7 Secret Ways to Stay Happy Even When Life Knocks You Down

When I was a kid I never contemplated the profound subject called happiness, yet I was fully content. My pockets were empty, but Super Mario was collecting coins and that was enough for me to be happy. As the years passed, the game of Mario was replaced by the games of life. I realized in college that my knowledge about the world was improving, but everything I knew about myself was gradually fading away. While enduring the asperities of life, I realized how the folly of my own actions was the source of this blunder of my life.  I found myself entangled in the series of worthless tasks and had almost forgotten that life is ephemeral. In the pursuit of solitude and happiness, I came across some of its secrets and I realized this planet is full of people who are alive, but have forgotten to live.

Thus, I’m sharing these 7 secrets to stay happy even when life tries to bring you down.

1. Your First Crush Should Be You

Time never sets itself on rest. One more year has arrived. You and I are still alive. And if we are alive, what are we living for? Some of us have planned resolutions and others find themselves confused as to what to include in the list. After all, knowing oneself is the most difficult task and we aren’t born with manuals. Discerning the complex gadgets is easier than figuring out the control of the brain. One thing is certain, we all are looking for happiness, but the problem is we are searching for it outside, not at the place where it resides. We see happiness in the presence of others. When they are present, we feel happy. In their absence, we get distracted from our paths.

If we can’t enjoy our own company, chances are others will also hate being with us. So, bestow yourself with what you desperately seek from others: love. Yes, your first crush should be you. Fall in love with yourself and see how your life will be transformed. Happiness inhabits in the acts of giving and if you’re determined to give then start it by giving to yourself first. After all, only a heart full of love can spread love and happiness.

2. Your First Date Should Be with Your Own Self

Take time to connect with your inner self and realize what you truly desire. Happiness will spring out of you, once you realize that you can live satisfactorily without the need to prove yourself to others. The more you know yourself, the less of a chance you get hurt by others. Give time to all the thoughts that are transmitting through your mind and conceive all those that you think are pragmatic. Note everything down in your journal and read it before falling asleep at night.

3. Days are Incomplete Without Nights

Life cannot be separated from sadness.  Trying to eliminate sadness is like inhaling without ever exhaling – impossible. Your agitation will further engulf you into the bog of sadness. Therefore, the only escape is to embrace it. We live in a world of emotions where we deal with many lousy circumstances. Often bad things happen at unexpected times. But the truth is no one actually expects misery. Do you?

If anticipate sadness, stop! You never know when  the ‘Law of Attraction’ will activate itself. Sadness is not a specific thing that you need to root out. It’s an emotion that some feel when things don’t yield the expected outcome. Observe your emotions and accept them, you will find it’s you who is emitting this emotion of sadness. Then it will be easier for you to control your own feelings. If you have messed up something, focus on its improvement rather than loathing for its first outcome. This will help you stay happy when momentary sadness hits.

4. Life is Full of Choices

When life knocks you down you have two options: either give up or gather courage and stand up again. You certainly won’t give up and live as a loser. So always keep your attention on your improvement. Results of your effort will be in your favor when you solely focus on progress and getting better. Everything is possible when you pick the path of self-improvement. Some take this path early and others delay it. If you have to walk on this road, then what are you waiting for?

5. Ditch the Negativity

Happy people understand negativity won’t let them move forward in life. It will stall their growth. Therefore, ditching all the negative thoughts should be on your daily hit list. Assess your surroundings and mindset of all the people you spend time with. If you find anything or anyone filling your life with negativity, send him on a long trip to the island of avoidance. Never compromise when it comes to negativity. It is the root cause of all your sufferings.

 6. Follow the Diamond Rule of Being Self Sufficient

If you ask people how they want to be treated, none of them would say: “I want to be treated badly”.  The rule, ‘treat others as you want to be treated’ seems meaningless. And the cousin of this rule suggests: ‘treat others as they want to be treated’. The problem with this rule is it is people-oriented. It emotionally involves you with the actions of other people and engages you in futile activities of outer world that do no good for you. Happiness walks into your life when you focus on your life and spend time making it better.

Keep your focus on yourself only. To find yourself, you need to have good control over yourself. As I always say: “People will shoot you with the bullets of criticism, fighting the battle and standing firmly under the shelter of self belief is the only recipe of being a Champion.”

For ounce  you’ve taken time to understand yourself fully, it’ll become quite easy for you to understand others. Listen to their stories genuinely and this will bring joy to you. This habit can be developed only when you let the voice of your heart be heard by your ears and brain.

7. Listen to Your Inner Voice

Someone’s opinion, whether it is in favor of yours or against, can never influence your life unless you let it. Thus, removing the extrinsic voices that make you feel apathetic and block your happiness is a crucial step to take. It is imperative to stay in a state of solitude and to listen to our deep inner thoughts; especially when we’re chasing happiness. Are you appreciating your mortal life? Admiring the beauty within and of our surroundings should be a resolution of yours. When was the last time you saw a caterpillar turning into a butterfly… and the beauty of its wings as it flies?

When was the last time you looked up in the sky, gazed the twinkling stars and smiled? When was the last time you held the hands of loved ones and thanked them for being in your life?  Acknowledge the beauty that resides within you and honor yourself by bringing smile on the faces of others. Let us all bring the happiness into our acts.

Turning Procrastination Into Motivation

 

Turning Procrastination Into Motivation

 

Procrastination is something many people suffer from daily. Fortunately, it’s also something that is purely mind over matter to overcome.

Typical procrastination excuses we tell ourselves

  • I’ll do this tomorrow, there’s not enough time to do this today.
  • I work better under pressure, I’ll wait until it’s almost due and then the work will be even better.
  • This is such a huge project, I don’t even want to think about it yet, I’ll put it off for one more day.
  • I don’t really need to do this yet; it can wait until sometime in the future.

