It’s hard to describe my relationship with music. No word in the English language can capture the way a good song makes me feel.
How do you verbalize an entity that has brung you joy, relief, and comfort for as far back as you can remember?
I have been expressing myself through music in every phase of my life:
Pop, when I was a starry-eyed kid with my head in the clouds and all the world was a stage,
Rock when I was a brooding emo teen, and I thought no one would ever understand me,
and R&B as an adult for its chill vibes and relatable lyrics.
Since I was first introduced to this art form, my music taste has expanded vastly; there’s no telling what you might hear when you put my phone on shuffle. It could be soul, metal, trap, EDM, or an anime theme song. But no matter the genre, the type of music I listen to always echoes how I’m feeling in the moment.
That’s because there’s power in song.
Music is more than just mere entertainment; it’s a soul transcending experience.
If you’ve ever seen music live, you know what I’m talking about.
Every which way you turn, fans are in their own zone. Whether they’re dancing and singing along, nodding their heads, crowd surfing, moshing, or swaying from side to side with tear-stained cheeks and their phones raised to the sky, it’s all proof that there’s something powerful at play here.
I believe musicians are the worlds most influential people. They have a gift that unites people through emotions.
Some of the most important moments in your life require music (graduations, weddings, birthday parties). What would a celebration be without a good soundtrack?
That’s definitely true for me. The most magical moments in my highlight reel feature music: my high school prom, Bamboozle 2010, my family cruise in 2018, that time Husbae sang to me at my brother-in-laws…
But music isn’t just there for us when we’re in a good mood. It can help relieve feelings of anger, stress, and sadness, too!
I have playlists for every mood:
“Anxiety Reducing” when I need to calm down,
“Issa Vibe” when I want to chill out,
“Make Her Dance” when I want something to get me moving,
and “Dark and Brooding” when I hate everything and just want to cry in the dark (lol)
Music means the world to me, so I want to share it with you!
I created these mood-specific playlists that are designed to adhere to whatever you’re feeling at the moment.
Not just the happy ones, because sometimes we feel down, too. (You’re human. You’re allowed.)
So whether you want to keep that mood high, you’re trying to chill out, or someone just cut you off in traffic and you never got the satisfaction of flipping them off, I have the perfect song for you! To me, sharing music’s a profession of love. Let me show you how much I love you.
1. So in love
2.Let’s Dance (NSFW)
3. Issa Vibe
4. Lets Put A Smile On That Face
5. Mood. (NSFW)
If you’re like me, then music is a form of therapy. Sometimes hearing the right lyrics paired with the right tempo ignites a fire in you like nothing else could. I definitely have my days where I just need to escape, and music has always helped me. I hope it helps you, too ❤
*Don’t be a stranger, drop some of your favorite mood altering music in the comments! I love being put on to new tunes ^_^
*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^
Yoga is my favorite way to exercise. It enhances flexibility, promotes mindfulness, and encourages discipline.
These days, I get my yoga fix from my favorite Youtube channel, Yoga By Biola.
Not only has yoga been doing my body right (aowww), it’s also been having a major influence on me psychologically.
Here are 6 valuable takeaways I’ve learned by practicing yoga.
1. Yoga Taught Me Patience With Myself
I judge myself harshly when things don’t go according to plan. When I make a mistake, I can be pretty mean and impatient with myself. It’s as if I’m mad that I’m falling short of my own expectations. How many of you can relate?
This impatience stems from past experiences where I wasn’t granted the tolerance and compassion for my flaws. My mistakes would be met with punishment which caused me to set up unrealistic standards for myself. Yoga teaches me that this way of thinking is wrong.
It’s ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Allowing yourself to learn and grow instead of punishing yourself for being human is better for your long-term success and self-esteem.
In yoga, it’s less about how perfectly you can get it right the first time and more about your gradual progress.
Abiola Akanni’s practice teaches me to be patient and kind to myself, down to how I talk about my body.
In her “slow flow hip opening” routine, she speaks about observing the body without judgment. Not discrediting yourself for being tight in a certain place or having a limited range of motion, but instead making a mental note of your body’s progress and the messages it’s sending to you at the moment.
