Category Archives: Stress Management

Control Your Anger

Control your anger or it will control you.

Control your anger as it can cloud your ability to make good decisions and find creative solutions to problems.  It can negatively affect your work performance.

With insight about the real reasons for your anger and learning anger management techniques, you will be able to control your anger and keep your temper from hijacking your life.

Control you anger, don’t let your anger control you. The emotion of anger is not always a negative feeling to experience. In fact, being angry in some ways can be a positive outlet and something that should not be ignored. However, having rage inside that results in harmful tendencies towards ourselves or other people, and from which the source is painful experience, is not healthy at all. This type of anger should be dealt with, before it escalates into more negative experiences, as it may destroy our relationships, limit our opportunities, and even damage our health.  Control your anger because it is just ONE Letter away from danger. 

Having trouble controlling anger is a major issue in many individual’s lives. Addressing this issue can be difficult if the person is unwilling to admit to their problem and seek help. It is imperative that people be supportive and encouraging to those with anger issues. At times it may seem impossible since these people can be hurtful and even violent. Helping them to realize they need help would be the initial step to controlling their anger.
According to psychologist T.W. Smith, anger is “an unpleasant emotion ranging in intensity from irritation or annoyance to fury or rage.”
In order to control your anger, there are some anger management techniques which you can use when you find yourself in a stressful situation. But keep in mind that these strategies are only a general guide. If anger continues to be a problem, you might need to seek the help of a suitably qualified health professional, especially if your anger hurts others, or if it causes you physical pain or emotional distress.

  1. When your temper starts to raise, mentally challenge yourself before taking out your anger on others. Ask yourself these questions: What is the source of my irritation?  What is the degree of my anger? What is the other person’s actual role in the situation? Then turn the circumstances around to see how you would want to be treated if the other person felt as you do. These mental gymnastics will help you to control your anger, and regain control over your runaway emotions before they escape and cause external damage.
  2. In those moments when you feel the familiar rage start to flare, excuse yourself if others are present and take a quick walk down the hall or outdoors, depending on whether you are at home or at work, and the weather conditions. Take a 5 to10 minute stroll, especially one that is fast paced. It will help you to control your anger, and cool your irritation as you practice the fight-or-flight strategy by escaping the potential conflict. This is one of the most popular and useful anger management techniques. “A moment of patience in a moment of anger saves you a thousand moments of regret”.
  3. Another technique recommended for anger management is relaxation. Angry feelings and emotions can be calmed down by relaxing exercises such as deep breathing, relaxing imagery and slow nonstrenuous exercise similar to ygoa. When you become irritated and headed for a fit of anger, it is suggested that by breathing deeply from your diaphragm will help you to relax. Also by using relaxing imagery, allowing your mind and thought to go to a happy place, or a past relaxing experience may help you to calm down and control your anger.
  4. Problem solving is another anger management technique. It is important for an individual to discover the reason for their anger. Anger is a natural response to certain situations and at times it is an acceptable reaction but there are other incidents when the anger is not appropriate. There is a reason for the anger and to every problem there is said to be a solution. When a situation arises, the individual is taught not to focus on the solution but rather the problem. Finding ways to handle the problem and confront it is the main objective in this anger management technique. It may take a while to conform to this plan, but it is important to stick to it, as eventually the answers will come.
  5. Another great anger management technique is to write down your thoughts and emotions during a fit of anger. Sometimes sharing or talking to someone else about your feelings may only cause extra conflict. Whereas by Writing or journalizing, not only you will be able to get your feelings off your chest, but also it will help you to calm down and control your anger. Using writing as an anger management technique may also help in the future when trying to find the triggers which cause the angry outbursts. Being able to look back over the information written may provide you with reasons for your anger through reading about similar incidents.
  6. Taking a vacation, spending some alone time is another good anger management tip which can help you to control your anger tendencies. Removing yourself from the environment which seems to frustrate and irritate you may be a wise idea. Being able to get away and reflect on your actions may help you to look at things differently. Given space and time may be positive for a person with anger issues.
  7. Write out a response to a problem before tackling it orally or in debate.  This will give you time to think about the best approach to a problem rather than responding with random anger.
  8. Some people suggest prayer and meditation as anger management tips. Both of these suggestions involve very personal practices for an individual. Given a chance to pray and be alone with one’s thoughts is a good way to release tension and let the pressures of life wash away. Letting go of feelings of anger and negative thoughts would definitely make a positive change in a person’s life. Through prayer and meditation not only you are able to dig deep into your mind and soul for answers to your problems but it will also help you finding comfort and strength in your spirit to control your anger penchant.
  9. People with anger issues are taught through anger management techniques to practice better communication skills. Often a fit of anger arises because an individual misunderstood a conversation. Before giving it any thought, they become enraged and filled with anger. Anger management teaches the individual to slow down their thinking, think before they speak or react. The easily angered person needs to listen to the underlying message and try not to jump to conclusions. When feeling on the defensive side, the individual should learn not to fight back. Listening rationally to what the other person has to say might make a huge difference in a reaction.

There are many other techniques and tips which may be helpful if you are requiring help to control your anger tendencies. Tips such as get more rest, get out in nature, find humour in the situation and play or listen to music. There are also many books, movies and websites on the Internet which can provide information regarding anger management techniques and on how to control your anger issues.

How Emotions And Thoughts Can Affect Your Mental Health

How emotions and thoughts can affect your mental health. Mental health consist of our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.

Mental health is usually used as a substitute for mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia, but according to the World Health Organization, mental health is: “a state of well-being in which every individual realises his/her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his/her community.”

