Category Archives: Emotional Health

The Adventure Of Change

 

How do you view change? Is it something you fear or something you embrace? I’m talking big changes here, like changing jobs or moving to a new city. The ability to adapt to new big changes, regardless of whether they are voluntary, is essential to your success when you make the change.

Some people fear change. If they are moving to a new town, they wonder if they’ll make new friends, how they’ll find their way around town, and whether they’ll like their new neighborhood.

But I like to look at change as an adventure. If I was moving to a new town (as I have a few times), I’d think about all the new places I’m going to find, the activities the city has to offer, and the new restaurants I will discover.

It’s a completely different mindset, but it can affect your whole experience.

So if you are a worrier and you fear change, how can you adjust your mindset and turn it into an adventure? It starts with trusting yourself. Take, for instance, your worry about finding new friends. Trust yourself that you know you’ve made many friends before, people enjoy being around you, you have a warm personality. Who wouldn’t want to be your friend?

If your concern is finding your way around your new city, trust yourself that you’ll figure it out. You’re smart, you have found your way around unfamiliar places before, and YOU HAVE GPS! 🙂 Not to mention sometimes getting lost is the best way to discover new neighborhoods, parks, shops, and restaurants. It’s an adventure!

If, when contemplating change, you tend to have fears rather than a sense of adventure, just trust yourself. Know that whatever concern you have, regardless of whether it comes true, you have the ability to handle it. You will find a way to make it work. And you will learn more about yourself in the process.

Be brave! Know that failure might be part of the process. Heck, expect that a failure or two might be part of the process. But trust yourself enough to know that even with failure, you will find solutions, you will find success, and you will be a more enriched person for having gone through the process.

6 Empowering Steps to Build Self-Discipline, Part 2

photo: Julia Manzerova

 

In the first article of this three-part series, we covered why self-discipline is important and what you can gain from building that skill in Self-Discipline: The Link Between Goals And Accomplishment. The second article, 6 Empowering Steps To Build Self-Discipline, Part 1, covered the first three steps: awareness, self-analysis, and progressive training, and now we’re ready to move on to the last three steps, which are (1) removing temptation, (2) finding inspiration, and (3) resisting the initial urge to overdo it.

Remove Temptation

Now that you have an idea how to identify the areas where you need more self-discipline, you have done some work to identify why you might sabotage yourself, and you have a grasp of how to build your self-discipline skills by progressively training yourself with increasingly tougher challenges, your next step in order to ensure success is removing temptation.

  • If you tend to procrastinate when you should be taking on projects, try to eliminate the distractions. Unplug the TV for a set amount of time on the days you plan to work on more meaningful tasks. Stash your gaming system under the bed, hide your books or magazines out of sight – you get the idea. Regardless of how you usually occupy your time when you are procrastinating, take one or two extra steps to remove that temptation rather than just telling yourself again that you won’t watch television or flip through the new magazines.

 

  • If you want to build self-discipline when it comes to your spending habits, start by limiting the amount of cash in your wallet. Don’t go window shopping or surf shopping sites online – even just for entertainment. You might also try some of my new ideas for resisting the urge to spend that you’ll find in 4 New Tips For Spending Less Money. If you’re one of those people who will spend money if you have it (regardless of whether you need to save or invest), you need to think about all the different things that tempt you to spend money and then design ways to remove that temptation.

 

  • If you want to get better at self-discipline so you can turn away junk food and eat more nutritionally, clean out your cupboards and fridge, and get rid of anything that doesn’t fit the bill. It’s easy to say with your new devotion to self-discipline, you just won’t succumb, but the best plan is to set yourself up to succeed, and you do that by removing any temptation that might cause you to fail.

 

  • Now you get the idea, right? This is an important step, regardless of which area in your life you need to be more self-disciplined. Whatever it is, remove any temptation that could hinder your progress.

Find Inspiration

Remember those “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelets? If you think about it, that saying could be a great self-discipline builder. When you want to get better in an area where someone else has already succeeded, you think about what that person would do, and you act accordingly.

