Positivity Blog

How to Deal with Stress: 33 Tips That Work

Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in Positivity Blog | 0 comments

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”
Sydney J. Harris

“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.”
Bertrand Russell

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
John Lubbock

Feeling stressed in today’s society is pretty much inevitable.

But how stressed you get or how often this happens are two things that you can have a great influence over.

Without smart habits for dealing with situations that could be stressful life can be a whole lot more burdensome that it needs to be. You may feel tired before the week has barely begun. Be overwhelmed on a daily basis. Get an upset stomach, headaches or migraines too often and even start to feel burned out.

So what can you do about it?

In this article I’d like to share 33 tips and habits that have helped me to live a less stressful life.

 

The main focus will be on how to prevent getting stressed in the first place. But the article also contains a whole bunch of effective habits for dealing with a stressful situation when you are right in the middle of it.

I hope you will find a few favorites among these tips and habits that you can start using in your own life this week to reduce the stress and live a much lighter and more relaxing life.

1. One thing at a time.

You’ll feel better and less stressed if you just do one thing at a time. No matter if it is at work, in school or in your private life. This will make it easier to focus and to do a job of higher quality right away. Instead of having to go back several times and polish and rearrange to get the result you want.

If you have to multi-task a few things during your day then set off some time for that. Single-task during most of your day but set off an hour in the afternoon for instance to do all of that multi-tasking stuff in one big swoop.

2. Write everything down.

If your memory is anything like mine then it might be a bit like a leaky bucket too often. So write everything down. Your ideas, tasks and stuff you just have to remember.

Then you don’t have to worry about forgetting. And you will free up your mind for focusing on other things than remembering.

3. Keep your daily to-do list very short.

10 years ago I never used a to-do list. I got very little done. Then I started using a too overloaded to-do list. I got more done but I was stressed and felt overwhelmed a lot of the time. Today I use a very short daily list of just the 1-3 most important tasks. It works really well.

4. Don’t make mountains out of molehills.

One of the best ways to make your day and life easier, lighter and less stressful is to not build mountains out of molehills. To not create extra drama, overthink or create a problem out of something that doesn’t matter much. Or just out of air.

So how can you handle this bad habit?

Well, when a big problem is starting to build in my mind I first say something like: Hold on now…

This helps me to pause and become more receptive to change my line of thinking. Then I ask myself:

Will this matter 5 years from now? Or even 5 weeks from now?

Those two steps have helped me to build a lot less mountains in my life.

5. Spend 80% of your time focusing on a solution.

And only 20% of your time on dwelling on your non-molehill issue or problem. Instead of taking a common path and doing it the other way around. You’ll live a much more action-filled life and feel less pessimistic and powerless if you do.

6. Ask instead of guessing.

Reading minds is very hard. Misunderstandings will be plentiful if you try to do it. So communicate instead. You’ll have a lot less unnecessary conflicts, negativity and waste less of your and other people’s time.

7. Pack your bag before you go to sleep.

A simple one but one that can save you a lot of stress in the morning. Take 5 minutes before you go to bed to do this and you’ll also be less likely to forget something important like your schoolbook, wallet or phone.

8. Balance fully focused work with complete rest.

I usually work for 45 minutes. Then I take a 15 minute break away from the computer. I eat a snack, take a short walk or maybe watch half an episode of one of my favorite TV-series. This helps me to relax and to avoid stress building up during the day.

9. Set clear boundaries for your day.

This is very important, at least for me.

I need to have a good balance between work and rest. So I don’t work before 8 in the morning or after 7 in the evening.

10. Disconnect over the weekend.

It is also really helpful to find a good balance between work and rest from a weekly perspective. I do that by staying away from work and staying offline – except for one email check – during the weekend. I highly recommend trying it out.

If you have a cellphone for work leave it at your job. Or at least put it in silent mode, check it once every 24 hours and only call back if it is something important. Otherwise, let it wait until Monday.

These strict limits between hourly, daily and weekly work is a huge help for me to avoid the grey zone.

When you are in the grey zone then you are basically thinking and worrying about work when you are at home or you having a day off. Or you think about your private life and challenges there while you are at work.

Avoid the grey zone. It sucks the life out of you and can leave you so stressed that it becomes hard to focus or even to get a good night’s sleep.

