Mark "Lefty" Holencik's Posts (62)

Many aspects of pushing forward towards success involve getting out of your comfort zone. Your whole life, you may have very well been somewhat sheltered, or have gotten used to just rolling with the punches as they came to you.

This kind of mindset doesn’t work so well for being successful and changing the things that you’ve known your whole life can be a scary jump to make. However, everyone goes through it at some point.3584381064?profile=RESIZE_710x

Being uncomfortable may seem like a bad thing, but there are positive aspects to it. When you’re nervous, it means that you know you’re doing something that you wouldn’t normally do.

This is a step forward - you doing something out of character - and knowing this means progress is being made. You’re no longer stuck in that same rut - you’re changing things up.

You should know that going into your journey to success; you’ll face a lot of adversity and struggles. There will be times when you’re upset, feeling stuck, feeling uncertain, and all kinds of things.

However, those negative feelings are greatly outweighed by the sense of accomplishment you get when you start to reach your goals. Eventually, you will embrace the nervousness and the worries that come with taking on something unfamiliar.

Even if you have to put on a smile at first, you’ll soon find yourself loving being in new situations with tons of opportunities to do something that will help you succeed. You’ll finally be breaking up the monotony of everyday life with new, refreshing experiences.

It is said that nothing worth having comes easily, and the same for your path to success. You’re trying to retake your life and change it all up for the better.

This is a daunting task because you’ve spent so much time in your old, unfulfilling life that you don’t know whether or not you’ll succeed in this new mindset and lifestyle. However, it’s much better to have at least tried.

Even if you were to fail to become successful with a new strategy, you'd be able to sleep comfortably knowing that you did give it your all. If not, you’ll end up with regrets later in life about not having tried. On the other hand, you might end up successful after all, and you’ll finally be able to live that life you’ve always dreamed of.

 
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Travel Journal Ideas and Tips

In my other articles on journaling, rewarding yourself is an essential part of the process. As you journal use small rewards along the way. I also have a more significant reward planed. You may want to use a travel journal as a motivational tool to complete your other journal. The only time I personally use Facebook is when I am on vacation. I make a Facebook photo journal of our trip. I plan on making a more detailed written account of our next vacation. This article will give you ideas on this.

An excellent way to remember everything you’ve done is to keep a travel journal. This is a journal which is usually devoted to one trip at a time. You’ll write and add mementos and memories into the journal so that you can look back on it with pride and happiness. Plus, you can share your journey with others.3498228687?profile=RESIZE_710x

Start with the Planning Phase

The journal should begin the moment you start planning your trip. You can use the journal to prepare by writing the things you need to do and then checking off what you completed for the trip. Write down your vision of the journey. What do you want to experience, what do you want to learn, and when will you do each activity?

Write Daily during Your Trip

Once you’re on the trip, don’t miss out writing on any day. Try to find time to write in your journal when the experience is vivid in your mind. You might want to consider taking a recording device with you so you can record your initial thoughts while you’re doing it.

Add Physical Mementos to the Journal

Don’t just add text to your journal - also add color, images, and mementos. For example, save your tickets, a napkin from a restaurant, or other little things you touched during your trip. You don’t even have to buy anything extra to do this part.

Remember to Write the Good and the Bad

You don’t want to look back on the trip and see that it’s not written realistically. It’s perfectly okay to talk about what was good and bad about the trip. When you do that, you can plan differently next time. Maybe you learned that you need new shoes if you’re going to walk that much? It’s a good thing to write down.

Write What You’d Do Differently

If you ever go back to that travel destination, what would you do now that you’ve done it once? Would you change what you did to do to something else?

Mention What Disappointed You and What Thrilled You

Talk about the things that were disappointments. Were the people friendly or rude? Did the hotel have a good breakfast? That might seem like a strange thing to write, but it will help you remember even more. Also, did something unexpected happen that thrilled you and excited you?

State What You Learned from Each Day

Add some facts that you are learning about your destination, the people you met, the people you traveled with, and yourself. For example, did you learn that you love people watching when you didn’t know you did? Did you discover a historical fact previously unknown?

When It’s Over, Finish by Writing a Last Reflective Entry

When the trip is over, take the time to write one last entry where you reflect finally again on everything you learned about the trip. Take about what it was like, what you learned, what surprised you, and so forth. Name the thing you’d do again and the thing you’d not do next time, plus something you’d do next time.

A travel journal will improve your memory of the event. You’ll retain more information and - believe it or not - it’ll help you make the next trip even better. Use these tips if you want to get the most out of your travel journaling now and in the future.

 
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When you begin journaling it will likely occur to you that having more than one type of journal might be the best way to keep everything organized better. When you have more than one type of journal, you can simply go to the specific journal to work on one issue at a time or keep something organized so you can make better decisions.3476905867?profile=RESIZE_710x

