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 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.
Have you ever stopped to consider how powerful our words can be? Everything that we say can have a huge impact on other people and even ourselves. Just one little word or phrase can heal a person’s life or it can destroy it. When we use words that are kind, loving and supportive we can lift people up and make them feel good. On the other hand, when we say words that are mean, nasty and vindictive we can tear people down and make them feel bad.
Think about words that people say to you:
- When you felt lonely and a family member said something loving to you, how did it make you feel?
- When you were feeling down and a friend said something encouraging, did it lift you up?
- When you were having a bad day at work and your boss told you that you did a good job, did your day go better?
Remember those times when a family member spoke to you in anger or someone at work criticized something you did or a friend told you they were too busy to have coffee with you. How did those words make you feel?
We should always be careful with our words and choose them carefully. Don’t let unkind, careless or cruel words come out of your mouth. Think before you speak especially when you are stressed, tired, angry or upset. Those are times when even the nicest person can be thoughtless and let words slip out that should never be spoken.
Saying unkind words to ourselves is also a bad thing. We can be very cruel to ourselves, speaking words we have heard other people say to us or about us. We need to challenge our self-talk and make sure we are not hurting ourselves with our own words. What other people say is only a reflection of who they are and not who we are. We believe a lot of things that are just not true.
We need to understand how powerful our words are and make sure we use them to lift people up, encourage them, support them and show our love.
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!
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.
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!
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!