Category Archives: Psychology

The 8 Commandments of Fighting Fairly

Quarreling with your partner doesn’t have to wreck the relationship—in fact, it can actually help. Just follow these expert ground rules.

Whether you’ve been in a relationship for a few months, a few years, or a few decades, you’re bound to fight with your partner at some point. But what constitutes “fighting” is different for every couple: Some only admit to having disagreements; others say they occasionally bicker; some seethe in silence, while others don’t believe they’ve had a real fight until someone yells. “There are negative and unhealthy ways to fight, but disagreeing is not unhealthy,” says Laurie Mintz, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Florida and author of Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex. Since you’re going to squabble, try these eight ways to stay in fighting form without going down for the count.

Keep the goal of the fight in mind.

“The goal of the fight is to get closer, to understand each other better, to resolve an issue so you don’t have to face it over and over again,” says Mintz. Take a deep breath during the fight and think to yourself, “This is a person I love and respect and they probably have a valid point. I need to listen and to find a grain of truth in what they’re saying.” Nothing de-escalates an argument more than someone acknowledging the truth in what the other person is saying, even if they’re not in complete agreement.

Voice grievances the right way.

Before the fight even begins, couples should ideally share a culture of appreciation and respect so that they don’t resort to defamation of character, says Carrie Cole, M.Ed., LPC-S, Certified Gottman Master Trainer, Center For Relationship Wellness. If you want to have a difficult discussion before it becomes a fight, Mintz suggests saying, “There’s something I want to talk about, is this a good time?” Then start the conversation in a gentle way and take ownership of your issue, saying, “I have a problem with…[fill in the blank],” suggests Cole. Allow yourself to accept input from your partner and try to see things from their point of view. Remember, part of the reason you’re with this person is that your value systems are aligned.

Know when it’s okay to go to bed mad.

You probably heard that “you should never go to bed angry,” but experts say there are times when you might need to sleep on the issue. If you or your partner is exhausted—or one of you drank alcohol that escalated the fight—it’s okay to say, “I love you, let’s talk about it in the morning.” By then, hopefully the intensity will have dissipated, and one of you might realize you were just tired or feeling sensitive. “You have to judge the situation,” says Mintz. “If you’re too exhausted to resolve a fight, stop it before it goes downhill fast.” Just be sure to address it within 24 to 48 hours, before you get wrapped up in life again. Because if you just “move on” but aren’t emotionally connected, the next argument that comes up will likely include this fight in it as well and be too overwhelming to deal with, says Cole.

Don’t have a “kitchen sink” fight.

If you and your partner are arguing about finances, don’t throw in “everything and the kitchen sink,” meaning other grievances you have about parenting, in-laws, sex, or anything else that isn’t immediately relevant. Keep the fight focused on what you’re fighting about. Resolve one issue at a time and don’t bring everything into it. If there’s an issue from the past that keeps resurfacing when you argue, set aside time to deal with it when you’re not mad, or consider addressing it in couples counseling.

Be a master communicator.

While you might be tempted to unleash fury on your husband when he’s late picking you up, it’s better to start with “I” statements and own your feelings. We know it’s not easy to speak calmly and share your emotions when you’re fired up about something, but yelling, “You left me waiting for 20 minutes and are so inconsiderate!” will elicit a different response from your partner than, “I was left waiting for 20 minutes and it made me feel uncared for and hurt.” Describe yourself rather than your partner. “Instead of calling your partner a liar, say something like, ‘I need transparency and honesty,’” says Cole.

Put yourself in timeout.

If things are getting heated and the fight isn’t going well, take a break. When you get very upset, your heart rate goes up and stress hormones are released, says Cole. Not only that but the brain’s frontal lobes, which handle logic and communication skills, shut down. What is activated in the brain is the “flight or fight response” that our cavewoman ancestors used to deal with life-threatening situations. The bottom line: When you’re angry, you might be in danger of engaging your mouth before your brain and saying something hurtful, so tell your partner that you need a timeout to think it through, suggests Mintz.

Remain emotionally trustworthy.

Avoid saying things like “I’m done,” “Let’s end this,” or “I want a divorce” when you’re in a fight. “Someone might say this because they want to grab their partner’s attention,” says Cole. “But it makes their partner feel unsafe and insecure in the relationship.” If those kinds of things get said often, then the partner either stops believing them, or feels that sharing feelings will “end” the relationship. “Bad words are like bullets—you can’t take them back once they’re out,” says Mintz. Fighting fairly is about slowing yourself down and asking yourself if you’re arguing to get closer or to hurt your partner. If you did say something that hurt your loved one, stop and say, “I messed up, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that.”

Pick and choose your battles.