Find an inspirational figure in the area that you are working on, and think of that person when you are tempted to let your self-discipline slide. Some examples might be:

  • If you’re trying to get better about exercising, but you’re on the verge of slacking off one day, think about what Olympian Michael Phelps or NFL star Tom Brady would do.
  • If you want to get out of debt and learn to live frugally, think about how Warren Buffett handles his finances, or read some advice from financial journalist Jean Chatzky.

When you feel like your self-discipline is wavering, think about what your idols would do, and count on their judgment to steer you in the right direction. And you don’t even have to depend on celebrities or people in the news to give you a lift. If you have friends who have accomplished goals that are similar to yours, count on them to inspire you and ask for their help along the way if needed.

Don’t Overdo It

Sometimes people get so motivated about overhauling their lives that they try to change everything at once. Before long, it just feels like too much change, and then everything’s a struggle. Don’t make that mistake.

When I suggested training progressively, keep in mind that you should start small and probably only try to change one area of your life at a time. Regardless of how motivated you are, it would be really difficult to give up junk food, start exercising regularly, stop smoking, and start getting enough sleep every night all at once. So do one thing at a time.

And don’t worry that you have to change everything NOW because now is when you are motivated. You will find that as you change one area and get better at self-discipline, your motivation will grow, and you will get better at making lasting changes. The motivation will stick with you!

Think of your lifestyle changes and the gradual building of your self-discipline skill as a marathon, and not a sprint. If you try to change too much at once, you will have a hard time sustaining your momentum for the long term, and you will burn out much quicker.

I hope you are inspired to identify areas in your life where you could use more self-discipline, and then use this six-step plan to help you work on that skill. Once you have mastered self-discipline, you will be well-equipped to make long-lasting changes in any area of your life that needs work. I’d love to hear from you as you follow the plan to get better at self-discipline. Let me know how it goes for you!

6 Empowering Steps To Build Self-Discipline, Part 1

 

photo: Stephen Poff

In my previous article, Self-Discipline: The Link Between Goals And Accomplishment, I talked about the importance of self-discipline and all the things you will be able to do when you build that skill. Most importantly, you will get better at breaking unhealthy habits, overcoming procrastination, and accomplishing goals.

Now I want to give you some steps you can follow that will help you get better at self-discipline, which is such an important component to realizing your dreams and building the life you truly want. Today I’ll start with the first three steps, and in my next article, we’ll go through the final three.

(1) Start With Awareness

You’ve heard the old saying, “the first step to getting help is admitting you have a problem.” That applies here. Take some time to think about your lifestyle, goals, and projects. Now think about what your behaviors are that are helping you to move toward the life you want to have, and also think about your typical behaviors and actions that hinder your progress.

For instance, if you are in debt and you regularly think that you would really like to be debt-free, what are you doing about it? Are you saving money, cutting down on unnecessary purchases, and tracking your spending?

Or are your behaviors are contrary to your goal? Are you buying things whenever you want them? Labeling things as “needs” when really they are “wants”? Spending money you have, without thinking about saving or paying down debt?

Try this exercise: Write down some of your goals (both big and small), and then write down your current behaviors that are affecting your progress toward those goals, both positive and negative. Think about whether one of the negatives is simply “nothing,” in other words you have something you want to accomplish, and although you are doing nothing to hinder yourself, you are also doing nothing to move in the right direction.

(2) Do A Little Self-Analysis

Now that you have an awareness of the behaviors that are hindering your progress, see if you can uncover some of the underlying reasons that you are sabotaging yourself.

    • If you’ve been putting off a project, do you lack the confidence that you will know how to get it done?
    • If you are engaging in an unhealthy habit, are you using that habit to placate an emotional pain?
    • If you haven’t made any progress on a big dream, does it seem so big that you are immobilized to even get started?
    • If you are a procrastinator, why aren’t you making your goals a priority? Why is immediate gratification more important than clearing your To Do list of the things that are weighing you down? If you think really hard about the answers to these questions, you might be able to figure out how to work around them.

Sometimes the thing that keep us from making the right decision is knowledge. What do you need to know in order to finish that project, break that habit, or stop procrastinating? If you feel like there is something that you are lacking, read up on your project or talk to others who have accomplished your goals.

The added bonus of knowing more about the topic is that it naturally will motivate you to take steps in the right direction. Added knowledge will give you power! Try to gain an understanding of why you’re doing these things, then build your knowledge to move around those obstacles.