Unfortunately all of these lead to the inevitable day when you must actually complete the task. And while most people actually do get it done under that time pressure, working that way does not always produce the best results, and allows less time to proof and make it perfect.

The causes of procrastination:

Perhaps procrastination is a part of the human condition, having an extended period of time to accomplish something makes us put it off into the future, even if we can begin it now.Perhaps it is modern society, which often times seems to focus on immediate and instant results, rather than something carefully crafted and refined over a longer period of time.

Part of the modern business world for most of us also involves a constant connectivity. Cell phones, office phones, email, Blackberries, etc. are constantly ringing, buzzing and updatinginterrupting us with communications. Our friends, parents, co-workers, bosses, managers, etc. all are vying for our attention for sometimes trivial and sometimes important messages.

While these are all part of modern life, and we have learned to function efficiently with them, they can be a hindrance when in the midst of a project which requires complete focus. There is absolutely nothing wrong with staying in touch and being friendly/social with your peers, co-workers and friends, and giving proper attention to your loved ones – in fact I encourage all of those things. But there is a time and a place, and unfortunately being distracted can sometimes make you lose focus and motivation with the task at hand.

6 ways to minimalize procrastination and maximize motivation:

  • To be the most proficient, successful and happy at whatever it is you do in life, especially if you are producing intellectual products; you need to have a distraction-free environment. This will guarantee your mind is completely focused on the task at hand and you’ll always get the best results.
  • Start projects immediately if you have idle time. Once you actually start something and get into the flow of it, you’d be surprised how easy it is. Don’t think about starting something, act. You can always tweak the project and make changes as you go along.Getting that first start is vital.
  • Remove all distractions from your environment. Anything that will make you lose focus is something that will potentially set you up for procrastination and destroy your motivation.
  • Eat well, sleep well and get exercise. From personal experience, a healthy mind and body is less likely to procrastinate. You’ll feel better, you’ll be more upbeat and active, and more optimistic about accomplishing your goals sooner rather than later. If you’re tired or hungover, you’ll be less productive and more likely to procrastinate a task until the next day.
  • Mix up your projects and assignments so you’re not simply doing the same exact thing every day. If you keep things fresh they will be more interesting and compelling for you to work on, and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate them.
  • Keep your thoughts positive, and recognize when you’re entering a cycle of procrastination. Here is where you will need to address mind over matter. Start by just getting into it and doing step one of whatever your task is and go from there. Sit down and break the project up into consumable parts that are less daunting.

10 Ways To Stop Being Possessive Every Couple Needs To Know

Being possessive over your partner can only damage a relationship. There are many reasons why people might feel possessive, including having trust issues, being jealous, or having low self-esteem. Here are some tips to keep things in perspective if you feel yourself or your partner spiraling into a possessive state.

1. Forget about the past.

Maybe you’ve been cheated on or lied to before, but this is a new relationship. Don’t let the past ruin what you have going for you now. Your partner is a different person than your ex, and deserves a fresh start. Not to mention, you’ll feel better if you let the past go! You can’t change anything that’s already happened, so release the past hurt and focus on the relationship you’re in now.

2. Don’t be overbearing.

The more you worry your partner doesn’t love you or isn’t being honest with you, the more you will push him or her away. No one wants to be with a needy person, so don’t pile all your fears and worries about love on your partner. Trust that they love you because they’re choosing to be in a relationship with you. Let them go out without you, and don’t give them the third degree when they come home. If you make your partner feel like they’ve done something bad even when they haven’t, they might wonder what it’s worth to be good.

3. Live your own life.

This goes hand in hand with not being overbearing. If you have your own job, your own hobbies, and your own social life, then you’ll be a more interesting person to your partner. It’s important to spend time together, of course, but it’s also fun to spend time apart and have different things to share and talk about when you’re together.

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4. Don’t let the green-eyed monster eat you alive.

Jealousy is not only a fast relationship killer, but it will make you feel bitter and hateful in your daily life. That green-eyed monster is quick to cut you down and make you feel worthless. Turn that attitude into something positive by realizing that your partner is with you because you’re a great, quality person all on your own. You don’t need to be jealous about anyone else they may be spending time with. Make sure you know your self-worth and realize that your partner is lucky to be with you.

5. Know each other’s friends.

A great way to keep from being jealous is to be familiar with each other’s social circles. If you know who your partner is spending time with, you’ll know there’s no reason to worry. An added bonus is that you might like their friends and want to spend time with them as well.

6. Don’t try to change your partner.

You knew who your partner was when you got involved in the relationship—why do you want to change him or her now? Telling yourself that the other person needs to change could just be your easy answer to any problem you might be having in the relationship.

7. Try to find the root of the problem.

Why do you feel possessive in your relationship? Whether it’s a fear from a past relationship, or even something that happened in childhood, you need to figure out what is causing you to feel and act this way. It will help you come to terms with your issue and conquer it, which in turn will make you feel better and will help future relationships.

8. Trust your partner (and yourself).

Often people feel insecure about others because they’re projecting something they see in themselves. You might worry that your partner flirts when he or she goes out with friends because you flirt when you go out with friends. If you trust yourself to only flirt and not go beyond that, you should be able to trust your partner to do the same—it’s only fair!

9. Don’t spy.

It’s OK to admit—everyone’s done it! Checking emails of an account that’s been left open, scrolling through sent text messages, perusing the browser history…It might seem normal and harmless, but it’s creating cracks in the relationship. You clearly think there’s something to find, and that hurts the trust you have (or should have) for your partner. Not to mention, it’s really awkward if they catch you! Keep yourself busy. Do something in another room while they’re on the phone so you’re not tempted to eavesdrop. Make sure you each sign out of your email accounts before leaving the computer. Over time, if you don’t have chances to spy, it will slip from your mind and you’ll stop feeling the urge to keep tabs on your partner.