  1. Bullet Journals – This type of journal is useful for anyone who has lots of to-do lists, loves using a pen and paper, and who enjoys goal tracking. Your journal should have a table of contents that you create as you add to the journal so you can find things. You’ll use symbols, colors, and lines to make your bullet journal. You should be able to understand at a glance what’s on the page.
  2. Vision Journals – You may have heard of vision boards, and this is essentially it, except it’s a journal that helps lead you to your vision. The way it works is that you set up the journal to have only one goal per page. Then you can write words, add pictures, or draw something that enables you to make plans to reach that goal. When you do reach the goal, be sure to go back and add the date of achievement.
  3. Line a Day Journals – This journal is what it’s called – you write down only one line a day. You will write in the journal a short line about what you did that day. It should be only a sentence or two at the most, and should not take up that much space in your journal. Some people like using a calendar and a pen for this.
  4. Classic Journal – This is simply a diary, and you can write whatever you want in it every day. It can be long, short, or you can skip days if you want to. The classic journal is just like the diary that you may have kept as a child. You write whatever you want in it daily.
  5. Prayer Journal – This is a particular type of journal where you record your prayer life. Write God your prayers along with saying them. Write them down so you remember them and can look back on them.
  6. Dream Journal – This can be a dangerous exercise. Dreams are hard to interpret. Some people like tracking their dreams because they believe that dreams provide signs for life. If you want to record your dreams, you have to train yourself to write in your dream journal every morning while you still remember the dream. Write about the dream and then research what it means and write about that too.
  7. Food Journal – Write down everything you eat every day. Some people like to include the calorie content. It can also help to write down why you eat it, how you felt about eating it, and when you eat.
  8. Travel Journal – An excellent way to remember your travels is to keep a travel journal. Some people like making one for each trip so that it’s easier to remember. You can write your thoughts in your journal, but you can also attach tickets, pictures, and memories.
  9. Gratitude Journal – The optimal time to use a gratitude journal is before bedtime. There is not a better sleeping pill then looking at all the gratitude in this day. It’s a journal where you record each day where you found appreciation for the events of the day. Nothing can be detrimental in this journal because it’s designed to help you think more positively.
  10. Project Journal – This is a handy journal to keep, especially for anyone who regularly works on projects. Keeping a journal of each project you work on that records actions taken, results, and data will help you improve every project but will also help you look back on this one with excitement.

If you want to journal to help work through a problem, keeping specific journals for different things is an effective way to go about it. It’s also a great way to store your thoughts and memories for the future in a more organized and useful manner.

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The way to ensure that journaling works for you are to do it long term. Long-term journaling gives you more insight into your life because you’ll be able to look to the past, present, and even the future to get answers in your life. But first, you have to do it. And you need to do it daily to make it a habit. Let’s review a few tips for making journaling part of your daily routine.3457399675?profile=RESIZE_710x

* Make It Easy – Don’t make it a huge deal, and it’ll be simpler to get done. For example, it’s easier to use a notebook and paper than a computer for most people. You can have the book in your bag or on your bedside table or wherever you plan to write in it.

* Choose a Time That Works – The best times to do it are early morning, first thing, or the last thing before you go to bed. Journaling at bedtime is best for Gratitude Journals. However, that might not work for some people. If you know a better time, do it. For example, some people like journaling while on lunch at work in the park. It’s up to you.

* Get a Drink and Eat a Snack – You don’t want to have any excuses or extraneous thoughts while you’re writing in your journal. Make sure you’re fed and hydrated.  A cup of coffee relaxes me and puts me in the right frame of mind.

* Create a Comfortable and Assessable Space – It’s easier to get into your thoughts if you’re comfortable and not thinking about how bad your tailbone hurts or your wrist hurts. Some people like using a desk, some a comfortable chair, others their bed.

* Combine Journaling with Something Else You Enjoy Doing – If you enjoy cleaning the house, then reading in your clean house with the windows open and the breeze flowing in, why not journal at that moment? If it’s a daily thing, add journaling to it, and it’ll create a habit fast.

* Add Some Relaxing Music to Set the Mood – Some people prefer silence, so that’s fine if you do. But consider trying some music that doesn’t have words, to help you gather your thoughts and say calm and focused.

* Use a Particular Type of Journal – For some people, using a style of journaling like bullet journaling, prayer journaling, project journaling, and more, works better since it defines some rules for entry.

* Consider Using Journaling Prompts – You can also find journaling prompts online for any journal you want to use.

* Reward Yourself – When you have been diligent for a month writing in your journal, take some time to read what you wrote, then reward yourself for doing it. A food that you only eat on special occasions. You might buy some colored pens so you can add some definition and interest to your journal. It does not need to be extravagant. The reward only needs to have a special meaning to you.

To truly experience the full benefits of journaling, it needs to be done most days, which is why you need to find a way to incorporate journaling into your everyday life. The best way to accomplish this is to make it easy and turn it into a habit.

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Journaling to Help with Stress

Stress affects almost everyone at some time in their lives. For some people, it’s more of a problem with their genetics, and for some, it’s due to their situation. Whatever reason you are stressed, congratulations on recognizing it and wanting to do something about it. Here are some excellent ways to journal to combat your stress.3456995431?profile=RESIZE_710x

Write Daily for 5 to 15 Minutes

The thing about journaling that is important is you need to do it daily long term for it to work. It takes a lot of writing and insight to figure out why you’re dealing with stress and how to overcome it.

Write about Your Worries

Go straight to the problem and write about your worries. Describe them from every single angle you can imagine. The more descriptive, the better go back to the first time you felt this feeling regarding this topic so that you can get to the bottom of it.

Describe What’s Happening Now

Put out of your mind what you did, what someone else did, or what can be done - right now write about precisely what is happening right now and where you stand with the issue causing your stress. If it's generalized stress, try to make a list of things that might be contributing.

Document the Worst That Can Happen

As you look at the situation, one thing that often causes stress is the unknown, or the "worst thing" that you think can happen. Describe this worst thing but make it realistic. For example, don’t use an example like an airplane falling on your wedding party. That isn’t realistic. However, bad weather, rude in-laws, and other issues may be.

