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11 Ways To Become Your Truest and Greatest Self

BY DR. NAOMI PABST      MARCH 14, 2014

Being precisely who you are, at your highest level, is your ticket to magnetizing the things you want most in your life. This is true for your love life, career, relationships, prosperity, health, and so on. It’s also the magic formula that will enable you to make a more powerful contribution to this world than you ever thought possible.

So here, allow me to present to you my 11 stepping stones toward your truest and greatest self. I hope it’s a helpful reminder of what you already know.

1. Fall madly in love with yourself.

Love is the most powerful energy in existence. Blast yourself with it to full advantage! Beam upon yourself as though you were your own dream lover, ideal mother, precious child, and verrrry best friend. Direct your adoration, light, warmth, healing energy, and nurturing inward, toward Y-O-U. Send yourself the same quality of love you offer to your loved ones. Love yourself actively and you will grow radiant, lighting up the world around you and hence creating a “win-win” for all you encounter.

2. Embark on a journey of self-discovery.

Explore who you are beyond all externally-imposed definitions. Then fully embody, accept, and celebrate who you are. Connect to your wonderfulness: your unique talents, skills, passions, roles, affiliations, personality profile, and one-of-a-kind life experiences. And remember, your soul is a wondrous spark of divinity, connecting you to transcendence, immortality, and dimensions beyond. It’s also the true essence of who you are.

3. Embrace your life’s unique curriculum.

Live in alignment with who you truly are. Be led by the “natural inclination” that’s encoded within your soul. Heed your inner directives. Don’t worry about what other people think. Say no when you need to. Cultivate healthy boundaries everyone in your life, and don’t be afraid to disappoint others when you hold to your intentions and honor your needs. And avoid comparing your life’s unfolding with that of others—we all have our very own train track with our own designated controls, stops, and speed settings.

4. Free yourself through healing and forgiveness.

Healing is the secret to having full access to our life force. Forgiveness means we accept our life’s unique curriculum and the sacred assignment each experience represents. We can even transcend the need to forgive if we proceed instead from radical understanding, compassion, heightened consciousness, and unconditional love. We all have what’s called a “pain-body,” a shadow part of us where all the negativity of a lifetime has built up a residue. When we heal the pain-body, we thrive.

5. Tell your inner critic where to go.

Your inner critic is that voice in your head forever cajoling you to be perfect as opposed to human. As you go to higher levels of who you are, be motivated by love of self as opposed to self-policing. Replace self-criticism with self-compassion. Let inspiration be your fuel rather than self-control. Give yourself a break from your inner judge. Refuse to give power to the bully within.

6. Step into your self-importance.

A healthy version of this much-maligned trait is critical if we are to do anything other than play small. Anyone who has accomplished anything of significance has placed importance upon themselves. It means prioritizing your desires, committing to yourself, and honoring your goals and intentions. It means taking yourself seriously. It means stepping into your full power, splendor, and majesty. It means calmly and humbly being the master of your destiny.

7. Hone your intuition.

Rely upon your sixth sense. It’s your most powerful inner resource. Tap into the divine intelligence and serve ably as your very own psychic. Become a powerful advisor to yourself. Your inner Knowing serves as your high beam headlights. With this additional illumination on life’s road, you can proceed with greater self-assurance, clarity, centeredness, and courage.

8. “Radically Relax” (aka MEDITATE).

“Letting go” on a daily basis is a game-changer. Just 15-minutes is medicine for an entire 24-hour window. A regular practice yields healing along with greater serenity, well-being, and confidence. Your anxiety fades away. Stress is replaced by wherewithal, the capacity to handle life’s demands with grace and aplomb. You grow more patient, less reactionary, and less easily triggered. You deepen your intuition and palpably feel your connection to source.