When you’re living with someone, it’s safe to assume they’re going to do things that you don’t agree with or that get under your skin. While you shouldn’t complain about every annoying thing your partner does, if one of them truly hurts or upsets you and you can’t let it go, make sure you address the issue so it doesn’t appear in other fights, suggests Mintz. And be willing to “give in” on some things. Decide what you are willing to be flexible with (perhaps not griping out loud about dirty socks left on the floor) and work to resolve things you feel more strongly about (like if your partner makes fun of you in front of friends).

Story Source: The above story is based on materials found on realsimple.com. The original article was written by Diana Kelly.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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12 Actionable Tips To De-Stress And Feel Happier Right Now

If you clicked on this article you probably feel stressed right now. There are many things that make us feel anxious – an awkward conversation with the boss, family issues or a fight with your partner.The good news is that you can instantly fight back the “S Word” with these simple tips to destress. Take a deep breath. Ready? Now relax!

1. Go for a walk

Yes, it’s as simple as that. Ten minutes outside will help you clear your mind and boost endorphins – a powerful antidote to stress hormones. Have a stroll in a park, go out to the garden and plan an escape into the wood on the weekends. Nature is one of the most powerful (and free!) stress-relievers out there as a recent study proved. If you cannot step outside right now, find a window with a view on something leafy and green and take your “zen” moment. Solely visual encounters with nature, as well, have actionable positive influences on your psychological and physiological states.

2. Buy a plant

Did you know that a small pot on your desk can actually help you to calm down? A research conducted by Washington State University proved that being around plants drastically reduces anxiety and drops blood pressure. For an easier breathe, get a snake plant for your office. It absorbs carbon dioxide during the day and releases oxygen during the night (while most plants do it vice versa), so that your morning begins with clean-air boost to kick-start your productivity. Or a spider plant – still one of the most effective air-purifying plants according the NASA study in late 80s. It consumes and transforms harmful pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and more, thus making us healthier and more content.

3. Do a quick breathing exercise

One of the oldest techniques discovered nearly 3000 years from Ayurveda practices is gaining control of your “pranayama” – the life force or simply, your breath. Deep breathing stimulates parasympathetic reactions in our body, which helps us to relieve the tension and calm down. Shallow quick breathing does not allow our body to get enough oxygen and is considered as a “fight or flight” reaction by our brains, thus provoking stress. According to Herbert Benson, a researcher from Harvard, short periods of meditation, using breathing as a focus, can significantly alter the body’s stress response and even change the expression of some genes. Here are a few simple techniques to try:

Sama Vritti or “Equal Breathing”: deeply inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four. All through the nose, which adds a natural resistance to the breath. Keep the focus on the same thought while doing the exercise.
Kapalabhati or “Skull Shining Breath”: start with a long, slow inhale, followed by a rapid, powerful exhale coming from the lower belly. Once you feel more comfortable with the contraction, speed up the pace to one inhale-exhale (all through the nose) every two seconds, for a total of 10 breaths.

4. Chew a gum

Feeling overwhelmed with ongoing tasks? Chew a gum to stay focused and reduce your anxiety. According to Andrew Scholey from Swinburne University in Melbourne, using a chewing gum while balancing numerous tasks improves overall attentiveness and effectiveness. During the research gum-chewers performed 67% better on multi-tasks and showed a reduction in anxiety by 17% during mild stress and 10% in moderate stress situations compared to non-chewers.

5. Squeeze out a smile

Even a phony fake smile will reduce your stress levels according to the “facial feedback” theory of emotion. Our brains constantly analyze changes in our body from posture and muscle pressure to facial expression, thus judging how you actually feel right now. In simple words if you act like a happy person, you’ll start feeling like one! Is there nothing to cheer you up right now? Place a pencil vertically between your teeth to mimic a genuine smile. As another research proved, participants who were holding a pencil vertically in their mouth felt less stressed when solving a mental challenge and reported to endure less pain while going through the pain induction.

6. Eat a banana, potato or an avocado

BananasAll of them contain a lot of potassium – a property known to reduce blood pressure jumping sky high as you feel stressed. The also help your body to gain the necessary energy for recovery and even protect you from negative stress-related consequences like strokes and heart attacks.

7. Listen to some music

Music is known to have a lot of healing powers. It can reduce both the distress of chronic and postoperative pains; relieve depression and increase self-esteem in elderly people; reduce burnouts and improve the mood among pressured nursing students. It even makes patients less anxious and stressed before surgery. Classical music has a particularly soothing effect – it calms down the heart rate, cuts back the amount of stress hormones and reduces blood pressure. However, it could be any of your favorite songs to flood your brain with “the happiness hormone” – dopamine.

8. Do progressive muscle relaxation exercises

Researches have found that a series of simple progressive muscle relaxation exercises once a week significantly reduces blood pulse, pressure and overall anxiety even for people suffering clinical depression or other psychological disorders. Sit down, close your eyes and tighten your foot muscles (starting from toes) as much as you can. Than relax. Gradually make you way up tightening and relaxing each muscle until you’ve reached your forehead. The exercises works miracles when done with a soothing tune in your headphones.

