Posts Tagged ‘positive thinking’

Growing Self-Esteem

December 16, 2016

Self-esteem is a loaded concept. We don’t have enough, or we have too much. Maybe it causes flashbacks of awkward teen years, or reminds you of someone who thinks to highly of himself.

Growing self-esteem means fostering confidence in yourself and your abilities. It reflects an overall sense of value or worth and filters our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Self-esteem impacts our physical, emotional, and mental health, and it plays a role in our relationships and jobs.

If you are someone looking to better your self-confidence, here are some practical steps to take inventory of your thoughts.

Triggers – First, identify what or who triggers negative thinking. A difficult coworker? Checking your bank account? Interactions with certain family members?

Self-talk – Next, listen to your thinking, or “self-talk.” What do you tell yourself? is it based on fact or emotion? Rational or irrational? Perhaps you are simply assuming the worst-case scenario.

Accuracy – Are your thoughts true? If not, challenge them. Often times our thoughts are influenced more by perception than reality. We jump to conclusions, downplay the positive, or overgeneralize.

Positivity – Finally, replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Avoid thinking of “should have” and “could have” scenarios. When mistakes are made, forgive yourself. Give yourself credit for good things and small wins.

Taking Care of Yourself

A health self-esteem translates into accepting and valuing yourself for exactly who you are, even your flaws. Rearranging your thoughts and prioritizing emotional self-care takes time and practice. The more you challenge your negative thoughts and habits, the greater the pride you can take in yourself. Remember, there is only one unique you, and you are valuable to this world!

Balancing Work and Family

July 28, 2016

Some days 24 hours just doesn’t seem to be enough. Between family priorities, practicing good self-care, and juggling work responsibilities, it’s easy to feel stressed. Even though we choose how to spend our time, our to-do list sometimes crowds out what gives us the greatest enjoyment.

Our lives naturally fall out of balance from time to time. When this occurs, we struggle to regulate our responsibilities and what we enjoy most. Taking the time to assess how things are going gives us insight to realign our priorities. Consider these questions when work and family are out of sync:

  • Do you regularly set aside time to spend with your family?
  • When you are with family, do you feel anxious or guilty about not working?
  • At work, what triggers you to feel like you should be spending more time with your family?

Strategies for Achieving Greater Balance

Limit distractions – There may be times of the day you are more distracted or procrastinate. How could you use your time more efficiently during this period? Perhaps limit the frequency you check emails or use social media.

Know your values – Write down what you desire most from life. What activities are important for you to do with your family? Determine what is non-negotiable in your life.

Say no – Practice saying no to tasks that fit outside your values. This helps you avoid the stress and tension of over-commitment.

Organize – Is your workspace messy? Your home cluttered? Taking opportunities to organize will save you time in the long run.

Remember, life will happen. When it does, things will typically fall out of balance for a time. Stay positive. Use the knowledge you’ve gained, take a step back, and assess. Proper planning is always a good start to swing an imbalanced life back into perspective.

Smile as You Work Through Difficult Challenges, Failure and Tragedy

April 7, 2016

Author Andy Andrews has determined that there are seven characteristics that each successful person has in common. He strongly believes in “the butterfly effect”: even the smallest action can have dramatic consequences. It has been found that the flap of a butterfly’s wings is inexplicably intertwined with the birth of a hurricane around the world.

Using these seven principles can make positive changes in your life:

  1. Be responsible – make a decision. Harry Truman signed his name on a sheet of paper that authorized the atomic bomb used to end World War II.
  2. Seek wisdom – listen to the guidance that is offered from people you trust. Napoleon lost at Waterloo because he failed to listen to his troops.
  3. Be a person of action – seize the moment. Bill Gates decided to drop out of Harvard to build a computer system that would one day become Microsoft.
  4. Have a decided heart – ignore rejection; let your passion be your guide. Thomas Edison tried and failed over 1,000 times before creating the incandescent light bulb.
  5. Choose to be happy – put a smile on your face. If there are two prospective employees with the same qualification but one of them complains, and the other one smiles and is happy, whom would you hire?
  6. Forgive! Forget anger management – use anger resolution. Joshua Chamberlain was chosen by President Lincoln to accept the Confederate surrender at Appomattox. There, Chamberlain stunned the world with a show of forgiveness: he ordered his troops to attention, saluting General Robert E. Lee and the defeated South.
  7. Persist without exception. Nelson Mandela sought to transform a country filled with racial oppression into an open democracy. His qualities of forgiveness, patience and persistence were revealed to the world after he was released from prison.

(Source: Mastering the Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success by Andy Andrews)

Meeting Your Health Goals

October 23, 2015

Every day we make choices about how to care for ourselves. From what we’ll eat to how active we’ll be, every decision has costs and benefits. Choosing healthy goals can feel intimidating, especially when we’re lacking the “New Year’s Resolution” momentum. Making specific, measurable, and attainable goals sets you up for the life you desire.

