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Conquering Emotional Blind Spots Is Challenging, But Worth It

Knowing you have them is the first step.

I’ve signed up to get emotionally attacked by my phone every day. Along with hundreds of thousands of people, I get a daily notification from the astrology app Co-Star. It sends an A.I.-generated nugget of wisdom based on what my horoscope and the message is usually ruthless.

“Who do you trust with your most intense feelings?” Co-Star asked me recently. The question stunned me so much that I had to sit down to think about it. When I could think of no one, I ended up booking my first therapist appointment in months.

“Taking the time to correct a friend’s behaviour is an act of love,” the app quipped. I realized that I was holding back from talking to an acquaintance about a hurtful remark they made because of how much I hate confrontation.

I’m no masochist and would be mortified if anyone talked to me like Co-Star does. But I won’t be deleting the app anytime soon. These regular roasts serve an important function in my life that little else can: they force me to self-reflect on my emotional blind spots that erode my relationships.

What is a blind spot?
Emotional blind spots cause life obstacles that aren’t visible to us, but are obvious to others. Maybe you never apologize authentically because accepting blame makes you feel bad. Or you could be a habitual people-pleaser, to the detriment of your stress levels. This hard-wired obliviousness is often due to our cognitive biases. Our brains are constantly filtering endless amounts of information, making them prone to decision-making shortcuts that are based on memories and emotions rather than rational thinking.

When it comes to uncomfortable situations or interactions, our cognitive biases are likely to kick in and lead to reactions that are unhealthy for us or the people we care about. But like rear-view mirrors, there are tools that can help us spot what obstructs our judgement.

Find a blind spot
Listen to how others describe you. Counsellor Kevin Beauchamp advises keeping an ear out for “the just factor:” it’s when your social circles use the word “just” before referring to you as an excuse for your behaviour.

“That’s just Paul, he gets angry … She doesn’t take feedback well, that’s just the way she is,” he gives as examples.

Mindfulness exercises can also unearth uncomfortable truths. Oprah Magazine recommends looking at patterns in bad relationships and listing what makes you unhappy in your current ones. If it seems like all your exes have the same negative quality, it might be time to question the common denominator. For example, if you blame former lovers for never knowing how you feel, it could be that you’re prone to shutting loved ones out.

Mood-tracking can also be revealing. Should certain encounters frequently make you feel unhappy or if certain statements about your life (from friends or astrology apps alike) cause you to double-take, you might be able to trace your mood to a warped line of thinking you regularly fall into.

OK, I know my personality flaw. How do I change it?
Counsellor and mental health journalist Kathleen Smith writes we should question some personal adages. These might look like:

  • I must be loved at all times.
  • I must avoid all conflict.
  • I must have control over everything.

If you find yourself agreeing with statements that support an “I must” mentality, it’s worth asking yourself why and work towards proving that statement wrong.

This can be easier said than done. But our personalities are a lot more flexible than we think.

University of Cambridge psychologist Brian R. Little studied the “personal projects” people undertake in the pursuit of changing themselves, such as getting over social anxiety by volunteering. Little found they could eventually change their personality traits permanently, as long as their project was something they really cared about.

You can do this by setting attainable goals related to your shortcomings. A 14-week long study suggests that participants who kept challenging themselves to change were more successful than those who just expressed a desire to be different.

For those who want to be less neurotic, study author and psychologist Nathan Hudson said activities like saying positive affirmations can directly intervene in one’s neurotic thought process.

Personal project ideas for common blind spots
You don’t need to step completely out of your comfort zone to change your personality. Starting small and being consistent are key steps to making progress:

Trying to be less avoidant? Send a difficult message over text, instead of saying it in-person.

Want to be less self-critical? Say three compliments every time you have a negative thought about yourself.

Quick to anger in an argument? Before replying, slow down your breathing and consider the other person’s perspective.

Trying to listen more? Pay attention to how much others speak and ask questions about what they bring up.

