Tag Archives: gratitude

How to increase self belief

 

confidence photo

How to increase self belief

If you want to know how to increase self belief – listen up. This may be the most important information you’ll ever read. I have accomplished so much more in my life by working on my self belief. It’s a constant effort and I have to work on it daily but the results are worth it. Here are my top tips on how to become your own number one fan:

Understand that if you don’t believe in yourself, very few other people will. When you give off confidence and self acceptance, others don’t tend to question this. In fact, they will be more drawn to you. Confident people make others feel safe and they act as magnets socially. People like confidence. They won’t question your right to be so confident – they will just see someone who really seems to like themselves and that’s immensely attractive.

There are many things in life that can decrease our self belief and that is why it is a repetitive effort to keep the self belief alive. Social media, like Facebook and Instagram don’t help self belief at all. The more we think we are missing out and don’t have much as others, the more unhappy we become and the less self belief we have. Beware the perils of spending too much time on social media. If you do – remember that a lot of what you see is exaggerated and isn’t reality. Others put on a ‘show’ but real life is seldom as glamorous as they’d like you to believe.

Practise gratitude

Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, make sure you look at what is good in your life. There are always things to be grateful for but the way the world is structured leads us to constantly compare. Making comparisons inevitably leads to a sense of deprivation and feelings of inadequacy. Stop doing it! Be appreciative of what you do have and what works well for you. Focus on this regularly and if necessary – make a list that you can read regularly of all the things you love and appreciate in yourself and your life.

Validate yourself

We all like external validation. When others tell us we look great or that we have done a good job, it’s very satisfying. The trick is to NEVER rely on this external validation as a way to increase self belief. Make sure that you give yourself validation. Regularly talk to yourself in a positive and empowering manner. Tell yourself that you are wonderful and amazing. Focus often on all your fantastic characteristics – are you funny, kind, patient? Remind yourself of all your good qualities. Clients often (mistakenly) tell me that they think this is arrogance. Arrogance is thinking you are better than others. Confidence is liking and accepting yourself and making the best of you.

Maximise strengths, minimise weaknesses

No one is perfect and we can’t be good at everything. Get to know yourself well and know what you are good at. Work to increase your strengths and use them in your life. There is not point in doing something that exposes all your weaknesses and none of your strengths. Play to your strengths and remind yourself of all the good things you have achieved in your life. What have your successes been?

Positive attitude to failure

Never see yourself as a failure. Perhaps something you have done didn’t work out but always separate actions from yourself as a person – they are two different things. Define failure – to me, failure is completely giving up. Someone who tries and fails one hundred times is not a failure – they are a learner of life.

Keep the faith

There have been seriously dark times for me when I have felt rejected and feel I have failed at life. Times of extreme loneliness when I felt that I was worthless. This is normal and you can’t possibly feel 100% confident all of the time. What you need to do though during the dark times of self doubt is sit tight and keep the faith. Remind yourself that you are still the same amazing person and although you don’t quite feel connected to that confident part of you – it’s still there.

Life will move on and your light will shine again. Never stop believing in yourself even when you feel the world has. Remember that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Choose your thoughts carefully and be kind to yourself.

Practise self compassion

Always always be kind to yourself. That means – no critical self talk. Be caring towards yourself as you would someone you loved dearly. Imagine yourself as that cute little 5 year old child – how would you talk to your 5 year old self? You would cuddle them and tell them things will improve. You would encourage them and tell them they are brilliant.

Create goals

Make sure you have some goals, something to work towards. When we have goals in place it creates structure and purpose in our lives and helps boost us psychologically. Put together a list of goals for yourself that are:

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Measurable and time bound (SMART goals)

When you have self belief you are far more likely to be successful. Your thinking will spur you on. Research has proven time and time again that when we are positive and focus on our strengths and nurture our self belief, we get more done. Believing is half the battle!

Mandy X

 

 

 

Tips for happiness

 

happiness

Focus on what you can control, forget the rest

Follow this “Serenity Prayer” – it’s full of wisdom:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”

It’s not events that upset you, it’s your beliefs about them

Most of the bad feelings you have are caused by irrational beliefs. Challenge your belief system regularly – there is always a rational alternative thought available.

Learn acceptance, stop resisting ‘what is’

The greatest source of misery comes from the gap between how life is and how expect it to be. Learning to accept how life is doesn’t mean being passive and/or giving up. It means we acknowledge the problem and work with it rather than against it.

