To My Child… One Month Since Your Death

It’s been one month since I’ve seen your beautiful face. It’s still hard to believe you’re gone, Paige.

As a parent, it’s natural for us to worry for our children. From the day we become the protectors of an innocent, fragile little life, things forever change. We experience a version of love that we never knew was even humanly possible. It’s the strongest kind of love I’ve ever known and am grateful to have had the privilege of experiencing the phenomenon for fourteen and a half beautiful years.

This overwhelming love for our children takes over our entire existence and introduces us to a whole new level of lifelong worry. With such a strong sense of love and instinctual need to protect these beings, it’s natural to experience a healthy amount of fear that accompanies that love and to work towards finding the delicate balance between the two.

Kids make us worry, like that time you broke your leg while going down that slide before you even turned two. Or again when you broke your hand while playing soccer. I worried for you on your first day of middle school when you got on the wrong bus and headed to the wrong school. I felt extremely awful and was absolutely terrified for you. We had the police searching for you and until that point, I had never been so scared in my life. You didn’t mind too much once it all worked out and you finally got your first phone (you’d been begging for) the next day.

While it was always my instinctual job to worry, I had never prepared myself for your death. You were always a happy, healthy child. Beautiful, bright, talented, overwhelmingly kind and accepting of everyone. An impressive black belt in Tang Soo Do and a compassionate and patient teacher to your students. The former captain of several soccer teams and a talented instrumental musician and singer; just days away from your middle school graduation, ready to dive on into the world of high school. You never had a pre-existing medical condition and got regular physicals just like any kid.

On June 8th, while having a great day with her friends, Paige suddenly fainted and went into cardiac arrest. Although rescue workers were able to get to her very quickly and did their best, it took at least 11 minutes to bring her back to life. Paige fell into a coma and was flown via helicopter to a children’s hospital, where we spent the following 5-6 days in a terrifying blur of an unreal nightmare. We gripped on to any and all shreds of hope we could muster that our incredibly brave and strong teenager would wake up and come back to us.

Unfortunately, her body and all of her organs suffered too much physical damage. Paige’s father and I (along with my father) held Paige in our arms as she left her body here in this world.

One month.

One month and it seems like just yesterday, yet forever ago all at once. Time has stood still and for a while made no sense at all.

I’ve always said that you saved me. I’m not sure if I’d be here today had you not come into my life and turn it around in the most magical way. You’ve taught me so much about life and continue to do so every day since you’ve been gone.

I guess in the most “messed up” way, things have really clicked for me since I left that hospital without you. I know what I have to do with my life. You gave me an overwhelming and unexplainable amount of strength the first few days after you left. Your presence has been so strong for many of us who love you.

I could feel that you wanted me to help your little sister, your cousins, and your dear young friends through this. Kids are supposed to be kids and not have to worry too much about death, especially when it comes to losing their fellow peers. This has been so heartbreaking for so MANY people.

I was able to do my best to put on a brave face and help those kids and my family and intend to continue to do so for as long as I am able. I know you want me to really get serious about making a difference in the lives of others and I intend to do my very best to make you proud and get our message across.

Like those I know who have experienced grief told me it would, the pain comes in waves. Although your presence was overwhelming the first few days and you continue to show you’re still with us, doing what you can to guide and comfort us, the reality of your absence creeps in a bit heavier with each day. Since the hole left in our hearts is still so new and raw, there is a sense of sadness we carry around at all times. Yet nonetheless, we carry on. We go about our lives as we have to, because although our world has come crashing down, the rest of the world does not slow down for a moment.

We do our best to function and push on in your name, but every so often, the tidal wave of grief comes crashing down upon us and shakes us to the core. Trying to start a new life without you here is strange and foreign. It hurts.

I know in my heart that you came here for a purpose and a serious mission in which you filled to it’s fullest. A mission that is difficult for us as humans with egos to accept and understand. We miss you, Paige. And how could we not?

You came here with a plan. To touch so many lives. To accomplish so much, and you did. You still are. I know you still have a lot of work to do. You will continue to watch over all of us. To inspire us. To be an example of what and who we should always strive to be. A reminder to love each other a little harder. To not allow the trivial inconveniences of life sway the incredible gift of each day. To find joy in the smallest things, as you always did because after all, this part of life is all too short.

It’s still (at times) hard to believe you’re gone from this life. The wave will come and go, likely forever. But I find solace in knowing you are safe. You are happy and loved and forever with us. I’ll do my best to make you proud and lead by your example, Paige. I love you more than words could ever express. I am so grateful for every moment I’ve been blessed to have known you. You are my sunshine. Forever.


