What are you surrounded with? Are you aware that our environment can have a huge influence on the way we feel about ourselves and life in general? When we are surrounded by people and things that make us feel bad or remind us of some unhappy event, we are more likely to feel sadness or frustration. Think about a time when you were with someone who constantly complained about something. Did it have a positive or negative effect on you? Think about a time when you were forced into attending a family event where you knew there would be a lot of gossiping and arguing. Did it have a positive or negative effect on you?
Sometimes we are unable to do anything about the environment we live or work in. However, we can take steps to increase the positives and eliminate or decrease the negatives. Here are some ideas:
- Choose carefully who you spend time with. Do a checklist of your family and friends. Which ones encourage you and make you feel good? Which ones drag you down and make you feel bad? It isn’t always possible to detach yourself from negative family members but you can cut down on the time you spend with them. As for your friends, if they are causing pain or distress, it may be time to cut ties.
- Always try to be a positive influence on those around you. There may be negative people who attend school with you or work with you but you can try your best to provide a smile and a friendly attitude. Joining their negativity will just keep everyone around you in a bad mood.
- Is your living space comfortable, cheerful and bright or is it dark and cluttered? When you go into your home do you smile or feel stressed? Decorate with bright colours. Put up pictures that make you smile and plaques with positive statements.
- Does your workspace help you focus on being positive? Ask if you can put up some pictures, wall plaques or wall decals or add some colourful accessories to your office, a lunchroom, a hallway, a washroom. Get your co-workers involved and see how it affects the attitude of everyone where you work.
- What do you see when you first open your eyes in the morning? An inspirational wall decal at the bottom of your bed is a great way to uplift your spirits! There are thousands to choose from. Here are a few: ‘Be the reason someone smiles today. You are amazing and don’t forget it. Never give up on your dreams. You are stronger than you think.’
You can do a lot of things to make your environment more positive. All it takes is a little imagination and some effort. Do whatever you can to brighten up your life! You deserve it!
How often do you say these negative words? I can’t…. I won’t…. I shouldn’t. You can fill in the blank but I’m sure you will catch yourself saying these words if you pay attention to what you are thinking and what comes out of your mouth.
- I can’t help that I am feeling depressed.
- I won’t try to do that because it will make me look stupid.
- I shouldn’t be here because I don’t know anything.
Many times we say things that are causing us to think negatively and we don’t even realize it. We say words that are defeating and discouraging. Our brains are wired to have a negative bias, so unless we work hard to become more positive in our thinking, we will become stuck in a bad habit that will have a negative effect on our lives.
Try changing the way you talk to yourself. Take a look at the above examples reworded:
- I feel depressed but I CAN try to change the way I think.
- I feel stupid but I WILL try my best and if I fail, I will try again.
- I don’t think I know much but I SHOULD be here because I want to learn and grow.
Which set of statements push you forward and which drag you down? If we convince ourselves that we are unable to do something or change the way we feel, there is a 100% chance that we will stay stuck in a pattern of negative thinking. However, if we change the words we use and develop a positive perspective, we have much better chance of something good happening.
We all have bad habits. Some are just annoying like nail-biting or leaving wet towels on the floor but some are serious like smoking or taking illegal drugs. The more you focus on a bad habit, the stronger it has a hold on you and the more difficult it is to get rid of. However, every habit can be broken if you have a deep enough desire to break it. Here are the steps to breaking a habit:
- First you need to figure out why you have this habit. Does a person or situation cause you to do this? When did it start? How did you feel when you started doing this? How do you feel about yourself now? It is important to know if there are any triggers that keep you doing this habit. Be consciously aware of what you are doing and when you are doing it.
- Then you should record your thoughts in a journal. Write down your habits, the attached emotions, events, people, anything that pertains to the habit. What needs to be changed or eliminated?
- Find a replacement for your habit or create a reminder that you can’t avoid. If you bite your nails, keep gum handy for when you realize your fingers are in your mouth. If you leave wet towels on the floor, put a note on the bathroom mirror to remind you to pick them up. If you click your pen, buy straight pens instead of ones that click. If you are constantly talking or texting on your cell phone, keep it in your pocket or purse instead of carrying it around with you.
The more action you take to stop those bad or annoying habits, the sooner you will be able to break them. You can either take control of your habits or allow them to control you. The choice is yours. Stamp out those bad habits!!
Sometimes we inherit something from our parents, like the same colour of eyes or hair or maybe the same shaped nose. But were you aware that we can also inherit their character traits and tendencies?
Children are born with their own personalities but these can be influenced greatly by the behaviour and actions of their parents.