Thoughts are our mental perceptions, our ideas, our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. They include views and aspects we bring to any situation or experience. Although thoughts simply appear in our minds, we don’t create them, and life experiences and education have great influences on them. But we have control over how we think, and we can resolve to change how we think.  As for our emotions, we can view and experiene them as the flow of feelings. And while they are universal, but each one of us experience them and respond to them in a different way. Emotions are influenced by our thoughts and perceptions, and the way we perceive an event or interpret a situation gives rise to corresponding feelings. Emotions which can be experienced or conveyed without any reservation, attachment, or judgement gravitate to flow smoothly; on the other hand restrained emotions such as fear, guilt, hurt and negative feeling are able to kill our hope and  mental energy and cause us a lot of physical and mental health problems. Consequently when we become aware that our thoughts and emotions can affect our mental health, and have great impact on our attitudes, our behaviours, and our relationships, then we can choose to adjust and regulate our thoughts and emotional responses to any triggering events. There are few positive feelings which can simply change the emotional effects of negativity and increase psychological abilities that enrich a successful life:

  • The value of Positivity: Anyone can tell you that one key to living a healthy, happy and flourishing life is having positive attitude, and experiencing positive emotions. But I also know that we all have what it takes to deal with difficulties. That is what winning a positive attitude is about. It is about strengthening ourselves mentally to fight with our own negativity.  People who are generally positive have problems just like everyone else. What separates them from everyone else is that they know that their problems are simply part of the process of life”. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson discovered that: “Experiencing positive emotions broadens people’s minds and builds their resourcefulness in ways that help them become more resilient to adversity and effortlessly achieve what they once could only imagine. With Positivity, you’ll learn to see new possibilities, bounce back from setbacks, connect with others, and become the best version of yourself”. Emotional benefits of positivity reduce stress, lower levels of distress, better psychological and physical well-being, minimize rates of depression, improve sleep and enhance a greater sense of overall happiness. “Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Forgiveness: Forgiveness is about releasing our own feelings and finding meaning in the worst of life’s events. We practice forgiveness to be free of the inner violence of our rage, anger, fear, and resentment. Forgiveness is an act of acceptance that negative situations can happen and by letting go of the negative emotions surrounding those situations, we can learn to become less anxious, angry, bitter, stressed and depressed. As we let go of grudges we’ll no longer define our life by how we’ve been hurt; and we might even find compassion and understanding in our hearts. Forgiveness not only improve our mental, emotional and physical health, but also lead us to healthier relationships, greater spiritual and psychological well-being and higher self-esteem. “It is time now to let go of the past and embrace all that awaits you”.
  • Gratitude: Gratitude means thankfulness, counting our blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that we receive. Gratitude is essentially the recognition of the unearned increments of value in one’s experience. The benefits of gratitude are extreme and powerful. Studies demonstrated that being grateful improve both physical and mental health, psychological wellbeing and attitude, and our relationships with others. Gratefulness makes us feel good and increase positive moods such as joy, interest, alertness, determination, and optimism as well as improve our self-esteem. By practicing gratitude we become less depressed and stressed, more likely to help others, and make greater progress toward achieving our personal goals. “When people in great numbers choose to practice, integrate, and embody gratitude, the cumulative force that is generated can help create the kind of world we all hope for and desire, for ourselves and for future generations”.
  • Emotional Resilience: Emotional resilience simply means one’s ability to adjust to stressful situations or crises. Resilient people are able to adapt to adversity of life without lasting difficulties, while less resilient people have a harder time with stress and life changes. To some degree, emotional and physical resilience are something we are born with. Some of us have always been the “sensitive kind” while others are not bothered by anything. However, psychological and social research have shown that emotional resilience can be learned or improved upon, no matter what level of it we are born with. We can gain and build on our emotional flexibility by practicing perseverance, optimism, learning from our mistakes, sense of humour, managing our strong feelings and impulses, avoid seeing crises as hopeless problems, accepting that change is a part of life, Moving toward our goals, taking decisive actions, nurturing a positive view of ourselves, taking care of ourselves, and maintaining a hopeful outlook. “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved” —Helen Keller


Active Living

Active Living is about getting more out of life by giving more of yourself every day. Having lived by this philosophy for as long as I can remember, I know firsthand how life changing it can be. We all have the power to live a life that we love, and achieve amazing things.

“We become happier, much happier, when we realize life is an opportunity rather than an obligation” ~ Mary Augustine

How do you spend your day? The minutes and hours that tick away on your wristwatch, are they your opportunities or your burden? Or do you move towards life activities, eager seeking new adventures, mastering new concepts, and understanding more about human fellows? Time move too fast for you, you can’t get minutes and hours to embrace your interests in the world.

“Life” is a misleading word because people do so many things with it. The person who frets in self-pity and vegetates while others pass him by is half alive. If you are like this, don’t be ashamed, you have millions and millions of people for company. But realize that you must try to change so that you have a chance to know what happiness is. “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” ~ Wayne Dyer

For there is happiness, there is power in life activities. There is joy and strength in moving forward, toward other people, toward the processes around which civilization has festered its approval or its permissiveness. When you wake up in the morning, you must alert yourself to the day ahead, to the possibilities for joyful living that the coming hours will bring if you use them fully. The things you do during this day may not shake the world, but they may make your world.

Unfortunately, however many people are passive to life and they withdraw from its pleasures. It is this, the moving away from life attitude that must be reversed; it is this rejection of people’s creative potentials that must be exposed as absurd.

When you want to, go fishing and salute the sunshine, but actively not passively, otherwise even the fish will say, “I won’t bite”. Can’t you move about a little more?

Let us first talk about the hysterical flight from work at about five o’clock each day, a flight as urgent as one from an approaching hurricane or from a Marine invasion. Is work such an affliction? Many people these days seem to think so. Work is like an alarm clock to them; they are clock watchers who cannot wait for the signal to get away. I really disagree with this concept. I think that productive work is one of the true goods of life; when you work productively, you manufacture more than money, you also manufacture a sense of self-esteem for yourself. Thomas Carlyle, the Scottish essayist-historian wrote: “Blessed is who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness… Even in the meanest sorts of Labour, the whole soul of a man is composed into a kind of real harmony the instant he sets himself to work.” I agree with his opinion as I have seen people functioning harmoniously in the world of work whose souls perished once they lost or gave up their jobs.

It is true that some people work at jobs ill-suited to them; their work is enslavement because they do not enjoy it.  They work only for money. They do not feel the exultation of a person who pours his most productive powers into his work.

If this is your situation, you must think about remedying it because your chances for a creative living are slim if you feel dead in your work. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” ~ Steve Jobs

May be you haven’t given your job the attention it deserves. May be you haven’t opened your eyes completely to the potentialities around you. May be you are not aware of the fact that you, not the job, might be at fault. Try to remember that in many instances, you create the opportunity, not your job.

If your job is at fault, then you have to try to find another line of work if you can. Even a small cut in pay may be worthwhile if you are able to switch to work which makes you feel more alive. If it is impossible you may convert your work productivity in enriching hobbies. Never withdraw from productive work into sluggishness. You are a human being, not a mattress, and you should utilize your human resources all your life to attain a feeling of completeness. “Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.” ~ Johnny Carson

Your Time Is Yours to Enjoy:

When you finish work you have the gift of time, but what will you do with this gift? Chances are that your hours are shorter than they used to be, even if you are a house wife, so you still have more time to enjoy yourself.