9. Take care of the temple that is your body.

Treat with awe and wonder the sacred vehicle that is ushering you through this journey called life. Your body is a miracle, without which, you are out of the game of life altogether. Lavish this extraordinary live machine of yours with gratitude for all its amazing functions, every last one of them designed to keep you surviving and thriving. Fuel your body with nutrition, physical movement, replenishing sleep, and pampering. Let your self-care practice be self-love in action.

10. Create a life you adore!

Turn the very life you’re living into a fulfilling, rewarding one you give thanks for every day. From right where you are, create a reality that uplifts and inspires you. Simply do the administration and make the needed tweaks. For when our life supports us at being at our best, we attract the circumstances we are wishing to attract. When we love our lives, we are magnetic for that great relationship, dream job, deep healing, or financial breakthrough.

11. Make the difference only you can make.

The world needs you. Of the billions of people on this planet, only you can offer what only you have to give. Connect to your passions, interests, and to the power of your natural inclination. Make a contribution to those around you accordingly. Moreover, simply being Y-O-U, at your best, will inspire everyone around you and as such serve as a powerful offering to the greater good.


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11 Ways to Live a Happier Life, According to a Psychologist (Hint: These have nothing to do with money!)

THE MIND UNLEASHED     26 July, 2014

Happiness is something that we all strive for, yet many of us find it challenging to grasp and even harder to maintain. Especially during these difficult economic times, happiness can feel like it is hiding just behind next week’s paycheck, a new job, or a distant raise. However, as Dr. Robert Putnam of Harvard University recently pointed out, “money alone can buy you happiness, but not much.”(1) It appears that happiness has less to do with money than we might imagine, and more to do with the people around us, how we live our lives, the way spend our time, and how we perceive ourselves and understand our life experiences.

Based on the latest research in psychology and my experience as both a psychologist trying to understand happiness, and as a human being searching for my own happiness, here are 11 ways to live a happier life…that have nothing to do with money!

1) PRACTICE GRATITUDE

No matter where they are or what they are doing, happy people recognize that they always have something to be grateful for. Research in the field of Positive Psychology has shown that people who practice gratitude are happier, less stressed and less depressed!(2) Happy people can easily find gratitude in the world around them, whether they are looking at the cracks in the pavement in the concrete jungle or the sun setting over the ocean. It is possible to find gratitude even in smallest of things, like a delicious meal, a good book, a challenging yoga class, or a smile from a stranger on the street.

Each of us has a choice on how we focus our attention. Choosing to focus on gratitude for the beauty and uniqueness of life instead the stressors and problems will make you feel happier and more relaxed.

2) FIND A PLACE OF FLOW

In Positive Psychology, the concept of “Flow” is defined as the “complete immersion in activity for it’s own sake.”(3) When we are in flow, such as when we are running a race, writing a song, or reading a great book, our self-awareness dissipates, time seems to stop, and we become focused, peaceful, and attentive to the task at hand.  People who frequently experience flow tend to be happy, productive, creative and focused.

You can reach a state of flow by putting special attention to tasks that you find intrinsically rewarding and enjoyable. In other words, carve out some time to do what you LOVE! For more information about how to find your flow, explore Dr. Mikhal Csíkszentmihályi’s book, Finding Flow.(4)

3) SMILE MORE

If you are feeling down or having a rough day, it is possible to cheer yourself up by simply thinking of a person, place or situation that makes you smile! Indeed, research in psychology has shown that the physical act of smiling will make you feel happier, even if you are just flexing the muscles of your mouth and not intentionally smiling!(5)

While scientists are not yet completely certain why the simple of act of smiling makes you feel happy, it has been suggested that smiling contracts the facial muscles, leading to more blood flow to the brain’s frontal lobes, which in turn triggers release of dopamine, one of the pleasure chemicals in the brain.(6) So bust out the comedies and get your giggle on (or maybe let someone tickle you a little bit)!

4) EMBRACE YOUR MISTAKES

We are all perfectly imperfect in this human form, and it is only natural that we make mistakes (sometimes very often!) Living in denial about your mistakes or getting wrapped up in your ego will only you make you miserable and block you from learning valuable lessons that will help you grow and improve.

