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Published on July 6, 2018

25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

Have you ever been confused by a snack label?

It can be time consuming to check and decipher every ingredient. Many processed snacks promise low fat but are packed with sugar!

The best way to ensure fresh and fully in-tact nutrition is by preparing simple snacks at home. Each of these healthy snack recipes are simple, delicious and provide nutrients you just can’t get from a vending machine.

1. Mini Burrito Bowl

    Burrito bowls make great snacks or small lunches. There’s endless combinations to mix and match meats with rice and grains, veggies and cheeses or salsas. They can be altered to be allergen-friendly, vegetarian and vegan.

    ~ Get the recipe!

    2. Paleo Sweet & Spicy Meatballs

      For those who want a little extra protein, these paleo meatballs are sure to please. They are also packed with iron and Vitamin C which means you’ve got a snack that’s working for you, not against you!

      ~ Get the recipe!

      3. Southwestern Sweet Potato & Lentil “Jar Salad”

        Jar salads are quick to prepare and easy to store. They make fresh salads easy to take anywhere!

        ~ Get the recipe!

        4. Moroccan Chickpea & Quinoa Power Salad

          This winner uses minimal ingredients and a short prep time for a fast and easy snack or side dish. The recipe also gives you homemade honey-lemon dressing which you can save in the fridge for other on-the-go meals!

          ~ Get the recipe!

          5. Grain-Free Tahini Granola

            Making your own granola ensures that you are not consuming excess sugar and preservatives in many store-bought brands. Natural Granola is packed with healthy nutrients and can be enjoyed by itself or with your favorite flavor of yogurt. This knockout recipe can be made with oats or dried fruits too!

            ~ Get the recipe!

            6. Nut-Free Granola

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              This recipe will keep your energy high whenever you need a little boost at work![1]

              Ingredients

              • 9 cups rolled oats (or combination of oats, rye, barley, etc.)
              • 1 cup unsalted, roasted hulled sunflower seeds
              • ½ cup flaxseed meal
              • ½ cup pure maple syrup
              • ½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
              • ½ cup honey
              • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
              • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
              • 1 teaspoon sea salt

              How to prepare:

              1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare baking sheets with parchment.
              2. In large mixing bowl, combine oats, sunflower seeds, flax seed meal, cinnamon and sea salt. Stir to combine.
              3. In medium saucepan, whisk maple syrup, honey, applesauce and vanilla over low heat until combined. (about 5 minutes)
              4. Pour hot syrup over oat mixture. Stir to combine.
              5. Pour mixture in a single layer onto prepared baking sheets.
              6. Bake for 50 minutes, stirring granola every 10 minutes. (For ease I set my timer five times for 10 minute increments)
              7. Let cool and store in airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature and up to one month in the refrigerator.

              7. Copy-Cat Bistro Boxes

                Look no further for a quick snack with almost no prep work or cooking needed.

                You just need boiled eggs, apple slices, celery, grapes, and a side of peanut or almond butter. You could mix it up with different berries, cherry tomatoes, multigrain cracks, and humus instead of peanut butter. Swap the cheese for an extra egg to make it dairy-free.

                In case you need it, here’s the recipe!

                8. Chicken Pita Pockets

                  Another filling snack for those who may have to skip breakfast every now and then. These pitas will keep you satisfied and focused. Swap the chicken with tofu for a meat-free option.

                  ~ Get the recipe!

                  9. Sweet Potato Quesadillas

                    This dairy-free option is best prepped the night before for one or two servings. You can use coconut oil to crisp the tortillas and mix in other veggies for more flavor.

                    ~ Get the recipe!

                    Sometimes we just need a little extra something to satisfy mid-morning or afternoon hunger pains. Each of the following twists on favorite snacks can be stored in bulk to get more out of your prep time.

                    10. Cinnamon-Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

                      Ingredients:

                      • 1 cup almond or coconut milk
                      • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
                      • 1-2 packets stevia
                      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                      • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
                      • 1 small pinch sea salt

                      How to prepare:

                      1. Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl or mix together in a blender until smooth.
                      2. Refrigerate to set and stir occasionally.
                      3. Makes about 2 fresh servings that can be stored for up to 3 days in the fridge.
                      4. Optional: Top with fresh fruit, chocolate chips, or nuts before you leave the house for more delicious varieties.

