Do We All Need To Be More Extrovert?

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Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Since the dawn of time, or at least since the psychologist Carl Jung created the two camps in the 1920s, you’ve either been one or the other. Extroverts are typically deemed as outgoing and very sociable, while introverts are seen as shy and reticent. The former are often touted as more successful and the ‘better’ camp. A new study revealed last week added weight to this assumption.  Read More…

How To Create Wellness Rituals Using The Five Elements

four symbolic semi circular image of the elements of earth, water, air and fire

When we hear the word nature, our minds usually revert to the classic green scenes of parks, gardens and abundant forests. If our minds are in a particularly expansive place, we might introduce mental images of the beach, ocean and perhaps a little memory detour of a recent trip to a garden centre.

We rarely think of nature as the elements of earth, air, fire and water, but they serve as such a powerful way to reconnect to nature. Stemming from ancient Greece, Ayurvedic teachings, spiritual schools of thought and nature-based practices such as Wicca and Neo-Paganism — all of which extol the benefits of incorporating these elements into our daily lives as tools to optimise our health and wellbeing. It’s not only the zodiac signs that are grouped into the four elements, but also tarot cards, herbs, crystals and colours.

There is a plethora of Instagram accounts dedicated to plants, while crystals are infiltrating the high street and more yoga classes seem to be held in local parks than in actual studios. We’re all trying to reconnect and embrace nature – and you don’t need to hug a tree to do it.  If you’re ready to reacquaint yourself and reap the benefits of unplugging, here’s your cheat sheet for adding the elements to your self-care, wellness rituals and physical space.

Earth

From the soil under our feet to rocks, trees, seeds and everything in between, earth provides us with our foundation. It’s a life source and represents the emotions we have that tie into our need for support and stability. Utilising this element is really great for keeping you grounded when life throws you off balance. It’s also helpful for the times when you’re stressed about money and material goods and need to regain a sense of calm and security.

To connect with this element, you can head to your local garden centre, walk around your house barefoot and go for long walks and picnics in the park. You can also represent earth around your home with crystals such as hematite, diffusing vetiver and patchouli essential oils and having a mini bowl of natural salt on your coffee table.

Air

It only takes a moment to look up at the sky, hear the wings of a bird flapping and feel the strength of a gust of wind as it turns your umbrella inside out, to understand that air is all around us. Associated with our mental landscape and communication, it’s an ever-changing and oxygen-containing force of nature.

Working with this element is a key component in your wellness practice as its both restorative and cleansing. The obvious and easiest way to connect to the air is via your breath. Take a quick breathing break in the day for an energy boost and to detox your mind when you’re overthinking. You can simply focus on each in and out breath or follow a breathing pattern of inhaling for three counts, holding for three and exhaling for three. To represent this element in your self-care rituals, you can do a smoke cleanse to clear out any stagnant or unwanted energies with bundles of herbs such as rosemary, thyme or mugwort and allow the smoke to pass through your space.

Fire

If you’ve ever stared at a flame for long enough, you’ll know how intoxicating fire can be. It comes in equal measures of transformation as it allows us to cook and feed ourselves to the danger that it brings with it. It’s an element that needs to be treated with reverence. If you’re a fire sign (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) you’ll know that there’s an intense passion and creative energy associated with fire. It’s governed by the sun and is associated with alchemy and strength.

A scented candle can change the mood of a space in an instant and you can take your nightly candle routine to the next level by spending some time gazing at the candle flame. Protect your eyes by softly focusing at the base of the flame, spending a few minutes here to feel a sense of peace and calm. It’s a great way to meditate if you find it hard focusing on your breath alone. Bring your loved ones into the ritual with a late night bonfire where you can spend some time writing out what you want to release and let go of and burn the papers together. There’s also non-fire related ways to bring some fiery magic into your life. Carry red jasper, garnet or carnelian crystals for when you need a dose of energy and motivation.

Water

Forget the aisles filled with every variety of mineral, filtered, spring and sparkling water that we have at our disposable, and let’s go back to basics. We simply can’t survive without it and on an energetic level, water corresponds to our emotional landscape, the moon, our intuition and dreams. It’s at once calming and soothing, but there’s also a sense of release when we cry and feeling of power in the rain, storms and its ability to put out fires.

