How To Write The Best Story Of Your Life

  • Each new day is an opportunity to write a new story; a blank page to start over and begin writing a new chapter. You have pages to fill with your own words. You have sentences to live by and characters to support your story. Make sure you write a story that you love, a story you are proud of, a story your children and grandchildren will want to read over and over again, and make sure you write an authentic one, an original one, a story that reflects your life, your dreams and your desires – not a copy of someone’s life or a story someone else has written for you. Here is how to write the best story of your life.
  • Start by building the right characters. Your characters are the ones that make your story come to life, and they are an integral part of your journey. Pick the right characters, the ones that will stick with you till the end of the story, the ones that will support you when your story is falling apart, the ones who will fill all your pages and chapters, and the ones who will help you write a happy ending.
  • Find the purpose of your story. What are you trying to tell the world? What are you here for? And what story do you want people to read about you? Find a meaning to your story that makes you come alive and inspires you to wake up every day. Find a meaning that keeps your story interesting and keeps you interested , find a meaning to fight for, live for and die for.
  • Don’t let defeat put an end to your story. Every great story has periods of despair, failures and defeats, but this is what makes it even more compelling and this is what makes it even more substantial. This is the climax of your story and the turning point. This is when you start changing and your whole story changes. It now becomes about how you handle defeat, how you rise up after you fall down, and how you change the direction of your life after failure. A victorious ending requires a series of lost battles.
  • Pick an exciting theme. The theme is one of the most fundamental components of your story. Pick a theme that ends each chapter with hope, faith, and a desire to make tomorrow better. A theme that makes your character stronger in every chapter, a theme that makes people root for you and want to see you make it to the end. Pick a positive theme, a humorous tone maybe, or a theme that depicts the strength in struggle and the beauty in vulnerability.
  • Love is the essence of your story. Your story will be very weak without the power of love. You have to write a story of love and passion. Love is what keeps the story moving forward. It could be a lover, a friend, your work, your parents, your children, God or the love of the journey, the love of the unknown, or even your struggle to find love and define it. No matter how you tackle it, love is the crux of your story.
  • Don’t worry so much about the ending. Pay more attention to the details of your story and the way it’s unfolding. The best writers often don’t know how their story will end, they just start writing and the ending comes to them after they’ve shaped the main plot. If you focus too much on the ending, you might miss out on the whole story.
  • Give it a spectacular title. The title is what summarizes your story in a few words. It’s what makes people want to read your story. It’s your choice how you want people to perceive your story. Each day you make a choice as to whether the title ends with a question mark, a period, or an exclamation point.
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What If We Saw Souls Instead Of Bodies?

What If We Saw Souls Instead Of Body

If we could see souls instead of bodies, what would be beautiful?

What is the first thing people would know about you? What would you be most afraid of them seeing? Who would you impress? Who would you love?

What would you adjust as you walked past the mirror? What kind of work would you be in? What would your goals be, how would you strive to be better if what you collected in the bank or put on your body or attached next to your name on a business card no longer affected what people saw?

Would you spend your time in gyms and stores or in libraries and temples? Who would you let yourself fall in love with? What would your ‘type’ be? Tall, dark and handsome or creative, kind and self-aware?

Who would we idolize, and what? How much of our governing body would be fit to lead? Who would we make famous? Who would we celebrate?

Would we restructure our value system to prioritize the things that bring us true peace and desire, not just better than the norm? What would we do with all that money, if we weren’t spending it on decorating and changing and convincing everybody else that we are a way we really aren’t?

How would we define success? As who gathers the most shit around their souls or who is transformed the most and shines the brightest? What would it be like, if our priority was to just become lightness? What kindness and joy and healing and rawness would come of the journey there?

What would happen if we could see people not as “bad,” but as… blocked? If we could see the ways they’ve packed away their pain, or how they hold a belief that keeps them away from being kind to others? How they are unaware that those issues even exist?

What if we weren’t afraid of the ways people are different than us?

What would happen if we realized our bodies never wanted anything more than to feel connected, and acted out on nothing more than their false ideas of being separate, different, exiled, the odd one out, the almost-but-not-good-enough?

What would happen if we embraced our desire to play out and frame with our individualism, but eventually returned to the knowing that we are all just energy fields? And where would we be if we realized that we were all from the same one? What would happen if we realized we really weren’t that different at all?

Maybe One Day We’ll Figure This Life Out

Figuring Life Out

Maybe one day we’ll know why certain people have left us and why they didn’t come back. One day we will be able to connect the dots and understand how the pieces we didn’t understand all found their way to fit into the puzzle of our lives and complete the picture.

Maybe one day we’ll know why destiny keeps bringing certain people back into our lives or why their lessons had to be learned over and over again so we can finally know it by heart.

