Burnout and anxiety is a common diagnosis in today's fast-paced, technologically-driven society. Between working your day job, running your start-up business, maintaining your relationships, and thriving amid a pandemic, there's very little "you" time left, which can cascade into a slew of issues that affect your psychological equilibrium. Obsessing over your long ass to-do list, while avoiding said to-do list to scroll through Twitter for seven hours a day, can easily lead to you feeling overwhelmed and mentally scattered.
It's only a matter of time before your psychological distress shows physical symptoms through changes in your appetite, sleep patterns, and your overall mood. The digital age, as beneficial as it can be, has the potential to be just as detrimental to our wellness. And although technology and our to-do list isn't going anywhere, it's important that we learn some proactive methods that help us prioritize our psychological health which, for many of us, begins with mindfulness.
When most people think of the word "mindfulness" they likely picture someone sitting Indian-style in the middle of a forest chanting mantras until they experience some mystical, life-altering experience that grants them access to the wisdom of the cosmos. Although this is a perfectly valid approach to mindfulness, it's not necessarily practical for everyone. There's a common misconception that mindfulness and meditation practices only consist of stillness, breath-work, and silence. However, it's important that we broaden our idea of this practice, which is ultimately about being more present in our day-to-day experiences to nurture our optimal wellness in mind, body, and spirit. Check out the best mindfulness practice for your zodiac sign:
As one of the most active signs of the zodiac, meditating in a quiet room may not be the most engaging method of mindfulness for you. Action and excitement is what you thrive on and many Aries are known to be naturally-gifted athletes, thanks to their ruling planet Mars. Anyone influenced by the energetic ram is more likely to enjoy active meditations, versus those that require stillness, to release all of that excess energy in a more healthy way that doesn't result in your typical crash and burn.
Prioritizing a regular exercise routine can be just what you need to improve your sense of presence. Sign up for that kickboxing class or join a team sport that allows your inner Amazon Goddess free reign to release pent up frustration while increasing your ability to focus on what's right in front of you.
If anyone is into kicking back and opting for more stationary mindfulness practices, it would be you. Physiologically, Taurus is associated with the throat, neck, and thyroid. Integrating chants into your meditation can help you maintain balance in mind, body, and spirit. Transcendental meditation is an approach in which word, sound, and phrases—known as mantras—are repeated for twenty minutes, twice a day.
You can freestyle with this method by simply tuning into your heart to connect with a mantra that works for you or you can write a list prior to meditating that you can read. Our words are powerful and carry a vibration within their own. You're encouraged to tap into the power of spoken word to bring more clarity, peace, and balance into your life.
One of the zodiac signs that can benefit the most from mindfulness is you, Gemmie. Your ruling planet, Mercury, is associated with the mind and our thoughts. This, along with your mutable nature, can easily lead to you feeling anxious and scattered. Given your naturally inquisitive nature, you're prone to experiencing sensory overload, thanks to your excessive thirst for knowledge. Not only is Mercury associated with your thoughts but with your communication as well, particularly related to writing.
Automatic writing can be the perfect technique for you to tap into higher states of consciousness and deeper levels of serenity. You can engage with this practice by simply going into a quiet space and setting the intention for what you'd like to gain from your session, whether it be guidance regarding an important life decision or inspiration for your next work of art.
As one of the most empathic signs of the zodiac, it's important that you keep your aura and heart clear of discordant energies that you can pick up via your daily interactions. You are known as the caregiver of the zodiac but your giving nature can result in you running yourself ragged for the sake of appeasing others. If you're not careful with balancing your energy, you can wind up resenting the people who aren't grateful or capable of reciprocating your efforts.
With that being said, Loving-Kindness (or Metta) meditation is used to develop an attitude of love and kindness toward everything—yes, that includes your hyper-critical mother-in-law. Start by taking a few deep breaths and envision yourself inhaling compassion into your heart space. Once you're relaxed enough, direct that energy within your heart to someone who needs it or even to the world as a whole. Repeat this mediation regularly to dissolve any bitterness and grief that keeps a wall up between you and others.
As the superstar of the zodiac, and the center of the Universe, it's important that you stay charged up so you can continue your quest in taking over the world in your bold, enlivened approach. Your warmth and vitality often makes you a magnet for all kinds of people, making you one of the most popular signs of the zodiac. Although others can regularly benefit from the light that you shine into their lives, it's important that you take time to replenish your vibes for your overall well-being.
Qigong, meaning "life energy cultivation", is a Chinese mindfulness approach that incorporates breathing exercises and slow body movements based on martial arts. There are thousands of Qigong exercises involving numerous kinds of breathing techniques that can energize the body while cultivating the mind and spirit to experience more peace and flow in your life.
