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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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mindset Self-care

this year will be the year of overthinking

We continue to face a pandemic making this year the year of overthinking. It has been overly stressful for all of us. Some of us have resorted to overthinking, which is no surprise because studies have shown that stressful events can lead to rumination.

“To think too much is a disease.” 

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Notes from Underground & The Double
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 8 Ways To Overcome Overthinking

1. Be aware of when you are doing it.

The first step in changing any behavior including overthinking about everything, is to realize you are doing it. Acknowledge that you are a worrier. Becoming aware helps you gain control over it.

It’s not exactly going to be easy. After all, it’s natural for human beings to admit we have a problem, no matter how big or small. However, being aware that you overthink is the first step in understanding how your mind works.

The next time you catch yourself overthinking something, stop what you’re doing, acknowledge the fact that you are worrying about the subject and then move on. Simply by pausing and being aware can help you go back to the reality of the situation and focus on the moment.

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2. See the world from the inside out.

See the world by exploring your own hobbies. Pick up painting with watercolors or writing. Explore your feelings through drawing. Listen to music. Play an instrument. Join an online meetup group.

If you do decide to venture outside, travel to a national park and admire nature. It gives you a new perspective on life. You’re able to put aside your worry and focus on the moment.

Having a staycation helps you relax and put your mind on something else. 

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3. Distract yourself.

Distract yourself. Do something else that engages your brain when you find yourself overthinking something. One option is to journal about your overthinking. Put it all down, kind of like a brain dump on paper, then set it aside. This helps clear your mind and allows you to focus on the problem/situation/person of what is happening at that moment.

Another option is to do some type of movement such as twenty pushups or dancing around the room. Or distract yourself by reading a fun article or calling your best friend. Just do whatever you can to get yourself out of the worrying moment. It will surprise you how quickly your overthinking thoughts will become less overwhelming when you don’t let them take over.

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4. Don’t believe everything your mind tells you.

A thought is simply a thought. It isn’t a reality. It’s hard for people who tend to overthink everything not to believe every thought they have. But in truth, you have to power to control your own thoughts. When negative self-talk takes over, don’t believe it. Acknowledge it then move on. 

Just because your mind is telling you to worry about something or to be fearful about something isn’t a reason you have to listen to it. You can put this into practice every time worry tries to take over and ruin your day.

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5. Shock your senses.

Overthinking is a mental activity that involves your mind but not your body. Instead when you find yourself overthinking, do something physical. This can shock your senses by taking the power away from one area of the body and sending it to another area.

When you do this, you take away the power of the thoughts and putting focus on something else. This allows you to turn worry into a positive action. For example, when you start to overthink and feel fearful about something, smell the scents from calming lavender essential oils. The brain starts to react to the sudden change in action moving it away from the focus of the worrisome thought.

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6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

This expression has around for a while, but as an overthinker it needs to be a daily mantra. Your life will consist of things you can control and things you can’t. It’s up to you to recognize the ones you can’t control and accept them for as they are. 

You’re going to have practice letting things go. It will take time but by being aware of what you aren’t able to control, it gets easier to stop worrying so much. The things that don’t really matter shouldn’t paralyze you with worry because you’re going to have bigger more important things ahead. 

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7. You don’t have to be perfect.

Go easy on yourself. Let perfectionism go. It’s often linked to overthinking and stress or by someone striving for perfectionism as a way to deal with stress. This tends to make you more anxious because you are trying to do the impossible: being perfect.

Admit and accept your imperfections. Realize no one is perfect so let go of your overthinking and give yourself the freedom to mess up.

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8. Enjoy the scenery.

Taking pictures, especially ones of nature and landscapes is a relaxing way to calm your mind and reduce stress. When you take photographs, you are focusing on the present moment. You’re aware of the world around you and what you see though your lens/screen. This keeps you from having the time to worry since you mind can’t wander to the past or the future for that moment in time.

Another caveat to photography is how it allows you to open up and be creative. Creativity is a great stress-reducer and a good way to find balance between work and relaxation each day. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect or professional- just photograph what inspires you.