20 Ideas For 2020 is our month-long series that explores easy ways to take action on the ideas and changes you may have already been thinking about.
By Al Donato       01/07/2020 

2 Mindfulness Steps To Silence Your Inner Critic

Self-Care For Leaders: 2 Mindfulness Steps To Silence Your Inner Critic

“What will they think of me?,” “I’m not good enough,” “I am lazy,” “What if I fail?,” “I am overwhelmed at work.” “Everyone is more beautiful, smarter, stronger, thinner.” “I can never be a good leader.”
Our minds seem to have an infinite supply of critical comments. And those comments are hard to ignore. They distract us and they limit us and they even interfere with our ability to enjoy a peaceful sleep. To be clear, I am not talking about our ability to reflect on where we are in life, and assess our strengths and weaknesses so we can choose what we might want to change. That ability is fundamental to our growth as a human being.
The inner critic is different. It is not constructive and it does not deal with the facts. It is a story-teller. And when we feed the words of the inner critic, the story becomes a full-length feature film that keeps us frozen to the status quo. We begin to believe the criticisms. And those critical comments have the power to prevent us from following our dreams, or taking the chances needed to find happiness or love or success. They can also begin to make us feel sad or anxious.
So, how can mindfulness help?
  1. Begin by calling to mind an example of an inner critic statement. As you do so, notice if other thoughts start to pop up to enhance the statement, or if you start feeling any sensations of discomfort in your body. Are they familiar? When else do you notice those thoughts or feelings?
  2. Now see if you can meet those words and thoughts with this sentence: “This may or may not be true.” Once again pay attention to sensations and feelings that arise.
There is no need for you to try to deny the critical comment, it is enough to simply begin to generate some spaciousness around it. You are beginning to develop a different relationship to the words that pop into your head. And with that shift, some spaciousness begins to develop and some of the weightiness begins to lift. What decisions will you make now that all that chatter in your head is beginning to quiet down?
This post is the second in a series on Self Care. The first post looked at ways to get a better night’s sleep Self Care for Leaders.
Janice Marturano       Jan 7, 2020
Check out my website or some of my other work here.


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The Mantra That Helps You Live Longer

The last thing we all need right now is another doom-and-gloom headline. So try this mantra as an antidote: Good times are coming.

Think it. Believe it. Say it to yourself often – as often as it takes to put yourself in a more positive frame of mind. Not only could it put more bounce in your step, but research shows it may add miles to your life, too.

optimism-equals-success

 

Great Expectations

It’s all about attitude. And the right one did a lot for the women in a study. Those with the most optimism – a belief that good things will happen – enjoyed a 14 percent lower risk of dying from any cause during the study, compared with their most pessimistic peers. And the women who saw the glass as half full were also 30 percent less likely to develop heart disease.

Raising Resilience

The study findings don’t necessarily prove that a bad attitude shortens life. But cultivating a positive mood certainly can’t hurt you. A positive attitude does a bunch of good stuff for your health – like setting you up to cope with stress in healthier ways (such as meditation instead of drinking). Positive people may also deal with stress better and live longer because they tend to enjoy deeper social bonds than cynical types do.


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The Simplest Motivational Technique May Also Be The Best

Psychologists tested three common motivational techniques to see which works best.

Thinking “I can do better” really can help improve performance, new research finds.

Self-talk like this increases the intensity of effort people make and even makes them feel happier as well.

The study compared the motivational power of self-talk, such as “I will do better” with imagery and if-then planning.

Imagery involved imagining doing better and if-then planning is making a plan to act in a certain way.

All three techniques improved performance, but self-talk was consistently the most powerful.

For the study over 44,000 took part in a competitive online game.

The researchers tested the three techniques in four different ways: to help improve the process, outcome, arousal-control and instruction.

For example, an outcome goal looks like this: “I will try to place first.”

While a process goal looks like this: “I can try to react quicker.”

Meanwhile, an instructional goal could be: “I will focus on the ball.”

yes

The results showed that the greatest improvements in performance were seen for self-talk when focusing on the process and outcome.

Imagery also did well when focusing on process and outcome.

The study’s author explain:

“…imagery and self-talk focused on motivational outcome and process were associated with faster performance, higher arousal, and greater effort, than participants in the control group.
Self-talk process and outcome were associated with significantly more intense pleasant emotions.”

Perhaps one of the reasons that self-talk is so effective is that people believe it is going to be effective.

The study’s authors explain:

“…whilst findings show the positive effects of imagery and self-talk strategies when focused on outcome and process, it appears self-talk process [strategies] had additional advantages in that participants believed it was an effective mental preparation strategy to use.
[…]
…self-talk is perceived to be beneficial, possibly because it is simpler to learn than imagery, which shows that some people struggle to learn imagery.”