10. Be open about your issues.

Tell your partner how you feel, without making it sound like you’re blaming them. Tell them about the issue from your past that makes it hard for you to trust. Tell them how you feel when they do certain things. Make sure you’re presenting things as an open dialog, not as a fight. If you’re open and honest about things that bother you, your partner is more likely to hear you out. If you’re both on the same page, it will help you to stop being possessive. Once everything is out in the open, you can start working through it—together!

6 Fastest Ways to Stop Being a Possessive

 

Learn how to stop treating your boyfriend like your personal property and go back to being the girlfriend of the year by reading our quick guide! By Minot Pettinato-Little

Jealousy is a headache, both to experience from a partner and to deal with on a personal level. It can turn you into the green-eyed-girlfriend you used to hate back when you were sane. Often, those who suffer from the “curse” can sometimes feel more like a lobotomy victim than a romantic partner while in a relationship.

It could be the way you were brought up, or because of insecurity and jealousy – regardless of your reasons, many people suffer from being overly-possessive in relationships. And in turn, the entire relationship suffers.

How to quit being so possessive

So what can you do when you feel like you’ve wandered down the road of the over-possessive girlfriend?

#1 Have a talk. You need to have an honest and open talk about your possessive attitude. If you truly love your partner and understand that you are being too possessive, tell him that. Your partner is going to be more understanding, if you are honest and if they can see that you acknowledge your possessive quality as a problem.

Often, the issue of being possessive has to do with lingering trust issues. If you don’t trust your partner, but you love them, you’re going to feel antsy about having them go out with other people and understandably will want them all to yourself. You will need to be completely open with your partner about these issues, if you ever wish to resolve them.

#2 If he cheats, there’s nothing you can do to stop him. This one is a hard pill to swallow, but if your jealousy has moved on to the point of being possessive then you need to acknowledge one hard fact: you can’t prevent him from cheating.

If a man is set out to cheat, he’ll find a way come hell or high water, and no amount of snooping, telling him “no”, tantalizing sex, thrilling conversations, or emotionally shared moments can prevent this from happening. He’s either going to be a good boy to you, or he isn’t. Acknowledging this, while terrifying, can actually allow you to let go of some of the anxiety you feel with regards to him being around other people.

All relationships are a risk. Take a risk and let your relationship grow instead of cutting it back before it has the chance to blossom. That’s not to say it’s okay if he does cheat. No, no, no! If he cheats, you kick him to the curb and never look back.

#3 Snoop it out of your system. If your possessive attitude means that you get full access to his phone, e-mails, Skype account and overall social media passwords, then you need to grab hold of this addiction and have one final hurrah.

Yes, snooping his social media accounts will let you feel in control and yes, you may get a sense of relief from being able to openly look at his private goings-on. But know this, if you only trust your man because you’re able to check his life behind closed doors, you will never really trust him.

Preventing someone from having a private life is wrong. It’s an invasion of privacy, and it shows a severe lack of respect for the partner that you claim to love. That being said, weaning yourself off of someone’s private socials can be hard. It’s addicting to watch the goings-on from the shadows, like your own personal soap opera. Not to mention it brings you comfort when you see that he hasn’t done anything wrong.

But you do want a relationship based on true trust, don’t you? If your fellah knows you snoop his socials, then tell him that you want to work on building back trust, and that in one week you want him to change all his passwords. Explain to him that you are really trying to change your possessive ways, and kindly request this as a security blanket until you’re adjusted to a non-snooper’s life. Taper down the frequency of your snooping sprees until you finally let go of that nasty habit.

#4 Do a role reversal. It may do you some good to swap the situations. Do you have male friends? If so, would you appreciate your boyfriend telling you that you weren’t allowed to see him any longer just because it didn’t sit well with your guy? As women tend to react emotionally to things, you may want to take a step back and look at the situation, if the roles were reversed. Remember, relationships are about trust and respect. Don’t dish it if you can’t take it.

#5 You had a past, they have a past. For those whose possessive attitude stems from jealousy, you’d do good to remember that he has a past, and so do you. You’ve both been with other people, both made mistakes, both had great sex, both had bad sex – so what? Remind yourself that this is a small part of your relationship now.

Take a night to yourself and go through your old photo-albums. Look at pictures of your ex from when you were 15-years-old, or from just a couple of years ago. This is your life, and you are entitled to your memories, just as he is entitled to his. So the next time you stumble across a sentimental trinket that he’s decided to keep around, take a breath, count to 10, and remember that it was this incredible past he lived that’s made him the incredible man you love today.

#6 Seek therapy. If you feel you’ve tried everything and you still can’t kick your bad habit, you may try seeking some form of therapy, such as couples counselling. And don’t just do it for your relationship, do it for yourself, too. Seeking therapy for deep rooted emotional issues can only help you down the road. Perhaps counselling won’t save this relationship from the damage that’s been done, but it may just prevent you from making the same problems in your next one.

Just because you’ve trotted down the road of the possessive girlfriend doesn’t mean you have to stay there. Take a good, hard look at the reasons behind your actions, and take the appropriate steps to fix it. Jealousy is a bad look, especially on you, so drop the attitude and just go back to being fabulous!

9 Hard Things You Have to Do to Move Forward with Your Life

 

Maybe it’s the life lessons I was forced to learn the hard way, or the toll of loss and failure I had recently endured, but a decade ago, in the midst of a panic attack on my 27th birthday, I had to admit to myself right then and there that the youthful world of possibility I once felt now seemed dead inside me.  I wanted to feel light and free and ambitious and passionate again, but I didn’t know how.  Luckily, I had a wise mother nearby who gave me some good advice.  She told me that she could still see a positive, passionate young man inside of me, but that I needed to do some soul searching to reconnect myself to him.