(3) Train Progressively

If you’re starting to get a better idea of why you aren’t disciplining yourself to do the things you need to do, it’s time to start to change that. And you’re most likely to see progress and stick with it if you start small. Training progressively just means you start with something a bit easy and each time you conquer one step, you raise the bar a bit. Try these steps:

  • Think about an area of your life where you’d like to build self-discipline, and then try to think of one small step that would move you in the right direction. For instance, if you’d like to eat healthier, maybe you should start with skipping your routine afternoon visit to the office vending machine. It’s a small thing, but you are pushing yourself just a bit out of your comfort zone.

 

  • Once you have reached the point where you don’t even think about getting an afternoon snack, increase the challenge. Your next goal might be to eat a healthy lunch every day. If you’re used to going out and grabbing fast food every day, this will be a tougher challenge than skipping the vending machine. But that’s the point – when the challenge is harder, more self-discipline is required. And that’s how you keep building on your ability to discipline yourself.

 

  • Keep taking it up a notch. Once you master one level of self-discipline, think about what you can do to make the challenge even tougher and move up to the next level. Skip dessert? Get up earlier to make sure you have time for a healthy breakfast? Keep training progressively until you have reached your goal of eating healthier.

 

  • Make sure each time you set a new challenge for yourself, it isn’t just a new challenge, but also a tougher one. That’s how you train yourself to get stronger in self-discipline.

 

  • Once you reach a goal in one area, like eating healthy, think about the next area where you’d like to be more disciplined, like exercising regularly. Then start at the beginning again and train yourself in the same progressive way.

Those are the first three steps to help you build self-discipline. Not too painful, right? In my next article, I’ll talk about the final three steps, removing temptation, finding inspiration, and resisting the initial urge to overdo it. For now, though, start thinking about the areas of your life where you could use a little more self-discipline, and also think about your current behaviors that are both helping and hindering those goals. You’ll be on your way to building a more fulfilling life soon!

 

 

4 New Tips For Spending Less Money (And One To Ignore)

When it comes to budgeting and spending, you’ve heard all the usual tips like taking your lunch to work instead of eating out or brewing your own coffee instead of picking up Starbucks. But if you’ve done those things and are still looking for a few extra ways to cut down on your spending, I have some ideas for you.

Make yourself a 30-day promise

If you’re in the habit of buying things that aren’t necessities, you can nip that habit by making yourself a 30-day promise. Whenever you want to buy something that you don’t absolutely need, you write down the item and the date you thought about buying it. Promise yourself that if it’s still important to you in 30 days, you’ll buy it.

Periodically revisit that list, and when you hit the 30-day mark since the time you wrote it down, give yourself permission to buy it. More than likely, the strong urge to buy it will be gone. Thirty days isn’t that long to wait for something you really want, and chances are the price will have dropped by then.

Use this trick for anything that’s not a necessity including clothing, shoes, makeup, tools, books, etc. At the very least, you’ll be able to make a clearer and calmer decision after 30 days have passed.

Calculate Purchases in Terms of Hours Worked

Have you ever broken down your salary to calculate your hourly wage? The easy way to do that is to remove the last three zeroes of your salary, and then divide by two. So, if you earn $40,000 per year, that’s approximately $20 per hour.

The next time you are about to make an impulse purchase on something that is not a necessity, consider whether it’s worth the number of hours you worked to get that money. If you make $40,000, is a $200 pair of boots really worth a full 10 hours of work?

Even many household expenses are NOT necessities; they are luxuries. Maybe you are in the habit of spending a lot of money on fertilizer, grass seed, weed killer, birdhouses, and lawn ornaments because you want to have the nicest looking yard in the neighborhood. If you spent $500 beautifying your house and yard this year, consider whether that was worth 25 hours of work, more than half your entire workweek.

Also about small purchases. Rather than picking up a $10 toy for your kid while you are at the store, consider thrift stores, hand-me-downs, or even whether she already has enough toys! You might not think about it at the time, but that impulse $10 you spent took you a half hour of work to earn!