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology (Lane et al., 2016).

source: PsyBlog


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10 Ways Mentally Strong People Handle Stress

Handling stress poorly can negatively affect your well-being, but the good news is that you can learn the 10 ways that mentally strong people deal with stress and start using these techniques today.

Stress that is unmanaged can lead to physical health problems like high blood pressure, but can chronic stress can also develop into depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Rather than continue to handle stress poorly, let’s look at the 10 ways that mentally strong people handle stress effectively.

10 WAYS MENTALLY STRONG PEOPLE HANDLE STRESS

1. ACCEPT THAT STRESSFUL EVENTS WILL HAPPEN
We all know that things are bound to happen to upset even the most planned out day, but mentally strong people acknowledge this up front. There is going to be something unplanned for that happens to you, but you can begin planning for it now. Tell yourself now that although you know something stressful may happen today, you are prepared to handle it.

2. USE MULTIPLE STRESS MANAGEMENT TOOLS
Researchers in the Journal of Occupational Medicine studied workplace stress management programs and found that one that included goal setting, problem solving, identifying and questioning negative thoughts, relaxation, and time management was helpful for people to handle stress effectively. This strategy of using multiple techniques to handle stress is one that mentally strong people employ all the time.

3. TAKE CONTROL
Mentally strong people look at what is causing the stress and look for ways to prevent it from happening again. By making changes in their environment, they can avoid or reduce causes of stress.

4. AFFIRMATIONS
Use positive self-talk to remind yourself of just how capable you are when stressful situations come up. For example, say ‘I’ve handled situations like this before and I know I can handle this just fine too.’

5. TIME MANAGEMENT
Much of our perceived stress comes from not having enough time to get done what we want to get done. By planning ahead for lost time, we can make sure that we have enough time in the day for everything, without being stressed when something does inevitably delay us.

For example, if you have a full schedule and worry about being late to your next appointment, next time book your day with 20-30 minute gaps of time in between appointments. That way if there is too much traffic, the delay won’t seem as stressful to you due to the extra time that you planned in to your day.

Stress

Stress

6. SOCIAL SUPPORT
Researchers studying how people handle stress found that a strong social support network was linked to mental well-being. Some people find it challenging to ask for help because they like to be self-reliant. We all need help at some point, so being able to recognize when you have reached a significant stress-level and ask for help to get yourself back to a calm state is an excellent skill that mentally strong people use to handle stress.

7. THEY DO NOT AVOID STRESS
The same study that showed that social support helped mentally strong people to handle stress found that if they used the technique of avoiding things that they thought of as stressful, their mental well-being decreased significantly.

Avoiding is just a way of delaying handling stress. Running away from a problem never solved anything so choosing to face your worries and acknowledge the uncomfortable feelings while using another coping strategy is better for your mental strength.

8. SEE THOUGHTS ABOUT STRESS AS TEMPORARY
Thoughts come and go and some are terribly negative. Our awareness of our negative thoughts about stress is an excellent skill to have. This mindfulness can then be taken to the next level. Rather than avoid or repress negative thoughts about stress, see them as temporary mental events that will be gone fairly soon.

This is a strategy called ‘decentering’ by psychologists, where we challenge negative thoughts. We can choose to accept our negative thoughts as fact, or we can acknowledge that we were making a bigger deal than we needed to about the stressful event, and allow that thought to pass away from our minds like a cloud.

9. LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE
This one stressful event is not going to change the course of your life all by itself. You are still a fantastically talented, creative and intelligent person who just had a negative experience. Mentally strong people know that although the surface of the ocean is turbulent, deep down it is calm.

10. THEY FIND WAYS TO ADD JOY
Adding a few moments of laughter to a stressful day can be all it takes to handles stress well. Even in the midst of a crisis, being able to laugh at yourself for how you overreact or misjudge something is a way to shift from a negative mindset to a positive one. For example you might say, ‘Well that was silly of me to forget my wallet, but hey, at least I noticed it before I was at the cash register with a full shopping cart.’