9. Treat yourself with something sweet

8AAE528F08-1024x682Eat a candy or a piece of cookie (one piece!) as it is the fastest aid to reduce both psychological and physical stress. Sugar can decrease the production of glucocorticoid – a stress-related hormone linked to decreased immune response and obesity. And yes, that must be something really syrupy, not a low-calorie sugar-substantive variety.

10. Create Cushions in Your Calendar

Tight schedules and constant multi-tasking are one of the most common contributors to stress nowadays. When you have a lot of things to cross of your to-do list, you find yourself in a constant hurry, juggling a bunch of things at a time and not being properly focused on any of them. By creating cushions in your calendar you avoid stressful situations in the first place. Always leave enough time from you to reach from point A to point B despite any possible obstacles you may face. If you have an important meeting scheduled for 10 am, go out of home 30 min earlier than your usual time, so you could spend your commuting time calmly revising your notes, instead of rushing and stressing out due to heavy traffic.

11. Use the Naam yoga hand trick

Once you feel anxiety rising up, say during difficult negotiations, press a point between your second and third knuckles, just at the spot where your finger and hand meet. It will instantly make you feel calmer! Also, try moving your thumb down the middle finger toward your palm till you feel a soft, slightly indented spot. It should be on the inside of your finger of your palm. Applying medium pressure here will loosen the area around the heart and make your anxiety go away notes Sharon Melnick, author of the “Success Under Stress” program.

12. Stop Should-ing Yourself

After all, we are our own worst enemies in terms of stress. How many times have you told yourself that you should go to that date (but you knew it’s going to be pathetic!), you should meet you old friend (though you had hardly anything in common as you grew up) or that you should go through with the wedding as all the invitation have been sent and tons of money spent? Those “should”s crush your soul and make you feel anxious about making life decisions. As Lissa Rankin, M.D states: “If you ignore the soul’s guidance, the soul may guide you through painful interventions, like loss or illness.” Stay true to yourself and listen to your heart more often! It does no harm to you.

Found here http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/12-actionable-tips-stress-and-feel-happier-right-now.html

14 Things You Miss When Constantly Staring At Your Smartphone

Smartphone are great – they contain apps that increase work productivity, that decrease the feeling of loneliness through social media, that play music and videos and show inspiring pictures. But oftentimes they stand between you and the world around you. The world is a beautiful place, and you should take some time every once in a while to just perceive it. You might miss a lot of cool events and sights when staring at your phone all day, including some of the things below:

1. You’re missing your own thoughts when you have nothing prompting them.

Benjamin Franklin used to schedule dedicated “Free Association” time – time in which he did nothing and just let his thoughts move free-flow. He would often come up with some of his best ideas during this time. Let your mind wander, and you might stumble across the idea for the next bifocals, as Franklin did.

2. You’re missing the leaves in fall and the first snow in winter.

The color of the leaves in fall and the texture of the first snow are things that will never be truly captured in an Instagram picture, so just soak it in for your own memories.

3. You’re missing neighborhood artwork.

You probably walk the same path home every day, but have you ever truly seen it? Quit checking Facebook as you walk – there might be a mural on the grocery store down the street that you have never seen because you were on your smartphone.

4. You’re missing talented street performers.

You just walk past Chicago’s Bucket Boys or the Naked Cowboy on Times Square because you were on Tinder. Look up and enjoy the sights!

5. You’re missing how quiet it is on the train on Monday mornings.

People on the way to work are often just waking up, but there is no other occasion in which you can cram several hundred strangers into a metal box and have them remain calm and silent. Enjoy it.

6. You’re missing a block or a turn and goes in the wrong direction.

You may be using Google Maps to get where you are going, but when you switch to check Twitter, you missed your turn. Look up every once in a while to make sure you are on track!

7. You’re missing the “Don’t Walk” sign at a cross walk.

Whoops, you almost got hit by a car while you were responding to that text. Again. You can easily avoid that by taking your eyes of your phone when you cross the street.

8. You’re missing how much fun dogs have when they go on walks.

I wish I loved anything as much as any dog loves going for a walk. Stop and pet the frisky guy as he goes past you, it will make both of you happy.

9. You’re missing how much fun kids have when they’re playing.

Children’s laughter is pretty unique, and it’s pretty easy to elicit. Remember when it took only a game of tag to make you laugh, and not a meme?

10. You’re missing how good your food actually tastes – not just how it looks.

Sure you can take a picture of your meal, but after you do, make sure you remember how it tastes. Don’t troll for comments and likes while eating. Your food will taste better.