11. Make sure you take time to do what you love to do.

Learn to get the necessary done quicker and don’t get lost in “have-tos”. Prioritize what really matters to you and carve out time during your weekend or evenings to do what you love doing.

Maybe it is playing soccer with your kids, painting, writing, taking photos or reading. Whatever you love to do, make sure you set off some time for it regularly in your schedule. Because few things will relieve stress and energize you like an activity you love doing.

12. Delegate.

You don’t have to do everything yourself. You don’t have to control or micromanage. If possible delegate and let someone else get that task or project to done.

13. Eliminate.

Do you even have to do everything that is on your schedule? What things could you stop doing altogether with no or very small consequences?

What things are your heart maybe not in like it used to be?

Could you say no to one or a few of those things to have more time and energy for what matters in both your professional and private life?

Reevaluate what you usually do in a day or week and see if there is something you would like to stop doing.

14. Be 10 minutes early.

This one has transformed my traveling from stressful situations to relaxing pieces of time in my day.

15. Stay on track by asking yourself questions every day.

One good way to find clarity, to not get behind on work and to actually do what matters each day is to ask yourself questions regularly.

Questions like: What is the most important thing I can do right now?

And: Is doing this bringing me closer to my goal?

If you like, write one of the questions down on a post-it note and put it where you will see it every day. It is very easy to forget to ask yourself the question otherwise.

16. Let your lunch be a slow time of relaxing.

Don’t wolf down your lunch in 7 minutes flat. That will only ramp up the stress that you bring with you from the first few hours of work.

Instead, let your lunch be a time of relaxation. Eat slowly and focus on the smell, texture and taste of the food. Put down the fork and knife down between bites to make that easier.

I have found this to be a wonderful way to relax midday. And to get the best experience out ofwhat you are eating.

17. Keep a very simple workspace.

Mine is for example a simple and small black desk with my laptop on it. A few flowers. And a glass of water. This simplicity makes it easier for me to focus on what truly matters in a relaxed and undistracted way.

18. Build a zone of few distractions for your work hours.

A simple workspace makes it easier to focus. I also find it helpful to keep instant messaging programs offline and to keep my smart phone in another room and in silent mode. And to use my browser only when I need to.

By doing so I am less distracted, it is easier to think clearly and I feel less stressed.

19. Get to done with something that stressed or bothers you.

An unfinished task that is tumbling around in the back of your mind can cause quite a bit of stress and negativity within. So if you know you have one of those then ask yourself:

What is one small I can do today to start getting this task to done?

Then take that first step and put yourself in motion towards finishing.

20. If it does not get done then there is a day tomorrow too.

Sometimes life interferes or you have a bad day. And you don’t get done what you had planned or hoped for.

The best way – in my experience – to handle this is to simply and kindly tell yourself that there will be a day tomorrow too and you can do it then.

Beating yourself up or getting angry will only add stress that will suck the energy, self-confidence and motivation out of you. And life is too short for that.

21. Everything in its place.

When things have their own home where you always put them back then they will be a lot easier to find and your workspace and home will be in better order. This will greatly reduce the number of stressful times when you can’t find an important report or your car keys as you are heading out the door.

22. Check your email etc. just once and as late in the workday as possible.

I usually check and process my email, social media accounts and various statistics for my website during the last hour of my workday.

By doing so I save the stress that it can cause me and the new tasks it can produce until I have already put in several of my most energetic hours on doing my most important tasks.

23. Limit your daily information intake.

Take a few minutes each month to unsubscribe to newsletters, blogs, podcasts etc. that you don’t get much out of anymore or you rarely even listen to or read.

This makes it easier to focus on what truly matters for you, to spend more of your time on taking action and to not get stuck in information overload and analysis paralysis.

24. Listen to yourself.

When you are starting to feel drained, more irritable and creativity plummets then don’t just keep on going right into the brick wall. Listen to yourself and your body. Schedule more time to take care of yourself.

Just spend the evening in bed watching your favorite movies. Or go out for a walk or run in the woods. No one will reward you for running into that wall or even becoming burned out. Be kind to yourself and prioritize your health.

25. Be here.

When you spend too much time in your head reliving the past or imagining the future then it is easy to become worried. Fearful. Stressed out. Choose to spend more of your day and time in the present moment.