Yoga By Biola does an excellent job of encouraging people to move in a way “that feels safe” and to not be so caught up in trying to achieve stretches and bends that our bodies aren’t prepared to handle. Abiola is super accommodating and often recommends using additional accessories (i.e., yoga blocks, pillows, books, belts, etc.) in case you need them.
We could all benefit from being more patient with ourselves. Most of the time, we’re our harshest critics and our own worst enemies when really we should be our own best friends!
Be mindful of how kind you are to yourself in moments when things aren’t going right for you. Grant yourself the graciousness you give to other people, and remember to love yourself unconditionally. (Side note: It’s NOT ok to insult yourself. Even in jest. What we speak, we become.)
2. Yoga Taught Me The Power of Consistency
I started doing yoga to improve my flexibility and counter tightness in my hips and groin, a consequence of constantly sitting and not having enough movement in my legs.
At first, I didn’t see the improvement I was looking for, not taking responsibility for my lack of persistence.
When I started taking it seriously, I noticed that the more I kept practicing, the easier the bends and poses became. Each time I was able to lean into it just a little bit further, and before you know it, I was pulling off moves with ease. (Ok, nailing pigeon pose!)
This inspired me to become more consistent in other aspects of my life. Like
My work ethic
My hair and skincare routines
And relationship building.
With yoga, just like anything you strive to achieve, you have to be consistent to see the results. It helps to think of each practice as a stepping stone in your journey versus expecting results immediately.
If you want to see progress with anything, you have to be consistent.
Establish a routine and keep at it. If you commit to the process, you’ll inevitably get better over time. The hardest part is finding the patience.
Just put your energy into achieving the goal, turn a blind eye to the timeline, and the Universe will take care of the rest. T.T.P!
3. Yoga Taught Me To Dedicate Time To Peace and Mindfulness
As someone who lives with anxiety, my peace is often disrupted by my mind’s desire to constantly overthink which can cause me to lose focus and feel overwhelmed. It’s helpful to incorporate a habit that anchors me in the present and cleanses my mind of this noise.
When I’m done doing a flow, I always walk away feeling calm and alert. The state of zen does wonders for my anxiousness and mental clarity.
I even started keeping a journal nearby because sometimes, the increased alertness inspires new thoughts, feelings, and creative ideas.
This very post was inspired during *one of my daily practices.
We always make time for work, friends, and social media, but how many of us dedicate time to our peace?
Take the time to be present, and as a result, you’ll be more relaxed. It’s hard to be chill when you’re constantly distracted.
Sometimes just a few minutes of deep breathing and stretching can be enough to regain your focus and find your tranquility. Considering how much time we willingly forfeit to our obligations, we should be willing to at least spare 20 minutes for our peace of mind.
*Here’s one of my favorites:
4. Yoga Taught Me How To Use Every Part Of My Body
In yoga, some poses require you to isolate specific muscles in the body. When done right, these poses can improve posture, release tension, and increase range of motion. Yoga will have you activating muscles in your body you didn’t know you had or, at the very least, the ones you misuse. For me, that’s my upper body and spine.
I’m guilty of hunching my shoulders and not sitting upright, which can have negative effects on the chest and back. Poses like cat-cow and triangle pose are helpful for that.
Yoga by Biola offers different yoga flows that target specific parts of the body. Her routine for the neck and shoulders will give you the greatest release of tension you’ve ever felt. (Skip that massage you booked, all you need is a chair!)
Each routine challenges me to activate muscles I didn’t realize were weakened (Like my triceps and biceps. hello spaghetti arms!) or carrying stress.(It’s the shoulders and hips for me).
I take each challenge as a moment of self-reflection and check in on parts of my body that could use improvement. I invite you to do the same.
Remember to be kind and patient with yourself and try to follow the instructor’s tips verbatim to prevent injury.
5. Yoga Taught Me That Breathing Is A Thing
If you have ever attended a yoga class, you’ve probably heard the instructor tell you things like “focus on your breath” or “remember to breathe.” Typically they’ll ask you to inhale or exhale deeply depending the intensity of the pose. I’m sure you’ve rolled your eyes at this advice and convinced yourself it doesn’t work. But, really. Breathing is a thing.
I have found that the more I elongate my breath, the more space I make in my body, inviting me to sink into those really ambitious poses. Like the goddess squat, for example.
