Archive for positive thinking

9 Ways Self-Help Actually Helps Those Around You

image809You’ve heard the saying that you can’t help anyone until you help yourself first. And, that no one can change unless they are willing to and want to. If you have determined that there are things about yourself that you would like to improve, self-help might be just the thing that you need.

If you have also found that some of the people in your life need some help too, the best thing you can do is improve those things about you that you see wrong in them. After all, your example might be just what they need.

1. You Can Only Change One Person – The fact is we only have control over one person: ourselves. When you realize that, you’ll start taking more control over your own needs without worrying about how that affects everyone else. For example, if you need to lose weight, but your spouse isn’t very supportive even though they could stand to lose a few pounds too, putting yourself first in this case may rub off on them – especially if you happen to be the cook in the family.

2. When You Are Happy People Want What You Have – When you show people by example that you’re a different person and have accepted responsibility for your life, and it shows through real happiness on your part, people will want what you have and start asking you what you did. You can share your good fortune by sharing the books you read, movies you watched (like The Secret or What the Bleep Do We Know), or the path you took.

3. You Teach People How to Treat You – Dr. Phil is most famous for saying that if people are treating you poorly it may be because you’ve given them permission to do so via actions, if not words. Once you start treating yourself better, your friends and family might decide that they also deserve better. I can tell you this is true from first-hand experience. Finally, after several abusive relationships and working on myself after getting out, I believe that much of the way I was treated by others was because I was treating myself the same way. I treated myself as worthless, so my ex-husband treated me the same way. Others, your children for example, may start treating themselves better as well as you better solely based on your attitude.

4. Learning to Communicate Better Rubs Off – It might surprise you to realize that if you want to stop arguing and fighting in your relationship that it only takes one person to make the change. You have to decide if it’s more important to win fights or to get along. That doesn’t mean you have to accept being walked over, but you can end many fights by just refusing to take part in them. When you teach yourself better communication skills, you’ll learn how to talk to people in ways that keep them from going on the attack and escalating the issue.

5. Mirror the Behavior You Want to See – You might not learn about mirroring if you aren’t actively reading about self-help. But, as you learn more about yourself and how you want to be treated, you will learn how to act in such a way that demonstrates to others how you want them to behave. This works especially well with children.

6. Learn to Compliment Others – When you study self-help techniques and how to build self-esteem in yourself, you’ll learn that an honest compliment can go a long way. As you feel more secure in yourself, you’ll find that you have more good things to say about others. As you compliment them, they will also feel better about themselves and a circle of positivity (is that even a word?) will begin.

7. Learn to Ask Questions the Right Way – Instead of trying to convince someone of a fact by debating them, learn to ask leading questions. Questions that make the person think about their answers deeply will work a lot better than making demands on them. As you read self-help books and practice self-help, you’ll learn the right techniques.

8. Ask How You Can Make Someone’s Life Better Today – You don’t want to be a doormat but you do want to learn how to have a servant’s heart. It feels good to do things for other people willingly without force. When you put your friends’, children’s or spouse’s needs ahead of your own, they will likely do the same for you.

9. Learning What Boundaries Are Helps Everyone – As you study self-help, you’ll learn more about healthy boundaries which will keep you from taking any of the other lessons you’ve learned too far in the wrong direction. Boundaries keep us from either being abused or being abusive to others. We realize that our rights end where someone else’s begins. You can learn more about developing/having boundaries in a free course offered by Richard Grannon here.

As you seek to improve yourself, and put to practice the things that you learn, you’ll find that your friends and family often follow your lead as long as you aren’t demanding of them. Instead of actively trying to recruit anyone into your new-found self-knowledge training, just be the example and they’ll come around all on their own.

How Self-Help Boosts The Health Of Your Mind, Body, And Spirit

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Do you remember Stuart Smalley from Saturday Night Live? He was a character that took the idea of self-help and made fun of it. Stuart would look in the mirror and tell himself he was special and smart and do other daily affirmations. A famous quote that he said is, “Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggonit, people like me!”

