release the inner worrier

“If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

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What does worry accomplish?  As far as I know worry has accomplished nothing. Either there is a way to solve a problem or there isn’t and worry does nothing to help solve the problem.

Worry is the anticipation of a negative outcome based on a story that you strongly believe.   For most people I simply ask them, “Is that story true?”   Most people don’t believe the story is true and so I ask them, “How will worry help you?”  The usual answer, “It won’t”.

So, “Why worry?”

The big challenge is trying to release the “what if” thoughts the mind can conjure up.  The mind is looking for some way to brace for a potential negative outcome.  In other words “fear”.    Fear downs out the hope of today in exchange for the uncertainty of tomorrow.

Release the worry and replace it with practical actions you can take.  Understand what you have control over and what you don’t.  If you can’t control it or change the circumstances you’ve been placed in worry won’t help you.    A student may worry about getting a good grade on a test.  In that situation they have control over what they study and review to improve their chances of doing well.    Worry won’t help them do better or even prepare to take the test.

Think about the situation you face.   What is the best action you can take?  What do you have control over?

5 ways for more happiness

“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.”
― Tom Bodett

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Happiness is a popular topic in the culture today.   People are looking for ways to enjoy life.  It is understandable when you see 50% of marriages failing, 71% of  people are looking for new jobs, or for any  job or are willing to accept a new job.   There are a lot of things that steal energy from you that you have to deal with on a daily basis.  Finding ways to reduce the energy thieves is going to help you experience more  happiness on a daily basis.

What can you do to experience more happiness in your day-to-day life.

1. Find something that is positive in each day.  Find two or three things that created a nice feeling for you.   Write those things down.

2. Manage your time.  Do what you can rather than trying to add too much to your schedule.   We live in a world where everything seems like it needs to be done yesterday.   Is that really the case?  Give yourself more time.

3. Create an open space.  This open space is a few minutes of time to do “nothing”.   Just sit in a comfortable place, breathe and relax.   Set a timer for 5 minutes and just step away from the noise, confusion and motion.

4. Exercise is one of the most important things that you can do to improve levels of happiness.   The body in motion improves mood, improves health, improves mental clarity and improves well-being.   If you don’t have a lot of time to move find a way to include movement in your day.   Five minutes here and five minutes there can add up.  Do something that increases your rate of breathing and boosts your heart rate.

5. Get enough sleep.   The brain needs to rest.   A happy brain will help you manage stress better, focus better, retain information better and it will help you feel better.  Turn of the electronics 30 minutes for bed time.   Clear your mind of all the noise and start to relax.  If you have a lot of thoughts write them down.  Create your plan for the next day and let your mind rest.

Five easy things to do to improve happiness.  Add those into your life and your happiness will start to increase.   Pay attention to your happiness.  Give your day a happiness rating and see how it trends over time.   Be kind to yourself and you’ll start seeing results soon.

If you have ideas on ways to improve happiness leave a comment.  What works for you?

no opportunity wasted

“But why do only unimportant things?” asked Milo, who suddenly remembered how much time he spent each day doing them.

“Think of all the trouble it saves,” the man explained, and his face looked as if he’d be grinning an evil grin–if he could grin at all. “If you only do the easy and useless jobs, you’ll never have to worry about the important ones which are so difficult. You just won’t have the time. For there’s always something to do to keep you from what you really should be doing, and if it weren’t for that dreadful magic staff, you’d never know how much time you were wasting.”
― Norton Juster

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You have this moment in time to make a difference.   An opportunity is here.  What are you going to do with it?

Many people look at the opportunity and wonder is it real.   Others would look at the opportunity and say it is for someone else.   Others would just wait until the opportunity no longer existed.

Now is the time to take advantage of opportunity.   What opportunities do you have today that you will take advantage of?

create a stress free zone

“Stress level: extreme. It’s like she was a jar with the lid screwed on too tight, and inside the jar were pickles, angry pickles, and they were fermenting, and about to explode.”
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Wouldn’t be nice to have a stress free zone where none of the pressures of the world or of your own mind would invade the quiet?   There is without doubt more demands on people’s time than ever before.  Everything is rushed and hurried and that only serves to build stress.   People work more hours in the hopes of staying ahead of the tidal wave of work and they can’t keep up.

I know of people who are working so hard that they give up the only thing left in their day to give, sleep.   The lack of sleep only increases their stress and it boils over into relationships that start feeling the toxins of living in a time compressed week.  Only if there was a way out of the tension and pressures that each day grip us in a tightening vise.

With so much to do and little time to do all that needs to be done it doesn’t seem like there is any way to take time away to restore and revitalize your life.

There are ways to create small quiet zones and little bit of peace in a noisy day.

1. Go for a walk alone – it can be as short as 5 minutes.

2. Sit in your chair, close your eyes, relax and take in some deep breaths and exhale slowly.  Do that for 5 minutes – focus on letting the stress go.  You can say to yourself, “Let my stress go”, just repeat it as you breathe in and out.

3. Get away from electronic devices – phones, screens, texts.  Take a technology break and step away from what those devices say to you.

4. Take a piece of paper and draw or scribble – just do some freehand movement.   Think about your stress and draw it out – let it emerge from you without any direction or control.

The important thing is to take time out to get the stress out.  You might have a bad manager that creates stress for you and the best way to manage that is to “get away”.   Take some time to “get away” from it all.   Even a few minutes can have a powerful and lasting impact on the reduction of your stress.