Act ‘as if’

Think of someone you admire – a family member, friend or celebrity. Imagine how they would act in certain situations (especially those that cause you anxiety). Changing behaviour automatically shifts our thinking and often, acting confident can help us to feel confident as well.

Build structure into your life

A basic structure helps keep order in life. An underlying framework is always a good place from where to go forward and deal with the world. Have a morning and evening routine, make some things a fundamental activity that you do regularly – such as exercise, a healthy meal etc

Create goals

Goals help to add meaning and purpose to life and we all ned to have some sort of direction in life. Create short and long term goals that are as specific and measurable as positive. Eg: I will lose 5 pounds/kilo by the end of the month.

Gratitude

It’s human default mode to look at all that is wrong in life – make an effort to look for what is good in your life and do this daily. when we focus on all the good, e automatically feel happier. Gratitude and appreciation are powerful emotions that can lift a mood instantly.

Do you have any other tips for happiness or contentment? Send a message and let us know!

Mandy X

How to appreciate each day

 

butterfly photo

How to appreciate each day

It is easy sometimes to act as if we will live forever. Our own mortality is not exactly a cheerful subject and the thought of the end-of-life is a scary one. But the beauty in remembering the finite nature of life is that we hopefully appreciate and fully engage in the moments we experience. I know that I’m guilty of wishing my life away and of looking back and wonder whether time has gone. I went to a funeral today and that always brings it home how we should make the most of each day.

Here are a few tips on how to appreciate each day:

1) Wear your favourite perfume or cologne

What are you waiting for? Each and every day is special so use your favourite products every day. Don’t save your favourite items for a special day in the future. Enjoy it now and revel in the thrill of using it right now.

2) Say what you feel

If you are feeling soppy and want to tell someone your thoughts… Don’t hesitate. There is no time like the present. Don’t live a life full of regret-rather feel slightly embarrassed and wonder “what if”. The

3) Get out of your comfort zone

Try something new as often as possible, it’s a great way to feel alive. Often, I don’t enjoy being out of my comfort zone as I do not feel safe and can often feel slightly anxious. The upside to this is the tremendous sense of pride that I feel when I have pushed myself to do something that I feared-no matter how small. You don’t have to try big things every day, just a small thing now and then to show that you are progressing in the right direction. The more you push yourself out of your comfort zone the more confidence you will have.

4) Slow down

Take the time to slow down and really be in the moment. Really listen to the person you’re with and put away your phone and any other distractions. Engage your senses. The more we are fully in the moment the slower the time passes. Limit your wayward thoughts about tomorrow or the day after and emerge yourself into the present experience that you’re having. It’s a tough task slowing down our busy brains. Train yourself to try and focus on one thing at a time for at least an hour every day. Whether that is meditating, watching a movie or reading a book or spending time with someone.

5) Have short-term and long-term goals

A sense of purpose is a good way to keep focused on where you are going in your life. Instead of mindless rushing about, short and long-term goals can keep us focused on what is important and worthwhile for us personally.

6) Take time for special people

Make time for the important people in your life. Spending time with friends and family is where it’s at. Connect with those around you and be open and honest about life. Treat each person as if they are the most important person in the world and if you may never see them again.

7) Forgive and don’t hold grudges

It takes emotional energy to be mad at someone and it saps the joy from the moment. Clear the slate of negative energy. Either make amends with the other person or find a healthy way to be at peace with the situation.

8) Appreciate the small things

Don’t expect much and keep a childlike wonder about the world with you at all times.Notice beauty and kindness wherever you go -when you look for it you will see it in abundance.

Life is fleeting and it seems to be speeding up at a rapid pace. It is so easy to be distracted and diverted from what is really important. Appreciating the present moment involves detaching from the future and enjoying what is going on in your life right now, today. You can’t rewind and do it again, life is not a dress rehearsal. Live a life with integrity and don’t be afraid to tell people how much they mean to you.Don’t procrastinate, be brave and seize the day.

Happiness emerges most when you are ‘present’ in your life – that fleeting feeling of contentment. Happiness isn’t something to be pursued, rather it happens upon you when you are fully engaged with your surroundings in an appreciative way.

Mandy X

believe it's possible

Things to appreciate for a richer life

appreciation photo

 

Things to appreciate for a richer life

1) The Sun Shining

Even if you live somewhere where the sun shines regularly, appreciate that warmth and the fact that your body is making vitamin D. Sunshine is good for the body and the mind.

