Young woman doing a plank with a dumbbell in one hand, while cameras and lights surround her for her social media.

Instagram and Body Image

By | Biltmore, Blog, Happiness, Health, Mental Health, Self-Awareness | No Comments

If you use Instagram, you probably are inundated with people posting their healthy meals, smoothie bowls, gym routines and fit bodies. The social media platform has become quite the haven for promoting the healthy lifestyle. But what if it is doing more harm than good?

Instagram uses a photograph or a group of photographs to snag the attention of the everyday user. So what grabs attention and gets you more followers? Usually a photograph of perfectly arranged brightly colored foods, or posing in fitness gear with a rock hard body. But what does this do to our positive body image? It does the same thing that magazines and society has done for years. It promotes a body image that is often unattainable and sometimes unhealthy.

When we are constantly bombarded with images of what we perceive as “perfect bodies”, we are telling ourselves that we need to do everything possible to look like that. We need to eat what their eating, do the workouts they’re doing, and document every living second of it. When we see other people succeeding in their life, it changes how we think about our own bodies. We start to think, “I need to do this to look like that.” A lot of women (and men) tend to think of their own bodies with an outsiders view in mind. We want others to think we look great, eat healthy, and are happy more than we want that for ourselves. It can create quite an obsession of trying to do everything perfectly, and can lead to unhealthy habits, anxiety and even depression.

The most dangerous thing about Instagram, is we can scroll through our feed and see “everyday normal people” promoting unattainable lifestyles. We know that when we look at a magazine ad, it is probably photoshopped and the model has prepared for the shoot for months beforehand. When we look at Instagram, we think this person just posted a photo and they’re not famous, so if they can look that good, eat that well, be that fit, than obviously we can too. We fail to admit that most photos on Instagram are actually heavily edited and photoshopped as well.

Not all Instagram is negative for our body image. It can help create a community with supportive people all around the world. It can give tips and tricks on how to eat healthier, workout more efficiently, and the wide array of resources are endless. But the safest way to enjoy Instagram without falling into the thought process of, “I’m not good enough” is to tread lightly. As with any form of social media, limit your time on it. Acknowledge that a lot of pictures are edited, photoshopped, prepared for, and not necessarily “real”. Know that what works for someone else might not work for you. Be realistic about what is really going on behind the camera. And most of all, enjoy it. Follow a variety of accounts, not just ones that focus on eating habits, body habits and aesthetics.

#psychlopedia – meditation

By | #psychlopedia, Biltmore, Blog, Meditation, Mindfulness, Self-Awareness | No Comments

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary definition, meditation means:

-to engage in contemplation or reflection


-to engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness

We have been focusing on meditation, being mindful and more self aware for the month of March. As March comes to an end, and Spring has finally sprung, have you tried meditation yet? Have you done any self reflection or tried to be engaged in the present more?


Alarm clock on table with the words 'Wake Up' on the alarm time slot

How to start your Monday off Mindfully?

By | Biltmore, Blog, Goals, Happiness, Health, Meditation, Mindfulness, Self-Awareness, Stress | No Comments

Some mornings can be tough, but Monday mornings seem to be particularly tough for some. When you’re winding down from a socially filled or relaxing weekend, it can be hard to switch your mind to business mode for the Monday morning job. Is there anything we can do to make the sting of the alarm on Monday’s less painful?

Setting yourself up for a positive and productive day starts as soon as your alarm goes off. Even on that dreaded Monday you can start making small changes to act more mindfully. Studies show that setting your alarm to a less “alarming” sound can benefit in a multitude of ways. First, being ‘alarmed’ abruptly out of a deep sleep can be quite fear and stress inducing. Second, where did it say in the rule book that your alarm must be extremely loud and annoying? Try setting your alarm to a more calming sound, still benefiting from the help in waking you up, but less jolting as you begin your day.

It seems like a lot of people today find it hard to keep hydrated through out the day. If you start your day with coffee, tea or juice, it can be even harder to get back on track. Start with a full glass of water as soon as you wake up. It doesn’t mean you can’t have coffee or tea later, but starting with a full glass of water can help keep you hydrated and help keep you motivated to drink water through out your busy day.

Do you find inspirational books, quotes, or podcasts helpful? A lot of people do. And starting your day with a little motivation has a great positive impact. It might be reading an inspirational book, or having a motivational calendar in your view. There are a plethora of positive, inspiring, and motivational podcasts these days, perhaps you listen to one as you’re getting ready for work.

You might think you don’t have time to meditate in the mornings. But what about a little body scan, a little self check in? This can be done in 5 minutes, as you’re waiting for your shower to heat up. Take a few deep inhales and exhales, try some light stretching and put the focus on relaxing and setting your intentions for the day.

Adding a nutritious breakfast to your morning can help set yourself up for success as well. Try incorporating some good fiber, and complex carbohydrates to help you feel full through out your morning. Things like plain oatmeal with berries and nuts, or a refreshing smoothie with fruits and vegetables are easy and healthy.

What do you do to start your week off right?

Stack of colorful books

Book Recommendation

By | Biltmore, Blog, Book Recommendation, Mindfulness, Self-Awareness | No Comments

This month we have been talking about how to be mindful, how to prioritize self care, and why being self aware is so beneficial.

In Nilofer Merchant’s book The Power of Onlyness she talks about how to take your self awareness and apply it creatively and professionally.  She says that by surrounding yourself with people who are also self aware, passionate, and motivated, it can open a huge window for your own dreams and desires to be recognized.


#psychlopedia- Self Awareness

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By definition, self awareness is: conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.

The benefits of being self aware are plentiful. If we as human beings can be aware of our thoughts, our actions, our own well being, we are able to connect and interact with our environment in a much more productive way. We can adapt to change better, and bounce back from negative thoughts sooner. Being self aware allows us to communicate with others better, and communicate with ourselves in constructive and positive way.

How do you think self awareness is beneficial?

Who am I written on a small chalkboard on a table.

How well do you know yourself?

By | Biltmore, Blog, Goals, Happiness, Mindfulness, Self-Awareness | No Comments

How well do you know yourself? When asked what kind of person a you are, are you able to truly express who you really are?

Knowing yourself can be beneficial in so many different ways. When you understand the way you react in certain moments, the way you talk to yourself in your head, or a plethora of other traits that make you you, it can help you become a much happier person. When you know who you are, you are more likely to specifically seek and speak about what you want. You are more decisive with your decisions, and are able to set boundaries for people or things that might not be serving your happiness or health.

Your past makes up a big portion of what makes you you. But it doesn’t define who you are today. You might have come to certain conclusions because of your parents, or have a deeper appreciation for something that you didn’t have as a child.

Your future can shape what motivates you in life. What are your goals personally or professionally? How do you want to be treated, or how do you want to treat others? Knowing yourself can make those relationships around you deeper and more genuine. It can also show you which relationships can be toxic and should probably end.

Take a look at this article over at Psychology Today by Bill George titled, Know Thyself: How to Develop Self-Awareness . It’s a great outline for becoming more in tune with yourself!