The Power of the Mind

Our mind’s potential is underestimated. While our actions are essential and ultimately influence whether or not we achieve our goals, I strongly believe that everything begins with our thoughts. Former research has shown that actions can influence how we think, which is true. However, I also believe our thoughts and actions are clearly inextricably connected. So, which one comes first?

Based on personal experience, I believe it all begins with the mind. Moving to New York and not having a support system in the city was tough. I moved here from my hometown of Atlanta. While I love New York a million times better than Atlanta, it was hard not having my friends or family, so falling into a state of depression was easier than ever. A continuous cycle of rough patches. Mainly in the winter. Ha, seasonal depression is a thing. My life was the following: I would wake up, work for 9 to 10 hours, go back home and watch Netflix – that was my life. I stopped working out, which use to be one of my passions. I had no motivation to go out and make new friends. Literal depression. I would tell myself that I wanted to leave New York and blamed the city for my problems, as so do a lot of people.

I want to stress that your problems are nobody’s fault but your own. It’s not your boyfriends, your shitty friend’s fault or where you live . It’s yours. As simple as this is, it took me a while realize that. I knew I needed to make a change in my life and knew it started with my thoughts, which included not letting other people’s perception ruin my own. If I had friends that were having horrible experiences with the city, why let that ruin my thoughts or perceptions of my own life? If I was “depressed”, why make the decision to drop everything and leave? Was leaving going to solve my issues? Didn’t really think so. I had so many positive things to focus on and had no real reasons to be depressed. Going through a rough time doesn’t necessarily mean you’re depressed. It just means you’re living life. Literally. Life is full of rough moments, but that’s where we grow and learn the most.

I’ve been learning to appreciate the difficult moments. In fact, I’m actually thankful for them. The rough patches continue to shape me. Life doesn’t have to be hard 100 percent of the time, but it’s also not rainbows and flowers. So heck yeah for those moments where I cried. Gracias Universo. Much appreciated.

Lately, I’ve constantly been working on my mind. Mind power is huge. I’m learning how to go with the flow and not let the negative opinions of others ruin my vibe. I’m living in the capital of the world and working for my dream firm. Why focus on the negative when you can also focus on the positive? I’m not here to brag, but just want to inspire you to do the same. When I started taking responsibility for myself, I’ve been a lot happier. I started changing my thoughts, which led me to change my actions, ultimately leading to different results. I started meditating and practicing yoga. I’ve been grounding with myself and the Earth and have never felt so connected.

While we all want instant gratification and immediate results, this isn’t a thing. Self-development is a constant process that never ends. Once you solve an issue, another one comes along. If you’re struggling and think you’re going through depression, don’t look for the easy fix. I don’t recommend going on antidepressants like most of America. Start with your thoughts and your actions will follow, and vice-versa. Your mind is crucial and more powerful than you think. I’ll give you the good news, you have control over it.

 
 

How to Help Reduce the Consumption of Plastic

Hello fellow friends. As I was reading the news this morning, I came across a story that truly broke my heart: the carcass of a pregnant sperm was found washed up on the Italian island of Sardinia. And hold up, because that’s not the worst part. The whale had 22 kilograms, equivalent to 49 pounds, of plastic in its stomach and was carrying a dead fetus. You may be thinking this is just another story out of the hundreds you’ve already seen in the media and while scientists are still investigating the whales cause of death, this is a huge problem.

 
Image acquired from the Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs

Image acquired from the Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs

 

According to EDN, each year over 100,000 marine animals and one million birds die from ingesting and choking on plastic. The influence of anthropogenic factors is now intruding every aspects of the environment, particularly in animals. Humans fail to realize that by not protecting the environment, they are posing a threat to the their own existence. Harming the environment doesn’t just affect the animals, it affects you too! We need plants, clean water and air to survive. Without those fundamental necessities, we are nothing. Just like we rely on the Earth for existence, animals are also responsible for keeping the balance of nature as well as making the ecosystem work. So, conserving and protecting wildlife is crucial.

After hearing about all these terrifying stories, it does make me happy that more individuals from our generation are coming together to increase environmental awareness, in hopes for a greener future. The European Parliament has also recently approved a law banning a wide-range of single-use plastic items, such as straws, cotton buds and cutlery, by 2021. MEPs also agreed a target to collect and recycle 90% of beverage bottles by 2029. I believe with the help of the general public, a similar legislation will soon be passed in the U.S. Wondering how you can help the environment and steps you can take to reduce the consumption of plastic? Read the tips listed below:

  • STOP using plastic straws – Who needs them anyways? None of us enjoy seeing those disturbing images and videos of turtles with straws up their noses. If you find straws so useful, even though they’re not (we’re just lazy), use reusable straws instead.

  • Use disposable shopping bags – This one’s huge. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a national law that banned the use of plastic bags in all grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience shops? Most reusable bags are extremely cheap – a small investment to help your planet.

  • Use reusable water bottles – I personally love my swell. I love it so much that I bought one for my boyfriend as a random present. Not only is great for the environment but it keeps your water so fresh and cold.

  • Recycle – Even though not all plastics are reusable, a lot of things are. Begin by learning what is and isn’t, and start recycling.

  • Don’t use plastic – So funny! When possible, choose items that are not made from plastic. For example, choose metal razors over plastic ones. Select that metal hanger over the plastic one. Also, quit using plastic-ware. Don’t be afraid to wash the dishes.

  • Buy from bulk bins – Not only is it better for the environment, but it saves you money. We all took an economics class or two in high school. The cost per unit is what matters, right? Lol but really, start putting this into practice.

  • Plastic containers are a No – Okay, I get it. You bring your food to work. Meal prepping is an important part of your life. Replace those plastic containers with glass, ceramic and stainless steel containers.

  • Buy fewer packaged foods – Replace this with fresh foods. It’s better for both the environment and your health.

With these simple practices, you can help the environment in millions of ways. Become an advocate for this and encourage your friends and peers to do so as well. Together, we can make mother nature a better place and more beautiful than what she already is. Picture those beautiful sights you see when traveling.

xoxo,

val