One simple way to reconnect with the now if you get lost in the past or future is to just focus fully outward for a minute or two. Sit or stand still and take in everything that is happening around you at this moment. See it. Hear it. Smell it. Feel the sun, the rain or your soft sweater on your skin.

26. Stop trying to do things perfectly.

Go for good enough instead and when you are there then you are done. And can move on to the next task or project. Set this more human bar to measure success by not only to finish things but also raise and then keep your self-esteem at a healthy level.

Because when you measure yourself to a perfect standard then it will pretty much impossible to keep your self-esteem up and feel good about yourself more than once in a while.

27. Ask for help.

You don’t always have to go it alone. You can ask your friend, parents or partner or even someone you do not know that well for a helping hand. You might not always get it but you may be surprised at how helpful and kind people can be if you just ask.

And then later on when they ask then you can return the kindness.

28. Talk it out with someone.

This can be a great relief and vent to have when you are in a stressed situation. Let your stress and the issue that it comes from out into the light and let someone close to you see it too.

Just letting it out can often help you to decrease the stress quite a bit and when you say it out loud then it also becomes easier to see if you are making a mountain out of a molehill.

The other person can also help you to ground yourself when needed and together the two of you may be able to figure out what to do about the situation. Or at least how to get started with improving it.

29. Zoom out.

One thing that helps me as I sometimes fall into victim thinking when I am stressed is to zoom out on my narrow perspective by asking myself this question:

Is there anyone on the planet having it worse than me right now?

30. Slow down.

If you slow down your body then in my experience your thoughts will once again become clearer and slower too. So sometimes when I am stressed and am trying to do everything quickly then I force myself to slow down. I move slower. I eat slower. I talk and walk slower.

It may be uncomfortable for the first minute or so but after a very short while my mind stops racing and the stress starts to melt away and is replaced with a bit more inner calmness.

31. Tell yourself: Just take care of today.

Focus only on that. Forget about all those tomorrows. And about all your yesterdays. Go small, narrow your focus greatly and just take care of today. Then you can take care of tomorrow when it comes.

This one is very helpful when you feel overwhelmed.

32. Just breathe.

Release the stress, calm your mind and body down and reconnect with the present moment again by fully focusing on your breathing. Breathe with your belly for just 1-2 minutes and focus only on the air you are breathing in and out.

33. Be smart about the three fundamentals of energy.

What are these three fundamentals? Getting enough sleep, eating healthy and exercising a couple of times a week.

I know, these things are very obvious. But when you manage these three areas in a good way in practice then that makes a huge difference for your mood, energy, outlook of life and how well you can handle stress.

Image by miyukiutada (license).

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10 Simple Things You Can Be Grateful for Even When Times are Tough

Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Positivity Blog | 0 comments

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some days are just great. Things go as planned or even better and you bounce from meetings to tasks to your private life and you feel wonderful on the inside.

Then there are other days.

Days when you do not feel much motivated at all. When your best laid plans go out the window before the day has barely begun.

When something important unexpectedly goes wrong and you get that sinking feeling in your stomach. Or when you feel sorry for yourself and honestly just want to go back to bed and to sleep again.

 

Maybe the simplest and certainly one of the most effective ways to turn such a day, week or month around into something more positive and better is in my experience to turn your focus to gratitude.

Because even if things look tough today or for the next 3 or 6 months I can always find something or several things to feel very grateful for about my life.

So I’d like to share a small list of 10 simple, fundamental things that I feel grateful for. I usually only reflect on one or a few of these things when I need to but I thought a list like this one could be helpful both for you and for me.

Maybe not every item on this list works in your life, then take what works from here and create and add to put together your own list.

1. A roof over my head and a warm home.

I live in Sweden, a country where the winters are cold and snowy and the fall and often spring can be quite rainy.

So I often return to this one.

Few things feel better than to reflect upon having warm home and a roof over my head when it is cold and windy outside and I can hear the rain beating hard on my window.

2. Plenty of drinkable water.

I love water and drink plenty of it every day. It is certainly something I take for granted from time to time. But it is not a given.

780 million people lack access to safe drinking water according to water.org.

3. I don’t have to go hungry.

Plus, most of things I cook and/or eat are quite tasty and healthy. And sometimes they are simply wonderful.

So I have much to be grateful for when it comes to food.

4. I can enjoy the small and free pleasures of life.

A sunrise.

A relaxing walk in the woods.

A cool swim in the ocean.

