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11 Tips to Help You Think More Positively

JUNE 12    BY PAUL SLOANE

In a study at the Mayo clinic in Rochester, Minnesota patients were given a personality test that assessed their levels of optimism and pessimism. The progress of the patients was measured over 30 years, and it was found that the optimists lived longer than average for their age and gender while the pessimists had a shorter than average life. Researchers found that optimism strengthens the immune system and helps people to adopt healthier lifestyles. Optimists feel better about themselves and take better care of themselves, while pessimists confirm their fears by having higher blood pressure, more anxiety and depression.

You can choose to have depressing, negative thoughts or inspirational, positive thoughts; your attitude determines your mindset, which in turn determines your behaviours and the outcomes in your life. Many studies show that you will achieve more, feel happier and live longer if you chose the positive option. Here are some tips to boost your positive thinking.

Believe in Yourself
Successful people start with a deep inner self-belief. It has been shown that self-belief is more important than intelligence, education or connections in terms of life-long achievement. The important starting point is your conviction that you are capable of significant achievement or that you have something special to contribute.

Set Clear Goals
If you have no destination then your journey is haphazard. If you write down ambitious but achievable goals, then you are already on the road to accomplishing them.

Form a Mental Picture of Your Success
Imagine yourself achieving your goals. Savour the experience of your book being published, of making the sale, of giving the speech to rapturous applause, of winning the race, of living your dream. As your mind comes to terms with this picture it will help you to put the steps in place in order to achieve it.

Take Ownership and Responsibility for Your Life
Don’t be a victim. Don’t blame others or circumstances. You are the captain of the boat and you decide where it goes and what happens. If you are unhappy with an aspect of your life, then form a plan to change it and take action.

Talk to Yourself
Become your own motivator by telling yourself positive things. For example: at the start of the day you might say to yourself, “I am going to do really well today.” Or, “I am going to make real progress towards my goals.” When things go wrong or you falter, don’t make excuses—say something like, “That was my fault, but I can learn from that setback.”

 

yayEliminate the Negative
Use positive self-talk to overcome the doubts and negative thoughts that creep into your mind. Deliberately eliminate worries about difficulties and obstacles by taking a positive attitude, “I can overcome this challenge.” You do not ignore problems—you face up to them with a constructive and optimistic attitude.

Associate with Positive People
Among your friends, relatives, and associates there are probably some upbeat, positive, optimistic, dynamic people and some downbeat, negative, pessimistic or cynical people. Think about them for a moment and select examples of each. You should spend more time with the positive people and less time with the negative people. The optimists will inspire and encourage you, while the pessimists will feed your doubts and make you depressed.

Count Your Blessings
Draw up an assets and liabilities sheet for yourself. If you are educated, employed, healthy, in a loving relationship, financially solvent etc., then put these on the assets list. If you are unemployed, ill, in a toxic relationship, bankrupt, etc., then put these items into your liabilities list. The chances are that your assets will far outweigh your liabilities. We tend to take all the good things in our lives for granted and focus on our failings and needs instead.

Find the Silver Lining
Learn to look for the opportunities in every situation that comes along. Many self-employed consultants will tell you that being made redundant was the best thing that ever happened to them. At the time it may have seemed a terrible blow but now they have found greater fulfilment and satisfaction in what they do. Every change brings good as well as bad, opportunities as well as threats. The people who do well in life are the ones who use setbacks as springboards for new successes.

Relax and Enjoy Life More
Lighten up a little. If you can laugh at things then you can cope with them more easily. Don’t try to do everything at once. Don’t become overburdened with work. Deliberately give yourself little treats and do things that make you smile. Laughter is the best medicine—and the cheapest—so try to keep a balance between work, exercise, relationships and play.

Fake It.
If all else fails then fake it. If you are really worried, nervous, or doubtful, then pretend that you are confident and self-assured. Stride to the lectern, smile at the audience and act as though you are positive, professional and successful. Acting the role helps you develop the attitudes and behaviours that go with the part. You can fool the audience, and more importantly, you can fool your brain—you will start to be the confident, positive person that you are acting.

If positive thinkers achieve more, live longer, and are happier than negative thinkers then why would anyone choose to be a negative thinker? The answer is that many people find negative thinking to be an easy option that is more comfortable and offers less challenge. Do not fall into that trap. Think positively!

source: www.lifehack.org

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5 Risks That Are Always Worth Taking

By  Jo Beth Richards

Life is short and brilliant. Don’t let fear of the unknown hold you back, tap into your courage and walk into the unknown with an open heart.

