The Benefits of Meditation

We live in an increasingly fast-paced world. We want our coffee quicker, updates faster and internet at speed of light. We are preoccupied by things and woefully disconnected from the moment. It’s no surprise that we are more overwhelmed, stressed and depressed than ever.

This is a catastrophe facing humanity.

However, I know a solution. This solution has hundreds of benefits, with scientists finding more every day. Ancient religions allude to this solution, and there multiple ways to use it. It will heal your soul. What is this solution?

It’s meditation.

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When you hear ‘meditation’, you may think, “What new-age baloney!”

I understand – in a world full of hacks, it’s important to cut the bull. But to you skeptics, here’s the truth: Every human being would benefit from meditation.

There are hundreds of benefits, but let me provide you with three: Meditation helps with:

  • Better decision making.
  • Emotional healing.
  • Improving physical and mental health.

There are many ways to incorporate meditation. Here is a video of a beginner meditation that I’ve used, personally, that I think you should too.

To my friends, let me conclude with this. In this ever-speeding world, meditation helps us destress, think clearly, and connect to the present moment. There are many benefits, and many ways to use it. I urge you all: Do give it a try. After all, it’s free.

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25 Lessons by 25 years old – Part Two

13. You can be a functioning mess. It’s not all or nothing. I learned this through the many beautiful messes I know in my life. Not only do they handle their lives like bosses, they also deal with some of the same crap that I do! The thought that I, and my life, was not perfect used to have me flat on the floor, fearful and full of despair. Instead, the beauties I know pull themselves up, knowing their strength, knowing they’re a mess and just moving on.

14.When you solve one problem, another one comes up. It’s like leveling up in life. Every time I overcame a challenge, I for some reason assumed that was it – life should be easier now. But it’s just not the case: life will consistently throw you challenges, progressively harder ones at that. That’s why it’s important to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, because this sh*t ain’t getting any easier.

15.First impressions are not accurate, important or as long-lasting as everyone claims. The ‘first impressions are so important’ line has always confused me. I just don’t agree with it – my first impressions are often SO wrong, and it’s only through getting to know people that you judge them. I mean, people often misjudge and misunderstand me at the beginning and end up with a completely different view of me than what they thought. It’s through repeated, consistent, confirming interactions that people form their opinion of you. Duh.

16.You can’t escape your true nature, but your true nature is far more glorious than you think. Growing up, I always felt like the weirdest, least likable mushroom in a field full of flowers. I tried to hide it, like I said before, and it did not work. I always got told I was too “extroverted, energetic, excitable, exhausting.” But the thing is…some people love mushrooms. And mushrooms can be magical. 😉 Accept your strangeness, but also embrace it. It’s what sets you apart.

17. When apologizing, ask yourself – is this coming from a need to feel reassured or because I truly feel sorry? I have had so many friends have ‘intervention’ type conversations with me about my over-apologizing. They say that they feel uncomfortable with having to constantly reassure me that everything is okay, and that I didn’t do anything wrong. I have such a strong ability to ruminate, to overthink and to just plain express myself that it NEVER occurred to me that my apologizing was exhausting people. I now try to apologize only when I feel I’ve done something truly wrong. It’s not just better for my friends, it’s better for myself. It’s really, really difficult. Like I said before, changes to behavior, especially when rooted in deep self-belief, can take years. At least I’ve gotten to the first step of becoming aware of my issues.

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18.Friends of convenience/surface level bonding vs. true friends. Once, when recounting a difficult situation I was having with a friend, a therapist asked me: “Do you like her?”…I was a bit confused. I said, obviously! However, my therapist was trying to see what exactly I looked for in friendships and how I CHOSE my friendships. It revealed something really nuts: I didn’t have too much in the way of criteria for friendships. I let people walk all over me. I was focused so much on what they thought of me, rather than focusing on what I thought of them. Since then, this discovery has made life a lot simpler. If I don’t enjoy being around someone, if they get me down, if they judge hard, if they give me a feeling of discomfort, I JUST DON’T HANG WITH THEM.Pretty damn simple. Took forever to recognize, though.