Goal-Setting Tips:

Specific – Many times, our goals are vague and too broad. This fails to inspire and motivate us to make a lifestyle change. Instead, clearly describe what you would like to do and with what specific behavior.

For example, you might say, “I want to get fit.” But how often are you going to exercise and for how long? There’s a big difference between, “I want to be healthier,” and “I want to go for an hour-long run, three times this week, so I will have energy to play with my kids.”

Measurable – In addition to specificity, goals should be measurable. Writing down our behavior or tracking it wan an app will offer clues as to why we’re moving toward or away from our goals. For example, if your goal is to lose 15 pounds, this might involve counting your calories or tracking your daily percentage of vitamins and minerals.

Attainable – Goals should be realistic, given your time, finances, abilities, etc. Set small, attainable steps toward the larger goal. These might be daily, weekly, or monthly. Besides offering encouragement, small and attainable goals provide opportunities for rewards along the way.

Setting health goals are best done in community. Surrounding yourself with supportive peers pursuing similar goals is very helpful. Also, say your goals aloud. Tell people what you’re working toward and how you’ll get there. The more you speak out your goals and why you’re doing this, the more you’ll believe you can actually achieve them. There’s no time like today, even if it isn’t January 1st.

Stress Less

October 2, 2015

You’ve probably heard countless ways to manage stress: exercise, get enough sleep, talk to a friend, meditate, write things down – the list goes on. But according to Huffington Post blogger Jon Wortmann, before you can even thing about managing your stress, there are three things you must do first.

Notice Stress

This seems obvious, but sometimes we’re so busy or distracted we completely miss our body’s signs that we’re feeling stressed. Have you been getting a lot of headaches or stomachaches? Does it fee like your having a panic attack? Has your appetite or sleep schedule changed? Your brain may be telling you something needs your attention. Instead of shaking off or ignoring these signs, consider if they’re connected to stress.

Admit You’re Stressed

This doesn’t mean you can’t handle what’s on your plate. Once you admit you feel stressed, you can begin to focus on what’s most important at that moment. Making these kinds of choices can tell your brain to turn down the alarm as you work to get things under control.

Focus on One Thing You Want to Think or Feel

If you find yourself in an immediately stressful situation (heart is racing, palms are sweating), focus on the emotion you want to be feeling. Imagine yourself in your favorite location, eating your favorite food, next to someone you care about, or anything that can help you feel calmer quickly. Being able to recall these calming memories in a time of stress can help you work through it and focus instead on what need to get done.

Turn the Negative to Positive

May 5, 2015

We all experience negative events and emotions. Unfortunately, it’s part of life. The important thing is what we do with those emotions. We can let them bring us down, get the better of us, or use them for good. They can help us to become better people and play a positive role in our well-being. Which do you choose to do?

Use challenges to gain perspective. The challenges we face in life are opportunities for personal growth and development. These adversities help bring out valuable lessons and expected gifts. They can help highlight what’s truly important in life.

Discover compassion through shame. when we experience shame or humiliation, we often avoid connecting with other people, fearing they’ll see the flaws we’re trying to hide. However, when we’re able to work through these emotions, it can help us connect with others and become more compassionate and empathetic.

Find gratitude after a loss. Often we don’t realize how valuable something is until we lose it. Experiencing a loss can help us feel grateful for what we have now and not take it for granted.

Turn anger into creativity. University researchers found that when creative professionals began their day with a negative emotion, they had greater creative output. They were able to channel their anger into their work. They were also able to focus longer while brainstorming.

Spur determination from jealousy. When we become jealous of someone, it can drive us to better ourselves. Envy can help us figure out what it is we want in our own life and then place us on the path to achieve it.

Source: huffingtonpost.com

The Power of Self-Talk

March 30, 2015

Our thoughts have the power to turn the ordinary into extraordinary, for it is our thoughts that fuel our words and behavior. Thinking well makes life less stressful, motivates our behaviors, and can improve our physical health with less risk of depression, heart disease, and even the common cold. Thinking well does not mean we need to ignore reality when life is hard; rather, we must simply reframe what’s happening to stay positive in the situation.

The best way to think well is to evaluate our self-talk. Self-talk is what we tell ourselves about the events that happen to us and around us, being comprised of facts and our interpretation of those facts. Herein lies the power. We can evaluate facts and stay positive, or we might walk into one of these four negative self-talk snares.

Black and white thinking. This is the “all-or-nothing” thought process. Life is either awesome or awful. There’s no in-between.

Personalizing. This thinking assumes everything is about you. (Ex: If you don’t get the job, the employer didn’t like you. A friend cancels plans? They don’t want to hang out with you.)

Generalizing. When you generalize, you presume you will always fail based on one mistake. (Ex: if you ask someone on a date, and they refuse, you will die all alone.) These thoughts leap to failure.