The wonderful thing about this element, is that it’s so easy to add in to your everyday routines. Indulge in a ritual bath and pay attention to how the water feels on your skin and fill the tub with your favourite bath salts, oils and dried flowers. Of course, swimming and taking a soak in the ocean is a preferable option but your local pool is also a great way to utilise this element if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need to self-soothe. Another way to turn water into a ritual is by going all-out on your next cup of tea and doing a herbal tea meditation. From the moment you boil the kettle to the very last sip, just take your time and treat it like a mindfulness practice. Notice the sound that the kettle makes as it boils, savour every sip of tea, paying attention to how it tastes, the temperature and how it makes you feel.

Spirit

The bonus fifth element is everything that we’re made of and everything that’s around us, we’re all energy and we’re all connected, so as great as all these tools are, you’re the one who brings the magic. To give all of these elemental rituals a bit of a super-boost, deepen the relationship you have with yourself first. Take the time to add some stillness into your daily life by closing your eyes so you can open up your third eye (the centre of intuition and insight), even if you only have five minutes. Tune into your intuition by regularly checking in with your mind and body before making decisions. Do you get the same filter coffee every morning? Check in and ask if that’s actually what your body wants and trust your gut to guide you. Whether you’re working with crystals or doing a smoke cleanse, you need to set an intention first as that’s where the real power and benefits come from.

Giselle La Pompe-Moore is the founder of Project Ajna and offers one-to-one healing sessions that are rooted in spirituality, mysticism, wellness and self-care.

The Importance Of Community

words from a puzzle game spelling words have power on yellow background

There are not enough superlatives to describe the powerhouse that is Lydia Fenet: by day, global director of strategic partnerships at Christie’s New York and a leading benefit auctioneer who has raised over half a billion dollars for over 400 non-profits around the world by night. She is also a mother to three children and has done a great service to womankind by writing her first book, the Most Powerful Woman in the Room is You. I had the pleasure of interviewing Lydia recently about her book for the inaugural in-conversation of Jimmy Choo’s “in my Choos”, which is at once a manual filled with time hacks as it is an exploration of deeper life lessons.

There are many subjects that Lydia tackles which made me sit up and take note. Subjects which will encourage you to lead richer lives – and I mean that both in a literal and metaphorical sense- including how to fight for what you deserve (specifically, being financially responsible and how best to negotiate a salary increase) and why we all need to embrace failure.

But there was one topic that really struck a chord. It was the reminder that there is nothing as powerful as a community. Lydia explained how she harnessed her community, namely the audience at one of her paddle raises in order to smash her target. How by harnessing our community, we can all scale unimaginable heights we could never hope to reach on our own.

We all know it takes a village. Instagram loves to remind us of that. But have you really thought about how important your community is? We no longer lean on the communal benefits of the past – traditional ties to family and birthplace which provide natural, lifelong connections. In 2019 our communities have, to a certain extent replaced our families.

What’s the key to happiness? It’s a question that we have been asking (and trying to answer) for thousands of years. Studies at Harvard and the London School of Economics have consistently identified that happiness is achieved through rich social bonds. It’s where I borrow Gill’s podium and bang on about life being about people and not stuff.

When people enjoy deep, meaningful relationships with other people in their community, it enhances their overall happiness, and allows them to collaborate with and support others to achieve more than any one person could ever achieve alone.

Shared experiences are a very powerful way to build relationships between very different people. And hurdling the most challenging or difficult experiences together is an incredibly powerful thing.

A community bolsters us, it is within our community that we find our strength. That strength of community runs deep, like the bridge between the world and ourselves. Without a community, it is hard –impossible even – to share our enthusiasm, our passion, our experiences, our wisdom. Our community is the ultra support system that carries us through challenging times or when we’re losing steam and motivation. It means we don’t ever have to stand alone.

It can be lonely at the top, in work as well as in life. While most entrepreneurs dream of a market all to themselves, research (and my gut) suggests that you are better off in company.

There are many benefits that competition brings to similar businesses within an industry, not least the most obvious one, which is that it keeps you on your toes, always encouraging you to move forward and to not stand still. “If nobody is competing in your space, there’s a good chance that your market is too small. Any good idea has 10,000 people working at it, “says the angel investor, Ben Yokowwitz. It’s another way of legitimising what you are doing.