Document the Best That Can Happen

Let’s get serious by thinking about and writing about the very best outcome of the situation. Include potential steps and tactics to achieve this best-case scenario so that you can see it to fruition if you so choose.

Document What Is Really Happening

As you are writing, be very careful to be realistic and honest above all else. Other than when you imagine the best and worst, ensure that you are also documenting the reality of what is happening to you right now. That way, you can narrow down identifying the stress-inducing situation.

Write a Counter-Argument to Yourself

An excellent way to overcome some stress about a situation is to argue with yourself. First, tell your story as a letter to yourself about what is happening. Then write a message back to yourself in answer, discussing all the negativity and turning it into positivity. If your best friend wrote that, what would you say in response?

Surprisingly, writing can accomplish so much, but if you go into journaling to help with stress under the right attitude and with a goal in mind, you can achieve a lot. The first thing is that you need to be honest with yourself so that you can find out the exact causes of your stress. In this way, the actions you take to overcome it are useful.

 
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Keeping any journal will help with improving any mental health issues. However, if you want to tackle a specific problem you’re having, it will help to determine the right type of journal to keep. Keeping a particular kind of journal may work best for your issue.

* Boosts Your Mood – If you want to boost your mood, keeping a gratitude journal is guaranty to change your attitude. All you have to do is once a day, preferably before bed, write down what you’re grateful for today. Reflecting on your day is a powerful exercise for going to sleep, thinking positively about your life.3447994131?profile=RESIZE_710x

* Increases Your Sense of Well-Being – As you write out your thoughts, you’ll start seeing issues from a new angle just because you’re in a new spot your eyes will see life from a  different point of view. This is going to make you feel more capable of dealing with whatever happens.

* Lessens Symptoms of Depression – Understand that depression is something different from sadness and that you likely need a counselor. Writing it all down can make it seem less horrific so that you can feel better. Plus, you can look back at days you thought life was "over" and see better days after.

* Reduces Anxiety – The problem with anxiety is that it was designed to help us get away from immediate danger. It triggers the "fight or flight" response. If each time you have that anxious feeling you choose to write in your journal how you are feeling and why you’ll start to control it better.

* Lowers Avoidance Behaviors – Many people who have mental health issues use avoidance behaviors such as not going to places that cause them anxiety, or not doing the things they need to do due to how they feel. When you write it out, it helps you get the feelings out but do the thing anyway.

* You’ll Sleep Better – Pouring your heart out into a journal is a great way to get thoughts off your chest. However, for sleep, go to the gratitude journal and write down what you’re thankful for today and go to sleep thinking of that.

* Makes You a Kinder Person – Exploring your emotional state and accepting your feelings while you work through what makes you who you are in your journal is going to make you naturally more empathetic to others too. Letting go of judgment for self improves your thoughts for others also.

* Improves Your Memory – This is almost a situation where you want to say "duh" but it has to be said. Writing down things helps you remember them because you can go back and read it, but also because the act of writing something down enables you to recall it.

One thing that can help you make your journaling work is to learn how to keep one effectively. Make some journaling rules, do it every day to create a habit, and keep it private unless you decide to let your therapist see it or you decide to use it to help others. Journaling is for you and only you for the most part.

 

 
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It doesn’t matter what your issue is; if you want to overcome it, you can find a way to use journaling to help. You can set up a particular type of journal like a gratitude journal to help yourself become more thankful for what you do have, and you can also keep a bullet journal and set goals to overcome the loneliness you’re experiencing if more social connections will do it. The possibilities are truly endless.

Let's look in more detail at how journaling can help combat loneliness.3447981971?profile=RESIZE_710x

Allows You to Explore Your Thoughts and Feelings

Journaling can help to focus on writing expressively your thoughts and feelings surrounding the loneliness that you are feeling. If you can write about each part of your feelings, and when you first noticed them, you may identify the core cause of the emotions. When you do that, you can develop a plan to solve the problem.

Gives You a Way to Express Your Thoughts and Feelings

Writing is a time-honored way of expressing thoughts and feelings safely. You never have to let anyone read it. You can write it down in the form of letters to people, or yourself, or even to someone you don’t know that you keep for yourself and when completed get it out in the light for you to study.

Provides a Way to Understand Your Thoughts and Feelings

You may not even know what you are feeling. It can be hard to understand and express what we think even to ourselves. But when you focus on writing it down, it can help you understand everything in a new way from a new direction that you may not have considered.

Helps Foster Social Connections

It might seem like a strange notion to consider, but writing can even help you foster social connections. The main reason is that as you read through what you’ve written, you’re going to discover ways to overcome your situation to find the healthy social connections you need.

Helps You See the Big Picture More Easily

Looking back at the things you’ve written over time about any topic can provide insight into the situation that you never saw coming. That’s because having the journal to look back on provides a way to see the bigger picture. You may feel super-lonely today, but it’s still less than yesterday, which lets you know it’s going to get even better from here.

Provides a Means to Understand and Organize Your Thoughts

Writing things down, especially when you choose a particular method like the bullet journal, will help you get your thoughts down in an organized and useful way. When your feelings are a jumble, you might not see the real point, but when organized, it makes all the difference. For example, in writing it all down, you may realize that your loneliness is due to being with the wrong partner who does not value you.

