Categories
habits mindfulness

essential self-discipline guide with mindfulness

Self-discipline is an important skill every person who wants to achieve more in life should possess. Self-discipline is essential in every aspect of life. Even though most people recognize the benefits of self-discipline, very few do something to reinforce and grow this beneficial skill. 

Contrary to some beliefs, self-discipline is not being harsh to yourself or living a restrictive lifestyle. Self-discipline also means self-control. It is a sign of inner strength and control of you actions, and your reactions. Self-discipline provides the power to stick to hard decisions, and follow them without changing your mind. This means self-discipline is an important requirement for achieving vital goals. 

Why self-discipline is important

Having self-discipline helps you to continue with your plans and decisions until you achieve them. It also displays as an inner strength that helps you to overcome addictions, laziness, and procrastination. 

Self-discipline is an important ingredient for success. It is the ability not to give up regardless of setbacks and failures. In fact, it is an important pillar of stable, long-term success. It is a skill that will help you understand the importance of life. 

Life presents problems and challenges on the path to success. In order to act above those challenges, you must act with determination and perseverance. Lack of self-discipline may lead to problems such as failure, relationship problems, and health issues. Just as some people have weak muscles, they can become strong with training. It’s the same with self-discipline. You can develop and strengthen self-discipline like any other skill, through training. You can develop self-discipline at any time. 

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Development of self-discipline will help you:

  • Avoid carelessness.
  • Fulfill promises you make .
  • Overcome bad behaviors such as laziness and procrastination.
  • Engage in good behaviors like going to the gym, swimming or taking a walk even when your mind tells you to stay at home. 
  • Stay focused on your diet and resisting temptation of eating unhealthy food (no sodas).
  • Waking early in the morning.
  • Overcome the bad habit of watching too much television.
  • Start reading motivational books, and implementing what you’ve learned.
  • Meditating regularly.

If you keep working and developing the skill, you will become stronger. On the other hand, if you do not challenge yourself in life, you will not gain self-discipline.

Happiness and the achievement of goals in life results from having a wide range of positive qualities. And no quality is more important in the attainment of long-term sustainable success than self-discipline.

Whether you seek to enhance your relationships, work ethic, or health, nothing beats self-discipline as the principal trait needed to achieve your goal.

However, self-discipline doesn’t always come naturally. The good news is that it can be a learned behavior. Try out these techniques to attain greater self-discipline.

Tips to improve your self-discipline

  1. Remove distractions. Removing distractions from your environment is a critical first step on your journey to increased self-discipline. For instance, if you are looking to cut down on distractions (such as social media) and focus on your job, you need to turn off your mobile notifications and block all social media until you get off work. In the example of weight loss, you would want to remove the unhealthy foods from your cabinets and pantry to make achieving your goal that much easier.
  2. Never think there will be a perfect time. Kick the habit of waiting for all things to align perfectly before embarking on your journey to self-discipline. If you are looking to enhance self-control, it has to start with you. Embrace simple things such changing your daily routine, breaking bad habits such as negative thinking, and instead actively developing new habits even if it does not feel right in your mind. But simply start now, instead of thinking there will be a better time.
  3. Reward yourself for achievement. Being self-disciplined does not mean you have to become miserable. In fact, by being too rigid, you are opening yourself up to disappointment, failure, and the possibility of falling back into the old habits. Instead, have days when you relax your regimen. When you reward yourself, you relieve the tension that may result from self-disciplined living.
  4. Don’t beat yourself up for backsliding. At some point, you will fall into some old habits. However, the important thing is not to beat yourself up, but rather to pick yourself up and recommit to the journey. You have to accept that there will be spectacular failures and fabulous successes. Don’t get too hung up in frustration, guilt, and anger, but rather acknowledge mistakes as an essential part of the learning process. Ultimately, developing self-discipline will allow you to live more freely by making choices that are more positive and healthy.
  5. Set active goals. Active goal setting is a very important skill, if you want to become disciplined. In fact, it’s quite different than passive goal setting; with passive goal setting, you just set goals in your mind without properly define them. But active goals have a profound meaning; you make plans and maybe you have already found some strategies, in order to be able to achieve them as soon as possible. So, you need to set some long-term goals and you also have to actively track your progress towards your specific goals in life.
  6. Ignore negativity. There are may be people around you that can exert an immensely negative effect on you. But you don’t have to let them. More specifically, you don’t have to let words or even their expressions deter you. If you can not accomplish it, you can always seek advice from experts, in order to learn how to avoid negativity. For example, if people say what you want to accomplish is not possible or even sneer at your efforts, you should try to avoid them. Instead, you need to use your energy and strength and try to interact with positive people.
  7. Practice Gratitude. You may spend too much time wanting a lot of things in your life. The habit of gratitude can help you move away from constantly wanting what you really don’t have. It’s time for you to start appreciating what you do have in your life and be happy about it. When you do this, you will begin to see some remarkable shifts in your life. Actually, the effects of gratitude are far-reaching. From improving your emotional well-being, to your mental health and spirituality, gratitude can offer you a lot. The most important thing is that gratitude can help you move from a stake of lack towards a state of abundance. For instance, when you live in a state of lack, it’s impossible to focus on achieving your goals and being disciplined. So, you need to focus on positive things and try to succeed your goals, without having stress. 

Categories
Self-care

learn how to deal with emotions and regrets without the guilt

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People are wired with emotions. Therefore, when you suppress your emotions, you are going against your design. That can cause harm to you physically and emotionally.

There is a time and place for everything, including expressing emotions. It’s probably not the best idea to shout in the middle of a busy location. In this day and age, people could mistake your actions when doing this. 

Keeping your emotions bottled up will eventually lead to stress and other adverse mental conditions. If this continues for too long, it can cause you to become depressed and can lead to problems with alcohol or drug abuse. For instance, many people turn to sleep aids or worse, like Oxycontin and other opioid-type drugs. These are highly addictive and only mask the symptoms.

Many people are taught to suppress emotions by their parents and grandparents. These generations were taught to do the same and felt it was a true sign of character to be able to keep your emotions in check. During their time as kids, there was less information about the effects of emotions than there are currently.

