zen garden 1 SHADOW

Be Grateful & Create Positive Change In Your Life

1074-Ward-1280x800Becoming aware of the many blessings already present in your life causes you to focus more and more on abundance and sets you on a path to a mental state rich in optimism.

This transformation takes place as you begin to express genuine gratitude to others, and start feeling gratitude for everything in your life that brings you joy.

Become Receptive to Abundance
A great way to increase your awareness of the abundance you already have is to start a gratitude journal. You don’t have to wait for something great to come into your life to appreciate it. Instead, just open your notebook once a day and take a few minutes to write down the things that you’re thankful for.

You can feel grateful for anything, big or small. On days when you think you have absolutely nothing to be appreciative for, you can prime the pump by taking stock of the little things. For instance, take note of the air you’re breathing or the food you ate for lunch.

Once you realize that there are so many things to be grateful for, you’ll find that you can think of more and more blessings in your life.

After several weeks of journaling in this way, you should find that you’re spontaneously running into “good luck.”

This process trains your brain to spot opportunities, and convinces your subconscious that you’re positively swimming in abundance. And the truth is, you are!

Gratitude is a Tool
Gratitude can put you on the path to becoming a stronger person. Use gratitude proactively to arm yourself against negativity and tough times. Focus on what you do have as opposed to what you don’t have.

A study published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology entitled “Counting Blessings versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-being in Daily Life” found that those who maintained a grateful attitude experienced greater physical and psychological well-being.

The study claims that daily gratitude increases self-esteem. It also reduces materialism, envy, and self-centered tendencies. Gratitude can also help you to form more meaningful relationships and generate social capital. People who consistently express gratitude are trusted more than those who don’t.

Consistent gratitude is one of the most powerful tools that you can use to propel yourself into a brighter tomorrow.

Still other studies suggest that as you cultivate gratitude, you’re more likely to grow in response to stress, instead of shrink – By keeping the things you’re thankful for in your mind, you can reduce stress. As you deal with stressors more proactively, others notice your new-found confidence.

All of these effects combine to create new opportunities in your life that you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. So go ahead: start a gratitude journal, and let the stress melt off. Open yourself up to the possibility of abundance. You’ll be glad you did.

 

How trying the stresses of life can be! Having situations that affect your peace of mind can be challenging. And sometimes you feel like you’ve gotten way more than you can handle. Yet still, you find a way to keep going.

 

It’s great when you can find the determination to keep going. But are you doing so to your own detriment? Perhaps the way you’re responding isn’t always the best.

 

Coping mechanisms help to keep you in the game. But after a while, you may end up crashing. The most beneficial approach involves using well thought-out strategies to keep you in control.

 

Try this process to respond to an especially challenging situation:

 

  1. Stop in your tracks. If you feel overwhelmed now, it’s likely to get even worse if you keep going the way you are now! Stop right where you are and accept the situation for what it is.

Look back at what has happened up until this point in time. Can you identify the reasons behind your downfall? Make a note of them.

 

  1. Embrace your shortcomings. Do you have shortcomings that prevented you from staying on top of things? Be honest with yourself when trying to identify them. It’s the only way you’ll be able to move on to resolving the situation.

Whatever you’ve identified as your shortcomings, accept and embrace them. It’s pointless allowing them to bring your mood down. You’re already overwhelmed. The last thing you need to do is put yourself down.

 

  1. Avoid excuses. Even though you feel overwhelmed, the last thing you want to do is blame it on something or somebody else. Avoid overlooking yourself as the main factor behind your current situation.

It’s easy in stressful situations to refuse accountability. Just the tension alone is enough to drive your mind in crazy directions. Just accept it for what it is, even if it means coming face to face with your shortcomings.

 

  1. Open up to others. Share your feelings with someone you can confide in. Simply sharing can often help to ease some of the stress off your shoulders.

Tell the whole story. Allow the person to understand your highs and lows. Let them see how your strengths got you this far. But also share what you think you could have done differently.

 

  1. Organize an approach. Now that you’ve offloaded, you’ll have a clearer mind to organize an approach. You’ve stopped at this point for a reason. Now’s your chance to change direction and pull yourself out of this rut.