Deep Relief CBD: An Honest Review of an Amazing Company

In the last post, we explored why everyone is raving about CBD including what CBD actually is and the amazing benefits of using cannabinoids. We explored different forms and ways CBD can be taken and discussed what to look for when shopping for your own CBD products.

As promised, I will be giving CBD products and companies my honest opinions and reviews. My intent is to offer truthful opinions in order to help YOU find a CBD product that is right for your needs. The first company I am reviewing is Deep Relief CBD and I’m pleased to say, they did not disappoint.

I am happy to share with you why I LOVE this company and their products for so many reasons, from their 30 day money back guarantee to their excellent, high quality products, free shipping and awesome customer service.

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I am thrilled to announce that you can also receive 25% OFF of your order by using THIS LINK and using the code: YOUNIVERSE … more details about this AMAZING DEAL are available at the bottom of this article.

Review of CBD Products:

For this review, I tried 3 different products from Deep Relief CBD. Below, I will break down my impressions and opinions on each of these products.

1500 mg Tincture

The first product I tried from Deep Relief CBD is this 1500 mg tincture. I was all around very pleased with this product and its effectiveness. This tincture has a mild, chocolate mint flavor (natural flavors, no actual chocolate in the ingredients). It does taste a bit like hemp due to its high quality, however, the chocolate mint flavor made it MUCH more pleasant than other CBD products that I have tried. It was very tasty and easy to tolerate as I held it underneath my tongue for fast absorption. For anyone who doesn’t especially enjoy the taste, it can be mixed in with drinks or foods. You can also use a “chaser” such as water to wash it down after you hold it underneath your tongue for a few minutes to ensure you will not experience any sort of after taste.

The bottle’s label is packed with lots of helpful, valuable information such as supplement facts, ingredients, and detailed instructions. Unfortunately, not all companies offer all this information, so I was very pleased to see everything I needed to know was right there on the bottle. I think this is very important and way too often overlooked. It is refreshing to see a company that is not afraid to share all their ingredients and that offers dosing guidelines. It also came with a labeled dropper, which makes it much easier to select the right desired dosage. This again is surprisingly rare with CBD products.

This particular 1500 mg tincture is stronger than some of their other tinctures and is recommended for medium to severe issues. Although I do not talk about my struggles very often, I do live with a rare autoimmune disorder that causes me daily inflammation and back and shoulder pain.

About an hour after I took the tincture, I felt very calm and consumed by a feeling of general well-being. And being a mother of two (teenager and a toddler) I’ll gladly welcome that relaxing feeling any day! I could also feel the tension within my back begin to loosen up. Rather than being so stiff and tight, I was able to move around easier, and could physically feel relief from my pain.

The price for the 1500 mg tincture is $125 and worth every cent. And don’t forget, you can use my coupon code for 25% OFF of your order! There is also a 500 mg tincture available for just $55.

300 mg Gummies. Organic and THC FREE

I’ve got to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the gummy bears. I’ve gotten accustomed to using edibles, tinctures and other products that taste like straight up “skunky” weed, so being used to the flavor, it really doesn’t bother me too much. However, I can think of many other tastier flavors for gummy bears than “marijuana”. To my surprise, these gummies were DELICIOUS.  No lie, they legit taste like yummy candy gummy bears.

Both the gummies and tincture did leave me with a calming, relaxed feeling. I was not drowsy at all after taking either yet was able to get a BEAUTIFUL night’s sleep and woke up feeling refreshed and energized. This to me is amazing because many people take prescription sleep medications just to ensure they can sleep. Not only does this often leave people feeling groggy and “hung over” in the morning, but like any prescription drug, other sleep aids can cause harmful side effects. Having an all-natural solution to getting a good night’s sleep is truly a revelation.

The price of these 300 mg gummies, 15 count (20 mg each gummy) goes for $30. They also offer 600 mg gummies for $60. They also have a special available that includes both the 1500 mg tincture and the 300 mg gummies for $150. And did I mention you can use my coupon code for 25% off? 🙂


My favorite of all of the products I tested from Deep Relief CBD was this CBD Balm. As I said, I suffer with pretty severe inflammation and pain in my back and shoulders. I was truthfully skeptical and did not expect much relief. I’ve honestly become so accustomed to dealing with constant pain that it is always just another day for me. Nothing aside from prescription pain medication has ever brought me any relief. Given the dangers and epidemic of opioids, prescription painkillers are not a viable, healthy, long term option. I’ve seen loved ones struggle with opioid addiction first hand and do not wish these struggles on anyone. I’d given up even bothering taking over the counter pain medication like ibuprofen because it did not help my pain in the slightest. I’m telling you… NOTHING helped.

