Mark "Lefty" Holencik's Posts (70)

Overcoming Failure

No one likes to fail, but everyone fails at some point in their lives. For many people, the fear of failure is paralyzing and stops them from overcoming failure and reaching their goals.

The fear of failure creates negative self-talk that keeps people from learning and growing.

Overcoming the fear of failure is a necessary step in achieving personal goals and being successful. Scientists, psychologists, and business leaders have studied the fear of failure and how people can overcome it.

Overcoming the fear of failure is divided into three areas:

  1. Preparing for Fear of Failure
  2. Confronting Fear of Failure
  3. Recovering from Failure

How a person prepares for and confronts fear determines how well they can overcome it. Recovering from failure helps people overcome fear in future situations.  Scientists have developed specific steps in each area to help people learn to overcome the fear of failure.

Preparing for Fear of Failure

A person must be prepared to face failure to overcome the fear of it. The right mindset minimizes the fear of failure and puts it into perspective.  While the fear of failure is a part of the achievement, overcoming the fear requires understanding what failure is and how to learn from it.

The steps to prepare for fear of failure are:3741390332?profile=RESIZE_710x

  • Redefine Failure
  • Find Benefits from Past Failures
  • Understand Threats
  • Create Approach, not Avoidance Goals

Redefining failure can change a person’s perception and fear level. Industry leaders in Forbes business magazine suggest that redefining failure as learning opportunities helps overcome fear.

It would not be a failure if a person learned something useful from experience, even if what they discovered was that they didn’t have the right plan to succeed.

Psychologists suggest redefining failure as discrepancies, or simply times when outcomes didn’t meet expectations. When failure is defined in less personal terms or as learning experiences, there is less to fear.

To redefine fear, a person should look to their past failures and consider the benefits they received during those times.  Learning a better way, discovering a new path, and realizing a plan didn’t work all provide benefits to overcoming failure in the future.

When a person uses the information and experiences they gained from previous failures, they have less to fear because they already know what to avoid.

People perceive failure as a threat.  Because failure stops people from reaching their goals, they see it as a threat to their desires.  Scientists at the University of California Berkley concluded that when people perceive a threat, their bodies prepare to fight it.

Physically, a person’s breathing and heart rate increase, and they go into “fight or flight” mode. Preparing to fight is negative stress on a person’s body and mind and can cloud their judgment, increasing their fear.  These scientists suggest that a person should view failure as a challenge, not a threat.  By viewing failure as a challenge, a person can calmly and logically think through the problem and find a way to overcome it, decreasing their fear response.

To redefine a threat as a challenge, a person needs to visualize the obstacles they face.  They need to determine if their fear is based on a real or imagined threat.  People often fear failure because they think of the worst-case scenario, instead of focusing on positive ways to reach their goals and avoid failure.  Facing a challenge holds less fear than facing a threat. 

Once a person has redefined failure, the next step is to create goals that approach success, not avoid failure.  Approach goals focus on positive outcomes:  learning something new, achieving a level of success, or growing to fill a need.

Avoidance goals focus on negative consequences: not freezing up during a presentation, not missing a deadline, or not falling short of a quota. Approach goals provide positive reinforcement while avoidance goals create fear of failure.

Confronting Fear of Failure

When confronting the fear of failure, a person must accept fear as an emotion and move past it.

The steps to moving forward instead of letting fear stop a person include:

  • Let the Fear of Failure Pass
  • Change Goals as the Situation Develops
  • Build Confidence

Fear is a human emotion. Everyone feels fear.  Business leaders describe feeling the fear of failure when they started, but they acknowledged that fear and kept trying.

If a person’s goals are powerful enough, they can confront their fear of failure with a definite plan. When the desire for success is greater than the fear of failure, definite goals help a person overcome the fear.3741394452?profile=RESIZE_710x

People are often paralyzed by fear of failure when their plan isn’t working. They may start strong but begin to fear failure during a complicated process.  Psychologists suggest changing the goals in these situations.

Redefining failure by adjusting the goals limits fear. When forces beyond a person’s control block the path to success, a more limited goal can help a person to still achieve some success without fearing a complete failure. 

During the process of carrying out a plan, a person also needs to build their confidence.  Leaders at the Harvard Business Review suggest focusing on what a person learns along the way to build confidence for the next step in the process.

The fear of failure decreases when a person has confidence in their prior decisions and achievements. By reminding themselves of what they have already done, a person takes the next step to overcoming failure.

Recovering from Failure

Even with the best intentions, any plan can lead to failure. Many successful people have failed multiple times.  When a person does fail, they need to recover positively from the experience.