You’ll Sharpen Your Observation Skills

Once you start writing regularly and it’s become a habit, something amazing will happen. Your observation skills will be sharper, and you’ll have an easier time coming up with descriptive and expressive words to use in your journal. Writing is going to lead to even more breakthroughs due to having more clarity.

Focuses Your Gratitude Skills

Something funny happens when writing in a journal, even if it’s not specifically a gratitude journal per se. What happens is that as you’re writing, you’ll become calmer - especially when you read it back. You’ll become grateful for what you do have that is positive in your life, even if it’s merely the ability to breathe in and out today.

If you want to combat loneliness, consider writing about and exploring why you feel lonely. You also should remember to read the definition of "loneliness" to ensure that this is what you are experiencing. No one ever needs to be lonely, even when alone if they know how to work through thoughts and feelings. Journaling can help with that.

 

 
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It might seem like a pipe dream that writing in a journal could be so beneficial. But the scientific evidence is in, and gratitude journals do benefit you in significant ways if you keep one for the long term and use it daily.

Experience Stronger and More Fulfilling Relationships

It’s so simple, but it can be hard to accept. You are the one who makes yourself happy with your own choices. Another person cannot make you happy or grateful. Only you can do that. But something amazing happens when you express gratitude often – your relationships open up and become better. Those that don’t, you start to recognize for what they are and let them go.3442191460?profile=RESIZE_710x

Become Physically Healthier

Being grateful for the ability to move and breathe will eventually cross over into wanting to ensure that you can always do that. Therefore, you’ll be more motivated to go on walks, eat right, stay hydrated, and live in gratitude for every aspect of your life.

Increase Your Mental Dexterity

The ability to take lemons and turn them into that refreshing drink lemonade will be developed by keeping a gratitude journal. The main reason is that you will learn on even a bad day to pick out the good in it. That requires a good imagination and creativity and thinking on your feet.

Feel Less Aggression in Your Life

It’s hard to feel aggressive if you are happy and grateful. You can be angry about injustices in the world without being pushy. But if you feel angry a lot due to your life, it’s due to not finding gratitude for the things in your life. There is always a reason to be grateful.

Act and Become More Empathetic

As you write more and learn to forgive yourself as you seek to fill your mind with thoughts of gratitude, you will start seeing others differently. You’ll have more ability to put yourself in their shoes and see things from their way without judgment. It happens when you learn to forgive yourself.

Get More Restful Sleep

If you’re not anxious but go to sleep each night feeling thankful for everything you’ve experienced (or at least most of it), it’s easier to sleep because you have less anxiety.

Get More Done Every Day

Due to feeling more rested, less stressed, and more grateful, you’ll have a lot more energy to get things done every day. That’s always going to make you feel even more thankful because good things happen due to productivity.

Feel Better about Yourself

You can’t help but feel better about yourself when you have improved so many good qualities about yourself. Your self-esteem will go up when you express gratitude for what your mind and body can do for you.

If you want to be happier, get more done in life, and experience real joy in life, a gratitude journal can be the way to achieve it. The guiding thing to remember is that your thoughts cause your feelings, and you are the one in control of the actions you take once you accept your feelings. Accepting that you do have control is half the battle, and your journal will make it clear that you do.

 
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Starting a journal isn’t something that you needs a lot of thought. Yes, there are numerous types and styles of journals and ways to do this that may or may not be more effective depending on your goals, get some paper or a blank journal, as a last resort, use your computer and get started today.

* Dust Off Your Pen and Paper – You don’t need anything special to keep a journal; in fact, purists believe that using pen and paper is the best way to journal because you involve more of your senses when you physically write things down and you don’t need technology. So, there will be no excuses.3441973981?profile=RESIZE_710x

* Do It First Thing in the Morning – Don’t procrastinate about keeping your journal. It’s best to do it in the morning before you begin your day so that you have the right frame of mind for the day. Plus, you only need five to ten minutes, so it’s not that big of a deal.

* Do It Last Thing at Night – Another time to do it is before bed. This works exceptionally well for gratitude journals. That way you can go to sleep thinking about all the things you are grateful for instead of things you’re worried about.

* Write Every Single Day – Whenever you choose to do it, try to set it up so that it becomes a ritual and a habit. Journaling every single day is going to be more effective than just doing it when you feel like it.

* Keep it Simple – Don’t start being worried about style and substance right now; work on the daily habit with pen and paper (or if it’s easier for you, a computer or smartphone). Don’t make it hard - get going.

* Begin with Today – Start right now and write about your day today. That’s the easiest thing to do. What of significance happened today? How did you feel about it? What would you do differently? What would you do the same?

* Try Different Types of Journals – Once you develop the habit, you can start trying different types of journaling like a bullet journal, or a vision journal, or maybe even a project journal for your next project.

* Keep It Private – The main thing to remember about your journal is that it should be kept private. The exception is if you want to share thoughts with a therapist, counselor, or coach. Or if you're going to turn it into a book or course, to help someone else overcome whatever you overcame.

Keeping a journal will help you deal with the things that happen to you as well as the things that have not occurred to you. The main reason is that writing it down helps you remember what you did right and what you did wrong. It enables you to improve your decision-making capacity for similar situations. The main thing is just to get started journaling in any way that works for you.

 
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A wise thing to remember when it comes to our thoughts and actions is that although we have little control over how we feel intrinsically, we can control what we do about those feelings. In that, we have absolute authority over our behavior and the way that we react to those emotions, and although our subsequent actions may not always feel to be under our control, they are. Better thoughts for better behavior will come with practice. 3403846061?profile=RESIZE_710x

As with most things, this concept certainly more often than not falls under the category of “easier said than done.”  Easier said, yes, but not impossible to do. People vary widely in their natural inclinations in terms of behavior and impulse control, in that some of us are more energetic and passionate, and others are easier going about their thoughts and tendencies.