JUNE 28, 2016      source: www.powerofpositivity.com


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How to Be an Optimist: 5 Ways to Maintain a Positive Disposition

November 5, 2015      Aris Moreno

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ~ Winston S. Churchill

When we hear the word optimism, the first thing that will probably come to your mind is the phrase “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” or “see the glass half-full rather than half empty”. But if we experience a lot of problems, becoming an optimist is easier said than done. Though it can be challenging to stay optimistic, we need to help ourselves to stay positive so that we can think more clearly and find ways to overcome our trials. But how do we exactly shift our perspective? Consider the following tips:

Re-program your mind.

“I can’t do this.”

“My problems seem unending.”

“It feels like no one loves me.”

And other negative statements that seems to fill your mind and heart each day.

Remember that your worst enemy is no one else but yourself. Each time you find yourself thinking negatively, try to counteract it by filling your mind with positive thoughts. If your problems started to fill your mind, just know that everything will be fine and that each challenge has a corresponding solution. Outweigh your negative thoughts with positive ones.

stay positive

Use positive affirmations:

Even if you’re not aware of it, a lot of us are familiar with positive affirmations. Here are some that you can use each morning to make your day brighter and more positive:

“Life is giving me everything that’s necessary for my own good.”

“I’m facing this day with a healthy body and positive mind.”

“I see the blessings in the challenges I face.”

“I put more attention on things that are good for me.”

“I choose to be happy today.”

“I endure almost everything.”

It’s more advisable to write these affirmations on a piece of paper and post it near your bed, so that it is the last thing you see before you sleep at night and the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning. You can also create your own affirmations that match your needs. When you do so, remember these two things:

  • You need to construct it in the present tense, not in the past or future. For example, if you need peace of mind, say “My mind is peaceful,” instead of saying “My mind will find peace and clarity eventually.”
  • Focus on having a positive tone and avoid negative statements. Instead of saying, “I will not get sick,” say, “I have a healthy body and disposition.” Always remember that whatever you think, whether it’s positive or negative, is what you will attract in your life.

Expose yourself to things that can uplift your heart and mind.

It’s true that there are some events in your life that you can’t control and have no power to change. However, there are also things that you can manipulate like what you watch on TV and what you read on your Facebook News Feed. Avoid TV programs that don’t teach you any valuable lesson or that will only make you feel stressed or angry. Hide posts from friends who constantly hate and complain on Facebook if deleting them from your friends list is not an option. You need positive reinforcements to be successful at positive living. Do everything you can to give yourself that because only you can do so, not your family, friends, and other people you come across with.

Don’t escape from reality.

Becoming an optimist is not an escape route to your problems. This is just one of the ways to cope with challenges, help you think more clearly, and stay calm during situations that doesn’t work in your favor. Just because your optimistic doesn’t mean that the problem will be solved on its own. You need to be realistic at the same time. Yes, there are things that you can’t control, but you can control your attitude towards them.

Share your positivity with others.

This doesn’t mean that you should explicitly force others to be optimistic. What you should do is simply help others to see the bright side of things. Stay positive and let this attitude affect the people around you. Remember that you can influence others with what you do and not so much with you say.

Here are some of the simple ways to become less pessimistic and more optimistic. As you become more proficient at this, you will develop your own techniques and will also be able to help others improve the quality of their lives.

Aris Moreno has been a long-time blogger about optimism and responsible living. He is here to inspire you to be the best you can be. Check out his blog at http://www.theoptimistblog.com.


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5 Daily Disciplines that Reprogram Your Mind to Stay Positive

Did you know there are simple ways you can override default negative thoughts, essentially hypnotizing your mind to think positive?

There is no getting around the fact that negativity is all around us, and this has a significant impact on your mind. In fact, the brain is innately programmed with a “negativity bias” – the tendency for your brain to be more sensitive to unpleasant stimuli.

Scientists believe the tendency to react more strongly to negative input had a good reason – our distant ancestors had to constantly deal with danger; thus their survival relied on being able to detect and avoid dangerous situations. In short, the bias has evolutionary roots.

Then, there is the incomprehensible complexity of the human mind, with approximately 100 trillion neural connections. This unfathomable number of synapses explains our complex way of thinking. It also explains why we have negative thoughts that replay themselves over and over without us understanding why.

The good news is that you can control what your mind produces. While you may never be able to completely rid your brain of negative thoughts, you can drastically reduce them. With some patience and the willingness to discipline yourself, you can indeed reprogram your mind to stay positive.