If anyone can use a solid mindfulness practice, it's your Mercury-ruled, analytical ass. We get it, Virgo. You've got the vision, the execution plan, and all of the people that will play a role in your level up. A lot of your time is spent organizing and planning for the future that you can experience intense bouts of anxiety when you're in workaholic mode. With so many ideas swirling around in your head, it's important that you have a place to record them.
Sticky notes are your best friend providing you with a sense of comfort when you deviate from your regularly scheduled program to carve out some time for yourself. Walking meditation is the perfect mindfulness technique to get you out of the office and into nature. Something as simple as taking a 15-minute walk every day can help clear your mind, settle unhinged emotions, and loosen tension in your body to experience a greater sense of serenity and stability.
As an air sign, you're naturally inclined to live in your mind, and with you being represented by the scales, you've got a tendency to play mental ping pong due to your diplomatic nature. Your ability to see both sides of a situation can be beneficial but sometimes it can be equally overwhelming when it's time to make an important decision. When it comes to your meditation practice, it can seem impossible to quiet the incessant chatter of your mind to receive clear guidance that can help you navigate your life with more trust and flow.
Guided meditation is a great option for shifting your focus from meeting the gazillion deadlines in your planner to grounding yourself in the present moment to experience the calm and clarity that comes from practicing mindfulness. Next time you're feeling on edge, check out YouTube for a guided meditation to bring you back to center.
Life is already hectic enough attempting to balance your daily demands on top of you being one of the most empathic signs of the zodiac. Your heightened sensitivity and psychic awareness makes you a magnet for all kinds of energies. Think of yourself like a sponge. As one of the more emotionally-centered signs, you run the risk of absorbing other people's feelings, which can have a negative impact on your health and well-being. Developing a sense of mindfulness about your energy, and those that you come into contact with, can help you determine the difference between what's energetically yours and what's not.
Try a simple candle gazing meditation to not only help you recenter yourself but to also cleanse any negative vibes you've been picking up. If possible, opt for a white candle as it represents purification. As you gaze into the flame, imagine yourself being cleansed of any heavy energies or simply allow yourself to be completely consumed by the dance of the flame.
Given your mutable, on-the-go energy, an active mediation would serve you best in developing more mindfulness. Physiologically, your zodiac sign is associated with the lower half of the body, particularly the hips and thighs.
Dancing is the perfect meditation for you to recenter your sporadic energy while also releasing the endorphins you need to remain your usual optimistic, joyful self. There's no coincidence that dancing is associated with the Sacral chakra. This particular chakra also governs how you process emotions, making dance an extremely cathartic, transcendental experience for you. Whenever life gets too stressful or heavy, turn on your fav playlist and let loose. Fully being lost in the moment is exactly what mindfulness is all about.
There's a lot of pressure being the boss and your goal-oriented approach to life can leave little time to reconnect with your zen. Your ruling planet Saturn can make you rigid when it comes to the structures in place in your life, making it important to develop a little more flexibility. Aches and pain resulting from stress is even more common for you as an Earth sign, emphasizing the importance of physical activity that can ease the tension in your body.
Yoga has been practiced for many centuries and has been proven to reduce pain, depression, and anxiety. Now that the weather is warming up, this is a good time to grab your mat and hit your local Yoga at the Park class.
Who said meditation has to be some elaborate, time-consuming ritual that you partake in to simply gain some peace of mind in the midst of the chaos? Life is constantly throwing things at us and although we don't necessarily have a say in every single thing that comes our way, we do have power over our response to these unnerving experiences. Physiologically, Aquarius is associated with the circulatory system, making it super important for you to pay attention to your breathing.
Breath awareness meditation is one of the most common, and easy, ways to meditate because it actually gives you something to focus on during a quiet moment of pause and reflection. The goal is to simply focus on your breathing. You can engage with this process by counting your breath. Whenever your mind wanders off elsewhere, gently reel it back in and start counting from one again as you breathe in and out. Keep track of how many breaths you can take without getting distracted and monitor your progress over the course of a month to see if mindfulness is becoming easier for you.
As the most imaginative sign of the zodiac, the best mindfulness technique for you isn't too far away from your usual, extended bouts of daydreaming that you do throughout your day. Visualization meditation is a powerful tool that even the most novice mindfulness student can master. Not only can this method be used to manifest your dream job or the love of your life, but your overall health and well-being can benefit from this practice as well.
Prior to starting your day, spend five minutes in bed imagining how you would like your day to go. If possible, amp up the mindfulness by tapping into the sensations of smell, taste, touch, and sound as you visualize your day ahead. Practice this on a regular basis to cultivate a clearer vision for your life and greater optimism to help you overcome any obstacles that you may face along the way.
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Featured image by Getty Images
Originally published on May 8, 2019
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Beyoncé's Renaissance tour stop in L.A.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
Dontaira with her nieces at Beyoncé's Renaissance tour stop in Miami.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Beyoncé's Renaissance tour stop in Miami.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood