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!!
We all have different holiday traditions and we celebrate according to our beliefs. Many families gather together to share a meal and open presents. Others travel to a vacation spot to relax and forget about the stresses of everyday life. Some people don’t celebrate Christmas because of various reasons and it is just another day for them. Then there are those who don’t have anyone to spend Christmas with because their families live too far away, they have no family, there is conflict or all their loved ones have passed away.
Most of us have high expectations of Christmas. We want to spend time with family and friends, enjoying the season. When this doesn’t happen we feel like something is wrong and we react in a negative way, often hurting ourselves in the process.
Christmas can be a difficult time if you are alone. However, being alone does not have to result in unhappiness. Many people spend Christmas alone by choice and they are not lonely or miserable. It is all a matter of perception.
Instead of feeling bad about the season, try making a list of things you like to do and then take action. Here are some ideas:
- Watch some favourite movies, read some books, listen to music.
- Call some friends and invite them to come for coffee. They might feel lonely too and enjoy the company.
- Consider getting a pet if you don’t have one. They are great companions. Find one that suits your needs and is easy to care for. Having a dog is a great excuse for taking a walk.
- If you belong to a church, make sure you attend Christmas services. If you don’t, consider attending one as it will help you feel part of the celebration.
- Organize your home or start a new project.
- Do something creative. Starting writing, drawing or do some crafts.
- Play a game like solitaire or do crossword puzzles.
- Visit a mall while they are open and watch people.
- Help volunteer at a soup kitchen or visit a senior home and share yourself with others. This is guaranteed to bring happiness to all.
- Always be positive about life.
These ideas are great for anytime of year. If you fill your life with positive activity and surround yourself with positive people, you won’t have time to feel lonely. Treat yourself like the special person you are and have a very merry Christmas! Love to everyone! 🙂
This is the message of Christmas: We are never alone. ~Taylor Caldwell
Laughter is the best medicine. Laughing has many benefits to your health. It can improve your physical, mental and emotional health. It lessens stress, increases immune cells, fights infections and helps resist disease. Laughter is very beneficial to relationships and produces a general sense of well-being. It is almost impossible to be anxious or worried and laugh at the same time.
The best thing about laughter…it is free! You don’t have to get a prescription, go to the drug store and pay money for something that might make you feel better. Laughter costs nothing and in my opinion, it works better than a lot of medications. People who are sick or in hospitals have been known to have improved health due to laughing. In the Cancer Treatment Centres of America, they are using laughter therapy to help their patients. You can read the article here.
Maybe you haven’t laughed in a long time because of situations in your life. Maybe you don’t feel like there is anything to laugh at. You might be struggling with health issues, emotional problems or relationship breakdowns. Life can be very discouraging and depressing at times when all you can see is the negative side. This is why you need to try to look at things with a positive perspective instead of a negative perspective. Laughter can really help. Read this article from the Mayo Clinic about the benefits of laughter.
Here are some ways to add laughter to your life:
- surround yourself with funny and encouraging people
- watch a funny movie
- read a funny book
- schedule time for laughter each day
- laugh when you make a mistake
- try to see things from a positive perspective
- get a coach who can help you change your perspective
You can laugh about a lot of things in life that may not seem funny. It takes a lot of practice if you are normally negative and serious, but you can do it. One time I was walking downtown and I felt my slip sliding down my legs right in the middle of a busy sidewalk. I was starting to feel embarrassed and my brain was telling me to leave the slip on the ground and walk away quickly but I chose to just reach down and pick up my slip, stuff it in my purse and smile at the people around me. It was much more comfortable feeling amused than upset.
So put on a smile, develop a positive perspective and laugh!!
A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Many people struggle with low esteem and it affects every area of their lives. It affects how they feel about themselves, it affects the way they interact with other people, it affects the way they communicate. Low esteem is destructive.
- It makes people feel inferior, that they are worthless, that they have no value.
- It makes them feel that they don’t measure up to other people; that everyone else is smarter, better looking, has more friends, is better off financially.
- It makes people feel unloved, unappreciated and unwanted.
- It destroys relationships.
- It leads to communication breakdowns.
- It holds you back from using your abilities and skills.
- It stops you from reaching your goals.
- It destroys your dreams.
Having low esteem will cause you to struggle through life believing that there is something wrong with you. Often we develop this low opinion of ourselves from living in a negative environment, surrounded by people who struggle themselves with low esteem. Instead of continuing to believe things that are probably not true, we can change the way we feel about ourselves by challenging our beliefs and learning to develop a positive perspective about ourselves and life in general.
We are all valuable, unique individuals despite what others have led us to believe. Do some self-discovery and find our what an awesome person you really are! Visit my website at http://www.imconfident.com for more information on building confidence and self-esteem.
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.
Do you feel that you will never measure up and are always comparing yourself to others?
Do you feel that you never do anything well or can never please anyone or yourself?
Are you always driven by the expectations of others?
Are you often frustrated or feel like a failure?
Have you ever stopped to wonder where these feelings come from? We form our opinions of others and ourselves mainly from the environment that we grow up in. This is reinforced by the people we surround ourselves with and how much we immerse ourselves in the media. Perhaps you grew up in a home where criticism was the norm and whatever you did was never good enough. When you cleaned your room and it wasn’t perfect, were you praised for what you did or criticized for what you didn’t do? When you brought home a report card with 5 B’s and 1 D, were you praised for doing a good job and encouraged to beat that D or were you just criticized for getting a D? When you brought home friends to enjoy some fun times, did your family welcome them and talk nicely about them when they left or did they pick out all their bad points and tell you that you didn’t choose your friends very well?
Growing up and living in an environment of criticism and negativity will have profound effects on how you live your life. Feeling that you never do anything right and thinking that all your choices are bad ones, will create a need to find perfection. Everything you do will be geared to pleasing someone else. The result is feeling like a failure because you can never measure up to anyone else’s expectations. The world continually promotes perfection and the need to succeed. We should always do our best but we can never be perfect in a world that is far from perfect.
We need to understand that we all have strengths and weaknesses and not be critical of our imperfections and flaws. We ALL are imperfect and we ALL have weaknesses. We just can’t be the ‘super’ person that everyone expects us to be. Even the expectations we put on ourselves are way too high and can never be reached. Accepting ourselves for who we really are is important. We all have unique value and worth. Discover your own amazing abilities, strengths and personality traits. Make a list and review them often to remind yourself what an awesome person you are!
How many times have you said something that you wished you hadn’t?
How many times have critical or complaining words have tumbled out of your mouth?
How many times have you expressed anger that hurt someone else?
How many times have you belittled or torn down another person?
How many times have you spread gossip that wasn’t entirely true?
Just think about it. You have probably spoken thousands of negative, critical, angry, hurtful words that had the potential to hurt many people. Our words have such powerful effects!
We should always be careful with our words and think before we speak. Our thoughts often come to us without warning and if don’t pay attention to what we are thinking and stop any negative thoughts from being processed into negative words, we can do a lot of damage to the lives of others and also ourselves. Careless words can result in misunderstanding, miscommunication and cause problems in our relationships.
Before you speak:
- think carefully about what you are saying
- be consciously aware of any negative thoughts
- stop those negative thoughts
- picture a stop sign, take a few deep breaths, count to 10
- focus on something positive
- say positive statements
- write your thoughts in a journal or type them into your phone
- gather your thoughts and say something positive
- if you do say something negative, apologize before the situation gets worse
You do have the power to control your thoughts. You don’t have to keep every negative thought that pops into your head. Get rid of those negative thoughts and create a habit of positive thinking. Believe me it does work! All it takes is continual practice.