Some people still adhere to the old ways of not expressing emotions. Expressing emotions is similar to complaining, and no one wants to hear it. However, modern studies are pointing to suppressing emotions as damaging.

There are classes that allow you to let off some steam. People have different ways to accomplish this. Some will play sports like basketball while others will work out at the gym. Meditation is another, more tranquil way to reduce your stress.

Sometimes all you need is to talk to someone about what you are feeling. You are letting your guard down when you do this so make sure you find someone you can trust. If you choose a coworker, make sure you don’t disclose so much to leave you vulnerable should that person tell what you said to others in the workplace. If it gets back to your boss or another person who you may be talking about, it could have negative consequences.

Keeping your emotions inside is never healthy. However, you need to try and find the right time to express those emotions. But finding that time is crucial to your mental and physical wellbeing. It is not worth getting sick because you aren’t willing to express yourself. The benefits of letting it out will lead you to a better life with less regrets.

Regret happens. What doesn’t have to happen is you holding on to it forever. Releasing regret is a process, one that is different for every person and every situation. However, you can give various forms of releasing regret a try and learn about yourself in the process.

  1. Practice Daily Gratitude

Practicing daily gratitude is a great way to consistently remind yourself of all that you have. Family, friends, a home, food to eat, maybe even a cute puppy to come home to. Whatever your gratitude is toward, reminding yourself of it is a great way to reflect on the good in your life and make the regrets seem less important in the grand scheme of life.

2. Trust the Journey

Reminding yourself that even the adverse events in life are part of a bigger journey allows you to look at the larger picture. Yes, you regret this one mistake. But, did that one mistake lead you down a different path that had good outcomes? Everything happens for a reason, trust that in time you will find out why that mistake or loss occurred.

3. Learn to Release Emotions

Emotions in the grand scheme of life (once again; are you seeing the bigger picture yet?) are fleeting. Learning to release your feelings when they are not serving you will aid you now and in the future. Stop beating yourself up for something that happened in the past and learn to move on with a clear mind and focus.

4.Accept the Lesson Learned

Situations or actions we regret typically offer us a lesson—if we are open to learning it. Accept that you learned a lesson and move on with it. Living through a challenging event means nothing if you don’t continue living and implement what you learned into your future life.

5. “What If-ing” the Past Doesn’t Change the Future

Living in the land of “what ifs” is tempting. However, “what ifs” literally mean nothing in the practice of daily life. You can spend hours or even days guessing at a different outcome, but it doesn’t matter. Those what-ifs will never directly impact your future other than to steal from it. Stop reliving it and move on.

If you are living your life being swallowed alive by your regret, start exploring ways to release it and move on. You deserve a life that is fulfilled and happy, not a life that leaves you stuck in the past and wallowing in disappointment. 

Categories
toxic people

when toxic people show up

Regardless of whether toxic people are relatives (even parents and siblings), friends, acquaintances, or co-workers, they play a huge part in our lives and can be a real problem if we let them. Some toxic people can have maladaptive traits. They can be narcissists. Narcissists in general don’t need to be fully diagnosed with a personality disorder. Many narcissists can show lack of empathy, grandiosity, a chronic sense of entitlement and a chronic need to seek out admiration from other people. Research has shown that many narcissists have high self esteem with a lack of empathy, which has been rewarded throughout their life. In general, narcissists can be very dangerous to your wellbeing if you let them stay in your life, and most narcissists cannot be suddenly cured of their condition.

Realize That Toxic People Will Not Change

Often this is hard to accept because you may love the person. But toxic people usually do not accept their issues and try to place blame on everyone around them. They won’t change because they don’t think they need to change. They’ll declare you’re the problem when it’s really them. Accept that they’re just not going to change and nothing you do has any power over them. This doesn’t make you less of a person or less important; it’s just that their condition will never allow it.

Develop Safe Boundaries and Maintain Them

When you realize you’re dealing with a toxic person, especially if there is no real way to escape them such as if they’re a co-worker (although you can get another job), set boundaries and stick to them. For example, you don’t want them to talk to you, call you, or get in touch with you in any way shape or form, ever. This is very clear, but you’ll have to be very firm and stick to it.

If it’s an ex-spouse, this can be harder to do than if it’s a co-worker. It’s hard if it’s a parent, but it doesn’t matter how close they are to you; if they’e toxic and make your life miserable, you must let them go and stick to it.

Avoid Being Pulled into Their Crises

Sometimes when you seek to end the relationship, they’ll try to pull you back in by making you part of their crises. Avoid allowing this to happen. When they try, ignore it and just move on. This is normal when you’re leaving someone who is toxic. They sometimes think of themselves as a sort of puppet master. They believe they can control others and often they do because people are too polite.

Accept Your Own Problems

Basically, come forward and own your own problems. You’re not perfect either but you aren’t responsible for someone else’s issues. However, you are responsible for yourself. If you have done things you’re not proud of due to the toxic relationship, accept it and then work on changing that about yourself so that you can do better in other relationships

Realize They May Try to Stay

This is especially true when it’s a friend or relative. They may beg you, they may promise you, but they’ll try to turn it around to be all your fault too. They don’t ultimately accept that it’s a problem they have, and you’ll soon be able to tell if you stick to your guns because they’ll keep trying in increasingly abusive ways to get your attention. If it’s dangerous, get the law involved so you can get a restraining order.

Accept Their Power Over You

This may seem contrary to good advice, but it’s true that they have had power over you and they’ll try to use it. If they’re a relative, a spouse, or someone you love, this is going to make it even harder. But the thing is, even if someone is related to you that doesn’t make them less toxic and dangerous to you. You’re going to be much healthier when you realize itís okay to feel something for them, even if you must love them from afar due their toxic nature.

Choose Your Battles

When you’re deciding to cut someone out of your life, it’s important to choose your battles. For example, if you work with someone, they may have to speak to you about work. Let them know that’s all you want from them. If your ex-husband needs to talk to you about the kids, you may still have to speak to them about the kids. Don’t fight about everything. Choose only battles that lead to better outcomes, because a toxic person will never agree with you about anything and will fight with you every chance they get about literally anything.

