Check out what I’ve been checkin’ out this week.
With the popularity of social media, it is easy to get caught up in how you present yourself on the outside. It’s easy to make life look perfect when you slap a filter on it. And it is easy to compare yourself with others and forget that everything projected on social media is only a projection of what people want you to see. So rather than worrying about how you’re life looks on the outside, spend that time productively focusing on what truly makes you happy.
While there are many superficial aspects surrounding Instagram and social media, both are powerful ways to reach an enormous audience and spread awareness. I’ve gathered a cornucopia of accounts that are currently inspiring me. What I love about all of these accounts is that they don’t just present you with problems, but rather solutions and an outlet to get involved. They spread awareness in a positive and unique way. Check em’ out, stir up some awareness, donate if/when possible, and get ready to get inspired.
National Geographic (@natgeo): “Life is an adventure—enjoy the ride and the world through the eyes of the National Geographic photographers.”
I learn something new about world cultures, animals, and the environment every day from the National Geographic Instagram feed. It brings attention to environmental causes, human rights issues, and endangered species while posting breathtaking images from remote locations around the world. But this feed not only spreads awareness to global issues, but also shows you what people and charities are doing to solve these problems.
Charity Water (@charitywater): “We’re bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in need around the world.”
Of all the charity Instagram’s I’ve checked out, Charity water is my favorite. Charity Water brings clean, safe drinking water to people around the world. Their Instagram does a great job of showing their incredible impact while also teaching you about the importance of clean water access. Their feed shows how your donations directly impact people’s lives.
If you don’t think this account is adorable, then I question whether or not you have a soul. Cute animals, funny captions, what more does an Instagram account need? The feed is also peppered with tips on how you can do your part to support their mission to protect wildlife and enjoy the great outdoors.
Humans of New York (@humansofny): “New York City, one story at a time.”
On this account, photographer Brandon Stanton captures photos of people on the streets of New York and asks them questions about themselves to generate a caption for the photo. Whether the stories are happy, sad, funny, or inspirational, it generates a sense of community and support that reminds you of the good in the world.
Although most pictures are taken in New York, Stanton’s recent trip to Pakistan has helped raised over $2 million for an activist who is trying to end slavery in the brick making industry. This is an issue prior to HONY, I knew nothing about. Check out this article to learn more about how HONY changes lives.
Happsters (@happsters): “to create, dream & spread happiness. Science of Happiness graduate.”
Need a pick me up? Check out the Happsters. This account is committed to spreading happiness, which is surely a worthwhile cause. This account posts inspirational quotes daily. I like to screenshot my favorites and save them for a rainy day. If you like my Monday Motivation posts, then this account will be right up your alley.
What inspiring accounts do you follow on Instagram? I love hearing about what inspires others so feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments section below.
Because Mondays are hard and sometimes we need a little inspiration…
Big life goals can be overwhelming. There is no question about it. But rather than trying to tackle everything in one day, avoid getting discouraged by breaking your goals into manageable tasks. Some days may be more productive than others, but if you do something,big or small, for yourself, then the day is a success.
You may have noticed I was completely MIA for the first week or so in July (and if you didn’t notice maybe you should pay a wee bit more attention to my blog *wink wink*). Well, guess what? I was in Ireland (and subsequently recovering from jet lag)! My friend and I drove around Ireland for a week and stopped at Dublin, Galway and Cork. We saw gorgeous green landscapes, explored castles, and ate one too many potatoes.
Last year when I went to Iceland, I wrote a post about Icelanders’ socially conscious efforts. When I went to Ireland I was equally inspired by their environmental effort. Here are some of Ireland’s green initiative:
Public bike rentals were introduced to Dublin in 2009 and since there has been a big push to encourage riding bikes. Last year there was a 14% jump in the number of cyclist in Dublin. In the coming years Dublin hopes to continue to increase bikes use and further reduce their carbon footprint. And while Dublin is no Amsterdam or Copenhagen, one day it could be.
Now to a U.S citizen, bikers in Ireland seem nuts. These bikers are literally risking their lives for the environment. With the combination of narrow roads and fast drivers, willingly biking on the street seemed downright crazy to a foreign tourist. In the US people slow down and go around bikers. Even if they’re riding on the shoulder, we normally make an effort to avoid them. Not the case is Ireland! Bikers are given about 3 inches of space and no courtesy slow down. I can imagine that almost getting hit is just a regular old day over there. In the name of the environment I guess?