After hardly 5 minutes of applying the CBD balm to my back and shoulders, the amount of relief that I felt was mind-blowingly INCREDIBLE. I honestly could not believe that I was feeling such relief from my pain. I had to question myself- wait, is this real or is this in my head? Do I really feel this good right now? But to my surprise, each time I applied the balm, I felt like a new person. You can feel a bit of a tingling sensation from the balm and that’s how you know it is working. This balm also helped me to sleep. There is nothing like feeling relaxed and pain free to help you drift off into a glorious night’s sleep.

I am INCREDIBLY grateful for Deep Relief CBD and this balm. It 100% blew my expectations out of the water.

The balm is easy to apply and goes on smoothly. The scent is honestly pretty interesting. It reminds me of a mix between hemp and citronella. It was not too overpowering and really did not bother me in the slightest. And to be honest, it could smell like dog poop and I would still use it given how effective it was.

The price for this ABSOLUTE MIRACLE of a CBD balm is $65. There is also a 150 mg balm available for $40. And yes, yes… you can use my discount code for this magical product as well.

What Makes Deep Relief CBD so Wonderful?

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About the Company

This company claims to have the best CBD oil GUARANTEED. They are so confident in this, that there is a risk free, 30 day money back guarantee. That right there showed me that these guys aren’t messing around. They are producing great quality products and fully stand behind that.

Aside from Deep Relief CBD’s awesome products, I was also very pleased with their customer service. These people know what they are talking about, are extremely friendly and were so helpful with answering any questions that I had regarding CBD and their products. You can tell that these people are in the business of helping people and really changing lives. To me, that is very important. I really love that this company is a family run business that “takes great pride in bringing you and your family nothing but the finest all natural, pesticide free products that are grown in the USA.”

Double-Blind Tested

Deep Relief CBD uses a double-blind test to ensure quality. This means that they use 2 separate testing facilities completely independent from one another. Having numerous testing facilities helps to ensure that customers are receiving very high quality, safe CBD products.

100% Colorado-Grown Hemp

This company uses 100% Colorado-grown hemp that must pass the strictest quality guidelines in the industry. Every bottle produced has a full set of 3rd-party Certificates of Analysis associated with it that is available online for clients to view. Their testing process includes a separate analysis for the cannabinoid profile, potential microbial life, mold, heavy metals, residual solvents, and pesticides/herbicides/insecticides.

This means that you will NEVER have to worry about Deep Relief CBD containing any traces of toxic or unsafe ingredients. You can rest easy knowing exactly what you get in each product. With the CBD industry on the rise, this is very important because lots of companies try to cut corners with malicious intentions to only make money, which can lead to unsafe and ineffective CBD products. But not these guys!

Deep Relief CBD’s dedication to safe, high quality products continues with their use of high quality MCT Oil to increase bioavailability as well as a higher absorption rate. Many other companies use hemp seed oil or palm oil which is cheaper and does not deliver nearly as well. MCT products are purified extractions of coconut oil, making them a higher concentration, making it an efficient source of energy.

100% Full Hemp Extract

The extraction methods used by Deep Relief CBD is the most raw and beneficial form of hemp extract, making Deep Relief CBD one of the top in the industry. They use Kosher 190 proof alcohol for extraction. Unlike CO2, Alcohol extraction maintains the entourage effect and keeps terpenes, plant fats, lipids, and phytocannabinoids present within the finished oil without being unhealthy.

Very Informative and Helpful Website

The Deep Relief CBD website is very easy to navigate and offers a great amount of very helpful information. The lab results and ingredients for each product are available to review as well. On the “FAQ” page, you can find a plethora of answers to commonly asked questions. And of course, if you cannot find the answer to a question that you may have, there is a contact form and phone number available.

Variety of Other Products Including Pet CBD Available.

Deep Relief CBD currently has products that offer different levels of strength. For example, along with the 1500 mg tincture that I reviewed earlier, they also have a 500 mg tincture that is recommended for minor to medium issues. You can choose what sort of level of relief you desire. There are also different options for the gummies and CBD balm as well. They also offer pet CBD, because like us humans, pets sometimes suffer and deserve relief as well!

THC FREE “Pure Line”

One of the very best parts of this company is that they offer a “PURE LINE” that lab testing has GUARANTEED no THC within the products. This is amazing news for anyone who is a little hesitant to try CBD products. While some of their products contain a very small amount of THC (0.3%) the amount is so small that there will not be any psychoactive effects or feelings of being “high” or “stoned”. Even though the psychoactive effects are not present, taking the small amounts of THC can rarely be detected in drug tests. This is what makes the Pure Line so amazing. Customers can still experience the miracle of these products without the worry!

Receive 25% off of your order NOW with My Coupon Code!