2) Birdsong

Birdsong reminds me that all the frenetic activity goes on, and the birds still sing at the beginning and end of it all. It’s a reminder to slow down, to listen to nature and not take life too seriously.

3) A kind deed from a stranger

When someone smiles or lets you in the traffic during rush hour, take time t appreciate this small kindness.

4) Animals/Pets

There’s no game playing with animals, they love you unconditionally. Treat them well.

5) Yourself

Instead of being hard on yourself and focusing on your perceived negative bits, think about how clever your body is – it works when you need it to. Gets you to places, helps you communicate and express yourself and allows you to feel and experience life. I used to dislike my body because I have Cystic Fibrosis but then I reframed this by thinking how well my body has coped with all the extra challenges it has had compared to a ‘healthy’ body. It’s all about perception.

Say it to yourself often “I love my clever little body, I love who I am”.

6) Music

A powerful way to boost your mood. Use it to your advantage

7) Genuine people in your life

Look after those people in your life that are always there for you, care for you and check in on you. They are a special gift to be cherished.

8) Fleeting Happiness

Happiness isn’t a state that remains endlessly. It appears in spurts…a sudden realisation that life is good at a certain moment. I get it sometimes when sharing a silly joke with my son or playing rough-and-tumble with Socks, my Yorkshire Terrier..although the image of chucking pairs of socks around a room for entertainment does make me smile – wacky!

Slow down, remind yourself of the little things in life that we often miss in our quest to complete our daily “to-do” lists. Life will be richer for it.

Mandy X

 

 

Photo by country_boy_shane

Photo by country_boy_shane

think yourself healthy

Think yourself healthy

health photo

Think yourself healthy

There have been many examples of people who have outwitted ill-health by thinking themselves into a positive physical state. This may seem a bit far-fetched but hear me out…there are ways to think yourself healthy.

Sometimes your mind can be your worst enemy or it can be your best ally.Research has shown that positive thinking can influence your health in a good way.Past research has found that savoring the moment and positive thinking can help to not only improve your current health, but also prevent future health complications. In particular, the findings found positive thoughts to be especially beneficial to those already suffering from diseases like coronary artery disease and high blood pressure.

Placebos are fantastic evidence that the power of mind can help heal the body. Belief is a powerful mechanism. A simple sugar pill can work wonders if the person taking the sugar pill believes it will work. A study conducted by a Cleveland Clinic Foundation exercise psychologist in Ohio compared individuals who worked out at a gym against those who only visualized doing so. The surprising result? Understandably, the gym-goers experienced a 30 percent increase in muscle. The ones who thought about free weights and elliptical machines? That group actually experienced an increase in muscle strength that was almost half that of the other group (13.5%).

This isn’t to say we should all forego our gym memberships and yoga pants. However, it does illustrate the power our thoughts have when it comes to our health and how it is possible to think yourself healthy.

A study looking at brain patterns in weightlifters found that the patterns activated when a weightlifter lifted hundreds of pounds were similarly activated when they only imagined lifting.

The Nocebo effect also illustrates the power of the mind.  In 1992 theSouthern Medical Journal reported the case of a man who in 1973 had been diagnosed with cancer and given just months to live. After his death, however, his autopsy showed that the tumour in his liver had not grown. His intern Clifton Meador didn’t believe he’d died of cancer: “I do not know the pathologic cause of his death,” he wrote. Could it be that, instead of the cancer, it was his expectation of death that killed him?

This death could be an extreme example of the “nocebo effect” – the flip-side to the better-known placebo effect. While an inert sugar pill (placebo) can make you feel better, warnings of fictional side-effects (nocebo) can make you feel those too. This is a common problem in pharmaceutical trials and a 1980s study found that heart patients were far more likely to suffer side-effects from their blood-thinning medication if they had first been warned of the medication’s side-effects.

This places a spotlight on doctor-patient relationships. Today’s society is litigious and sceptical, and if doctors overemphasise side-effects to their patients to avoid being sued, or patients mistrust their doctor’s chosen course of action, the nocebo effect can cause a treatment to fail before it has begun. It also introduces a paradox – we must believe in our doctors if we are to gain the full benefits of their prescribed treatments, but if we trust in them too strongly, we can die from their pronouncements.

How to think yourself healthy

• 1. Close your eyes and imagine your immune system in a way that appeals to you. I like to imagine jellyfish-type-soldiers invading around my body, defeating bad bacteria and unhealthy cells. Make sure there are plenty of them, and see them as strong and purposeful.

