As you get older, it is all too easy to get in a rut - with fixed viewpoints, stuck emotions, ways of being that others can see clearly but you just think are 'right'. A life full of safe solutions. But if you start to shut out new experiences, or if you take less interest in new things, so your capacity for enjoying life diminishes. You stay in your comfort zone, and as you get older, your comfort zone gets smaller and smaller. This is harmful because you not only stop doing things that scare you, but you also stop doing things that give you pleasure.
You need to stop worrying and start living, not just to be happy but for health reasons too. Feeling good is not just a luxury, it is a vital necessity for good health and long life. There is scientific research that supports this. In 1973, Dr Ronald Grossarth-Maticek undertook an experiment on more than 3000 elderly Germans. He measured how often they felt pleasure. In 1994 he followed up and found that those with the highest scores were 30 times more likely to be alive and well than those with low scores.
Can you remember the last time you had a moment of pure joy?
It is possible to change your life so that you have that delightful feeling as often as you want...
- What makes you happy?
Write down a list of things that make you excited, however big, small, likely or unlikely. Then work to make them occur more often. And appreciate the good things you take for granted - your child's hug or a good book. Look for moments of joy and savour them. recognize how many happen every day. Feeling good can be a way of life, not just an occasional accident.
- Take care of your health
Eating well and getting plenty of exercise will raise your spirits. Lack of nutrients will get you down so don't skip meals or make do with junk food. Physical exercise is known to stimulate endorphins that lift depression and anxiety - so walk, swim, run or whatever you like doing best.
Smiling triggers happy feelings in the brain and reduces stress. Even if you don't feel happy or confident just behave as though you do and soon you will. Find the joy in your life and you'll be more attractive and nicer to be around, people will be nicer to you too - and you'll smile some more! Joy is infectious but so is misery; therefore don't have anything whatever to do with people who dampen your spirits, invalidate your achievements or tell you what to think.
- Make the most of your resources
Beware of 'mustabation', the belief that you must have a new relationship, a better job and a bigger house before you can be happy. Extremes of thought only set you up for failure. Remember, what you want is what you've not yet got but what you need is all around you! Don't chuck the baby out with the bathwater, work to improve things.
- Get positive
Write down every negative thought you have over the course of a week, whether it's "My family don't appreciate me" or "I look dreadful." Negativity is a habit and we often don't realize we're doing ourselves down. Under each negative thought you've written, see if you can spot an alternative way of looking at it, that isn't so negative. See if you've exaggerated the situation or overly generalized, or if you are being unnecessarily intolerant, or thinking in 'should' and 'ought-to' terms.
- Recognize all possibilities but expect success
There's a world of difference between expecting failure or rejection - so as not to be disappointed when it occurs - and recognizing it as a possibility. It's sensible to look at a situation from all angles and to have a back-up plan to fall back on if need be. People who do this will often see failure as another step on the road to eventual success; but by expecting and envisioning success, there's less likely to be a failure. You naturally move towards whatever you envision. Those who dwell on the worst case scenario, on the other hand, and give themselves worry and stress, tend to be devastated when it actually happens, even though they've been predicting it.
- Assert your rights
Think of things which you have a right to, e.g. "I have a right to an evening out with my friends from time to time." Think of rights that every human being should have, such as, "I have the right not to be bullied." Now, protect your rights with your life, and watch your integrity and self-esteem grow.
- Nurture your relationships
Take time and trouble over your friends and your partner. Talk and laugh with them and - especially - listen and understand their points of view. Don't make being right more important than a friendship. People with a few close friends are more likely to be happy than those with many mere acquaintances.
- Give yourself some time
For most of us, life is fast-paced. Be sure to put aside a little time every day for yourself - relax with a book, in the bath or sitting in the garden with the sun on your face. Think of some things that make you happy - worrying solves nothing. And at night time, go to bed early enough that you get enough sleep to feel your best the next day.
- Put things in perspective
When something's gone wrong it's tempting to believe nothing will ever go right again. Put it in perspective - things go wrong sometimes, even when life's really good. Life is for learning and without mistakes you learn very little. Notice when you exaggerate or generalize about an issue - "It's unbearable ..." or "Everyone thinks ..." - and re-phrase your thoughts more realistically.
- Take control
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by a task, break it down into small segments that you know you can do and start on the first one. If you have lots of incomplete jobs, list them in order of priority and tackle the most important job first. This way you have a sense of achievement at each step - and you'll soon find yourself getting a whole lot more accomplished. Production equals morale.