As I attempted to follow my mother’s advice, I remembered that I used to have two quotes written on post-it notes hanging on my bedroom wall when I was a kid:

  • “Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in your journey.”
  • “Don’t be scared to walk alone down the path less traveled, and don’t be scared to love every minute of it.”

So I wrote those two quotes down again, just as I remembered them, and posted them up on the wall over my nightstand.  I woke up to these quotes every morning for several years thereafter, and they helped keep me centered.

 

1.  Practice thinking better about yourself.

You have to admit, you’ve spent a lot of your life subconsciously belittling yourself.  Thinking you’re not enough.  Trying to be someone else.  Someone who fits in.  Someone who’s less sensitive.  Less needy.  Less flawed.  Less YOU.  Because you felt broken, and you didn’t want to scare people away.  You wanted them to like you.  You wanted to make a good impression.  You wanted to be seen as worthy and loveable.  So you could feel healed and whole.

And so for the longest time, behind a facade of fake smiles, you have inadvertently betrayed yourself for the purpose of pleasing everyone else.

And for longest time, your heart has ached.

But you’re at a point now where you’re seeing things differently.  The heartache just isn’t worth it anymore.  Belittling yourself for one more day just doesn’t make any sense.  And more than that, you now realize no matter what you do or how you change, some people will never be pleased anyway.

You now realize you have to start doing things for the right reasons.

Not because it’s what you think everyone else needs, but because you finally know yourself to be worthy of your own love and care.

Not because other people approve of you, but because you are breathing your own air, thinking your own thoughts, and occupying a space no one else ever could.

Yes, you are indeed worthy!  Your ideas are worthy.  Your feelings are worthy.  Your needs are worthy.  And without everyone else’s constant validation, you must be who you are and live your truth.  Even if it makes people turn their heads.  Even if it means walking alone down the path less traveled for awhile.

Even if your own confidence in yourself has been shaken!

The real battle is always in your mind.  And your mind is under your control, not the other way around.

You may have been broken down by adversity or rejection or stress, but YOU are not broken.  So don’t let others convince you otherwise.  And don’t let your mind get the best of you either.

Heal yourself by refusing to belittle yourself.

Choose to take up a lot of positive space in your own life today.  Choose to give yourself permission to meet your own needs.  Choose to honor your feelings and emotions.  Choose to make self-love and self-care a part of your daily rituals…

Choose to think better about yourself, so you can live better in spite of yourself.

2.  Consciously embrace the fact that you are more than the one broken piece of you.

When times are tough, and some piece of you is chipped and broken, it’s easy to feel like everything – ALL of you – is broken along with it.  But that’s not true.

We all have this picture in our minds of ourselves – this idea of what kind of person we are.  When this idea gets even slightly harmed or threatened, we tend to react defensively and irrationally.  People may question whether we did a good job, and this threatens our idea of being a competent person, so we become angry or hurt by the criticism.  Someone falsely accuses us of something and this damages our idea that we’re a good person, and so we get angry and attack the other person, or we cower and cry.  And the list goes on.

But the craziest thing is, oftentimes we are actually the ones harming and threatening ourselves with negativity and false-accusations…

Just this morning I was struggling to motivate myself to work on a new creative project I’ve been procrastinating on, so my identity of myself as someone who’s always productive and motivated and has great ideas suddenly came under attack.  When I realized I wasn’t getting things done, it made me feel terribly self-conscious and upset because I began subconsciously worrying that I wasn’t who I thought I was.  I felt like a slacker.

My solution was to realize that I’m not just one thing.  I’m not always productive – sometimes I am, but sometimes I’m unproductive too.  I’m not always motivated – sometimes I am, but other times I’m a bit lazy.  And obviously I don’t always have great ideas either – because that’s impossible.

The truth is, I can be many things, and remembering this helps me stretch my identity so it’s not so fragile – so it doesn’t completely shatter when a small piece of it gets chipped.  Then it doesn’t matter if someone occasionally thinks I didn’t do a good job, or if I sometimes catch myself not doing a good job – because I don’t always do a good job.

I make mistakes.

I am less than perfect.

Just like YOU.

And that’s perfectly OK.

3.  Change, evolve, and start over when you must.

“Starting over is not an option!”

Unfortunately, that’s a lie many of us hold on to until the bitter end.

The idea of starting over being a bad thing is baked right into the fabric of our society’s education system.  We send our children to a university when they’re 17 or 18, and basically tell them to choose a career path they’ll be happy with for the next 40 years.  “But, what if I choose wrong?”  I remember thinking to myself.  And that’s exactly what I did, in more ways than one.

Over the years, however, through bouts of failure and hardship, I’ve learned the truth through experience: you can change paths anytime you want to, and oftentimes it’s absolutely necessary that you do.

Yes, starting over and making substantial changes in your life is almost always feasible.  Of course, it won’t be easy, but neither is being stuck with a lifelong career you naively chose when you were a teenager.  And neither is holding on to something that’s not meant to be, or something that’s already gone.

The truth is, no one wins a game of chess by only moving forward; sometimes you have to move backward to put yourself in a position to win.  And this is a perfect metaphor for life.  Sometimes when it feels like you’re running into one dead end after another, it’s actually a sign that you’re not on the right path.  Maybe you were meant to hang a left back when you took a right, and that’s perfectly fine.  Life gradually teaches us that U-turns are allowed.  So turn around when you must!  There’s a big difference between giving up and starting over in the right direction.  And there are three little words that can release you from your past mistakes and regrets, and get you back on track.  These words are: “From now on…”

So… from now on, what should you do?

Anything.  Something small.  As long as you don’t just sit in your seat, strapped down to a destiny that isn’t yours.  If you mess it up, start over.  Try something else.

Let go and grow!