If you would like to experience how amazing Deep Relief CBD really is, risk free, click here to visit their website. Be sure to enter in the coupon code YOUNIVERSE to get 25% off of your order and remember they offer FREE and FAST SHIPPING!

CBD… What’s All the Rave?

With the popularity of CBD products on the rise, everyone has been raving about how amazing CBD really is. In this article, we will discuss what CBD is and mention some of the incredible benefits CBD has to offer. We will explore the different forms of cannabidiol available and what aspects should be considered before selecting the right CBD for you.

What is CBD?

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Cannabidiol (or CBD for short) is just one of the chemical compounds found within the cannabis plant. CBD does NOT contain the compound Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly referred to as THC. This means that CBD offers the amazing medical benefits of marijuana, without the psychoactive (mind altering) effects or “high” that is experienced by consuming cannabis. Like marijuana, CBD is non addictive and can be consumed safely by people of all ages and even pets! And the best part? Hemp derived CBD is legal in all 50 states of America and you can access it almost anywhere from online to your local gas station.

What are the benefits of CBD?

The benefits of CBD have been lifechanging for some. Many people have found relief for more than 50 medical conditions.

CBD Can Help to Prevent:

  • Epileptic Seizures
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Diabetes

CBD Can Help:

  • Manage and Relieve Pain and Inflammation
  • Treat Symptoms of Autoimmune Disorders
  • Improve Mood
  • Improve Conditions of Autistic Children
  • Reduce Anxiety and Depression
  • Reduce Psychotic Symptoms of Schizophrenia
  • Reduce Symptoms of PTSD
  • Promote Cell Repair
  • Strengthen Bones
  • Improve Quality of Sleep and Combat Insomnia
  • Alleviate Cancer Symptoms
  • Combat Addiction and Reduce Withdrawal Symptoms

The wonderful thing about CBD is that it is all natural and offers great relief from a variety of medical conditions. This could potentially mean replacing some prescription medication(s) with CBD, helping to reduce harmful side effects and dependency issues related to pharmaceuticals.

There is also some research that suggests that CBD can kill off harmful cancer cells, preventing and treating cancer.

Different ways to consume CBD:

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CBD comes in many different forms and levels of strength. There is no right or wrong way to consume CBD. Luckily there are many options for people to explore in order to find what works best for them. Here we will discuss: Oils and tinctures, edibles, capsules, vaping and topical options.

Oils and Tinctures

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Oils and tinctures are often mistaken to be the same thing, so I will attempt to clarify the differences of the two. Both CBD oil and tinctures come in similar packaging- tinted glass bottles with the purpose of keeping light out and ensure freshness. Both can be taken directly or added to your favorite food or drink. That’s one way to boost your morning coffee! Oil has no added flavor while tinctures can have different added flavors such as fruity flavors or chocolate. This may be easier for some to consume if they are turned off by “skunky”, marijuana flavor that you’d find in an oil.

Oils are typically the most potent and expensive of CBD products. They are referred to as “oils” because they are mixed with a carrier such as hemp or coconut oil. Some CBD oils can also contain other nutrients or vitamins such as protein, fatty acids and chlorophyll.

Tinctures are made by dissolving the cannabis in a high proof alcohol or other solvent in order to preserve and enhance the effects of the CBD. The effects and duration of tinctures is comparable to that of edibles. They are low in calories and have a strong potency, so you don’t have to use very much. Some tinctures can be in spray form as well.

Tinctures and oils can be taken as a sublingual, meaning it goes under the tongue, or against the gums and cheek for fast absorption through your mucus membranes. This speeds up the process by skipping the time it takes to pass through the digestive system and puts it on the fast track to your bloodstream. Both can also be swallowed, where as it will just take a bit longer to take effect. The effects of tinctures typically last between 4-8 hours.


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CBD can be consumed in the form of edibles, meaning that the extracted CBD has been mixed into different types of foods of your preferences. You may have seen CBD in the ever-popular gummy bear form, but the options are endless! You can have or make CBD cookies, brownies, cake pops, make butter for your toast, whatever your heart desires.

Edibles are discreet to use, easy to dose and good for those who don’t want to irritate the lungs. You can even make them yourself! Edibles take a bit longer to feel the full effects (between 30 min- 2 hours) as they are broken down slowly by your digestive system. While it may take longer to kick in, the effects can last 2-4 hours longer than smoking or vaping.

CBD Capsules

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CBD can also be consumed orally in capsule form. Like edibles, this form of CBD is very discreet. The capsules are typically tasteless and are possibly the easiest method of consuming CBD oil. This is because unlike oils and tinctures, the capsules are pre-measured, meaning you can expect the same results each time, taking the intimidation out of the process. The ease of CBD capsules makes them a great choice for those who are new to exploring the amazing benefits of CBD. The duration of effects from CBD capsules is usually around 6-8 hours.