Take Advantage Of Discounts

Except for those obsessive folks on “Extreme Couponing,” not many people cut coupons from the paper anymore. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still get discounts. Before heading out to get groceries, do a quick google search of “Tide detergent coupons” or “Heinz ketchup coupons” or whatever brand name items you have on your grocery list. Print from home, and you’re set to go.

Another great source for discounts is RetailMeNot.com, a site that provides discount codes and deals for countless different websites, including percent off and free shipping offers. Promise yourself you will NEVER make a purchase online before checking that site first for a coupon code. I’ve been using them for years, and I can’t even begin to guess how much money I’ve saved. I have no affiliation with them – I’m just a satisfied consumer – but I can almost promise you will save money if you utilize that site.

Take Up An Inexpensive Hobby

Hobbies not only open your world to new ideas and experiences but they also take up your time, which is important if you’re someone who tends to entertain yourself by shopping or going out. If you spend an afternoon biking or geocaching instead of shoe shopping or dropping 20 bucks at the movies, your savings can really add up.

Hobbies don’t have to be about collecting pricey memorabilia or purchasing expensive equipment. Think about different things that might interest you – learning to draw, going fishing or exploring your genealogy – and expand your horizons!

The One To Ignore

In researching this article, I read a simple money-saving tip, “Don’t own a pet – even fish cost money to keep alive.” Ack! When I think about the amount of money we spend on high quality kibble, vet care, and boarding for our three big dogs, I consider it a very good investment for the companionship and joy they give us. Pets add so much to our lives, and there are studies showing pets are good for our mental and physical health. Certainly if you are on a tight budget, consider a smaller pet.

The lesson here – don’t go overboard in your frugality. There are some times where spending a lot of money is still money well spent.

"I'm totally worth it." ~Griffin

I hope I’ve given you some new ideas for spending less money. Spending less on everyday purchases will lead to an increase in your emotional wellness, because you won’t experience the stress that comes about from living beyond your means. Spending less also gives you more breathing room in your budget for the things that really matter to you. I’m not advocating that you don’t spend money – just that you spend it on the things you value the most.

Related Article: Want To Eliminate All Your Money Stress? Make A Budget!

Does Your Spending Reflect Your Values?

 

My husband and I attended the Kansas City Pride Festival this weekend, which (among other things) was particularly great for some fantastic people-watching! While I was there, I picked up a small booklet entitled, “Buying For Workplace Equality.” It’s an awesome publication if you, like me, want to make sure that the choices you make about where you spend your money is also a reflection of your own values.

This guide focuses on companies, products and services that support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workplace inclusion. It is organized into categories such as household products, restaurants and retailers, and in each category, various businesses are listed in either green (highest score), yellow (moderate), or red (lowest).

I was intrigued by the booklet because I’ve always believed in the idea that I should use my buying power to patronize businesses that understand and honor the issues that are important to me. I encourage you to do the same!

Tools to help you make informed decisions

The Workplace Equality booklet can be downloaded in PDF format, and you can also request a print copy for free. Or, think about what your own priorities are. If you’re most concerned about the environment, check out Newsweek’s Green Rankings. If you want to spend your money with companies that contribute to particular political parties, www.goodguide.com has a fun, interactive tool that can really help you make informed decisions.

You might prefer to buy products from small stores or local businesspeople (like the fisherman above!). Buying local keeps more money in the community, saves energy, and helps maintain some diversity in the marketplace. If that’s the case, check out the USDA’s listing of over 7000 farmers markets all across the country or take a look at www.independentwestand.org, where you can find a searchable database of independent businesses.

Whatever issues are important to you and your family, you can always find companies that support your values, and you can easily find out which companies have different agendas.

Why is it important that your spending reflects your values?

Part of spiritual wellness is living a life that is true to your values. When you identify your values and then make life decisions that reflect those values, it puts you more in touch with the true you. And the closer you get to the true you (although it is always an ongoing process), the more you move toward inner peace. You gain more clarity and focus on the things that matter to you, and you get inspired to do the things that feed your soul.

By supporting companies that are in line with your own values, you are walking the walk, and not just talking the talk. Your core self will be a little more content, and you will live a more authentic life.

Have you ever made purchasing decisions based on the social issues supported by a company? If so, I’d love to hear from you in the comments, and you can also find us on facebook at www.facebook.com/OneMoveForward!