By embracing your mistakes, you will be able to forgive yourself, and the bonus is that other people might actually like you more! According to Dr. Eliot Aronson’s “Pratfall effect” in Social Psychology, making mistakes makes competent people seem more attractive, and more human to others.(7) Happy people seem to intuitively know this, embracing mistakes as learning experiences and not judging themselves too harshly.

5) MAINTAIN AN OPTIMISTIC ATTITUDE

Happy people tend to respond to negative events in a more optimistic manner than unhappy people. Positive psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman defines optimism as “reacting to problems with confidence and high personal ability,” specifically, recognizing that negative events are temporary and limited in scope.(2) Research has linked optimism with a plethora of positive outcomes including longevity, recovery from illness, overall physical health, enhanced coping skills and problem solving in difficult situations.

Overall, optimism is a central component of staying happy and healthy, so when in doubt, look on the bright side.

6) SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE

Even though this life can sometimes feel like an individual journey, we need other people around us in order to feel happy. In fact, recent research has indicated that social relationships are the strongest predictors of happiness, much stronger than income or wealth.(1) For example, according to Robert Putnam’s groundbreaking study, making a good friend causes an increase of happiness equal to tripling ones salary, belonging to a social club is equivalent to doubling one’s salary, and so on.

The take home message here is that social support is a huge indicator of happiness and wellbeing. People with perceived positive social relationships even live longer!8 So be social, surround yourself with people who make you feel good, and release those who make you feel bad.

7) LEARN WHEN TO SAY “NO”

As psychologist Dr. Thema Davis so beautifully puts it, “saying yes to happiness means learning to say no to things and people that stress you out.”(9) Happy people know that they must say NO to people, ideas, and behaviors that do not serve their highest good. Saying yes to everyone and everything can lead you to feel overwhelmed, increase your stress, and leave you less time and resources to take care of yourself! This is especially true when you agree to do things that do not resonate with you, or allow yourself to be pressured into situations you are uncomfortable with.

The stress that results from feeling overwhelmed can severely dampen one’s happiness and wellbeing. Before you commit to anything or anyone, ask yourself, does this serve my highest good? If the answers is no, then learn to say NO.

park path

8) UNPLUG & SPEND MORE TIME IN NATURE

Although it may feel natural after a lifetime of conditioning, human beings were not designed to spend our day hunched over a desk with electronics plugged into our ears and eyes. No, we are meant to be spending time outside, away from the buzz of technology, the radiation from cell-phones and the blaring of screens. Happy people understand that it is their human birthright to give themselves quiet time to reflect and find serenity. According to the July 2010 Harvard Health Letter, time outdoors in nature has been linked to happiness because light elevates people’s moods, as does vitamin D, a byproduct of spending time outside.(10)

If you really want to maximize the benefits of outdoor time, spend time in green nature – even five minutes of “green exercise” can lead to improvements in mood and self-esteem, according to researchers at the University of Essex.(10) Even better, combine your outside time with meditation, yoga, or other therapeutic movement arts. There is a plethora of research demonstrating that all of these will further enhance your mood and overall wellbeing.

9) PRACTICE FORGIVENESS

This one can be challenging for the many of us who have been wronged and/or who have experienced traumas perpetrated by other people in our lives. But as my life partner, sound healer Jimmy Ohm always says, “forgiveness does not mean that what happened was ok, it just means you no longer want to carry the pain.”(11) When we hold on to anger, resentment and fear towards people, they are actually occupying a space inside of us, blocking us from feeling truly happy and fulfilled.

Dr. Fred Luskin of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project has found that forgiveness is a huge predictor of happiness and wellbeing, explaining how “forgiveness is the experience of peacefulness in the present moment.”(12) For more on his research, visit his website, Forgive For Good.(13)

10) TRY NEW THINGS

Happy people are not afraid to push their boundaries and try new things. Research by psychologist Dr. Rich Walker has shown that people who engage in a variety of experiences are more likely to retain positive emotions than people who have fewer experiences.(14) Sure it might seem scary at first, but what’s the worst that could happen? By going beyond your comfort zone, you might actually surprise yourself and exceed your own expectations for what you are capable of accomplishing. And hey if it doesn’t go as planned, at least you still tried, didn’t you?

