Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Don't believe everything you think!

We have a gazillion thoughts every day, so how many of them are really true?  

(okay maybe a gazillion is a bit off, but you get the idea)

I realize this may be a strange question to ask, but is it really?

We have this belief that every thought we have must be true just because we think it. 

Close your eyes and think: 
I am a pirate, I am a pirate, I am a pirate.
Open your eyes.
Are you really a pirate?  
But you thought it...

Is it possible that other thoughts could be equally untrue?

What about these?
I'm not smart enough
I look terrible today
I will never get better
There is something wrong with me
She is trying to hurt me
How could I be so stupid

With the gazillion thoughts that go through our mind each day we fall into a pattern of believing everything we think.  

Not every thought serves a purpose and is useful.  You can chose which you believe or listen to more than others.  Challenging the validity of a thought can help you to identify those that are not helpful.  

Trying hard to push away or ignore a negative thought is not the same as recognizing it and choosing not to believe it. 

For example, right now I am going to ask you to NOT think about a spider crawling on a web.  
How many of you just thought about a spider crawling on a web?
Instead of fighting with your thoughts, accept that you don't have to believe everything you think!

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

10 tips to increase positivity

Each and every day we will be faced with obstacles and challenges.  Being positive and finding joy can sometimes take some effort.  It is not as tough as you may think!  Here are 10 tips to increase positivity in your life!

1.    Do what makes you happy!
This may seem a bit obvious, but how many of us wait till the weekend or vacation to do something fun?  How often do you say things like, “If I can only get through this next whatever then I will finally get to have fun!”  Since when has fun and happiness become the last thing on our to do list?  Make a list of the things you like to do and look for ways to do a little something each and every day.  Plan for it by scheduling in time, even if only 10 minutes, to do something you enjoy. 

2.    Mindfulness.
The idea of meditation is often met with resistance.  People say it is too hard, they can’t sit still or they don’t have time.  If that is you, then start with the idea of “paying attention”. Start there.  Identify times in your day when you can limit your distractions by turning off your phone or email alerts while completing a task.  Stop multitasking and be present in the moment. 

3.    Call a friend.
Positive and healthy relationships with others can bring happiness into our lives, yet we have become so disconnected.  We have created a false sense of connection through social media and technology without really connecting. Start by making a list of people in your life you wish to see more often and then pick up the phone and make it happen.  Prioritize positive relationships you cherish.  Plan time every day or every week to reach out to someone new. Grab coffee, go for a walk or pick up the phone and call a friend. 

4.    Help someone.
Acts of kindness are not only good for those you help, but good for you too.  Mark Twain said, “The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer somebody else up”.  Little things throughout your day, like letting someone in traffic or holding open a door can increase your positivity each day.

5.    Celebrate your accomplishments.
When we are so busy focused on what we have to do we forget what great things we have done.  Take some time at the end of the day to recognize something you accomplished.  You most likely did more than your realize.  It does not need to be something huge to be meaningful. Pat yourself on the back, you deserve it!

6.    Find the good.
The idea that every cloud has a silver lining is tough to see when you are caught up in the midst of a crisis however over time we see that all experiences shape who we are throughout our lives.  By looking at obstacles as opportunities we are able to identify ways to grow and learn through each challenge.

7.    Know and use your strengths.
What are you good at?  What are your strongest qualities and personality traits?  Do you use them each day?  By understanding where we are the strongest and using those strengths we can increase ease and flow into our lives.  Take some time to identify where you are the strongest and happiest, perhaps ask a loved one.  They often know more than we do about when we shine.  Look at how you spend your time.  Are you using your strengths? If not, how can you increase opportunities to do so?

8.    Get outside and move.
It is well understood that exercise is important part of being healthy and happy, but we often do not get a chance to do as much as we would like.  Take a walk outside and feel the fresh air and sun as often as you can.  If you don’t think that is possible, start small by parking your car further away from a destination and take a few extra minutes walking the long way outside.  Perhaps you can use a bike to get around locally instead of driving.  Take your laptop outside when you need to get work done from home. Look at your daily routines and see where you can add more outdoors to your day.

9.    Gratitude.
Take a few minutes each and every day to ask yourself what you are truly grateful for.  Recognize the blessings in your life and why they are important.  Keep in mind that each and every day you wake up you have something to be grateful for.  Think of the little things.  Share them with a friend.  Ask someone what he is grateful for.

10.                  Talk to yourself like you would talk to someone else
We all have an inner voice that processes and assesses information.  Often that voice is negative and critical. We can be quick to judge, blame and take things personally. Next time you are feeling down, listen carefully to that inner voice and ask yourself if you would say the same thing out loud to a friend in a similar situation.  If not, then what would you say to a friend?  When in conversation with someone else would you be more understanding, positive or kind?  Make that your inner dialogue instead!

If you are looking for a place to practice recognizing check out the facebook group:  “Fill your BAG happy” where you can stay accountable for practicing some of these tips by posting the Best part of your day, your Accomplishments and your Gratitude.
click here for more info