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mindfulness star gazing

stargazing: Perseid meteor shower peak 2020

How To Watch A Meteor Shower

The Perseids light up the night sky when Earth runs into cosmic space junk left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle. I woke up at 4 am to gaze at the sky and watch the meteor shower. I was expecting a beautiful display of sparkling lights shooting down from a dark starry sky. Maybe I watch too many Disney movies or my expectations were a tad too high. I saw two meteors at best lasting a second each. They were gone with a blink of the eye.

1. Plan ahead.

Find out when the prak will occur. I use Sky Guide, an application that keeps me informed about comets and meteor showers. This year the peak occurred on August 11 and August 12. Once you know when the peak will occur, dress for the weather. Bring a comfortable lounge chair. You might be waiting a long time to get a glimpse.

2. Find a dark place.

Make sure you have a clear view of the whole night sky. Light pollution ruins the moment. You can use applications to locate a dark sky.. For instance, I use Light Pollution Map-Sky to find places with minimal light pollution. I simply type in my address and it tells me where I should drive to in order to get a great view.

This year the peak coincided with light of the last quarter moon reflecting back. This meant that the meteors would appear short lived. I only saw 2 meteors lasting a secon. Perhaps seeking a dark place with minimal light pollution would have done the job! Supposedly, in a dark place you could have seen up to 50 meteors per hour. 

Remember to get adjusted to the dark. It can take 15 to 20 minutes to get used to it. Once your eyes are used to the dark, it is time to look at the radiant.

3. Map out the sky. 

To find the Perseids I use an application to map out the constellations. I use Time & Date for location information in my area to find the radiant. A compass comes in handy to find the direction where to start looking. Once, I have the radiant I simply look up and enjoy the meteor shower.

4. Watch the meteors.

This the time that you chose to be mindful and look up at the sky. Don’t get distracted by social media. It is time to be present and admire nature.

Categories
mindset Positivity relationships

being optimistic in your relationships

There are several benefits to leading a life of optimism. Research shows those people who choose to be positive bounce back more quickly when getting sick, are more resilient in life in general, sleep better and even live longer. While this is wonderful news for us as individuals, how does optimism impact our relationships?

How Does Being Optimistic Affect Those Around You?

While there are tons of benefits to being optimistic for ourselves such as being resilient, having optimum health, a balanced mindset, and an overall sense of well-being, there are plenty of benefits for our relationships too.

Work, Family, and Friendships

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Optimism impacts relationships. When we are optimistic, we spread good cheer and are more approachable. We have the power and potential to set and influence the tone of our day at work, school, home, as well as in social settings.

Have you ever been excited to go on an outing and someone else in your group is acting like a “Debby Downer”? To tell you the truth, this happens to me quite often. Debby makes immediate impact by taking everyone else in the group down a negative spiral. Maybe you have been greeted by an employee in a store who is downright rude. How do we meet that attitude? If we match upset with upset, now we have two angry individuals.

If we meet upset with calm and patience, we not only impact our inner being but theirs as well. This is a true win-win situation.

Think about it. The adage “Happiness is contagious” does stem from optimism.

Positive Expectations in Romantic Relationships

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In addition to setting the tone in family, friendship, and even work relationships, optimism gives us the power of positive expectations. Worry about a relationship ending and it is as if this will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Take on being secure and confident, and just watch your romantic relationships thrive. Being optimistic in your ability to resolve conflict and problem solve together will make for a happier, healthier relationship.

Overdoing Optimism

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Is there such a thing as overdoing optimism? Getting stuck in traffic when you are already running late or spilling your latte on your shirt on the way out the door are all bumps in the road of a busy life. Pretending that it does not matter or isn’t frustrating is not the best course of action. Being around someone who is “too nice” or “pleasant all the time” can have an impact on our relationships. If you’ve ever been around someone who is always happy all the time, you might find it to be a bit irritating. You might even think that they are not being authentic.