A crisp Autumn day when the trees are filled with leaves of vibrant and spectacular colors.

The sun warming my face after many days of the sky being filled with dreary, gray clouds.

5. Access to the internet.

When I was really young back in the 80’s and 90’s and you wanted to learn about something then you had to ask someone who may have had spotty knowledge. Or you had to visit the local library and maybe there was a book or magazine about it.

Things are so different now and even though it is just a part of everyday life it still amazing.

I can learn about pretty much anything online. I can add new skills and habits to make my life happier and more awesome with the help of what other people share online.

And there is the opportunity to connect with and get to know people from all around the world.

6. My friends and family.

For the love, support, kindness and all the fun that they offer and I get to offer them.

7. My health.

I do not have the indestructible body of Superman. But if I treat it well and get plenty of sleep, work out and eat healthy then it works really wonderfully well almost all the time.

Sure, I get sick sometimes.

But overall I have very, very much to be thankful for that I often take for granted about my body and how it helps me to do everything – see, listen, walk, write, hug, kiss, think and experience my world – every day.

8. The kindness of people I have never met before.

Every day I get kind and supportive emails and messages from people all around the world that I have never met but who reads my blog or newsletters. Their expressions of gratitude make my life happier and help me when things feel tough.

And I truly appreciate the simple kindness in the rest of my daily life too when people let me skip ahead of them in the checkout line in the store when I only have a few items. When they stay for a few seconds and hold up the door for me too. Or let me into their lane when I drive.

9. The setbacks that have formed me and made me stronger.

I have been really ill a few times in my life and these experiences has made me stronger mentally and given me the gift of being very appreciative of modern medicine and of my own body and taking good care of it.

Last year was in a way the toughest one yet for my business as the number of visitors to my website via Google went down in big, big leaps month after month. That has changed in a very positive way over these last few months but 2013 really helped me to work harder and smarter than ever.

And it has made me more appreciative than ever of the opportunity I have with what I do here.

10. I am alive.

I have like everyone else been in situations where an accident and being in the wrong place for just a few seconds could have meant I would not have been here anymore.

If I had been born in another time or in another place then there is a big chance that I would not have been here to experience my 33:rd birthday.

But I am here now. I have this moment and day and hopefully many days still to experience and live my life.

It is an amazing thing.

What do you feel grateful for even when you might be going through a tough day or time?

Image by Ben Smith (license).

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How to Stop Worrying: 9 Simple Habits

Posted by on Feb 20, 2014 in Positivity Blog | 0 comments

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
Leo Buscaglia

“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.”
Swedish Proverb

Worry.

It starts with a nagging thought.

That creates another few thoughts.

And before you know it there is a storm brewing in your mind, making you think irrationally and zapping your mental and physical energy.

Your old friend is back, creating chaos within.

 

I am no stranger to it either and to the powerful negative effects it can have on life and the happiness in it.

But in the last decade I have found several habits that have helped me to greatly decrease my worrying and to more easily handle such thoughts when they pop up.

1. Most of things you worry about have never happened.

I love this quote by Winston Churchill:

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”

I have found it to be very true in my own life.

So when you feel worries starting to pop up ask yourself this:

How many of the things I feared would happen in my life did actually happen?

If you are anything like me then the answer will be: very few. And the very few ones that actually happened were mostly not as painful or terrible as I had expected.

Worries are most often just monsters you build in your own mind.

I find that asking myself this question regularly and reminding myself of how little of the worries that actually came to life makes easier and easier to stay calm and to stop a worried thought before it becomes a big snowball of negativity.

2. Avoid getting lost in vague fears.

When fears feel vague in your mind, when you lack clarity then it is very easy to get lost in exaggerated worries and disaster scenarios.

So find clarity in a worry-inducing situation by asking yourself:

Honestly and realistically, what is the worst that could happen?

When I have answered that question then I follow it up with spending a bit of time on figuring out what I can do about it if that pretty unlikely thing happens.

In my experience, the worst that could realistically happens is usually not as scary as what my mind could make up when it is running wild with vague fears.

Spending a few minutes on finding clarity in this way can save you whole lot of time, energy and suffering.

3. Don’t try to guess what is on someone’s mind.

Trying to read someone’s mind usually doesn’t work too well at all. Instead, it can very easily lead to creating an exaggerated and even disastrous scenario in your mind.