Find Healthy Relationships

Do away with the drama! As you end toxic relationships, it helps to replace them with healthy ones. You can’t replace your mom, dad, or kids, but you can find people who give you those feelings. That way you’re not sitting around thinking about them all the time. Even when someone is toxic to you, it can take some time to get to the point where you can move on without being upset and sad.

Getting toxic people out of your life can be a process. The process isn’t always pleasant. Sometimes itís downright difficult. Sometimes itís heartbreaking. But, if you get yourself into the frame of mind that you want to be your own best friend, your own lover, your own caretaker and do the right thing like you would for your child, then you can do it because it’s the right thing to do for yourself

Use these Affirmations to deal with Toxic People:

What Not To Do

Never attempt to confront a toxic person about their behavior. It will be futile. The toxic person can turn your words around and use them against you. Perhaps you want to say goodbye, you can write a letter but do not send it. An unsent letter is a cathartic exercise for you only. If you send it, then you are reinforcing their negative behavior.

Categories
mindfulness

mindfulness for worriers and lonely people

If You’re Feeling Worried, Mindfulness Can Help

What causes you to worry is the thought that something bad or unfavorable toward you is going to happen. When you experience these thoughts, your emotions kick in with the response of fear or anxiety. These worries are over things that have never happened and have a strong probability that they never will. But what worriers have a tendency to do is to create scenarios in their mind of these probably future situations.

When you create a scene in your mind, your brain sees these thoughts as a mental image. It views this image the same way it would if you viewed a negative situation in a movie.

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It sees the vivid details and then your body experiences things like anxiety when you watch a scary or dramatic movie. Those are the same results that you get when you paint scenarios in your mind that havenít even happened.

Your mind registers this as something thatís occurring. So then you feel afraid and anxious. This thought pattern can make you anxious, irritable, and untreated can turn into an anxiety disorder.

Mindfulness can set you free by showing you how to stop these thought patterns in their tracks. When you have a worry thought, take a moment and redirect your focus back to the present rather than allowing your mind to be projected into what isn’t even happening.

Labeling worry

Don’t give the worries any power within your mind. When you worry, your mind goes in repetitive circles. This type of circular thinking makes no progress and you find yourself become more anxious. If you choose to use distraction techniques, such as watching a movie or taking a stroll, the worrying seems to return. You try your best for the thoughts to go away, but your body tenses up. Give the thought the title of what-if and then release it. In the words, label worry as “just worrying” and then bring your attention to your breathing or an object in front of you. When you catch yourself again in circular thinking, label it again. Mindfulness will help you learn to recognize those what-if thoughts and understand that they’re not reality. They’re not happening. By taking away the power, the fear dissolves and the worry is gone.

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If You’re Feeling Lonely, Mindful Volunteer Work Can Help

Loneliness is an emotion thatís universally understood. There can be many reasons that cause you to feel lonely. Sometimes, it can be because youíve experienced the loss of a love – or someone that you love has passed away and youíre lonely because of the grief.

You can feel lonely if you struggle with a health condition or youíve experienced some kind of life upheaval such as a move or a job loss. While going through an experience can be a cause of loneliness, that’s not always the case.

Sometimes, you simply feel lonely regardless of what situation you’re in. There are those who will sometimes confuse loneliness with someone who is by himself. But being alone and being lonely are two different things.

Experiencing loneliness is tied directly to your emotions while being by yourself is not. When youíre struggling with loneliness, you can feel sad. You might feel like youíre all alone in the world and that everyone has someone but you.

You might feel that you don’t have anyone to talk to and no one to love you. These emotions can often trigger thoughts that add to the loneliness. But there is a way that you can reduce and even eliminate the loneliness that youíre feeling and thatís through mindful volunteer work.

When you volunteer to help other people, it triggers your compassion response and helps you to become connected to someone else. Studies have shown that when you volunteer, it raises your level of contentment.

When you don’t take action to deal with loneliness, then your mind will get on a track of constantly thinking about things that only add to the feeling. These things might be thoughts of the past, or negative thoughts.

By practicing mindful volunteer work, you’re focusing on the present and the activity helps to keep your mind occupied, which keeps the negative thoughts from becoming a cycle.

Mindful volunteering allows you to feel involved with others which acts as a bridge to give you a connection. You end up feeling rewarded because mindful volunteering can give you the social connection that you need to break free of loneliness.

When you volunteer, you’re helping to meet the needs of someone else but in return, youíre getting your own needs met, too. Mindful volunteering means that you decide that youíre going to focus on helping someone else.

You’re going to be there for them without any thoughts of what youíre going to get in return. But what happens is that you always end up getting back a lot more than you give with mindfulness.

Helping others gives you a boost in positive feelings and thoughts. This is because youíre no longer focusing on how you feel, what you think or what might be missing from your life.

Instead, you’re pouring yourself into a cause or a purpose and you end up creating a support system for yourself as well as increasing empathy for other people.

Practice this mindfulness Tonglen meditation when you are lonely. Visualize helping a friend.

Categories
mindset relationships

stop reacting before responding

There are a lot of people that react to any kind of obstacle, setback, or challenge. Reactions are reflexive, ego-driven, and only consider the short-term outcome. Reactions make you feel better, but don’t resolve an issue effectively.

Responding is different. It’s intelligent, practical, and considers the long-term implications of that course of action.

People that react struggle and are known for making impulsive decisions. Those that respond have fewer struggles in life. As it turns out, the biggest hassles in life are usually of your own making.

Let’s consider an example that highlights the differences between reacting and responding:

Imagine that you have a horrible boss. Today at work, he berates you for something that isn’t your fault. He calls you a mean name. He says that you’re a worthless employee. You leave work enraged and convinced that you can’t take it anymore.

Reacting to this situation might entail quitting . You march in the next day and tell him exactly what you think of him. However, when you get home, you realize that the job market is tight, you have no savings, and no employment prospects.

Responding to this situation entails using mindfulness to your advantage. When you keep the mind focused, you stand to gain a host of benefits.  

By using visualization to increase your mindfulness throughout the day, you’ll discover exactly what your thoughts are doing to you. You’ll see how “where” you focus your thoughts can impact your life. 

When you don’t focus your thoughts, they can run the gamut from dwelling on the past to jumping ahead to the future that hasn’t happened yet. When your mind doesn’t keep focused on the present, you can limit the productivity and success that you can achieve in your life both in your personal and professional side. 