Maybe those people are meant to be a bigger part of our future and they keep reappearing to remind us that their part in our story is not over.
Maybe one day we’ll know why we left certain jobs and why we were forced to change directions. Maybe we were meant to change the world and our jobs weren’t going to make that happen. Maybe we are free spirits who are destined to roam the world freely without being caged in an orbit of predictability.

Maybe one day we’ll know why we didn’t get along with our parents or our relatives. Maybe we were meant to go out and make new friends and find people who teach us that we don’t have to share the same blood to count as family. Maybe we were meant to get lost and wander to find where we truly belong – to find a home we don’t want to escape from.

Maybe we were meant to fail and be laughed at to learn how to shield ourselves from the stones that keep getting thrown our way.

Maybe we needed to learn how to walk on pebbles so we can walk slowly and discover that there is more than one path along the way.

Maybe we were meant to be laughed at so we can understand that one person’s tragedy is another person’s comedy.

Maybe we were meant to fall in love with the wrong people to learn that love doesn’t discriminate. That the heart doesn’t know the rules or the terms or the social conduct. It just feels and jumps recklessly into anything that moves it. Maybe we need to learn that love will always be inexplicable, something of the Gods, something that calls us to do things that are unfamiliar to us. Something that makes us believe in magic – a dream that meddles in the nightmares of reality.

Maybe we were meant to sail away from the shore to learn the methods of surviving alone, to learn that loneliness won’t kill us and solitude can be our friend. Maybe we need to disappear to see who will care to find us, who will care to bring us back to life, who will wonder about us and who will wish we never find our way back.

Maybe we needed to be scared so we can understand that we will never be fearless but we can be courageous and we can be brave. Maybe one day we will know if our fear is merely a reflection of our own insecurities or fear of our own greatness . Maybe one day we will know why we were so afraid to shine.

Maybe one day we will know why we just can’t be happy, why we are always searching for something to stress us out so we can feel like we are part of society, why we always have to feel ‘useful’ to be accepted, why we always want more than what we have and why we feel like it’s a crime to just exist – just be – bounded by our nothingness.

Maybe one day we will look back and life will make sense, maybe one day we will stop asking so many questions and let the answers find us. Maybe one day we will know for sure why we wasted so much trying to get a grasp of life that we forgot that we are here to live it – not understand it.

Ways to Replace Temptation with Self Control

Surfing the internet this morning, I couldn’t help but share this write up from daily positives.

Overall, I would consider myself a fairly controlled person. Yet when it comes to men, food, and social drinking – sayonara! As much fun as it might be at the time, the regret of: “Man, I told myself I would be in control this time” that comes later is not a good feeling.

Sound familiar?

Saying you want one thing and doing the complete opposite can create a lot of unnecessary chaos in life.

Not only does being impulsive throw off our equilibrium, but it also takes away from our broader personal goals.

When it comes down to avoiding what’s good for us or making decisions we will regret later, it’s a matter of exercising self control and learning how to BUILD that muscle.

Yet, this tends to be easier said than done and requires a conscious, mindful effort.

Here are 5 simple ways to practice more self control during the moments that tempt you most. Pick at least 2 you can use right now, practice them for 7 days, and see what a difference it makes!

1. Be Honest About Your Temptations

The first step is being truthful with yourselfabout what your temptations are, so you know how to manage them in the future.

What situations, without fail, always leave you saying, “I wish I didn’t do that”?

For example, if you know you can’t have chips in the house without finishing the entire bag upon opening them, deciding not to buy them in the first place is a good starting point. Recognizing the temptations lets you help prevent them before you’ve gone too deep.

2. Quit Cold Turkey

While we want to believe we are strong enough to overcome temptation when faced with it (or at least try to), avoiding the temptation altogether is the only guarantee for doing so.

Living in extremes can require quitting in extremes.

Try a 30-day alcohol free month, social media detox challenge, or cut off communication from a toxic relationship.

3. Recognize Your Long-Term Goals & Tie the Present Moment to Them

When avoiding your temptation triggers may not be an option, consider your long-term goals before engaging in a potential regretful activity.

Living for short-term gratification can seem harmless, but has the ability to negatively impact your aspirations down the line.

Make sure that a Wednesday night Happy Hour is really worth the lost productivity at work the next day!

4. Get an Accountability Partner

Having an accountability partner (or group) is a great way to stay on track for any goal, and becoming more self-disciplined is no exception.

It’s always easier to assess a situation and see clearly when you’re not directly in it.

So the next time you’re feeling tempted, call a friend for encouragement and reminders to help you choose positively, wisely and in alignment with your goal/s.

5. Listen to & Trust the “Good” Shoulder Angel

We all have the little voice that tells us not to do something, and the one that tells us to do it anyway.