Now that you’ve figured out what went wrong, try to tackle those things first. You’ll want to prevent those things from happening again.

 

  1. Surround yourself with positive people. It’s sometimes difficult to take on challenges on your own. As much as you hate to admit it, there are others better at some things than you are! Embrace them and get the support you need to manage stressful situations.

Use the strengths of trustworthy people to get you over the hump. Be clear about the role you want them to play. Handing over responsibility can be tough. But be mature enough to understand that it doesn’t take away from your own abilities.

 

Being in over your head isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s a perfect opportunity to be creative in your approach. Once you identify an effective approach, you can expect to handle situations more confidently.

 

Give yourself the chance to be in control. With positive strategies, you’ll be able to take matters into your own hands and turn them around in no time!

[tr-shareit ]horizon[/tr-shareit]Have you ever felt like you’ve been missing something that could make your life more fulfilling? Perhaps you’re yearning to expand your horizons and reach for something beyond the scope of what you know today.

 

These activities will make a marked difference in helping you find that sense of newness and fulfillment you’re seeking:

 

  1. Read. Reading is a great way to expand your horizons and give you an appreciation of concepts and ideas which you’ve never really given much thought to before. You’ll quickly find that you’re becoming more imaginative and even more accepting of the points of view of others around you.

 

  • History books give a true sense of appreciation of cultures and may help you determine why some cultures have behaviors that are so different from your own.
  • If you’re inclined to behave a certain way, such as a free-loving spirit or a goal-driven individual, try reading to learn about how you can break out of your mold and live in another realm. You’ll be surprised at how liberating it can be!

 

  1. Engage others. Partaking in meaningful conversation with others outside of your loyal friends or your everyday co-workers is a great way to open up your mind’s eye. Try visiting a new hang out spot or accept invitations from random acquaintances and see what new possibilities open up.

 

  • Not much into politics? Give it a shot by engaging politics-driven individuals in conversation. You may not ever become a politician, but you can at least understand their point of view!
  • Thinking about giving back? Why not spend some time with charity workers to understand the impact of their work? That may be the push you need to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.

 

  1. Create. As a child, was there ever anything you wanted to be able to create? A written expression, music, useful new gadget, or even a structure? Now that you’re grown, and possibly in a better position to create, why not take a shot at it? Try and do something totally unrelated to your current stage or status in life.

 

  • Write a book sharing your innermost fears and insecurities; you may find that it gives you the liberation you’ve wanted for many years.
  • Start a self-development blog for teens, which may very well help them through issues you faced when you were their age.

 

  1. Appreciate. Although there are things other people accomplish that might not be in your normal scope, why not try and take the time to appreciate their worth? While the impact may initially be beyond your insight or understanding, actually spending the time looking into it for its worth may allow you to gain an appreciation you never had before.

 

The reality is that you’re really never too old to learn!

 

There are endless lessons just waiting to have a profound impact on you, if only you’ll let them. And the more you expose your mind to, the broader your horizons will become.

 

Remember that knowledge is power, so avoid limiting your knowledge base and open your mind to new possibilities.

How To Increase Your Self-Esteem

[tr-shareit ]Smiling woman with positive self esteem[/tr-shareit]You might have discovered lately that you aren’t feeling as positive as you could about yourself. Maybe you’re disappointed in how you look or some of the emotions you feel. Your attitude might slip a bit at times and you find yourself making self-deprecating statements to others.

 

How can you get out of this rut and reinvigorate how you feel about yourself?