11. You’re missing the pure musical energy at a major concert.

I get that part of the experience of going to a concert is sharing your coolness for doing so, but putting a third-rate, shaky YouTube clip of a B-Side of the band on your Twitter account is not worth as much as just soaking in the ambiance. Dance your ass off instead.

12. You’re missing the cute stranger at the end of the bar.

You can either check Tinder or OkCupid at the bar or talk to real people at the bar. One has been working for eons, and the other was invented in the last ten years by profit-hungry companies. Go old school and talk to new people.

13. You’re missing the end of a real joke.

Your date is making an effort to impress you, and you missed the funny part of a joke because of an email. No wonder no one tells jokes anymore.

14. You’re missing how your child’s day was.

Instead of telling the world via a status update about your workday, ask your kid how his day was. It will make a difference.

Found here http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/15-things-you-miss-when-constantly-staring-your-smartphone.html

The Most Proven Technique For Increasing Long Term Happiness

Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before you go to sleep.Write down three things that went well today and why they went well.

You may use a journal or your computer to write about the events, but it is important that you have a physical record of what you wrote. The three things need not be earthshaking in importance (“My husband picked up my favorite ice cream for dessert on the way home from work today”), but they can be important (“My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy”).

Next to each positive event, answer the question “Why did this happen?

For example, if you wrote that your husband picked up ice cream, write “because my husband is really thoughtful sometimes” or “because I remembered to call him from work and remind him to stop by the grocery store.” Or if you wrote, “My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy,” you might pick as the cause “God was looking out for her” or “She did everything right during her pregnancy.”

Writing about why the positive events in your life happened may seem awkward at first, but please stick with it for one week. It will get easier. The odds are that you will be less depressed, happier, and addicted to this exercise six months from now.

Found here http://time.com/3709747/increasing-long-term-happiness/

When Someone You Love Is Having a Tough Time, Remind Them of These 20 Things

If someone you love is having a tough time right now, there are some things that you can remind them of which will help them trough their difficulties. Whatever you say to someone who is struggling, the most important thing is to ensure your tone of voice and demeanor is appropriate. Remind your loved one of the following things in a warm, encouraging way, and not in a “pull your socks up” way. Your approach will make all the difference to the response you get.

1. It’s OK Not to Be OK

When people are struggling, they often make themselves feel worse by placing unrealistic expectations on themselves. They beat themselves up for having a problem and feeling unable to cope with it. Remind your loved one that they are no less of a person just because they are facing something challenging right now. You love them and will support them in good times and bad.

2. You’re Not Alone

Identifying with the person who is struggling can help them feel better. They realize, then, that they are not bearing the weight of the world alone. Remind them that others have had this problem, and that they already have found a way through it. Just knowing that they are not alone can help them feel less lonely and more hopeful. Encourage your loved one to join a support group or forum if appropriate.

3. Let Go of Blame

Sometimes when people are struggling, they either want to blame themselves or other people for their circumstances. It’s OK to initially express anger and frustration, but wallowing in feelings of unfairness or blame will make them feel worse and wastes their energy. Help your loved one to see that the way out their difficulties is in looking for solutions and not in assigning blame or hanging onto angry feelings.

4. Struggles Make You Stronger

Wisdom, strength and resilience can all be built from the foundations of tough times. Help your loved one to see how they’re growing as a person, even if they feel like they’re going through hell. It’s so important not to be glib or patronizing when you’re saying this ‒ actually tell your loved one the new strengths you see in them.

5. Take a Step Back

People going through tough times often lose perspective, because they feel so mired in the problem itself. Reminding someone to step back from the situation can help them to see things in a fresh light, and will help them find new solutions.

6. Nothing Lasts Forever

The terrible thing about really tough times is that they feel like they will go on forever. But, in reality, nothing lasts forever ‒ not even the most horrible emotions or the direst circumstances. Reminding your loved one of this can help them gain perspective and feel comforted at the same time.

7. Take Things Step By Step

Tough times can often bring complex and confusing feelings, and those who are struggling may feel paralyzed and unable to make decisions. Remind them that they don’t have to solve the whole problem at once. If they just do the next right thing, they will start to make progress.

8. Look For The Open Door

When life shuts one door, another one will always open. Losing something will always lead to new opportunities, but only if you are open to them. Remind your loved one to stay alert to fresh opportunities and solutions.

9. Just Do Your Best

People who are struggling can put so much pressure on themselves to get things right that they feel even more upset when they don’t meet their own unrealistic expectations. Remind them that as long as they just do their best, that’s all that matters. They are human, after all. Their best is good enough.

10. You’ve Come Through Tough Times Before

If someone you love is having a hard time, it may be difficult for them to see their strengths. Reminding them that they have already survived tough times before can show them that there is an end in sight, and that they have the strength to reach it.