As Dr. Alex Lickerman M.D. writes in Happiness in this World, trying something new requires courage, it opens up the possibility for you to enjoy something new, it keeps you from becoming bored, and perhaps most importantly, it forces you to grow.(15) So what have you always wanted to try but you didn’t think you had the guts? What are you waiting for?

11) LOOK IN THE MIRROR EVERY MORNING AND SAY “I LOVE YOU!”

For many of us, self-love is the greatest challenge and blockage to happiness. Years of being told by family, educators and especially the media that we are not good enough, not successful enough, not attractive enough, not capable enough and so on has left many of us feeling beaten down and unworthy. The truth is that no matter who you are and what has happened in your life, YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE! Say it out loud to yourself until you believe it.

Psychologists have long known that self-esteem is intrinsically connected to happiness, but how does one build self-esteem? I believe we build self-esteem through practicing self-love and self-acceptance. One of the simplest things you can do is to look in the mirror every morning and say, “I love you!” For some, this may come easy, and for others, it may be extremely challenging. I know that at first I tried and tried to do this and I would break down in tears because I felt so unworthy. Eventually through practicing daily mantras of self-love and self-acceptance, I was able to learn to love myself. And while the path to unconditional self-love is a life-long journey and not a destination, today I feel happier than I have ever felt. ☺ I hope that these happiness tips will help guide you on your journey as much as they have helped me on mine. Namaste.

Author’s Note: This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways to live a happier life, and I would love to hear from The Mind Unleashed community about other ways that they have found to live and breathe happiness! Please comment or email me at DrKellyNeff@Gmail.com. Blessings and Love!  ❤

References:

1. Miller, J. (July 23rd, 2013). Putnam: Strongest Predictors of Happiness are Social Relationships. The Chatauquan Daily. Retrieved July 9th, 2014 from: http://chqdaily.com/2013/07/23/putnam-strongest-predictors-of-happiness-are-social-relationships/

2. The Pursuit of Happiness. Mindfulness and Positive Thinking: Optimism and Gratitude. Retrieved July 10th, 2014 from:http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/positive-thinking/

3. Cherry, K. (Date Unknown). What is flow? Understanding the Psychology of Flow. About.Com Psychology. Retrived July 10th, 2014 from: http://psychology.about.com/od/PositivePsychology/a/flow.htm

4. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1997) Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life. Basic Books, New York.

5. Korb, A. (July 31st, 2012). Smile: A Powerful Tool. Psychology Today. Retrieved July 11th, 2014 from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/prefrontal-nudity/201207/smile-powerful-tool

6. Wenk, G. (December 27th, 2011). Addicted to Smiling: Can the Simple Act of Smiling Bring Pleasure? Psychology Today. Retrieved July 10th, 2014 from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-brain-food/201112/addicted-smiling

7. Manage Train Learn. Likeability: The Pratfall Effect. Retrieved July 11th, 2014 from: http://www.managetrainlearn.com/page/the-pratfall-effect

8. Public Relations Bureau (June, 2009). Social Support, Networks and Happiness. Retrieved July 11th, 2014 from:http://www.prb.org/Publications/Reports/2009/socialnetworks.aspx

9. Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis. http://www.DrThema.Com.

10. Harvard University Health Letter. (July 2010). A Prescription for Better Health: Go Alfresco. Retrieved July 10th, 2014 from:  http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/2010/July/a-prescription-for-better-health-go-alfresco?utm_source=mental&utm_medium=pressrelease&utm_campaign=health0710

11. Jimmy Ohm MccLain. https://www.facebook.com/jameslmcclain

12. Taran, R. (March 7th, 2012). Forgiveness: Making Space for More Happiness. Huffington Post Healthy Living. Retrieved July 12th, 2014, from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/randy-taran/learning-to-forgive_b_1322686.html.