 

These strategies will help you get back on track and increase your self-esteem:

 

  1. It’s time to take a good, long look at yourself. Although it might be scary or even a bit disappointing, the sooner you do it, the quicker you’ll be able to get yourself back on track.
  2. How’s your physical appearance? Consider any changes you’d like to make to how you look. It’s common to go through life phases when you don’t take the care with yourself that you usually do. For many, a new haircut and some extra attention to personal grooming goes miles toward increasing self-esteem.
  • Look at yourself with a kind eye and make some decisions on what you can realistically and financially do to improve your appearance. As you probably already know, your appearance is paramount to how you feel about yourself. Improving your appearance most likely means you’ll improve your self-esteem.
  1. Recognize your strong points. Although your mind hasn’t been in a place to really notice what you’re good at, take some time now to do just that. Maybe you’re a great cook, wonderful with kids, and the hardest worker at the office. Every single person has strong points and it’s important for you to know what yours are.
  2. Remind yourself what you truly love about you. Maybe it’s the way your green eyes shine or your red hair makes your facial features stand out. Perhaps you’re consistent about doing exercise or you’re brilliant at keeping the conversation going. You’re even in awe of the patience you have with others or your willingness to step up and volunteer to help out others.
  3. When it comes to you, what are you the most proud of? What do you consider your greatest achievements? We all have something to be proud of. Figure out the things about you that you take pride in to raise your self-esteem a few notches.

 

  • Maybe you keep an organized house or wash your dad’s car every week without fail.
  • Perhaps you write a good story or can keep your cool when your kids are acting out.
  • Did you work your way through college without any help or support from others?
  • Maybe your wife hasn’t ever had to scrape the ice off her car windows because you always do it for her.
  1. Accept compliments openly. Make eye contact, smile, and say, “thank you” whenever people pay you a compliment. After all, people aren’t going to go to the time and trouble to pay you a compliment unless they believe you deserve it. Relish in the good things about you that others notice. Embrace those positive comments. Doesn’t it feel great?

 

You can reinvent yourself by taking steps to increase your self-esteem. Look within yourself to evaluate what you need to feel better about yourself. Make changes in your physical appearance, open your eyes to your strong points, and be aware of what you love about yourself. Acknowledge what you’re most proud of and embrace compliments.

 

As you do these things, your self-esteem will soar. The reinvention of you will be successful and complete!

Gratitude comes easily to me.

[tr-shareit ]Sunset Abundance[/tr-shareit]I am thankful for so many things. My life overflows with abundance. I see it every time I turn around. In my family, career, and social lives, I am richly blessed. For all these things and more, gratitude comes easily to me.

 

My career is on the right path for me, and I am thankful for it. Whether this path is the same as the job through which I make my living, or is another one entirely, I feel blessed to have a calling in life. Gratitude is my natural response to this.

 

The gifts I have to share with the world are valuable and valued, and I am thankful for them. Some are innate. Others, I develop. All of them are worth having, and I count myself lucky to have them all.

 

If I ever notice myself feeling a lack of gratitude, I take a few deep breaths and look around me. What do I see that is good? Small things remind me to be grateful, from my partner’s hand on my shoulder to a day with perfect weather. I would not want to miss any of them!

 

Of course, I desire things. This is natural for humans. However, I know that these desires are just that: wants, rather than anything that indicates lack in my life. All of my needs are met, and many of my desires. New wants just give me opportunities to remember how much I already have!

 

Today, I am thankful for all parts of my life. From the gifts I receive to those I have to give, every aspect of my world brings me joy. Each day, I cultivate gratitude for my many blessings.

 

Self-Reflection Questions:

 

  1. Which parts of my life am I most thankful for?
  2. Which parts could I stand to appreciate more?
  3. How do I benefit from cultivating gratitude?

Reflection: Adventure Inspires Me

I absolutely love the thrill of a new adventure! I excitedly look forward to the opportunity to do something adventurous. My passion for new, mysterious exploits hardly quiets because I enjoy the exhilarating feeling they give me. I feel energetic and full of life when I experience adventure.

 

[tr-shareit ]603-Holtz-1600x1200[/tr-shareit]I spend much of my free time researching activities that bring adventure. I love the unpredictability of nature and having the opportunity to frolic with it gives me a thrill. I enjoy hiking and rafting because every experience is unique. I create new memories each time I climb a rock or raft down a river.

 

I recognize that adventure doesn’t just come in the form of nature escapades or physical feats. I also feel the adrenaline rush when I face a challenge. Challenges with converting negative thinkers into positive believers give me the same adrenaline rush as riding the world’s biggest roller coaster.