But you may say, “I don’t know what to do with my time”. This is a terrible problem, or I should say that, time is not the problem, you are the problem. You have to realize this and do something about it. Sometimes a small child in a fit of temper might destroy a genuinely loved object, but if you are reading this article, I assume that you are not a small child, and your period of experimentation is over. You must now know what you are doing. You have tools at your command. One is wisdom, the same values gained from your years of living. Surely you can see the preciousness of your free time. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of”. You must learn to use this life-stuff, to fill it with active living, not with boredom, apathy, resignation. Would you empty your wallet or pocketbook into a trash can? Then why throw away time, which is also valuable? You must use your time energetically, productively, to enhance your feeling of true participation in and enjoyment of the life process.

You must realize that leisure time is just as important as work time. You are a whole person not a working machine, and you and you alone have the opportunity within you to keep yourself whole. Leisure time may mean many things – sport, painting, cooking, card games, gardening and a lot of other activities. You must realize that leisure belongs to you, like your eyes, your heart, take it. You must find one aspect of leisure which will help you reach self-fulfilment. Take a look at yourself in the mirror, ask yourself, who you are and what you are doing with yourself. This self-confrontation needs an answer. You can’t be on the fence of indecision. Once you honestly make a response, you will find the activities that will make you happy.  Once you find the activity which makes you happy, then play it to the full. Concentrate creativity on the activity. When you play tennis, play tennis. When you are gardening, garden as if it is for the moment the most important thing in your life. Concentration doesn’t mean exhausting yourself with too many activities. Choose one, and master that, then move on to another. You will find great satisfaction from these leisure-time activities, which you have made them a part of your new creative life.

“There is no passion to be found playing small–in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” ~ Nelson Mandela

 


Finding Inner Peace

Finding inner peace is the path of letting go, even though, the path could be as hard or simple as a person makes the journey of self acceptance.

 “He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe” ~ Marcus Aurelius

There are always many ups and downs in every one’s life. Sometimes we get stuck in a world of confusion, wondering how we find a constant inner peace in our hearts and lives, when there is always something wrong in our lives or the lives of those we love.

What happens when we start to feel down or stressed?

First of all some kind of negative thought comes into our mind that gets us discouraged and anxious. The next thing that happens, is that we start believing in that thought. And feeding it with more arguments, which in turn gets us into a deeper state of confusion and sadness. Next thing we know, we find ourselves, there in that deep mud hole. We look around and all is doom and gloom.

What can we do so that this does not even happen?

  • Accept what is: Life is unpredictable. Nothing is permanent, everything changes; and of course, a lot of things can happen that will transform who we are and have an impact on our life. The problem is that we need to be prepared to truly accept whatever comes and embrace it. This is what I have noticed with so many people, in that we focus and linger on things which we have no control over. Why worry about something that all the worrying in the world will not change? Why care about what other people think of us when we’re not even sure what it is they are actually thinking? Yes, acceptance is a choice—a hard one most definitely, but a choice nonetheless. By practicing acceptance we learn to live in this changing world, where we never know what’s going to happen next. Acceptance is like protecting ourselves with our own shields.” You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Meditate: Meditation makes us mentally strong, and emotionally resilient. It reduces the tendency to react, increases the tendency to respond and is an effective way to de-stress our minds. If you are not meditating yet then, you are missing out on a very important activity that can change your  When you have a lot on your mind and you feel like your thoughts are driving you crazy, meditation can help you find peace, calmness and more self acceptance. Meditation helps turning one’s life into a more beautiful, harmonious and happy one. When mind, body and spirit are in harmony, then everything seems right with the world.Through concentration and meditation you become the boss of your mind, and gain the ability to tell it when to be active and when to stay silent” ~ Remez Sasson
  • Spend time in nature: Nature calls you back to reality. We can’t stop it from raining. We can’t delay the setting sun. We can’t set the temperature to a comfortable degree. When we are climbing a mountain, our muscles are going to burn. But with this surrender comes such relief! We awake from a dream and realize how little control we really have. We remember that hardship and lack of control are part of life, and accepting this reality makes it not only bearable, but possible to feel the joy of being alive. By being in nature we feel comfortable in our own skin, we experience our own quiet peace and strength, we sense the inner us that is the true us. The mask we present to the outer world is irrelevant for a time, and put in its proper place. Nature helps us to connect with this powerful, loving presence, whether we call it GOD, Earth Mother, the Great Mystery or any another name. Nature brings us closer to GOD, our own spirit and helps us to live lives of meaning and joy. “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” ~ Anne Frank
  • Learn the power of a smile: A smile is a powerful key to living happy from the inside out. The simple act of smiling sends a message to your brain that you’re happy. And when you’re happy, your body pumps out all kinds of feel-good endorphins. Smiles are powerful and contagious. Don’t hesitate to smile warmly at friends, family, colleagues and even strangers. Never stop smiling! God smiles on us each and every day. His love has no depth, his mercy no end. His arms are open wide, just step into them. “Smile and the world will smile with you.” 
  • Choose to help others: Care for others genuinely around you. What you put out, you really get back in life. Being caring allows us to have empathy for others and to live a life based on affection, love, and compassion for the people around us. When we make a positive impact in someone else’s life, we also make a positive impact in our own lives. Any act of kindness and goodwill eases our way towards inner peace. When we start helping others, we stop thinking about our so-called problems and then we realize that our life is not so bad after all. Do something that’s greater than you – something that helps someone else to be happy or to suffer less. “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ~ Charles Dicken
  • Never lose hope: Never give up. Never lose hope. Always have faith, it allows you to cope better during the trying times. Having hope is a personal decision, a bold conviction—a choice, and with hope we always have a path towards peace. Having hope is an active, decisive mindset etched into every single moment. No matter the haze and fog that clouds our vision, hope’s laser cuts through, and never losing sight of her shimmering stars. Hope is something we can never afford to lose  Who we really are is based on values we choose to live by, such as believing in the possible, believing in the goodness of others, and believing in the power of love and hope. When we decide to passionately pursue our greatest purpose, then we become the hope in our lives and manifest her greatest dreams, because we refuse to consider any other possibility. As Henry James put it, “Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.”
  • Embrace your beliefs: I am not here to favour any belief system over another, but whatever it is that you are believing in, hold it closely in your arms, accept it willingly and enthusiastically, as by being within your faith, peace will find its way into your heart. We all might have different opinion in regards to our belief systems, but one thing that we all have to acknowledge is that without a healthy and solid belief system, we won’t be able to find a fair conscience which could show us the way towards peace and wisdom. “Faith is universal. Our specific methods for understanding it are arbitrary. In the   end we are all just searching for truth, that which is greater than ourselves.” ~ Dan Brown 
  • Live in the present moment: When we live fully in the present moment, our awareness becomes completely centred on the here and now. We won’t worry about the future or thinking about the past. How often have you been worrying about things that have yet to come, or how often have you been beating yourself for mistakes that you’ve made, no matter how much time has passed? Too much time, I believe. Not only living in present moment has a significant effect on our emotional health, but also it has a great impact on our physical wellbeing. By living in present moment we live in acceptance; we accept life the way it is, not the way we wish, it should have been. And when we live in acceptance, we realize that everything is complete as it is. We can forgive ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made, and we can have peace in our hearts knowing that everything that should happen will. “If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is.”