11. You’re Brave

Most people who are struggling refuse to acknowledge how strong and brave they actually are. They may see themselves as weak and scared. Remind them that courage is not the absence of fear. It’s the willingness to go on even when you’re afraid.

12. There Is Something Good in Each Day

Going through difficulties can lead to a negative mindset. If someone is really going through a desperately hard time, and dealing with something like depression, being all happy-clappy with them won’t work. But do ask them about the good things in their life, what has gone well, and what they have achieved. It will help them to see a glimmer of hope, even in the darkness.

13. Look at What You’re Gaining

Even when someone has a difficult problem, there will always be an upside to it. Whether it’s finding out who their true friends are when they’re struggling, or having the opportunity to develop patience, strength and problem-solving abilities, there will always be a silver lining. Help your loved one to find it.

14. It’s Not Your Fault

Sometimes when people are struggling, they take their problems very personally, almost believing that their difficulties are sent in some way to punish them. If your loved one is doing this, reminding them that it’s not their fault can help them feel relieved.

15. Well Done

Validating someone for their efforts when they’re having a miserable time can make a big difference in their day. If someone is struggling, they may not acknowledge their own hard work. Giving them praise can help them feel rewarded and appreciated..

16. Focus on Now

Often people make their tough times even tougher by worrying about the future or fretting about the past. They may add to their misery by letting themselves think back to all the times life has treated them badly or that they’ve failed before; or they may fear that their current difficulty will lead to yet more problems. Remind them to focus on now, because that’s the only part of the story they can change at the moment.

17. Nothing Is Ever the End of the World

Very few problems, however big or small, can actually stop you from breathing. You can encourage your loved one by reminding them that everything is survivable and beatable. They will find a way of dealing with this issue, however tough, if only they keep trying.

18. Be Kind To Yourself

When someone is going through a hard time, they may feel so frustrated by their problems that they resort to beating themselves up or not allowing themselves a minute of reprieve from the issue. Remind your loved one that tough times are easier when we’re kind to ourselves. They are allowed “time off” from their problem to have a laugh, treat themselves, and be around good people. Relieving stress can actually help them to come back to the problem refreshed and recharged.

19. People Want to Help

If your loved one is suffering, they may believe that they have to go through it all by themselves. They may not want to burden others with their problems, and won’t want to ask for help. Remind them that most people are amenable to helping; in fact, helping feels good. The reason people have different strengths is precisely so that they can help each other. Encourage your loved one to seek extra help should they need it.

20. I’m There For You

The strength of these words can not be underestimated. Letting your loved one know that you’re there for them, and that you will listen to their feelings, dry their tears, or even just be around, can mean everything to someone going through hell. Just being a non-judgmental, caring presence in your loved one’s life can make a massive difference in how they feel and how they cope.
Found on http://raffaellagrassi.blogspot.com/

Advice for People in Their Twenties

I found this list on the Internet. And loved it. It is simple and driven by care of elders towards youngsters. Maybe worth to read and remember it. Please share with those in their 20s you love most.

1. Find three hobbies you love: one to make you money, one to keep you in shape, and one to be creative.

2. Getting a degree matters, but getting the right degree matters even more.

3. Leave every job you have on good terms. Do not burn your bridges.

4. See the world while you still don’t have a ton of responsibilities.

5. Don’t live on the Internet. Go out and experience real life.

6. Don’t give up what you want most for what you want now.

7. Read. A lot.

8. Dress to impress.

9. Never pinch pennies on brakes or tires.

10. Never stop learning

11. Marry someone you consider your best friend.

12. All adventures in life start by just showing up.

13. Drama is never worth putting up with.

14. Value experiences over possessions.

15. Drive slow in bad weather.

16. Money comes and goes. Time just goes.

17. Don’t judge yourself on your intentions but your actions.

18. Always make new mistakes.

19. Don’t rely on other people to make you happy.

20. Bite less; chew more.

Simple Ways to Sleep a Lot Better at Night

If you sleep like a baby – meaning you wake up crying every two hours – forget the Ambien and warm milk. Take steps to eliminate the stress and anxiety that keeps you awake.
Try a few of these:

1. Step back from one thing you really care about… but have no ability to impact.

For some people it’s politics. For others it’s family. For others it’s global warming. You care — and you desperately want others to care.
Fine. Do what you can: Vote. Lend a listening ear. Recycle and reduce your carbon footprint. Do what you can do. Be your own change… but don’t try to make everyone else change.
They won’t – unless they decide to on their own.

2. Stay out of other people’s business.

Help. Offer guidance. Encourage. Motivate.
But don’t gossip. Don’t get mixed up in politics. It always ends badly. Never put yourself in a position where you’re worried that Phil will tell Allen you said something snarky about Stu and… (yeah, it’s a “Hangover” reference.)