 

When I am financially unstable, I consider surviving through it as an adventure. When I succeed at feeding myself and paying the bills, I laugh with satisfaction because I am able to conquer such a challenge.

 

Every hardship I experience is a learning experience. I accept hardships with open arms because they force me to think and be creative. Developing that state of mind is an adventure for me.

 

Today, I continue to look for opportunities to experience adventure. I know that adventure exists in my everyday life and so I look for it expectantly. I feel like a different person when I make it out the other side of an adventurous experience.

 

Self-Reflection Questions:

 

  1. Do I enjoy sharing adventurous experiences with family and friends?
  2. Am I realistic enough to recognize when an adventurous experience could bring danger?
  3. Do I look for adventure in the right places?

Overcoming Procrastination – Six Easy Steps

Throughout your life, you’ve meant to do a lot of things. You might have intended to go into a certain line of work, live in a certain area, or become involved in certain hobbies and activities. But everyday life just kind of intervened and prevented you from doing what you’d always thought you would do.

 

And here you are — still wishing you can accomplish some of the goals and desires you established a long time ago. Some of the activities you want to do might even come up in conversation from time to time. You start out by saying, “One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is…” or “I always thought I would…”

 

So, how can you stop talking and start doing what you intend to do? What does it take to follow through with your intentions?

 

[tr-shareit ]Rather than spend 2 hours in the evening playing on your electronic tablet, spend one of those hours working towards one of your mini-goals.[/tr-shareit]

 

These action strategies can help inspire you to begin fulfilling your life’s dreams:

 

  1. Pick your top 3 desires at the current time. Limiting the goals you plan to work on will help you succeed. Select those that are the most important for you.
  2. Stay focused on those 3 goals and don’t allow anything to get in the way of accomplishing them. When you focus, you’ll keep those goals on your mind every single day. You might say you’ll eat, sleep, and drink with those few goals.
  3. Break each goal up into “chunks.” Divide it up into smaller mini-goals and enjoy one success after another as you attain these smaller goals and get closer to achieving your end goal. Breaking up each goal into do-able chunks will galvanise you to get started working toward the goal one bit at a time – for example, if one of your goals is to travel to Japan, what is every aspect of the trip you must plan for? Your mini-goals might include setting a date, gathering finances, deciding where all you’ll go and what you want to do when you get there, and more.
  4. Vow to do something every day that moves you closer toward each of your 3 goals. For example, rather than spend 2 hours in the evening playing on your electronic tablet, spend one of those hours working towards one of your mini-goals.
  5. Show flexibility. If focusing on 3 of your desires at once is too difficult for you to work toward, then choose just one at a time and work on it until you accomplish the goal. Also, be willing to switch from moving one goal ahead to working on another if you get stuck.
  6. Change your language. Rather than continuing to state you “always wanted to do” something, state what you’ve done recently to work toward accomplishing your goal. Use your discussions and language to remind yourself and others of what your intentions are. Now your talk and your actions are both consistent with attaining your goal.

[tr-shareit ]604-Holtz-1600x1200[/tr-shareit]For example, if you’ve always wanted to learn Tai Chi, tell what you’ve done to check into it. “I called to find out when the Tai Chi class starts and how much it costs.” What a thrill it will be when your next conversation includes, “At my Tai Chi class the other day…”

 

Won’t it be wonderful when you start avidly focusing on your desires and actively working to achieve your goals? You have, right now, within your reach, the power to stop talking and start doing whatever’s necessary to translate your intentions into actions. You can live the life you’ve yearned to live and achieve your dreams. Begin today to do what you intend to do.

How to Manage Major Life Transitions

[tr-shareit ]618-King-1600x1200[/tr-shareit]Life sometimes requires you to be able to shift from one situation, relationship, or career to another. These shifts, or transitions, can be quite disconcerting and even challenging at times.

 

If you’re aware of upcoming transitions you’ll be experiencing, you’ll be in a better position to prepare for it.

 

Applying helpful strategies will then help you manage the shifts more effectively.