OK.  Now go try it.  Find a stress free practice that helps you destroy stress in your day.

 

you have to be present to win

“It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.”
― George Harrison

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In life you have to be “present” to win.    It’s like a raffle ticket, you have to be there to collect the prize.  It’s the same with our life, we have to be there to win and so often we are somewhere else and we miss the opportunity to win the prize.

For many people their career is the target of most of their energy.   Sometimes so much energy is put into the career that there is nothing left for other things in life.   Vacations get put on hold because the work load increases so quickly that a vacation only means doing more work when you get back.

Living in a world of distractions means that being present to enjoy the moment or participate more fully in life is often pushed to the side.

What does it take to be present?

1. Know who you are?

2. Know where you are?

3. Know what you are doing?

It looks simple doesn’t it?   Do you really know who you are?   Many people really don’t know “who” they are.  They usually know what they aren’t though.   Do you know where you are?   If you have a plan you must be somewhere on that path to achieving your life’s goal.  Do you know where you are?   And, do you know what you are doing?  Are you asking for help when you want help.   Perhaps you don’t want help until you need it and if you wait that long you might be in place you really don’t want to be.  Ask for help and seek it before you need it.

Go out and be present in all that you do.

5 ways to more focus

“He well knew his mind’s natural tendency to be endlessly on a thousand subjects at once, to flit from this to that and to the next thing to no particular purpose–indeed, he called it his “butterfly mind.”
― Eric Metaxas

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What do you focus on? One of a thousand things running around in your mind all screaming for attention or something else?

More than ever before distractions are taking a toll on productivity, getting results that matter.   People are trying to keep all the things they want to do in their mind and their mind is the worst place to keep a list of things.   The mind wants to give attention to every item and in an effort not to forget it latches on to one thing for a brief period of time and then lets it go to grab on to something else.   It is trying to remember what you want to remember and cycling through that list and on occasion you’ll grab one of those items and start working on it only to let it go to grab onto something else.   It’s not a very good use of your time and it doesn’t allow you to finish what you started.

You might be able to hold onto a few things in your mind, perhaps seven items before things start careening out of control.   Be on time to the meeting, make a phone call, write the report, make sure you prepared for the meeting, fix the problem that suddenly came up and …, everything wants your attention.

To get the best results requires focus and limiting (setting boundaries) that work for you.  So, let’s look at 5 ways to increase focus and get better results.

1. Prepare and Plan

2. Prioritize

3. Stick to the schedule

4. Energize

5. Reflect

Prepare and Plan – At the beginning of the day sort out what really needs to be done.  Write them down.   If the list is really long then figure out what can be done today.   What are the top six things that need to be addressed?   Figure out how long each item will take to complete.  Be realistic, most people tend to be very optimistic on what they can accomplish.

Prioritize – Figure out what is most important to do.  Do the hardest thing when you have the most energy.  For some people the morning is their best time and for others it might be the afternoon.  Figure out when you will have the most energy and do the hardest work then.   Do the easy things when your willpower and drive is lower.

Stick to the schedule – you created the plan and now distractions are coming in from others and they want your attention and time.  In order to be highly productive focus on the results you need for today.  What can you say “No” to?  What can you defer?   How can you manage distractions so they don’t reduce your effectiveness?  Create the discipline to focus on what you need to do and set fixed boundaries around your time.   At the end of the day getting the right results matter.

Energize – take time to restore your energy.  90 minutes of full-out effort is about the maximum one can focus and concentrate on one thing for most people.   In that time the brain will consume a lot of energy and you’ll need to recharge.   To recharge get up and move – take in some deep breaths and do something to get the blood flowing.  Take a walk for 10 minutes, run up a flight of stairs, do something that will get your blood moving.    Then refuel with water and the right kinds of foods (nuts, fruits, vegetables).

Reflect – At the end of the day take a few minutes to evaluate what you accomplished.  Write down the things you did complete and check to see if those things were estimated well and if the task was easy or hard to complete.   Note the number of distractions and where they came from (customers, managers, co-workers, others).   What was draining your time?   What things were taking you away from being productive?  How many of those things kept you from getting the right results?   Use these lessons to plan better for the next day.

High achievers build into their lives the habits that generate the best results.  With practice you can become a high achiever.

 

do live your dream

“Be thankful for a breath of fresh air to be alive and well. Allow love and happiness to penetrate throughout your mind and soul. Take time to relax and live in the moment, the now, the present. Enjoy today.”
― Amaka Imani Nkosazana

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Did you know that most people don’t live their dreams?   Some people live the dreams that others have for them and live a life of regret.  Others don’t have a dream to push towards and live each day as it comes and live a life of regret.    Whose dreams are you living for?

Someone asked, “Write a story.”

“A story about what?”

“A story about your life”

“A story about my life – what is there to tell.”

If someone asked you to write your story or to tell your story what would you say?   What do you want to say?   What do you want to write?

Wouldn’t it be nice to write, “I lived my dreams.”

“What were your dreams … tell me more.”

“Umm, I didn’t live my dreams … I ….”

Now, do you want that to be your story?   Do you want your story to end with, “I didn’t ….?”   Most people don’t want their story to end at a dead end street.  I am thinking that you don’t want your story to end their either.

So, why not build a story by living out your dream.   If you don’t have a compelling vision of your future then it’s time to create one.   It’s time to start writing your story that doesn’t end with “I didn’t”.

Start writing your story today.