Category Archives: Personal Development

6 Ways to Make More Time for Yourself

Between work, family, friends, relationships and all the responsibilities that lie within, it can be hard to find time for anyone else – including yourself. Free time can feel like a luxury, especially when every time you turn around, you realize you need to make a run to the grocery store, do the laundry or give the floors a good scrub. Nonetheless, it’s important to carve out some alone time. A 2011 study showed that women today are less happy than they were 40 years ago. A lack of “me time” could be a large part of the problem. Here are some tips to help you turn it all around.

Evaluate Your Life

Pay close attention to your schedule and how you spend your days. If you have time, write down everything you do. If you don’t have enough time to write everything down, make note of the big things, like work, but also the things you do in between the big things. Whether it’s obsessively checking your email or running to the store for things you forgot, it’s all worth documenting.

Make Some Cuts

Once you have a record of how you spend your time, give it a thorough look. Are you noticing any patterns? If you’re running the sweeper on a daily basis, consider doing it every other day or every week instead. If you find yourself getting lost in work emails at home, when you only planned on checking in, set aside a window of time when work can be done at home and stick to it.

Time to Delegate

Yes, you can have it all, but you can’t do it all. Sometimes, it’s important to ask for help. Solicit it from your kids or your significant other, or hire someone to handle tasks like cleaning or tutoring. If work is bogging you down the most, pick someone with the skills to get it done right and hand them the task with clear direction. This means one less thing for you to do!

Learn How to Say “No”

It might be easier to say yes, but you’ve decided to make more time for yourself. It is not selfish, but necessary in most instances. Really think about your answer before you give in. You can’t add more hours to the day, but you can overcommit.

Pencil Yourself Into Your Schedule

Now that you’ve freed up your schedule a bit, fill it back up with some time for yourself. If you want this to last, you have to pencil yourself in and make appointments with yourself. We all have priorities and now it’s time to make you one of them.

Decide How to Spend Your Time

This time is now yours… how will you spend it? Make it something you look forward to, like a little indulgence. Maybe it’s a hot bath, a manicure, a guilty pleasure or a leisurely walk.

These tips for lifestyle reorganization will hopefully put you on a path toward improved health, overall happiness and sanity – so enjoy. Just remember while play dates, doctors’ appointments and meetings are a priority, so are you.

4 Powerful Ways For Getting Out Of A Rut

In these times of economic trouble, less social mobility, and an atomised society that tends to spend more time interacting online than in person, it’s too easy to find yourself stuck in a dead-end with no apparent escape. Job satisfaction is lower than ever, and even education can no longer be guaranteed to offer economic and spiritual freedom.

At some point, everyone feels stuck in a rut. Whether it’s the mundane routines we perform daily that eventually lose all meaning, a lack of purpose, creativity, inspiration, or even a dislike for ourselves that restrains us from doing the things we’d really love to. We all need color and variety in our lives, and a lack of it can grind us down to a mental bluntness that leads to depression, stagnancy, and detachment.

There’s no shame in feeling this way, and indeed, sometimes the first hurdle is gaining the glimmer of hope that life can be better, and acting upon it. If you can get to that point where you’re willing to try, however, there are things you can do that will blow away all of your negativity, and re-inspire new ways of living, change the things that tire you, and ignite your personality once again.

Travel

It is often the things which we don’t notice holding us back. The drab, familiar environments we spend our time in may seem irrelevant, but they have a great, unconscious hold over us that can only be realised when we move away from them. To travel is to be open, and to be vulnerable. It disconnects us from material things, while reconnecting us with the importance of our environment.

Whilst it may seem daunting to travel, particularly when you have no place to go, there are plenty of options out there for a spontaneous, relatively secure, and interesting trip. Not every holiday has to follow the formula of beach side hotel and tourist-trap tours. Look around and you’ll find unique experiences like expenses-paid mystery breaks, communal volunteer trips, or even desert traversal in a rentable RV.

Physicality

Though it can get boring to constantly hear about the benefits of physical activity, as well as sometimes seeming like the most easily-delayed activity, being physical – in any manner – is often the root of many problems people have. There’s an endless amount of evidence to show that simple physical activities greatly affect our mental stability and creative thinking, though it is easily-ignored when we actually think about why we’re sad, angry, or bored.

Not only is physical activity important, hugely beneficial, and key to getting out of a rut, it also reconnects us with the world around us, and ourselves as physical beings. When it is all-too-easy to be down on ourselves, seeing only flaws, and no value to our lives, feeling once again that we’re physical beings in a natural world, valuing sensations as much as thoughts, can be some of the most liberating moments we experience in life.

