imconfident

I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

Make volunteering a priority in 2017

There have been many studies done on the benefits of volunteering.  Without a doubt, it has proven to have positive effects on our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.  Volunteering can bring happiness and fulfillment to your life.  It helps you become more confident, connects you to other amazing people, may help advance your career and give you a sense of purpose.

Volunteering not only benefits you, it also benefits the people you are helping.  It brings encouragement and makes them feel more valuable.  By feeling that someone cares, it can change the entire direction of their lives

Families and friends also benefit from your volunteering efforts.  It lets them see love in action and it shows them how volunteering makes a difference.  Anyone who notices your acts of kindness will be affected in a positive way.

However, even if nobody notices what you have done, it still makes a huge difference in your own life.  The real purpose of volunteering is doing something and expecting nothing in return.  We should never volunteer just to get recognition.  Working for an organization that answers calls from people in distress or writing letters to lonely people far away can go unnoticed by others but it will still bring positive benefits to you.

Start the New Year with a resolution that will make an important and valuable difference in your life and the lives of others.  Resolve to volunteer for a local organization and bring in the happiness!  Even 2 hours a month can make a difference to someone.  I have volunteered for years and I know the benefits it brings!

Here is an article on the benefits of volunteering for teenagers.  Being a volunteer and showing a good example to your children will teach them valuable lessons that will enrich their lives.  Get them started young and help them become responsible, caring adults.  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320432.php

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Handling stress during the holidays

Christmas is a wonderful season but it can also be a season of tremendous stress.  If you want to really enjoy the holidays, it is important that you take care of yourself and find ways to handle the added pressures that can take away any peace or joy.

  • Consider what Christmas is all about.  Why do we celebrate?  Is it just a holiday or is there something more important?
  • Don’t try to make everything perfect.  Nothing in this world is perfect so stop trying to do the impossible.  If something doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to, just make the best of things and enjoy yourself anyway.  A burnt pie or a forgotten gift doesn’t have to ruin the day.
  • Don’t spend all your money on unwanted or frivolous gifts and end up in debt.  Make a budget and stick to it.  Those wonderful gifts don’t seem so wonderful when you are paying for them months later.  Spend your time instead investing in the people you love and create some great memories.
  • Take time for yourself and don’t neglect your health.  Eat healthy, exercise and sleep well.  Relax with a good book, take a bath, listen to music and meditate.  If you don’t exhaust yourself, you will be able to enjoy the holidays.
  • Have a good attitude and be forgiving to the people around you.  Try to resolve any differences and work on repairing strained relationships.  Be a positive role model and express thanks for all the great things you have.
  • Plan creative but simple meals.  Get family and friends to help instead of doing everything yourself.  Share the load so you aren’t overburdened.
  • Try to include someone who is lonely in a family experience.  There are many people who don’t have family or friends to share Christmas with.

Christmas can be the most wonderful time of year.  It can be a time of peace and joy.  It can be full of love and warmth.  It all depends on what you focus on.  Remember what Christmas is all about.  Jesus came into the world to bring us hope.  Hallelujah!!

 

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Focus on the good, not on the bad

Whatever you focus on in life, whatever you put most of your attention towards, this will become the direction of your life.  If you spend most of your time focused on the world’s problems, you will never notice all the good things in life.   There are so many things that can bring us joy:  a child’s laughter, a friendly smile, a beautiful flower, raindrops, a powerful song, a kind word.

We should always be aware of what is going on around us but we should not spend most of our time focusing on our problems.  What does this accomplish?  Absolutely nothing.  It just keeps us feeling overwhelmed with unrest, bitterness, grief, frustration and undoubtedly a lack of hope for anything better.

Instead of wasting our energy focusing on negative things, we should use our energy on trying to become a better person and helping those around us who are struggling.  This is how we can find happiness in our own lives and bring happiness into the lives of others.  Don’t just accept all the problems in the world, try to do your part to make things better.  Here are some ideas that can help you:

  • make a list of things that make you smile
  • think of someone who makes you feel good and give them a call today
  • take someone out for coffee
  • watch a funny movie
  • write down your accomplishments (work, school, volunteering)
  • take a walk and admire the beautiful flowers and scenery
  • take some time to visit a lonely neighbour
  • tell a family member that you love them
  • sit in a quiet place and remember happy past events
  • find out about some local fun events and make plans to attend
  • join an activity group
  • get up and dance!!

Focusing on the good stuff in life will help bring happiness.  Focusing on the bad stuff in life will bring misery.  How do you want to live?

 

 

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What is the best gift under your tree?

the-best-of-all-gifts

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Are you ready for Christmas?

People are always in such a hurry, especially at this time of year.  We rush here and there trying to get everything ready for Christmas and it often seems like we are getting nowhere fast.  What we do get, is a lot of stress and frustration.