Visualization meditation can increase your mindfulness so that you realize the times when you’re causing internal harm to yourself with your thoughts. You can even be caught up in thought patterns that keep you trapped in a certain mindset. 

The problem with staying trapped in a certain mindset is that your emotions are tied to your thoughts. If you think sad or angry thoughts about the past, especially if those are things that hurt you and you can’t change them, then your emotions will quickly follow suit. 

What you think about not only can sway your emotions, but these thoughts can produce physical side effects such as higher blood pressure, weight gain, and more. Visualization can help to strengthen your mindfulness which will let you stay focused on the current moment. 

It can be especially helpful because the mind can start to wander. When you have visual clues, these can bring you gently back into focus. The visualization process can help you to go through your day aware of the present but not judging it. 

This in turn can allow you to be calmer even when there’s a stressful event taking place. Not only that, but when you have better mindfulness, it means that you’ll be able to see things as they are which will allow you to make choices that aren’t based on the past or in the future. 

When you use visual meditation, it can help you to see where you want to be in life and can help you to focus on present goals. Visualization can help you to have better mindfulness that can lead you to make changes that you want to make. 

For example, you use visualization meditation and you determine that you need to find another job. You work on your resume. You put out feelers to everyone you know that have or know of a position that’s suitable for you. You get in touch with a recruiter and let them know that you’re looking.

You also cut back on your expenses and save some money just in case you lose your job.

Reacting is short-sighted and risky. Responding is thoughtful and logical.

How can you strengthen your odds of success when challenges arise?

Following this process will help you to respond rather than react:

  1. Steady yourself. It’s hard to be intelligent, logical, and practical when your emotions are high. Never make an important decision when you’re not cool, calm and collected. Take the time you need. Mull it over. Consider your options.
  2. Identify the problem. What is the issue that you need to resolve? Think about what you want to change. Avoid changing a bunch of other things that may have a negative impact on your life. In the example above, you’d get away from your boss, but drastically change your income, too.
  3. Be clear on the outcome you desire. It’s just as important to consider the outcome you desire. You might hate your job, but you don’t just want to get away from it. You’ll want a good landing place, too.
  4. Make an intelligent plan. Create a plan that resolves your issue and gives you the outcome you desire. Reacting only removes the initial problem. It doesn’t provide a great outcome. A good plan does both.
  5. Execute that plan. Use your plan. There are a lot of people that are great at making plans, but never execute them. You don’t want to be one of those people. Put your plan to the test and see what happens.

If you’re someone that reacts to the challenges in your life, you already know the additional challenges it can bring. It’s the perfect example of “out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

Avoid making decisions when you’re upset. Calm yourself first. Then make an intelligent decision that will remove that challenge from your life in a way that leaves you better than you started.

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Categories
Motivation

a beginner’s guide to strengthening belief in yourself when you are feeling crappy

Look for inspiration

Think back to a time when someone inspired you. It could be a conference you attended or saw online. You could have read a profile of someone you admired. Whatever the case, the motivation of others can strengthen how you see yourself.

You have likely read books about famous people who you admired. These often show you what they had to go through to become successful. They write about the pain they had to endure and all the challenges they faced to achieve their goals. Sometimes, the stories will shock you. It’s hard to believe that these famous people ever had to deal with adverse situations.

The internet gives us plenty of opportunities to view stories of high-profile people. Just search on YouTube, and you will find hundreds (if not thousands) of videos of these people describing their experiences. You may find books covering the same subject, but videos may have more impact on you. However, there’s usually much more detail in books rather than in a video. Therefore, you should take advantage of both. Sometimes, you will be lucky enough to meet the people who you admire. You can often meet people at conferences or meet-ups. It’s great to talk to these people and ask them questions. Most people in this position will gladly accept these questions. Of course, you want to be respectful of their time and not hog the question and answer session.

It’s great to have others who help motivate you. However, if you place them too high on a pedestal, you may find it difficult to motivate yourself. You will start to believe these people have an innate ability that you don’t possess. That is counterproductive since it places you at risk for an imposter syndrome. You need to realize they all started the same as you. Some may have had initial advantages, but even people with these advantages don;t always do right with them. Most people still need to work hard to attain their goals.

Another issue is spending too much time listening or reading about people who motivate you. At some point, you must take appropriate action to get going with your own goals. It is worthwhile to feed off the motivation of others, but you need to do more than reading books. None of that matters unless you put in the effort yourself. Once that happens, others may be coming to you one day saying how you helped motivate them.

If you believe in yourself, there is little to stop you in whatever you want to accomplish. It gives you the power to push forward and to defy the odds. You will be able to handle any roadblocks that come your way. You will also brush off the naysayers. It gives you peace of mind when you stick to your self-belief.

To keep that self-belief strong, you need to define your goals. You wouldn’t expect a general to fight a war without a map. You too need a map to guide you on how to proceed. Too many people skip this step and wonder why they aren’t getting anywhere. Goals are your guidance, but carrying through with them is only done when you believe that it’s possible. 

The belief is the energy you need to take action. It helps you to focus on getting your tasks complete. You will also build confidence when you have self-belief. It’s a powerful tool as others will be attracted to that confidence. They will follow your lead, and you will help show them what is possible. 

When you run into any stumbling blocks (and you will), that confidence will help you see them through. You will know how to take alternative action when necessary. The people following you will respect that as well. Several forces will try to beat you down. You may even find yourself letting it happen. You need to get centered on why you started your journey in the first place.

Use affirmations to reinforce your message. Be consistent with your affirmations.

Unfortunately, many of the negative forces are going to be from your family and friends. They will see it as helping you avoid mistakes. Many people will succumb to this negative pressure and give up. One way to prevent this is to join groups of like-minded individuals. It can be related to your business, or it can be groups that focus on self-help. These organizations exist to try and push the negative forces out. It’s great to go to meetings and get encouragement from the group. Attending these groups can sometimes lead to friendships with people where you can extend the encouragement of each other. You may even form business partnerships from these friendships. It’s good to know that you have the support of these people when these relationships form. They understand when everyone else around you doesn’t. Your self-belief will strengthen considerably from this arrangement.