So choose a way that is less likely to lead to worries and misunderstandings.

Communicate and ask what you want to ask.

By doing so you’ll promote openness in your relationship and it will likely be happier as you avoid many unnecessary conflicts and negativity.

4. Say stop in a situation where you know you cannot think straight.

From time to time when I am hungry or when I am lying in bed and are about to go to sleep I can become mentally vulnerable. And so worries can more easily start buzzing around in my head.

In the past this often lead to many minutes of time that where no fun.

These days I have become better at catching such thoughts quickly and to say to myself:

No, no, we are not going to think about this now.

I then follow that up with saying this to myself:

I will think this situation or issue through at a time when I know that my mind will work much better.

Like when I have eaten. Or in the morning when I have gotten my sleep.

It takes some practice to apply this one consistently and effectively but it also makes a big difference in my life.

5. Remember, people don’t think about you and what you do as much as you may think.

They have their hands full with thinking about what other people think of them. And with thinking about what is closest to their hearts like their children, pets, a partner or the job or school.

So don’t get lost in worries about what people may think or say if you do something. Don’t let such thoughts hold you back in life.

6. Work out.

Few things work so well and consistently as working out to release inner tensions and to move out of a headspace that is extra vulnerable to worries.

I also find that working out – especially with free weights – makes me feel more decisive and focused.

So even though working out helps me to build a stronger body my main motivation to keep doing it is for the wonderful and predictable mental benefits.

7. Let your worry out into the light.

This is one of my favorites. Because it tends to work so well.

By letting your “big” worry out into the light and talking about it with someone close to you it becomes a whole lot easier to see the situation or issue for what it really is.

Just venting for a few minutes can make a big difference and after a while you may start to wonder what you were so worried about in the first place.

Sometimes the other person may only have to listen as you work through the situation yourself out loud.

At other times it can be very helpful to let the other person ground you and help you find a more practical and useful perspective on the situation at hand.

If you do not have anyone to talk to at the moment about the worry bouncing around in your mind then let it out by writing about it. Just getting it out of your head and reasoning about with yourself either on paper or in a journal on your computer can help you to calm down and find clarity.

8. Spend more time in the present moment.

When you spend too much time reliving the past in your mind then it easy to start feeding your worries about the future. When you spend too much time in the future then is also easy to get swept away by disaster scenarios.

So focus on spending more of your time and attention in the present moment.

Two of my favorite ways to reconnect with what is happening right now:

  • Slow down. Do whatever you are doing right now but do it slower. Move, talk, eat or ride your bicycle slower. By doing so you’ll become more aware of what is happening all around you right now.
  • Disrupt and reconnect. If you feel you are starting to worry then disrupt that thought by shouting this to yourself in your mind: STOP! Then reconnect with the present moment by taking just one or two minutes to focus to 100% on what is going on around you. Take it all in with all your senses. Feel it, see it, smell it, hear it and sense it on your skin.

9. Refocus on the small step you can take to move forward.

To move out the worried headspace I find it really, really helpful to just start moving and taking action to start solving or improving whatever I am concerned about.

So I ask myself:

What is one small step I can take right now to start improving this situation I am in?

Then I focus on just taking that small step forward. After that I find another small step and I take that one too.

Image by Amparo Torres O. (license).

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51 Inspiring Love Quotes

Posted by on Feb 13, 2014 in Positivity Blog | 0 comments

There are only a few more days until Valentine’s Day.

So today I would like to share thoughts about love from the people who have walked this earth before us (and from a few who are still here).

Timeless thoughts written down and spread throughout the decades, centuries and, yes, even millenias.

Thoughts not only about happy, romantic love but of love in other forms and stages too.

This is 51 of the most inspiring, touching and helpful quotes on love.