                      11. Chocolate & Avocado Pudding

                        Ingredients:[2]

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                        • 1 medium ripe avocado
                        • ½ cup coconut or almond milk
                        • ¼ cup creamy unsweetened peanut butter or almond butter (optional: use almond butter, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter to keep it paleo)
                        • 4-6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
                        • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
                        • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
                        • 2 pinches sea salt
                        • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

                        How to prepare:

                        1. Place all ingredients except the unsweetened coconut flakes into a food processor and mix until smooth.
                        2. Transfer to serving dishes, top with coconut if desired, and enjoy! Best eaten fresh, but can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

                        12. No-Bake Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Bites

                          Ingredients:

                          • 2 ½ cups old fashioned oats
                          • ½ cup unsweetened coconut
                          • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
                          • 2 tablespoon ground flax seed
                          • 1 teaspoon salt
                          • ¾ cup peanut butter or almond butter
                          • ¾ cup honey
                          • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil

                          How to prepare:

                          1. Mix the oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, flax seed, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
                          2. Stir the peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil together in a separate bowl.
                          3. Add this mixture into the oats and stir together until all of the oats are coated.
                          4. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to set for rolling.
                          5. Once chilled, roll into 1” rounds and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
                          6. Allow them to set in the fridge for 10 minutes before diving in. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

                          13. Dark Chocolate, Cranberry & Pumpkin Granola Bites

                            Ingredients:[3]

                            • 5 cups old fashioned oats
                            • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
                            • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
                            • 1 cup brown sugar (or ¾ cup stevia)
                            • ¾ cup almond slivers
                            • 1 cup dried cranberries
                            • ½ cup toasted sunflower seeds
                            • 1½ cups pumpkin puree
                            • 1 cup applesauce
                            • ½ cup honey
                            • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
                            • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
                            • 1 teaspoon salt

                            How to prepare:

                            1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 10” by 10” baking pan and line with baking paper.
                            2. In a large bowl, mix the oats, spices, dried fruit, almonds, seeds, chocolate chips,  and salt.
                            3. In another medium-sized bowl, mix the sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour over oat mix and stir everything together until all of the oats are moist.
                            4. Pour the entire mixture into prepared pan and evenly spread the mix. Bake for 30-35 minutes to a golden brown top.
                            5. Allow 15-20 minutes for cooling and lift the paper to remove the entire bar.
                            6. Cut into desired shapes and sizes and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week, store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

                            14. Parmesan Kale Crisps

                              Ingredients:

                              • 1 head of Kale
                              • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
                              • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
                              • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
                              • 1 tablespoon olive oil
                              • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

                              How to prepare:

                              1. Preheat the oven to 275°F. Line a pan with baking sheets
                              2. Wash the entire body and cut off the stems. Then cut across the leaves into 2-inch slices.
                              3. In a large bowl, toss the Kale leaves in the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, cheese, and pepper flakes.
                              4. Lay the leaves on the sheet and place in the oven when ready. Bake until crisp for about 20 minutes, turning the leaves over at the 10 minute mark.

                              *This recipe will make 4-6 servings. The chips can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 3 days. (You could also try this with seaweed if you really want to show off your new snack skills.)

                              15. Curried Beet Chips

                                Ingredients:

                                • 12 small beets, red or golden
                                • 1/2 cup olive oil
                                • 1 teaspoon curry powder
                                • 1.5 teaspoons sea salt

                                How to prepare:

                                1. Preheat the oven to 300°F. and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
                                2. Wash and peel the beets, or use a veggie brush to remove outer skin. Use a mandolin slicer to cut them very thinly. Place the beets in a large bowl and mix with the olive oil, salt, and curry. Stir or toss the slices until they are fully covered. Allow them to marinate for up to 20 minutes.
                                3. Drain the oil and lay slices on the baking sheets. Bake for up to one hour. The thickness of your chips will affect baking time, for thinner slices bake for 45 minutes. Remove them from the oven once they are crispy and allow them to cool. Store them in an airtight container for up to a week.

                                See the original recipe.