Below are a few ways you can learn to strengthen you belief further with yourself:

Develop Positive Affirmations

Grab a stack of sticky notes and write down all the things you love about yourself. Then place these sticky notes in places where you will find them later. These places could be on your mirror, in your wallet, or even around your desk at work. Then every time you see them, you can be reminded of what an amazing person you are.

Quit Scrolling Social Media

Social media creates unrealistic expectations of the human body. If you feel uncomfortable in your skin because of social media, it’s time to stop participating. Instead, it would be best to find more body-positive media to engage in, such as books, music, and TV shows that make you feel great about who you are.

Even if you see yourself as a totally peaceful person, you may find yourself participating in social rivalry. And if you’re naturally competitive, you likely enjoy challenging your friends. However, by avoiding certain kinds of contests, you can create more joy in your life.

Sometimes competition is good. Playing poker or indulging in a friendly online challenge with your loved ones can be fun and relaxing. But when you start comparing yourself to others, you may find that there’s no winner, and everyone feels hurt afterward.

By avoiding social contests, you can begin to enjoy your life just as it is. In the end, you can choose to create whatever experiences you desire. Today, decide that your life will be filled with satisfaction. 

Spend a few minutes today thinking about the richness your friends bring to your life and how much you share with them. When you’re tempted to compete, focus on what you have in common. Before you know it, positive thoughts will be second nature to you, and you’ll begin to love your life!

Today, choose to refrain from social comparisons and set yourself free from the ties of negativity. Next time you’re prompted to join in competition, just decline. Choose kindness and support instead. Nurture your relationships and they will stand the test of time.

Remember that you can always create more fulfilling friendships, no matter how long you may have been competing with each other.

Work On Your Body Language

Believe it or not, your body language can play a huge part in feeling comfortable in your own skin. Every time you find yourself hunched over with your arms folded, how does this make you feel? Not very good, right? Exactly. It’s time to walk with your shoulders pulled back, and your head held high—you’ll be surprised by how much this small change affects your mood.

Here is a free download for affirmations:

Categories
Authenticity

how to be authentic in 4 minutes or less

Do you know that many people who are ultra-successful walk around with imposter syndrome? They are by all accounts accomplished, but they feel terrible because they don’t think they deserve it. They feel like a total fake. People with imposter syndrome feel as if everything they are doing is a fluke and at any moment someone else is going to find out about the truth. If you feel that way sometimes, use these tips to overcome imposter syndrome.

  1. If You Think Success Was Too Easy Think Again

If you are feeling as if your success was too easy to come by compared to what you thought it would take before you experienced it, this can be a reason you experience imposter syndrome. Think again. You feel fraudulent because it was simple to achieve, and you now think it’s not even that special because anyone can do it.

The way to deal with this erroneous feeling is to look at some stats. How many people in your situation have achieved what you have achieved? You’re likely to find out that not as many people have succeeded doing what youíre doing as you think. This information alone should help you realize that you had to be responsible at least a little for your achievement. Even if other people could do it if they wanted to, you did it – they did not.

2. If You Think No One Is Self-Made So You Don’t Deserve Kudos

Everyone gets some form of help, whether it’s the zip code they’re born in or meeting the right people at the right time, or something else. Even if itís just being able to drive to and from work, someone had to build the roads, and you had to be born being able to see to do it. Therefore, someone helped and youíre not totally self-made.

So guess what. No one is self-made. But, everyone has some part in their own success. It doesnít matter if you were born on first base, third base, or not even on the field; you are responsible for your actions from where you found yourself to where you are now.

You deserve kudos for it. You deserve the life you are building and itís okay to accept that you value the things you have achieved, and you could not have done it without making the choices you made. Even if someone gave you a million dollars, you had choices. You could blow that million dollars or you could invest it and turn it into a billion dollars. Either way, you are where you are now due to your own choices at the time.

3. You Have Value

The hard thing for people who have imposter syndrome to understand is the value they provide by being who they are. Even if 100,000 people are doing what you want to do, you provide a unique input and value to your version of that thing that no one else can ever provide. This means that even if you are making money selling blue jeans, which are everywhere, your jeans are special because you came up with the idea.

Anytime you can provide something for someone, it is valuable (and that value is in the eye of the beholder); it doesnít matter if itís a commodity or if itís totally 100 percent unique. Your special touch adds just enough value to make it worthwhile to you and to others. When you accept your value to the world, you’ll be able to let go of imposter syndrome and instead of asking, “why me?” you’ll start asking “why not me?”.

Overcoming imposter syndrome is to accept that you are important as you are, that you offer something special even if itís similar to others, and that you are valuable in your own right. You are valuable just because you exist and the things you do add value to the lives around you, even if it is not totally original or new. To overcome imposter syndrome, try to be your authentic self.

Authentic Self

How do some people pretend to be something or someone they aren’t? Often in social situations, people act differently than they do with their close friends and family. However, it’s important to stay true to who you are, to be your authentic self.

It’s natural that people want to be accepted but the key to staying true to yourself is not worrying too much about what others think or believe. People should accept you for who you are. Don’t waste your time on toxic people who don’t accept it:

  1. You can’t live up to the person you are pretending to be. 
    If you aren’t being your authentic self, you will falter at some point. It’s not a matter of if, but when. Did you ever notice that people who lie, often tell a different story later? This is because they won’t remember what the story was in the past and have no choice but to make up new details. If you are pretending to be someone you are not, this is essentially the same as lying.
  2. Know who you are. 
    It’s important to know yourself. This may seem like an obvious statement, but many people don’t know who they are. Dig deep to discover the subtle aspects of your life that you tend to ignore or keep hidden. There is no need to hide your true personality because that is who you are. You can’t change that.
  3. Stop trying to be someone else. 
    Everyone has people they look up to. However, looking up to someone and trying to be them is not the same. It’s worthwhile to emulate some of their desirable traits, but make sure you aren’t stepping outside of who you are deep down.
  4. Don’t compromise on your values
    If you believe in something, stand firm. Sometimes, you’ll have no choice to make some compromises, but don’t cave in if they go against your beliefs. You must live with these choices. You want to be able to sleep at night.
  5. Negativity should not be a character trait you accept. 
    You won’t get far with negativity. If you are a negative person, this is not who you truly are. Remember, you don’t come out of the womb being negative. It’s something you learn. It’s time to unlearn it.
  6. Keep a Journal. 
    Keeping a journal is one of the best ways to figure out “who you are”. People often find that it is easier to be honest when writing down their thoughts. A journal will allow you to reflect on who you are, and then you can act accordingly. 