Art

Sometimes you need to escape a little, and sometimes you need something to provoke a line of thought, other times you need something that’ll spark up a flame of emotion in your heart. Art can do all of this, and more. Never underestimate the change of mood and thought that a great album, movie, or book can bring about.

The power of art is such that it can jolt you out of even the most heavy state of mind. It can remind you of beauty really is, and set of ways of thinking that you would never have had performing the same old tasks day-in, day-out. As something that takes little to no effort, it’s the first thing to try, as an artless life can feel very empty indeed.

Charity

Often the key thing when getting stuck in a dead end is the company you keep. Whether it’s the same old faces, or not many faces at all, meeting, engaging, and forming deep bonds with people is crucial to life. Charity work is without doubt one of the best ways to meet people in the spirit of goodness, openness, and genuine connection. United by a common goal, people who reach out don’t just value themselves more, but value universal human virtues more.

These are just some of the things that can reinvigorate a life and open up doors where there were once only dead ends. Trying to achieve something noble, spiritually enriching, or mentally stimulating often involves getting out of your comfort zone. It can be a process, or it can happen with one momentous experience, but the first step always has to come from within. Remember that there is always more than world beyond what you can see and recognize, and that even when you feel you’ve seen it all, the world is full of surprises.

4 Effective Ways to Deal with Strong Negative Emotions

I believe that, in general, the best way to deal with a negative emotional reaction is by identifying the irrational thoughts behind it and substituting them with rational ones.

This will quickly make the negative emotion subside, and with practice it will also create lasting changes in your mental wiring, so that negative emotion will appear less and less frequently.

However, this approach is problematic when dealing with really strong negative emotions. This is because strong negative emotions tend to skew your mental awareness. You’re marginally conscious of your thoughts, you can’t think straight, it’s hard to see the big picture; all you’re truly aware of is that strong anxiety, or anger, or sorrow, or whatever.

So a different, more straightforward approach is needed, which will permit you to take the intense negative emotion down a few notches, until your judgment becomes more lucid, and then you can take it down even more through rational thinking.

I’d like to share with you not one, but four such methods to deal with strong negative emotions, drawn from my own experience as a confidence coach, and as a guy who dealt with a lot of intense negative emotions himself.

1. Breathe Deeply

The first time I learned about deep breathing as a technique to calm negative emotions, I thought it was really simplistic and silly. Until I decided to give it a try, and I was amazed how much it helped me in dealing with the worst kinds of feelings.

You see, your mind and body always work together. And when you feel intense fear or anger or sadness, your breathing is very shallow and irregular. By focusing on your breathing, taking a few deep breathes and regulating your breathing, through a sort of feedback mechanism, you’re telling your mind to calm down, and the negative feelings begin to drop.

You begin to feel relaxed, your thinking become clearer, and then you relax even more. Now you’re out of that mental danger zone. So whenever you feel strong negative emotions, deep breathing is the first method that I encourage you to apply. Its simplicity and effectiveness will not let you down.

2. Repeating to Yourself: “Everything Will Be Okay”

Even though it’s hard to think straight when you’re swamped by a strong negative emotion, you can still say to yourself at least one simple statement. And if that statement is the right one, it will make the intensity of that emotion decrease significantly.

After serious testing, I’ve discovered one such statement, which is ridiculously effective: “Everything will be okay.”

When your mind triggers a strong negative feeling, it’s because it perceives some major threat or aversion present, and it believes that you cannot handle it. Most times though, this perception is a gross exaggeration.

So be saying to yourself repeatedly that everything will be okay, you’re effectively reminding yourself that things aren’t that bad, and you’ll fix them somehow. After all, you’ve been through bad situations before, and you got out of them somehow.

This self-reminder, especially if you repeat it to yourself a few times, creates a sense of hopefulness and self-reliance. And thus, it helps you clam down almost instantly. It’s another powerful technique to try.

3. Taking Action

Many negative emotions such as fear and sadness are inclined to paralyze us. We just sit there doing nothing. The trouble is that if you do nothing, your negative thoughts are likely to snowball. They get even bigger and denser, which only amplifies the negative emotion, and soon you feel like you’re going mad.

This is why one very useful way to soothe such emotions is by taking action. When faced with a predicament, get yourself to do something.

For example, if you just heard a rumor that you may lose your job, immediately try to talk with somebody who may have accurate information about this. Or instantly go online and start looking for available jobs. It doesn’t even have to be the ideal action; taking action in itself is important. It will help your mood improve significantly.