Impulsiveness is often engaging in something that goes against our better judgment, and against our values.

So the next time you feel conflicted, stop and make a deliberate choice to do the opposite of what you might want to do. Over time, this will become second nature.

Ultimately, every choice in life has a consequence. It is rewarding to engage in decisions that bring you closer to the person you want to be (the person you really are deep down!).

After awhile, you’ll be able to appreciate the peace which comes from aligning what you say you want with your actions. You will live from a place of equilibrium.

Credit: Ashley David

There Is No Hurry. Really?

In all labour there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. Proverbs 14:23

Procastination the thief of time

Charles Seindoll introduced him thus: A formidable giant, quick as a laser, silent as a moonbeam, very slick and can pick any lock. Once inside, His winsome ways will captivate your attention such that you world treat him as your best friend; but watch out, he is a professional thief. He will strip you without a blink of remorse. His name is Procrastination.

He specializes in stealing priceless valuables of time and incentives and leaving cheap substitutes in their place like excuses, rationalizations, empty promises, embarrassment and guilt.

The greatest weapon of this con-artist is not a bold face instruction of don’t do it but a subtle suggestion of there’s no hurry and with this, he hardly loses. He can outtalk any student when it comes to homework. He can outthink any executive when it comes to correspondence. He can out work any housemaker when it comes to doing dishes. He can outlast any parent when it comes to discipline.

Why not purpose to defeat this thief of time now. Surprisingly, as powerful and cunning this guy is, he cannot stand one word. NOW! It immediately sends him fleeing in frustration each time you say it and muster discipline to mean it. For starters, today, why not list two projects you’ve put off previously and get one done as we begin this new month.

Enjoy Grace!

Never put till tomorrow what you can do today.

The Big Risk if You’re Seeking Approval from Other People

Originally posted on the daily positive.

As human beings we crave acceptance and approval – to feel a sense of belonging and security.

The Big Risk if You’re Seeking Approval from Other People

It makes sense if you think about our primitive nature and history – the need to be in tribes/communities together, for safety and survival.

That seems to drive so many of us in modern life to go seeking approval and acceptance from others – be it our families, our friends, our work colleagues and employers.

Heck… we even go on social media and seek “likes” from complete strangers in order to get that sense of acceptance.

But here are the cold hard facts about living for the acceptance, approval or praise of others…

  • Yes, it feels good (we all like it!)
  • But, you can’t guarantee you’ll always get it.
  • And as long as you’re attached to the acceptance, approval and praise of others, you’re also equally attached to their judgment, criticism and rejection.

The powerful truth that I’ve personally learned over the years is this…

  • When people say nice things about me, that’s lovely and it’s just what they’re thinking and feeling in that moment. It has nothing to do with me. It’s none of my business. 💙
  • When people say unkind things about me, that’s unpleasant and it’s just what they’re thinking and feeling in that moment. It has nothing to do with me. It’s none of my business. 💙

If you live by the praise of others, you die by their criticism.

Everyone is simply projecting their inner experience into the outer world – be that positive or negative, be that praise or criticism. To live your life at peace and empowered here are 2 TIPS…

  • Don’t take things personally – even when it’s nice things (acknowledge the love the other person is expressing, and witness it with appreciation, but don’t attach to it like an umbilical cord!). 😃
  • Don’t go looking for people to validate, approve, accept or praise you – GIVE IT TO YOURSELF. The only person’s opinion who truly matters is yours. From your own approval, the world is your oyster and you can enjoy the good and detach the bad, forever free to simply be.

Ways To Stop Worrying About How Your Life Looks And Start Focusing On How It Feels

Ways To Stop Worrying About How Your Life Looks And Start Focusing On How It Feels

1. Count how many times you’ve really been happy after you got something you thought you wanted. What happened after you got the relationship you were lusting after? What happened after you got that job? What happened when you made more money? Chances are, things were different, but proportionately good and bad.

2. Make a list of all the imperfect people you’ve known in your life who have had love. Who have had romantic partners and best friends and jobs you could only ever dream of. Make a list of all the people who are conventionally unattractive and spiritually adrift and imperfect and all the things each one of them had despite being that way. Make it your own personal proof that you do not need to be perfect to be good enough.

3. Ask yourself what you’d do if social media were no object, and nobody would know. What would you do this Saturday, what would you do tonight? What would your career goals be, how many photos would you really take? Who would you hang out with, where would you live, if you weren’t silently policing yourself through the lens of “what other people see.”

4. Ask yourself what you’d do if money were no object, and you could do anything. This is a classic exercise that many people dismiss because of how impractical it is. Unfortunately, those people aren’t thinking deeply enough to understand the real point. It’s not to discover what you’d actually do if you didn’t have to worry about money (that’s not our reality) it’s about the essence of what you’d do, and how you can incorporate that into your everyday life. Would you vacation, would you keep your current job? It just goes to show you whether you value relaxation or accomplishments or whatever else, and understanding what you value is crucial to understanding who you are.