Finding inner peace is not a simple or short path, but it is a process that we can all learn. It is a journey which needs to be appreciated every step of the way. We have to be willing to let go and step outside the box that we have accepted ourselves to be put into, in the first place and start from scratch. We have to be ready getting to know ourselves all over again and be willing to make mistakes. And most importantly, we have to realize that only we have control over our emotional responses and reactions and they can be changed for the better. And finally when serenity and unconditional love fill our hearts, we will accept that we cannot go back, and will not give up what we have now found, that peace that we seem to have been searching for our whole lives. “Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you.” ~ Rumi

 

 


Self Image

Self image sets the boundaries of individual accomplishment. ~ Maxwell Maltz

“Uncertainty” is the key word in our lives. We must live with uncertainty and lead our ship through life’s rugged path, or retreat from life into a womb, an illusion since there are few guarantees to reassure us. We must learn to master these dangers to the best of our ability, and still live contentedly.

“Life Is Like Riding a Bicycle. To Keep Your Balance You Must Keep Moving” ~ Albert Einstein

After the “traumatic” process of our birth, we live the uncertain, minute-by-minute moments of infants in which a tolerant smile is followed by an indignant roar of rage and a howl of laughter, all within the space of thirty seconds.

Then it come the uncertainties of childhood, in which we depend on our parents, where destinies fluctuate according to complex economic, emotional, and sociological factors which we cannot yet understand.

The period of adolescence that follows is even more uncertain. Are we children or adults, or what we are? How should we behave toward adults? What is this called sex; is it good or bad and whose opinion do we ask and what do you do about it? Why do my parents still treat me as a child? Am I grown up, or am I?

Adulthood brings with it new problems, new uncertainties. The choice of vocations, the decisions to be made about marriage, marriage partner, and children, about business commitments and political views, insurance protection and community participations, or non-involvement, gambling or non-gambling strategies. I could write pages and pages on the conflicts a responsible adult must face and the uncertainties surrounding his decisions and the outcomes of his considered choices.

Throughout their lives most people worry about tragedy striking, the breadwinner losing their jobs, a fire that wipes out one’s home, an automobile accident in which a loved one is crippled, and these are real possibilities that one must learn to live without burying his head in the sand.

What is the answer to this dilemmas of life? It is simple, really, more life, reaffirmation of life, while there is life – life, with the help of a healthy self image that will give you the sense of certainty you need.

Some day we will all die, that is GOD’s law of life and there is nothing we can do about it. But while we lived, did we truly live?

Did we really live or just occupy space while we went through motions of living? Did we enjoy every year, every month, every week, and every day – or did we manage to passively endure the dull moments? Did we see the green trees, smell the beautiful flowers, share with our friends, taste our lamb chops, love our work – or were we so obsessed with worry that life could not enter into our troubled minds?

“Life is a great and wondrous mystery, and the only thing we know that we have for sure is what is right here right now. Don’t miss it” ~ Leo Buscaglia

As babies, we are born with smile coming through the first howl of pain, while we live, we must live constructively so that time and again a smile might break through the pain.

Now what about friendship – one of the chief ingredients of a rich life? There is a saying to the effect that “dog is a man’s best friend,” but I do not automatically fall in this silly sayings like this. I am fond of dogs, but if my observations are correct, a dog will be far from your best friend if you do not take care of him in the style to which he is accustomed.

Man’s best friend – any man’s best friend, is his self image. If he sees himself as a good guy, he is on the road to contentment; if he doesn’t, he will cause his own downfall.

“Love yourself and treat yourself as you would treat your best friend. You deserve the same love you give others”

John or Mary or Tom may be your friend and may be a valued friend, but your best friend is your self image. Another person may like you, may even go out of his way to help you in a crisis, but he cannot participate completely in your joys and  heartaches; more he cannot give you the capacity for success or failure, for self-acceptance or self-esteem. Your self image can give you this capacity and a sense of certainty as you live. If you see yourself as agreeable, if your picture of yourself is satisfying, you live with marvellous form of certainty; the conviction that when uncontrollable factors go against you and events temporarily oppose your desires, you will support yourself.

There will always be moment of adversity hitting you from the external world, as well as self doubts plaguing you from within. The real test of friendship for yourself is whether you rally to your own aid when you need the consoling sustenance of your best friend – YOU.

When you are sure of this internal cushion in crisis, then you know how to be certain in this uncertain world.

“We can learn to be our own best friend.  If we do, we have a friend for life.  We can buoy ourselves up, give ourselves comfort and sustenance the times when there is no one else” ~ Mildred Newman & Bernard Berkowitz

You can say to yourself “But the uncertainty is real; how can I relax?” You may protest that my point of view is not realistic. But I assure you that it is. And I assure you that I, too, know of life’s dangers as I have experienced them a lot in my life. We all go through grief, loss, shock, horror, and misfortune at some stage of our lives. There may be times in our lives that we feel tired, depressed and even walking sometimes seems an effort. Our thoughts may be incoherent and we lose contact with reality and retreat from the world of people and pain. But finally we realize that we have to continue with our life. We begin to see friends again. We learn to laugh again, and pick up the pieces and put them together. This is the way you must live your life. You must survive struggles, survive uncertainty, pick yourself off the floor, and go back to a creative living. But you need a friend at times like this, your self image, for a proper self image is the powerhouse within you that enables you to stand up under stress. Indeed, the power of your self image, intangible as it is, can outdistance the uncertainties with which you may wrestle.