No doubt, one of the absolute hardest lessons in life is letting go – whether it’s guilt, anger, love or loss.  Change is never easy – you fight to hold on and you fight to let go.  But letting go is generally the healthiest path forward.  It clears out toxic thoughts and choices from the past and paves the way to make the most positive use of the present.  You’ve got to emotionally free yourself from some of the things that once meant a lot to you, so you can move beyond the past and the pain it brings you.  Again, it takes hard work to let go and refocus yourself, but it’s worth every bit of effort you can muster!

And oftentimes letting go is strictly about changing the labels you place on a situation – it’s looking at the same situation with fresh eyes and an open mind, and then making the best of it.

It’s thinking better about the past and present, and then building small, life-changing daily rituals so you can start over again, and live better going forward.

4.  Let go of the things you don’t need.

Eventually, most of us end up settling in some part of our life.  We let go of certain ideals and dreams, we compromise, and we make trade-offs.  We gradually learn that we can’t have everything we want, because not every outcome in life can be perfectly controlled.  But if we pay close attention, we also learn that we can make the best of every outcome, and still get a lot of what we want in life, if we manage our time, energy and attitude appropriately.

And these realizations collectively lead to an interesting question:

When should you settle, or compromise, and when should you continue fighting hard for what you ideally want to achieve?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but when you encounter a situation that forces you to choose between compromise and fighting forward against the opposition, it might help to also ask yourself:

“Do I really need this, or do I just kinda want it?”

Being able to distinguish needs from wants is essential in every walk of life.  Never let go of an outcome you truly need in your life, but be reasonably flexible on the outcomes you want but could live fine without.

In other words, choose your battles wisely, and don’t let “perfect” become the enemy of “great.”  Remind yourself that what you pay attention to grows.  So focus on what really matters and let go of what does not.

Don’t give up 50% of your life working 50-hour weeks at a day job that makes you absolutely miserable.  Don’t abandon your sanity for the wrong reasons.  Don’t neglect lifelong goals and dreams that have withstood the tests of time, and still bring incredible meaning into your life.

If you really need something, fight hard for it!

But for everything else, let go a little.  Loosen your grip, compromise… settle.

Settle on less of the unessential, to get more of what you really need and want in life.

5.  Accept and embrace daily discomfort, for the right reasons.

Discomfort is a form of pain, but it isn’t a deep pain – it’s a shallow one.  It’s the feeling you get when you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone.  The idea of exercising in many people’s minds, for example, brings discomfort – so they don’t do it.   Eating a spinach and kale salad brings discomfort too.  So does meditating, or focusing on a difficult task, or saying “no” to others.  Of course, these are just examples, because different people find discomfort in different things, but you get the general idea.

The key thing to understand is that most forms of discomfort actually help us grow into our strongest and smartest selves.  However, many of us were raised by loving parents who did so much to make our childhoods comfortable, that we inadvertently grew up to subconsciously believe that we don’t need discomfort in our lives.  And now we run from it constantly.  The problem with this is that, by running from discomfort, we are constrained to partake in only the activities and opportunities within our comfort zones.  And since our comfort zones are relativity small, we miss out on most of life’s greatest and healthiest experiences, and we get stuck in a debilitating cycle.

Let’s use diet and exercise as an example…

  • First, we become unhealthy because eating healthy food and exercising feels uncomfortable, so we opt for comfort food and mindless TV watching instead.
  • But then, being unhealthy is also uncomfortable, so we seek to distract ourselves from the reality of our unhealthy bodies by eating more unhealthy food and watching more unhealthy entertainment and going to the mall to shop for things we don’t really want or need.  And our discomfort just gets worse.

Amazingly, the simple act of accepting a little discomfort every day, and taking it one small step at a time, can solve most of our common problems, and make our minds happier, healthier and stronger in the long run.

But, again, it’s hard – really, really hard sometimes!  There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them.  That’s not how we’re made.  We’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall sometimes.  Because that’s part of living – to face discomfort, learn from it, and adapt over the course of time.  This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.

So when you find yourself cocooned in isolation and cannot find your way out of the darkness, remember that this is similar to the place where caterpillars go to grow their wings.  Just because today is uncomfortable and stressful, doesn’t mean tomorrow won’t be wonderful.  You just got to get there.

6.  Change your mantra from, “I have to be better,” to, “I will do my absolute best today.”

Goals are important.  All journeys of change must begin with a goal.  And you also must have determination in order to achieve your goals.  However, what do you think happens when you are too determined, or too obsessed with a goal?  You begin to nurture another belief: who you are right now is not good enough.

Years ago, I had become overly obsessive in my efforts to meditate.  As my interest in meditation grew, I began to increasingly say to myself, “I am not good enough,” and, “I have to be better at this.”  I began to notice various imperfections within myself that needed to be “fixed.”

My over-the-top efforts to meditate for extensive periods of time had opened the doors to lots of self-criticism and stress.  Thankfully, however, I realized that my obsession toward meditation had made me forget one of the basic objectives of meditation – self-acceptance.

So the bottom line is this: you have to accept yourself as you are, and then commit to personal growth.  If you think you are absolutely “perfect” already, you will not make any positive efforts to grow.  But constantly criticizing yourself is just as counterproductive as doing nothing, because you will never be able to build new positive changes into your life when you’re obsessively focused on your flaws.

The key is to remind yourself that you already are good enough; you just need more practice.  Change your mantra from, “I have to be better,” to, “I will do my absolute best today.”  The second mantra is far more effective because it actually prompts you to take positive action every day while simultaneously accepting the reality that every effort may not be perfect.

7.  Be mindful.

Mindfulness as a daily ritual is the ultimate challenge and practice.  It’s a way of living, of being, of seeing, of tapping into the full power of your humanity.

Ready to get started?