Either way, our thoughts, and emotions can get the best of us at times, and almost always react out of emotionally inflammatory “heat of the moment” type duress. The result is regretting our actions.

When considering better thoughts for better behavior, which is a discussion that has been thoroughly explored by psychiatrists, philosophers, and poets alike and whose quotes on the topic have provided much insight on the subject.

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato was once quoted, saying wisely that “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.”  It is the “knowledge” factor in human behavior that more often than not that has the most potential to result in wise decisions, and although the elements of “desire” and “emotion” of which he spoke often lead to impulsive, not well thought out decisions. This is not absolute; not all decisions derived from desire and emotion lead to bad choices. It just depends on if you are in control of your feelings or your emotions control you.

The American poet Emily Dickinson, who was relatively reclusive and whose work was often dark and melancholy, wrote that “Behavior is what a man does, not what he thinks, feels, or believes.”  The insight that can be inferred from this quote is that we should no more take credit for our “good” thoughts than we should admonish ourselves for our “bad” ideas, but instead, it is the choices and decisions that we consciously make in response to those thoughts and emotions that matter most.

The French poet and playwright Moliere had an interesting, albeit pacifying thought on human behavior when he stated that “A wise man is superior to any insults which can be put upon him, and the best reply to unseemly behavior is patience and moderation.”  From this quote can be derived the sage advice of not falling victim to one’s “hot-headed” tendencies, but instead rising above and mastering control over one’s impulsivity is not only possible but desirable.

And lastly, the contemporary (and often controversial) American author Tucker Max had a surprisingly mature and intellectually cognitive take on psychoanalysis when he said that “The point of psychoanalysis is to understand the roots of your behavior.  Understand why you’re doing what you’re doing – and connect your unconscious to your conscious.” 

The advice that can be derived from this statement is that to master one’s behavior and actions, one need’s first to have a deep and profound understanding of their inner tendencies, and once a person knows themselves thoroughly, the better chance one has of controlling their behavior.

Thinking before acting is always the better path, no matter how difficult it may be in any given situation. It will take discipline when we are faced with problematic choices and decisions when emotions are high.

As unrealistic as it may be to think that every person could make informed and well thought out decisions at every juncture, every effort made to encourage that type of thinking will undoubtedly always result in wiser and more prudent actions. Better thoughts for better behavior.

 
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When a beginner runner prepares for their first marathon, there are several routine changes they must implement to build their endurance. Initially, they need to practice running long-distances to build stamina — their diet needs to provide them with the nutrients required to fuel their body.

These changes will be challenging; thus, taking them out of their comfort zone. However, by making these small changes, they are essentially making themselves stronger for the long run. Often, making small changes in our routine can be likened to taking a risk. We are removing comfort from our mindset and challenging ourselves each day, enabling ourselves to reach new levels.3389897035?profile=RESIZE_710x

Taking risks will make you a stronger, both mentally and physically. A recent study found people who took risks were more fulfilled and happier than those who played it safe. Individuals who enjoy challenging themselves with new activities find great excitement in not knowing the outcome of their actions.

Individuals who participate in cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety-related disorders sit with their feelings of tension to build a tolerance to the emotions. The fear associated with anxiety is not knowing what is to going to happen. When patients risk exposing themselves to their fears, they are building their mental strength and resilience. 

Taking Risks Builds Confidence

Psychology professor Andreas Wilke researched the decision-making process from a psychological perspective. He states, "When we decide to take a risk, we are very quickly, and often subconsciously, evaluating the perceived chances and benefits of success versus the perceived chances and costs of failure.”

Risk-taking builds confidence and trust in your intuition. You aren’t approaching life with the sense of impending doom. Instead, you are positioning yourself to reach your goals.

Taking Risks Builds Self-Reliance 

When taking risks, you have to rely on your ability to know what is best, intuitively. Likely, others will view your decision as unwise; perhaps even offering unsolicited advice. You will need inner strength not to fall prey to their advice. However, the ability to take a risk with the hopes of achieving ultimate success sparks enthusiasm. With this new confidence, the opinions of others no longer carry the weight it once did. Instead, you are building a belief in yourself to create opportunities.

Taking Risks Supports Innovative Thinking

There is no easy way when it comes to risk-taking, nor is there a one-size-fits-all approach on how to read intuition. Because of this intuitive approach, risk-taking involves thinking on your feet and getting creative about problem-solving. Remember, every excuse has a solution.

The way we have been conditioned to think will control our behavior. We can choose to take the safe route because it’s acceptable to our peers and our inner critic. Or, take risks that will expose yourself to endless opportunities for achieving success, which is right outside of your comfort zone!

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Anxiety Disorders 101

Anxiety seems to be getting more and more common with each passing year, but what’s the difference between anxiety and an anxiety disorder? How do you handle it? What is the treatment? In this article, we’ll explore the topic of anxiety disorders, demystifying this condition, and directly explaining it so you can keep it from getting the better of you.

