Magnilay tayo.

Sa ating mga Pilipinong Katoliko, ngayon ang simula ng linggo kung saan nararapat magnilay-nilay ang bawat isa. Umpisa na ng Semana Santa. Simula na ng pagpepenetensya, pagsisisi sa ating mga kasalanan, pag-alala sa ginawang pagsasakripisyo ni Jesus, at panibagong pagbabago.

Hindi naman natin kailangang saktan ang ating mga sarili upang makiisa sa paghihirap ng Panginoon para iligtas tayo sa ating mga kasalanan. Ang kailangan nating gawin ay ang tanggapin na tayo’y makasalanan, malaman ang mga pagkakamali natin, at gumawa ng paraan upang tayo ay maging mas mabubuting anak ng Diyos.

Paano ba tayo makakapagnilay-nilay? Para sa akin, kailangan natin ng reflection, meditation, at fasting.

  • Reflect

Maaari tayong sumali sa mga retreat o recollection para makapag-reflect. Pwede din naman nating gawin ito kahit saang lugar na tahimik gaya sa loob ng mga kwarto natin.

Mag-reflect tayo sa mga sarili nating pagkatao. Maging aware sa mga kasalanang nagawa sa atin. Alalahanin nating hindi naman tayo perpekto. Ihingi natin ng tawad ang mga pagkakasala natin. Maging aware din tayo sa mga mali sa atin. Tanungin natin ang mga sarili natin…

Mabuti ba ang pakikitungo ko sa mga tao? Kailan ba ako huling nagalit? Bakit ako nagalit? Nakakasakit ba ako ng ibang tao? Pini-please ko ba ang Panginoon o ang sarili ko o ang ibang tao? Nakakagawa ba ako ng mga bagay ng nakakapagpasaya sa Diyos? Nagagawa ko ba ang mga tungkulin ko sa Kaniya at para sa Kaniya?

Humingi tayo ng tawad at magpatawad na rin tayo. Patawarin na natin ang mga taong nagkasala sa atin, humingi man sila o hindi ng tawad.

  • Meditate

Maglaan tayo ng labing lima hanggang tatlumpung minuto para kausapin nang taimtim ang Panginoon. Sa katunayan, hindi naman natin kailangang magsalita e. Bigyan lang natin ng oras ang Panginoon. Umalis tayo sa mundo natin na napakagulo, napaka-busy, huminto tayo at tsaka tayo magdasal.

Mag-meditate tayo upang mapabuti natin ang relasyon natin sa Panginoon at ma-improve ang ating spiritual heath.

  • Fast

Marami pa rin sa ating mga Katoliko ang nagfa-fasting, hindi kumakain ng karne tuwing Semana Santo lalo na sa Huwebes Santo, Biyernes Santo, at Sabado de Gloria. Marami pa namang ibang paraan para mag-fasting.

Bakit ba tayo nagfa-fast? Para magsakripisyo ng ilang araw upang i-acknowledge ang ginawang sakripisyo ni Jesus para sa atin. Pero kung iisipin natin ano pa bang ibang nagagawang mabuti ng hindi pagkain ng karne? Ito ‘yong mga naiisip kong pwede pa nating gawing pagfa-fasting:

  1. Bawasan ang oras online. Gamitin ang oras na ibabawas para mag-reflect at mag-meditate.
  2. Huwag magalit, magtaas ng boses, magkunot ng noo, magtaas ng kilay, magsabi ng hindi magandang salita. Huwag magmura.
  3. Huwag uminom ng alak. Huwag manigarilyo. Huwag kumain ng junk food.

Marami pa ‘yan. Depende na lang ‘yong mga idadag natin sa klase ng buhay mayroon tayo. Halimbawa, kung isa kang workaholic, bawasan mo ang oras ng pagtatrabaho mo.

Maganda rin kung ngayong Semana Santo, magsimba tayo, mangumpisal sa pari, mag-Station of the Cross, at magbisita sa iba’t ibang simbahan o mag-Visita Iglesia.

Ang Semana Santa, dapat hindi maging tanging panahon para tayo magnilay-nilay, para natin alamin at pagsisihan ang mga kasalanan natin, at para lumapit tayo sa Panginoon. Ang Semana Santa sana’y bigyan tayo ng inspirasyon para magsimulang magbago, mag-improve, maging mas mabuting tao para sa Diyos, para sa kapwa natin at maging sa ating mga sarili.

Mapayapang Semana Santa sa ating lahat! God bless!