The most interesting thing about this skit is that even though they sought to make fun of the entire self-help movement, there was truth in what they did. The more you talk to yourself in a positive way, the more positive your life will become and the more successful you will become. It’s just a fact that positive people are often more successful than negative people. The reason is that positive people believe they deserve to be successful. Plus they combined it with Mirror Work, made famous (to me, at least) by Louise Hay in You Can Heal Your Life.

* No One Knows You Better Than Yourself – Also, no one is more judgmental to you than yourself. It’s sad that the one person you can truly count on, turns on you and treats you worse than you would allow any other individual to treat you, isn’t it? But you can turn this around by taking hold of the idea of self-help and realizing that it’s not just a comedy skit. It’s real, and it can affect your entire being: mind, body, and spirit.

* Believe in Self-Help – People who are interested in self-help are generally open-minded people who believe that they have some measure of control over what happens to them. That means that people who get help from self-help already believe that it is possible. They are willing to give the suggestions they learn a try, and due to that fact alone usually see success in their efforts.

* Self-Help Can Build Self-Confidence – When you feel confident in yourself, positive things begin to happen to your mind. If you previously thought you could not do something and due to reading a self-help book you went outside of your comfort zone and experienced success, it is likely that the self-confidence you developed will wash over into trying more new things. It can be like a snowball effect that more confidence builds more confidence. This is essentially raising your energy vibration. I’ll write more about energy vibrations and raising them in the future. You can learn more about energy as vibration from a lot of places. I would suggest starting with the movies The Secret and What the Bleep Do We Know.

* Self-Help Can Reduce Anxiety – When you realize that you’re not helpless against your emotions and feelings, you will start to notice a big change. When you manage to overcome some of your social anxiety due to taking some of the actions you’ve read about in self-help books, then each step you take out of anxiety will get easier. This isn’t to say that you will never need medication for anxiety, but you might realize from self-help that it’s okay to take medication if you need it.

* Self-Help Can Be the Catalyst for Getting Healthy – Very few people are able to change their body through diet and exercise, because they don’t think that they can or they haven’t figured out a plan of action to do it. By reading self-help books and finding stories of others who have accomplished it, you start to realize it is possible and that you can do it too. Even if you only reach half your goal, you will still end up healthier than before self-help. And, yes, I would include tracking your diet in apps/websites like cronometer.com and fitday.com to be included in self-help. You’re helping yourself! 😉

* Self-Help Makes It Normal to Be Spiritual – Today it can be hard to be spiritual due to how busy everyone is and how it feels like a dog-eat-dog world that is full of anything but love. But when you read self-help books and try to practice self-love and acceptance, you start realizing how much you need the spiritual food that love gives you. When you make it a priority, your life will become better.

While many people treat self-help like a joke, it is actually very effective in helping a lot of people make their lives better. People do not come away from a study of self-help in any area of life unchanged. Taking the time to learn is always going to be a good thing.

What methods of self-help have you used? Let me know in the comments!

How To Get The Most Out Of Self-Help

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Self-Help Can Work For You

1. Most people have the skills within themselves to improve their lives on their own.

2. So much can be gained through determination, hard work, and independence. That said, you can always add an accountability partner, either in real life or in an online group.

3. Learning new concepts and techniques can help people develop skills that they can then benefit from.

4. Anything that provides a person with motivation and inspiration can help someone make a positive change in their life.

Limitations of Self-Help

It’s important that you know sometimes there are situations in life where self-help won’t work, as it cannot help with everything. In many situations, self-help can only get you so far.

1. There aren’t any “magic formulas” for success, meaning that there isn’t always one specific answer.

2. Getting help from mentors (such as from Angela Wills or Kelly McCausey *waves*) and important people in your life isn’t a bad thing, as they can add in a perspective you didn’t originally have.

3. It’s important to know that any issues with addiction, anxiety, and depression may not be fixable alone. I’ve heard of one alcoholic who decided that he wanted to change his life and managed to get off alcohol cold-turkey, including going through withdrawals, on his own, but that’s the only case I’ve personally heard about.

4. Some of the self-help material out there may be mainly about the hype, and not the substance. Sometimes it seems like trying to find effective self-help tools is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

There are so many people who have proven that self-help truly does work and there are so many different techniques. You really have to kind of experiment sometimes to find what techniques you enjoy working with.