The steps to recovering from failure include:3741396388?profile=RESIZE_710x

  • Treating Yourself Kindly
  • Accepting Mistakes
  • Learning from the Experience

People often berate themselves more harshly for failure then they would another person.  Here again, the scientists at the University of California Berkley point out that treating yourself kindly after failure helps stop a person from fearing failure in the future.

If a person makes the repercussions of failure too hard on themselves, they may develop a negative self-image or negative self-talk that causes them to fear the next challenge.

A person also needs to accept their mistakes when they fail.  Without admitting responsibility, they will repeat their mistakes over and over, limiting their success and developing a greater fear of failure each time they face a challenge.  Overcoming failure includes preparing for the next challenge by accepting mistakes and correcting them.

If a person views failure as a learning experience, there is more to gain from failure and less to fear.  Educators teach students that failure isn’t the end of learning.  Instead, failure is the beginning of success.

Recovering from failure involves learning from the experience, so a person is better prepared to succeed when facing another challenge. Fear of failure is often fear of an unknown outcome.  Learning from failure removes that fear because a person knows what does lead to failure and can make another choice instead.

Final Thoughts

Scientists understand that overcoming the fear of failure is based on human emotion and perception.

Overcoming the fear of failure involves defining failure more positively and using skills and abilities to confront it. When a person does fail, they can improve their outlook and limit fear by using failure as a learning experience. Overcoming failure can be accomplished by taking these steps.3741397245?profile=RESIZE_710x

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The Song of God

Who are you? Have you ever asked yourself this question? Most probably you have not. Such a question would have seemed absurd because you took your identity so much for granted. Had anyone else put the question you would have said: "I am John Smith. I live at such an address. I am so many years old. I am the son of Henry Smith. I am in such a business." And you might add that you were a member of the right church and the right political party.3715097711?profile=RESIZE_710x

Well, these statements are correct enough, as far as they go, as a description of the picture you are projecting at the present time: but--- and here is the rub---it is only a picture. It is all just a dramatization of your sincere beliefs about yourself. It is not the real you. It is but a passing unstable symbol of your current mental attitude: nothing more.

The real you is a spiritual being, perfect and eternal and incorruptible. The real you is the living expression of God Himself, expressing potentially every quality of God. "In His own image and likeness."

What is man? He is part of God's self-expression. God sings a song, and that song is man. A song, as you know, expresses the whole nature of the singer. The whole body and his whole mind. If the singer should be sick or tired or angry, these things would appear in the song. If his heart is filled with joy and beauty and Divine Love, these things, too, are expressed in the song. Man is the song of the Divine Singer, and celestial harmony is his nature.

Why does God sing a song? For sheer joy; not for any ulterior object, or for any sort of gain or advantage. God expresses Himself for the pure joy of living--- because He is God.

This is the Real or Absolute Truth, but it is our task to demonstrate it, to bring it into practical reality; to change the limited picture that we see into the glorious Truth that we know. We do this only by letting God do it through us.

"I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High." *

* Psalm 82:6; John 10:34.

This writing is from Emmet Fox's book; Make Your Life Worthwhile. 

The first thing I took notice to, was the different words that were capitalized. God Himself, His own image, Divine Love, Divine Singer, Himself, because He is God, Real or Absolute Truth, glorious Truth, the most High. Any word that is a direct description of God out of respect for God we capitalize the word. 

  • When I think about God do I capitalize the words I use to describe God? 
  • Do I see Capital letters in my actions that show God's nature to others? Or do I use a baseball bat and protray myself as sinful?
  • Do I see myself as being created "in His own image"? Or a defective, flawed product?

What were your observations or questions you asked yourself as you read "The Song of God"? Post them in the comments below.

 

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Medical experts call it the ‘disease of our time.’ It’s not just for children anymore. Everyone suffers from it. What used to be something you temporarily went through until your lecture was over or it’s finally your turn at the doctor’s office has now become a disease. That’s how serious it is.

 

Maybe the main reason why boredom is now a chronic disease is due to the endless array of stimuli that bombard your every waking moment, making it difficult to concentrate on any given topic. We’ve been programmed that we wake up and expect to have information thrown at us, and we know we’re supposed to sit there and take it. We’ve stopped interacting and engaging. Consequently, we get bored.

 

Boredom is annoying and frustrating. And it may even get to the point when you feel like you’re slowly suffocating. As defined by the German psychologist, Theodor Lipps, boredom “is a feeling of unpleasant arising out of a conflict between a need for intense mental activity and lack of incitement to it, or inability to be incited.”