Turns out there’s a scientific reason why.
According to healthline.com, deep breathing not only helps you increase your pain tolerance but also lowers your chances of injury and helps you relax.
Now when I’m faced with tense situations (a heated argument, a setback, a vigorous exercise), I take a second to breathe, and it makes a huge difference for my threshold of tolerance and pain. I invite you to do the same.
Try this: Instead of short, shallow breaths through your mouth, try deep inhales and exhales through your nostrils which will allow you to breathe deeper.
Bonus perks if you suffer from environmental allergies. (like me!) It has amazing benefits for the sinuses, too. Happy breathing!
6. Yoga Taught Me To Embrace My Femininity
Doing yoga has unlocked new levels of femininity within me. It makes me feel strong and powerful and unleashes my inner Goddess while encouraging me to try moves in a way that makes me feel safe and in control of my body without feeling ashamed or sexualized. (like the opening of my hips, groin, and chest.)
It promotes body positivity, something I know a lot of women struggle with.
*One of the things that impressed me about Yoga by Biola was her take on woman’s sexuality with her Trap Vinyasa Core demo.
I created Trap Vinyasa to help you explore sensuality and begin identifying as a sensual vessel as opposed to a sexualized body
They say a little complaining never hurt, I say complaining never helped anyone. Here’s what you can do, instead.
Recently, I picked up my copy of “The Power of Now,” a book that was recommended to me by my therapist as a tool to help me deal with my anxiousness, stress, and overthinking.
When I arrived at page 82, under the subheading “Wherever You Are, Be There Totally”, author Eckhart Tolle goes deeper into the concept of unconscious thinking.
When asked to provide examples of what unconscious thinking looks like, he starts with the most common form: complaining.
Complaining: A Common Language for the Unhappy
“To complain is always nonacceptance of what is,” he explains, “When you complain, you make yourself into a victim.”
This line received the writer’s stamp of approval, aka a yellow highlighter, and a verbal “YES!”.
I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Tolle.
I hate complaining.
It used to be something I did a lot of, if not to vent my frustrations, definitely as a conversation starter.
It’s a common language that unites the unhappy.
Have you ever noticed how common it is for people to resort to complaining as a coping mechanism?
My problem is not necessarily the actual complaint. It’s how it starts and ends there.
Very few people seek solutions to the problems that are constantly on their lips; it’s as if they find comfort in the unhappiness.
I’m a firm believer that complaining is pointless. Sure, it may feel good at the moment, especially when others can relate, but aside from the temporary release of your pain, how else is it beneficial?
It would be more helpful to turn the complaints into a moment of self-reflection.
Time for Self-Reflection
Pay attention to the things you often complain about. It is your mind trying to tell you something: you’re unhappy.
You’re not happy with the job you’re doing, the person you’re dating, or the apartment you live in.
You’re not happy with the way you look, the amount of money you have, or the way you’re being treated.
You’re not happy with the direction your life is headed. That much is clear. But, after a while, we have to take responsibility and have ownership over our lives because anything else makes us a victim, and we are not victims.
You are in control of your life, your mind, and your emotions.
You do get to control your narrative and the direction your life is headed.
It’s easy to give up the power and play the victim. This way, we don’t have to deal with accountability. But there’s freedom in owning your life. There’s power in responsibility.
The real question is, what do you plan to do with your power?
The Only Two Options There Are
When faced with an unhappy circumstance, as humans, we are left with two choices: accept it or take action.
By making the conscious (or unconscious) decision to do nothing, you are left in a mental limbo. This is where your pain comes from.
The pain is rooted in the inactivity and continuing to leave your unhappiness unaddressed.
Try this: when complaints come up, try asking yourself, “what can I do about it?”.
If there are solutions and steps that can be taken, map them out and execute them but start right away. Sitting idly on these steps just puts you back to square one.
If the situation is beyond your control and nothing can be done to make it better, you have to accept it.
The path of acceptance is not an easy one, it will take practice and lots of mental strength. But the latter option is no better or healthier.
The opposite of acceptance is denial, and that denial is what is feeding your pain.