Here are five risks that are always worth taking…

1. Love.

Love makes you vulnerable & can hurt, but it is always worth taking. Without love we are nothing. With love we become who we are meant to be.

2. Follow your DREAMS. 

We only live once — ONCE! So why would you waste your time doing something that didn’t cultivate your passion? Follow your dream; it may be a bumpier path, but that path will lead to sunshine.


3. Forgive.

Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do but, it can be the biggest release. When we hold onto grudges, we’re only hurting ourselves. Even if you can’t actually tell a person you forgive them, forgive her in your own heart, and your spirit will be lighter as a result.

4. Move to a new city. 

Moving is scary, and packing up all your stuff is a pain. But it is worth it if you feel your heart being called to a new place for a new opportunity, for a fresh start.

5. Say what you feel.

Holding everything in is overrated. Yes, we should try our best to always speak with compassion, but use that compassion to help you say what your heart is crying out. Believe in your own voice!

Risks are scary, but they often lead us to great things. Breathe in courage and breathe out a new adventure!


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Shave It Off! How Bald Guys Can Look More Manly and Dominant

By ALEXANDRA SIFFERLIN      September 28, 2012  


Forget hair transplants, pills and hair regrowth serums. A University of Pennsylvania researcher has a better alternative for balding men: shave it all off.
In three experiments, researcher Albert Mannes, a lecturer at the Wharton School at U. Penn — and a balding man himself — found that guys with shaved heads are not only perceived by others as more manly and dominant than other men, but also taller, stronger and having greater potential as leaders.
In the first experiment, nearly 60 participants looked at a series of photos of men who were similar in age and attire. The difference was that some men had shaved heads while others had full manes. The participants rated each man in terms of how powerful, influential and authoritative they looked. When the results were averaged, shaved men topped the ratings.

In the second study, Mannes showed participants images of four men. Each man was shown twice, once with hair and once without. Not only were the men perceived as more dominant when they were shown digitally balded, but they were also viewed as nearly an inch taller and 13% stronger.


In the final study, Mannes gave the participants verbal and written descriptions men. Some men were described as having thick hair and others had shaved heads. Once again, the participants rated the men with shaved heads highest for masculinity, strength, dominance and leadership potential.
“I was surprised that perceptions of dominance and masculinity extended to concrete, physical characteristics such as height and strength,” says Mannes, whose study was published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
Mannes theorizes that it’s the boldness of the act of head-shaving that feeds into the perception of dominance. He’s found that men with thinning hair — those who are presumably just resigning themselves to their own baldness — were rated as less dominant than men who took the initiative to shave their heads altogether.

Still, that doesn’t mean everyone should be reaching for the shaver. Mannes research also revealed that men with shaved heads were considered less attractive and older-looking than those with thick heads of hair — and attractiveness is also correlated with perception of dominance. “So, whatever a man gains in dominance directly by shaving his full head of hair will be offset to some degree by his diminished attractiveness,” says Mannes.

For men with thinning hair, however, the benefits offset the downside. “The shaved look is more attractive than the visibly balding look. So men suffering natural hair loss may enhance both their dominance and attractiveness by shaving,” says Mannes.

Mannes says his findings should help legions of balding guys feel better about themselves and stop feeling self-conscious about their shiny pates. Or, at the very least, they can save themselves the financial cost of trying to reverse their hair loss. “These men might better improve their well-being by finishing what Mother Nature has started,” he writes.

source: Time


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6 unhealthy habits to break right now

By Cheryl Embrett

Whether you’re a self-doubter or a procrastinator, breaking a bad habit is easier than you think. Check out expert advice on how to get rid of these unhealthy habits.


Do you always say yes when you really mean no? Do you think “I can’t” instead of “I can”? Or do you tend to put off until tomorrow what you should do today? Whether we’re procrastinators, pessimists, perfectionists or pleasers, most of us have at least one self-defeating behaviour we’d like to change. “We tend to believe these behaviours are part of our personalities because they’ve been so reinforced over time,” says Kimberly Moffit, a psychotherapist in Toronto. Eventually, they become habits – familiar and comfortable, though sometimes unhealthy, ways of operating. But behaviours, like habits, can be turned around.


1. You often doubt yourself You’re afraid to ask for a raise, volunteer to chair a school committee or even try out a new recipe because you don’t believe you’re up for the challenge. It’s often a lot easier to sit still than to take action that comes with risks. But the problem with always saying “I can’t” is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think you’ll fail, there’s a good chance you will. “The people who are successful aren’t necessarily the smartest or the most talented — they just believe they can do it,” says Moffit. “That self-confidence opens doors.”