Life holds many surprises for us, not all pleasant, and the person who would live creatively in today’s world must develop a strong self image. You cannot rely on luck and you cannot base your life on the opinion of other people. You must do it yourself and do it in a world full of frustrations and dangers. You must constantly work to improve your mental image of yourself, to feel better about yourself. You can do this if you are willing to work hard, without preconceptions of magical solutions, following these suggestions:

  • Every day you have many occasions to look into mirror; when you brush your teeth, when you wash your face, when you shave, when you powder your nose, or comb your hair. Go beyond these simple functions and use the mirror to help you, to become reacquainted with the outer image of a self you may have lost sight of in the rushing pace of life today.
  • Learn to accept this physical image of yourself and the inner self behind it.
  • You must recover your sense of self. Many people have lost this sense and do not understand that they have lost it or the sorrowful consequences of this loss.

You have to understand this: You can have expensive house. Two cars, a sizable bank account, and real estate, and still feel poor, if you have lost touch with a wholesome self image of yourself.

If you feel poor, then uncertainties will frighten you, and you will find them all around you.

Pliny the Elder, the famous Roman writer, once commented that “the only certainty is that nothing is certain”.  But the life insecurities need not worry you; they need not keep you from full living. Not if you feel that you are a worthwhile person. You must be able to allow yourself joy. You must feel at one with yourself. Then a sense of security will replace worry, and you will be able to live happily with a minimum of uncertainty.

 


How to Stop Worrying

How to Stop Worrying – “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” ~ Leo F. Buscaglia

Worries are those nagging thoughts about something you fear might happen. They are kind of thoughts which come into your mind and make you feel discouraged and anxious. The next thing happens, you actually start believing in those thoughts and feeding them with more arguments. Which in turn get you into a deeper state of confusion and sadness. Next thing you know, you find yourself there in that deep mud hole. You look around and all is doom and gloom. As Arthur Somers Roche said:  “Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained”

How to break the worry habit before it breaks you:

  • Block all negative thoughts from coming into your mind in the first place by keeping busy. If for some reason they do come in- address them right away. “What are the odds against this thing’s happening at all? What can I do to prove that this is not true? Be a lawyer arguing against that negativity. You can write all your thoughts down and counter argue them on paper or you can talk them out with someone you trust.
  • Co-operate with the inevitable. When Sir Henry Fawcett was a young man of twenty-five, he was blinded in a hunting accident. He had just graduated from Cambridge University as one of its most brilliant students and the world seemed like an apple rip for the picking. His own comments on the accident are: “Before twenty seconds had passed, I decided that not even this would hinder me from achieving the highest for which I was intended.” But he went on to become a professor in Cambridge. This man of faith refused to use this incident to build a tower of fear.

By fighting against the inevitable, you are using up a lot of  the energy you require for the more important areas of your life, and by not allowing yourself to let some things go, you will end up constantly tense and stressed out.

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  • Dwell on positive things, and positive ways of happy living. We spend hours and hours dwelling and ruminating on the negative and fearful things in our lives. We worry about what could go wrong, instead of focusing and paying attention to the rational, the positive and the good. If you study and relive your past experiences, analysing them, and “getting in touch with your feelings”, you will only reinforce those feelings. If you want to get away from a problem, you should not focus on it.  Focus on what is rational, the positive, the beautiful, and the nice. When you got worries out of your system you can feel the quiet tranquillity. You can see the beauty, the wonder.

“Your life will follow your expectations. What you expect is what you will get. If you dwell on positive thoughts, you will move in that direction; if you continually think negative thoughts, you will live a negative life” ~ Joel Osteen

Ways to cultivate a mental attitude that will bring you peace and happiness:

  • Fill your mind with thoughts of peace, courage, health, and hope, for “our life is what our thoughts make it.”
  • Get past your enemies instead of getting Even with them. “Let’s never try to get even with our enemies, because if we do we will hurt ourselves far more than we hurt them” ~ Dale CarnegieRegardless of how you have been wronged by others in your life, and how justified you might believe you are in seeking revenge, it’s important to remember that life isn’t a game and simply getting even doesn’t mean you’ve won the battle; it just means you’ve lost your self-respect. As Martin Luther King Jr said in one of his quotes: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
  • Don’t expect gratitude. If you go around expecting gratitude, you are headed for a lot of heartaches. There are thousands of people who are ill from neglect, ingratitude and loneliness. They longed to be loved but the only way that they can ever hope to be loved is, to stop asking for it and to start pouring out love without hope of return. If you want to find happiness, let’s stop thinking about gratitude or ingratitude and give for the inner joy of giving. “Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting”
  • Find yourself and do not imitate others. As it says: “envy is ignorance” and “imitation is suicide”, you need to find your true self, and be yourself. We all have a built in set of personal values. If we lose touch with those values we lose touch with our authentic self. When we violate those values we violate our relationship with the person we really are. In order to be yourself, you have to identify those values and make every effort to live by them. We can only be the person we were meant to be, by connecting with our true self and by feeling comfortable with who we are.
  • Forget our own unhappiness, by trying to create a little happiness for others. “Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared” ~ Buddha

Doing things for others, whether small, unplanned acts of kindness or regular volunteering – is a powerful way to boost your own happiness as well of those around you. Kindness and caring also seem to be contagious. When you see someone do something kind or thoughtful, or you are on the receiving end of kindness, it inspires you to be kinder yourself. In this way, kindness spreads from one person to the next, influencing the behaviour of people who never saw the original act. Kindness really is the key to creating a happier life. “When you are good to others, you are best to yourself.”

“Life laughs at you when you are unhappy. Life smiles at you when you are happy. But, Life salutes you when you make others happy” ~ Charlie Chaplin

  • Count your blessings, not your troubles. “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow” ~ Melodie Beattie

Counting your blessings, acknowledging and appreciating all that you already have in your life is a powerful technique that works as an antidote to worries. Noticing what is right in your life instead of worrying about what could go wrong in your life, make you feel happier and in peace with yourself. Always be satisfied with what you have and be determined to get what you want. Life has many ups and downs, but in any given situation if we analyse what we possess instead of what we have lost, we realize that God loves us and HIS blessings are always with us.