What is anxiety

Anxiety is a sense of uneasiness, apprehension, and/or panic that can affect every aspect of your life. Anxiety is usually nonsensical; it creeps up when you least expect it and makes it seem impossible to do anything at all. It can petrify you and cause you to freeze in your process.3385241655?profile=RESIZE_710x

Anxiety vs. Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is the feeling while an anxiety disorder is a little different. An anxiety disorder causes you to be anxious and panic over seemingly nothing. It can make everything feel terrifying and impossible.

An anxiety disorder can be genetic, but unfortunate circumstances can also develop it. If you grew up in an unusual home, were raised with a particular type of parenting style, or even just had an overwhelming sense of chaos present in your home, you can develop an anxiety disorder.

While common anxiety has an identifiable source and can fade once said source is gone, an anxiety disorder lingers around. It can incite panic over nothing, cause you to be apprehensive about just about everything, and rarely has an identifiable source. It can sometimes take medication to battle anxiety disorders, but it always takes hard work and focus.

What are the common symptoms of anxiety disorders?

While each anxiety disorder is a little different, there are a few tell-tale signs we can nail down to help you determine if you might be struggling with an anxiety disorder.

  • Panic insights over little to nothing
  • Heart racing
  • Stomach pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lack of sleep
  • Change in eating habits
  • A constant sense of anxiousness

If you noticed any of these symptoms and are concerned you might have an anxiety disorder, we recommend consulting with a doctor or psychiatrist sooner rather than later.

What can you do for anxiety disorders?

As we said above, anxiety disorders can sometimes require medication to help to ease it, but not always. Some regular practices can help to reduce your anxiety without medication as well as some natural alternatives to harsh anxiety medications.

Develop healthy routines

Order and routine is the number one enemy to anxiety disorders. The simple act of developing a healthy daily routine can help to establish order in your life and ease your anxiety.

Talk about your concerns

Anxiety disorders feed off your uncertainty and fear. The more you talk about your concerns and fears, the better you’ll feel. Outsider perspective can also help you to see that there isn’t a source for your fear and help to calm you down. 

Limit caffeine and other stimulants

Caffeine can make your anxiety worse, as can putting yourself in situations that make you anxious. Avoiding loud, overly stimulating situations like parties or concerts can help.

Get more sleep

Lacking the necessary amount of sleep can cause anxiety conditions to worsen. If you find yourself unable to sleep, limit caffeine, television or radio, lights, and busy patterns. A calm, quiet environment can help keep your anxiety at bay and allow you to get some much-needed sleep.

Try essential oils

Essential oils can be a beneficial all-natural medication to help ease your anxiety and stress, soothe your muscles, and initiate restful sleep. Lavender helps promote restful sleep. Ylang-ylang relieves tension and also reduces blood pressure. Roman chamomile, Lemon, Rose, and many other essential oils can have a calming effect on your anxiety.

 

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What Makes People Happy

What makes people happy? If you have been struggling with trying to be happy yourself, perhaps it’s time to see how happy people are doing it. By learning what they do, you can emulate them for success.

  1. People go between states of emotions regularly.
    You can be happy for a short period, and then you are thinking about something that stresses you out. Even people who seem happy go through changes in emotion. These people are more likely to be content. No one is truly happy all the time. It is important not to judge your insides by other peoples outsides, so you don’t put too much pressure on yourself when you see others who seem happy.3339718244?profile=RESIZE_710x
  2. Consider what you have in life.
    Are you in good health? If you aren’t in good health and can do something about it, then that is a crucial area on where to focus. Learn how to eat right, even if you have to hire a nutritionist. Incorporate exercise into your routine. A gym is not necessary to get in shape. You can become healthier by walking frequently.
  3. Happiness is not just about money.
    Although having enough to provide for your family is less stressful, people who are happy in life know that money is a tool like any other. It makes whatever you are doing easier. When people become obsessed with money, they can usually obtain it. But, it doesn’t lower their stress. The obsession often raises anxiety because it becomes the sole focus.
  4. Happy people don’t chase dollars.
    They are content with what they are doing and focus on providing an excellent product. Money is a by-product of providing a good service. Happy people often are experts in what they do. You give enough people what they want you can have anything you want.
  5. It’s rare to find people who are happy and don’t have any friends.
    Socializing is a significant factor when trying to be happy. You don’t need dozens of friends. When you have a few that you can trust, that will be all that is necessary. It’s okay to use social media to connect, but if you can get together in person, that is even better.
  6. Try to make your home an environment where everyone feels safe.
    People who are happy, know that family is important. They know that their homes should be a sanctuary. If it’s not, they take steps to correct the situation. Spending time with family is a part of what makes people happy.

Action steps:

  1. Make a list of what you currently have. List both material items and intangible items. Sometimes, all that is needed to snap out of a bad mood is to refer to your list. You will see that your life is not bad, and you have most, if not all, of what you need.
  2. Come up with a meal plan for the next thirty days. Work with a nutritionist and get a solid plan. Eating the right foods will help you improve your attitude. It will give you more energy and will start to make you feel better. Eating right can only make you happier.
  3. Set up a time to hang out with close friends once per month. If you have lost touch with some people, try to reconnect. You could also try making new friends. Make it a point to go to in-person locations. You can find them in the local paper or take a look online for meetings that are happening in your area.
 
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4 Ways To Stay Mentally Fit

While taking care of everyone and everything else, do we put our needs aside? It’s easy not to pay attention to what we eat or how we stimulate our brains, which is a necessity that’s usually always minimized. The question is how to stay mentally fit?