Here are 5 daily disciplines that will help you reprogram your mind to positive…

1. Keep a gratitude journal
Research has shown that practicing gratitude regularly makes your brain healthier and happier. Some of the benefits of being grateful include more motivation, better sleep, and a better mood throughout the day.

One gratitude study involved assigning a group of young adults to keep a daily journal of things that they were grateful for. The other group was instructed to keep a daily journal of things that annoyed them or reasons why they were better off than other people. The group that kept the gratitude journal demonstrated greater increases in attention, determination, energy and enthusiasm.

This study demonstrated three important takeaways: (1) gratitude has great psychological benefits, (2) thinking that you are “better off” than another person is not gratitude, and (3) true appreciation is an important aspect of being grateful.

Gratitude is not a comparative practice. It is honing in on the positive aspects of your life that makes you more appreciative.

2. Repeat positive affirmations

In numerous studies, positive affirmations have been shown to effectively change the way that the brain is wired. This rewiring changes the way in which the brain filters incoming stimuli, effectively resulting in a more positive mood.

Dr. Mona Lisa Schultz, neuroscientist and author of various books on the subject of affirmations and the brain, explains:

“We can rewire the patterns in our brain with cognitive behavior therapy or affirmations. Affirmations change the way our brains are wired and the brain lights up differently. So it’s not just this flow, woo-woo stuff…(affirmations) have a bio-chemical, neuro-chemical, and neuropharmalogical affects just as effective, if not more effective, than Prozac, Zoloft, or whatever else you have.”

Gratitude

Here’s a quick 4-step method to create positive affirmations:

  •  Take some alone time to think about areas of your life you’d like to improve or how you’d like your life to be.
  •  Write down a list of the most important improvements that you’d like to make.
  •  Write down a few positive statements for each item on your list. Write them in the present tense, and make sure you focus on what you do want, not what you don’t.
  •  Post these affirmations around your home and read them frequently.

3. Associate and surround yourself with supportive people
Positive people have a positive effect on your thinking. Embrace the company of individuals who display a positive mindset. Doing so will inspire, empower, and motivate you to be your best.
As mentioned earlier, the brain has a default setting that remembers and holds onto negative events. People that are negative are no different. They will alter your way of thinking and you will, consciously or unconsciously, begin to mirror their behaviors, words and thoughts. This makes it all the more important to mind the company that you keep.

Refuse the company of negative people by keeping in mind your end goal – developing habits that allow your brain to stay positive. Your mindset is more important than accommodating people that negatively affect your brain and slow your progress.

4. Ignore negative thoughts
Remember this: you are not your negative thoughts, period. Our negativity bias makes it probable that negative thoughts will surface at times throughout the day.

Negative thinking is simply tabloid material for the mind. There is no substance to tabloid material…its literally designed to attract the curious shopper into paying for useless and intellectually dishonest information. Publishers of tabloids rely on the impulses and misguided curiosity of people who see them.

The brain is the same way. It may be clever in how it presents the information, but in the end it’s void of anything that represents the facts. The facts are these: you are a person dedicated to improvement, you are positive in your outlook, and you innately know that you are a positive person.

When negative thoughts present themselves, don’t acknowledge them. Don’t wage a thought war by attempting to rationalize with them. You observe them, sure, that’s natural. Observation doesn’t indicate acknowledgement.

When you don’t engage negative thoughts, they fade away in the same way the desire to buy that tabloid magazine diminishes when you leave the store…and you’re better off as a result.

5. Stay active


Idleness gives provides ample time for the brain to overanalyze and overthink. The easiest solution is to simply recognize when your brain is taking you down this road and divert the course.
There are many ways to become active, but the best (by far) is exercise. Exercise releases endorphins, the hormones that are responsible for feelings of euphoria. It’s a natural antidepressant that far exceeds the capabilities of any prescription drug. Its positive effects are also long-lasting, remaining with you throughout the day.

Other benefits of exercise on the brain include:

– Oxygenizes the brain, improving its function
– Releases a plethora of hormones, aiding and providing nourishment for brain cells
– Stimulates brain plasticity by stimulating the growth in critical areas of the brain
– Improves learning and memory
– Reduces risk of brain-related illness such as Alzheimer’s and dementia


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5 Tips To Increase Your Energetic Vibrational Frequency

The quantum physicists have proven it: We are not just this physical body. Our presence doesn’t end at our skin line. We have an energy field around us.