5. Take photos to remember happy moments, not prove that you looked good or did something cool. Make a special album on your phone just for “happy moments.” When you feel good or are enjoying yourself or have some kind of revelation, just take a photo of whatever’s in front of you (however unworthy of Instagram it is.) When you look back at these seemingly random snapshots, you’ll experience those feelings all over again. You’ll see, by contrast, the emotional difference between capturing the moments that matter to you and creating moments to matter for other people.

6. Identify the “people” you always think are judging you. You know how people always say that? “People are judging me.” “I’m worried about what people will think.” Most of the time, those “people” are a faceless crowd that only exist in your mind. In other words, they’re you, projected outward. It’s what you’re judging yourself for. The first step is realizing that the “people” you worry about don’t really exist.

7. Think about what makes you feel the most jealous. The things that make us the most jealous and envious are usually the things that we feel we’re not living up to within ourselves. We’re jealous of the beautiful girl not because we want to be beautiful like her, but because we’re lacking something so much more important, which is love for ourselves. We’re jealous of the successful writer not because we also want to be lauded, but because we know we’re not doing the work to get there.

8. Don’t clean before someone comes over. Save for people who, you know, aren’t hygienic, don’t worry about setting up a stage when someone else visits. I’m not talking about straightening up or putting personal items away, but actually trying to construct an appearance that is the physical equivalent of bleach blonde hair dye. Let people into your life in a true way. Let them enter a moment in your life, just as it’s happening. It’s the only way you truly bond.

9. Re-think how you celebrate the most important days of the year. Most people do it with relatives they see only on holidays, who they don’t have genuine relationships with otherwise, and who they are vaguely unhappy to have to see. These days are meant to be spent treating the people who love you all year round to parties and meals and gifts. Not the people who you feel morally obligated (but emotionally repressed) into stomaching.

10. Get rid of things that aren’t purposeful or meaningful. The reason why this is so important is because things are defining, especially when we buy them with the intention of making us “different.” Our things construct our experiences. They create what we see and by extension how we feel. They are the means through which we put ourselves together each day. It’s not about having as little as possible, it’s about having only things that serve purpose or hold meaning. Do it. It will transform your life. (And that’s no small claim to make.)

11. Ask yourself: “If I knew nobody would judge me, what would I stand for?” What do you inherently agree with, once you’re past all the self-imposed social filters? People think being conscious of their hidden thoughts and feelings and prejudices = being unaware and ignorant, but the opposite is true. It’s being unaware that’s a problem.

12. Ask yourself: “If I could tell every single person in the world just one thing, one sentence, what would it be?” Would you say: “it’s going to be okay?” “Don’t worry so much?” “Seek the best in others?” “Follow me on Twitter?” What you think you’d want to say to everyone out there is actually a projection of what you most need to hear. That’s what you most want to tell you.

13. Decide that to be worthy of something is just to be grateful to have it. You choose what your self-esteem is measured by. You decide what your worth is based on. You decide whether or not you’re good enough for something, and because that is the case, decide that the people who are worthy of what they have are the ones who are grateful to have it. Nothing more, nothing less.

14. Realize that you are not only as accomplished as you are over your biggest hurdle. You’re not only as “good” as you are “perfect,” you’re not only as “good” as you are better than someone else, either. In the words of Oprah (who else?) you can have everything, just not at the same time. Be grateful for this: it means you have the opportunity to appreciate what’s in front of you, and you always have something else to work toward and look forward to.

15. Assume that all things are for the best. When people care most about how their lives look is when they’re most closed to how their lives feel. When they’re most closed to how their lives feel is when they don’t want to feel pain. Being truly at peace requires realizing that everything is for the best: everything in your life does one of three things: shows you to yourself, heals a part of yourself, or lets you enjoy a part of yourself. If you adopt that perspective, there’s nothing left to fear.

16. Ask yourself: “If the whole world were blind, how many people would I impress?” This Boonaa Mohammed quote has been making the rounds lately, but it’s always important. Truly imagine a life in which you could not see things. In which all that exists is how you feel, and how you make others feel. In this kind of world, what kind of person are you, and is it for those reasons that, perhaps, creating a life that looks good to earn other people’s love has supplemented having your own?

Things God Wants You To Remember When Life Gets Rough

Things God Wants You To Remember When Life Gets Rough

1. He is listening. He is listening to your prayers, your fears, your pain and your silence. He is listening to what you are asking for and in time he will either give you what you were asking for or something much better.