Our bodies require exercise to stay fit and youthful, our brains also need a good daily workout to ensure that our brain cells remain healthy and vibrant well into our golden years. Feeling proactive about your health and taking things into your own hands can mean the difference between aging gracefully and wither away.

Staying mentally healthy enables us to remain attentive, efficiently manage our relationships, and deal with challenges and stress. It also helps you connect with who you are as a person and allow you to take pride in yourself and your abilities.3201160562?profile=RESIZE_710x

Read on for 4 ideas on how to keep your mind stimulated:

1. Search for knowledge

Numerous studies show the relationship between the amount of knowledge you surround yourself with and the wellness of your cognitive functions.

Nowadays, information can be retrieved with the touch of a button, allowing you to immerse yourself in an ocean of books, podcasts, articles, and even mentally stimulating games, such as jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, crossword puzzles, word searches, and a wide range of others.

When you learn something new or engage in any mental activity, you build new neural pathways in the brain, and the more connections each of our neurons have with other neurons, the more conscious it is.

2. Form healthy habits

Even the task of writing down your goals helps you stay mentally fit. It gives you something to plan and anticipate. It also keeps you engaged in something that boosts your brain cells while giving your emotions an outlet.

Schedule something new to try every month, like a new hobby or new exercise routine.

Challenge yourself to read a different book or eat at a new restaurant now and then.

These tasks keep your mind on alert, mainly because you’re engaging in the process of learning, and, also, because you’re stepping out of your comfort zone. All these factors help boost concentration levels, as well as your confidence in your abilities to try new things and meet new people.

3. Exercise, preferably outdoors

Regular exercise releases ‘feel good hormones’ into your bloodstream, boosting your mood, and elevating memory and concentration levels.

Mixing up workout styles or trying out a new jogging route helps form new patterns in your brain, which mean more neural pathways, and less cognitive decline. To make the most of exercising, try taking your workout to the nearest park where you can connect more with nature, breathe in some fresh air, and get a healthy dose of vitamin-D.

Vitamin-D is known for its ability to prevent depression. Plus, any physical activity helps eliminate brain fog, boost energy levels, and alleviate stress.

4. Manage stress

We all deal with stress and anxiety daily. But when cortisol (the stress hormone) levels are left unchecked, they start messing with your overall wellbeing. That’s why it’s smart to invest a few minutes each day in releasing that negative tension built up by stress. You can do this through meditating, practicing mindfulness, yoga, or prayer.

Therapy may be a way to stay mentally fit by expressing your emotions in a constructive, nonjudgmental environment that allows you to set time aside for your needs. Whichever medium you prefer, the aim is to improve your state of mind while gaining a sense of serenity and control over your emotions and mental happiness.

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You may feel you are a caring and loving person. You give more of yourself than others give to you. While this may have worked well for you in the past, if you go too far with it, people may take advantage of you. Use this short guide to determine if you care too much.3184460683?profile=RESIZE_710x

You Always Take Phone Calls

If you are one who believes you must always answer the phone, this could be the first sign that you are caring too much. Sometimes you need a break from people, especially those who have excessive needs. It’s not that you don’t want to help or listen to what people say. It’s just that they will never stop calling if you continue to always be available for them. Make yourself less available. They will look for other ways to satisfy their overly needy emotions.

You Give Priority to Other Peoples’ Tasks

When a colleague at work approaches you to ask you to help them, do you ever suggest to them that you are busy? Or, do you stop your tasks to help them? If you stop your tasks regularly, you need to reevaluate why you are doing this. While you want to be a team player, you need to get your work done. You also need to let others know your work is important just as theirs is. Some people will also take advantage of having you do their work for them. You must reel in this situation. Your work will suffer otherwise.

You Are a Needy-People Magnet

If you find that overly needy people are approaching you frequently, this is a sign you care too much. You do want to help people whenever you can. But, when you set the environment where these people come to you for answers or to cry on your shoulders, they won’t look for ways to rectify their situations. They will keep coming to you for emotional support. This kind of support can hurt your emotional well-being.

When you recognize the signs of caring too much, you can take appropriate steps to reduce this behavior. You still want to help people whenever possible. But, you need to balance your own needs with theirs. Caring about others neediness too much will make your life unbearable. You will dread going to work, or if it is in your home, you may start using excuses to avoid going home. You shouldn’t allow that to happen, as your home is supposed to be your sanctuary.

If you found yourself in this article, you care too much in a negative way. The common denominator is expecting the people you help to repay you. If you take care of yourself and let the law of reaping what you sow repay you for your service to others, you can not care too much.

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People are different. While this seems like an obvious statement, don’t take it lightly. Because people are different, this means that you will never be able to please everyone. Therefore, stop trying to do so. Instead, focus on pleasing yourself. Those who love and respect you will also love and respect you for doing this. They may not agree with you, but they won’t stop being your friend because of it. Trying to please everyone pleases no one.3140820386?profile=RESIZE_710x

Some people will disassociate with you if you don’t please them. Forget about them. They aren’t worth the brain power expended. Move on with your life, and don’t worry about what they think. If they aren’t pleased by your actions, probably nothing will ever bring them around.

Of course, you shouldn’t trample on people. If your actions are such that you are doing wrong by others, they have the right to be upset with you. In these cases, you need to reevaluate what you are doing and adjust accordingly. You want to be happy, but you want to do it with integrity. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

When your decisions are about you or your family, then you should follow your moral values, trying to please everyone pleases no one. Another good motto to live by is – “what people say about you is none of your business.” When you repeat that motto, it helps you to move on and care less what people think. People are going to have their opinions no matter what you do. You may as well make yourself happy rather than others.