It’s simple, but far from easy.  Practice…

  • Being aware of what’s happening in the present moment without wishing it were different
  • Enjoying each pleasant experience without holding on when it changes (which it will)
  • Being with each unpleasant experience without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t)

Ritualize this kind of mindfulness into your daily routines, and you will undoubtedly change the way you spend the rest of your life.

8.  Find something to be grateful for in the present moment, despite the situation.

Happiness doesn’t always make us grateful, but gratitude always helps us smile.  Some may say that’s a cliché, but it’s not.  Gratitude is the foundation.  And happiness is simply the sacred experience of living with a genuinely grateful heart.
Expressing gratitude is so simple though, right?  How could it possibly make that big of a difference?

Yes, being grateful seems simple enough, but a grateful state of mind is unbelievably hard to maintain when life disappoints us.  And that’s the kicker – when we’re feeling down and disappointed, that’s exactly when a dose of gratitude is most powerful.

So what’s the best approach?

Being grateful starts with being present.  You can’t appreciate your life when you’re not paying attention to it.  And the truth is, we make our present situations much worse when we replay difficult past situations in our heads (“How could she possibly have done that to me?”), or when we ruminate over all the situations that might be problematic in the future (“What if he cheats on me?”).  In the present moment, our real situation is rarely as convoluted as we make it out to be.  And we can meet this moment with grace and gratitude, if we can truly stay in the present.

When our mind drifts into the past or speculates about the future, we must do our best to catch ourselves, and then refocus mindfully back on the present.  Once we’re back, the key is to accept the moment as it is.  Our reality can ruin us if we deny it and fight it … or we can accept it for what it is, be grateful for it, and gradually make the best of it.  This takes practice, of course, because gratitude tends to escape us when we feel let down.  But this is the real world, not an ideal world.  And your reality always contains a silver lining of beauty, if you choose to see it.

For Angel and me, working through life’s difficulties has grown significantly easier for us in recent times.  Instead of focusing on how arduous everything is, we have ritualized the practice of gratitude into our lives, and we use our gratitude rituals to find glimmers of hope and joy in the small steps of progress we make every day.

9.  Do something small for someone else – make them the center of your universe for a little while.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, sometimes we all have the tendency to put ourselves at the center of the universe, and see everything from the viewpoint of how it affects us.  And this can have all kinds of adverse effects, from feeling sorry for ourselves when things aren’t going exactly as planned, to doubting ourselves when we aren’t perfect, to feeling lost and alone with our issues when we’re having a bad day or going through hard times.

So whenever I catch myself lingering at the center in an adverse state of mind, I do my best to briefly shift my focus, away from my own issues, and onto other people around me that I might be able to help.  Finding little ways to help others gets me out of my self-centered thinking, and then I’m not wallowing alone in self-pity anymore – I’m starting to think about what others need.  I’m not doubting myself, because the question of whether I’m good enough or not is no longer the central question.  The central question now is about what others need.

Thus, thinking about others instead of oneself helps solve feelings self-consciousness and inadequacy, which in turn makes you feel a lot less broken and alone when you’re struggling to move your life forward.

It’s one of life’s great paradoxes: when we serve others we end up benefiting as much if not more than those we serve.  So whenever you feel a bit lost or stuck with your own issues, try to shift your focus from your circumstances to the circumstances of those around you.  Instead of asking, “What’s wrong with me?” ask, “How can I help you?”  Find someone who could use an extra hand and make a small, reasonable offer they can’t refuse.  The perspective you gain from doing so will guide you forward.

Angel and I initially developed this strategy in our lives over a decade ago as we were struggling with the near simultaneous loss of two loved ones.  It was really hard to find motivation when we didn’t think we had the strength to push forward – when we felt downright horrible and sorry for ourselves.  But we took one small step every day – oftentimes just writing a short blog post to share some lessons learned with others who might find our stories and insights helpful – and it felt good, and we gradually got stronger.

This morning, as I caught myself struggling with some inner conflicts, I followed suit again – I took a small step forward… just turning on my laptop, opening up a new document, and writing a single sentence.  Such an action is so small as to seem insignificant, and yet so easy as to be possible when I was feeling down.  And it showed me the next step was possible, and the next.  And the end result is this blog post you’ve just finished reading.  I sincerely hope you’ve benefited from it in some small way.

Your turn…

What else would you add to the list?  What’s one hard thing you do that has helped you move your life forward?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

 

Source 

5 Simple Ways To Keep Your Mind Sharp

 

The importance of keeping your mind sharp cannot be overstated. We’re all part of a fantastic intellectual and information economy, which thrives on ideas, creativity and intelligence. Keeping your mind sharp is sure to give you the edge over the competition, and more importantly lead to your own higher levels of happiness.

When your mind is in top shape, you will:

  • Have greater motivation and focus
  • Get more done
  • Come up with more creative ideas
  • Find inspiration more often
  • Remember more
  • Experience a better life

I’d like to share a few practices I’ve found are extremely beneficial in keeping my mind sharp and can help you as well:

1) Continue reading, absorbing knowledge and experiencing culture
Sorry to use a clichéd quote, but education is not preparation for life, education is life itself. It should be something pleasurable and done for intrinsic reasons above all else. Read blogs on subjects both within your field and in new fields you know nothing about; read books; watch lectures on fascinating new subjects; read about ancient societies; take in a new form of art you’ve never experienced; you get the idea. Challenge your mind to continually broaden your horizon and soak up new information like an infinite sponge (that’s pretty much what it is, you should use it to do just that).

2) Learn a skill or craft you’ve never tried before like playing an instrument, composing music, painting, building a model airplane, or even coding computer programs. 
Engage your mind in learning a new skill. You’re never too old to do this, but this is definitely something you should start as young as you can. I started composing my own music at around 17, and in retrospect I wish I had started even younger. You’d be surprised how much learning a new skill will open up many new paths in your mind and help you become even better at whatever you are already an expert at. You’ll also open yourself up to tons of new connections and intellectual social circles by engaging yourself in a new hobby, form of art, or trade.