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Categories
habits

new habits made to last

Let’s talk about forming new habits. We all have times in our lives where we intentionally want to change our behavior for the better and create new habits for ourselves. This could be getting in the habit of eating healthier and drinking more water. Maybe it could be exercising or taking the dog for a daily walk. Perhaps it could be work related, such as finishing up projects on time. There are so many areas in our lives that could be improved and made easier if we created new habits. 

Of course, getting into the habit of doing something is often easier said than done. We seem to acquire bad habits without any effort, but getting into a “good” habit can be a little more challenging. 

Let’s break it down into a three step process that makes it easy to follow until we’ve internalized the new behavior and made it a true habit – something we do automatically without having to think about, like brushing our teeth. 

  1. Decide What You Want To Do 

The first step is to decide what you want that new habit to be. Be as specific as possible. Don’t just tell yourself you want to exercise more. Instead say something like “I will go for a 30 minute walk every single day”.  Deciding what your new habit will be and committing to when and how you’re going to do it, is half the battle. 

2. Remind Yourself To Get It Done 

The next few days should be smooth sailing. You’re motivated and excited to get this done. Sticking to your new habit isn’t an issue. But a few days in you’ll notice that it’s easy to slip back into old habits. 

Maybe it’s raining and you don’t really want to go out and walk. Or maybe your day just gets away from you. This is when it’s important to have a daily reminder. Set an alert on your phone or add the new habit to your daily to-do list for a while. 

3. Make It Part Of Your Routine Until It Becomes A Habit 

Which brings us to the last step. It takes some time before a new behavior becomes a true habit. Until then, a routine will work to your best advantage. Even before the new behavior becomes automatic, a routine will help you get it done without having to spend a lot of willpower or relying on daily reminders. 

Make that daily walk part of your after dinner routine, or change from grabbing a snack at the vending machine at work at 10:00 in the morning to packing a healthy snack. 

Congratulations! Decide to create the new habit, practice the routine until it’s second nature and you’ll be well on your way to forming a new good habit. 

The Hidden Relationship Between Habits and Willpower 

Photo by Andres Ayrton on Pexels.com

It’s hard to keep up willpower for any length of time. Yes, we can stick to a low-fat 1,000 calorie diet and go hungry for a week or two, but eventually our willpower fades. It goes kaput! And yes, we can do exercise we hate for a while that is until we run out of willpower. 

But what about getting up to take the kids to school every morning, brushing our teeth or going to work every day. Those may not be our favorite things to do either, but we do them daily without the risk of running out of willpower. That’s because they have become habits. They are so ingrained in what we do and who we are that we do them without even considering skipping a day or a week. We don’t have to make a conscious decision each day to shower or drive to work. It’s just what we do – a habit. 

When you start to think about it, there is a hidden relationship between habits and will power. When you first want to build a new habit, it takes a lot of will power to get it done day in and day out. As you start to establish that habit, it becomes easier and easier to do until you don’t even have to think about it anymore. 

Just being aware of this process helps us stick it out. We know we don’t always have to make such a big effort to go work out or skip the donut for breakfast. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We know eventually it will become habit to go out for a run first thing in the morning and grab some fruit or fix some eggs for breakfast. 

While we’re in that transition from willpower to habit, we can use tools to make it easier. Use a to-do list or set a reminder to help stay on track. Find an accountability partner so the two of you can motivate each other and help bolster that willpower when it starts to fade after the first enthusiasm wears off. Even something as simple as laying out your running clothes the night before and keeping your sneakers by the door will make it a little easier to go out for that run. 

Do what you can to help your willpower along until you have made the new behavior a true habit. After that it’ll be easy and automatic and you’ve created a new lifelong habit. 

How Long Does It Really Take To Create A New Habit? 

They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit. That’s kind of a weird idea though, isn’t it? It doesn’t take that long to form a bad habit. And sometimes no matter how hard we try it takes us a lot longer to form a new habit. 

So how long does it really take to create a new habit? The answer is that it depends. It depends on your mindset and it depends on how big of a change it is from what you are doing now. If it is your habit to eat a bowl of ice cream at night and you switch from regular ice cream to a low sugar frozen yogurt version, it’s probably not going to take you very long to make that new habit. Giving up ice cream altogether though or cutting out all sugar on the other hand might take a lot longer. 

When we ask that question, what we really want to know is how long do we have to tough it out before it gets easier. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel where we don’t have to try so hard anymore? In other words, when will this new behavior become automatic? 

While it will be different from one person to the next and even from one habit to the next, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

It’s easier to make a new habit than get rid of an old one. Be prepared to work a lot harder to give up checking your email every 2 minutes or snacking late at night. Whenever possible, try to replace an old habit with a new one. For example if you’re wanting to give up coffee, brew a cup of herbal tea in the morning and throughout the day when you would usually reach for your cup of Joe. 

Habits will form faster if you stick to the same time and environment each day. Instead of going for a walk whenever, keep your sneakers next to the door and schedule your walk every day at 6pm, right after dinner for example. 

A constant reminder of why you’re trying to change your behavior is also helpful. Remind yourself every day that you’re exercising so your body stays strong and you can go play with the kids or grandkids in the yard. Or put up a picture to remind you that you’re making frugal habits so you can one day purchase your dream home. Keep your reason why you’re changing front and center and then be prepared to stick it out. Yes it will take some time to make new habits and replace old ones. But it will be well worth it in the end. 

Photo by Darina Belonogova on Pexels.com
Categories
Gratitude Positivity Self-care

10 things nobody told you about practicing gratitude

What you focus on comes to pass. When you practice gratitude you are training your mind to be more positive and this has some interesting physical implications. Practicing gratitude and positive thinking directly affects your brain chemistry. By focusing on gratitude and happiness, you control the release of certain chemicals and neurotransmitters that influence how you feel both physically and mentally. Let’s take a look at how that works. 