                                16. Apple-Cinnamon Chips (Vegan, dairy free)

                                  This recipe only takes 3 ingredients and you can alter the amount of sugar to your preference. The thicker the chips the softer they will be and the thinner, the more crispy.

                                  Ingredients:

                                  • 4 Apples
                                  • 1-2 teaspoons ground Cinnamon
                                  • 1-2 teaspoons brown sugar
                                  • Cooking spray

                                  How to prepare:

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                                  1. Preheat the oven to 200°F.
                                  2. Wash the apples and remove the core. Slice them thinly across the apples, cutting them into circles.
                                  3. Toss the slices with cinnamon and sugar.
                                  4. Spray the baking sheet with cooking spray and line the slices on the pan without overlapping them. If you’re using larger apples, use two pans.
                                  5. Bake the chips for around 2.5 hours, until they are slightly soft but dry. Cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

                                  17. Roasted Green Bean Fries

                                    Ingredients:[4]

                                    • 1 pound fresh green beans
                                    • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
                                    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
                                    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

                                    How to prepare:

                                    1. Preheat oven to 425. Wash green beans and remove stems if desired. Let them dry off.
                                    2. Add green beans to a bowl and drizzle oil over them. Mix with your hands to coat them evenly.
                                    3. Lay the greens on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
                                    4. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, flip them once about halfway through.

                                    *Mix honey with fresh garlic and chilis for a sweet and spicy dipping sauce!

                                    18. Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash

                                      A hearty and simple dish that is prefect for upcoming fall. You can also swap the squash for sweet potatoes, zucchini, or a mixed vegetable medley.

                                      ~ Get the recipe!

                                      19. Edamame and Chickpea Salad with Lime Dressing

                                        Ingredients:[5]

                                        Dressing

                                        • 1 large avocado, flesh removed
                                        • 1/2 inch slice of ginger root (1/2″ – 1″ piece)
                                        • 1 shallot
                                        • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
                                        • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
                                        • ½ tablespoon pure maple syrup
                                        • 1 tablespoon olive oil
                                        • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

                                        Salad

                                        • 1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
                                        • ½ tablespoon olive oil
                                        • ¼ teaspoon salt
                                        • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
                                        • ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
                                        • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
                                        • ½ cup cashews
                                        • 10 oz. shelled edamame, cooked
                                        • 1½ cup chopped apples (about 2 small apples)
                                        • Salt & pepper to taste
                                        • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (optional)

                                        How to prepare:

                                        1. Create the dressing by placing ingredients in a high-speed blender and blending until smooth. Store extra dressing in an extra ajar or airtight container for up to one month in the fridge.
                                        2. Heat a skillet over high heat and add the chickpeas. Cook for about 5-8 minutes, or until they start to brown. Drizzle olive oil over chickpeas.
                                        3. Str in all of the spices and then add the cashews. Keep mixture over heat and stir until cashew are slightly toasted or brown.
                                        4. Add mixture, edamame and apples to a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper as you desire. Add desired amount of avocado-lime dressing and toss to coat salad evenly. Garnish with chopped basil and serve warm or chilled.
                                        5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days for freshness.

                                        20. Kale, Clementine and Feta Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing (Vegan option)

                                          Ingredients:

                                          Salad

                                          • 1 head of kale
                                          • 1 avocado, diced
                                          • 1 medium pomegranate
                                          • 4 clementines, peeled and sliced into rounds or small strips
                                          • 4 small radishes, sliced into thin rounds and then into skinny strips
                                          • 1 handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
                                          • ⅓ cup crumbled feta (skip for vegan)
                                          • ¼ cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds

                                          Dressing

                                          • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
                                          • 3 tablespoons olive oil
                                          • 1 medium jalapeño, membranes and seeds removed, finely chopped
                                          • 2 teaspoons honey (or agave nectar)
                                          • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
                                          • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
                                          • ⅛ teaspoon fine grain sea salt

                                          How to prepare:

                                          1. Create the dressing by whisking together all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
                                          2. Prepare the kale by slicing away the stems and chopping the leaves into small, bite-sized pieces.
                                          3. Move the kale to a large salad bowl and sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt over the kale. Lightly toss the leaves and scrunch handfuls at a time until the leaves are darker in color and fragrant.
                                          4. Drizzle desired amount of dressing over the kale and toss so the kale is lightly coated.
                                          5. Add the prepared avocado, pomegranate seeds, clementines, radishes, cilantro and feta over top.
                                          6. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a skillet over medium-low heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until they smell fragrant and toasty.
                                          7. Transfer the seeds to the salad and toss the salad to mix all ingredients.
                                          8. Store leftover dressing for up to one month in an airtight container, refrigerated. Leftover salad can be covered and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

                                          See original recipe.