Emotional Clutter: Clear Your Mind & Be Free To Move Forward

 

When you hear the word “clutter,” you probably think about all the stuff lying around the house – piles of papers on the kitchen counter, overflowing toy boxes, and stacks of books you are going to read some day. But there’s also clutter of another kind – emotional.

This is the “stuff” that clouds your mind, usually made up of negative thoughts about the past or future. It might include things you wish you would have accomplished, regrets you may have, worries about the future, or even doubts about your present life.

Emotional clutter gets in the way of your efforts to live a fulfilling life. It creates obstacles when you’re working toward goals, clouds your thinking and vision for the future, and generally can keep you from moving forward.

Wellness is about making positive choices you can make to create a healthy and balanced lifestyle. And those choices aren’t just about behaviors you want to change like increasing physical activity or adding more vegetables to your diet.

They’re also about taking steps to get rid of the things that aren’t good for you – not only physical things like unhealthy foods – but also emotional “baggage” that doesn’t nurture you or keeps you from moving toward a more positive future.

When you get rid of emotional clutter, you enhance your ability to look out and all around you. If your mind is constantly weighed down by regrets, doubts, and worries, it’s hard to see beyond them to notice and recognize the things that could bring you a better life. All that negative noise in your head can keep you from being in touch with your inner self, and it prevents you from moving toward inner peace.

Signs You Have Emotional Clutter

If you’re not sure if your mind is cluttered by negative emotions, consider the following questions:

  1. What are your thoughts and feelings when you are alone and in a quiet space? Do you feel calm, or do you feel tense and experience anxiety? Do you feel like you need to keep yourself busy to distract yourself from negative feelings, or are you content to just relax?
  2. Do you sometimes feel stuck in the life you are living? Are you satisfied with your life, or have you been dissatisfied for a while? If it’s the latter, have you made any changes to move toward more satisfaction, or do you stay in the same rut even though you know it’s time for a change?
  3. Do you have a hard time letting go of bad relationships? Are there people in your life you would be better off without, but you haven’t made the decision to let them go?
  4. Do you find it difficult to start something new if it requires an emotional investment? Do you have a hard time opening yourself up in new relationships or to new endeavors that pose a challenge?

How To Get Rid Of Your Emotional Clutter

After considering the questions above, if you feel like negative emotions might be holding you back, there are a few steps you can take to “clean house.” Now is the time to let it go!

Think about what is bringing about the negative thoughts and emotional blockages.

For so many people, negative thoughts in adulthood stem from the things they were told as a child.

Are there things your parents or teachers or other adults said to you when you were growing up that affected you? Maybe they had certain expectations of you that you still carry with you today, even though those aren’t the things that make you happy. If you are living your life based on the expectations of someone else, it’s time to separate what you were told versus what is true to the real you.

Regardless of what your parents told you about your relationships, your career, your faith, or your values, find your own truth. Understanding what’s important to you, and then pursuing those things without regard to what others will think, will help you keep negative thoughts away.

If you don’t think your emotional “baggage” stems from childhood messages, try digging deeper. You may have regrets about the past, misgivings about the present, or concerns about the future. If that’s what’s happening, think about the possible origins of those feelings and how those things are causing emotional “buildup.” Consider how you can let go of those regrets or worries, so you can enjoy the present.

Do the tough work to understand and process your negative emotions

When you have some time to sit quietly and reflect for a while, try making a list of all your nagging thoughts. Don’t think too hard, just let your thoughts flow freely and write down anything that pops in your head. Pour out all your regrets, worries, fears, shame/embarrassments or resentments.

When you’re done, review your list and see which ones seem to come up the most. If you can identify recurring themes, you will give you a clearer picture of what is holding you back.

Make things right

If you have regrets or guilt that stem from your actions that impacted someone else, pick up the phone and make your apologies. Send an email or a text if that’s easier. Genuinely express your regrets, and then let it go so you can lighten your load.

Get rid of extra things

If you have emotional clutter, it’s likely you have physical clutter – and vice versa. The two usually go hand-in-hand. One way to start getting rid of emotional clutter is to get rid of the physical things around your house that are unnecessarily piling up.