2. He is making you stronger. With every unanswered prayer, with every disappointment, with every hurdle, with every loss, he is making you stronger. He is giving you the strength you need so you can be strong for others. So you can be a strong mother, a strong father, a strong wife, a strong husband, a strong daughter, a strong son, and a strong friend.

3. He has a better plan for you. He knows what’s better for you, he knows what you
need not what you want . He is planning the perfect timing for your life. The timing of your love, the timing of your career, and the timing of your miracle.

4. He will answer your questions. He will show you why you didn’t get that job, or why it didn’t work out with that person. He will show you why you lost a loved one, why he broke your heart or why he tested you so much. He will make things clear to you and you will thank him for it.

5. He will heal you. He will heal your broken heart, he will ease your restless mind, and he will solve the mystery of your puzzled thoughts. He wants you to be patient but he will always fix you.

6. He wants you to trust him. He wants you to have faith in him, he wants you to leave the big things – the uncontrollable things up to him, he wants you to believe in him, he wants you to go back to him when you think you have no one and he wants you to trust that he will provide for you when you lose everything. He will always rescue you before you drown.

7. He wants you to know you’re never alone. He is always there with you; when you’re scared or confused, he is there with you. When you’re afraid of the dark, he is there with you. When you are crying late at night and you think no one can hear you, he can hear you. When you’ve given up on your life and on love and think you have no one, you have him. No matter where you are, he is always with you and he wants you to know that he is enough.

8. He wants you to grow. He wants to you to change, he wants you to learn things the hard way, he wants you to evolve, he wants you step outside of your comfort zone, he wants you to lose your way so you can find him and find yourself. He wants you to be wise and strong and he wants you to prosper.

9. He wants you to know he loves you. He loves you more than you know, he may be hard on you sometimes but he loves you, he may not give you everything you asked for but he loves you. No matter how many mistakes you’ve made or how many times you got angry with him, he still loves you, he forgives you and he is turning your life around. He doesn’t love you for your money or your looks or your status, he loves you for you. God loves you more in a moment than anyone could in a lifetime.

10. He wants you to believe in miracles. He is bringing you small miracles so you can believe in the big miracles. In every dream of yours that come true, in every pleasant surprise you get, in every enlightening situation you encounter, in every person who moved you, in every person you loved – he’s making miracles happen. He’s a God of magic, wonder and hope and he wants you to believe that.

Credit to one of my mentors Rania Naim

Things You Forgot To Thank Yourself For

Things You Forgot To Thank Yourself For

We’re always thanking our friends and family for their support and the incredible things they do for us but we sometimes forget that we should thank ourselves as well for the things we go through and how at certain times we make it completely on our own. Here are some of the things you should thank yourself for:

1. For trying to be a better person. Thank yourself for trying to be a better friend, or a better partner or better to your parents. Thank yourself for going out of your way to help someone. Thank yourself for going the extra mile for a friend who truly needed your support.

2. For not giving up. During your finals, during stressful work weeks and during difficult times. Thank yourself for pulling yourself together and enduring the anxiety and the pain that you had to go through. Thank yourself for making it out of the storm in one piece.

3. For taking care of yourself. Thank yourself for trying to take care of yourself first before you can take care of others. Thank yourself for the times you had to focus on yourself and did a great job. Thank yourself for understanding that you have to always work on yourself because this is the person you will truly live with forever.

4. For trying to achieve your dreams even if they didn’t happen yet. Thank yourself for trying to go to school again, for trying to ask for a raise, for trying to look for another job, for trying to move to a new country. Thank yourself for the awareness you have that you need to dream bigger and do better.

5. For letting someone you loved go. Thank yourself for letting them be, for moving on even when it was hard, for trying to forget them when you didn’t want to and for doing your best not to contact them when it was all you ever wanted. Thank yourself for protecting your own heart.

6. For the moments of weakness. Thank yourself for giving yourself permission to eat that cheeseburger or skip the gym for a few weeks. Thank yourself for telling someone how you truly felt. Thank yourself for knowing that you are not perfect but there are perfect moments where you just have to be unapologetically you.

7. For making mistakes. Thank yourself for the decisions that were not so great, it means you’re learning, it means you’re evolving and it means you’re growing wiser and stronger. Thank yourself for not allowing your mistakes to define you.

8. For your kindness. Thank yourself for doing something selflessly, for giving something without expecting anything in return, for sharing your experiences or stories with people who could benefit from it and for being kind to yourself when the world is being hard on you.

9. For embracing the chaos of life. Thank yourself for keeping a smile on your face when you’re sad, for waking up and participating in life when you feel the weight of the world crashing down on you, for going out when all you want to do is stay home and for believing that things will get better even though you’re not sure. Thank yourself for trying to live your life – no matter how unpredictable and messy it can be.