Having a personality that is optimistic yet real is a wonderful invitation for other people to be real and be optimistic as well. It is perfectly normal to get upset and frustrated, but a true optimist will feel those negative feelings of frustration, take action, and move on with their day. Staying too high on positivity gives the idea that negative feelings are fine to stuff down and suppress and staying angry all day because of one negative incident that morning doesn’t work either.

A true optimist knows it is perfectly acceptable to get frustrated and move on just as quickly. How does this have a positive impact on your relationships? When an optimist is a role model of gracefully navigating all of life’s ups and downs, other people are positively impacted, as well. When you are optimistic, you shine your light and invite other people to do the same.

To learn. more on how you can be more positive, start enjoying the simple things:


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mindfulness Positivity

3 Little Tricks on How To Overcome Negativity

When you experience strong negative emotions, it may seem difficult to build any resilience to difficult life experiences. How can some people give up while others just pick themselves up, keep calm and carry on as if nothing happened? The secret on how to overcome negativity is to use coping skills that are flexible and that you can adapt to your situation. You can learn to use mindfulness, and develop 9 positive attitudes to overcome negativity in this guide

Use Mindfulness Coping Skills

Be Flexible

By seeing negative events in your life as flexible, short term situations, you can more easily move on. Let’s imagine someone who sees these negative events with a fixed mindset. To them, that disappointment they felt with themselves or that failure they felt, is static. It’s always there. Nothing they can do will change their story of the event fact and the disappointment in their lives. 

Someone who may feel entrenched in their negative feelings finds it harder to remove themselves from those feelings and change direction. It’s like getting stuck in a ditch. Those people who are willing to see emotions as passing understand how to let go and change direction quickly. They find solutions to jump over the ditch by building a positive mindset. Those people who build a positive mindset learn how to overcome negativity faster. 

So what can you do to help you adopt this outlook? 

Learn to Accept and Adapt

When one bad thing enters their life, it starts to spread like an illness. It makes you use up all your energy by over focusing on the negativity. The negativity spreads from one task to the next. You are unable to get anything done since you are exhausted from negativity. Sound familiar? Now everything is just a mess! It’s time to learn to accept and adaptand this starts by recognizing the situation.

Just because you don’t get something done the first time doesn’t mean you won’t get it done at another point in the future. No one writes a book, paints a portrait or drives a car the first time they try.

Mindfulness

When you’re working on something and it causes you to think negatively about a task, mindfulness can center your thoughts. It gives you a calm feeling. It can help you overcome negativity. 

Using mindfulness techniques, you can maintain a clear focus on your goal. You will be able to make better choices to increase your productivity by simply unleashing your intuition. That means that you’ll focus on thoughts, ideas, and you will take positive action. Mindfulness prevents you from having to overthink situations. 

Improves Focus

Mindfulness improves focus. It lessens anxiety which can derail your productivity. It allows you to keep moving forward. Mindfulness enables you to find an inner satisfaction which lets you be fully engaged in the task. 

Improves Social Interactions

This will make a difference not only in what you get done but in how you get it done. Your interactions with others and with yourself will help you learn how to overcome negativity and change for the positive. Observe how you carry yourself in social interactions. 

Improves Creativity

You’ll gain a greater sense of commitment for the follow through. Mindfulness is a technique that can be used to improve your cognitive skills. This unleashes your thought processes to free your creativity. 

So, you learn to act rather than to react. With mindfulness comes a greater sense of confidence in your abilities and in your skills. Rather than think negatively you’ll learn to foster a can-do attitude toward whatever you’re doing. 

Work On Your Attitude

Having the right attitude helps you overcome negativity. Start by becoming more aware of your moods as you go about your day. Make an effort to be grateful and find the good side of things. Over time your positivity will increase, and it will help you stay on track and stay motivated. 

We all face setbacks. We all make mistakes. How we deal with them is what set’s successful people apart from the rest. Work on your positivity and find a lesson in everything that happens. You’ll come out on the other side stronger and better than before. 

