Many of us are driven by what others think of us. They say something negative about us and we walk in the gutter for weeks. Wouldn’t you like to know how you could possibly feel better about yourself in an instant? Here are a few suggestions to help:
Follow Through. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it. Don’t forget. Don’t drop the ball. Don’t say, “Oh, I thought someone else was going to do it.” No, If you agree to a task then have the integrity to see it through. This helps you to trust yourself more as well as allowing others to see how they can depend on you.
Practice Self-Care. Most of us claim we don’t have time to do things for ourselves. I once told a girl at the make-up counter at Macy’s that I didn’t have time to even put on eye-shadow. Now, I told her that because I didn’t want to buy her product. But when I stopped to think about it, I didn’t put on eye-shadow. I’ll never forget her shocked look. “But everyone has time for eye-shadow and eye-liner.” I claimed I didn’t. And I believed it. But it wasn’t true. I had fallen into the trap of thinking that if I spent all my time caring for others that I would be some kind of super-hero. Instead I learned that a little self-care would feed me enough to help others. Don’t forget to take care of the most important person. You.
The Attitude of Gratitude. Sounds a little corny, but when we count our blessings, we realize how truly fortunate we are. We might not realize how difficult life is for other people. But once we begin to be grateful for what we do have, we realize our blessings. Spend a few moments every day, just breathing and being grateful that we can breathe.
Challenge Yourself. Once in a while, we need to just go for it. I watched a sitcom where the mother of the family suddenly decided to go sky-diving. Something she had always wanted to do, but never did. When she returned she was so full of life no one could stand her. When was the last time you did something you were either afraid to do or didn’t think you should do? I want to have people uncomfortable around me because I dared myself to do something. It might be time to shake things up.
Finally, help others. Reach out and do something that really touches someone else. Most mental care experts say that doing for others helps us to rise above our own feelings of sadness. It doesn’t even have to cost you anything. Maybe you just need to go spend time with people singing, playing a musical instrument, or reading to them. You will enrich their lives, certainly. But the enrichment you feel yourself is beyond measure.
Naturally, I was offended by his joke because I took it quite personally. And I certainly would have been angry with him for locking me in the trunk. But as time went by, I started comparing the way humans respond to life events and the way a dog responds.
Dogs know how to live in the moment. They aren’t worried about what happened yesterday, and they have no concept about what is going to happen tomorrow. My dog responds to various commands and sometimes seems to be able to read my mind as to when I’m going to leave. He knows he’ll get a treat once he goes into his crate. He doesn’t worry about how long I’ll be gone, because I always return, let him out, and love him. That’s all he cares about. If he’s running around the pool, chasing a ball in the yard, or waiting for his command to eat dinner, he’s fully present. Dog’s don’t waste any time worrying about anything.
As with my boyfriend’s joke, dogs don’t hold it against you if you are angry about something and yell at them. Only human beings seem to be capable of holding a grudge against another. And that kind of activity can be wearing on us.
Dogs live enthusiastically. Whether you want to play ball or go for a hike, my dog responds with great enthusiasm. As we start our hike, I watch my dog’s body language. He’s so happy to be walking beside me, sniffing all the new smells there are as we hike along. Pretty soon, I’m smiling and smelling right alongside him. Being outside in nature is so relaxing and healing.
Every now and again, I miss a mat on my dog and the only way to manage it is to cut it out, leaving him looking a little funny and lopsided. He doesn’t care. He still feels the same, and responds to life in the exact same way. If I could just accept myself in the same way, I know that I would live a happier life. It would be nice to not worry about what I look like to other people. If I love and accept myself, other people don’t seem to mind what I look like. It’s as if they see the true person I am deep inside.
Dogs are loyal, dependable, and they love unconditionally. Learning to live life more like a dog is an excellent way to change the way we live our own lives. I would like to be as pleasant to be around as my dog is for me.
Whether you’re looking to get in shape for that upcoming special event, or you’re facing a more sluggish metabolism with the onset of middle-age, here are a few tips to help you fight back.
1. Count Calories. No, I don’t mean you have to keep an eagle eye out on every single bite, but if you accurately count calories of each of your snacks and meals you will be better able to identify where you might be able to make some changes in your diet. As we age we need fewer calories simply to maintain our weight. If we continue to eat what we ate in our early 20s and 30s we will pack on pounds and not understand why.
2. Use each meal as a fresh start. You ate a cookie when you came home from work? Forget about it (after you write down the calories) and use your next meal as a fresh opportunity to eat a more balanced meal. The human body does better with a combination of some fat, complex carbs, and protein. If you allow yourself to reset each time you sit down to eat, then you will be less likely to either punish yourself for “breaking your diet” at lunchtime or to just give up and say, “I ruined my diet anyway.” Every time you sit down, be kind to yourself and gently remind yourself of your eating goals.
3. Protein is your friend. It doesn’t have to be meat, but protein is necessary to help build muscles. More muscle means a higher metabolism. By skipping out on the protein, you’re doing your body a great disservice. A general rule of thumb for an appropriate amount of protein is about 1.2 grams of protein for each kilogram of weight. For a 150 pound woman, that’s about 86 grams of protein. Having a little protein at each meal manages to stabilize our blood sugar.