- If we are angry, bitter or negative people, our children can also become angry, bitter or negative.
- If we are self-centered and focus on ourselves more than others, our children will become selfish and lack generosity.
- If we have an addiction to cigarettes, alcohol or drugs, our children are more likely to develop an addiction.
- If we don’t have solid moral values, our children will not learn to respect themselves and others.
As parents, we have a profound affect on our children and we should ensure that we are influencing them in a positive way. This isn’t an easy task and we will make mistakes. However, we should carefully look at our own lives and try to make any necessary changes so we can become to be the best possible role model.
What are you passing on to your kids?
Our health is very important. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we can easily develop major health issues that will affect everything in our lives.
We should try to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, get proper sleep and eliminate any negative stresses. This isn’t easy in a world that promotes fast food and a fast life. We fill our lives with so many activities that we are too busy to cook healthy meals, go for a leisurely walk or get to bed at a reasonable hour. The sad thing is, we believe that our value is found in how much we can accomplish in a day and we keep adding more and more stress until we reach a point where our health fails.
My own lifestyle was certainly not the healthiest. I didn’t really watch what I ate, I exercised very little and my sleeping patterns were terrible. Stress was a huge part of my life and I kept driving myself to do more that I could handle. Having a stroke was not something I expected at this stage of my life. On a positive note, it has changed my thinking and I have no choice but to take care of myself.
Here are some healthy habits that you should incorporate into your lifestyle:
- Eat a diet that is low-sodium, low-sugar and low-fat. Lots of vegetables and fruits are important. Never eat on the rush, take time to enjoy your food. Frozen and prepared foods along with fast foods are unhealthy so try to cook at home as much as possible. Eating healthy is a good habit to get your family and yourself into.
- Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes or more each day. If you have an active job, this really doesn’t count. Join a gym or exercise club. Walking is the cheapest and most effective exercise. Get a walking buddy and support each other. I’ve been walking with my husband every day and it is benefiting both of us!
- Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time. Of course, there will be times when events or activities get in the way but that’s okay. As long as you develop a habit that works most of the time.
- Try to eliminate as much stress as you can. Positive stresses like getting ready for a exciting event are great but negative stresses will just drag you down. Think about what is important and what isn’t important. Spend less time with people who stress you out. Cut down on your to-do list and make sure you add some quiet time each day.
You are an important person and you need to take care of yourself. Don’t wait until something happens. Start today!
Everyone invests their time in something, usually in whatever they are interested in the most. Unfortunately, we don’t always invest our time in the things that are important. Then when we get older, we realize that we have wasted a lot of time doing things that don’t matter and we have regrets.
Many people go through life trying to achieve success by obtaining power or making lots of money. Others spend their lives wasting all their time and money pleasing themselves and just having fun. Then one day they need support from their family and friends and wonder why they are all alone.
I certainly have regrets and wish that I could turn back the clock. Many hours, days and weeks were wasted doing things that don’t even matter now.
- Time spent working extra hours to make more money instead of going home and spending time with my family
- Time spent working on projects that didn’t pan out and have long been forgotten
- Time spent feeling sorry for myself instead of feeling sorry for other people and helping them out
- Time spent reading books that filled up time and didn’t teach me anything valuable
- Time spent watching TV programs and movies that filled up my mind with total garbage
Think carefully about what you spend your time doing.
- Is it something that has value or something that is wasting your time?
- Is it something that makes you a better person or does it lead you away from the important things in life?
- Is it something that blesses other people or does it only please yourself?
- Is it something that leads you where you want to be or is it leading you down a dead-end street?
Whatever you surround yourself with now will likely be what surrounds you in the future. Make some positive changes in your life now and invest time in things of value.
Our past consists of situations that have caused us both pain and joy. However, the painful situations are often the ones we remember the most and many people remain stuck in their pain, unable to enjoy anything good that happens in the present. We should use our past as a history lesson and not a guidebook. We can definitely learn something from our past and use our mistakes to make positive changes. What has happened is over and done with and nothing can take away any unkind words that have been said or cut unhappy circumstances from our lives. All we can do is make better choices and try our best to overcome any challenges we may face in a different, more positive way.
Don’t hide the past or try to forget the pain that you experienced. Ignoring things won’t make them better, the pain will still be there and it will surface when you don’t want it to. Your past does not define who you are but if you are able to work through your pain, you will learn valuable lessons that will make you wiser and stronger.
Don’t stay stuck in the past when you can live in the present and enjoy your life. Look at your past and ask yourself if you really want to live there forever. Then make some positive changes in your life and develop a new perspective. You can change your life if you really want to.