Christmas should be a time to create new memories with family and friends.  We should be able to stop our busy lives, take some time to relax and reflect on what Christmas is all about.  Christmas was never meant to be a mad rush to spend a lot of money trying to impress people with lavish gifts.   Consumerism has taken the joy away from this wonderful season.  We spend more time and money looking for gifts that people don’t really want or will soon lose interest in or even replace with something that is newer or more interesting, than we spend sharing memories with the people we love.

Think about the time you spend shopping versus the time you spend with your families and friends and ask these questions:

  • Do you spend more money or more time with your loved ones?
  • Do they really need those items you are madly searching for?
  • Can you afford those items or will you be paying for them months and years down the road?
  • Are you feeling relaxed or stressed?
  • Are you happier before, during or after Christmas?

We all need to slow down and stop rushing through life.   We all feel pressure to want things to happen immediately and we don’t want to wait for anything.  The problem is, we are often disappointed with our lives and in our busyness we miss a lot of what is going on around us.  There are so many little, important things that happen when we are too busy to notice: the smile of a child, the chirp of a bird, a beautiful sunset, laughter, acts of kindness.

Are you ready for Christmas or are you still rushing around doing things that are not really that important?   Take some time this Christmas to slow down, relax and reflect.

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  Luke 2:11

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What are you investing your time in?

what-do-you-invest-your-time-in

 

 

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.

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Clutter creates chaos

Having too much stuff can create chaos in your life.  Stuff stresses us out.  It frustrates us.  It drains our energy.  It can make it hard for us to get organized.

Most of us collect things, like antiques, books, coins, cards and so on.  Collecting things is fun and we can display them so they can easily be seen and enjoyed by ourselves and others.  However, when we start collecting many different things and putting them in piles so we can’t even find things or have no idea where we put something, this is when clutter happens and chaos starts.

When we have so much stuff that it drags us back to the past or ahead to the future, we can’t really live in the present and enjoy our lives.  People keep things that remind them of important things that happened in the past (newspaper clippings, photos, something that was owned by a loved one, a child’s toy).  People also keep things that they may need in the future, afraid to part with anything that might be of some value.  It is certainly okay to keep memories and anything that may be useful to us but when it gets out of control, it results in an unhealthy living environment.

Clutter is unhealthy.  Dust, mold and animal dander collect and can cause breathing problems.  Bugs and mice are also attracted to cluttered areas where they can live and breed.  Clutter is also a fire hazard and could hamper rescue efforts, sometimes resulting in death for the inhabitant and also the firemen.

If you have too much stuff, ask yourself what kind of life you want to live.  Do you want your stuff to control you or do you want to control your stuff?  Create a new vision for your life that is calm and easygoing, one that has less stress.   Talk to yourself in words that are encouraging and hopeful. Tell yourself that you are far more valuable than your stuff and you deserve to live in healthy, stress-free conditions.  Make a promise to yourself that you will start making some positive changes in your life, starting with cleaning up the clutter.

Ask yourself why you are keeping certain items.  One of the big items people keep is old newspapers because they might read them someday.  Chances of reading them are slim to none and why would you want to read old news anyway?  Besides, half of the newspaper is ads and they have absolutely no value once the sales are over.  Keeping them is just creating a mess and a possible fire hazard.  Another big item is keeping plastic bags for garbage.  We can only use so many garbage bags and they also just create a mess and possible fire hazard.

Pick one area and spend an hour or two a day working at it.  You can’t do it all at once, so don’t even try.  It will take time and patience but if you are committed to having a better life, you WILL be able to do it.  If you need help and you can afford it, contact a company that does organizing/de-cluttering.  Let’s face it, if you could afford to buy all that stuff, you would be better off using your money getting rid of the clutter instead of bringing more into your home.

Put things where they belong. If you have dishes or groceries in the bedroom, move them to the kitchen.  Books should be in a bookcase, not piled on the floor.  Clothing should be in a closet or dresser.  Clutter tends to become a pile of anything and everything as space gets limited in the rooms where things belong.  Then when you can’t find things, you go out an buy more to replace stuff that is lying in a pile somewhere.

Make a promise to yourself that when you get something new, you will get rid of something old.  Of course, this doesn’t apply to things like food unless you are keeping expired cans or food that is rotting.  If you enjoy reading, you don’t need to keep hundreds of books; go to the library and save some money.  If you like new clothing or fancy jewelry, donate your old items to goodwill.  You don’t need a new outfit to wear every day for the next 20 years.

Make an appointment with yourself to de-clutter.  It can’t be done all at one time so do it in small time frames that are manageable.  Do one or two hours a day and soon you will start to see some progress.  If you want more ideas, check out some sites that help with clutter removal.  There are lots!