Dopamine and serotonin

Focusing on happiness and gratitude leads to the release of two “feel good” neurotransmitters – dopamine and serotonin. These two neurotransmitters are responsible for warm feelings. Yes, there are other ways to get them like exercise and chocolate for example. Focusing on positivity, making a conscious effort to be more grateful and happier changes the balances of neurotransmitters in your body and your brain. 

Fewer Stress Hormones 

When you are anxious or scared, the body releases stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It helps you react fast when you’re about to be hit by a car and make you run faster when you need to get away from someone. But it works against you when it’s a response to something that isn’t a physical danger. Like worrying about contracting COVID-19 or what your co-worker thinks of you. 

Stress hormones can lead to weight gain, depression, anxiety, and they take a toll on your heart. One of the most powerful strategies to reduce stress is practicing gratitude and positive thinking. So choose happiness and know that you are doing wonders for your mental and physical health. 

So what’s the bottom line? When you are mindful of all of the things you are grateful for in your life then you can learn to appreciate all the good even in the midst of the bad and cultivate happiness. Stop waiting for the right person, the right circumstances. Don’t wait for happiness to find you. Be happy right now. In this moment. And use gratitude to help you get there. 

Adversity – Staying Positive When Life Falls Apart

We take a lot of good things for granted in our everyday life. A roof over our heads, a steady paycheck, a loving partner, the ability to go out for a run on the weekends. The specifics vary, but one of the big advantages of modern lives is the many awesome things we can count on. We’re not used to falling short, so when something happens and our life starts to fall apart, it’s easy to fall into thinking patterns that focus on lack and despair. 

Sometimes the bad things are a result of choices we made. Sometimes they are outside of our control. In either case, it is up to us to decide how we react to each crisis. One piece of advice that is important to remember no matter what adversity you face is to make sure you don’t forget about how blessed you really are. Gratitude can turn what we have into enough. 

There’s a quote I love and would like to share with you by Melody Beattie. Here it is: 

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” 

Think about how you can start to do this in your everyday life. A good place to start is to simply take a deep breath and pause for a moment when things go wrong and everything is starting to feel overwhelming. Then come up with one little thing you are grateful for during this time. It can be something as simple as being able to breathe fresh, clean air, or living to fight another day. 

Find that something and start to build on it. What else are you grateful for? Keep making that mental list until the desperation starts to lift and you can start to think clearly. When you do, you can start to find your way out, no matter how bad things seem at first. And remember, you never know what good might come from the struggle you are facing right now. 

But What If You’re Stuck In Negativity?

Practicing gratitude and focusing on positivity is easier said than done. Especially if you are struggling with anxiety and depression. If you ever find yourself spiraling into the deep pit of depression then get help if you need it.  There’s nothing wrong with talking to a counselor or getting therapy. It’s the smart thing to do. 

When things aren’t quite that bad, there’s a lot you can do to get yourself unstuck from all that negativity. Start by acknowledging them and putting them into words. How exactly do you feel? Is it anger or annoyance? Frustration or disappointment? Try to be specific. Dig deep. Yes, it can be painful and some people prefer to avoid thinking about these feelings, but the first step to getting yourself unstuck is determining exactly where you are emotionally. 

Once you find the true reason for your negative feelings, you can start to work to resolve them. What that looks like will vary from case to case. The important takeaway here is that it gives you something specific and meaningful to do. You no longer feel out of control or helpless. It’s something you can work with and that alone will help you think more positively. 

In addition, it allows you to distance yourself a little from the negative feelings. You may still be upset with your spouse, but it also gives you the space to remember everything you love about him or her. It gives you the space to act outside of the negativity and have a good relationship while you work things out. And sometimes, it may give you the mental space you need to realize that it is up to you to decide if you want to continue to dwell in the negativity, or choose a route of forgiveness. You can’t change everything or everyone. Sometimes your path toward positivity is to acknowledge your negative feelings and then let them go. 

Of course all of this is easier said than done. A journal can be a great tool to help you along the way. Try talking to a close friend or confidant when you feel stuck and you can’t see a path towards positivity. An outside perspective can give a lot of clarity. Meditation can be helpful as well. 

Last but not least, surround yourself with positivity.  Get outside and enjoy nature. Spend some time helping others. And don’t forget to remind yourself regularly of everything you have to be grateful for. 

Turning Gratitude Outward – Sharing With The World

Practicing gratitude regularly has a bit impact on your life, your health, and your mental and emotional wellbeing. But it doesn’t end there. It will also have a big impact on those around you and the world at large when you start to turn your gratitude outwards and share it far and wide. 

Now let’s take this a step further. What if, instead of simply practicing gratitude for yourself, you take it out to the world at large? What could happen? What force of good could you create? There is no telling how many lives you could influence for the better. Let’s take a look at how you, I, and everyone else reading this can start to turn their gratitude outward and share it with those around them. 

Random Acts of Kindness 

Do something kind for a stranger. This can be something as simple as giving an open and honest smile to a stranger on the street or a few kind words and a compliment for the cashier ringing up your groceries. Or it could be taking a meal to an elderly neighbor or buying a drink for the person behind you in the coffee shop drive-thru line. Make it a goal to do something kind for someone each day and do it intentionally. 

Respect And Thank Those Who Serve You 

There are so many people in our communities that serve us from first responders to the waitress at your favorite restaurant. Make it a point to be respectful and thank them with words, with actions, and in the case of that waitress with a generous tip. Show them how grateful you are for everything they do to make your life easier.  

Volunteer In Your Community 

What better way to show your gratitude than to give your time and your skills. There are many opportunities for anyone to volunteer in various projects and for a variety of different causes. See what’s available around you and make an effort to put in some time to volunteer each month. Not only is it a wonderful way to give back and spread gratitude, but you’ll be amazed at how much you get out of it. 

Develop Deeper Relationships 

Last but not least, I would like to encourage you to work on developing deeper relationships. You will have a stronger sense of gratitude and lead by example when you make the time to listen and actively work on coming closer to the people you love. 

Now that you have some ideas, the ball is in your court. What will you do today, this week, or this month to spread gratitude in your own circle of influence? Go out there and make an impact. Make the world a better and more grateful place. 