Can you go through each room in your house and get rid of 10 things? You might very well find that when you get rid of old things you don’t use, you will also chip away at old emotions that have been blocking you for too long.

Throwing things away (or donating or recycling) has a therapeutic and cleansing effect. You will begin to feel like a weight has been lifted because you are actively letting go of the things around you that have been distracting you and slowing you down for a long time.

Cut ties

No, I’m not advocating that you ruthlessly cut people out of your life if you feel they wronged you once or twice. But if there are people who really are bad for you  – you know the ones who push your buttons or only bring negativity or are endlessly critical – it might be time to just make the decision to gently ease them out.

And while you’re at it, remove their number from your phone, delete their email from your contact list, and “un-friend” them on facebook. If he or she is someone who makes you cringe at the mere sight of their name, eliminate the possibility of revisiting old negativity, and you’ll have more free space – both physically and mentally.

Get extra help if you need it

There’s an excellent book called Clutter Busting Your Life: Clearing Physical and Emotional Clutter to Reconnect with Yourself and Others. It’s a great handbook with questions, quizzes and exercises that can help guide you out of whatever is holding you back and move you into a more free and clear place.

If you think you need more help, consider working with a therapist. Your best help might come from an experienced professional who can help you create a customized plan of action to work through whatever is holding you back. Don’t let time or money keep you from this step if you need it. Taking care of yourself is always a good investment – make yourself a priority!

Dream big!

Once you have made the effort to identify the causes of your emotional clutter and you have taken the steps to start clearing them from your mind, it’s time to look forward! Open your mind to all the possibilities your future might hold. Take a look at Bucket Lists: How To Create The Guide To Your Own Life, and start thinking about all the things you would like to do some day.

Look at your relationships, your job, your lifestyle, and think for a minute about all the ways you can make them better. Without the obstacle of emotional clutter, the sky’s the limit on the goals you can set and the achievements you can reach!

Do a little mental spring cleaning, and you can get a fresh start in almost any area of your life. Go for it, and keep me posted on your progress! I’d love to hear from you in the comments about your own work to clear emotional clutter, and you can also connect with me on twitter at @OneMoveForward.

 

 


21 Quick Ways To De-Stress After Work

 

Many people have stressful days at work, and then they go home and have even more stress dealing with everything that has to get done there. Sound familiar? What you might need is just a few minutes to yourself between the time you get home and the time you start tackling all your evening responsibilities, to de-stress and then move forward with a fresh and relaxed outlook. Try some of these ideas, and see what works for you!

21 Quick Ways to Unwind and De-Stress

1. When you get home, before going in the house, sit on the front steps for a few minutes, maybe sort through the mail or just enjoy the fresh air – and then go in the house.

2. Play a quick game of hide-n-seek with your kids.

3. Kick off your shoes, take off your make-up, and change into some comfy clothes for the evening.

4. Pick some flowers, bring them in the house, and put them in a pretty vase.

5. Spend a few minutes reading a magazine article.

6. Sip a cup of tea before you even think about what’s for dinner.

7. Do a few stretchestouch your toes (or shins or knees), roll your head in circles, raise and lower your shoulders as far as you can.

8. Jump in the shower to signal to your body that you’re shifting between work time and family time.

9. Throw a ball for your dog, pet your cat, or have a chat with your bird.

10. On your way home, park a block away from home and walk the rest of the way. After dinner, walk back and get your car.

11. Take a few minutes to meditate or daydream about your next vacation.

12. Before going in the house, have a quick chat with your neighbor.

13. Before you leave the office, turn off your phone’s ringer. Challenge yourself to leave it off all night.

14. Eat a quick energy-boosting and satisfying snack, like a banana or a handful of almonds.

15. Play catch with your kids for a few minutes.

16. Water your flowers and talk to them while you do it!

17. Tidy up the kitchen a bit before you start dinner.

18. Before you get out of your car, sit quietly, close your eyes, and take three long, full breaths.

19. Listen to your favorite music on your way home.

20. Warm some soothing essential oils to freshen the room and relax your mind.

21. Hug your partner, your kids, your pets, your neighbors, and anyone else you can find!

I hope these tips give you some ideas on healthy, calming ways in which you can transition from work to home – with a little break for you in between. Let me know which ones work for you!