Break the habit: Change your focus. Instead of dwelling on what you consider to be your negative qualities, remind yourself of all of your good ones. “OK, so I’m not a gourmet cook, but my daughter loves my homemade spaghetti sauce and peanut butter cookies.” Be your own BFF. You wouldn’t insult your best friend by calling her a loser or a klutz every time she makes a mistake, so why treat yourself that way? Replace negative self-talk (“I can’t believe I screwed up again!”) with more positive statements (“I tried my best and learned something valuable from the experience”). It may sound hokey — but it works.


2. You’re a pessimist You just received a rave performance review, but you’re still convinced your job is on the line. You make plans to try out a new restaurant, but you’re sure you won’t like the food. Debbie Downer tends to see life through grey-coloured glasses: There are never solutions, only problems. By always focusing on what’s wrong — with yourself, others or circumstances — you’re hard-pressed to find joy in anything. Break the habit: Do something you love. “Whether it’s horseback riding or playing the piano, being able to succeed at something that gives you confidence and lets you look at life more optimistically is the first step to pulling yourself out of a rut,” says Moffit. Look for a boost. Ask your friends and family to list the qualities they like most about you. (You may be surprised at how many they come up with.) Regular pep talks from people you care about can go a long way toward making you feel better about yourself.



3. You often react angrily You get irritated and frustrated, and blow up at your partner, your kids and even the cat for no apparent reason. You can blame it on your ramped-up, too-busy lifestyle. When we’re under pressure, everything takes on more urgency and there’s increasing pressure to get things done as quickly as possible. “If you stuff down all that stress and try to ignore it, it usually pops up in unexpected places, like snapping at others,” says Natasha Barber, a counsellor in Vancouver. Break the habit: Get physical. Exercise, sports or any kind of physical activity — walking up and down the stairs at work or mopping the floor at home — helps drain off all that stress, energy and anger, says Dr. David Posen, a physician, lifestyle counsellor and author of Always Change a Losing Game(Firefly, 1994). Reprioritize. When you’re running your kids around to piano, drama and other activities on top of a full work schedule and a commitment-packed weekend, you’re bound to be crabby and tired. Sit down as a family and decide what to cut out (no matter how educational, enriching or just plain fun it is) to restore some balance. Too much of even a good thing is still too much.


4. You’re a people pleaser You spend your days running errands, doing favours, saying yes when you really want to say no, and serving everyone’s needs but your own. Women are often excellent pleasers. “We naturally want to take care of everyone in our lives,” says Moffit. “But if we say yes to everybody who asks us for something, they come to expect it and have a lot less respect for our time and effort.” We end up feeling angry, resentful and anything but happy. Break the habit: Get comfortable saying no. “It might feel hard at first,” says Moffit, “but after a while it’s going to feel really good.” Even if it’s something you want to do, give yourself time to check your calendar to make sure it’s feasible. Your new mantra: “Let me get back to you on that.” Practise saying yes to yourself. When you wake up every morning, ask yourself what you need today. Maybe it’s a long walk, a mani-pedi or 10 minutes to enjoy a cup of your favourite brew.


5. You’re usually procrastinating You’ve convinced yourself that you perform better under pressure, and that cleaning the toilet bowl is more important right now than that looming deadline. Procrastinators tend to overestimate the time they have left to perform tasks, underestimate the time it takes to complete them and overestimate how motivated they’ll feel next week, next month or whenever they’re putting things off until. Actively looking for any kind of distraction (tweeting, texting and emailing are tailor-made for this behaviour type) is often a way for procrastinators to deal with their fear of failure: “If I’d had more time to prepare for the presentation, I would have aced it.” Break the habit: Just do it. It sounds simplistic, yes, but you’ll find it takes up a lot more time and energy to put off a task than it does to actually do it. Start small and build momentum. Use a timer to force yourself to sit still and focus for one hour — no interruptions, no breaks. You’ll be amazed at how much you accomplish in 60 distraction-free minutes.


6. You’re a control freak You have a hard time letting anyone else do, well, pretty much anything without micromanaging. “Control comes from a place of wanting to be needed and valued, and to feel that everything is going the right way,” says Moffit. “And if you have kids, you want to make sure that every detail is accounted for.” There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that, but if you can’t even trust hubby to buy the right diapers or detergent, don’t be surprised if you’re the one who’s always changing little Abby and doing the laundry. Break the habit: Focus on what counts. Often the things we’re trying to control are not actually the things that matter. “I’ve rarely heard a woman say her vacuuming means a lot to her!” says Moffit. Focusing on what’s really important in your life — family, friends, good food and laughs — will allow you to relax in other areas. And when all else fails, lower your standards, advises Posen. Stop micromanaging. Start small, perhaps by allowing your six-year-old to pick out her own school outfits and your husband to help with the kids’ homework. Make a commitment to yourself today to truly not sweat the small stuff, like whether your child’s clothes match or Johnny is colouring inside the lines.

