good or a bad day.

And we all want to have a good day. It is easier than you might think….

Just be aware of your thoughts and the choices you have…..:)

Feel good and be happy….

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Organic Produce – The cost of eating well (or not).

Is it better to buy organic food or not? I am still undecided on the issue if I’m honest. We’re always told to eat healthily but what does eating healthily really mean when push comes to shove? When we buy organic produce, our minds should be set to rest for a number of reasons. We know the food we buy is free from the majority of harmful chemicals and pesticides and the treatment of animals is safeguarded in accordance with high (and naturally healthy) animal welfare standards.

To me, when I think of the word ‘organic’, I really feel that there is (or should be) an extra level of care involved when it comes to how food is treated and sourced. That level of care should not only be in relation to the above mentioned but it should also be there to educate people about how food is grown and what processes are involved. It isn’t simply about buying food which is labelled organic: it should be a movement which helps people truly connect with the natural environment.

A way of life. It is unfortunately an expensive choice but is it the best (or the only) choice?

I had written previously in regards to how it is so easy to take the food we eat for granted. We walk into the supermarket, we select the product we want and hey presto, we buy it and take it home. The thing is – just what is it that we have taken home with us? A disregard for our own health and the natural environment in favour of keeping some spare change in our pockets or have we made a choice that supports the economic and environmental welfare of the society we live in? If we invest in organic food, it will invest in us in turn – surely?

I believe so but there is a problem – there are millions of people to feed on the earth and there is simply no way we can provide the land to grow organic produce for so many people. It is simply impossible. Economically, it costs too much money to invest in it as it is more time consuming to grow organic produce and the cost of manual labour is higher because less chemicals are used for production. Everything has an extra degree of expensive when it comes to eating organic produce and really, from what I can see, it is all a matter of practically, demand and efficiency.

I think when possible, it is always good to buy organic produce as it is better for the environment and hopefully, your own health. Supporting local farmers and buying their produce ensures you buy food that is produced naturally – that sounds a little bit too obvious when you think about it but it makes sense. When you consider how food production for mass consumerism has been treated (the amount of packaging and chemicals used for example, the pollution caused by vehicles in the transportation of food), it makes sense to buy from local farmers who are putting in the extra effort to produce food that is nutritious, tasty and good for the environment. Not only that, but it keeps community spirit and togetherness alive too.

Sounds like a ‘win, win’ situation to me. In theory, yes it is but the reality (as always) is a little bit different. There are so many mouths to feed and not enough time to produce it in a way that benefits everyone. As demand increases, all that matters is that we meet those demands in whatever way we can unfortunately. The sad truth is that there isn’t time for much else. As far as choice is concerned, it all hinges on survival really. A default response to living in a world where the freedom to choose is something of a luxury. Although, we could also say that we can make better use of the land. When you think of how much is used for the rearing of animals for slaughter, perhaps if we ate less meat, we could use the land to grow vegetables. But – we all want to have the freedom to choose, so there we have it. Some of us want to eat meat and some of us choose to be vegetarians. That’s the way it goes.

Like a balloon expanding, it also becomes weaker as it stretches. We could say the same thing is happening when it comes to the consumption of food and how we choose to live. As far as the future is concerned, we are writing it through some of the choices we make and in other ways, the choice has already been made for us – determined by the very same freedom behind making those choices. The freedom we have all come to expect and need could one day spell the demise of our general standards of living and health. You could say that we have become too successful in destroying our own lives without us even knowing it. Freedom wears a cunning disguise sometimes….

© Christina McDonald 2014

Why Choose Compassion?

Being compassionate towards others and yourself is important to promote emotional wellbeing. When we care for others, we are caring for ourselves in turn. That is easier said than done of course when you’ve had a stressful day in the office with unreasonably demanding bosses and all you want to do is bang your head (or theirs) against the wall in frustration!

I think to some extent we are all very good at beating ourselves up. Perhaps we feel we should have done something differently or been better at something. The truth is – none of us are perfect and we all make mistakes. What we shouldn’t do is beat ourselves up for them.

Some of us are great at that! All you perfectionists out there! Myself included. (I am a reformed perfectionist now and I can tell you with confidence…it is overrated).

Being kind to ourselves is actually an act of selflessness for the benefit of others and the world in general. By allowing ourselves to become stressed, angry and worked up, we are causing a certain amount of disharmony (not only in ourselves) but in our immediate and surrounding environment.

If we consider why abuse happens for example, it is because those who perpetrate it are actually in a lot of emotional pain. Tormented perhaps, by memories of abuse they have suffered themselves over the years. The fear an abuser feels is translated into anger and violence towards those around them. They feel as though their attack on others is a way of strengthening their own unfounded perception of weakness and inferiority.

Those who abuse others lack compassion for themselves ultimately. An abuser’s illusionary sense of power is rooted in a very deep feeling of inferiority and worthlessness. These feelings can be overwhemingly powerful and can cause a great deal of mental anguish if not dealt with early on.

Suffering then becomes a chain reaction response. A person who is abusive chooses to abuse someone else in return. That individual may then do the same to someone else and so on and so forth. The cycle gains momentum and before you know it, millions of people are suffering needlessly.

By choosing compassion, we can start a more positive chain and cycle of events. Never forget that everything we say, think and do will have a consequence of some kind. Simply be loving and kind for the sake of doing so. An abuser is not happy hurting others. By doing so, they are destroying themselves. By loving youself and others, you are doing no harm to any living thing. I know which one I would choose….

The reward of compassion is to be found within the act of doing so without expecting anything in return. You can make yourself and someone else feel good about themselves by doing something simple – a smile, giving someone your time, being there for someone when things are tough.

Small acts of kindness can actually change the world.

What we need to remember is that we actually have the freedom to choose how we live our lives. We are not simply victims of our own conditioning. If we want to break out of an old pattern of behaviour, we will find a way to do so.

So – lets change the world! (It isn’t as hard as it sounds…) Change your inner world (your negative thoughts and feelings) to change the world around you. Love yourself 🙂

© Christina McDonald 2014