 

Common Life Transitions
Becoming familiar with common adult life transitions will help you be proactive when it comes to managing your own transitions. Consider these situations that are filled with changes:

 

  • Moving your residence. Leaving a home you’ve lived in for years can trigger many feelings of sadness, loss, and even grief.
  • Getting married. Deciding to permanently share your life and residence with another person is quite a shift in your lifestyle, causing a lot of change and perhaps turmoil at first, even though you’re happy with your decision to wed.
  • Having your first baby. Becoming responsible for another life is one of the most awesome, life-changing events you’ll ever experience.
  • Experiencing a divorce. The termination of a relationship that you thought would last all your life leads to an obvious period of change and turbulence.
  • Obtaining a new job. Leaving co-workers, supervisors, and surroundings you’ve grown accustomed to can bring great changes to your life.
  • Switching careers. Changing from one type of work to another is a monumental life-changing event for most people.
  • Losing a parent through death. Losing one of the people you’ve been closest to all your life will trigger many feelings. You might even look at your own existence much differently once a parent passes.
  • Coping with your best friend moving away. If you’ve been close to a person for many years and weathered other transitions with their help, it can be quite challenging to face the fact that they won’t be close by anymore.

 

How to Manage Your Life Transitions
As you can see, some of these transitions occur spontaneously and without much warning. Others are, for the most part, orchestrated by you.

 

Examine these ideas on how you can successfully manage your life transitions:

 

  1. Plan ahead. When you’re thinking about doing something that will trigger a transition in your life, plan it at a time when you expect other areas of your life to be relatively calm. You have the ability to schedule some of your life transitions.
  2. Space your transitions, if possible. For example, if you’ve just taken a new job in town, it may not be the time to move your residence. Give yourself a year to adjust to the new position before you start looking for a new house. It’s wise to allow some time to get used to one new situation before beginning another. The transition process takes time for adjustment.
  3. Continue with regular routines. Throughout the time of transition, stick with as many of your routines as possible. Routines can bring structure and a certain comfort to your life whenever there’s turbulence from a transition.
  4. Give yourself some “down time.” Because transitions often trigger feelings of stress, it’s important to allow yourself plenty of breaks for rest and relaxation. Taking part in your favorite hobbies or just hanging out around the house can give you time to recharge and help you deal with the current transition.
  5. Reach out to others for support. Recognize that everyone, without exception, lives through transitions. Therefore, you can turn to others to hear their stories of how they got through such changes.

 

Major life transitions can be successfully managed if you apply the information above.

 

 When you’re thinking about doing something that will trigger a transition in your life, plan it at a time when you expect other areas of your life to be relatively calm.

 

Knowing about common life transitions, planning ahead, spacing transitions, and continuing your routines are effective ways to cope. Also, taking rest breaks and asking others for support will provide you with what you need to face and deal successfully with whatever transitions life brings.

 

 

How To Face Your Fears With Courage

[tr-shareit ]602-Jones-1600x1200[/tr-shareit]Fear is one of life’s hindrances that can keep you from reaching your full potential. In fact, it’s the likely culprit when you tell yourself that you’re not able to do something that you have every ounce of ability to do. Fear can turn your world upside down in no time if you don’t confront it face to face.

 

Of course, you might be saying that it’s easier said than done, because you’ve tried your best to overcome your fears and it just hasn’t worked. It’s totally understandable if that’s your stance right now. However, why not take a look at some self-help ideas that could assist you in building the courage to stand taller than whatever you’re fearful of?

 

Are you ready? Let’s go.

 

What’s the Worst That Could Happen?
Take a minute to reflect on the fear that’s holding you back. Take a closer look at what you think will happen if you take a head-on approach to your fear. What’s the worst that could really happen?

 

  • If you’re worried about rejection, focus on a positive outcome to get past it.
  • If you’re concerned about failure, think about the lesson you can learn from the experience that can continue to move you forward toward your goal.
  • If you’re fearful about disappointing others, remember that “this too shall pass.”

Conquer Smaller Fears First
If you’re like most people, your fears range from the smallest, most insignificant things to major scenarios that could be life-changing. But there’s really no better way to develop courage than to get some practice at facing your fears.