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19. Give yourself so much more credit for all the little things. Ugh, this is such a big one. Sometimes I look at my brother, or my friends, or people in my class and I’m just amazed by them. They are such accomplished, well-spoken, kind individuals. I wish it was more normal to tell people randomly how great you think they are (I still do tell people, though.) However, it kills me how people don’t give themselves credit for being A+ planners, amazing with punctuality, helpful as hell, balancing a job and school…I know it’s good to have high standards, but the amount of stress people handle and how well they do is truly remarkable to me. So please, give yourself credit where it’s due.
Continue reading

25 Lessons at 25 years old – Part One

I recently turned 25 and I’ll be honest—it freaks me out. I don’t usually get hung up on age. I mean, for real, we all have the same amount of time to get to being a certain age so I don’t get the weird cattiness that sometimes surrounds age.

Until I realized, it’s not being 25 that freaks me out… it’s that I am not at the place I want to be at 25 that worries me. In the last year, I’ve moved back home with my parents, am back in school and am essentially unemployed. It feels a tad like I’m moving backward.

I can’t deny, though, that I have learned a hell of a lot in my life. However much of a hot mess I still might be (I could write a list of 100 for all the reasons), here are some lessons I’ve learned during my journey on this planet.

1. There’s no end-point to messing up – making mistakes. When I graduated high school and started university, I truly thought I’d done most of my messing up, and that I was going to be fabulous in university with very little problems. How wrong I was – the anxiety, the insecurity, the self-doubt only deepened in this environment. When I graduated university and got my first job, I thought the same thing – however, the hotbed of drama-and-stress omelette that my first job was did *not* stop me from messing up. I’ve learned that I will *always* mess up and it’s okay – the only tragedy in that is making the same mistake one too many times. (Done that, too.)

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2.  No matter what, your truth will come out – when I moved to Ajax from Etobicoke for middle school, I remember telling myself that things would be different. I would be popular, people would think I was cool and fashionable, and I’d finally be happy. I made up a name for myself – Sonya – and put on my coolest clothes and jewelry (I have the diary receipts to prove the details) and went to school. I said things to my new classmates like “that ring is *so* yesterday.” Yes, my whole body does cringe at this statement.

But guess what? The other kids saw through that immediately. I mean IMMEDIATELY. It took no time for them to realize that I wasn’t being authentic, and I went back to square one – or even square negative one. It was an early, important lesson and I can honestly say I’ve been pretty much authentically myself ever since.

3. Changes come from incremental shifts more often than huge life changes. Looking back, it has taken 5 years for me to overcome some of my body insecurities, for example. It wasn’t one therapy session or even one therapist that helped.  It wasn’t a series of conversations with supportive friends and family. It was (hell no) not the internet forums with others crying about their particular issues. It took time for the changes to take place, to my paradigm and my beliefs. I went from crying for hours at a time about my body to accepting what I have and feeling beautiful the way I am. Truly. I may get threatened or jealous, but I am happy with what I have, even if there are millions of girls with much more. What a total victory. I’m proud of myself

4. Mental health is still a really difficult thing for people to grapple with. It’s this mysterious force in life. Sad, but true—no matter how many Bell Let’s Talk pictures your friends share, and no matter how well-meaning they are, many people will just not be able to handle your issues, especially when you’re in a bad place. However, think of it as a filter: the few people who stuck by you are people you can depend on, and you have to deliver for when THEY need YOU. Due to my unique personality, not everyone’s going to like me, or be there for me, or value my time, especially when I’m in a bad place. While that sucks, and I do have some resentments when people let me down, I’ve gotten to the place where I can accept it. I’ve gone through things that have made me a more empathetic person.

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 5. Shaming yourself based on looks, body, sexual past= shaming others. I admittedly just realized this recently after a conversation with someone I met during my travels in Europe. I often judge myself for things I would never dream to judge others for. Not only judge, but actively berate and engage in self-loathing about things that I can’t control, like my body. This not only hurts me, but in actuality hurts the way I view others as well. When you hear someone thinner than you complaining about how fat they are, how does that make you feel? And you know what, it’s the same whether they are lighter or heavier – It’s just a judgey, negative space to be in. It’s not just unkind to yourself, it’s unkind to others too. It’s one thing to be a feminist outwardly, to denounce body-shaming, to preach redemption rather than punishment…but you gotta apply those standards to yourself first and foremost.