If you have a problem, the thing to do is to communicate: find out the information you need to get the full picture, so that the solution becomes apparent. If you're upset, you need to communicate and say how you feel. If you've done something wrong, again you need to communicate this. Spot where you're backing off from what you then need to do or say, and as the saying goes, "feel the fear and do it anyway". You'll be glad you did!
- Be creative
Making something come to life that you have envisioned - whether a painting, a wonderful meal, a dress, an invention, a business plan - is infinitely satisfying. And you'll feel pleasure every time you think of it. If you want to be happy, get active - at work, within the family and the community. You will feel happier when you're participating in an activity, whether it's just playing with a child or helping organize a worthwhile event.
- Live for the moment
Joy is often about living in the moment, being absorbed in what you're doing, not brooding on the past or guessing your future. Decide what YOU really want and then go for it. This may mean a job, a friendship or a hobby. It can take courage but it's worth the risk. Then give yourself wholeheartedly to the present moment.
- You deserve it
Self-esteem comes from demonstrated competence. Everyone has skills but not everyone uses them. So use your skills - find out what you're good at and do it. Tell yourself that you deserve all the praise that comes your way and wallow in it!
Get the life you want!
Changing your life for the better isn't easy. You know what you want but getting it seems a lifetime away. Family commitments, financial problems and fear of the unknown can all hold you back - but going for your goals can give your life the boost it needs. Happiness often depends on how close you are to what you would like to be. Here, we take the first steps towards finding the new you.
- Make a list of things you used to enjoy in your last year at school - aim for 10 or 15 activities. Put a tick next to those you still enjoy. From the others, pick one activity and do it in the next week - yes, do it!
- Force yourself out of the comfort zone. Taking steps to push out the boundaries of your experience will ensure that you continue to enjoy life. Think of an activity that you normally wouldn't consider, such as taking a cold shower. Each day turn the water from hot to cold while you're under the shower, and gradually lengthen the time you stay there each day until it's a minute or more. After a week, turn on the cold water for just 10 seconds - it should seem easy: Your comfort zone has expanded.
Of course, this takes self-control. For this week, every time your lazy or scared self wants to say 'No', say 'Yes'. It should be quite an educational experience.
Decide what you want
Write down five things that are really important to you: they might include a nice house, loving supportive partner, the chance to travel, a good job, etc. Now look at your current life and see how it matches up. These questions can help you pinpoint problem areas:
What are you doing that you want to do?
What are you doing that you don't want to do?
What are you not doing that you want to do?
In the light of this information, clarify your goals. Be specific - before you can plan how to achieve a goal it needs to be stated in a way that is realistic, measurable and time-targeted.
Your action plan should be broken down into manageable chunks - the steps you know you can make that, one by one, will take you to where you want to go.
Unpredicted obstacles may occur so it is important to stay flexible and to think laterally. Life is a game - think of it like that and don't take anything too seriously. Enjoy the challenges life offers!
Some Tips To Conquer Melancholy
Being lonely is a normal part of our everyday lives. We get sad when we fail in our exams, when we're rejected by the person we love, or when someone very close to us passes away. Depression, however, has consequences that could ruin your self-esteem, health, and well-being. Here are some simple tips to conquer the melancholic mood and get the most out of your daily activities...
- Get Enough Light and Sunshine.
Lack of exposure to sunlight is responsible for the secretion of the hormone melatonin, which could trigger a dispirited mood and a lethargic condition. Melatonin is only produced in the dark. It lowers the body temperature and makes you feel sluggish. If you are always cooped up in your room (with the curtains closed), it would be difficult not to feel a bit down. This is the reason why many people suffer from depression much more often in winter than in the other seasons. It's because the days are shorter. If you can't afford to get some sunshine, you can always lighten up your room with brighter lights. Have lunch outside the office. Take frequent walks instead of driving your car over short distances.
- Get Busy. Get Inspired.
You'll be more likely to overcome any feeling of depression if you are too busy to notice it. Live a life full of inspired activities. Do the things you love. If you're a little short on cash, you could engage in simple activities like taking a leisurely stroll in the park, playing sports, reading books, or engaging in anything that you have a passion for and love to pursue. Find a goal, a meaningful purpose in life - something that really gets you going, and sets your heart on fire. No matter how difficult or discouraging life can be, remain firm and have an unshakable belief that you are capable of doing anything you set your heart on. With this kind of positive attitude, you will attain a cheerful disposition to beat the blues.
- Take a Break.
Listen to soothing music. Soak in a nice warm bath. Ask a close friend to massage you. Take a break from your stressful workload and spend the day just goofing around. In other words, have fun.
- Eat Right and Stay Fit.