Stressed or Anxious? (Part 1)

Ever since I’d begun this blog, I am hesitant in writing about this topic for the simple reason that while talking about it, I may feel it. Stress and anxiety were two of the not good things in life. Just the word anxiety makes me anxious tbh so let’s see how far I’ll go with this post. I’m hoping that it could be helpful still. Alright…

Since I’m scared of the word “anxiety”, I referred to myself as so stressed whenever I feel anxious. It’s almost the same anyway. Stress is one of the causes of anxiety. When you over think, you get stressed. When you get too stressed, you get anxious. Over thinking, I personally believe, is the main cause of anxiety. Other causes include physical condition, tension (which may also be caused by stress), fearful incidents, and genetics.

Anxiety can be felt mentally, physically, and both. When thoughts come in and in and in, and you feel like you’re losing control over them, that’s anxiety. When your heart’s palpitating with no reason and you feel an unexplainable tension, pain, or any physical sensation, that may also be anxiety. It’s different for everyone. But if you experience it, hey, you’re not alone. Also, don’t worry too much. There are ways on how you can cope with it. You’ll be well. Every episode shall pass.

I’m also hesitant to share this post because I worry that someone I personally know may read it and then, worry about me. Please don’t.

Anxiety, just like other illnesses, can be prevented through the following. A disclaimer though, I’m not an expert; these information were based from my experiences and the things I read.

  • Meditation

Meditation is a form of mind training. Its main purpose is to bring us back to the “now”. It trains the mind to focus in the moment and cut the train of thoughts that do not help us. The concept of meditation is not ignoring thoughts (no matter absurd); it’s about trying not to judge them so that we’ll be able to control them and not the other way around.

I used the mobile application “Calm” to meditate every night. This is basically how you meditate: (1) find a quiet place to sit down, (2) close your eyes and begin to breathe deeply in and out, (3) put all your focus on the flow of your breathing, (4) breathe normally and concentrate on your breathing for 5-10 minutes, (5) bring your focus back in the room you’re in, then (6) gently open your eyes.

  • Gratitude

Anxiety roots from negative thinking and so, to combat it, you need to be positive. I like another mobile app, “Bliss“. It’s an app that allows you to appreciate what you have to increase your happiness and improve the quality of your life. Another disclaimer, I’m not paid by any of these applications. I find them helpful so I’m sharing them with you.

Bliss has many options. You can list three things you’re thankful about daily or just write in a paragraph form the things and people you’re grateful about. You may also re-imagine a not so good situation and turn it into good. Each activity could really help us remove our focus on the things that are not working out, in our lives as well as our daily worries.

  • Rest

So simple yet not all of us does it. I’ve read that we experience anxiety episodes when our bodies were trying to tell us something. My body told me on the last day of 2015 that my blood glucose level is high through an anxiety episode. It’s not always that extreme though. Most of the time, we get anxious because our body needed rest.

We should acknowledge that we also have limitations. A machine will malfunction if used beyond its capability and so will a human body. When you’re tired, rest. You won’t stop, you will just take a break. You don’t have to sleep, you could just take a nap.

  • Pamper Yourself

Each of us needed relaxation. Each of us deserves pampering. Not all of us has the means to go to spas or massage therapists I know. But we definitely can still relax.

Here’s what I do when I pamper myself: (1) clean my nails and paint them, (2) light scented candles [strawberry and grapes] and massage my head, (3) put on face mask, (4) exfoliate my skin with milk salt, and sometimes (5) listen to ASMR through YouTube.

  • Express Yourself

Don’t hold onto your emotions and thoughts. Release them through different mediums. You could write them in your diary, blog about them, or talk to your friends or family about them. You could also indirectly release your stressors through drawing, painting, baking, singing, or any activity that works best for you.

Let it go! Let it go! Don’t hold it back anymore. (Let It Go from Frozen)

  • Yoga

Anyone can do yoga. Everyone should do yoga. Yoga is not only a great physical activity that can help us tone our body, it is also a form of mental training and relaxation. Yoga includes different poses; each focusing on one or more organs of our bodies. It also includes different breathing techniques that could help relieve stress and anxiety.

I do yoga with the help of the mobile apps “Yoga Monkey” and “Sworkit“, and  “Yoga with Adriene”  on YouTube.

  • Workout

There are different workouts that help us become fitter. Aside from their benefits for our body, it also has positive benefits for our thoughts and emotions. Working out may help us clear our mind and whenever we work out, we release endorphins (also referred as “happy hormones”).

I know we tend to be really busy with our daily lives and sometimes we no longer have the energy to workout after a day of work. We can always start small like 5 minutes of warm-up cardio before we head onto the shower every morning. The app “Sworkit” helped me plan my workout routines for every week.

  • Seek God

To me, knowing that there’s someone out there gives me hope and security. I trust that He will always save me from my troubles. I read Bible daily and other devotional books. I also pray all the time.