This energetic aura connects us to other living beings and the universe around us. We are all interconnected. Each one of us has a unique aura, and we are part of the same divine brilliance that created the infinite cosmos.

When we are in touch with this feeling of being a part of the divine, our true essence being love, then our energy vibrates at a high frequency. Our positive thoughts and feelings and healthy practices support a bright energy field.

On the other hand, if we live in a state of fear, negativity, and separation, and fill our body with unhealthy substances (low-vibrational food, alcohol, and drugs), then our energy field becomes blocked, clouded, and dark.

Our energy is a magnet. It attracts experiences in the world to match our energetic field. Because we create our energy with how we treat ourselves inside and out, we are responsible for our energy and our life experiences. Life doesn’t happen to us. Rather, our outer experience reflects our inner state.

positivity

Here are some of the ways you can take responsibility for your energy:

1. Focus on your breath.

This practice takes us right into our body, calms our nervous system, and shifts our energetic presence.

2. Take time to slow down.

Most of us are so busy filling our lives with unending tasks. Put SLOW DOWN on your to-do list and trust that’s its a very important task.

3. Process and consciously feel your feelings.

Many of us learned to stuff our feelings down, especially if they are negative or “un”spiritual. Actually, the spiritual practice is to feel all of our feelings. The sooner you feel and process the feeling, the sooner and easier it will release. Being human is the doorway to the divine.

4. Repeat a mantra like, “I am divine love.”

Mantras help to retrain your mind away from conditioned beliefs. They help us return to our true essence, as mantras carry a vibrational frequency that permeates throughout the body.

5. Cultivate compassion.

Your energy is something you put out into the world. It either uplifts or drains others. When you notice this interconnection, how we affect one another, we start to take more responsibility for the energy we radiate.

By engaging in daily practices like mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and healthy eating we shift our energy. We begin to operate at a high-vibrational frequency, the frequency of love, and that’s when we are a magnet for more positive relationships and experiences.

When our energetic aura shifts, our consciousness expands, our nervous system neutralizes, and we begin to fully realize and experience a spiritual awakening… the recognition of our divine essence. Things become possible that weren’t before. A miraculous life unfolds in front of us.

by Tara Mullarkey    March 2, 2013 


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Promise Yourself These 8 Things For A Happy Life

BY DOMONIQUE BERTOLUCCI      APRIL 8, 2015 

So many people look outside themselves for ways to feel good on the inside. They think self-confidence will come from doing this, having that or looking a certain way. The reality is that although these people are the only ones who can build their own confidence, the way they think and act is doing nothing but tearing it down.

The first time I realized this was in my mid-20s, when I had my quarter-life crisis. My life looked great on paper: well-paying job, cool car, great clothes, fun holidays. Despite all this, I really wasn’t happy.

Feeling good about who you are and the life you live shouldn’t depend on a specific outcome, yet all too often people put themselves down or beat themselves up because they haven’t done this or got that. Your confidence shouldn’t be dependent on the goals you’ve achieved, nor should it be dependent on the feedback you get from others, your dress size or the amount in your bank account.

But if your self-confidence isn’t based on what you’ve got or what you’ve done, how do you build and maintain it?

The answer is deceptively simple. Make the commitment to treat yourself with the same kindness you show the other important people in your life.

The key to feeling good about who you are and the life you live is built on this pact — what I call the Eight Promises, each of which is paired with a mantra to help you learn to live for yourself, not what others think about you.

1. Accept your imperfections.

I am perfectly imperfect.

There’s no such thing as perfection, yet so many people exhaust themselves and erode their self-confidence in pursuit of it. When you accept your imperfections you recognize that you have strengths and weaknesses … and that’s OK.

2. Always do your best.

I always do my best, and my best is always good enough.

When you set impossible goals that you have no real chance of achieving, you’re setting yourself up for failure before you begin. When you focus on always doing your best, you’re able to have much more realistic expectations of yourself and what you can achieve.

3. Stop comparing yourself to others.

I have no need to see myself as more or less than anyone else.

Whether it’s your neighbors, celebrities or the people you see on reality TV, comparing yourself to others will usually leave you feeling inadequate. When you stop comparing yourself to others, the only person you’ll need to impress is yourself.

mirror

4. Believe in your potential.

I fully expect my life to be happy and rewarding.