13. Forgive for Good. http://www.LearningToForgive.com

14. Time Magazine. Health and Happiness: Try New Things. Retrieved July 12th, 2014 from: http://content.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1631176_1630611_1630586,00.html

15. Lickerman, A. (April 1st, 2010). Happiness in this world: Trying new things. Psychology Today, retrieved July 12th, 2014 from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201004/trying-new-things

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Kelly Neff is a social psychologist, author and educator who has helped thousands of people learn about healthy relationships, love and sexuality. A professor of psychology since 2007, she has become an innovator in the field of online teaching with her book, Teaching Psychology Online and her YouTube lectures. Dr. Neff also offers integrative healing services by combining psychological techniques, empowerment training, Reiki, and other alternative therapies. When she isn’t writing, teaching or doing healing work, Dr. Neff travels the globe in search of transformational festivals, rainbow tribe gatherings, and other adventures. You can find her daily doses of inspiration and positivity on her Facebook page, and twitter. Light and Love!

 


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10 Painfully Obvious Truths

10 Painfully Obvious Truths Everyone Forgets Too Soon

THE MIND UNLEASHED on 14 July, 2014 

“The truth does not cease to exist when it is ignored.”

You know how you can hear something a hundred times in a hundred different ways before it finally gets through to you?  The ten truths listed below fall firmly into that category – life lessons that many of us likely learned years ago, and have been reminded of ever since, but for whatever reason, haven’t fully grasped.

This, my friends, is my attempt at helping all of us, myself included, “get it” and “remember it” once and for all…

1.  THE AVERAGE HUMAN LIFE IS RELATIVELY SHORT.

We know deep down that life is short, and that death will happen to all of us eventually, and yet we are infinitely surprised when it happens to someone we know.  It’s like walking up a flight of stairs with a distracted mind, and misjudging the final step.  You expected there to be one more stair than there is, and so you find yourself off balance for a moment, before your mind shifts back to the present moment and how the world really is.

LIVE your life TODAY!  Don’t ignore death, but don’t be afraid of it either.  Be afraid of a life you never lived because you were too afraid to take action.  Death is not the greatest loss in life.  The greatest loss is what dies inside you while you’re still alive.  Be bold.  Be courageous.  Be scared to death, and then take the next step anyway.

2.  YOU WILL ONLY EVER LIVE THE LIFE YOU CREATE FOR YOURSELF.

Your life is yours alone.  Others can try to persuade you, but they can’t decide for you.  They can walk with you, but not in your shoes.  So make sure the path youdecide to walk aligns with your own intuition and desires, and don’t be scared to switch paths or pave a new one when it makes sense.

Remember, it’s always better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the one you don’t.  Be productive and patient.  And realize that patience is not about waiting, but the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard for what you believe in.  This is your life, and it is made up entirely of your choices.  May your actions speak louder than your words.  May your life preach louder than your lips.  May your success be your noise in the end.

And if life only teaches you one thing, let it be that taking a passionate leap is always worth it.  Even if you have no idea where you’re going to land, be brave enough to step up to the edge of the unknown, and listen to your heart.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Passion and Growth” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

3.  BEING BUSY DOES NOT MEAN BEING PRODUCTIVE.

Busyness isn’t a virtue, nor is it something to respect.  Though we all have seasons of crazy schedules, very few of us have a legitimate need to be busy ALL the time.  We simply don’t know how to live within our means, prioritize properly, and say no when we should.

Being busy rarely equates to productivity these days.  Just take a quick look around.  Busy people outnumber productive people by a wide margin.  Busy people are rushing all over the place, and running late half of the time.  They’re heading to work, conferences, meetings, social engagements, etc.  They barely have enough free time for family get-togethers and they rarely get enough sleep.  Yet, emails are shooting out of their smart phones like machine gun bullets, and their day planners are jammed to the brim with obligations.  Their busy schedule gives them an elevated sense of importance.  But it’s all an illusion.  They’re like hamsters running on a wheel.