Just For Today: Put Flowers On Your Desk To Boost Your Mood

 

I always have fresh flowers on my kitchen table, and when I have a few extra stems, I’ll put them on my desk or nightstand too. I love seeing them when I walk through the room, but what I didn’t know is that there is scientific evidence that shows flowers have the power to boost your mood too!

A study out of Harvard last year confirmed that flowers are a real pick-me-up for people who do not consider themselves “morning people.” The study participants said although they generally feel least positive in the early hours, they reported being happier and more energetic after looking at flowers first thing in the morning!

Flowers will help boost your mood any time of the day – not just in the morning. A recent study from Rutgers showed that the mere presence of flowers triggers happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction and affects social behavior in a positive manner.

So, your Just For Today health challenge is to get some flowers – even just one stem – and put them in a vase on your desk. You don’t need anything extravagant – bring one in from the yard if you’d like. Put the flowers on your desk or wherever you spend the bulk of the day and see if the mere sight (and smell!) of them will cheer you up. I bet it will!

 

6 Quick Ways To Boost Your Self-Confidence

 

If you have difficulty speaking up at meetings, making new suggestions or meeting new people, you might need to build your self-confidence. Self-confidence is different from assertiveness or self-esteem. It’s about doing the things you want to do without feeling anxious or nervous about them.

There are many things you can work on that, over time, will build your self-confidence. You might learn a new skill, become an expert on something, or regularly make an effort to go out of your comfort zone. But what about those times where you are already in a situation that you could benefit from a little self-confidence boost? There are a few easy tricks you can try that might help you out in the moment.

Good Posture (Mom Was Right)

Sometimes just sitting up straight (or standing up tall) can make all the difference in your self-confidence. Look around you in a classroom or at a meeting or in a restaurant. Usually the people who are talking and the ones who have engaged listeners are sitting up tall. And if they are standing, you will notice their shoulders aren’t hunched and their spine isn’t sagging.

If you are looking for a little extra confidence to speak up, try sitting up straight first. Make eye contact, lean forward a bit, and speaking clearly. You’re more likely to be heard that way – and also more likely to be taken seriously!

The Worst That Can Happen Isn’t So Bad

Another quick way to boost your self-confidence is to think, “What’s the worst that can happen?” If you have to speak in front of a group, you might lose your place or not be able to answer an audience member’s question. No big deal – you can take a moment to find your place or tell the questioner you’ll get back to her.

When you really think about what the worst is that can happen, you realize either that bad thing isn’t really that awful or it’s really improbable. Think about the worst case scenario, and your fear is likely to diminish and your ability to step up (or speak up) can become a little stronger.

Speak Slowly

People with vast knowledge or in positions of power often speak slowly. It’s a reflection of their confidence. People lacking in confidence will often race through what they’re saying, if only to quickly get out of the spotlight. Even if you aren’t feeling confident, try to speak slowly. It will give the appearance that you know your topic and are confident about what you’re saying. Portraying that confidence will help you feel the confidence.

Think About Your Strengths

You may sometimes find yourself in a situation where you want to speak up or be more engaged with people around you, yet you are hesitant to join in. If you can’t quite find the confidence to jump in, do a quick mental run-down of your strengths.

If you’re at a party where you don’t know anyone and feel hesitant about joining the conversation, think about how many friends you have and the reasons they like being around you. Maybe you’re a great storyteller or a good listener. Your new acquaintances will probably think so too.

Or if you’re in a meeting with your bosses, and you have a great idea, think about how much you know your topic, how immersed you are in it everyday, and how you might actually know more about some details because it is your daily job. Your bosses want to hear from you because you know your stuff!

By reminding yourself of your strengths, you can give yourself a quick self-confidence boost and find that you are more ready to share ideas and to be heard.

Don’t Worry About Being Perfect

There are never exactly the right or wrong things to say or do in any situation, whether in a personal or business setting. If you want to try a new hobby but worry about failing, you’ll never find out if it’s for you. If you met someone you’re interested in dating, but you aren’t sure exactly how to ask her out, you should know there’s no perfect way that works for everybody.