Check your attitude and find the joy in everything you do. Keeping a journal can help, it makes you focus your thoughts. You can look back and see what of the things you worked and helped you make progress. Another powerful tip is to write. Create a journal or file of encouragement. Fill it with positive images and motivational quotes. Browse through the journal or file any time you need an extra boost of positivity.

9 Ways to Build A Positive Attitude 

1. Purpose

Highly positive people are able to comprehend and internalize the bigger picture. They see how their work fits into the whole, and therefore don’t start feeling like the smaller components of the journey are meaningless.

2. Optimism

Positive and motivated people envision a future. They gain energy to aim for a happy outcome. They are able to overcome setbacks from negativity. 

3. Self-Esteem

It’s hard to do anything when you don’t feel like you can do it. But positive and motivated people know their strengths, and they believe in themselves. They also acknowledge their weaknesses and grow from them. 

4. Energy

Positive people have the requisite energy—mental, physical, or emotional—to move forward to overcome negativity. 

5. Persistence

People with high levels of positivity are motivated. They don’t just give up when the going gets tough. They buckle down for the ride. 

6. Perspective

Highly positive and people don’t get it twisted with the small stuff. They know how to sort through life’s concerns and ignore the little things that could pull them off course.

7. Self-Reflection

Positive and motivated people reflect on the process and move forward with intelligence and strategy.

8. Humility

A humble person will have an easier time carrying out their plan, taking feedback, and adjusting course as necessary. Their attitude is more positive. They will not be offended—their eyes are on the prize, and they’ll take the help they need to get there.

9. Give Yourself Reasons to Celebrate

Positive and motivated people enjoy success and they celebrate it. They appreciate the hard work just done, and look forward to a new journey.

How To Overcome Negativity

If you are dealing with deep-rooted anger, then to overcome negativity consider healthy ways to deal with your anger. Sometimes it’s good and right to get mad. Positive change can come from being angry at injustice or inequality. Righteous or justified anger from being mistreated can be a great motivator for change. 

But if you’ve had bad experiences of anger, for instance, poor role models in your childhood, you might experience anger as a destructive bomb. Learning anger management so you can be in control of angry feelings can have a positive effect on your relationships. Here are some expert strategies to help you manage your anger.

1. Understand Yourself

Understanding why you’re angry and where it’s coming from is key. Maybe you’re stressed and grumpy, fatigued, or unwell. Perhaps the reason for your anger is apparent. 

Once you understand your anger and its sources, you can start to deal with it by eliminating the negative. 

2. Write It Down

Turning your feelings into words is a powerful act. Just write whatever comes into your head, even if it doesn’t make sense. 

The act of writing down your thoughts stops them from running in circles in your head and gets them down on paper. Chances are they might not even seem so big or insurmountable. You might even begin to see patterns, so you can understand what triggers your angry feelings. 

3. Take Action

Once you know what’s making you angry, you can plan workarounds for it. Be aware of your triggers and minimize them. For instance, get enough sleep, and exercise and take time out for self-care.

You won’t be able to avoid being angry sometimes, but you can take control, so you’re not vulnerable to anger and frustration. 

4. Don’t Brood

Brooding on the cause of your anger is actively unhelpful. It keeps you stuck in those negative feelings, keeps you stuck in victim mode, and keeps you powerless. 

Brooding is also bad for your blood pressure. You build up a constant stress response within your body. Adrenaline which is excellent in an emergency, spikes with brooding. 

5. Don’t Rehash Anger

Talking over your problems can be helpful if you share with a trusted friend. But be careful to keep it focused, or you might end up rehashing your troubles over and over again. Like brooding, complaining can keep you from moving forward and finding solutions to your problems. 

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mindfulness Time management

7 Productive Ways To Be More Mindful

Living in the now helps you be more appreciative of what you have and look forward to the future. There are ways you can train yourself to be more mindful no matter whether you’re at home with your family, out for a walk or during work. Start becoming more mindful today by implementing these 7 productive ways to be more mindful.