3) To improve memory don’t write everything down
If you can, try this for a week: write down everything you need to do at the beginning of the week, as you normally would, but take your list and put it out of sight. Instead of keeping that list visible at your desk, internalize your projects and simply remember and know what needs to be done, prioritize it in your mind, and do it. Your brain is extremely powerful and you’ll find that, in time, you may not have to write anything down to remember everything (you can still keep a list for reference, but it’s great not to need it).

4) Give your mind time to assimilate knowledge
We live in a culture where we are constantly experiencing and learning new things and taking in new information. This is a great thing, I’m not going to go into the information overload spiel, I don’t really believe in that anyway (you are in total control over how much information you take in at once). But in your process of absorbing new skills, knowledge and life experiences; internal analysis of yourself, what you have learned and where you are going is vital to put everything in proper perspective. Some people do it well during running, others through listening to music, and some people through making art. Find your own place that allows you to assimilate all you have learned and frequent it often.

5) Eat well, sleep well and exercise often
Giving your mind the proper rest and energy is essential to getting the best performance out of it. This one is pretty self explanatory, but people often forget that you need proper fuel and proper rest to function optimally. Also, putting your physical body through the paces is a surefire way to rejuvenate yourself mentally. If you’re ever feeling stressed, out of inspiration, or depressed, a few days of nutritious food, good sleep and vigorous exercise will put you back to your full self soon enough.

 

Credit http://thefuturebuzz.com/2008/03/11/5-simple-ways-to-keep-your-mind-sharp/

I no longer need you.


I thought it would be painful, letting you go.
I thought I would suffer, that my heart would be anguished with the loss of you. Or worse, maybe it would stop beating altogether.

Maybe without you, I would simply cease to exist.

I thought I would become adrift, for you had been the anchor I had formed my identity upon, the compass I had relied on for my direction. I thought without you I would become lost, disoriented.

I had expected to taste salty tears as they fell upon lips that once spoke so fondly of you; that my head would lay on my pillow damp with tears for as many nights as the moon continued to kiss the stars.

But one day, I just knew.

I hadn’t expected such a feeling of relief as I cut the ropes that once shackled me to you. One instant of tremendous clarity. One instant, where I finally knew.

I no longer needed you.

I no longer needed your opinion of me, your affirmation, your approval.

I no longer needed your judgments, your criticisms, your condemnations.

I no longer needed your expectations I could never meet; your hoops too high to jump through, your goal posts that shifted with every changing breeze.

I no longer needed your blame, your excuses, your justifications.

I no longer needed your pseudo love, fraught with conditions and attached with strings.

I thought I needed you. I didn’t.

I thought it would be hard to let you go. It wasn’t.

I thought I would miss you. I don’t.

For in one instant my heart was awakened to the truth of who I am.

I am more than the lies you made believe about myself. I am more than the look of failure in your eyes when I fell short of your demands. I am more than how worthless you made me feel. I am more than the ways you tried to break me.

I am a warrior, sculpted by the hands of creation, fashioned into being by the very hands that created the oceans and the stars and the mountains and air.

I am strong, I am brave, I am wise. I am gentle of spirit with the heart of a lioness.

I am creative, passionate, sensitive, and kind. I am of open heart and open mind. I am powerful, generous, thoughtful, daring, empathetic, raw, complex, courageous, understanding, forgiving.

I am everything you are not.

I will no longer carry the shame you made me suffer under the weight of.

That shame belongs to you.

And I will no longer carry my hate for you.

For that will only ever bind me to your darkness and give you permission to destroy my light. It will allow you to stay within me, to destroy my peace, to blacken my heart with the malice that lives within you.

It will tie me to your soul-destroying bitterness, your ugliness.

It will anchor me once more to you, who tried to drown me.

Instead, I will choose to go into the world and love more fiercely, show more compassion, be more generous, offer more kindness.

I will choose to forgive. For me, not for you.

I will choose to sow what I wish to see reaped for my children’s future.

I will choose to dis-empower hate.

I will choose freedom.

I will choose love.

I will stand firm upon the unshakeable truth of who I am.

And I will soar to heights you will only ever dream of.

For I have let you go.

No longer am I held down by all I allowed you to be in my life.

I no longer need you.

I am free.

Written by Kathy Parker

( with permission)

What You See First In This Picture Reveals Your Subconscious Fear

What is the concealed dread of your intuitive personality? Maybe you are deliberately very much mindful of your dread of creepy crawlies or comedians, yet what other profound established feelings of dread are kicking around in your subliminal?

Investigate the Vladimir Kush painting underneath beneath. What do you see first? Presently, recall your answer, and look down for an examination of your decision!

 

Look down to find what your intuitive dread is!

This is the thing that it implies in the event that you saw the KNIFE first:

Your intuitive dread is terminal sicknesses. You have a dread that you have a terminal ailment without knowing it. You fear enduring and you stress you may pass on at any minute.

This is the thing that it implies in the event that you saw the CATERPILLAR first:

Your subliminal dread is phantoms, otherwise called phasmophobia. It is likely you expect that apparitions or malice spirits will show up and frequent you at your weakest minutes, similar to when you are befuddled or when you’re going to nod off.

This is the thing that it implies in the event that you saw the BUTTERFLY first:

Your subliminal dread is selling out. Maybe others have harmed or crossed you too often. Perhaps you’ve confronted some genuine dismissal, regardless of whether it be an occupation or a fantasy. You do well at concealing this shortcoming, nonetheless. It just backs its terrible head when you’re eye to eye with it.