“The more you recognize and express gratitude for the things you have, the more things you will have to express gratitude for.” ~ Zig Ziglar

 


Search for your creative power

Search for your creative power depends on how much energy you put into reading and what you read. Certain books on thinking can make you better able to understand your mind and through such understanding enable you to make more intelligent use of your creative power. Creative power is about having the ability and power to manifest a creative idea. In particular it is about the power to cause something to come into existence which did not previously exist. Creative power is about consciousness directing a flow of creative life energy by how it focuses its attention and awareness.

Our mind is ours, and with it, we can create. We have created automobile, skyscrapers, airplanes, air conditions, television, satellite, and with it, we can create contentment, contentment in a joyful world in which we can harness machines to eliminate most of the dangers and hardships. Not only is it our potential to create a meaningful life, it is also our obligations to ourselves. And yet the quest for happiness is, to so many people, a grotesque traffic jam. The motor keeps running, but the car can’t move.

Too many people have renounced happiness; too many think that living has lost its kick for them; too many find no purpose in their lives. Why is this? Why people give up on life? Why do they give up on themselves?

“Individuality is dead”, some say. “The pace is too fast” others say. They talk about the hustle-bustle of city life, the speed with which people move around on working days. They criticize the changes in our ideas; about sex, about art, about dress. Who can keep up with these revolutions in thought?

All right, there is some truth to the criticisms of today’s world, but people have always lived with imperfection. Down through history we find people coping with problems; some lived richly, some were afraid to live. And so is today; there are people who live, and there are people who use rationalizations to keep them from living fully.

Criticisms of the modern world serve only as stumbling blocks if they lead people to turn away from life. There is no excuse for negative thinking which wastes human life. When a person drowns himself in such a pattern of thinking, he is committing an unspeakable crime against himself.

Yet in our complex civilization people too often live with boredom and anxiety rather than adventure. While I am writing this article on creative living, I would like to communicate to you my ideas on the meaning of life, about a good life which you can make reality. I want to share with you that zestful, optimistic living can be a reality for people today. So many people do not see this truth, yet it is as real as the table at which you eat; it is as real as you are male or female.

Contrary to what many think, truth can be pleasant:

  • Operating on your mind: There is more to life than a good physical image. There is another force which can sustain you amid the demands of living. It is a force that can remove scars of the mind. It is a force that can bring you a sense of security, even when events in your world go wrong, and that is your self-image.

In Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote, “To take arms against a sea of troubles.”

To live creatively, you must “take arms”. You must arm yourself with powerful weapons which will not fire blanks when you need their support.

“The self-concept is a factual description of how you perceive yourself. If your perception is distorted, this description may not be an accurate depiction of you, but it IS an accurate statement of what you believe about yourself.”

  • Don’t let worries get you down: It is completely unacceptable how negative thinking can take hold of you, dragging you down into despair. When you substitute worry for living, you must take responsibility for it. Because it is really up to you. You can make your days thrilling, or you can make them miserable.

“Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.” ~Dale Carnegie

  • The source of your strength: To bring health into your life, you need healthy self-image. You need to see yourself as a worthwhile human being; you must give acceptance to yourself. The image you have of yourself, the way you see yourself deep down, is fundamental in your adjustment to yourself and to the world you live in.

“Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself.”  ~ Robert Collier

  • Sharpening your image of yourself: Deeply ingrained negative attitudes permeate our culture, and every day people we know may try to submerge us in them. You must not allow to be railroaded into adopting stereotyped, humiliating attitudes toward yourself. You must, to live creatively, redouble your efforts to support yourself, to give yourself credit for your accomplishments, your positive feelings, your positive actions, and your life building qualities. You must redouble your efforts to accept your shortcomings and to look humanely upon your blunders. Moreover you must examine yourself as you are, realistically, without falling prey to negative ideas which short-changes your estimate of yourself. If your self-image was never strong, you must work long and hard to strengthen it. If it was once strong but has deteriorated, you must eliminate self-destructive ideas from your mind and build it again, a logical continuation of what it used to be. You will encounter roadblocks from many sources, but you can overcome them if you adopt positive attitudes toward yourself, and if you see yourself as someone you like, as someone with whom you’d like to be friends. You must understand, first the incredible power of your mind, for good or evil. It is the simple concepts and images in your mind that can make you happy or miserable. Your thoughts, your concepts, your images, these are your most precious assets. You can buy a mink coat, or an expensive house, and yet be unhappy. You can travel around the globe a hundred times and make a million dollars, too, and still be miserable. You can strengthen your image of yourself and be content.

“To live happily is an inward power of the soul.” ~ Aristotle

  • Real meaning in your life: Life is something different for each person. Sad to say, some people hide, afraid to come out into the daylight. Others may both take refuge in safe, dull activities which will protect them from both punishment and real human experience. But life should be adventure for you today. Life should be exciting for you today. Life should be purposeful for you today. You must understand that, though we seem to hear mostly the negative, there is always two sides to the coin. Even within the many confines of civilization, the human being may still be free and joyous.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “The life of man is the true romance, which, when it is valiantly conducted, will yield the imagination a higher joy than fiction.This is written in nineteenth century, but it is still accurate—if one’s life “valiantly conducted”.

Preparation for rich living cannot start too soon. NOW, now is the time. NOW is the time to reappraise yourself—who you are. Where you are going. NOW is the time to see what you can do to improve your life.

“It doesn’t matter where you are, you are nowhere compared to where you can go.” ~ Bob Proctor

 


Positive Thinking

Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through our head. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. Some of our self-talk comes from logic and reason. Other self-talk may arise from misconceptions that we create because of lack of information.

If the thoughts that run through our head are mostly negative, our outlook on life is more likely pessimistic. If our thoughts are mostly positive, we’re likely an optimist, someone who practices positive thinking.

Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best happens every time, but accepting that whatever happens is the best for that moment. Positive thinking generates positive feelings and attracts positive life experiences. Have you ever heard this saying, “He who controls his mind, controls his life”. We cannot control what others do or what happens around us, but we can control our own mind. And when we control our mind, we will be in control of our thoughts, our emotions, our beliefs, our attitude, our actions, the word we say, and the images that run around our head.

Now that we understand how powerful our mind could be in relation to the pattern of our thoughts and our outlook on life, why not train our mind to embrace the power of positive thinking and a good result.