This works in two ways. First of all, taking action keeps your mind busy, so it doesn’t have the opportunity to snowball those negative thoughts. In this sense, it works kind of like a distraction for your mind. Second of all, it helps you be more aware that you can do something about your predicament. So it gives you a sense of personal power, which overpowers negative emotions.

4. Keep Healthy and In Good Shape

This last approach is not something to do when feeling an intense negative emotion. It’s something to do daily, as part of your lifestyle, and it has a big impact over your emotions as well.

What you eat, what you drink and how much you exercise greatly influence the range and strength of the emotions you experience. Because, they affect your body, and remember: your mind and body are connected.

For instance, if you eat foods with a lot of sugar and you have a lot of sugar in your blood, it’s very likely that in the face of an aversion you’ll feel a much higher dose of anxiety than if you avoid eating foods with a lot of sugar, and it will be harder to manage it. Sometimes a high-sugar diet can even make you feel anxious and shaky all of a sudden, for no apparent reason.

For this reason, it’s important to keep yourself healthy and fit. Take good care of your body, have an active lifestyle, and your emotional life will be much better as well.

Mastering your emotions is in my opinion one of the most valuable things you can do. Emotions play a crucial role in your life. And if you know how to influence them, no matter what intensity they have, you’re in possession of an asset more valuable than gold.

So work on mastering your emotions, use these 4 techniques I showed you to manage intense negative emotions, and I’m certain that you’ll like the outcomes you’ll witness.

4 Ways To Develop a Mindset Geared For Productivity

I’m a big fan of using whatever tools I can find related to managing time more effectively: apps, programs, software, techniques, anything!

I eagerly try out whatever I can get my hands on and there are some amazing tools out there to really boost productivity. So far, great… but bad news for the lazy ones: What isn’t available to purchase or try out though, is your mindset.

The focus seems to be on everything outside of us, but not a lot of attention is given to how productive your mindset actually is. You can implement as many systems and structures, but unless you mindset supports the change you seek, your efforts may remain fruitless.

Here are 4 ways that you can develop a mindset that is geared for productivity.

Think and don’t thought!

You see, every day you have thousands of thoughts bombarding your mind, apparently you have around 60,000 to 70,000 a day.

What is the danger here you might wonder? Your thoughts come directly from your beliefs about the world. Your thoughts lead to your feelings, your feelings to your actions and your actions to your results. You have to challenge your thoughts and not simply react to them. You may have many limiting beliefs that are not serving you, and you act on them.

Thoughting doesn’t require effort, but thinking does. Thinking is about giving your mind and thoughts targeted direction, gaining awareness around them and working with them to produce better results.

Thinking is like being in the driving seat of your mind and thoughting is like being in the passenger, you might have some input, but you end up wherever you are taken. Ask yourself honestly, how many of your thoughts do you simply react to, compared to the amount of effort you put into ‘thinking’?

What excuses do you come up with?

It is normal, almost instinctive and you are most likely blind to the number of excuses you give yourself each day. I can’t do this because I don’t have time, I am not organized, I am stressed, I am tired, etc

Are they really excuses? I am going to challenge you here, or are they “ways to justify inaction”? It is very common to come up with excuses because subconsciously you actually fear taking action, or you don’t feel confident, motivated or perhaps you want to stay in your comfort zone.

What you might really need to do is get out of your own way. Just as you would challenge your thoughts, you must challenge the excuses you come up with. Excuses don’t allow you to deal with the real issue and they keep you from being productive. Don’t build a habit of always coming with excuses for everything.

Do you play the blame game?

How often do you blame others for the way you feel? For the reason why you are not able to do something or why something is delayed or difficult.

Blaming has no place in the world of productivity. Blaming others for your results is not going to make anything better and certainly not empower you. Blaming ‘so and so’ because they didn’t really understand you, or deliver the work on time, or whatever reason you feel, is like being on the “effect” side of life.

To be productive you need to be on the “cause” side of life, take responsibility for your results, independent of the good or bad. Ask yourself how you have contributed to this situation or what you could do better next time and move on.

Are you too subjective with time?

There is real time and then there is your own sense of time. Remember the last time you felt that time just flew by so quickly, you felt amazed. How about the last time you felt that time really dragged by and it seems like forever.

If you find that you always over schedule your agenda, or you under-estimate how long a task will take, your subjective and objective views of time are quite different. Perhaps you think you have all the time in the world to do something, so you procrastinate, only to end up in a battle to get the work done in time.

Having a mindset geared for productivity, combined with the time management tools and techniques to support you, will transform your results for sure!