If you are lacking confidence to try something new or ask someone out, don’t worry about doing it perfectly. Just think about doing your best. Because really, that’s good enough. It’s rare that you try something new or different and it works perfectly the first time. The only way to get better is to keep trying.

Similarly, if you are hesitant to speak up at work because you’re not sure your idea is flawless – speak up anyway. Chances are your idea won’t  be flawless, but that’s okay. Someone else will have another idea to build on yours or maybe another person was thinking exactly as you were and you can work together to find solutions.

You won’t be perfect when you step out of your comfort zone, so don’t try to be. Give yourself permission to have some flaws, and that might be enough to boost your confidence a bit and try something new.

Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

Comparing yourself to yourself and not to others will eliminate a lot of unnecessary pain in your life. You can always find people who are funnier, brighter, richer, or luckier than you. So comparing yourself to others is just an exercise that is destined to bring you down.

Don’t hesitate to ask someone out just because there are other guys present who are more attractive. Don’t hesitate to try to meet new friends just because they might not bond with you immediately. Focus on yourself, not the other people around you, no matter if they are more or less successful. Again, think about what you have to offer, as opposed to what others have. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Focus on what you bring to the table, and you may find that it gives you the extra confidence to do something now that would have made you apprehensive in the past.

Do you have tricks for easy in-the-moment self-confidence boosts? What do you do or say that helps you get past your hesitations? I would love to hear from you in the comments, and you can also connect with me on twitter at @OneMoveForward!

25 Ways To Instantly Boost Your Mood

 

Have you ever had one of those days where everything was going along just fine, and then you get hit with some disappointing news or a really frustrating annoyance and then, even if it is something you should be able to move beyond, for some reason you can’t?

It has happened to me. Usually I can reason my way out of my funk, but then there are other times when it just stops me in my tracks and I become completely unproductive.

I started thinking about ways to work around the mental block when I can’t move through it. Sometimes I find that my day was so thrown off by a disappointment that what I really need is a completely different place to shift my focus – if only for a few minutes.

One way to do that is to know what works for you to instantly boost your mood. No matter who got credit for your idea at work or what kind of grades your kid came home with or how much money it’s going to cost to fix your car, what are the things you can do that immediately help you feel better?

I’ve created a list of instant mood-boosters. See which ones you like, add some of your own, and then think back on your list when you need a little positive push.

25 Instant Mood-Boosters

1. Write down your feelings. Sometimes venting can make a world of difference, and this way – nobody even has to listen!

2. Play your favorite upbeat song – and play it loud enough for the neighbors to hear!

3. Find a mirror, fix your hair, re-apply makeup, and SMILE at yourself!

4. Go for a really brisk walk around the block, and follow that with a long drink of cool water.

5. Spend 5 minutes at a website that makes you laugh. I love the funny, quick reads at Postcards From Yo Momma, and I can always find a laugh at I Can Has Cheezburger.

6. Compliment someone.

7. Fantasize about your dream car.

8. Text a friend to make fun plans for the weekend.

9. Take a quick shower and consider it a new start to your day.

10. Flip through some old photos – maybe from your childhood, your wedding, or your favorite vacation.

11. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a room diffuser. If you don’t already have one, – this “bowl style” one from amazon is simple, pretty, and inexpensive. Just ordering it might boost your mood!

12. Open the blinds and spend a few minutes in the sun. Even better if you can go outside!

13. Paint your nails with the brightest color you own.

14. Plan a road trip.

15. Rummage through a box of your kids’ artwork from when they were little.

16. Text three family members just to say hi.

17. Ask someone in grade school to tell you a funny joke.

18. Roughhouse with your dog.

19. Drive through Starbucks and grab a latte.

20. Grab some crayons or markers, print a fun page from Crayola, and spend 10 minutes coloring.

21. Review your bucket list – cross out the ones you have completed, add a few things, and make plans for what you want to do next.

22. Buy a big bunch of your favorite flowers and put a few stems in each room.

23. Schedule a massage.

24. Send a nice email. Thank your assistant for helping you look great, ask your mom for advice, or tell your babysitter how much your kids love her.

25. Remember that tomorrow is another day. And it will be awesome!

What are your go-to mood boosters? I bet you have a few, and I’d love to hear about them in the comments!