It has been argued in medical circles that up to 90% of disease has psychological origins. It’s a fact that our psychological outlook can have a dramatic effect on our overall health and longevity. Positive thinking can be a useful, powerful tool to get through difficult situations that life can bring and it can also be used to help improve the overall quality of one’s life. Having a positive outlook enables us to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on our body. Those who believe in the power of positive thinking, such as motivational speakers, life coaches, and self-help gurus, claim that taking an optimistic approach to life has shown great benefits. Some of the benefits that believers of positive thinking claim to experience are more stability during stress, physical and psychological well-being, recovery from illness, and healthier relationships.

The topic of positive thinking has been studied by many people. Here are some of their thoughts. The law of expectations says: “Everything you expect with full will come true.” In other words, we do not necessarily get what we want, but get what we expect. If people develop the habit of positive expectations, they will be amazed at the influence it will have on them and the people around.

The law of gravity says: “You are a living magnet; you always attract people, ideas and circumstances that harmonize with your main ideas“. One of the most important habits in this regard, is a habit to fill the consciousness of a positive picture of your life and the world.

The law of correspondence says: “Your outer world is an accurate reflection of your inner world.” It means that people get what they think most of the time.

The law of attraction says: “I attract to my life whatever I give my attention, energy and focus to, whether positive or negative” this means that whatever comes into our life, we are attracting it into our life by the power of our mind, both positive and negative experiences. It’s attracted to us by the images we’re holding in our mind, because pictures or images are thoughts!

Positive thinking doesn’t mean that we keep our head in the sand and ignore life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that we approach unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. We think the best is going to happen, not the worst.

It is simple to learn of how to change negative thinking into positive thinking. But it needs time and practice, as we are creating a new habit after all. Positive thinking is like exercising a muscle. Only it gives us a mental workout. The more we use it, the better we will become at it.

Here are some tips that we can use to think and behave in a more positive and optimistic way:

  • Identify areas to change. If we want to get more involved in the habit of positive thinking, we have to identify the areas of our life that we usually think more negatively about. Whether it is our work, a relationship or our finances. We can focus on each area one at the time and approach it in a more positive way.
  • Check ourselves. We have to stop, check and evaluate our thoughts regularly during the day. If we realize that our thoughts tend to become negative, we have to find a way to change their direction into a positive way.
  • Be open to humour. It’s okay to back off from the intensity of our life from time to time, and see the humour in life’s situations. We have to learn to laugh more often, especially during hard times.
  • Surround ourselves with positive people. People have a huge impact on our lives. There are people who can suck out our happiness, energy and maybe some of our tangible resources. It is important to be with people who can enrich our lives, and inspire us to be a better person. “Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.” – Karl Marx
  • Practice positive self-talk. Most of us usually are in constant mental chatter. We talk to ourselves all day long and, unfortunately, this self talk is frequently negative. Often it is tainted with guilt about our past or anxiety about our future. This negativity can destroy any seed of hope that we may otherwise have in striving for our dreams. We must not say anything to ourselves that we wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with ourselves and use positive affirmation whenever we say something negative, whether in the mind or verbally. Affirmations are positive statements of a desired outcome or goal. They are usually short, believable and focused. By repeating them over and over again, we build inroads into our subconscious mind, opening up the possibility of a new state of thoughts.

“Positive thinking is more than just a state of mind, it is the way we embrace life“


Spiritual Awakening

Spiritual awakening comes, when we become aware of our infinite nature. Our planet nowadays is full of issues, sounds, information and challenges that pose on our spiritual senses. Have you ever been desiring a more meaningful life more than an unfulfilling work, or gathering material possessions?  In case that your answer is yes. I have to say that you are not alone, as more and more individuals realize that true and lasting happiness and fulfilment can never be won on the battlefield of material success, no matter how powerful or wealthy one becomes, or how adept one is at surrounding oneself with the “right” people or circumstances

People have become more focused on self-awakening or self-realization these days, as they are more aware that the answer lies within rather than in external things. They have realized that the answer doesn’t lie in obtaining more possessions, expensive cars, beach homes, but an experience full of spiritual insights which makes this life more fulfilling and worth living.

The best decision makers and great motivators throughout the history were the same as we are, irrespective of one main factor: They simply understood just how to pay attention to their inner self. They realized how to relate to their higher level of consciousness and how to stay tuned to their internal voice.

Exactly the same voice that we all have within us at this time, awaiting its calling to be answered by us.

“Even a stone, and more easily a flower or a bird, could show you the way back to God, to the Source, to yourself. When you look at it or hold it and let it be without imposing a word of mental label on it, a sense of awe, of wonder, arises within you. Its essence silently communicates itself to you and reflects your own essence back to you.” / Eckhart Tolle

Every morning as we wake up from sleep, we enter the state of wakefulness, a state of repeated stream of thoughts, which is the characteristic of being wakeful. So what is it that we awaken from when spiritual awakening occurs? We awaken from identification with our thoughts. In the unawakened condition, we are totally identified with and run by our thoughts. We don’t see anything as it is, but by our twisted mental concepts, ideas, judgments, and perception. Our sense of identity gets cut down to a story which we keep repeating to ourselves in our head. And when our life is thus reduced, we can never be happy as we are not ourselves. Whereas In the spiritual awakened state, we realize that there is a depth to our being which we had never been aware of, and that is our conscious. We become more aware of the way of our thinking and we won’t get ruled by our thoughts any longer. A spiritually awakened person no more identifies with the body, while living in the body and performing all functions and activities by the body. He has let go of all sense of ego which is “I”, “Me” and “Mine”. He does not get affected by any emotion since he is filled with love, kindness and compassion for all humanity.

“That is the real spiritual awakening, when something emerges from within you that is deeper than who you thought you were. So, the person is still there, but one could almost say that something more powerful shines through the person.” / Eckhart Tolle