Vaping CBD

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Many people prefer vaping CBD because it is easy to do and works very quickly. Inhaling CBD oil can offer almost instantaneous effects. This can be very helpful for those dealing with stress, anxiety or pain when they cannot wait very long to feel relief. There are different styles of vapes that can be explored. Some vapes can be refilled, some have pre-filled replaceable cartridges, and some are altogether disposable. Vapes are convenient and can be carried around in your pocket or purse for easy travel. Vaping is quick, easy and discreet and while the effects are felt quite quickly, they do not last as long as other forms such as tinctures or edibles. Expect for vapes to take up to 20 minutes to feel the full effect and to last for about 2-3 hours.

Topical CBD

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CBD is also available in a topical form. By applying a topical directly to the skin, symptoms of pain, inflammation and arthritis can be significantly reduced. Topical CBD can be in many different forms including creams, ointments, oil, lotions, salves, balms and patches. These topical options are great for a localized area on the body in need of relief. Topical CBD can take up to an hour to work and offer about 5 hours of relief.

What To Look For When Purchasing CBD Products

Not all CBD products are created equally. With the popularity of cannabidiol on the rise, many companies are producing low quality CBD products that offer little to no results and may contain toxins and pesticides. When shopping for CBD, there are some things you should look out for to ensure your CBD is safe and effective.

There are different ways of extracting CBD from the hemp plant. Some companies try to cut corners by saving money and time and extract in ways that involve toxic solvents that are dangerous when consumed such as propane and butane.

Here are some things to look for when shopping for CBD products:

  • Inquire about their extraction method to ensure that they do not use harmful chemicals in the process
  • Look to see that a company’s products have a 3rd party test available
  • Ensure that the company is using USDA organic-certified, hemp-grown farms that are GMP Certified
  • Make sure you can see a full list of ingredients so that you can avoid CBD products that contain toxic solvent residues, pesticides, artificial flavors and pesticides.

Reviewing CBD Products So You Don’t Have To!

Over the next few weeks, I will be testing out different CBD products and companies in order to give you my honest reviews and opinions on different brands and ways to consume CBD. I will add the links to the reviews to this post as I go along. Be sure that you follow my blog in order to automatically receive new posts. You won’t want to miss these reviews!

Check out my first review of Deep Relief CBD and be sure to use discount code YOUNIVERSE to receive 25% OFF of your order!

You can also check out my full review of Savage CBD and use my discount code YOUNIVERSE to receive 15% OFF of your order!

Kasha (Meditation) Cushion Review

Although the earliest record of meditation dates back to about 1500 BC, it seems more people each day are learning the amazing benefits and incorporating the practice into their daily schedules. Harvard neuroscientists have found that the brain is actually physically altered by regular meditation after only 8 weeks of practice. Those who practice meditation have an increased volume of grey matter within the brain. This is great news for anyone who is looking to “train their brain” and work on their mental health and level of peace and happiness.

In today’s post, I will be reviewing the Kasha Cushion. Full disclosure, I am not affiliated with nor am I benefiting financially from this promotion. This is just an honest review for anyone interested in enhancing their meditation experience!

What is the Kasha Cushion?

The Kasha Cushion is a quality meditation cushion that offers excellent comfort and support.  The cushion is meant to support the width of your hips and ease tension in your lower body while you sit.

Every cushion holds 4 lb of natural buckwheat hulls that mold to the shape of your body. That is actually where the name “Kasha” is derived from, as it is a popular European dish made with cooked buckwheat.

Why Kasha?

The overall idea behind the Kasha Cushion is that if you are meditating in a comfortable position, you’ll be able to actually focus on your meditation rather than readjusting yourself and your position. This will help to reduce the monkey mind” and allow you to focus your awareness.

The Kasha Cushion has a comfortable, yet sturdy and supportive design that lets you easily hold your position. It is supposed to help reduce strain on your back and improve posture, which is always helpful (especially for people like me with chronic back pain). Sitting on the cushion helps curb the urge to slouch, which is wonderful because while meditating, your spine should be as straight as possible. And as it turns out, using the cushion is a much more comfortable option then sitting on the floor. Go figure.

A Physical Reminder to Practice Meditation

I really like having the Kasha cushion because it also acts a physical reminder for me to stop what I am doing and make time to meditate. If you are just beginning to learn and practice meditation, seeing your cushion at home is a great way to trigger your memory to get practicing. Just one glance at my cushion and I am instantly reminded that I need to stop in my tracks and make the time to meditate.

The cover is 100% cotton and is removable and is machine washable.