3 more tips for breaking bad habits:

1. The brain takes 30 days to accept new changes, so be patient. Once you build momentum, it’s easier to keep going and it starts feeling more comfortable, says Dr. David Posen, a physician and author of Always Change a Losing Game (Firefly, 1994).

2. Whenever you start doubting your ability to change, tack the words “right now” onto whatever you’re thinking, advises Natasha Barber, a registered clinical counsellor in Vancouver. “I’m overwhelmed right now and it’s going to get better. I’m going to rethink and reprioritize.”

3. Create positive self-affirmations. “Often these behaviours come about because we’re feeling insecure about ourselves,” says Kimberly Moffit, a Toronto psychotherapist. “Find something to repeat to yourself throughout the day that makes you feel good.”



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5 Ways to Boost Your Body Image

By Victoria O’Meara

Improving your body image is easy in just 5 simple steps.

Every one of us has faced one of these moments where a friend tags you in an unflattering photo on Facebook, or you find yourself standing in a harshly lit dressing room staring at an unforgiving outfit. For most of us, our minds habitually go to a dark and gloomy place where we hear: I’m so fat; ugly; scrawny; (insert your own emotionally damaging adjective here). Many women feel insecure about their bodies. In a world of unrealistic beauty standards it becomes all-too-easy to only see the ways in which you don’t measure up. Merryl Bear, director of the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC), knows exactly what women are up against. “For girls and women in particular the image of the acceptable body simply saturates our environment and it is very difficult to hold that at bay without internalizing some of the messages,” she says.


How to stop picking at the negatives
We all recognize those narrowly defined image of beauty and it can be hard not to make comparisons, but Bear argues it’s “when physical appearance becomes extremely important to the way that we judge our own value that the danger lies.” Perhaps it’s time to stop measuring our value in terms of aesthetics and start looking at the whole package. We’ve compiled tips and techniques to help you do just that. With advice from body image expert Merryl Bear you can give your self-confidence a boost and start feeling great about yourself. Read on and learn to love all the beautiful imperfections that make you, you.


5 ways to love your body


1. Take stock. Sometimes negative thought patterns become second nature and we don’t even realize we’re having them. Now is the time to assess your self-talk. Step in front of a mirror and take a minute to evaluate the way you talk to yourself. Are you surprised at how harsh you sound? Find out where you’re hardest on yourself and then cut it out.


2. Walk tall! This works on a few levels. You’ll improve your posture, breath easier and it’s an exercise in building confidence. “As simple as it sounds it’s actually quite powerful,” says Bear. Scrunching up your body symbolizes feelings of wanting to shrink into invisibility. You deserve to straighten up and be noticed! “Allow yourself to take up the space that you’re entitled to,” says Bear.


3. Get physical. Let’s be clear here. Being physical is not synonymous with beating your body into submission to shrink a whole dress size. We’re talking about challenging yourself. “As women we are often taught to restrain and control ourselves and we lose the sense of confidence that comes with being active,” explains Bear. It’s time to rediscover that confidence. It could be as simple as completing a physically demanding chore you’d normally leave for someone else, or signing up for a sport you’ve never had the nerve to try. Once you realize how strong and capable your body is you might learn to love it for all that it can do – and maybe even what it looks like, too.

4. If you’ve got nothing nice to say… Propose that all discussions of dieting, weight and physical appearance be banned from conversations with friends. This kind of negative talk can feed an unhealthy preoccupation with all things appearance, not to mention it’s boring. You’ve got so much more going on in your life to talk about. “Stop making it a defining feature of our lives,” advises Bear.

5. Quit putting your life on hold. Dig out some old photographs of yourself and take a good look at them. How did you feel about your body then? What were you insecure about and would you be happy to have that body now? Consider the time you spent obsessing and the things you missed out on because of a distorted self-perception. Now take a lesson from your younger self and break the cycle. “Stop focusing on your body’s imperfections when you could actually be reveling in the best body you have right now,” advises Bear. You shouldn’t have to wait until you lose some weight to buy new clothes or plan that beach vacation. Live your life for today and be proud of the body you have. You’ve got the goods. It’s time for you to start believing it!