Characteristics of a spiritually awakened person –

  • The Spiritually illumined individual has lost his sense of ego since he identifies with self (divine).
  • He could have all the worldly materials such as wealth, fame, friends, relationship, and enjoy them, however the loss of them doesn’t make him miserable and unhappy.
  • Since he believes that all the worldly possessions are not permanent, he is not afraid of losing them.
  • He never seeks the approval of others or the external force as he believes in the power of self (divine).
  • He doesn’t get affected by any situation which can bring happiness or unhappiness since he has reached the mental state of self-control and the presence of mind.
  • Fear, jealousy, hatred, animosity, or any other negative force has no place in the life of such a spiritually illumined person.
  • He is always very humble and never sees himself as a superior to anyone as he believes that everyone is the same as he is and everybody is equal to him.
  • A spiritually illumined individual is free of all negative thoughts and actions about himself and others because the true nature of self is divine. His every word or action is of a high intellectual or moral level and he inspires others to challenge them.
  • He is totally detached to any material assets, relationship, name, fame, concepts or beliefs.
  • He performs all his duties conscientiously and to his best ability in life but he leaves the outcome of his efforts to GOD, as he believes that the result of his efforts are meant for the welfare of all concerned.
  • The spiritually illumined individual is a one who is absolutely egoless. Love, compassion and kindness oozes out of such a person like water flows out of a fountain! It is unconditional and it is available to all human, animals, birds and plants. He always takes care not to cause any harm to the nature as he believes that learning from nature is one of the best ways to learn humility.
  • Forgiveness is a strong trait of a spiritually illumined person. He lives a life of optional humility and, he can never mistreat or harm anybody.
  • His utmost aim is to grow spiritually all the time instead of pointing out to the flaws and imperfections of others. Such a person doesn’t teach or lecture others but he becomes himself a role model which others strive to follow.
  • He always respect other people’s opinions and beliefs and never imposes his belief on others.
  • He is always a happy being, and he spreads happiness and joy wherever he goes.
  • Since he is content and happy with what he has, so he is free of any greed and desire to possess more than his basic requirements.
  • The spiritually illumined individual doesn’t get angry and if somebody gets angry on him, he won’t retaliate or begrudge that person, but forgive them easily.
  • Such an individual doesn’t look for fault or flaws in others and if anybody criticizes him, he will accept it gracefully.
  •  He never try to control others as he believes in controlling himself.
  • A spiritually awakened person accepts all kind of people, situations and things as he has a great capacity of patience and tolerance.
  • Such an individual has more inner silence and he speaks less but whatever he says is sweet and good.

The single message of those who have realized such potential has always been the same, and basically, it comes down to this: True and lasting happiness and fulfilment are an individual affair and can only be found by going deep within, where one’s true essence is vividly and stunningly revealed as love, and then living into the reality of that awareness.

“You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are.” / Eckhart Tolle


Stress Management

Stress management is life management; if you take control of your stress, your life will thank you for it. “Shereka Dunston“

Stress is defined as the experience or anticipation of adversity in our goal-related efforts, a normal psychological and physical reaction to the ever-increasing demands of life. We experience stress when there is an imbalance between life demands being made on us and our resources to cope with those demands. Coping with life demands, and carrying the problems that may or may not belong to us can scratch away the little joy and happiness that we can carry once we head out that door.

The level and extent of stress a person may feel depends a great deal on their attitude to a particular situation. An event that may be extremely stressful for one person can be a mere hiccup in another person’s life.

So how can we reduce our stress? There are several ways to manage stress, and eventually remove it out of your life:

  1. Acknowledge stress is good

Make stress your friend! Based on the body’s natural “fight or flight” response, that burst of energy will enhance your performance at the right moment. I’ve yet to see a top sportsman totally relaxed before a big competition. Use stress wisely to push yourself that little bit harder when it counts most.

How you think and act can transform your experience of stress. When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage. When you choose to connect with others under stress you can create resilience. Now I wouldn’t necessarily ask for more stress in my life, but you can see it as another access to your compassionate heart and to your pounding physical heart to give you strength and energy.”

  1. Avoid stressed people

Overly stressed people are infected with stress germs and they spread them around indiscriminately. Soon, before you know it, you are infected too!

Protect yourself by recognizing stress in others and limiting your contact with them. Or if you’ve got the inclination, play stress doctor and teach them how to better manage themselves.

  1. Learn from the best

Try to make yourself into the type of person you want to be. So model calm people, people who seem to naturally handle stress well. When people around you are losing their head, who keeps calm? What are they doing differently? What is their attitude? What language do they use?  What are they saying to themselves?  Are they trained and experienced? You might observe them or, sit them down and have a chat with them. Ask them how they handle things that seem to stress others. Learn from the best and copy what they do.

  1. Practice Breathing, Really heavy breathing

This is something I’ve learned from a gym instructor: You can’t stay calm unless you control your breathing. You can trick your body into relaxing simply by using deep breathing techniques. Focus on bringing your breaths into the bottom of your stomach and then push the air out completely.

  1. Stop Obsessive Thinking

Take a few times throughout the day where you can sit comfortably and visualize your scary thoughts in a less threatening way. You can use humour to downplay those thoughts to less frightening thoughts. Use positive self-talk that reassures you that you would never carry out the thoughts you think. You have the power to DO or NOT DO anything you want. Remind yourself that it’s okay that those thoughts are there. Do not resist them…. accept them as just “thoughts” and nothing more. They cannot hurt you or make you do anything you don’t want to do. Most of these thoughts never happen, so why waste all that energy worrying needlessly?

  1. Identify Your True Sources of Stress

It’s easy to identify sources of stress following a major life event such as changing jobs, moving home, or losing a loved one, but pinpointing the sources of everyday stress can be more complicated. It’s all too easy to overlook your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that contribute to your stress levels. Sure, you may know that you’re constantly worried about work deadlines, but maybe it’s your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that is causing the stress. Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control. Knowing what causes you stress is powerful information, as you can take action to make it less stressful. Do you need to learn some new skills? Do you need extra resources?

  1. Be Smart About the Three Fundamentals of Energy

What are these three fundamentals? Getting enough sleep, eating healthy and exercising a couple of times a week.

Sleep deprivation, poor diet and no exercise affect your body both in the short term and over time leading to chronic health problems which can impact the quality of your life. Lack of sleep increases your appetite, affects your memory and ability to learn, and shortens your attention span. I know, these things are very obvious but worth mentioning as it’s often ignored as a stress management technique and when you manage these three areas in a good way in practice then that makes a huge difference for your mood, energy, outlook of life and how well you can handle stress. So listen to your mother and don’t burn the candle at both ends!

Having stress can be a total hardship, but that should not prevent you from finding the inner peace of mind that you have wanted for a long time. Connecting with others that share the desire to create more inner peace and give back to the world can increase your feelings of purpose, and in turn, inner peace. Consider enrolling for a prayer group, yoga or meditation class. There are number of online groups, for people that want to pray, meditate, or exercise their practice of choice in order to gain inner peace and focus on positive intentions to benefit others. Volunteering is another way to make you feeling more content and less stressed. By focusing your attention on others, your inner self will shift from being self-centred to becoming more giving and generous. Peace isn’t a passive state, but a state where the mind, heart and body are in balance as you’re actively living life.

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”  Buddha