It’s key that you figure out how to help yourself, because even if you don’t get what you wanted to out of self-help, you’ve gained a skill that’s important to have in this society: independence. Getting help from yourself is eye-opening and provides you with so many benefits, including motivation, inspiration, and possibly a big boost to self-esteem when you can honestly say “I DID IT!”

7 Tips For Facing Your Social Fears

image501Did you know that most people on Earth say that they have social anxieties? It’s right up there with public speaking as one of the biggest fears. Social fears are one of the most common issues that a lot of people face or claim to face. It may be worse for some than for others, but social fear is a pretty universal issue. For most of us it started in our tween or teenage years. We either learned to cope with it, or it manifested into something worse.

There are some ways in which you can learn to face social fears without having to drop out of society. Most of these tips are easy to accomplish. If you have issues that exceed these tips, consider getting some professional help. You may have social anxiety and need stronger help to get yourself on the right path.

1. Start Small – If you are ready to make a huge change in your life and face your social fears, don’t choose to start with speaking in front of 1500 people. Instead, start small with a small group like a “meet-up” group, a reading group, or join a local Toastmasters group. Get a little bit out of your comfort zone, and then build up to more.

2. Plan Ahead – Most people are nervous in social situations but if you plan ahead, you’ll be more relaxed. Practice introducing yourself, and maybe ask a friend or family member to help you practice your handshake too. Bimage589eing more comfortable around people starts one step at a time, and practice will help it feel more familiar. Personally, I have issues in crowds so I may look over a map of the venue for something such as a fair or conference ahead of time so I’m more familiar with the surroundings before I arrive.

3. Love Yourself — This is a problem for a lot of people! Many social fears come from wrong-headed beliefs that something is wrong with you. You don’t think enough of yourself, and you think you’re weird or somehow “wrong.” But, nothing could be further from the truth. Most of us have something different about us; if we were all the same it would be quite boring. Embrace your differences and accept yourself for who you are. Some of the meditations I’m going to post in the upcoming Meditation Challenge will be related to this topic. Sign up for my emails to be notified when we’re about to start!

4. Avoid Judgment – Some measure of social fears come from our own poor judgments of not just ourselves but others. We think that if we are so judgmental then other people are too. So, to avoid that judgment we just avoid the situation entirely. If you learn to stop being so judgmental you’ll be able to be less afraid. I’ve been guilty of this. It’s so easy to turn out attention to seeing what’s wrong in others instead of learning to be at ease with our own shortcomings. Learning to accept other people’s differences and personalities as just being human is part of learning to accept yourself. Being human is perfectly acceptable.

5. Your Fears Aren’t Reality – Just because you’re afraid of something doesn’t mean it’s real. You may have all sorts of ideas in your head about how your voice sounds, how you look, and your perceived awkwardness. (This is so me about my hair after it started thinning after Kaida was born.) But, the truth is, most people are so tied up in their own fears that they don’t even notice that you’re nervous. Fearing something doesn’t mean it will actually happen.

6. Take a Deep Breath – When you feel the anxiety coming on, stop, and take a deep breath. Breathe in slowly through your nose, filling up your lungs completely, and then breathe out slowly through your mouth. One or two slow breaths can help you overcome your initial fears fast. I sometimes get PVCs when I’m anxious or stressed and recently found this great meditation for cardiac arrhythmias on YouTube. I’ll be posting more meditations for anxiety during my upcoming Meditation Challenge. Sign up for my emails to be notified when we’re about to start!

7. Take the Leap Anyway – Most of the time, fear is worse than the actual situation. Even if you’re doing something scary like getting a shot, or an operation, or bungee jumping – the worry leading up to the event is usually much worse than the actuality of what you are doing. If you take the leap and jump in with both feet, you’ll find that your fear level drops substantially.

Most social fear is a normal reaction that people have. You’re not abnormal to have social fears. This is especially true if you’re unwilling to allow your fears to block you from having a happy and productive life.

Let me know in the comments of any other tips you’ve found useful!