I’m not saying that no one cares about your feelings or to keep them to yourself; we all get down about something. What I’m suggesting is that instead of sitting in these feelings and resorting to complaining to resolve them, which could potentially snowball into bigger problems (such as declining mental health), you should instead seek solutions and ways to help yourself because you are stronger than you give yourself credit for 🙂
So the next time a complaint comes up, what do you intend to do about it?
Are you going to step up, take ownership, and find a way to improve your life and strengthen your mind?
Or will you continue to standby and be a victim of your circumstances?
The choice is yours.
*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^
Being an independent artist is one of the most soul-fulfilling careers you can ever have. After all, who doesn’t want to get paid to pursue their passions?
Although the market is saturated with millions of talented artists who are all working toward the same goal of making their dreams come true, the reality is that most people will drop out of the rat race before they ever see success.
It’s not because they’re not worthy or for lack of trying, it’s because along the way they lose sight of the two things that are absolutely necessary to achieve their goals : motivation and discipline.
I came to this realization on my own path. Less than a year ago, I decided to become a writer full-time and I never looked back.
I refused to go back to the mundane life of working a 9-5 and I’ve been on my own ever since–just me, my computer, my determination, and my endless collection of composition notebooks and notepads.
I thought it was all I needed to get by but I often found myself staring at a blinking cursor and an empty screen as if I could somehow will the work into existence.
I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. The passion was there but try as I might I still found myself falling victim to bad habits, distractions, and inconsistent behavior.
To put a stop to this madness (and to get my life together) I did what all millennials do in times of crisis, I turned to the internet.
You will never always be motivated, so you must learn to be disciplined
The discovery of this was one of the most profound moments of my adult life and writing career.
I found myself wondering:
“Is it discipline that I lack? or motivation?”
“What’s the difference?”
“Can you have one without the other?”
And last but not least “Which of these do I need more of to achieve my goals?”
After months of rummaging through articles and picking the brains of industry professionals, here’s what I learned about motivation and discipline.
How Motivation Works
You can be motivated in one of two ways: intrinsically and extrinsically.
Intrinsic motivation is a motivation that has no intentional ties to a reward or incentive, the sole purpose of you doing it is because of a passion or a strong willingness to do.
Take me writing this for example. I didn’t write this for critical acclaim, fame, or money. I wanted to write this post because I have a desire to help people. I like the idea of using my words and personal experiences to inspire others.
For you, it may look like:
Joining a dance class because you love expressing yourself through dance
Climbing a mountain because of the thrill or sense of accomplishment
Starting your own business because you want to be your own boss
If the ties to your reason why are personal, or psychological, it’s considered intrinsic motivation.
Research suggests that intrinsic motivation is more powerful than its extrinsic counterpart. According to psychologytoday.com, Intrinsic motivation is more effective because “it is integrated into identity and serves as a continuous source of motivation.”
Basically, it hits different when you inspire you.
“It hits different when YOU inspire you”-Kaillaby”
Extrinsic motivation is a motivation that’s related to an incentive or reward. This could be anything from money, praise, or attention.
I definitely have extrinsic motivations, money is the first that comes to mind. I became an entrepreneur because I wanted to live a certain lifestyle and generate a level of income I know I wouldn’t have been afforded working at my office job.
For you, it may look like:
Cleaning the house to avoid complaints or nagging from your spouse.
Getting all A’s on your report card for the praise or high status.
Going to work because you need the money.
Giving a good performance at work out of fear of being reprimanded by your boss.
If something or someone else is your reason why then it’s considered extrinsic motivation. Although extrinsic motivation has its benefits (after all, who doesn’t want to be rewarded?) it can be risky if the reward loses its luster. Once you’re no longer impressed by the bribery, you’ll lose your momentum.
It’s important to note that regardless of whether the inspiration is internal or external, for a payout or personal satisfaction, it’s always best to lead with positive reinforcement.
Inspiring through fear (like threats or punishment) or negativity (demeaning or insulting) won’t get you as far. You end up causing more psychological harm than good and it could end up backfiring.
Ruling with fear or scare tactics may be effective in the short term, but that fear will eventually grow to resentment. Once the fear is gone, *poof* there goes the motivation.
Discipline requires willpower– it takes mental prowess and structured behavior.