Remove the clutter in your life and you will start to feel better.   As someone who helps people de-clutter, I can tell you that when the job is done, we almost always see a smile on their faces and there is an obvious sense of relief.  Happy de-cluttering!

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Make 2016 a year of fewer regrets

Everyone has regrets.  Being human causes us to say or do things that we wish we hadn’t said or done.  This can cause relationship problems with our families, friends, co-workers and any else we come into contact with.  We have to think carefully before we speak or put our words into actions.  We can also regret NOT saying something to a loved one or NOT doing something that we dreamed about or following a goal.

In different studies, people were asked what their biggest regrets in life were.  Many of these people were older or dying and they all seemed to have similar regrets.  Here are the top five listed:

  1. I wish I hadn’t spent my life trying to live up to other people’s expectations.  We all want other people to like us and we will do our best to fit in even if it takes away our own uniqueness.  We believe the lie that if we make other people happy than we will have lots of friends and be happy.  Our childhood dreams drift away and are forgotten.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so much.  We all need to make money so we can survive, but money doesn’t buy happiness.  Working long hours robs people of valuable time they could have spent with their family and friends.  Sadly all the money they accumulated does not replace a close, loving relationship.
  3. I wish I had told people how I felt about them.  Many people try to hide their feelings or don’t know how to show their love to others.  This can send a wrong message to their loved ones that they don’t care which will cause them to go through life feeling unloved, unwanted and unappreciated.
  4. I wish I had worked harder on my relationships.  Life can become so busy that we don’t take the time to keep in touch with family and friends.  Special occasions often get missed because people can’t find the time to get together.  Even families can have so many activities going on, that they rarely share a meal or spend much time together.  As we get older, we have more time, but it may be too late to re-connect with people that we have pushed aside for so long.
  5. I wish that I had made the choice to be happy.  Many of us don’t realize that we have the choice as to whether we will be happy or unhappy.  Of course, life happens and there are situations that will cause us pain and misery.  But even during difficult situations, we still have the choice as to how we can react.  We can remain in our pain and dwell on the negatives in our life or we can deal with the pain and move on with a positive attitude.

The problem is, many people live their lives, not paying attention to the fact that life is passing them by and soon they will have regrets.  Start this new year right, think about what is important in your life and then take action.

  • Work hard, but not so hard that you don’t have time for your loved ones.
  • Live up to your own expectations and follow your dreams.
  • Tell your family and friends how much you care about them.
  • Build strong relationships.
  • Choose to be happy.

Make 2016 a year of fewer regrets!

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How to have a perfect Christmas

book and candlesIf you want to have the best possible Christmas this year, try the following:

  • spend lots of time with your family and friends (and not lots of money on worthless presents)
  • give thanks for what you have (and don’t be unhappy for things you don’t have)
  • show love and kindness to everyone you know (even those people you don’t particularly like)
  • forgive people who have hurt you (and forgive yourself for hurting others)
  • think the best of everyone (not the worst)

Most importantly, remember what Christmas is all about.  We are celebrating the birth of Jesus and praising God for His wonderful gift to the world.   May you all experience peace and joy in this Christmas celebration.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas!

 

 

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What is growing in your garden?

Most people know that if you want a garden to look beautiful, it requires a lot of care.  You have to plant good seeds in fertile soil and water them regularly.  Once the plants, flowers, shrubs, bushes and trees start growing, you have to provide them with continuous care, pulling any weeds out and pruning back any overgrown branches.  It takes work and you can’t neglect caring for the garden or it will soon become overgrown with weeds and lose its beauty.  Then it will slowly wither and die.

People are like gardens.  If we have had good seeds planted in our lives and have been cared for regularly, we will flourish and grow.  As a child, our parents and other people around us start planting seeds that will either make our garden of life beautiful or unattractive.  Positive seeds of love, encouragement and support will help us create a beautiful character that will help us achieve success in our lives.  Negative seeds of neglect, abuse and despair will help us create an unattractive character that will hold us back from reaching our goals or even having any.

What is growing in your garden?  Have positive or negative seeds been planted?  Are YOU planting positive or negative seeds?

It doesn’t matter what has been planted in your garden up to this point.  If positive seeds have been planted, that is awesome!  Keep growing!  However, if negative seeds have been planted, don’t despair.  YOU can start planting positive seeds in your own life and the lives of others.  How?

  • determine where those negative seeds came from so you are aware of why you think and act the way you do
  • start changing the way you talk to yourself – stop that negative thinking and replace it with positive thinking
  • say positive affirmations to yourself every day and learn to appreciate yourself
  • write down a list of your strengths, abilities and skills
  • increase the time you spend with positive people and decrease the time you spend with negative people
  • always look for the good in people and situations instead of the bad

Work hard to create a more positive perspective on life and build your confidence so you can find the happiness and success you are looking for.  Visit my website at http://www.imconfident.com for more information.

 

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