Fighting The Negative Thoughts

So Monday I was sitting in the waiting room to get a semi-invasive test done (which I may talk about later) and I was nervous. Not just regular nervous; my doctor had me on Percocet and Ativan and I was still feeling the occasional PVC and pinchy chest pain. I felt tired and wired while the medications and adrenal duked it out. Given how hard it can be to maintain a positive outlook during times of worry, stress, and anxiety, I decided to try to think of as many ways as I could to help stay positive. These are the ideas I came up with.

Fighting the Negative Thoughts

When you think of negative things, often due to depression or other issues in one’s life, it is important to try to turn that around. The only way you can truly have a happy life is if you take control of your thought process (it’s all self-control anyway). Don’t tell yourself that you have no control over your own thoughts; you do. There are several steps you can take to make it easier to get rid of negative thoughts.

1. Keep a Gratitude Journal (get your free printable gratitude journal when you sign up for our email list!) – When we are prone to thinking negatively it can become more and more difficult to see the goodness around us. Start and end your day with your gratitude journal. Write five things in it each night before bed that was good that happened or that you noticed today. Each morning re-read what you wrote the night before. Note that you can also follow the helpful prompts on our free printable gratitude journal. Did I mention I offer a free gratitude journal? 😉 Gratitude Journal Challenge coming soon! Sign up for our emails to be notified when we’re about to start! During our challenge, we’ll also explore “outrageous gratitude.”

2. Exercise – Moving around each and every day, whether it’s a quick walk, a swim, or going to the gym, is really good for getting the positive endorphins flowing into your blood stream. If you start each day with just a ten-minute, brisk walk, you will be surprised at what a difference it can make in your life. Shoot for thirty minutes of activity each day for the best results. That said, I remember reading a studying that recently came out that said you should skip exercise days. Currently, the motor in my treadmill has decided to start smelling like it’s burning when I use it, so I’ve been using this walking exercise video on YouTube:

3. Meditate – Sitting quietly and breathing deeply while thinking about nothing at all can be amazingly uplifting. Sit in a comfortable position that enables you to breathe well, and clear your mind. Try to focus on having letting your thoughts go. This can be very difficult and will take practice. Aim for 10 minutes a day starting with just one minute. Meditation Challenge coming soon! Sign up for our emails to be notified when we’re about to start!

4. Smile – It might seem silly but something as simple as being aware of your facial expression can help you feel more positive. It’s really hard to think of negative things if you are forcing a happy smile on your face. If it helps, put a mirror near your desk at work to remind you to smile at yourself.

5. Listen to Positive Music – Hardly anything is better at lifting the spirits than music. It’s one reason music is so popular and has been for centuries. Find music that you can go to right away when negative thoughts become overwhelming. When you listen, if you are able to, sing along with the song and really feel the music.

6. Find Positive Friends – The saying that misery loves company is pretty accurate. Look around you and determine whether or not you have some positive friends. If you don’t, it’s time to cultivate some. Join a book club or other group to help you find positive people.

7. Flip Negative Thoughts to Positive Thoughts – When you notice you’re thinking of something negative, try turning the thought on its ear to become the opposite of the negative thought. First, stop thinking in absolute terms. Nothing is “always” or “never” and there is usually a middle ground.

8. Take Responsibility for Your Life – This one stings a little. If you have a tendency to blame others for your failures or problems, try to realize that you have a lot more control than you think you do. In fact, it’s the idea of lack of control over one’s life that breeds discontent and negative thoughts. When you realize you are in control, you can turn it around.

9. Get Out of Your Own Life for a Day – Helping others can do wonders for your mindset and self-image. If you think other people get tired of hearing you complain, you probably are the one most sick of it since you “hear” yourself more than others. Take the focus away from yourself and put it on someone else for a day. Help a neighbor or family member, or volunteer.

10. Realize that Perfection is Overrated – No one is perfect, and you know that. You likely do not expect perfection from others, so why expect it from yourself? Be at least half as patient with yourself as you are with others. Striving for excellence is understandable, but setting the bar too high will only lead to disappointment.

11. Watch Positive Movies – Find a go-to movie that you can watch that makes you feel hopeful and wonderfully positive. Even if it is just a silly movie that makes you laugh, laughter is excellent for breeding positive thoughts and feelings. I also recommend watching The Secret and What the Bleep Do We Know?