Think of it as the following formula:
Your work ethic x your routine + consistency = discipline.
When it comes to discipline, it’s all about commitment.
Commit. Commit. Commit. Commit.
It’s not enough to come up with a plan, you have to stick to it to achieve your goals, something I didn’t realize was preventing me from achieving success.
Take my skincare journey for example.
I suffer from acne and hyperpigmentation.
I found a skincare system called Curology that I was convinced to try after viewing their ads and reading their testimonials online.
When I first tried it, I thought it wasn’t working because after a few weeks I wasn’t seeing much of an improvement in my skin. My impatience almost persuaded me to quit and try something else.
Instead, I reached out to one of their skincare professionals and asked them when I should expect to see significant results. Turns out, I wasn’t committing long enough. They told me it could take up to 6 months to see the results I was looking for.
The conversation motivated me to give it another shot. I stuck around, committed to the recommended routine, and low and behold: I’ve been seeing better results!
A lot of people underestimate how much commitment is required to achieve their goals, this can be said for anything from losing weight, to gaining fortune and fame to eliminating debt.
The internet age has us addicted to instant gratification and everyone wants to see results right away but, the reality is, you may not see any results at all for months. Maybe even years, depending on what your goal is. I know my impatience tends to be MY downfall.
It’s important not to be deterred just because you don’t get what you’re after right away.
Before you admit defeat, ask yourself:
Are you being consistent?
Have you created a routine and stuck to it?
If the answer’s yes and you feel like you’ve hit a wall or a plateaued:
Are you working around it?
Are you coming up with new, inventive strategies?
Use your motivations to keep your eye on the prize and continue building on your discipline until you get to where you’re going. Sure, it’s easier said than done but stunting your process will result in prolonged success.
What’s the difference?
When it comes to accomplishing a goal, think of motivation as the why and discipline as the how.
What separates motivation from discipline is action.
Motivation is what brought you to this post. Discipline is what will put these words into practice.
Although motivation will give you the wind beneath your wings, it is the discipline that will propel you forward.
Another difference is motivation doesn’t have to be consistent, it can be sporadic and can strike at any moment like lightning in a bottle but discipline will require commitment and consistency.
After all, the entire basis of discipline is rule and order.
Motivation is the energy you need to achieve your goal but discipline is the strategy that you’ll need to take to get there.
Can You Have One Without The Other?
It is possible to be motivated without being disciplined.
Who else is guilty of just sitting on a load of passion with no direction or plan to execute it?
You can also be disciplined without being motivated by just living your life according to rules and structure but lacking the drive or passion behind it.
Having one without the other is counterproductive to success.
If you want to achieve a goal, you’ll need to find a balance of both.
Which Of These Do I Need More Of To Achieve My Goals?
Although having both is best, in my research I’ve found that you’ll get nowhere without motivation.
I spoke with Mrs. Ivelisse Villalona, MSW a social worker in the NYC D.O.E who had this to say about the significance of motivation
“Professionally, when I work with kids, for example, it’s difficult to work on changing their behaviors if it’s not something they are motivated to do. So I can talk to them about making better decisions but if it’s not something that’s internal, like if the motivation is not there to make those good decisions, what I’m saying is it’s not going to work.” She continued “You can be disciplined but not necessarily reach your goal unless you have the motivation to do so. So unless the motivation is there, no one can-I feel in my professional opinion and personal, no one can influence your desire, your will to do something.”
Ivelisse Villalona, MSW
Even if you have the structure and plan you need, if you’re not motivated to stay on track there will be no movement.
The Bottom Line
If you’re having trouble reaching your goals, I recommend doing some self-reflection.
Therapist Jenny (Jinhee) Lee, LCAT, ATR-BC agrees! She recommends “finding a greater purpose to the goal and meditating on the purpose daily for reminder of what the work in one’s motivation is for. Having a greater purpose outside of the self can help motivate oneself to get through the process.”
After months of seeking, I got my answer: what I was missing was discipline.
Now, I’m fine-tuning my routine every day and I’m happy to say I’ve been finding success! But, I won’t stop here. I’ll keep using my passions and aspirations to feed my commitment and build on my routine until I reach my finish line. Cue Keni Burker’s ‘Risin’ To The Top’.
*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^