This is the thing that it implies on the off chance that you saw the APPLE first:

Your intuitive dread is demise. Not your own, mind you, but rather that of your friends and family. Maybe you’ve officially lost somebody dear to you. With that damaging blow throwing a shadow on your inner mind, you normally can’t hold up under the possibility of losing another person.

Married Or Not… You Should Read This Husband’s Story

 

When I got home that night my wife served dinner. I held her hand and said, “I’ve got something to tell you.” She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.

Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking about divorce. I raised the topic calmly. She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, “Why?”

I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, “You are not a man!”

That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn’t love her anymore, I just pitied her.

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% of my company. She glanced at it and then tore it to pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources, and energy but I could not take back what I had said. I loved Jane now.

Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came home late and found her writing something at the table. I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast after an eventful day with Jane. When I woke up, she was still at the table writing.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions. She didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month, we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple; our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me, but she had something more. She asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day. She requested that every day for the month’s duration, I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door every morning. I thought she was going crazy, but just to make our last days together bearable, I accepted her odd request.

I told Jane about my wife’s divorce conditions. She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. “No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce,” she said scornfully.

My wife and I hadn’t had any physical contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, “Daddy is holding Mommy in his arms.”

His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the living room and to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly, “Don’t tell our son about the divorce.”

I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus. I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying. Our marriage had taken its toll on her, and for a minute, I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me. On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing. I didn’t tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, “All my dresses have grown bigger.” I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, and that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.

Suddenly it hit me. She had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at the moment and said, “Dad, it’s time to carry mom out.” To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the living room, and to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly, just like on our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, “I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy.”

I drove to office, jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind. I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door. “Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.”

She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. “Do you have a fever?” she replied.

I moved her hand off my head. “Sorry, Jane,” I said. “I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day, I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart.”

Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away. At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The saleswoman asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, “I’ll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.”

That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face. I ran up the stairs only to find my wife in the bed – dead. My wife had been fighting cancer for months, but I was too busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and wanted to save me from any negative reaction from our son, in case we push through with the divorce. At least, in the eyes of our son, I’m a loving husband.

The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It’s not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves.

So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Have a real happy marriage!

Read more at http://www.sunnyskyz.com/feel-good-story/1125/Married-Or-Not-You-Should-Read-This-Husband-s-Story#IXUoJLhzMbZHoHXU.99

You Alone Are Good Enough

I don’t deal with change well. Actually, I would rather stay in the same place, with the same people for the rest of my life. Kind of in my own bubble. But life just doesn’t work that way. I don’t like to be pushed out of my comfort zone. It scares me to even fathom trying new things. But when I finally do, I find this new sense of identity and direction every time. It’s a feeling I can’t describe.

Before I lost my dad to cancer I had the perfect family, perfect childhood. We went on vacations, had big family dinners, parties and always spent the weekends doing things as a family. I guess you could say I was naive and oblivious to what was set to happen, which would change the course of my life, entirely.

I don’t think any 10 year old can ever understand what battling a terminal illness is like.

I was still playing with stuffed animals and barbies, holding onto my favorite red blanket any where I went.

I had that security that a lot of other kids didn’t have. My parents were happily married, had respectable jobs, we lived in a comfortable, modest townhouse and I had lots of toys and friends.

I was in paradise.

That brief point in my life is now, only remembered through the dust-stained photo albums.

Fast forward to four years later, in some ways I ache for the comfort and security I had before.

I never had to worry if we could afford to pay the bills, food on the table or a place to sleep. That luxury was given to me.

Until it wasn’t anymore.

My family struggled. Emotionally, physically, financially. But we did it together. That’s what kept me strong.

The day my dad died we stopped going out together on the weekends, we no longer ate family dinners and I couldn’t pick all the toys off the store shelf.

His funeral ate a big chunk of my mom’s savings. We were uncertain what was to come.

I had to mature and be resilient without a choice.

Since then I have always built walls around the people in my life in order to protect myself. It was my main coping mechanism when my dad I was receiving treatment and continued after he died.

I am naturally out-going and very social. But now I find having meaning relationships is something I’m yet to discover.

I’ve been so used to others walking in and out of my life. They all leave to find other people who suit them better or just get tired of me.

I struggle with anxiety. Every little thing is like a mountainous journey. I procrastinate and worry about everything. I have always been afraid of showing people who I really am.

Because it’s not easy grieving and feeling like your always alone.

So I shut myself out even when I don’t mean to. I can’t control when I’m about to break down or just snap.

I want so badly to feel control. To feel like I can cope and organize how I feel.

But right now it’s a catastrophe.

I can only find serendipity in music and dance. I am in another world. I am a different person when I’m on stage.

That’s what keeps me going.

I thrive on the memories of the relationship I had with my dad to keep me going.

So even when I lose and gain friends I know that there is that constant that I will have for the rest of my life.

And though I am fearful of where I go and what happens, I know that deep down the world is a beautiful place.

Despite tragedy, loss and change.

Because this is how I grow. Through every little victory. Because every day I look up to the sky and know that my dad and who I really am is out there floating among the clouds and I just have to try.

There is hope and possibility in every moment and every challenge you may face.

You are built to fail. But you are built to overcome.

No one can help you find your identity, only you can. Who you are is a multitude of misadventures, fails and plenty of heart break and loss.

As much I yearn for friends that I once had, that are now a distant memory and the life I used to have with the most important person in my life, I know that my life ahead of me is going to be better. Not because people tell me it is. Because I know that I have experienced alot more in fourteen years than some people experience in their lifetime and that’s what makes me who I am.

I have a lot to give to the world and that’s what I’m going to do.

Everyone has a story. Big or small. Everything matters.

You are beautiful. Who you are is so important to this world, I hope you never lose it.

Life is beautiful and never forget that you alone are good enough.