1. Create what you desire

What do you genuinely want to experience in life? What journey do you want to be following? Being mindful starts with having a vision of what you want your life to be. Haven’t you noticed that there are so many distractions in life that can easily take you off track of your dreams, goals, or ambitions? To accomplish what you want, you have to stay focused during the good and the bad days. On the days you feel like giving up, be mindful of your desires and continue on.

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2. Be in alignment with your beliefs and values.

Knowing what matters most to you, deepest beliefs and values keeps you on your path. Live every day in alignment with them. When you do this, you are making the decision mentally to be mindful in your life and consciously aware of your life.

When you are mindful in life, you are aware of why you do something. You know and understand the reasons why you get up in the morning and go work. You have a purpose for living. 

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3. Disconnect from society and connect into your mind.

We live in a world that’s constantly “on”. It never switches off. Think about how Facebook, the internet, messaging, Instagram, emails, television, fast food, billboards, and advertising affect you. All these things are noise that is constantly inundating our minds and our lives.

Train yourself to be more mindful by disconnecting from society every once in a while. Instead connect to your own mind. Discover your emotions, thoughts, and feelings going on in your mind. Reflect upon what changes you need to make in your life if you are off course.

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4. Ask yourself. What is your legacy?

What do you want to be remembered by? You can easily get stuck in routine and forget why you do what you do. Take the time to think about the end and why you do the things you do. Doing so keeps you mindful of your goals and values. 

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5. Create mindful actions.

Express yourself through your actions by becoming more aware of the moment. You can be more mindful in a negative way or a positive one. To be positive in your mindful actions, be in the moment, become aware of your body, your actions, and your thoughts. Observe the way you walk. How is your posture? What do you see, smell, hear? Apply this way of being in the now in everything you do. 

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6. What inspires you?

What is your purpose in life? Do you have a reason that inspires you to get up and start your day in a positive way? Or are you living by routine? These routines are draining and take you away from living in the moment.

Get clear on your purpose in life so you can start living each day mindfully. You’ll know that everything you do is connected to fulfilling your chosen purpose.

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7. Know who you really are inside

Be real in everything you do. It’s impossible to live a more mindful life when you are and fake.

Always remain true to who you are. Stay connected to your inner being. Don’t conform to society’s expectations of who you are. When you know who you are, what you value and what you stand for, it’s easier to live in the now.

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mindfulness

the meaning of mindful living

What does mindful living mean to me? Mindful living means to live in the moment. Through mindful living I am being conscious, and aware of my present using all my senses. It means that I’m not living in the past nor am I worrying about what the future will be.

When I concentrate on being in the present, I focus my attention on the task at hand. I give my undivided attention and let go of the outcome. Seizing the moment allows me to make each moment more meaningful and valuable.

Of course, this does not mean that I will forget about planning and setting goals. I should be able to do all these things and at the same time enjoy being in the present. For instance, through the act of setting a goal to exercise each day, I am living in the now. I enjoy planning the process, such as brainstorming ideas for exercise, taking advice from friends, or setting an appointment with a personal trainer.

Great Expectations

Everyday we place huge expectations on ourselves. We are always on the go and rushing from place to place. Sometimes we move from task to task and never enjoy the process. Haven’t you noticed that we tend to be completely oblivious to why we carry out in such a way?

We don’t stop and think about where we are. We miss the point of just being there. Instead, we should rely on the power of mindfulness.

When we live in the past, hanging onto hurtful experiences we are inflicting pain onto ourselves. Mindful living is about releasing that pain and finding pleasure in the simple things.

Living in the now means that you need to trust in the future. You are positive and optimistic in the present. By this simple act of being, you open to the possibility of a promising future.

What does mindful living mean to me?

Mindful living in the now allows me to begin to notice the beauty and wonder of the moment and the surrounding things. I learn how to focus and manage my energy on what is most important. This is just one of the benefits of living in the now.

Living in the moment is beneficial in many ways. From physical health to your mental status, being mindful enhances life. Here are several ways living in the moment benefits us:

Better Physical Health

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By reducing stress and anxiety we are able to avoid the health consequences associated with them. This includes high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity.