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6. No matter what TV says, it’s rarely the pretty but brainless girls who get the guys/the fantastic lives. It’s the bombtastic, confident, unafraid girls/boys who are the true babes on this planet. I’ve learned this lesson so many times. For a while, it seemed like a like – like really? Looks don’t matter? Oh please. But in actuality, when it comes to attraction it’s just a part of the package, and the truly amazing people know this inherently. I’ve seen it a thousand times. Continue reading

Why I’m A Good Hire

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How I feel when I try to brag about myself… Has to be done, though. 😛

 

21,500. That’s the number of students who will be graduating within the media and communications field in this country, according to Stats Canada.

Another one hundred and four thousand will be graduating in the larger business management and public administration context.

That is tough competition. If there’s anything I’ve learned in the last year, it’s that there’s quite a demand for intelligent workers with strong writing skills, persuasive presentation abilities, and a distinct voice.

This demand is met by quite a bustling supply of graduates, enthusiastic and eager, ready to give work tasks their all. As entry-level students, we all have similar skills, at least on paper. We have the writing skills. We have the critical thinking skills. And thanks to experiences such as these, we have the presentation skills.

However, I am here to tell you exactly why I am a fantastic candidate for a position within this field. While I believe everyone has something to offer the world, I offer a unique blend of raw talent, self-awareness, and resilience that every organization would benefit from. I want to tell you today THREE of the MAIN reasons why you should hire me.

  • Firstly, I am at the core a storyteller. I am deeply aware that creating meaningful content is at the core of what we do as PR professionals. I don’t take that responsibility lightly. Whether I’m writing a 140-character Tweet or designing a newsletter, I never lose sight of the incredible opportunity to communicate to my audience. I am intently aware that every part of this interaction counts and either builds credibility and trust in the audience or destroys it. This kind of inherent understanding and storytelling capability is what makes me a committed communicator.
  • Secondly, I have a very broad perspective which informs my point of view and strengthens my work. For example, I have lived in four countries, speak three languages fluently and originate from a drastically different culture. I remember arriving in each country for the first time, and recognizing that from this moment on, nothing would ever be the same. I had to learn the new slang, new language, new ways of being myself. I had to learn how to survive.
    This early forays into huge life changes have led me to develop grit. Over my life, I’ve displayed courage and resolve in situations I had no expertise in. Like, for example, just this past winter, I backpacked solo in Europe. Though it was fun, the experience was far from a lazy vacation –  It was work. I learned so much about the principles of how to survive and thrive in new and unusual situations. Since then, I’ve realized just how much my unique and broad perspective has been a strength. While sometimes, I feel like the odd one out, this varied vision of the world has been such a gift for me.
    I see things differently than everyone else, and it’s people like me you can count on things need to be shaken up.

 

And now, for my last point. No, I’m not going to end this with the fact that I’m a strong listener – which I am. And no, It’s not that I’ve already gained strong experience in this field – which yes, I have. It’s not that I’m a hard and tireless worker – something I’ve proven to myself and others many times. It’s something much bigger than that – maybe something that will surprise you.

 

  • It’s that I’ve always realized, quickly, exactly where I didn’t belong and what I truly sucked at. Now, this is important: it’s not just important for professionals to know their strengths and work with them… People need to be able to identify exactly what their natural weaknesses are, and what environments are toxic for them. As a professional looking to sell myself, why would I possibly end in such a negative tone? Because I believe this is one of the most important traits of a strong communicator. Truth is, every company would benefit from an employee who is self-aware and willing to be vulnerable enough to spot their own issues.They also benefit from an employee that knows exactly what kind of environment works for them. It’s only through recognizing both your strengths AND your weaknesses that you become a well-rounded communicator. If I didn’t develop this ability quickly, I would not be the kind of communicator every organization needs: one who knows her own brand, who knows exactly how her brand thrives, and how to work effectively with her strengths to avoid minefields and pitfalls.  

 

 It’s been a real joy expressing exactly what makes me a strong communications professional. I’ve told you how at the core, I’m a storyteller, and how I recognize that this is central to any job in communications. I’ve spoken to my background and experiences, which have helped me develop grit and a strong, broad perspective. And finally, I’ve told you that I know myself deeply: I know exactly the ways in which I suck and what environments are just not right for me. In this pool of candidates that all have similar qualifications, backgrounds, and experiences, how do I know that I am an excellent resource? These reasons, while being a little untraditional, and perhaps out of the box, are what I believe truly make me a stand-out.

So….When do I start?