Though being busy can make us feel more alive than anything else for a moment, the sensation is not sustainable long term.  We will inevitably, whether tomorrow or on our deathbed, come to wish that we spent less time in the buzz of busyness and more time actually living a purposeful life.

4.  SOME KIND OF FAILURE ALWAYS OCCURS BEFORE SUCCESS.

Most mistakes are unavoidable.  Learn to forgive yourself.  It’s not a problem to make them.  It’s only a problem if you never learn from them.

If you’re too afraid of failure, you can’t possibly do what needs to be done to be successful.  The solution to this problem is making friends with failure.  You want to know the difference between a master and a beginner?  The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.  Behind every great piece of art is a thousand failed attempts to make it, but these attempts are simply never shown to us.

Bottom line:  Just because it’s not happening now, doesn’t mean it never will.  Sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right.  (Read The Success Principles.)

5.  THINKING AND DOING ARE TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS.

Success never comes to look for you while you wait around thinking about it.

You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.  Knowledge is basically useless without action.  Good things don’t come to those who wait; they come to those who work on meaningful goals.  Ask yourself what’s really important and then have the courage to build your life around your answer.

And remember, if you wait until you feel 100% ready to begin, you’ll likely be waiting the rest of your life.

6.  YOU DON’T HAVE TO WAIT FOR AN APOLOGY TO FORGIVE.

Life gets much easier when you learn to accept all the apologies you never got.  The key is to be thankful for every experience – positive or negative.  It’s taking a step back and saying, “Thank you for the lesson.”  It’s realizing that grudges from the past are a perfect waste of today’s happiness, and that holding one is like letting unwanted company live rent free in your head.

Forgiveness is a promise – one you want to keep.  When you forgive someone you are making a promise not to hold the unchangeable past against your present self.  It has nothing to do with freeing a criminal of his or her crime, and everything to do with freeing yourself of the burden of being an eternal victim.

7.  SOME PEOPLE ARE SIMPLY THE WRONG MATCH FOR YOU.

You will only ever be as great as the people you surround yourself with, so be brave enough to let go of those who keep bringing you down.  You shouldn’t force connections with people who constantly make you feel less than amazing.

If someone makes you feel uncomfortable and insecure every time you’re with them, for whatever reason, they’re probably not close friend material.  If they make you feel like you can’t be yourself, or if they make you “less than” in any way, don’t pursue a connection with them.  If you feel emotionally drained after hanging out with them or get a small hit of anxiety when you are reminded of them, listen to your intuition.  There are so many “right people” for you, who energize you and inspire you to be your best self.  It makes no sense to force it with people who are the wrong match for you.

8.  IT’S NOT OTHER PEOPLE’S JOB TO LOVE YOU; IT’S YOURS.

It’s important to be nice to others, but it’s even more important to be nice to yourself.  You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.  So make sure you don’t start seeing yourself through the eyes of those who don’t value you.  Know your worth, even if they don’t.

Today, let someone love you just the way you are – as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as incomplete as you think you are.  Yes, let someone love you despite all of this, and let that someone be YOU.  (ReadLove Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It.)

9.  WHAT YOU OWN IS NOT WHO YOU ARE.

Stuff really is just stuff, and it has absolutely no bearing on who you are as a person.  Most of us can make do with much less than we think we need.  That’s a valuable reminder, especially in a hugely consumer-driven culture that focuses more on material things than meaningful connections and experiences.