 

  1. “Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”
     James Baldwin
  2. “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”
    —  Lucille Ball
  3. “Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.”
     Rainer Maria Rilke
  4. “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.”
     Morrie Schwartz
  5. “If I know what love is, it is because of you.”
    — Herman Hesse
  6. “I love you not because of who you are, but because of who I am when I am with you.”
    — Roy Croft
  7. “Love is a friendship set to music.”
    —  Joseph Campbell
  8. “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”
    — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  9. “When we are in love we seem to ourselves quite different from what we were before.”
    — Blaise Pascal
  10. “The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.”
    — Gilbert K. Chesterton
  11. “It takes courage to love, but pain through love is the purifying fire which those who love generously know. We all know people who are so much afraid of pain that they shut themselves up like clams in a shell and, giving out nothing, receive nothing and therefore shrink until life is a mere living death.”
    — Eleanor Roosevelt
  12. “Don’t brood. Get on with living and loving. You don’t have forever.”
    — Leo Buscaglia
  13. “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
    — Rumi
  14. “Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses.”
    — Lao Tzu
  15. “You know it’s love when all you want is that person to be happy, even if you’re not part of their happiness.”
    — Julia Roberts
  16. “At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet.”
    — Plato
  17. “If I had a flower for every time I thought of you… I could walk through my garden forever.”
    — Alfred Tennyson
  18. “The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.” 
    — Helen Keller
  19. “Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.”
    — Oscar Wilde
  20. “The only thing we never get enough of is love; and the only thing we never give enough of is love.”
    — Henry Miller
  21. “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”
    — Oprah Winfrey
  22. “You know you’re in love when you don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
    — Dr. Seuss
  23. “Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.”
    — Khalil Gibran
  24. “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
    — Alfred Lord Tennyson
  25. “Love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.”
    — Vincent Van Gogh
  26. “The art of love is largely the art of persistence.”
    — Albert Ellis
  27. “If you would be loved, love, and be loveable.”
    — Benjamin Franklin
  28. “Love does not dominate; it cultivates.”
    — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  29. “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
    — Martin Luther King, Jr.
  30. “We are most alive when we’re in love.”
    — John Updike
  31. “The love we give away is the only love we keep.”
    — Elbert Hubbard
  32. “The giving of love is an education in itself.”
    — Eleanor Roosevelt
  33. “The more one judges, the less one loves.”
    — Honore de Balzac
  34. “A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.”
    — Ingrid Bergman
  35. “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
    — Lao Tzu
  36. “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see in truth that you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
    — Kahlil Gibran
  37. “Love is when you meet someone who tells you something new about yourself.”
    — Andre Breton
  38. “Love is a better teacher than duty.”
    — Albert Einstein
  39. “True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked.”
    — Erich Segal
  40. “Every person has to love at least one bad partner in their lives to be truly thankful for the right one.”
    — Unknown
  41. “Love is what you’ve been through with somebody.”
    — James Thurber
  42. “The best proof of love is trust.”
    — Joyce Brothers
  43. “A woman knows the face of the man she loves as a sailor knows the open sea.”
    — Honore de Balzac
  44. “For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.”
    — Carl Sagan
  45. “Fortune and love favor the brave.”
    — Ovid
  46. “Love is not only something you feel, it is something you do.”
    — David Wilkerson
  47. “Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.”
    — Wayne Dyer
  48. “Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.”
    — Anaïs Nin
  49. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
    — Martin Luther King Jr.
  50. “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”
    — A. A. Milne
  51. “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
    — Charles Schulz

What is your favorite quote on love? Feel free to share the best one(s) you have found in this article or in your own life in the comments section below.

Image by aussiegall (license).

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Eleanor Roosevelt’s Top 7 Fundamentals for Making Life an Exciting and Wonderful Adventure

Posted by on Feb 6, 2014 in Positivity Blog | 0 comments

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

“A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.”

Eleanor Roosevelt was not only the First Lady and wife of U.S president Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In many ways she was a pioneer.

 

She was the first woman to speak in front of a national convention. The first woman to have a syndicated column and to earn money through lectures. After the death of her husband, she didn’t disappear into obscurity.

Instead she continued her work and she became an American spokesman in the U.N. There she played an important part in creating The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In a survey by Gallup she is one of the most widely admired people of the last century.

And she is the source of some of my absolute favorite quotes of all time. So in this article I’d like to share 7 of her timeless fundamentals for making life an exciting and wonderful adventure.

1. Look fear in the face.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

If you want to build confidence in yourself then nothing is better than facing your fear and doing something you think you cannot do.

This is of course also something that can be greatly uncomfortable or downright scary too. So people tend to often want to avoid these kinds of situations.

But there is no avoiding them if you want to build your mental strength, just like there is no avoiding spending hours upon hours in the gym or with doing some kind of exercise to build your physical strength.

I have however found a few ways to make it a bit easier to face your fears and to step outside of your comfort zone.