Kasha Cushions are currently on sale for $50, so if you are looking to enhance your meditation practice, head on over to their website to snag your cushion today. There is also free shipping on all U.S. orders.

For more information on how to make meditation simple, check out my post here.

Meditation Made Simple

Meditation does not have to be some complicated, intricate, process. You don’t need to be an enlightened monk or yoga guru to participate and reap the incredible benefits associated with meditation.

Meditation can be made simple and can be done anywhere, at any time. Think of meditating as an opportunity to focus on bringing your awareness to your breathing, rather than focusing too much on silencing the thoughts that are controlling your mind.

Here Are Some Benefits of Making Meditation a Regular Practice:

Meditation Reduces:

  • Stress
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

  Physical Benefits of Meditation Include: 

  • Improved immune system
  • Ability to lower respiratory rates
  • Ability to lower blood pressure
  • Pain relief
  • Decreased muscle tension
  • Improved sleep

 Meditation also physically restructures your brain, in a good way, helping to improve:

  • Decision making skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Memory 
  • Attention span
  • Emotional health
  • Self-Awareness

Other Benefits of Meditation:

  • Helps to battle addictions
  • Increases creativity
  • Improves your ability to perform under stress and pressure 
  • Increases lifespan

Even if you don’t know much about meditation, you have likely heard that the overall point is to silence the mind. With nearly 70,000 thoughts cruising through our heads each day, this can be difficult and even seem impossible, especially when you first begin to practice.

You see, when we are not consciously focused on one thing in particular, a part of our brain referred to as the default mode network (DMN) is switched on, resulting in our minds aimlessly wandering.

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This activity within the default mode network (DMN) is often referred to as the ‘monkey mind’. This scattered, random flow of thoughts make it difficult to concentrate and live consciously as the mind is too busy being overwhelmed by the excess clutter.

Taking the time to meditate helps tremendously in the process oftraining your brainby physically altering grey matter, improving attention, concentration, and overall psychological well-being.

The minds of those who suffer from anxiety or depression tend to wander even more than average. This is due to the inability to stay fully in the present moment. Focusing on events from the past and worrying about what has yet to come in the future are signs of destructive, negative overthinking patterns and habits.  Practicing meditation and mindfulness helps to silence the “monkey mind”, reduce clutter, increase concentration and allows people to live more peaceful, happier lives. Often times when people suffer from anxiety and/or depression, they feel hopeless and often turn to prescription medications in order to feel like themselves again. Meditation brings forth lasting improvements and results without harmful side effects rather than masking and numbing them.

You can practice meditation regularly (once or twice a day) to experience all of the awesome benefits we have discussed. Meditation is also a great stress reducer that you can utilize when you are feeling overwhelmed or upset. Stepping outside of your thoughts brings forth excellent clarity, calms the mind and body, while allowing you to recharge your brain, leaving you feeling refreshed and energized.

If you are feeling badly, the thoughts in your head are not serving you. You can work on sorting out letting them go or changing your perspective, but if you truly cannot pull yourself out of a funk, then practice meditation. Meditation does not have to be some intricate, spiritual process. Just think of it as an opportunity to focus on your breathing, rather than the thoughts that are controlling your mind. As I said, you can practice a mindful breathing meditation at any time, any place. It may be helpful to set aside some time to begin practicing the technique at home before you start meditating in traffic or while trying to center yourself in a stressful work situation.

So, without further ado…

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Step One: Set an Alarm

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It can be difficult to have any concept of time while you are meditating. Designating an allotted amount of time is helpful in the sense that you won’t sit there wondering “How long have I been doing this for? How long SHOULD I be doing this for?” Choose an amount of time that you are comfortable with in order to begin. I recommend starting with anywhere from 10-15 minutes. Once you are ready to start meditating, you may place the alarm within reach. I’d recommend a nice, calm, soft ringer for your alarm. No one wants to come out of their meditation with the sound effects of a nuclear blast warning.

Step Two: Make Yourself Comfortable

Find a comfortable spot where you can be unbothered by distractions (parents, I know all too well that this can seem impossible or even comical, but do your best to escape for some healthy “me time”). Once you have found a nice, quiet area to practice in, get yourself into position. Traditionally, meditation is performed in lotus pose, with your legs crossed, but for now… let’s just focus on being comfortable. You can choose to either sit or lay down, just ensure that your spine is as straight as possible in the position that you choose. Most people close their eyes while practicing meditation, but you may also pick an area of focus for you to focus on, such as a random spot on a blank wall. You can also choose to use a meditation pillow like you can see me using here. If you’d like to learn more about how awesome this Kasha cushion is, check out my review here.