You have to create your own culture.  Don’t watch TV, don’t read every fashion magazine, and don’t consume too much of the evening news.  Find the strength to fill your time with meaningful experiences.  The space and time you are occupying at this very moment is LIFE, and if you’re worrying about Kim Kardashian or Lebron James or some other famous face, then you are disempowered.  You’re giving your life away to marketing and media trickery, which is created by big companies to ultimately motivate you to want to dress a certain way, look a certain way, and be a certain way.  This is tragic, this kind of thinking.  It’s all just Hollywood brainwashing.  What is real is YOU and your friends and your family, your loves, your highs, your hopes, your plans, your fears, etc.

Too often we’re told that we’re not important, we’re just peripheral to what is.  “Get a degree, get a job, get a car, get a house, and keep on getting.”  And it’s sad, because someday you’ll wake up and realize you’ve been tricked.  And all you’ll want then is to reclaim your mind by getting it out of the hands of the brainwashers who want to turn you into a drone that buys everything that isn’t needed to impress everyone that isn’t important.

10.  EVERYTHING CHANGES, EVERY SECOND.

Embrace change and realize it happens for a reason.  It won’t always be obvious at first, but in the end it will be worth it.

What you have today may become what you had by tomorrow.  You never know.  Things change, often spontaneously.  People and circumstances come and go.  Life doesn’t stop for anybody.  It moves rapidly and rushes from calm to chaos in a matter of seconds, and happens like this to people every day.  It’s likely happening to someone nearby right now.

Sometimes the shortest split second in time changes the direction of our lives.  A seemingly innocuous decision rattles our whole world like a meteorite striking Earth.  Entire lives have been swiveled and flipped upside down, for better or worse, on the strength of an unpredictable event.  And these events are always happening.

However good or bad a situation is now, it will change.  That’s the one thing you can count on.  So when life is good, enjoy it.  Don’t go looking for something better every second.  Happiness never comes to those who don’t appreciate what they have while they have it.

 


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31 Ways To Be A Better Person Every Day

By Elizabeth McLaughlin    January 29, 2014 

“Did you do something different to this pasta salad?” It seemed like an innocent question … but I knew better. I knew it was my husband’s sneaky way of telling me how much I suck. Here’s what I Read

We’ve all heard the advice to “be the change you wish to see in the world.” But what does it mean to “be the change” in daily life? I’ve pondered this question often in my coaching practice, where I work with folks who struggle to change every day.

In my experience, positive change — whether individual or global — is inevitable when we refuse to perpetuate behavior which harms, and when we refuse to be victims and choose action instead. This breaks down to 31 daily practices that inherently make a difference. Here they are.

1. Own your talents proudly.

Your gifts matter, and the world needs them.

2. Refuse to recreate injurious behavior by those above you.

Mentor those you supervise, recognize their achievements, and treat everyone with respect. “That’s the way it’s always been done” is not an excuse for mistreatment.

3. Know what you don’t know.

Pretending to be something you’re not robs you of your ability to learn more from others who already know the ropes.

4. Acknowledge your part in any office conflict, and work to remedy it.

Honestly owning your role in any working relationship makes you a model for all those you work with.

5. Advocate for positive change.

If your office doesn’t recycle, start a program. If you see too few minorities being hired, work to shift office policies.

6. Compost and recycle.

Most cities now have by-donation public composting programs. Those with backyard space can compost at home. Make sure to recycle everything you can, no excuses. The planet needs your help.

7. Buy local and organic.

Buying local decreases reliance on fossil fuels, and also benefits the environment through fewer carbon emissions. Buying organic preserves biodiversity, supports farmers who are doing the right thing and undermines efforts to genetically modify our food sources without consequence.

8. Know what’s in your cabinets.

Read the labels on everything you eat and every cleaning product you own. If you can’t identify an ingredient without using Google, chances are you shouldn’t be eating it or putting it on your countertops.

9. Conserve resources whenever possible.

Turn off the lights when you’re not in the room. Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth. Unplug your chargers when not in use.

10. Be a responsible pet owner.

That means not only picking up after your pets but also caring for your animal companions as you would for a family member. How you act here affects your entire community.

11. Listen first.

Think about it: when you want support, chances are you don’t turn to the friend who only talks about herself. Listening well is a mandatory skill in healthy relationships.