  • Take small steps forward. Too many think they have to face a fear or step out of the comfort zone in great and very uncomfortable leaps. You really don’t in most cases. You can take one small step after another instead. Check out last week’s article for more on that.
  • Be here now when you take action. Spending too much time in the past can create a lot of worries. Spending too much time in imagined future scenarios can create a lot of exaggerated fears. So when you face a fear or step out of the comfort zone try stay in the present moment.
    You can reconnect with the moment right here and now by sitting down and just focusing on your in-breaths and out-breaths for 1-2 minutes right before you step into the scary situation. I have found this to be a very helpful habit in my own life to greatly decrease fear at least for a few minutes.

2. Do the right thing.

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

No matter what you do, some people will have one opinion or another. You can never please everyone so don’t go down that path because it will only lead you to live a life that is unhappier than it needs to be.

Instead, do what you deep down think is the right thing. Besides taking steps towards what you want you’ll also raise your self-esteem and you’ll feel good about yourself. This is terrific combination.

And that raise in self-esteem will over time make you less sensitive to other people’s criticism and make it easier to stand up for yourself and your actions in your own mind even if someone wants to make you feel inferior.

3. Be your own best friend.

“Friendship with ones self is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.”

No relationship you’ll ever have will be more important than the one you have with yourself.

Especially since it will not only make you happier and help you to live a fuller life.

It will also have a positive effect on all the other relationships in your life. Because you’ll have more energy and love to give and the people closest to you get to experience the joy of you finding a self-love and expressing yourself more than you have in the past.

So how can you become better friends with yourself this year?

  • Think about three things you can appreciate about yourself. This only takes a minute or less. As you wake up – or if it fits you better to do it before you go to sleep – think of three things you can appreciate about yourself.
    It doesn’t have to be something big. It could just be that you did a good job with a small and everyday thing. Appreciate anything that is positive about you even if it may sometimes just be that you do a thorough job with brushing your teeth.
    Because the point of this is to think kind thoughts about yourself every day so it after a while becomes an automatic habit. This will lead to more and more self-kind thoughts popping up in your mind when you need them the most.
  • When you stumble, take the kinder path.  Instead of beating yourself up, ask yourself: How would my friend/parent support me and help me in this situation? Then do things and talk to yourself like he or she would. It will help you to be more constructive after the first initial pain of a mistake or failure is starting to fade.

4. Focus on the optimism.

“It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.”

“A stumbling block to the pessimist is a stepping-stone to the optimist.”

You will stumble. You will fall. You’ll wind up in situations that may look negative from time to time. No matter what you do. Such is life.

But what you do in such situations makes all the difference. Not just that day or week but even more so in the long run in the coming years and decades of your life.

If you would like to take the optimistic and more constructive path in these situations here are a few practical tips that help me every week:

  • Ask yourself the optimistic questions. Two that work really well for me are: What is one thing that is positive or good about this situation? And what is one thing can I learn from this situation?
  • Be careful about the input. Destructive messages from the people around you or from media, advertising and society in general does not help you to stay optimistic. So, bit by bit, replace them with other daily and weekly input.
    It could be the encouragement of friends and family and the help from someone close to you who has been in the situation that you are in now. Or practical personal development books and blogs that help you out with real solutions to the challenges you face and the dreams you want to achieve.

5. Spread the happiness.

“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”

Spreading happiness to the other people in your life can be very rewarding.

You feel happier as someone’s face light up with joy. You feel happier because you feel you have done a good thing. And in the long run you tend to be treated by others as you treat them.

But how can you make someone happier in a practical way?

A few ideas:

  • Just listen. Let someone vent and just be fully there and listen for a little while. It can certainly help him or her to release stress and concerns.
  • Encourage. The world can be tough place sometimes. So take a few minutes to encourage someone who is in a negative situation at the moment. Add your own perhaps more grounded and optimistic perspective on the situation and lessen his or her worries and perhaps exaggerated fears.
  • Help out in practical way. If your friend needs some help then ask another friend who has been in that situation for advice. Or do a bit of online research. Making that often pretty small effort can mean a lot.
  • Express your gratitude. It can mean especially much if it is for something the other person values a lot or if it is for something that you and others often may take for granted.