Step Three: Focus On Your Breathing

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Once your alarm is set and you are in a comfortable position, it is time to begin! In order to practice mindful breathing, you must simply bring your awareness to your breath. To do so, simply inhale slowly through your nose for a count of four. As you inhale, think “in”. Hold your inhale for a second or two and then exhale slowly through your mouth with pursed lips (as if you are slowly blowing on a candle flame) as you think “out”.

Step Four: Acknowledge Your Thoughts- Don’t Fight Them

This is where people often find the most difficulty. You are in your comfy, meditative position and begin focusing on your breathing, seems simple enough, right? It is at this point where the meditation practice is interrupted by that “monkey mind”. You may never realize how much your mind wanders until you attempt to keep it still. The most random thoughts are going to come flying in, rudely interrupting your meditation. But fear not, you do not have to work so hard to silence your thoughts. Trying to do so likely won’t be successful anyway. Do not become frustrated with yourself and give up. Instead, simply acknowledge each thought and do your best to bring your attention back to your breathing pattern. Understand that you are NOT your thoughts. You are simply the observer. You have an awesome super power where you get to determine which thoughts that you cling to and focus on. Let go of the attachment you have to your thoughts. Practicing daily mindfulness will help you to strengthen your ability to simply “be”.

Try out these tips and let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your feedback.

6 Ways to Reduce Anxiety

Image by: Ashlee Ann @Youniverseinyou

There are ways to work on reducing and eliminating anxiety and depression. In order to improve your mindset, you must eliminate unhealthy thinking patterns and adapt new ones!⁣⁣

You have to ‘Train Your Brain’!⁣ 🧠 

⁣Here are some tips: ⁣⁣

🌸 Be kind to yourself. Make sure that inner dialogue of yours is kind and compassionate. Most people treat others MUCH better than they treat themselves. At the end of the day, we are always left with our own minds. Self-love should always be a top priority as it sets the tone for all other relationships as well. If you have trouble with your self-esteem and loving yourself seems far out of reach, start with working on self-acceptance first. ⁣⁣

🌸 Stay in the present moment by practicing constant mindfulness. Mindfulness means living consciously and being in a state of awareness. Often times, anxiety comes from either worrying about what may happen in the future or not letting go of something in the past.

⁣⁣🌸 Although we have nearly 70,000 thoughts each day, scientists are still unsure of where thoughts even come from. Know that you are NOT your thoughts and it is your job to OBSERVE and filter them out. We may not be able to choose each thought that pops into our heads, but we do have the power to CHOOSE which thoughts that we focus on. If you are feeling badly, take note of what you are focusing on. Choose something that feels better such as practicing gratitude or visualizing your goals and dreams coming true. ⁣⁣

🌸 Switching up your perspective can make a world of difference. When feeling troubled, it is necessary to step outside of the situation and reach for a different outlook. Ask yourself if you can view or approach things in a different, more positive way. Look out for repeated patterns in life so that you may discover the lesson that the universe is trying to teach you. ⁣It may be necessary to step outside of the ego.⁣

🌸 Don’t sweat the small stuff. If it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes thinking about it! Life is too short to spend it STUCK in a low vibration. It’s much healthier to let things go and be happy. ⁣⁣

🌸 Accept what you cannot control. In order to train your brain, you must work on your self-development. This means adapting healthier habits and accepting and loving yourself. You can control your thoughts, your beliefs, your attitude, who you surround yourself with etc. If you are stuck up on something that you have no power to control or change, you must learn to let it go. Find healing and peace in order to live happily.

You can learn to live without anxiety and/or depression. Having a Mindset Coach like Ashlee Ann can make all the difference! Ashlee helps in the process of leaving unhealthy thinking patterns and behaviors behind in order to adapt healthier new ones. This is how you learn to live your BEST LIFE and create the reality that you desire!

By using a mixture of positive psychology and spirituality, Ashlee provides valuable information so that client’s can understand the basics of the psychology behind training your brain while simultaneously working on your spiritual journey and connection to the universe (or God if you prefer). Ashlee walks clients through the training process with easy to follow, step-by-step instructions and provides guided exercises involving self-reflection and healing.

Ashlee works together with clients to create a detailed Action Plan in order to turn their dreams into obtainable goals and helps people to find their dream job or “purpose” (if necessary).

Start your FREE Coaching Consultation now!

How to Make the Most Out of Your Yoga Practice

So far, we have discussed topics such as:

  • The incredible benefits that yoga has to offer
  • How to begin your yoga journey without the intimidation
  • How to incorporate yoga into your busy schedule

In this post, we will explore different ways to make the most out of your yoga practice by:

  • Making sure that your progress is unique to you and not compared to the journeys of others
  • Listening to your body and get the most out of your practice
  • Deciding how you perceive your regular yoga practice
  • Learning to set your intentions

Do Not Compare Your Yoga Journey to Anyone Else’s.