3. Set up automatic warning systems.

The larger your scope of responsibility – professional or personal – the more you have to worry about. Your list of concerns is endless. You’re always on edge, especially at night. So you check your email. You text and call to make sure everything is OK.
The fear of the unknown drives you crazy.
Instead of worrying about what you don’t know, make sure you do know. Decide what you need to know when and set up systems to support you. Let your employees know what constitutes an emergency — and, just as importantly, what doesn’t. Create automated systems that notify you of problems.
A friend runs a 1,200-employee manufacturing plant. He has a separate phone for emergencies: Employees call that phone or send emails to emergency@. He turns off his regular phone at night and sleeps soundly, because he knows if something happens, he’ll know. He won’t have to check.
Determine what you need to know and create systems to ensure you will know. Then you won’t have to waste time and energy worrying about the unknown.

4. Be grateful for criticism.

When you get feedback, at least someone cares enough to want you to improve: Your product, your service, your work, your life…. You only need to worry when no one cares enough to criticize you.
Criticism creates an opportunity. Embrace that opportunity.

5. Write it all down.

David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done, told me this:
Most people try to use their psyche as their systemic process, which means issues gain importance based on your emotions. I’ve never met anyone who said they didn’t feel a little better if they sat down and made a list. Nothing changes when you write things down except how you engage with your issues: You can be objective and also be creative and intuitive.
Your head is for having ideas, not holding ideas, and it’s certainly not for filing things away. Without exception you will feel better if you get stuff out of your head.
Try it. Write down your challenges. List your problems or concerns.
I bet you’ll start to feel better right away. You’ll realize things aren’t as bad as you think. You’ll also start to figure out ways to make things better — because now you won’t worry passively. You’ll actively solve your problems.

6. Lay off the conspiracy theories.

No one is out to get you. Even if people are, they’re really not the problem – most of us do a better job sabotaging ourselves than someone else ever could. Besides, you can’t control what other people might do.
But you can control what you will do.

7. Reduce the number of judgment calls.

The more prepared you are to handle a situation, the easier it is to be objective — and to avoid stressing out later over whether or not you made the wrong call.
Create price lists that take into account unusual requests. Set up guidelines for responding to customer complaints. Create employee policies for objective areas like attendance, quality, and performance. Decide what you will and will not allow your kids to do before they start asking.
Think about situations you struggle with and decide what you will do before those situations get stressful or confrontational. Then you can make better decisions and greatly reduce your level of stress… and regret.

8. Create a cutoff time…

Yeah, I know, you consider yourself a 24/7 go-getter. But that’s impossible. Decide what time you’ll stop working each day, no matter what.
And if stopping makes you feel guilty?

9. …Then create a plan for tomorrow.

Write down what you need to do first thing tomorrow. You’ll rest easier knowing you have a plan to take care of what you didn’t get done today.
10. Spend a few minutes every day getting better at something else.
It doesn’t matter what you pick. Just make sure it’s not business: A musical instrument. A foreign language. A hobby. Whatever it is, spend a little time on it. Get a little better.
Step outside your daily grind and do something for yourself.
In the process, you’ll gain a little perspective. Perspective soothes the soul.

11. Count your blessings.

Take a second before you turn out the light. In that moment, quit worrying about what you don’t have. Quit worrying about what others have that you don’t.
Think about what you do have.
Thought so. You have a lot to be thankful for.
Feels pretty good, doesn’t it? Feeling better about yourself is the best sleeping pill of all.

How to Win Loyalty From Other People

If you aspire to be successful as an entrepreneur, manager, business owner, or any kind of leader, others must feel loyal to you. Although money is often seen as a prime motivator, ultimately the bonds that hold an enterprise together are psychological. Important data gathered by the indicate that loyalty is one of the top three things that make workers feel satisfied.
Loyalty balances self-interest. It is the willingness to look out for “us” and not just “me.” It’s no secret that the bond of loyalty has frayed at a time of layoffs and the loss of pensions and benefits in the economy. A public image has been built of opposition between management and labor – there is nothing new here – where the advantage has shifted overwhelmingly to management. As long as profits continue to roll in, loyalty is ignored. The assumption is that workers are too desperate for a job to complain or protest.
You have a choice to make in the face of this sad situation. Are you going to join the trend and forget loyalty or are you going to try and rebuild it? The question doesn’t apply simply to managers. Companies develop an atmosphere and a culture. No one works in a vacuum, and your attitude affects the environment you work in, no matter where you fit into the overall scheme.
If you choose to help rebuild loyalty, here are some suggestions:
1. Abstain from disloyalty, which shows up in small but telling ways. Office gossip, back-biting, and spreading rumors show disloyalty, because they degrade the sense of bonding and cooperation.
2. Work on bonding and cooperation. Be sympathetic and open to the people you work with. Support projects that are good for everyone, even if you don’t gain immediate material rewards.
3. Honor the difference between rivals and competitors. The fact that you are competing against others at work doesn’t make them your rivals. Rivalry is hostile; it implies that only one person can win. Competition raises the bar for everyone, so that the whole team can win.
4. Pay attention to personal details. Loyalty runs deep when a person feels cared for and understood. Be alert to these needs. Make an effort to include everyone. When ideas and suggestions are being discussed, make it clear that every suggestion is welcome. If someone’s pet idea is rejected, take time to go to them afterwards and listen respectfully to what lies behind the idea.
5. Share your success. Include your team in the praise and appreciation that comes your way. If possible, make a tangible gesture, as appropriate – throw a party, or other form of celebration, offer bonuses, present a gift as a token of recognition.
6. Don’t keep secrets. As much as possible, make the decision-making process transparent. Open up financial details. In the economic downturn of 2008, some small businesses shared their finances with their workers and thereby won real loyalty. Seeing that the company was strapped, the workers felt an incentive to be part of the solution. This is just one way to close the gap that makes management and workers adversaries, a stance that severely erodes loyalty.
7. Remind yourself every day that there is no “I” without “we.” This allows you to be humble in your successes and provides a community to get through crises.