                                          More adventurous snackers will enjoy using a dehydrator. Dehydrator recipes include endless varieties of homemade granolas, dried fruit mixes, veggies, and jerky. These snacks from Dried and True will take longer to prepare but can be made in bulk and last for a couple weeks when stored properly.

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                                          21. Dried Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes

                                            Ingredients:

                                            • 3 cups fresh cherry or grape tomatoes
                                            • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
                                            • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
                                            • 2 sprigs Thyme
                                            • 1 sprig rosemary
                                            • 1 cup olive oil (more as needed)

                                            How to prepare:

                                            1. Bring a medium pot of water to a slight boil on medium-high heat.
                                            2. While waiting for the water, line a dehydrator trays with nonstick mesh sheet and lightly coat the sheets in olive oil.
                                            3. Once the water has boiled, place the tomatoes in the pot until most of their skins break open. Remove the tomatoes and use a knife to peel off the skins.
                                            4. Place tomatoes on the prepped trays. Set dehydrator for 135°F, for about 22-24 hours. Careful not to dry them so much that they become too tough.
                                            5. Remove and place them in a large bowl with the sea salt and vinegar.
                                            6. Layer the herbs into a large jar, add the tomatoes overtop, and pour in the olive oil. Add additional oil as needed to cover all of the tomatoes.
                                            7. Marinate in the jar for 24 hours, then move to the refrigerator for up to one month. Viola.

                                            22. Dried Shrimp

                                              Ingredients:

                                              • 1 pound of peeled and cooked bay shrimp
                                              • 1 teaspoon olive oil for coating trays
                                              • Optional topping ideas: sea salt, cayenne pepper

                                              How to prepare:

                                              1. Line dehydrator trays with non-stick mesh sheets and coat them lightly with olive oil.
                                              2. Toss shrimp with a topping (if desired).
                                              3. Spread the shrimp on the prepped trays and dry at 160°F for 8-12 hours until dry and slightly cracking.
                                              4. Cool completely and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

                                              23. Yogurt Covered Raisins

                                                Ingredients:

                                                • 1 pound seedless black grapes
                                                • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
                                                • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
                                                • 1 tablespoon honey
                                                • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

                                                How to prepare:

                                                1. Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat.
                                                2. Line dehydrator trays with non-stick mesh sheets and lightly coat them with olive oil.
                                                3. Soak the grapes in the boiling water and turn the heat to low. Simmer for 2-4 minutes until the skins begin to crack open. Remove them with a slotted spoon and allow them to cool completely.
                                                4. Place them on the prepared trays and dry at 135°F for 16-20. Check frequently for chewiness. Remove them once they are no longer squishy through the center.
                                                5. Place the white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and melt them in the microwave for 30-second intervals. Stir in between to ensure the chips melt thoroughly. Mix in the yogurt and coconut oil until the mixture is smooth.
                                                6. Stir in the freshly dried raisins until they are fully covered.
                                                7. Spread raisins out on thin, mesh a cooling rack and allow them to set.
                                                8. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks, or in freeze them for up to 6 months.

                                                24. Ginger & Soy Green Bean Crisps

                                                  Ingredients:

                                                  • 1 pound fresh green beans
                                                  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
                                                  • 1 garlic clove
                                                  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger
                                                  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

                                                  How to prepare:

                                                  1. Wash, stem and diagonally cut the green beans into 1/4 in slivers. Peel and mince the garlic an place in a small bowl. Peel and grate the ginger.
                                                  2. Boil a pot of water over medium-high heat and add a pinch of sea salt. Add the green beans once boiled for about 2 minutes.
                                                  3. Strain and run cool water over the beans for about 1 minute to cool them completely.
                                                  4. Line a dehydrator tray with non-stick mesh sheets lightly coated in cooking or olive oil.
                                                  5. In a medium bowl, mix together the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil. Add the beans and toss them until fully covered with the sauce. Marinate them for about 15 minutes, stirring them every 5 minutes or so.
                                                  6. Drain the beans (save the sauce if you’d like), and lay the slices onto the prepped trays. Dry at 135°F for 4-6 hours until crispy.
                                                  7. Let them cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks at room temperature.