Whether you have been practicing for decades or have just started to hit the mat, your yoga journey is yours and yours alone and should not be compared to the journey of others. There are many factors that contribute to the difference in each person’s progress and abilities such as: how long they have been practicing, how often they practice, level of flexibility and strength etc. It can be discouraging to see people seemingly effortlessly standing on their heads or hands while you struggle to maneuver your body into less intricate poses. Do not get down on yourself just because you aren’t at the same level of others or even meeting your own expectations for that matter.

It is easy to become inspired by all the yogis that we see on social media. They have a way of making things look so effortless that we aspire to master their difficult poses as quickly as possible. While it is always great to have goals, be gentle with your self-expectations. Remind yourself that this is a journey, not a race. Focus on connecting with your body and learning from the experience as you go. Notice the small improvements that you make each day in regard to improving your strength and flexibility. Celebrate each little progression by practicing gratitude and being proud of your accomplishments! Always be sure that you are accepting of where you are at in your physical journey. It is okay to strive for improvement, but never forget to give yourself credit where it is due. If you are practicing consistently, you should be proud of yourself!

Listen to Your Body.

Push yourself but know your limits. You want to challenge yourself and your body in order to advance and increase your overall strength and flexibility. However, it is vital to listen to your body and not overexert yourself. Poses can be modified to different levels of intensity. Using props such as blocks, and belts can help train your body so that you can ease into tougher poses. It is all about improving flexibility and gaining strength as you go, so there is no shame in modifying poses or using props to get you closer to reaching your goals.

Be sure you are aware of the difference between a good stretch and a strain. Know that it may take time and practice to accomplish challenging poses. Always be patient and kind to yourself in your journey. Practice makes progress so remind yourself that each time you work on your poses, you are bringing yourself closer to where you want to be. Remember that there are always benefits of practicing yoga aside from gaining strength and flexibility. Sometimes, even just the calming mental benefits of yoga should be the main focus. 

Perhaps the most important tip is to practice conscious, mindful breathing. I am a huge advocate for Mindful Breathing (just ask any of my coaching clients). By focusing our awareness on our breathing patterns and consciously taking control of each breath, we provide our bodies and our minds with incredible benefits such as:

  • Relaxation of the Body and Mind
  • Boosting the Immune System
  • Improving Focus
  • Relieving Tension
  • Pain Relief
  • Allows You to Let Go of Negative Emotions
  • Releases Toxins

The payoff of consciously breathing is extraordinary yet often overlooked. Doing so helps to create a deeper connection mind, body and soul while allowing us to live fully in the present moment. We should ALWAYS be aware of our breathing pattern, not just during our yoga practice. Shoot for slow, productive, deep breaths.

Decide How You Perceive the Practice of Yoga.

The way that you perceive your yoga practice will make all the difference in the progression of your journey. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the motivation needed to practice. Although there may be days that you will struggle with finding your drive, you will likely never regret taking the time to hit the mat. Always remind yourself of the amazing benefits that yoga has to offer and allow this information to persuade you to practice. If you are short on time, choose a few poses that have the greatest benefit for you. For example, if you want to focus on increasing flexibility, practice poses that challenge you to do so. If you’d like to focus on gaining strength, take a few minutes to enter poses that are physically challenging to you such as chaturanga or “plank pose”. Or you can choose a couple of poses that will benefit your specific needs. If you are experiencing back pain, focus on poses that target back pain relief.

Take the time to reflect on your personal perspective of practicing yoga. It may be helpful to ask yourself some questions in order to assess your feelings such as:

Why did I decide to begin practicing yoga in the first place?

Perhaps you have decided that it is vital for your overall well-being and health routine. You love yourself (or are working on your self-love) and understand that practicing yoga is beneficial for your physical and mental health. Remind yourself of the incredible benefits of yoga and why you made the decision to practice!

Is Taking the time to practice fun and relaxing or do you see it as a tedious chore?

Remind yourself of self-love and how important it is to make the time to do things that are good for your mind, body and soul. Don’t think of your practice as a chore, think of it is your time to connect with yourself and to generate calm, peaceful feelings.

Set Your Intentions.

Set an intention or mantra for your practice. Doing so will help you while you are on the mat and long after. Each time you practice, set your specific intention to give your practice a greater meaning. Some examples of intentions may be:

  • I am at peace
  • I am strong
  • I am grateful
  • I am aware and conscious
  • I am one with the universe
  • I am love
  • I am balanced and calm

Listen to your heart and intuition in order to choose an intention that resonates with you.