Reboot your life: 20 mental barriers you should let go of

You are in an imaginary hot air balloon. It’s just you and all of your belongings in the wicker basket. Something went wrong and you are losing altitude fast. You will hit the ground in less than ten minutes if you don’t come up with something quick.
The only immediate solution is to get rid of excess weight and throw off at least half of your belongings. It’s that or hit the ground in ten. You look at the things and hesitate for a few seconds but then you do what you have to do and start throwing the things you have gathered half your life one by one. The cargo gets lighter, the descent slows down then you are floating up again back to altitude. You are relieved beyond comprehension.
This happens to all of us in less dramatic circumstances. We attach ourselves to things that we have accumulated over the years. Some of them might have some practical value. Others we just have attached ourselves sentimentally to over time. Some others are just clutter.
Our mental life follows the same fate. We carry with us a lot of things in our heads along the years – Our life story, emotional attachments, beliefs and other things which can linger in our minds for many years.
Some of them are useless ideas that drag us down considerably. Some are emotional debris from difficult moments in our past. Some are just beliefs which we have attached ourselves to for no apparent justifiable reason. Some others are just self-destructive habits and fears.
So if you were in the hot air balloon situation, which of these mental barriers should we let go? I have listed down 20 here. Do you have any more?

1. Let go of attachments

According to Buddhist Philosophy, attachment is one of the roots of all suffering. I can’t agree more. We attach ourselves to all sorts of things even the most self-slapping stupid notions in the universe. Are you attached to something? How much are you attached? Is it keeping you back from something? Is it making you suffer? Look at it straight through – break the illusion. Know that every attachment can be detached.

2. Let go of guilt

Guilt has absolutely no function whatsoever. Think about it – what could guilt possibly resolve? It just holds you imprisoned to self-mortification and sorrow.

3. Let go of Negative thinking

Pessimistic thoughts and negative attitudes keep you locked in a dark aura that permeates in everything you do. It’s a dangerous line to follow. Know that thoughts influence the world around us. Enough said.

4. Let go of self-criticism

Many times we are our biggest pain in the neck. We criticize ourselves with the best of intentions but then go over the acceptable limit. Criticism then turns to disempowering messages. Let go of it and be kind and gentle to yourself.

5. Let go of prejudice

Prejudice keeps you bitter and resentful. It restricts your opportunities to connect meaningfully with others.

6. Let go of compulsive thinking

Do you keep on doing something just because you feel you have to do it without any apparent reason? It’s time to honestly reflect on its usefulness and its side-effects.

7. Let go of the need for others’ approval

We often tend to seek approval by others. This is an attention-seeking behaviour and one which threatens our self-confidence and authenticity.

8. Let go of limiting beliefs

Most of our limits are self-imposed. Life doesn’t have defined limits. Our beliefs do. Learn to identify those beliefs which narrow down your possibilities for action and let go of them.

9. Let go of grudges

Let me put it this way – grudges are bad for your heart. Keep them long enough or numerous enough and your health will eventually suffer. Research is showing the relationship between heart disease and emotions such as anger and grudges.

10. Let go of postponing

This is a delaying tactic of your subconscious saboteur trying to keep you from accomplishing important tasks. Try to be aware of it when you think it and consciously push yourself to do at least the first part of it. Naturally you will then continue the whole task because the hard part is only the beginning.

11. Let go of anxious thoughts

These are born out of our fear of the unknown and uncertainty about the future. The thought that something unpleasant may happen is only an unreal thought we have created ourselves. Ask yourself: “Is this thought based on real evidence?”