4. Journal your food consumption. This seems to go hand in hand with the calorie counting, but this time you want to pay attention to your feelings each time you feel hungry. You want to retrain your body to only eat when it is truly hungry. And to give yourself some love and attention if you turn to food for any reason other than hunger. Journaling feelings helps us to recognize our food triggers and helps us to stay focused on our goals.
5. Eat good bacteria. Yogurt without added sugar or sweeteners is an excellent food. There has been some new information that suggests that obese people have a specific bacteria in their gut that is extremely efficient at pulling energy out of the food we eat. That means more calories are extracted. Yogurt bacteria has been shown to counter this.
Here are a few facts about your brain that you might be interested to know. We only get one brain, and while we think we already know how to use it, you may be surprised. Read on to learn about this most mysterious and amazing organ of the human body.
1. Multi-tasking is a myth. That’s right. When you try to watch a training video, handle an important phone call and compose an email memo to the office staff all at the same time, you’re underperforming on all three tasks. What we’re doing is actually called context switching. This means that we switch back and forth among the various tasks we’re performing. It appears that we’re doing them all at the same time, but we aren’t. Attempting to multi-task can actually be detrimental as error rates go up to 50% and it takes twice as long to get something done. We also force our brain to use only a part of our brain for each task, but our brain never does both simultaneously. Our brain continues to switch back and forth between the tasks and there is brain power lost with that switching.
2. Stress makes our brains smaller. I know, nothing about stress seems to be good news. Stress and our brains seems like more bad news. One study where rats were exposed to chronic stress the hippocampus section of their brains shrank. This is the part of our brain that forms memories. PTSD is thought to potentially shrink the hippocampus. More study in this area is obviously needed.
3. A tired brain is most creative. Creative endeavors get better results when your brain isn’t as alert and active as it needs to be for tackling major problems or demanding analytic work. When we’re tired our brain is more susceptible to distraction, which is another term for “thinking outside the box” and might explain why we get some of our best ideas just as we drop off to sleep or when we take that long hot shower to relax.
4. Naps are not just for little kids. Sleep is vital to good brain function. And even short bursts of sleep are helpful. In one study people memorized cards then broke into groups. One group took a break where they napped. The other group took a break, but stayed awake. The group who napped performed much better. They remembered about 85% of the memorized cards while the group that did not sleep managed to retain only about 60%. Naps help to solidify memories. This explains why it is a good idea to get good rest the night before a big test.
5. Introverts vs. Extroverts. It’s all in the wiring. The brains of introverts light up differently than the brains of extroverts. Stimulation in our brains runs through a shorter pathway for extroverts, passing through the areas where our senses of taste, touch, vision, and hearing take place. For introverts, the stimuli runs through a longer, more complicated pathway in the brain, areas related to memory, planning and solving problems.
6. Meditation is brain medicine. Meditation is not only good for improving focus but it also helps to reduce anxiety. The more we meditate, the less we feel anxiety. We become more creative and improve our memories.
7. Exercise is not only good for the body but for the brain as well. There is a link between mental alertness and exercise. Any time you feel that mid-afternoon slump coming along, instead of getting a cup of coffee or a snack, try five minutes of exercise. You’ll be doing both your body and your brain a favor.
When people spend time together, a lot of attention is focused on the things in their life that aren’t going well. It could be a bad relationship or lack of relationship. Maybe you aren’t happy in your work or you hate your boss. Family problems run neck and neck with issues with friends.
Regardless of how you got to this unsatisfactory place in your life, you can make a decision to change for the better.
Remember the saying: “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on being what you’ve always been. Nothing changes unless you make it change.”
That’s it. Even Einstein observed that the surest sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
Let’s look at your life and the patterns that seem to keep repeating themselves. What we believe usually begins to come about. Why is that? Some kind of magic voo-doo? No, we have a strong attachment to our beliefs and usually we make choices to reinforce our belief even if we don’t like the result.
This is where positive thinking comes into play. If you could change your beliefs, you will change your life.
Do things you’ve never done before. Act outside of your comfort zone. Take an action that doesn’t support one of your old beliefs. Rather than focusing on how much you hate your job, change how you look at your job. Some people find that just taking a walk at lunchtime helps them to leave a lot of the negativity they hold about their job back at the office.
Changing how you view your life isn’t a Pollyanna attitude of putting on a happy face no matter how grim the situation. Instead, see if you can change how you think and feel about the situation.
If you’re in a bad relationship, see if you can evaluate why you tend to be attracted to the wrong kind of people. Don’t have a partner? Perhaps rather than focusing on being alone, begin to love yourself and treat yourself better.
Don’t like your job? Perhaps you want to focus on making friends with the people you work with and spend less energy on hating your work. By spending time with people you like, time passes by more quickly and it may even pave the way to opening up discussions that might improve the overall work situation.
The idea is that we all have a choice. We choose how to respond to a situation. We might be able to the control the situation, but by changing our response to it, we are now in control.