Not only is worrying a big waste of energy, it also sends a clear message to your subconscious about your expectations in life. Instead of worrying about things that might never happen, focus your attention and efforts on making the things you want your reality.

5. Silence your inner critic.

I only welcome thoughts that support and encourage me.

The way you speak to yourself has a big bearing on how you feel about yourself; if you speak to yourself in a harsh, critical or belittling way, your confidence will whither. You are the guardian of your self-esteem and you should never speak to yourself more harshly than you would to a small child.

6. Challenge yourself.

I am brave and willing to step outside of my comfort zone

Confidence and self-belief are like muscles; you need to exercise them if you want to grow stronger. When you challenge yourself, you are telling your subconscious that you believe in yourself and that you are willing to back yourself in new circumstances and situations.

7. Stop making excuses.

I take full responsibility for who I am and the life I lead.

If you aren’t living your best life, you need to examine not only the things that are getting in your way, but also the reasons you’re letting them. When you stop making excuses and start taking responsibility, you’re able to enjoy the things that are great about your life while harboring no illusions about what you need to change if you are to enjoy everything else.

8. Treat yourself with love and respect.

I always treat myself with love and respect.

When you love yourself, you treat yourself with as much love and respect as you would your closest friend, be understanding and forgiving of your failings and, above all, be as kind to yourself as you are to the other important people in your life.


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15 Keys to Living a Long and Happy Life

The U.S. centenarian population has been on the rise the past few decades, growing from 32, 194 people who lived to see their 100th birthday in the 1980s to 53, 364 centenarians in 2010, according to the Census Bureau. So, what secrets does this relatively small group of people harbor for accomplishing the incredible feat of living to such a ripe age?

Many of them credit these habits for granting them a long, happy, healthy life:

1. Cultivate a positive attitude.

In a 2012 study published in the journal Aging, researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that out of 243 centenarians assessed, all of them had upbeat, optimistic, easygoing personalities. However, this one should come as no surprise – a pessimistic attitude drains you of vital energy and can even decrease your lifespan due to the shortening of telomeres, or the “end caps” of DNA strands. If you don’t already, practice developing a positive outlook on life if you want to increase your longevity and possibly become a centenarian yourself!

2. Laugh often.

In the same journal referenced above, researchers from several prestigious universities discovered that the same 243 centenarians did more than just have a good attitude – they considered laughter an important part of life, too. Find reasons to laugh on a daily basis; not taking life so seriously could actually add some years to your lifespan.

3. Follow your unique life purpose.

People in Costa Rica call this a “plan de vida,” or reason to live. They feel that a strong sense of purpose and desire to contribute to a greater cause played a huge role in a small group of Costa Ricans living to 100. According to the website Blue Zones, people living in this area of Central America have twice as much likelihood as Americans of living to the age of 90.

4. Adopt a plant-based diet.

A study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that vegetarians have a 12 percent lower risk than their meat-eating counterparts of suffering a premature death. Switching to a plant-based diet offers a slew of health benefits as well, which may explain why this group of people enjoys, on average, a much longer, vibrant life.

5. Get enough shut-eye.

Sleeping for at least seven or eight hours a night will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day, not to mention that sleep allows your body to produce important hormones as well. A Penn State study found that men who slept less than six hours a night had a four-fold increase in their chance of dying over a 14-year period. Prioritize sleep over staying up late surfing the web or partying with friends to join the growing number of centenarians on the planet.

6. Live in a sunny, tropical climate.

Not surprisingly, Hawaii comes in first for the happiest, least-stressed state in the U.S., as well as the state with the greatest longevity. On average, a 65 year old living in Hawaii will live another 16.2 years, in comparison to another 10.6 years in the state with the lowest life expectancy, Mississippi.

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7. Move your body.

A 123 year old Bolivian man, Carlos Flores Laura, credits his longevity to taking daily walks. Others like Tao Porchon-Lynch, a 95 year old yoga instructor, say that a regular yoga practice influenced their long lives. Whatever activity you choose to take part in, make sure you really enjoy it and can incorporate it into your routine regularly.

8. Help other people.

Yep, altruism can actually lead to a longer life. According to a University of Michigan study, volunteering for the purpose of helping others, not helping oneself, led to an increased lifespan on average.