Living Abundantly By Showing And Sharing Gratitude 

Would you like to live abundantly full of happiness and contentment? How about a life with excellent physical and mental health? Greatly increase your chances of that happening by showing and sharing gratitude. That’s right, something as simple as practicing thankfulness and expressing how grateful you are for the people and things you have in your life has a powerful impact. Here are some simple things you can do starting today to show your gratitude. 

  1. Tell the people you love how grateful you are for them. We often take the ones closest to us for granted. Make a point to do it regularly and be specific to make it meaningful. 
  2. Think about the people who challenge you. Express your gratitude for how they help you grow and make you stronger. 
  3. Take a few minutes each week to write a letter or email to a person who has made a difference to you at one point or another. This could be a teacher, a mentor, an old friend … anyone you can think of. 
  4. Give the gift of your time to someone to show without words how grateful you are to have them in your life. This is particularly important for the elderly people in your life. Your time with them is limited. Make the most of it. 
  5. Start using a gratitude journal and make the time to write down three things you are grateful for every single day. It will brighten even your worst days and put things into perspective. 
  6. Forgive yourself when you don’t reach all your goals, or things don’t go your way. Be grateful for what you have and what you are learning from each experience. 
  7. Compliment the people around you. Make them feel good about themselves. It’s a powerful way to show gratitude in an indirect way. Small, meaningful gifts and acts of service do the same. 
  8. Pay it forward. Do something nice for someone you work with or a total stranger. Random acts of kindness are a wonderful way to spread gratitude and bring more positivity into the world. 
  9. Give a hug and a kind word to someone who’s struggling. Show them through physical affection that you’re there for them and grateful to have them in your life. 
  10. Show your body and mind gratitude for what they do for you day in and day out by taking care of yourself and investing in regular self-care. 
Categories
Self-care

overcoming post election stress

Post Election Stress

In 2016, the American Psychological Association reported that 52% of US adults thought that the presidential election was very or somewhat significant source of stress. In the Stress In America survey, both Democrats and Republicans were equally likely to say that the election was very or somewhat significant source of stress. There were no appreciable differences between party lines. In fact, there were no significant differences in generation. All generations including boomers and gen Z felt the stress from the election. Individuals with disabilities suffered the most significant stress over the election compared to those without disabilities. It all points to stress being a part of what Americans deal with in anticipation of the unknown. 

Post Election Trauma Disorder

It happened back in 2016 when Donald Trump won the election against Hillary Clinton. Americans were going to their therapists complaining of panic attacks, moodiness, insomnia, and heightened anxiety. These complaints were termed to be Post Election Trauma Disorder. This is not a diagnostically verifiable categorized disorder in the DSM-V, but an array of symptoms under investigation. 

Both Democrats and Republicans reported increased stress over family, friends, and acquaintances over social media. Anyone who goes on Facebook or Twitter can figure out that there is true animosity between political lines. I shut down all of my social media and took a break from blogging to deal with the stress. How do we deal with our own stress and those of our neighbors? Are we going through post-election stress now in 2020?

Stages of Grief 

The post-election period can lead some stressed Americans to experience a collective stress, grief and loss. There are five stages of grief that were presented by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying. 

1. Denial and isolation. One can deny that the election happened and that President Trump loss. One can regret that things should have happened differently without mail in ballots and without COVID-19.

2. Anger. One can become angry at the results and lash out at others. This step is certainly observed with the collective protests around the country. 

3. Bargaining. This is the stage that one can observe with the call to stop votes from counting by the supporters of Trump. 

4. Depression. In this stage, one can cry and have trouble focusing. One can blame themselves for the results. 

5. Acceptance. Some Trump supporters have reached this stage. They have accepted that the nation must move on. 

People who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order or experience all of them.

Use Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the key in being aware of your source of stress. Follow these tips to deal with post election stress.

1. Be mindful of those around you. Avoid getting into discussions that can escalate. Take a deep breath, feel that you are becoming anxious and reset your emotions. Choose to be calm.

2. Turn off the cell phone notifications, social media and television. To overcome post election stress, spend your time in pleasurable activities such as drawing, board games or reading. Turn off your cell phone at least 1 hour before you go to bed. By getting a good night’s sleep you will feel rested. Simply, stay off Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 

3. Be grateful every day. Schedule a regular time to write down 5 things that you are grateful for and read them out loud. It could easily be about being grateful that you are a citizen in a democracy and exercised your right to vote.

4. Do some self-reflection meditation. Find a quiet space a start deep breathing, Clear your mind to reflect on calm and happy memories. Focus on your gratitude.

Being it the moment Stops Post Election Stress

Being aware of being in the moment is a great way to cut down on worry and anxiety. Follow these six steps to be more in tune with the present:

1. Practice savoring the present. Notice sights, sounds, smells and engage all your senses in each moment of the day. This helps you relax. Focus on your task not on your performance. Focusing on the task at hand instead of worrying about how well you are doing keeps you from stressing over what will happen.

2. Notice your breathing. When you focus on your breath you feel more peaceful and centered.

3. Lose track of time by getting into the flow of what you are doing. Focusing on what you are doing and enjoying it while you are relaxes you.

4. Accept people and situations as they are. When you refrain from judging others or stop worrying about situations, you let your mind and body off the hook of fearing it.

5. Work on building your mindfulness every day. Mindfulness keeps anxiety at bay because you are aware of what is happening around you.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, you should aim to be in the present moment. This allows peacefulness to replace anxiety.

Long-Term Strategies to Decrease Post Election Stress

As you can see, there are many things you can do right now to reduce stress and anxiety over the post election period. Isolation can be the worse way to deal with post election stress. Strengthening connections is the key by building relationships. 

1. Start by compromising with others when possible. Is it really worth it to argue? Use the mindfulness techniques above and think empathetically. Ask questions and listen to the other side. 

2. Contribute. Volunteer in your community. Advocate for an issue. Join a nonprofit group to make a positive change and help others. Civic involvement gives you a voice. 

3. Live in the present. If you overthink and worry about the things that happened in the past, then you are directly focusing on the stress. Live in the now. Acknowledge the stress and let it pass.

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