12. Stop blaming.

Every relationship is a two-way street. Imagine what would happen if, instead of blaming the other party, we each investigated our own part in the dynamic, and took responsibility to shift it? Presto-chango: a stronger, healthier relationship.

13. Be the partner you wish to have.

We each reflect back our best and worst qualities in our romantic relationships. Want more romance? Be more romantic. Want a great lover? Master the art of being one. Want generous communication? Learn to communicate well and model that ideal.

14. Parent with respect and connection.

Our kids are our greatest teachers. Loving them well and parenting with good boundaries, kindness and respect benefits the entire world for generations to come.

15. Nurture and care for others …

… and you’ll get the same in return. Making soup for your sick friend or offering an ear to an acquaintance who recently lost a parent guarantees that the same support will be there for you in turn.

16. Get to know your neighbors.

Particularly in major cities, anonymity leads to loneliness and isolation. Cultivate community events in your apartment building or in your neighborhood, and participate when others do the same. Aim to be a hub of your community. The rewards are endless.

17. Seek out like-minded organizations, and contribute.

Volunteer organizations always need more help. Whatever your gifts, they’re needed.

volunteer

18. Be generous and polite.

Carry your neighbor’s groceries in when she needs a hand. Open doors for others. Say please and thank you. These little niceties make a world of difference, especially to those with whom we interact on a daily basis.

19. Be curious and open.

Got neighbors from another nation of origin? Ask about their holidays and traditions. Got a colleague who has a slightly weird hobby? Ask what makes it so compelling. You’ll gain unprecedented insights into your world and those around you.

20. Surround yourself with positive people.

We become the company we keep. Keep company with those who are optimistic, uplifting and kind, and your world will become more of the same.

21. Treat your body with respect.

It’s the vessel for your experience in this life. Fill it with junk and refuse to move it, and your experience will eventually be a miserable one.

22. Examine and heal your negative self-talk.

If the things you say to yourself in your head aren’t things you would say to your kids, your partner or your best friend, you’ve got work to do.

23. Take responsibility for offloading your own baggage.

No one can fill a void that you haven’t addressed in your own history. And being a responsible partner, friend and parent means taking whatever steps necessary to make sure you don’t perpetuate your negative experiences when you interact with others.

24. Practice self-love.

Got a body part you’re less than thrilled with? Every day for 30 days, look at that body part in the mirror and say out loud that you love it. Look at yourself in totality and say the same. See where that gets you in a month — it’s life altering.

25. Forgive yourself.

We’ve all done things we’d prefer to forget, and made mistakes we’d prefer not to repeat. This is a part of life! Write a letter to yourself in which you forgive yourself for past errors, and burn it. Use your energy for the future instead of the past.

26. Educate yourself.

Don’t understand what’s happening in another part of the world and how it might impact you? Read respected news sources, and opinion pieces in particular. Know how you and your government interact at home and in the world. And always, always consider the source.

27. Eradicate ignorance and fear.

Don’t stand by silently while others make slurs or bully. One intervention can change lives.

28. Trust until you have a reason not to.

Inherent suspicion of others, our government and our world cuts us off from positive experience and connection.

29. Practice patience and compassion.

The driver who cuts you off might not be paying attention because his dad’s in the hospital. The person who bumps you on the subway might be late to pick her kid up from school. Assuming the best rather than the worst of strangers who cross our paths decreases stress levels and makes us better citizens.

30. Operate from a place of inherent value.

The person who delivers your takeout or pours your coffee may be just as smart and talented as you, but their lives have led them in a different direction. Everyone has a purpose, and everyone has a mission, even when it’s not apparent on the surface.

And lastly, in all things:

31. Love.

You need it, those around you need it, and the world needs it. Literally everyone you interact with and anyone you’ll ever meet is looking for it somewhere. How can you be the change, no matter what? Practice love whenever you can. It is the biggest game changer there is.