12. Read Positive Quotes – Collect positive quotes that you can read anytime negative thoughts come to mind. If you memorize the positive quotes, so much the better. Then, you can call them to you whenever the negative thoughts overcome you.

13. Eat Right – It is amazing how much eating can play into negative thoughts and emotions. If you eat a lot of processed food, sugar and junk, try to eliminate those foods from your diet for at least 80 percent of the time. Add in more whole foods, fruits and vegetables to fill you up and keep you nourished. See this video on how plant-based diets improve mood and productivity:

14. Get Sunshine – Many people around the world suffer from something called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. This is feeling sad and even depressed for “no reason” during dark times or wintertime. Some people who don’t get enough sunshine even feel this way in the summertime. Ensure that you get at least 30 minutes of sunshine each day. This will not only help keep you more positive but will also ensure that you get enough vitamin D. If you really can’t make it outside, you could use a full-spectrum light in the morning. I personally use the Philips GoLite BLU Energy Light, Rechargeable and really like it. It can be powered either by rechargeable batteries or the included AC plug.

Following these tips will help you fight the negative thoughts that come to your mind any time of day or night. But remember that practice makes perfect. If you have a bad day, remember that tomorrow is a brand new day, and a brand new chance to get it right.

How Negative Thoughts Fuel Social Anxiety

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Many people suffer from something called social anxiety. This is the feeling of being out of control and nervous and even afraid of being in social situations. People with social anxiety disorder feel anxiety in situations where scrutiny by others may occur.

There are different levels of anxiety. Some people are so anxious that they cannot force themselves to get into a social situation in public without being medicated, and even then, they find it awkward and difficult. Some people even have panic attacks.

Several social situations can trigger negative thoughts that can swirl around and around your head, making you more and more anxious about the social situation that may be coming up. You might even completely talk yourself out of attending, which can then lead to worse problems and even eventually lead to becoming housebound.

Negative Thought Triggers

Situations that can trigger negative thoughts include:

* Meeting new people
* Potential criticism
* Being the center of attention
* Other people observing you
* Speaking in public
* Group interactions
* Meeting authority figures
* Not knowing what to say
* Feeling unsure about what to wear
* Looking into other people’s eyes
* Yawning
* Talking
* Walking
* Talking on the phone
* Any situation where you think people might judge you (yeah, it’s a long list)

The above might seem over the top if you do not suffer from social anxiety yourself, but the list can go on and on if you do. People with social anxiety start going over potential scenarios in their head the moment they realize they are going to have a social situation. They start turning each situation into a negative event.

How Thoughts turn into Social Anxiety

When they meet a new person they imagine messing up the person’s name, forgetting their own name, or having bad breath. They imagine saying something “wrong” and being the butt of a joke or subject to criticism due to being “wrong.” They feel nervous even getting an award because people are looking at them and making them the center of attention. They start thinking that they did not deserve the award, that they are a fraud, and shouldn’t go collect or accept the award after all.

Then it just goes downhill from there. They can’t stop spinning every possible scenario into a bad thing until their heart is beating out of their chest, they can’t breathe right, and finally they have a full-fledged panic attack. Due to this, they end up creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, becoming the center of attention due to the panic attack, and then being judged as weird or a drama queen.

As you can see, thoughts have a lot of power even though they’re just thoughts and not even reality. When you start to realize how pervasive negative thoughts can cause social anxiety and make it worse, then you can also realize how turning your thoughts around to positive thoughts can make your social anxiety less.

Turning the Negatives into Positives

The minute you notice you are obsessing about any future event it’s time to get out of your own head and do something different. Practice deep breathing, and read some positive quotes. If your stress is because you’re not sure what to wear, find a good friend to help you pick something out. If you’re worried about bad breath, take some mints with you. If you are scared you will say someone’s name wrong, practice the names if you know who will be going.

There are always ways in which you can turn all negatives into positives but the most important thing is to realize that no one is perfect and therefore no one expects you to be perfect. Most people have some of the same worries that you do, they just don’t take it to the higher level.

We’re going to be discussing changing negative thoughts to positive ones A LOT.

Probably everyone has times where they’re stuck in negative thinking. How have you managed to turn that around?