 

This can mean different things to different people. An introvert, for example, would find pleasure between the pages of a book or any other type of solitary activity. On the other hand, an extrovert may seek more thrilling activities as well as more social encounters.

 

But no matter what your personality type is, there’s a direct correlation between boredom and self-awareness. When you have a clear idea of your strengths, weaknesses, motivations, and beliefs, and are comfortable in your skin, you are better prepared with the tools required to make yourself less bored. You can gauge your moods and feelings, and understand what it is you want out of life. It also better prepares you to deal with others, and respond accordingly.3704014426?profile=RESIZE_710x

 

But having a clear understanding of your personality can be a real problem in this day and age with the world at our fingertips 24/7. The idea that we turn off the noise for a few seconds to ourselves, to close our eyes and be at peace, is now a foreign concept.

 

No one wants to sit there and do nothing! That’s why full-grown adults are transfixed on playing games or browsing through their social media every free millisecond. Downtime can be scary.

 

But it’s in those moments where we really feel our presence, tune in to our thoughts, and get in touch with our feelings. It’s also when we are at our most imaginative and creative. It’s how we evolve, discover, and invent.

 

Suffering from chronic boredom can make it easy to fall into a rut of negative habits, resulting in powerlessness to finish tasks, puts a damper on the quality of your life, and exacerbates physical pain. It comes with a slew of negative ramifications, the 5 most common are:

 

·         Obesity

If you find yourself continually snacking even though you’re not hungry, then the culprit is probably boredom. Eating, especially foods high in processed fats and sugars, makes you feel calmer and happier. Dieticians refer to this as emotional eating, which is often brought on by boredom.

 

·         Depression

Boredom can be a symptom of depression, and it can also trigger it. Working long hours, having a stressful work or home environment, or working dull, unchallenging jobs can all boost stress and result in deep bouts of depression.

 

·         Stress and anxiety

Living day to day in an environment that doesn’t give you what need can be emotionally exhausting. Load on top of that work responsibilities and financial strain, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for chronic stress triggered by boredom and redundancy.

 

·         Alcohol and drug abuse

In an attempt to break through the boredom spells, it’s common to find people reaching for alcohol and drugs. They’re known for their addictive nature, but at the moment, all people see is how they allow them to forget the aggravating effects boredom has on their lives.

 

·         Heart disease

When boredom strikes regularly, your brain releases toxic hormones into your bloodstream. These hormones create problems for your heart. Moreover, those who suffer from chronic boredom tend to skimp out on exercising and eating right. In fact, they’re more likely to turn to bad habits, like smoking and drinking - all of which can take its toll on the cardiovascular system, resulting in premature death.

           

A great way to break the boredom cycle is to step back and look at the big picture. Make lists of all the good in your life, as well as all the things you’ve wanted to do but never take the first step and start from there.

 

Take control of your life and try to work your way around the things you cannot change. Form new, healthier habits. Try something different each day. Volunteer your time to helping others who are in need. And, most importantly, find something that piques your interest.

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Sometimes, you come to a point where you feel as though your efforts aren’t getting you any closer to your goal. You could feel as though you’re working hard, but you’re just not getting any traction or seeing the results that you want to.

This is a frustrating time because you think you’re doing everything correctly, so there shouldn’t be any reason why you’re not getting closer to your goals. The reason behind your lack of progress might not have anything to do with your strategies at their core, but rather bad habits you have that are holding you back.3601412532?profile=RESIZE_710x

There are so many everyday bad habits that can ruin your productivity and keep you back from being successful. One set of bad habits revolves around poor time allocation. People have such a difficult time trying to manage their hours productively, and they end up not leaving themselves enough time to work.

They often waste their time on all kinds of different things, whether it be social media, hanging out with friends, or just doing miscellaneous tasks. There are a lot of distractions out there that can hold you back from doing work, but you have to ignore them.

Another aspect of bad habits pertains to your health. A healthy mind and body are vital if you want to be successful - otherwise, you won’t be able to perform to the best of your abilities.

For example, many people don’t get enough sleep at night, leading to them being, slow, and grumpy in the mornings and during their workdays. Similarly, many people don’t keep up with their diets as well as they should.

Whether it’s about being in shape or not, having a poor diet can mean you’re not getting enough of the right nutrients, which can cause a variety of health problems like headaches and fatigue that can wear you out and prevent you from working at your best.

You must be able to resolve these habits and form new ones as soon as possible - otherwise, you might find it challenging to achieve success. It takes some time to develop new habits, and you have to stick with them.

If you just let these bad habits go unchecked, it could lead to some problems for you down the line. The last thing you’d want is to be held back from success because of something as small as a poor diet.

 
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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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