• 2. Next, imagine travelling inside your body to the area that needs healing, and notice how you imagine the problem manifesting. You might see the infection or diseased cells as lots of tiny black globules.

• 3. Now, the jellyfish are going to destroy the black globules. It’s best not to imagine the immune system fighting; rather see the pale-coloured jellyfish surrounding and devouring the tiny black globules.

• 4. When all the tiny globules are gone, it’s important to then imagine the jellyfish happily swimming off and patrolling your bloodstream. This ensures you do not over-stimulate your immune system.

• 5. Imagine now a healthier you sitting in front of you. See how the person looks, smiles, and so on.

• 6.Now step into the healthier you and feel how much better you feel.

I completely believe that the mind can influence the body. After all, the mind and body are inextricably interlinked. Psychosomatic illness has long been documented and is yet another example of how interlinked our mental state and physical state are. Visualisation techniques, mindfulness, engaging in positive thinking, adopting a kind and tolerant attitude to others and maintaining peace and contentment can all contribute positively towards a healthier life.

PS. Make sure to get enough sleep and eat well too!

Mandy X

 

References:

http://naturalsociety.com/scientists-prove-you-can-think-your-way-to-wellness/

http://www.naturalnews.com/044296_positive_thinking_healing_visualization.html#ixzz3JuapZFmg

http://www.channel4.com/news/can-just-telling-a-man-he-has-cancer-kill-him

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-171897/How-think-healthy.html#ixzz3JudW7Qmc

woman writing in diary

Gratitude Journal

woman writing in diary photo

 

A gratitude journal is a clever way to train ourselves to be more positive. When we ‘prime’ ourselves with what is good in our lives, it can instantly boost our mood. Life can be tough, messy and unkind and it takes effort to seek out the good sometimes. Keeping a gratitude journal is a positive way to keep tweaking our thoughts to focus on the positive stuff.

What has happened in your day so far? Can you see any good things? Anything that brought a smile to your face? Today the sun is shining and I decided to try catch some sun in the garden. The clouds have appeared now but I got a good half hour of Vitamin D! One of my favourite songs is finally available on itunes (Chandelier by Sia, if you’re interested) and dog gave me the best cuddle this morning. These are just a few of the little things that have been good today.

If you find that your mood has been a bit low lately, try starting a gratitude journal. At the end of each day/week, write 3-5 things in there that helped you to feel happy or appreciative. You can also read back all the good things that have happened when you need a mood boost.

Studies have traced a range of impressive benefits to the simple act of writing down the things for which we’re grateful—benefits including better sleep, fewer symptoms of illness, and more happiness among adults and kids alike.

The basic practice is straightforward. In many of the studies, people are simply instructed to record five things they experienced in the past week for which they’re grateful. The entries are supposed to be brief—just a single sentence—and they range from the mundane (“waking up this morning”) to the sublime (“the generosity of friends”) to the timeless (“the Rolling Stones”).

Here are a few great suggestions that I came across:

  • Don’t just go through the motions. Research by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky and others suggests that journaling is more effective if you first make the conscious decision to become happier and more grateful. “Motivation to become happier plays a role in the efficacy of journaling,” says Emmons.
  • Go for depth over breadth. Elaborating in detail about a particular thing for which you’re grateful carries more benefits than a superficial list of many things.
  • Get personal. Focusing on people to whom you are grateful has more of an impact than focusing on things for which you are grateful.
  • Try subtraction, not just addition. One effective way of stimulating gratitude is to reflect on what your life would be like without certain blessings, rather than just tallying up all those good things.
  • Savor surprises. Try to record events that were unexpected or surprising, as these tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude.
  • Don’t overdo it. Writing occasionally (once or twice per week) is more beneficial than daily journaling. In fact, one study by Lyubomirsky and her colleagues found that people who wrote in their gratitude journals once a week for six weeks reported boosts in happiness afterward; people who wrote three times per week didn’t. “We adapt to positive events quickly, especially if we constantly focus on them,” says Emmons. “It seems counterintuitive, but it is how the mind works.”

 

There is no right or wrong way to record entries in a gratitude journal. You can choose what suits you best – whether that’s writing in the morning, afternoon or evening or writing daily or weekly. I recommend twice a week. Sit down somewhere quietly and really engage in the process. Try not to see it as just another item on your “to do” list. Instead see it as a beneficial activity that has the power to boost your mood incredibly effectively.

Mandy X

Photo by Walt Stoneburner

 

Source/Refs:  http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/tips_for_keeping_a_gratitude_journal