9. Take more vacations.

Make sure to allot some vacation time into your busy work schedule; it could actually save your life. The Framington Heart Study followed about 12,000 middle aged men for nine years; the results of their study? The men who took more time off work actually lived longer than the workaholics. So, booking more vacations might not make your wallet too happy, but a longer life doesn’t sound too shabby, either.

10. Stay close with family.

According to government research, Hispanics actually live 2.5 years longer than Americans on average, and researchers suspect that having a close-knit family may have something to do with it. We can learn from all cultures, and the Latino community proves that family bonding can play a huge role in having a long, enjoyable life.

11. Stay in touch with your spirituality.

Whether you choose to attend church services or keep up a regular meditation practice, WebMD’s 2008 survey of centenarians showed that 84 percent of them viewed a healthy spiritual life as an important part of aging well. Take it from the centenarians – exploring your spirituality can lead to a better, longer life in the long run.

12. Tell yourself positive affirmations.

Yogi Tao Porchon-Lynch, the lady mentioned earlier in the article, also accredited positive self-talk to her long, healthy life. Even in her 90s, she wakes up every day and tells herself that each day will be the best day of her life. Repeating mantras like these to yourself can help instill a positive mindset and totally transform your outlook on life.

13. Keep your mind active.

Continual intellectual stimulation can add years to your life – in fact, 89 percent of centenarians do things to keep their brains busy, according to a 2008 WebMD survey.

14. Live conscientiously.

By far, researchers have found that being conscientious is one of the best indicators of how long a person will live. The book The Longevity Project talks about this in depth, and explains that conscientious people have a higher likelihood of adopting healthier lifestyles and have more successful relationships and careers on average.

15. Develop a resilient mindset.

Researchers at the Al Siebert Resiliency Center found psychologically resilient adults coped much better with life’s challenges and aged more gracefully. In other words, don’t ever stay down too long after an upsetting event – rather, talk about your feelings openly and get back up on your feet quickly to avoid falling into depression or stagnation. Easier said than done, but it could tack on a few years to your lifespan, after all.


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How To Change Your Attitude When You Can’t Change Your Situation

BY DAVID ZULBERG    JANUARY 20, 2015 8:28 AM EST

Sometimes changing your physical circumstances isn’t possible — or not possible soon enough, or you may want a less drastic change, but you still want to be happier. You can’t get to a new job right away or you regularly bump into that friend who makes you feel badly, what options do you have left?

Change your perception, belief or opinion of the situation — and that will help you change your attitude.

The Greek philosopher Epictetus said it beautifully more than 2,000 years ago: “People are disturbed, not by things (that happen to them), but by the principles and opinions which they form concerning (those) things. When we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved, let us never attribute it to others, but to ourselves; that is, to our own principles and opinions.”

Modern behavioral science agrees! American psychologist Albert Ellis, famous for developing rational emotive behavior therapy, explained that “how” people react to events is determined largely by their “view” of the events, not the events themselves.

Have no clue how to change your perception — and improve your attitude? Here are five easy ways to start:

1. Admit to yourself that you’re not happy.

You can’t change anything if you aren’t aware that something needs to be changed. Stop the cycle of wishing things were different and take control of your thoughts and reactions to events and people.

2. Realize optimism is a choice. 

You are not born with a positive or negative attitude. It is something you become through your perspective of experiences. Very few situations are completely bad. Always try to come up with three to five positives of any challenging situation and write them down so you can remember them.

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3. Use positive words.

Use statements like, “I am hopeful,” or, “We will find a resolution,” throughout the day. The words you use when you talk have a major impact on your attitude and emotional outlook.

4. Hang out with friends who have a happy vibe.

Try surrounding yourself with friends that exude positive energy. Pay attention to the words they use when they talk to you about their day. You will be amazed how simple it is to ascertain if they are a positive or negative influence.

5. Say a daily affirmation.

Find a quote that is meaningful to you and say it aloud every morning. “Something great is going to happen today,” sends your energy in an expectant and positive direction. I know it sounds a bit “Zen” and somewhat mystical, but it is actually a very simple and effective method for retraining your subconscious mind — and advocated by both ancient and scientific research.

So the next time you are faced with a challenging situation, remember these tips for molding your perception — and improving your attitude. You may not be able to change it, but you can certainly choose your mental and physical response to it. As time passes, you will notice a real shift in your attitude, and so will your friends and family!

source: www.care2.com