10. For all the things you do that make you proud. For the little things and the big things. For the things that make you happy and the things that make you look forward to tomorrow. For the beautiful things you do that go unnoticed, for the sincere prayers you say to the ones you love, for the compromises you make, for the risky chances you take and for the silly things you do to make people smile. Thank yourself for any moment that made you grateful to be alive and made you love yourself a little bit more.

Life as they say is not easy. But each day you try your best to make it more suitable and easy for yourselves. Don’t forget to thank yourself each day for not giving up on life.

8 Ways To Have More Gratitude Every Day

8 Ways To Have More Gratitude Every Day

In the famous words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

It can be easy to get swept away in the fast lane and forget to stop and show your appreciation for what you do have. A life well lived is one of gratitude and thankfulness.

To help you on your gratitude journey, here are 8 ways to have more gratitude in your daily life.

1. Don’t be picky: appreciate everything

Gratitude doesn’t have to be saved for the “big” things in life. The habit of being grateful starts with appreciating every good thing in life and recognizing that there is nothing too small for you to be thankful for.

Even if it is as simple as appreciating the clear weather or how quickly your mailman delivered your mail last Friday, don’t leave anything outwhen practicing your gratitude.

2. Find gratitude in your challenges

Gratitude is not only about being thankful for positive experiences. In fact, sometimes thinking about negative or difficult situations can help to really nail down what you have to be thankful for.

Western Buddhist master Jack Kornfield remembers an exercise he did with a man who was caring for his grandson while his son and daughter-in-law battled a drug addiction. Despite all that he had been through, the man was still able to find gratitude for the amount of compassion he had learned to show and the impact he was able to have on other people.

Dig a little deeper into some of your own past experiences and try to figure out how they have helped shape you into the person you are today.

3. Practice mindfulness

Sit down daily and think through five to ten things you are grateful for. The trick is that you need to picture it in your mind and sit with that feeling of gratitude in your body. Doing this every day will rewire your brain to be naturally more grateful, and you’ll start feeling happier after every session.

It only takes eight weeks of gratitude practice for people to start showing changed brain patterns that lead to greater empathy and happiness.

Your brain is a powerful tool, and training it towards gratitude is all part of ensuring that the gratitude comes more easily as you practice, so what are you waiting for?

4. Keep a gratitude journal

After your mindfulness session, write down your positive thoughts! Keeping a journal of all of the things you are thankful for can help you keep track of and refer back to the positives in your life.

Write down your positive thoughts to further focus your attention on the subject. While you are putting the pen to paper, you have no choice but to consciously think about the words you are writing without other distracting, ungrateful thoughts.

You can journal every day after your gratitude practice, or you can come back to the journal on a regular schedule weekly or monthly.

5. Volunteer

For many people, the key to having more gratitude is to give back to others in their local community. Not only will it make you more grateful for the things that you may take for granted, but studies have shown that volunteering for the purpose of helping others increases our own well-being, and thus our ability to have more gratitude. University of Pennsylvania professor, Martin Seligman, supports this theory with his research in Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being. After testing all kinds of variables that help improve our well-being, he found that volunteering is the single most reliable way to momentarily increase your well-being.

In other words: helping others helps you!

6. Express yourself

Sometimes it’s not enough to simply keep your gratitude to yourself. You can increase your feelings of gratitude by expressing that same gratitude to the people you care about.

Soul Pancake, a group that works to discover the “science of happiness,” ran an experiment where they encouraged people to write a letter to a person they were grateful for. By itself, this exercise increased their levels of happiness from 2 to 4%. However, when the same people made a phone call to the person they were thankful for to express their gratitude directly, happiness levels jumped from 4% to 19%. Not only does expressing your gratitude for someone make their day a little brighter, but it can do wonders for increasing your own levels of gratitude and happiness in the long run

7. Spend time with loved ones

If you’re struggling with feeling the gratitude in the moment, go spend time with your friends and family. Of course it will help you grow closer to them and strengthen your relationship, but it will also give you a chance to practice your acts of gratitude on people that you care about.

8 Ways To Have More Gratitude Every Day

Start small if they’re having trouble finding ways to support your friends and family. For instance, why don’t you make sure you’re listening intently the next time someone shares a story with you instead of waiting for your own chance to speak? Or start a conversation with a difficult member of the family by complimenting their new shoes or hair-cut.

8. Improve your happiness in other areas of your life

Being grateful can make you happy, but being happy can also make you grateful. There are plenty of other ways to get your mood up, including exercising or participating in a hobby you enjoy.

Once you are feeling the endorphins flow, showing gratitude will become even easier and you’ll start to be able to make list after list of all of the things in your life you’re thankful for.

Source: Women’s Media

Reasons Why We Resist The Things We Want The Most

Am not a psychologist or a professional at solving people’s problems. But these points sure know how to get to people, especially me.