Another point is you are the only one responsible for the decisions you make. You must live with those decisions. Others may think they know what’s best for you, but they don’t. You make that determination yourself, and you need to take responsibility for those decisions.

If you make decisions to make others happy, you would not be able to blame your choices on them. They probably wouldn’t accept such blame anyway. People will make excuses, such as they didn't have all of the facts. Or, they will say the situation is different because it was you and not them. These are more reasons not to worry about what people think and live your life to keep your self-respect. Read the poem“The Man in The Glass” till you internalize the poem. Trying to please everyone pleases no one.

 
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If your boss tells you that you did something wrong, do you get flustered about the exchange? As long as your boss is not saying something about you personally, you should not take what he or she said to heart. It’s the job of a boss to make sure you are doing the right activities. Too many people will take the criticism as an affront to their personality, and this can be a problem. Don’t take everything so personally.

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Develop Thicker Skin

You need to develop a thicker skin, as they say. You cannot know everything there is to know about your company or the people who work there. That means you will naturally make mistakes. Embrace the errors as a learning experience.

You are not going to last long in your job if you take everything that people say about you in a personal way.  That attitude will hurt you in many things you do.

Look For Feedback

You should welcome criticism. It’s a way to learn and get feedback on what you are supposed to do and avoid doing what you aren’t. If you take what is said personally, you probably won’t listen to the criticism. More often than not, this results in a repeat of your offense, and this can get you into trouble long term.

Of course, if someone says something that is personal and they shouldn't have said it, you have the right to confront the person saying it. It’s one thing to say that you performed a particular job incorrectly, etc. But, if someone says you are incompetent or stupid, then you should not let them get away with that and handle the situation immediately.

Sometimes people will say something in a joking manner, and you may not take it as lightly as it was intended. This situation can be difficult because if you get too confrontational, you could be made to look bad. Others may say it was only a joke. Not all humor is funny, though, and people have different tastes on what constitutes humor.  In this situation, you need to calmly state that you didn’t find what the person said as being funny and ask them to refrain from making such jokes. Then, everyone should move on.

It is a good idea to not focus on gossip. Someone may tell you that you were the subject of some gossip. The action to take is often to do nothing at all because you won’t be able to prove what was said. Develop a thicker skin and don’t take everything so personally.

 
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Like anything in life, there is always going to be the good and the bad. Roses are beautiful, and they have a powerful fragrance. However, many have thorns that can pierce even the thickest of leather gardening gloves.

Two main points comprise the dark side of improvement.

First

Understand that there is no magic pill for self-improvement. Self-improvement is a process which takes time, effort, and planning. It can’t be as simple as taking the black or white.

We are creatures that like comfort. Therefore, we tend to wait for the pain to motivate us. Self-improvement is a choice you make to fulfill that part of our DNA that gives us the drive to create a better world. When you were a child, first learning how to ride your bike, your father did all he could to prepare you for that first ride. He showed you how to balance the bike, pedal, and control its direction. However, despite his best attempts at keeping you balanced, you probably fell a few times before you got the hang of riding a bike.3091382851?profile=RESIZE_710x

Pain doesn’t have to be bad, nor dysfunctional, as long as we learn from it.

As you move through your plan for self-improvement, expect to fall so that you can get back up stronger.

Disappointment

Every year we make resolutions, only for most of us to give up on them before February rolls around. You start with all of the enthusiasm you can have to support your optimistic belief that this will finally be the year you accomplish…

Only, in the end, you end up with disappointment as your enthusiasm fades, and self-discipline is required to reach the goal.

Understand that while the concept of self-improvement can turn into something of a rabbit hole for us, it can be a powerful tool.

God instilled in us the need to create and produce. Naturally, we feel a need for improvement. It can become toxic for those of us who see this need for growth as a flaw. Our society has labeled anyone with the drive to succeed as having an addiction. It is not an addiction; it is a God-given drive.

Going back to the bike analogy: That child, be they you or someone else, approached that bike ready to learn how to ride without training wheels. He was excited. However, the first time he fell off, he probably felt a twinge of discouragement.

It’s important to remember that he didn’t approach that bike with the knowledge of how to balance it. He likely knew how to operate it mechanically thanks to the safety of his training wheels. But just because he could still improve on his ability to ride doesn’t mean he was fundamentally flawed. It just means that he had room to grow and something to learn. He had a way to improve.

Growth

Also, bear in mind, that like the child learning how to ride a bike with training wheels, the point of growth in self-improvement doesn’t occur when the goal is attained. It happens when we learn each step of the way.

A child who is learning to ride their bike without training wheels is probably going to fall. For older generations, this entailed some form of knee skinning. Regardless, the entire experience is a learning moment passed down from one generation to the next.

We tend to see our goals just beyond our reach. When we stumble while reaching, it’s essential to remember that the stumble or trip-up is a learning moment — not a failure. The dark side and toxicity come when we throw in the towel when we stumble rather than getting back up.

Avoid Self-Judgment

As a side note, remember that you are always going to be your sharpest critic. Not criticizing yourself doesn’t mean that you should not evaluate your actions. The process of self-improvement requires honest assessment, not self-judgment, and there is a big difference. When you judge, you believe that you see a finished product. With a flawed finished product, it is thrown on the scrap heap, and you start over. Self-improvement requires you to hold yourself to a higher standard without using a whip.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

 
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