Better Psychological Health:

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Being mindful improves our psychological well-being because we are more in tune with what is happening around and within you.

Improved Relationships

Most of us have been with someone who is with us physically, but their mind is a million miles away. This makes the relationship extremely difficult. But when we are with someone who is fully present, the experience is enjoyable and it creates a deeper connection. By living in the now, we can be the person others enjoy being with and make your relationships easier.

Better self-control

When we are living in the moment, we are in better control over our mind, your body and your emotions. We no longer have a racing mind and unpredictable emotions controlling our life. 

Better focus

Living a mindful life allows us to stay focused on what’s happening in the present. We are not worrying about what happened in the past or stressing about what might happen in the future. We are able to focus fully on the now.

Healthier choices

Being mindful helps us make healthier food choices because we are paying attention to what we choose to eat and how much you eat. Food tastes better because we are paying attention to all the sensations of each bite. We savor each bite by putting your fork down between bites. 

Better decisions

Living in the now helps us make better decisions. We are more aware of your circumstances and opportunities.

Feeling less overwhelmed

Living in the now helps us see what needs to be done now instead of being overwhelmed by the scope of a large project.

Feeling less stress 

We are more in tune with the world around us instead of being lost in your own thoughts all the time. We are able to identify what bothers us and not stress over it. 

Living in the moment has an abundant number of benefits that can help us improve our life. It helps us stay healthier, have less stress and be more aware of each moment of the day. The way that we conduct ourselves in our personal and professional life begins with how we use your mind. We can teach our mind to accept ourselves and gain empowerment – or we can stay stuck in self-defeating behaviors. 

How to Accept Yourself

Once you learn to accept yourself, you will be able to have compassion for yourself, too. This will defeat any negative internal talk that you may have been practicing. Meditation is a strategy that you can use to achieve mindfulness in order to accept and empower yourself. 

It helps those who practice meditation quiet the mind. A peaceful mind allows you to be fully in the present and accept emotions and thoughts.

For a peaceful meditation, choose a place where you will be comfortable to be more relaxed.

Some people choose to sit while meditating and others prefer to lie down. You can also practice mindful meditation while you are walking outside or in your home. Relax and focus on what is around you and how you are inhaling and exhaling. 

Be aware of the sensations you feel and the emotions that you are experiencing. Another strategy that is often used is deep breathing. You can start this the same way that you would with mindful meditation where you find a comfortable place and begin. 

But you can also practice deep breathing while you are active at home or at work. You focus on drawing in deep breaths and slowly release them.

Another strategy is mindful thought replacement. This method is a mindfulness cognitive behavioral technique. Rather than simply letting the thought pass through your mind, these are strategies that call for you to be aware of your thoughts. Whenever any negative self talk pops into your mind, you make a conscious choice to stop and correct the thought. 

You correct it by replacing it with accepting words that help you accept yourself as you are. This helps you reprogram your thoughts to enable you to feel empowered rather than listening to words that hinder you and create self-doubt. 

Why Living in the Moment is Difficult

Even though there are many benefits of living in the moment, it can often be difficult to do. All our lives we’ve been encouraged to think about the future and remember the past. Advertising, notifications, messages, reminders, alerts are all geared to what’s coming up or what happened previously. We tend to get caught up in what’s going on around us that we don’t pay attention to what’s happening in the moment.

Why is this a problem? 

The problem comes from the stress, strain, wear, and tear of living on a day-to-day basis causing us emotional and physical problems.

Here are other factors that contribute to living in the now:

When you’re in the flow in what you’re doing and you end up getting pulled away from it by a notification on your phone. This pulls you away from the present and being aware. This is one reason living in the moment is difficult.

The basic nature of our mind is to dwell on our pas and worry about our future. We face a lot of uncertainty that causes anxiety when we live in the moment. When you are fully into the moment you aren’t thinking about what will happen in the next, which can cause worry about the future.

We have a hard time keeping focused on the moment. Our minds naturally wander. We have an innate ability to always be thinking, wandering, asking, pondering, and just having random thoughts.