The writer who can’t write. The hopeless romantic who can never find the right relationship. If you haven’t experienced it yourself, surely you’ve known others who’ve struggled with it to a pretty incredible degree: actively resisting what it is they want most (almost always through unconscious self-sabotage.) It’s something so many people do, but so few know to change, usually because they don’t know why it happens in the first place. So here, 8 reasons why we resist the things we want – because understanding the problem is the same as knowing the solution- Brianna Weist

We want to avoid being present, because if we’re present for the good things, we have to be present for the bad ones, too.

This is usually the reason people have such a hard time with simply “being in the moment.” There is something “in the moment” that they’re running from… which is why they’re having a problem in the first place. Because the only thing that can be a problem at any given “moment” is something within you.

We’re afraid to reach the “end of the road.”

We are beings that are, literally, made to evolve. Emotionally, mentally, physically, universally. We were designed to change, and the ultimate resistance to that is only seeking out “end goals.” Because you won’t actually let yourself get there. Getting there feels like the equivalent of death. If we don’t realize that letting ourselves have what we want is the beginning of a journey, we don’t let ourselves have it. But we can’t regard something as the “beginning of a journey” unless it’s something we genuinely want to do each day (rather than just feel better with the idea of.) But more on that later.

We’re afraid of losing our identities.

We identify with pain. We become our struggle. We bond over what we hate. It’s the trifecta for unhappiness, and the more we sustain it, the harder it becomes to work our way out of. This is because we grow to identify with our problems. Who are we if we don’t have a battle to fight? It makes “being happy” seem boring, and undesirable. So we keep ourselves in a state of “wanting” and never “having.”

We’re afraid of people not loving us because we’re not broken and relatable anymore.

The main reason we keep ourselves small is because we think that it will make other people love us. If we’re helpless, someone will help us, if we have problems, we’re relatable, and accepted. Being a “happy person” who has what they want is not always being “the most liked person in the room,” but ultimately it’s a choice you have to make: to feed your own heart or other people’s insecurities.

We’ve trained ourselves to feel happy with the “wanting” not the “getting.”

We get stuck in these patterns in which we find our happiness in dreaming up the next big thing, in working toward it, in lusting after it, in feeling like “getting it” is this huge accomplishment. Then after the high has passed, it’s not interesting to us anymore. We’ve learned to be happy just wanting, never having.

Having what we want makes us more vulnerable than anything else in the world.

This is the simplest one in the book, yet usually the last thing people think of: when we have what we want, we’re vulnerable. We can lose it. If it’s not ours, then it’s always safe, because we never had it in the first place. (Goes without saying, but I think most people would ultimately prefer having something and losing it as opposed to never having it at all.)

We want certainty before we act – because we think this means emotional security.

A lot of the time, getting what we really want isn’t so far out of reach as it is just behind all of our self-imposed blocks, doubts and insecurities. We want certainty because when we’re certain that something is “right” or “meant to be,” it eliminates the risk of being devastated. If we know it’s already “right,” we can’t lose it. (We can, it’s delusion.)

We don’t want what we think we want.

We think we want a partner, but what we really want is to feel love for ourselves, and not need someone else to keep injecting good feelings into our lives for us. We think we want to lose weight, but what we really want is to feel secure, and to love our bodies for how they are. (Then maybe have the partner, and lose the weight.) We think we want a particular job, but what we really want is to feel affirmed by a title, or to feel supported or admired. For the most part, people do (and get) what it is they really want. The problem is only ever a matter of identifying what that honestly is – and why

When You Think Life Sucks: Do These Things

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” Harriet Beecher Stowe

Life is not always great.

At times it may not even feel OK.
When you’ve had several setbacks in a row, bad luck or things aren’t going your way – even though you do your best – then it may feel like: my life simply and honestly sucks.
I think most of us have had days and likely longer periods like weeks or months when we’ve thought about life like this and felt pretty glum and like there’s a personal little rain cloud over your head.

What can u do when that happens?
In this article I’d like to share 10 things that have helped me when I’ve asked myself: why does my life suck?
I hope you find something here that’ll help you out. THE POSITIVITY BLOG

1. It’s OK to feel frustrated (but know how to handle it so you don’t get stuck).

When things aren’t going your way then you sometimes get frustrated. That’s natural and OK. So instead of trying to push these emotions away accept and process them.

But also know how to not get stuck in them because then they’ll just suck a lot of energy and time from your week.
One thing that helps me to reduce that frustration so I can move forward once again is to stop my thoughts from bouncing around in the past or a possible future by reconnecting with this moment.