 

So why not start with smaller fears? Are you afraid of insects? Or are you worried about taking a driving exam because you fear you’ll fail? Start with things like these – the fears that aren’t heart-crushing, but which still take some amount of courage to face.

 

  • Tell yourself you’re capable of facing the fears because you’re prepared.
  • Comfort yourself with knowing that you’ll never get more than you can manage in life.
  • Remind yourself that what you fear is nowhere are large as your will and desire to conquer it!

Look at Everything as a Learning Experience
Above all, it definitely helps a lot if you look at everything – even situations you fear – as a learning experience. Putting a positive spin on something usually makes it much easier to deal with.

 

Take some time to think about what positives you can discern from something you fear. If you think about what conquering a specific fear could mean for you, consider how proud and extremely happy you’ll be when you actually make it through.

 

Think about how you’ll feel on the other side of the road when you look back and realize that making it through was much less of a challenge than you thought it would be.

 

There’s no greater success than the type that comes with overcoming obstacles. And without a doubt, fear is an obstacle you can overcome.

 

Developing the courage to face your fears will likely be a work in progress for a while, but it’s truly possible. By using these self-help ideas, you’ll be able to take baby steps towards becoming brave enough to conquer what’s preventing you from reaching your fullest potential. Give it a shot and discover what you’re really made of!

 

 

Dealing With Change – Eight Strategies

Be The Change

[tr-shareit ]Be The Change[/tr-shareit]

Have you ever found yourself in a position where change was inevitable? You may have felt annoyed, frustrated, or even scared about how that part of your life was going to change. Maybe you felt trapped—the change was going to happen whether you liked it or not. If you rebelled against the change, you know how alarming these types of situations can be.

 

You might have felt out of sorts or stressed out for days, weeks, or even months. But what if you were to undergo a paradigm shift and begin to view change as opportunity? What if you could reach out and embrace change with open arms?

 

Read on for some mind-expanding, eye-opening ways to regard change as opportunity in your life:

  1. Accept the idea of change. When you get comfortable with the idea that change is going to happen, it will help you go into a change with less stress. John F. Kennedy once said, “The one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is certain or unchangeable.” Change will, in essence, always be occurring. Recognizing this fact will make life easier for you.
  2. See that change implies progress. Whether you’re ready to admit it or not, when something changes, it’s progressing toward something. As you probably realize, living life on a day-to-day basis often involves making progress on some level.
  3. Recognize that change introduces unknowns into your life. The aspect of change that probably shakes you up the most is that it introduces unknown factors. It can be a bit discombobulating to not know what could be coming your way. Still, the unknown aspect of change must be acknowledged.
  4. Be ready to experience the “newness” that change brings. If you can shift your thinking from a focus on the unknown to recognize that change involves “newness”—new things, people, places, and ideas—with at least some of it bringing excitement and interest, you’ll feel a whole lot better about it.
  5. Believe that change can be transformative. You could be exposed to better products, knowledge, and skills as results of change. Many changes also have great aspects that open up your life in ways you hadn’t imagined before. Your experience at work or home—wherever the change occurs—can transform your life for the better.
  6. Notice that a wider array of choices often accompanies change. Along with change often come more options. A whole new world opens up, in a sense. You’re in a position to take advantage of new choices.
  7. View change as “the spice of life.” There’s an old saying based on something the poet, William Cowper, wrote that states, “Variety is the spice of life.” If you can apply that attitude to how you see change, your whole approach to it will be different.
  8. Tell yourself that you can adjust to change. The fact is that you’ve probably experienced hundreds of changes so far over your lifetime. And you’ve adjusted to them. You’ve worked things out. You’ll be able to adjust to more changes in the future.

If you shift how you regard changes, you’ll feel more comfortable with them. Accepting change, viewing change as progress, recognizing there will be unknowns, and embracing the newness of change will help you get ready for change.

 

Reach out and embrace change with open arms

 

If you can see change as transformative, notice that it creates more choices for you, view it as “the spice of life,” and remind yourself that you can adjust to anything that happens, you’ll approach change more positively. Now you can go forward into the next change with an open mind!