We don’t worry about the present moment because it’s already decided. That means our mind naturally goes to the past or to predicting the future. We use our past as the basis for what the future will be. This tendency can get out of control, and we begin to see dangers that are not actually there.

There is comfort in the possibility of what’s to come, something that lies beyond today – hope. We have hope that tomorrow will be better than this moment, this now. So, we are constantly thinking of what is next.

These thoughts, assumptions and fears keep us from living in the present moment. It can be hard fighting these issues, but we are can change the tendencies of our brains. Practicing mindfulness helps us get stronger at it and makes it possible to overcome the harmful or destructive choices and make better ones

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mindfulness

can mindfulness increase your self-esteem?

Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.

— Golda Meir

Haven’t you noticed how confident individuals have a certain charm in how they present themselves? They have a swagger in their walk and a captivating smile. Confident individuals are self-assured. Confidence allows them to have a positive view of themselves. You can be like that too! You know how much you are able to achieve. But first, you will need to figure out the following: Can mindfulness increase your self-esteem?

The potential is definitely there. You need to trust that your instincts, thinking, and abilities are sufficient. When you don’t believe in yourself, you struggle to simply accept who you are. Basically, you question yourself because you don’t trust your thinking. Essentially, you live in self-doubt.

Learn to let go. You go through life feeling as if you’re not educated enough or talented enough. Then, you think that you are not pretty enough. You carry out an imposter syndrome, a collection of feeling inadequate if you reach a certain success.

How Imposter Syndrome Affects Your Self-Esteem

Initially, imposter syndrome was studied in white, upper-middle-class women. It was thought to be a phenomenon of over achievement in this population. Studies later showed that the imposter phenomenon was not an isolated event. Men also experienced imposter syndrome. A recent study shows that some minorities are vulnerable to imposter syndrome. Minority status can become a source of stress in achieving goals. The study showed that African American students reported higher minority status stress compared to Asian Americans and Hispanic students. However, Asian Americans reported greater imposter feelings. The researchers believed that many Asian American students have a higher inner pressure to achieve.

These lead us to think about our own inner pressures to avoid imposter syndrome. You judge yourself, thinking of what you should have said or done. You find that you fall short. So ask yourself, can mindfulness increase your self-esteem and how?

What mindfulness does to help you change your low self-esteem is to build your confidence. You replace the feelings that you’re not good enough with the trust that you are better. Using mindfulness calls for you to not dwell on any negative experiences where you feel that you failed.

It helps you to not focus on the future. It helps train your mind to focus on who you are right now. You see that who you are is simply good enough. You learn to accept yourself – and with that, you build strong confidence in yourself.

Ways that Mindfulness Can Boost Self-Esteem

Practicing mindfulness can boost your self-esteem. Mindfulness can lead you to a life being lived in the present. With living in the now comes a non-judgmental acceptance of who you are.

Many people have an internal voice. This internal voice has been conditioned to speak this negatively by us. The disturbing results are that when we allow this internal voice to have a negative way, we can trigger stress, anxiety, and even depression.

This self-talk impacts your well-being and how you feel about yourself. Learn to be aware of this negative self-talk. If you call yourself names, that’s a sign that you engage in negative self-talk.

Some people call themselves stupid. When they consider taking action this internal self-talk tells them why they can’t. You start telling yourself things like “I’m not smart or pretty enough”.

When you allow these thoughts to run wild, you can get into the mindset that you can’t do something. You feel unworthy and then your feelings follow that internal self-talk until it becomes a belief.

This habit can be so automatic within you that the negative self-talk plays constantly in your mind. It becomes like white noise. It buzzes and you get used to it. What mindfulness does is bring your attention to the inner dialogue that’s destroying your self-esteem.

You learn what this internal conversation is doing to harm you and how it’s impacting your emotions. Mindfulness helps you learn to accept yourself without expectations or blaming. You gain skills to raise your confidence and accept yourself.

With acceptance, we learn about ourselves. It helps us see that we are not perfect. People who aren’t accepting often blame others for all problems, even when it’s their fault.