                                                  25. Garlic & Sage Turkey Jerky

                                                    Ingredients:

                                                    • 2.5 pounds turkey breast
                                                    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
                                                    • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
                                                    • 8 sage leaves
                                                    • 2 tablespoons molasses
                                                    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
                                                    • 2.5 teaspoons sea salt

                                                    How to prepare:

                                                    1. Remove skin from the turkey breast and place turkey in the freezer for 2-4 hours until it is firm but not frozen. Cut into diagonal strips that are about 2 inches wide.
                                                    2. Warm the olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sage to the oil and simmer together for 1-2 minutes.
                                                    3. Stir in the molasses, black pepper, and then remove from heat. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
                                                    4. In a large bowl, toss the turkey slices with the salt and oil mixture until all slices are evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
                                                    5. Line dehydrator trays with non-stick mesh sheets and lightly coat them with cooking or olive oil. Lay the turkey slices evenly on the trays and dry at 160°F for 3-5 hours. Blot excess juice occasionally and remove them once them have dried but are still slightly moist to the touch. Allow them to cool completely.
                                                    6. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or freeze the jerky for up to 6 months.

                                                    One of the best places for snacking inspiration is a local farmer’s market. Shopping for what’s in season will inspire simple, creative dishes that are easy to include in your schedule. Here are some other ways to achieve lasting effects in your workplace.

                                                    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                                                    Reference

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                                                    Alexa Sponaugle

                                                    Holistic Health Coach

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                                                    How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                                                    How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                                                    Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                                                    Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

                                                    I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                                                    You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                                                    Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                                                    When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                                                    I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                                                    Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                                                    Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                                                    Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                                                    1. The Inner Critic

                                                    This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

                                                    • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                                                    • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                                                    • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                                                    • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                                                    He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                                                    Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                                                    2. The Worrier

                                                    This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                                                    He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

                                                    Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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                                                    3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                                                    He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

                                                    He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                                                    He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                                                    4. The Sleep Depriver

                                                    This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                                                    His motivation can be:

                                                    • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                                                    • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                                                    • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                                                    • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                                                    How can you control these squatters?

                                                    How to Master Your Mind

                                                    You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                                                    Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                                                    There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                                                    • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                                                    • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                                                    This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                                                    The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                                                    Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                                                    For the Inner Critic

                                                    When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                                                    You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                                                    For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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                                                    You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

                                                    “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                                                    If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                                                    • He riles up the Worrier.
                                                    • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                                                    • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                                                    • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                                                    • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

                                                    Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                                                    Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                                                    For the Worrier

                                                    Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                                                    Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                                                    You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                                                    • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                                                    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                                    • Muscles tense

                                                    Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                                                    If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                                                    Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                                                    “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                                                    Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                                                    If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                                                    Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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                                                    Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

                                                    For example:

                                                    If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                                                    “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                                                    Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                                                    “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                                                    Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                                                    For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                                                    Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                                                    The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                                                    • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                                                    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                                    • Muscles tension

                                                    I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                                                    Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                                                    Breathe in through your nose:

                                                    • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                                                    • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                                                    • Focus on your belly rising.

                                                    Breathe out through your nose:

                                                    • Feel your lungs emptying.
                                                    • Focus on your belly falling.
                                                    • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                                                    Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                                                    Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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                                                    One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

                                                    Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                                                    For the Sleep Depriver

                                                    (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                                                    I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                                                    Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                                                    1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                                                    2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                                                    When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                                                    From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                                                    For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                                                    If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                                                    You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                                                    • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                                                    • Shut down your thinking.
                                                    • Calm your feelings.
                                                    • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                                                    Becoming the Master of Your Mind

                                                    Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                                                    You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                                                    Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

                                                    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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