Catastrophizing. Here you expect the worst-case scenario always. (Ex: Forget your umbrella on a rainy day? It’s the start of something awful.) Catastrophizing always assumes the worst.

Self-talk can alter the outcome of many situations in our lives. Consider making small changes in your self-talk and watch your behavior follow suit.

Practicing Mindfulness

February 12, 2015

Chances are, if you’re breathing, you’re experiencing varying levels of stress all within a 24-hour period. Perhaps you regularly judge your performance in life, work, and relationships. This pressure and consistent negative thinking puts you at a greater risk of anxiety and depression.

Mindfulness is one way to redirect yourself away from these thoughts. This meditative practice focuses on the present moment in a non-judgmental way. You begin to experience the world through a new lens, engaging all your senses.

How to Practice Mindfulness

Learn the art of mindfulness by following the steps listed below.

Focus and practice good breathing – First, sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Pay attention to what it feels like to breathe in and out. Relax your m ind and dismiss other thoughts. Notice your abdomen as it rises and falls with each breath. If your mind does begin to wander, redirect your thoughts back to the exercise.

Pay attentionĀ  to your senses – Focusing on your sense can be calming. Try this exercise while walking outside. Concentrate on what you hear, see, and smell. Take a deep breath. Direct your mind away from any negative or stressful thoughts.

Listen carefully to others – Truly listen to people you’re meeting for the first time and those you’ve known a long time. Hear what they’re saying with new ears. Consider what messages they are trying to convey.

Delay judgment – We tend to size people up immediately. When we are slow to judge others, we discover what’s special about the individual. In turn, we might be less negative about the world around us.

Mindfulness might seem awkward or uneasy at first. However, as you practice it every day for several months, it will begin to feel more natural. Dialing down the stress level is always beneficial so when you practice mindfulness, great things can happen.

Mood Lifters

February 7, 2014

Not feeling your usual positive self? Try these pick-me-ups.

Re-wire what you say and think. Instead of saying things like, “This day it shot” or “I’m not good at this,” or thinking things like, “This is really a downer” or “I feel terrible,” make a conscious effort to talk and think positively. I can get over this. I can do this, and I feel great. Things are going to work out just fine. It’s amazing how just a few words can make such a big difference.

Play your winners. Winners are things that almost always make you feel good or lift your spirits. At work, keep a photo from a recent vacation or of the car you’re rebuilding or display a craft project or one of your child’s drawings. Other winners include a favorite book or video that always makes you laugh.

Help others. To help someone else is probably the last thing on our minds when we feel we need help ourselves. But reaching out to someone in need has so many positive emotional benefits. The good feeling that comes from volunteering at a soup kitchen, youth clinic, shelter or other venue can naturally lift sagging spirits.

Step into the light. More people seek help for depression in the winter than in the summer. Many researches believe it’s because there are fewer daylight hours in the winter. The condition is called Seasonal Affective Disorder. Look for ways to work sunlight into your day just as you would exercise or any other healthy behavior.

Exercise. Exercise releases a chemical in the brain that naturally elevates mood. Athletes sometimes refer to this effect as a “physical high.” Take a brisk walk, shoot some baskets or whatever else you enjoy that your doctor recommends as appropriate for your state of health.

Stay away from alcohol or other drugs. Relying on chemicals to feel better is a common practice. But it doesn’t work. Alcohol or other drugs only cover up painful feelings that may need to be addressed before lasting, positive change can take place.

Ask for help. It isn’t always possible to easily rebound from an emotional down like a relationship breakup or job change. In such cases, try what hundreds of thousands of people do each year – reach out for help.

Positive Thinking Can Bring Good Health

August 22, 2013

Positive thoughts can motivate healthy behaviors, such as eating right, being active, and feeling good about yourself. It sounds so simple, but it is very true. unfortunately, the reverse is also true. Your thoughts can be defeating. “I’m already overweight, so it doesn’t matter if I eat a second piece of cake.” Or, “I only have 10 minutes, I’ll never get this assignment done.” Negative thoughts, often called negative self-talk, may sabotage your good intentions.

“I think I can”

Studies have measured the success of positive-thinkers and found that those who think they can lose weight or increase their physical activity, do! These people are more successful than people with less faith in themselves.

How to Stay Positive

Positive thinkers admit when they feel frustrated or depressed. They don’t ignore it. But they also don’t blame themselves. Instead, they try to understand the negative thoughts and feelings and counter them with more positive ones.

So how do you stay positive, maintain momentum and sustain healthy behaviors? here are some tips:

Look for a good role model. There is always someone who seems to be doing just what you want to be doing. Learn from a successful friend, family member or colleague.

Try some positive self-talk and avoid negative-talk. Take a minute to give yourself an ego boost. Repeat some motivational words out loud or to yourself. Negative talk, “I can’t do it,” “I’m fat,” is dangerous for your well-being.