That’s all for this part. On part 2, I’ll share with you the things we can do when we’re having our visitors.

I want to end this post with my current favorite quote.

*Hey guys, if you are going to comment, please be very careful as I am pretty sensitive. I’d like to be of help by sharing to you the knowledge that I have acquired. For now, that’s all the help I could offer.

It’s OK to not be OK.

Last night, I messaged a trustworthy friend and told her about my problems. I was a bit depressed last night, to be honest. I woke up today with a long message from her. She reminded me that it’s okay to not be okay. We’re all humans, humans who feel both positive and negative emotions.

From meditation practices that I’ve done in the past year, I’d learned that we should be just observers of our emotions. We should not let them influence us. We should acknowledge the moments we feel sad, happy, mad, and scared and realize too that these emotions are not permanent. They come and go. It’s like traveling and seeing these emotions along the journey but not letting them hitch in the car and direct our way. We just say hi to them and proceed.

I may be feeling down right now, lacking of self belief, and having anxieties for my future but I gain hope and peace in the fact that this all shall pass. These emotions and thoughts are all part of life, not beautiful they may be. They’re part of living.

Sometimes, there is really no need to overanalyze things. We just have to accept that they’re happening but also, acknowledge the fact that there’s no need to cling onto them. Even if you’re not feeling okay, it’s okay. All is well. You’ll be okay sooner or later.

If enduring is needed, go ahead and do it. If crying is needed, allow your eyes to do just that. If you needed to release the anger, shout. If the emotions are overwhelming, breath in and out… Don’t let any emotion overcome you. Keep your grip on the steering wheel tightly. Look ahead. Keep driving. It’s all good.

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My Daily Routine for My Body, Mind, and Soul

Happy Three Kings, my fellow Catholics! Before I go to sleep, I’d like to share to you what I do daily for my body, mind, and soul. It involves a lot of reading and quiet moments. Here’s the list.

1. Good MorningGod

Good MorningGod is a book that I bought before the last year ended. It consists of daily messages written by the author to help the readers have and keep a close relationship with God. It is basically a devotional book that should be read every morning of the entire year. Beside the date are Bible verses that readers may read to complement with the day’s message.

2. Yoga Revolution

I think it was 2015 when I found the YouTube channel called “Yoga with Adriene”. My interest in yoga started during those times. I eventually forgot about the channel after practicing some of the yoga routines that it features.

Due to health reasons, my desire to do yoga daily this year arises. I searched for yoga routines, and was really delighted when a video from Yoga with Adriene appeared on the recommended videos. I clicked on the channel and saw Adriene’s 31-Day Yoga Resolution. It’s just what I needed. I actually just started the series yesterday and so far, I am loving it.

I love Adriene’s objective for the Yoga Revolution, I love how she executes the routines. It was a very compassionate yoga centering on sukha or ease.

3. Our Daily Journey

Come evening and I’m in my sister’s room where I am sleeping with three books. One of them is Our Daily Journey. Like Good Morning… God, it is a daily devotional book. Each page, which also denotes a day, contains two Bible verses that you should read; an article written by different authors, which is usually featuring a true-to-life story in relation with the verses; and, a question at the end that you have to answer and reflect to.

This is my second Our Daily Journey book. I’m proud to have finished its volume for 2016.

4. Bible reading

I am following a Bible reading plan from the Our Daily Journey book. At the bottom part of each page are the verses that needed to be read on that particular day so that you may be able to complete reading the Bible in a year.

Reading Bible, especially the Psalms and Proverbs, has helped me in so many things like to be strong, to not worry, and to always put my trust to God.

5. Healing Presence

This is the third book that I read at my sister’s room. Healing Presence (Prayers for Healing) basically contains prayers for oneself and for others. It also has messages of hope and love, as well as Bible passages to read for when you’re in need.

I love praying the prayer for mine and my loved one’s healing of body, mind, and soul.

6. Calm

Finally, I end my day with daily meditation courtesy of the mobile application, Calm. I am alloting 3 to 10 minutes of my day for quiet moments, deep breathes, gratitude, loving kindness, and some more awesome things. It is very relaxing to meditate. Although it isn’t always easy to concentrate, I believe I still get to reap the benefits of meditation. I get to calm my mind.

So long as I can, I will keep on doing my daily routine. It has been helping me in clearing my mind of negative thoughts, in being at peace, in enduring any physical pain and tension that I am experiencing, in relaxing, and in keeping my relationship with God as tight as it should be.

May you find a routine too that works best for your body, mind, and soul. I hope you’d have a chance to check the channel, app, and books-especially the Holy Bible-that I’ve mentioned in this blog post. They may work for you too.

I’m off to bed now. Good night and God bless you!