The key is to find the right balance of learning about yourself and keeping up your self-esteem.

3 Top Confidence and Self-Esteem Boosters

  1. Always evaluate each situation you find yourself involved in. Don’t make assumptions as they can be wrong, without the right information. You want to collect information to form a choice. You want to eliminate any possibility that might influence your thinking. For instance, you might believe that you are the cause of a problem without gathering any evidence. If you are the cause of a problem, own up to it and try to make the situation right.
  2. Don’t just take the blame for everything. If you discover that you are not the cause, then speak up and let that be known. Self-critical people will tend to blame themselves automatically.
  3. It’s important to pick your battles. If you find something minor that came up, you may want to be mindful and let it go.

If you find it difficult to trust yourself, it may be a sign that you lack confidence. You cannot develop any trust without confidence. Feel secure in your abilities and be strong in your convictions. But, know when to accept your faults.

Acceptance of your strengths and weaknesses helps in developing confidence. That may seem new to you. But think about it, no one is born with confidence. Confidence is a process that you learn to develop. You learn to have a swagger in your walk. You learn to portray yourself as self-assured. Take steps to develop your confidence and trusting yourself will flow.

The biggest detractor from confidence is fear. When you give in to your fears, you will diminish the chances of building up your confidence.

Start out with small steps that you have been afraid to try in the past. Many outcomes will turn out better than you imagine.

Visualize the positive. If you try to anticipate what will happen, and it is always a negative outcome, you will never make a decision.

Take on those small tasks without thinking about what will happen. Be mindful and open about the outcome. This action will build up your confidence as you’ve never seen before.

You should ask questions when you aren’t sure about the situations you face.

Confidence is not about having all the answers. It’s about knowing where to find them and whom to rely on with the knowledge that you need to move forward. It’s also about giving up on one way to solves a problem and finding a new solution.

Confidence is about taking responsibility for your choices and actions. When you make your decisions, you own them, even if they don’t work out. When you increase your confidence, you will automatically grow to trust yourself. Then, you can accomplish more than you ever imagined. Can mindfulness increase your self-esteem? Yes, it can especially if you use loving-kindness.

To learn more about loving-kindness listen to this free mini podcast:

Loving-Kindness Activities

These activities are proven to help your self-esteem. By following these activities you will learn to accept yourself. This is key to a loving-kindness practice. Remember not to be harsh towards yourself. Soften your stance to quiet the inner voice within you.


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star gazing

stargazing: comet Neowise and astropoetry

Photo by Ganapathy Kumar. Arizona.
Photo by Lukáš Vaňátko. Czech Republic.

Astropoetry: Haiku

Graceful morning sun
Slumbers at night, a comet
Strikes beyond this world

Frequently Asked Questions About Spotting Comet Neowise

  1. How do you find the comet?

Comet Neowise can be found by looking at the northwest sky around thirty minutes after sunset. Make sure that you have an unobstructed view of the sky. In other words, steer clear of skyscrapers, clouds, and light pollution.

Look slightly below Ursa Major and you will find a faint spot. This blurred spot is the comet.

2. Can I see it with the naked eye?

The comet is best viewed with binoculars or a telescope. It is difficult to appreciate with the naked eye.

If you are having trouble spotting the comet, use sky applications to view the star positions on your smartphone. Augmented virtual reality makes spotting the constellations easy.

3. Am I able to take a picture?

If you are thinking of photographing the comet, you should give it a try. My photographer friend in Miami was able to capture the tail. However, my friend in Vermont who lives in a rural area was able to capture the double tail. It is totally possible to take a long exposure photograph of the comet with best results in low light pollution areas. Make sure to have a stable tripod.

4. What camera settings should I use?

Camera settings to start out with: ISO 5000, F2.8, and around 3 seconds exposure time. Preferably, use a prime lens. Some photographers favor a 70 mm lens for comet photography.

Others prefer using their iPhone attached to their telescope.

For more pictures of Comet Neowise, check out NASA’s Heliospheric Observatory.

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