Avoid foods with lots of sugar, caffeine, or alcohol. Sugar and caffeine may give you a brief moment of energy; but they are stimulants and later bring about anxiety, tension, and health problems. Alcohol on the other hand is a depressant. Many people drink alcohol to "forget their problems," but the problems remain and only seem more oppressive, not less.
Exercising regularly is a vital depression buster because it allows your body to produce more endorphins than usual. Endorphins are sometimes called "the happy chemicals" because of their stress-reducing and happiness-inducing properties.
- Get a Social Life.
No man is an island. Your circle of friends are there to give you moral support. Spending time and engaging in worthwhile activities with them could give you a very satisfying feeling. Nothing feels better than having group support. Friends are important - not to have many shallow ones but just a few really genuine ones. To find such friends you simply have to be friendly yourself, then friendships naturally follow.
Never underestimate the power of touch and support. Doesn't it feel so good when someone pats you on the back and gives you words of encouragement during your most challenging times? Hug or embrace someone today. You may have changed another's life.
Get intimate. Establish close ties with your family and friends. The love and care expressed by others can tremendously boost your immune system and fend off illnesses. Best of all, you'll live a more secured and happy life.
These are all things you can do for yourself, to fill your life with enjoyment, pride, affection and enthusiasm. There will probably still be issues causing anger, sadness, anxiety, guilt or frustration that remain. The mind is complex and heavily conditioned into patterns of behavior and fixed thinking that require a course of practical training to resolve. And there are many life skills you may want to improve and new ways of thinking that you might not have considered...
If you really are interested in starting a new life, I recommend you consider the home-study
New Life Course. This program will help you immensely - it will enable you to begin a whole new life!
Meanwhile, to get to know yourself better - what are your strengths and areas that need working on - take a look at the Questionnaire, Know Your Own Mind.
To laugh is to risk appearing a fool
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental
To reach out for another is to risk involvement
To expose feelings is to risk rejection
To place your dreams before a crowd is to risk ridicule
To love is to risk not being loved in return
To go forward in the face of overwhelming odds
is to risk failure
But risks must be taken
because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing
does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrows,
but he cannot learn, feel, change, grow, or love.
Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave -
he has forfeited his freedom.
Only a person who takes risks is FREE
Why Do Personal Development?
All too often our personal development has already ended by the time we reach adulthood. We've 'grown up' and know enough to hold down a job. If we are fortunate we find our niche and as much as possible solve the problems of survival, then we stick with those solutions. But our upbringing hasn't taught us most of what we need to know in order to make the most of our potential, to have truly fulfilling careers and relationships.
We've learned to play a role but our emotions may scare and mystify us. We may not have learned to express our needs nor to listen generously to others. We may have lost touch with the intuitive and creative faculties that we knew as children and now try to work things out analytically, hampered by the false information indoctrinated into us.
We cling to a set of beliefs and our minds become less and less open. We may not even like ourselves much, far short of recognizing the power and loving nature of our inner, spiritual selves. Our personal development has only begun; surely it should not stop there?
A natural trait of humans is to be constantly developing, growing and moving toward a balanced and mature way of being. Our present personality is determined by both who and what we have been and by the person we strive to become. The goal of personal development is to learn and apply that which enables us to attain emotional wellbeing, understanding and effectiveness, and mindful awareness, and to share this knowledge with others.
Personal development is the conscious evolution of human nature, and yet throughout history it has been sorely lacking! Although it is in our nature to learn and grow, we are held back by our culture, which is predominantly focused on survival needs, each of us in competition with others, and our spiritual inner nature is repressed. The animal rules. We make no room for unconditional love.
Even though the culture may have evolved with technological advancement and administrative complexity, human nature has not moved forward as it might. Our consciousness and mindfulness remain as always. We are now paying the price for Mankind's selfishness and inconsideration. Going forward, the quality of our lives on this planet - even our survival - now depends on each of us taking responsibility for our personal growth.
The human being needs to awaken to the soul that inhabits each body and is our true self and source of inner knowing. Awaken through a process of self-discovery, leading to one's own, self-directed spirituality. We need to become mindfully conscious instead of ruled by the dictates of instincts, past habits and fixed beliefs. We need to throw away dogma, open our minds and reconsider. Instead of fear about our survival and competitive angst, we will then be motivated by compassionate understanding and creative love.
For those that do move forward, the next epoch - that is upon us now in 2013 - will be a celebration of human cooperation and shared love. It's our best hope for the future - and it's in our hands.
“I believe you can have a much better life if you are true to your core self - therefore guided by love and intuitive inner knowing. And further, you can learn to develop your creative potential and advance holistically: in body, mind and spirit.” ~ Peter Shepherd, Founder of Trans4mind.com