12. Let go of past heartbreaks

A heartbreak can take quite a long time to heal. Your heart is locked as your mind keeps on hovering over the same thought. The thing to realize is that in heartbreaks it is not the loss that make you suffer but the idea you create in your heads about that loss.

13. Let go of bad memories

Sometimes we remember unpleasant things that stir up some sad feelings in us. Bad memories make you relive those sad moments in the present. Keep them where they are – in the past.

14. Let go of useless things

We also attach ourselves to things of all sort. Sometimes we clutter our life with useless objects. Let go of them and simplify your working and living environment.

15. Let go of bad company

If there are people around you that are insincere, harbour envy, are highly pessimistic or disempowering, keep away from them.

16. Let go of the idea that you are a product of your past

One very common mistake we fall into is the belief that we are determined by our past experiences. This limits our view on future possibilities since we are stuck in believing that the future can only be more of the same as our past.

17. Let go of identifying yourself with your job/role

This is one of the risks of modern day life. Since roles are always becoming more specialized we think that we are part of our roles. This makes us lose perspective of our true nature.

18. Let go of counterproductive habits

These are the repetitive patterns of behavior that obstruct or distract you from constructive and productive behavior. They can be anything from watching too much TV and overeating to self-destructive behavior such as drug abuse.

19. Let go of taking things too personally

Very often we are disturbed emotionally because we interpret people’s words and actions from a very subjective perspective. When we take things personally we get irritated, hurt and disappointed.  When you look at life from a more detached and objective point of view, we stay emotionally balanced and focused on our priorities.

20. Let go of the ticking clock

Time is one of our biggest sources of stress. Well, not time really but our perception of it. Sometimes we are enslaved by the concept of time even in our moments of leisure. This has devoured a lot of our genuine freedom and space. Learning to spend moments without the constant awareness of time can be liberating and finally productive.
After reading all these points you are certainly thinking that these are very simple and maybe even “stupid” things we hand around every day.
But you also certainly know that when you are keeping one of the above behavours or attitudes, you are doing WRONG. If you feel it, then trust yourself enough and STOP doing it. It will be easier and easier the more attention you make to your feeling in doing things.
Here is a track you can print and read from time to time, to secure your constant will to stick to a healthier behaviour and attitude.
Found here
soulhiker.com/2009/10/reboot-your-life-20-mental-barriers-you-should-let-go-off/

9 Daily Habits That Will Make You Happier

These minor changes in your daily routine will make a major difference in your life and career.

Happiness is the only true measure of personal success. Making other people happy is the highest expression of success, but it’s almost impossible to make others happy if you’re not happy yourself.
With that in mind, here are nine small changes that you can make to your daily routine that, if you’re like most people, will immediately increase the amount of happiness in your life:

1. Start each day with expectation.

If there’s any big truth about life, it’s that it usually lives up to (or down to) your expectations. Therefore, when you rise from bed, make your first thought: “something wonderful is going to happen today.” Guess what? You’re probably right.

2. Take time to plan and prioritize.

The most common source of stress is the perception that you’ve got too much work to do.  Rather than obsess about it, pick one thing that, if you get it done today, will move you closer to your highest goal and purpose in life. Then do that first.

3. Give a gift to everyone you meet.

I’m not talking about a formal, wrapped-up present. Your gift can be your smile, a word of thanks or encouragement, a gesture of politeness, even a friendly nod. And never pass beggars without leaving them something. Peace of mind is worth the spare change.

4. Deflect partisan conversations.

Arguments about politics and religion never have a “right” answer but they definitely get people all riled up over things they can’t control. When such topics surface, bow out by saying something like: “Thinking about that stuff makes my head hurt.”

5. Assume people have good intentions.

Since you can’t read minds, you don’t really know the “why” behind the “what” that people do. Imputing evil motives to other people’s weird behaviors adds extra misery to life, while assuming good intentions leaves you open to reconciliation.

6. Eat high quality food slowly.

Sometimes we can’t avoid scarfing something quick to keep us up and running. Even so, at least once a day try to eat something really delicious, like a small chunk of fine cheese or an imported chocolate. Focus on it; taste it; savor it.

7. Let go of your results.

The big enemy of happiness is worry, which comes from focusing on events that are outside your control. Once you’ve taken action, there’s usually nothing more you can do. Focus on the job at hand rather than some weird fantasy of what might happen.

8. Turn off “background” TV.

Many households leave their TVs on as “background noise” while they’re doing other things. The entire point of broadcast TV is to make you dissatisfied with your life so that you’ll buy more stuff. Why subliminally program yourself to be a mindless consumer?

9. End each day with gratitude.

Just before you go to bed, write down at least one wonderful thing that happened. It might be something as small as a making a child laugh or something as huge as a million dollar deal. Whatever it is, be grateful for that day because it will never come again.
Found here