6. Don’t worry so much about other people may think.

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”

A lot of people – me included big time in the past – hold themselves back in life because of what other people may think or say. Perhaps because they are afraid that people will laugh or analyze what they said or did for the rest of the week or year.

But that view of life comes from an inaccurate belief. Not from how life is in most cases.

A much more realistic scenario is that the people in your life have their hands full with worrying about their own lives (and what other people may think of them). And with thinking about their kids, a pet, school or work and their partner.

Yes, in your head you may be the most important person in the world.

But in a wider sense of life people tend to have their hand full with their own lives and with being the most important person there.

7. In the end it comes down to what you do with your life.

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”

“Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.”

Positive things will happen. Negative situations will arise. No matter what you do in life.

You cannot control everything. You do not have much influence over some things.

But you can still shape a huge part of your life. Take control over the rudder and sail the ship through obstacles and bad weather. Navigate towards more promising and rewarding destinations.

This may sometimes mean that you have to be patient. That you have to face fears or step outside of your comfort zone. That you have to get to know yourself better and learn how to keep your mental strength and balance and self-esteem in shape.

Along the way you can find help and support from people close to you or not so close to you in the world or even in time.

But in the end and in the long run your life and what you do with it is your responsibility. That responsibility can sometimes feel heavy. But also bring a liberating sense of freedom and of truly taking charge of yourself and what happens in your life.

And if it feels scary from time to time then just focus on taking one small step after another in the direction you want to go.

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How to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone: 3 Helpful Habits

Posted by on Jan 31, 2014 in Positivity Blog | 0 comments

Step out of your comfort zone“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”
Brian Tracy

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
John Augustus Shedd

People often get stuck in mostly discussing or reading about making positive changes. Instead of spending that time and effort on actually making the changes they want in life.

Why?

One big reason in my experience is simply that it is uncomfortable to step outside of your own comfort zone.

So what can you do about it?

 

In this article I’d like to share three habits that have helped me to make it easier to step outside of my own comfort zone and to make real changes in my life.

1. Mix the small things up. Often.

This is an easy to do habit you can use every day if you like.

You can for example:

  • Try new music. Listen to music that you wouldn’t usually listen to or have never heard before on Spotify or a similar service.
  • Eat something new. We try to cook from at least one new recipe each week. It often makes for an interesting experience, a tasty treat for the taste buds and has helped us to find many, many new favorites in the past few years.
  • Read something your friends wouldn’t guess you would read. It can give you many new ideas and open your mind up to new perspectives.
  • Take another path home. Instead of taking the usual route home from work, school or a friend’s house take another path and see something new even if you are in transport mode.

Mixing things up in these small ways every day or several times a week will help you to change you perception of yourself from someone who likes to stick to the good old comfortable to someone who is curious and likes to try new things out and to step outside the comfort zone quite often.

And the very nice thing about that change is that it make it easier and makes it feel more natural to mix things up in other areas of life and to take steps outside of your comfort zone when it comes to bigger things than what to eat for dinner too.

2. Take small steps forward.

Making big changes can feel so scary that you start to procrastinate and so no action is taken towards what you want.

So instead, take just one small step forward. And if you come up with a small step but it still leads to procrastination then find an even smaller step and take action on that one.

If you want to get into better shape then focus on going out running or lifting weights for just 5 or 10 minutes a week at first.

If you want to improve your social skills then focus on just smiling and being kind towards one or a few people a day. Or simply have one small conversation a day where you are fully listening and focusing on the other person for a few minutes.

If you want to write and start selling your own e-book or course online but it seems daunting then do what I did. Take a smaller step and just create a very short e-book to give a way for free to new subscribers.

Take one small step after another to make the uncomfortable feelings manageable so you can keep moving forward and towards what you want out of life.

3. Bring a friend along.

A friend to keep you accountable to stick with it and to keep going outside of your comfort zone is a great way to make it more likely that the change you want to make will last.

So if you are going to a party where you know few people then it may be easier to bring a friend. Otherwise it may feel so uncomfortable to go that you skip it and spend your evening doing something else.

If you have decided to start going to the gym it is often easier to actually get going and to keep going there every week if you have a gym-partner that will give you a nudge forward on the days when you feel like just staying on the couch and watching TV.

And in my experience, having a friend that also wants to start eating healthier can make it a lot easier to stick with it until the new habit becomes the new normal for you.

Image by Graham (license).

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