It takes some confidence (yet is good business practice) to thrive in a market place filled with successful others. Confidence is also required to be obsessively focused on your competitor whilst apparently ignoring them. That is, identifying your rivals, understanding their success, their shortcomings while not reacting to every move they make. The ideal community is made of like-minded people who share the same goals.

As Lydia explains, a truly powerful woman doesn’t thrive by putting other people down; she does it by lifting people up, and benefits from that as much as driving herself to live to her fullest potential.

She is someone who leads by example and shows those around her that there is strength in numbers, in those who choose to lift others up to lead with her. It is a woman who sets a goal, articulates that goal and follows through, who understands that leadership is about the human connection, about inspiring and connecting not only by herself but encouraging other people to do it well.

There will always be some who can’t handle your success, but frankly you don’t need them to believe in you. Decide that your plane is going to be filled with other people you have motivated and inspired along the way – the community of people you have surrounded yourself with and spent time building and cultivating.  In Lydia’s books, Dee Poku, founder and CEO of Women Inspiration and Enterprise implores us to remember that when one woman rises, we all do.

And so, I leave you with Lydia’s very sage words: “The most powerful woman in the room doesn’t do it alone; she doesn’t want to do it alone. She wants everyone to succeed as much as she wants to succeed. Strength in numbers. Power in numbers. But most importantly, power in leadership.

Meditation Might Not Be As Good For You As You Think

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Almost every self-proclaimed wellness guru advocates the power of meditation. Shutting your mind off and focusing on a single object is thought to help re-centre your mind, body and soul. Meditation has been championed for its de-stressing and sleep-inducing powers and plenty of people will say it’s fundamental to them balancing busy schedules and unexpected catastrophes that modern life throws at them on a daily basis. Read More…

Total Wellbeing: The Term You’ll Be Hearing About A Lot In 2019

total wellbeing

There were whisperings of self-care throughout 2017, but it wasn’t until this year that the term really came into its own. Over the past few months brands, magazines and influencers have all tapped into the theme. It has its own dedicated week in November and a quick scroll of Instagram on a Sunday reveals that it even has its own hashtag, #sundayselfcare.  

But, what does self-care actually mean? Well, essentially it’s anything that encourages you to spend some quality time with yourself and leaves you feeling good, including taking a bath, putting on a face mask or reading your book, you name it. The NHS defines it clearly as ‘keeping fit and healthy, understanding when you can look after yourself, when a pharmacist can help, and when to get advice from your GP or another health professional.’

According to Mintel’s latest report, as we progress into next year self-care will evolve into ‘total wellbeing’. The report states, ‘Consumers are treating their bodies like an ecosystem and seeking solutions that complement their personal health and evolving needs.’ From the moisturisers we slather on to the sprays we use to clean our houses and the cars we choose to drive, total wellbeing spans across all aspects of our life.

“Consumers are looking externally to their surroundings and internally towards their physical and mental wellbeing, expecting holistic approaches to wellness,” says Gabrielle Lieberman, Director of Trends & Social Media Research Americas. “Developments in health monitoring, such as skin sensors or ingestible capsules, will satisfy consumers’ demand for this personalised approach, while also building on scientific research in these emerging fields.”

In terms of skincare it’s likely that you’ll be hearing a lot more about probiotics and the many benefits good bacteria can have on our complexions. Of course, pre- and probiotic skincare isn’t new. In fact, good bacteria has been used in formulations for a while, but up until now it hasn’t been highlighted. Brands such as Aurelia Probiotic Skincare have been championing ‘biotic’ ingredients and the bestselling Botanical Cream Deodorant is testimony to its efficacy.

When it comes to supplements, it’s likely that future formulations will be developed in spray form as this is the best way for the body to absorb most nutrients. And, it’s likely that our supplements will be tailored to our specific needs. Although, this won’t necessarily happen next year, you can expect to read a lot more about the importance of monitoring your vitamin and mineral levels as part of the total wellbeing approach. If you’re baffled by which supplements you should be taking, it is worth reading Shabir’s Essential 6 For Optimal Health.