One of the more surprising Irish eco-friendly initiative were the ATMs. After you take out money the ATM makes you think long and hard about whether or not you really need a receipt. Apparently receipt litter became a big enough problem that in 2007 a protocol was developed to reduce the amount of ATM receipts that ended up on streets and sidewalks. The protocol includes:
- receipts are only available when customers request one
- an on screen message helps create awareness of receipts’ environmental impact
- under each ATM there is a trashcan to throw unwanted receipts in
It may seem like a small step, but I’ll admit I didn’t see any receipts on the street.
It is Ireland’s goal to generate 40% of its electricity from renewable resources by 2020. In 2013 47% of Ireland’s renewable energy came from wind. The biggest issue that surrounds wind turbines is the impact they have on the visual landscape and consequently tourism. Although I thought it was cool to see the turbines, I can understand the concern.While it may not be feasible to power the entire island with wind, it’s a step in the right direction. So whether or not more wind turbines pop up, Ireland is committed to decreasing their carbon footprint.
A little over a year ago I started doing yoga. Since starting my journey with yoga I have noticed many of the physical benefits, but also some of the mental ones. Yoga was my first introduction to mindfulness and meditation. I began to find there were times when I craved that peaceful, clear mind, everything is good in the world feeling you get after yoga. So I made it my new year’s resolution this year to meditate more often hoping to bring that post shavasana feeling to my daily life. I read numerous articles about the health benefits of meditation, but I quickly realized that sitting and doing nothing was a little harder than I originally thought…
I began trying different variations. Guided meditations have been a great introduction to the practice. The guides give you a focus and help me concentrate on the present moment rather than what I want to eat for lunch tomorrow, why didn’t my boss respond to my email, will I have time to work out later, what was the name of that book I wanted to read, or is that new crossbody bag I’ve been ogling is worth the $$$… You know, the “important” stuff. While my meditation practice has improved from constant fidgeting to being able to sit still for five minutes, I’ve looked for other techniques to broaden my experience. I read about using mala beads for meditation and was immediately intrigued by the idea. It felt like the right step between a guided meditation and sitting in silence. Mala beads, which are very similar to prayer beads, help you keep count of mantra repetitions. There are 108 beads on every mala and you repeat your mantra once for every bead. There are many different beliefs that explain the importance of the number 108. Here are a few:
- 108 multiplied by the diameter of the sun equals the distance between the earth and sun and the same thing goes for the Earth’s relationship with the moon (mind.blown.)
- 108 is said to refer to the number of Hindu deities
- 108 is the number of energy lines converging to form the heart chakra
If you’d like to learn more about 108, click here. The biggest challenge I’ve come across while using mala beads instead of guided meditations is that in a guided meditation you are given a point of focus or mantra and while using mala beads you have to come up with your own. A mantra is a word or sentence that is repeated during meditation. Often times a mantra focuses on an intention. Picking a mantra is a very personal choice. I’m still playing around and finding what works for me. I’ve even gone as far as using hakuna matata – it does mean no worries. But finding the perfect mantra isn’t something you should worry about. That pretty much defeats the purpose. For starters you can check out this list, Google mantra inspiration, or simply use “Om”. Once I decided I wanted to incorporate mala beads into my practice, the first step was to find the perfect mala. I knew I wanted to find one that was meaningful and could serve as a reminder of my intentions. I ended up buying one from Blooming Lotus Jewelry for a variety of reason. I will admit that these pieces are on the pricey side, but I justified the price knowing that I would have and use it for many years to come. There was also an inner force in me saying, “Annie you paid this much money, now you better use it!”.
I liked that the products are hand made out of high quality materials. I also love that each set has a special meaning and the sales give back to charity. 5% of every sale goes to support the Kid for Cancer to help children who are battling cancer. Also, keep an eye out in October for limited edition breast cancer awareness bracelets that donate a portion of the sales to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
I decided to buy the free spirit necklace from the wanderlust and adventure collection, which is made up of the following:
- Amazonite= helps to develop intuition and communication; emits soothing energy to help diminish worry, fear and anger; helps to balance mood
- Onyx= balances, grounds and absorbs negativity while letting through positive vibrations; increases concentration, stimulates thinking and logic and encourages better decision making
- Aquamarine= a vital tool in cleansing and clearing the water element (symbol of our emotions and feelings); clears away toxicity and brings inner peace; maintains a connection between the heart and throat chakra so you can speak your heart
- Sandalwood= promotes humility and its scent (which is amazing!) is believed to aid alertness during meditation
I feel in love with the meaning of each stone in this set. Wearing my mala as a necklace also serves as a reminder of my intentions. Everyone will be drawn to different types of stones depending on your desired intention. Meditating with mantras and mala beads is only one of many ways to practice. Besides using mantras you could focus on breath, music, an object, or mental visualization. And there really is no right or wrong way to meditate. What technique works the best for you?