Check my website at http://www.imconfident.com for ideas on how to make positive changes in your life.
We have all been hurt at one time or another. Being hurt is unavoidable and just a normal part of life. The problem is, many of us have difficulty processing our hurts in a positive way and our emotions become badly damaged. It is important that we address our hurts and deal with them so they can’t continue to cause pain in our lives.
Here are some steps we can take to heal any damaged emotions:
- Face your problems dead on. If you try to avoid them, deny them or hide them, it won’t work. Pushing the pain away may temporarily relieve the pain, but in the long run, the hurt will keep coming back. Take an honest look at what happened and talk to someone you can trust.
- Take responsibility for what happened. Be totally honest with yourself. Did you play any part in what happened? Most of the time, there can be blame placed on both sides. How did you respond? Did you show anger or did you try to understand the situation?
- Ask yourself if you really want your damaged emotions to heal. Sometimes people use their problems to get attention and to make other people feel sorry for them. They get stuck in a bad habit and become comfortable struggling with their problems. This is really not a good way to live as it never allows any possibility of peace or happiness.
- In order to heal, you must be forgiving. First you need to forgive the people who hurt you. This does not mean that you are telling them it is okay for them to hurt you because it was certainly not okay at all, it means that you are giving up the hold they have on you. As long as you have unforgiveness for a person, you are tied to them and they can continue to hurt you over and over again. Tell the person you forgive them for hurting you and then forgive yourself and move on.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say this statement and I’ve said it myself more times that I can remember. I used to firmly believe that I was unable to do anything about my emotions or change the way I felt and I’ve discovered this is totally wrong. I was allowing my emotions to control me instead of taking control of my emotions. It was time to make some changes!
Actually, you can’t really help the way you feel, but you CAN learn to manage your emotions and work hard to change the way you react. When someone hurts you, you will likely feel angry or upset. When something takes too long, you will likely feel agitated or impatient. When you can’t do something easily, you will likely get frustrated. It is normal to feel these emotions but it is not healthy to respond in a negative way that could be damaging to others and yourself.
When you feel any emotion, you have the choice to respond automatically or you can stop yourself for a few seconds and quickly process a more positive way of dealing with the situation. This takes patience and practice but if you keep working at it, it will become a good habit. Always be consciously aware of how you are feeling and make sure you think before you react.
- First stop, take a deep breath, and don’t react immediately.
- Then do something that will help you calm down. Separate yourself from the person or situation as this will allow you to focus more clearly, take a walk, listen to some calming music or do an activity that you enjoy. Don’t give in to your negative emotions.
- Talk it out with yourself. Ask yourself why you are feeling this way. Is there an underlying issue that needs to be addressed such as depression, anxiety, work-overload, too many pressures?
- Determine what changes need to be made so when difficult situations arise, you can manage your emotions more effectively. How can you deal with things in a more positive way? Write down your thoughts and create a plan of action.
You can’t help the way you feel but you CAN help the way you react. React in positive way!
Many people believe that they don’t have the power the change something in their lives. They believe that they are stuck in the same unhealthy relationships, the same dead-end job, the same negative way of thinking and that their health will never improve. I used to believe this myself, but the truth is, we CAN change our lives for the better if we really want to and are willing to take action.
You can’t keep doing things the same way over and over and expect a different result. You have to change something in your life: create new habits, develop new ideas, work on some goals. If you just keep thinking about making a change and don’t take action, nothing will ever change. You have to actively get going and do something in order to make positive changes in your life.
Change takes time. You have to be committed to working hard and being patient. Nothing worthwhile comes that quickly. People today want things instantly and are not willing to invest time in their future.
If you want your life to change, here are some steps you can take:
- Sit down with a pen and journal or pad of paper and start brainstorming. Write down your thoughts. Create a simple plan of action. Set some short and long term goals.
- Ask yourself some key questions. What kind of relationships do you want to have? What do you enjoy doing? What do you really want to achieve in life?
- Figure out what needs to be changed in your life. What are some things that are working for you now? What are some things that are not working?
- Determine any roadblocks that are stopping you from moving ahead. What are these roadblocks and how can they be removed?
- Organize your plan of action and post it somewhere so it can be a daily reminder.
- Keep track of your progress in your journal.
- If something isn’t working the way you expected, modify your plan and make any necessary changes.
- Include some trusted family and friends in your plan and allow them to motivate and support you.
- Remember to stay positive. You might not always accomplish what you want, but keep focusing on your plan and keep going.
- Most important. Be patient, persevere and never give up. Change will come if you keep working at it.