Two of my favorite ways for doing that are to:
Focus on my breathing. I sit down with closed eyes and then just focus on the air going in and out of my nose. I do that for 1-2 minutes while making sure that I take calm and slightly deep breathes than I usually do and I breathe with my belly (and not my chest).
Focus on what is around me for 1-2 minutes. The people going by out on the street. The slight draft from one of the windows. The warmth from the radiator. The snow slowly falling outside my window and the soft clothes on my skin. This brings my attention fully back to what is here right now.
By doing one of these things for just that tiny amount of time I calm down and it becomes easier to focus and to think clearly again. I then follow that up with the next habit in this article.

2. Tap into gratitude for the simplest of things.

This is usually my next step when I want to reduce frustration. But it works well on its own too when you feel like life sucks. Because during those times it’s easy to go from feeling sorry for yourself for a while into full on victim thinking that lasts for too long and drags you down. I find that zooming out a bit during these times helps.

So I ask myself: what are 3 simple things that I can still be grateful for having in my life?

A handful of answers that I tend tocome back to often are at least partly things that are basic for me but many out there in the world still don’t have access to. Like for example:
A roof over my head and a warm home.
Plenty of drinkable water. I don’t have to go hungry. The simple pleasures of life like a sunset or a relaxing walk in the woods. My family and friends.

3. Focus more on the small how-tos and less on the whys.

Processing what happened and what you feel is certainly important. But instead of taking the common route of dwelling on the whys of the negative situation 80% of the time and looking for solutions 20% of the time switch those numbers around. Spend more of your time on finding the small and practical steps you can take to make things better (even if it’s just a little better at this time). By doing so you’ll start to feel more confident and less suffocated and paralyzed as you are moving forward once again.

4. Reminder: This is temporary. And there is a brand new day tomorrow.

Just because this day or the last week didn’t go well doesn’t mean that there is not a brand new day tomorrow. A day when you can start fresh. With taking action to move towards what you want, likely having a bit more luck and when it will be easier to see that this difficult time is only temporary and not permanent (even if it might feel that way right now).

5. Ask yourself: What is going well in my life though?

It is very easy to get stuck in focusing on the negative things when you start thinking that life or your week or month isn’t going well. But don’t forget that there are still things that are going well in your life. It may be small things.
When I had several setbacks last year I asked myself this question and it helped me to open up my mind and to not get too focused on only the things that weren’t going so well. By opening my mind I could see that many vital things like my small business, my exercise habit and flossing habit were indeed going well and that several fun things had happened recently too.

6. Setbacks can be very valuable if I let them.

I know this may sound like a cliche. And when I’m having a tough time then it’s not what I usually like to hear. But at the same time I must admit that it’s often true. And it’s an important thing for me to reminder myself of because it reduces the pain I feel from a setback since I know that this shall pass and that I will usually get something good out of it in the end. Now, a common way of looking at failures, mistakes and obstacles on yourjourney is of course as something negative and as things that should be avoided. But trying to actively avoid them at any price usually leads to analysis paralysis and a lack of taking any significant action at all.
And the setbacks and mistakes in life can indeed be very helpful. If you let them. So before you start moving on from one of them ask yourself:
What is one thing I can learn from this situation?

How can I adjust my course to avoid this trap/making the same mistake and to likely do better the next time?
These questions have helped me to improve a lot about how I do things in life and to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.

7. Reminder: It’s OK to have a bad day.

Sometimes a bad day will just be a bad day. Even if you use a couple of the previous tips and strategies.
Because no matter what you do, life will never be perfect, awesome or peaceful all the time. It will still have natural valleys even if you adopt many new and positive habits .

And that’s OK.

But here’s the upside…

If you actually accept that this is howlife is from time to time – and you stop clinging to a dream of perfection – then your life will become lighter and simpler and you’ll be less stressed out and able to more constructively handle that bad day when it does show up on your doorstep.

8. Let it out.

Keeping things bottled up and not letting them out makes it – in my experience – easier to start making mountains out of molehills. And unbeatable nightmares out of things that do genuinely suck. So let what is weighing on you out. You can do it by:
Talking it over with someone close to you. Maybe you just need to vent and to figure things out for yourself as he or she listens. Or maybe the two of you can talk it through to ground the situation in reality. And to come up with the start of a plan for what you can do. Writing about it in a journal. Just letting your thoughts, worries and emotions out on paper or a computer screen can be a relief. And it can help you to start structuring things, to think things through and to start seeing possible solutions or small steps you can take.

9. Work it out.

When things are bad and you cannot think yourself out of the state of mind that it leads you to then take another route. Stop using your head and start usingyour body. Go for a walk in the wintery landscape.Play badminton or soccer with friends. Head to the gym and work out in someway. Will the situation perhaps still suck when you get back? Yes. But maybe less so than you first thought. Because now you have less inner tensions and renewed mental clarity and energy. I have found in my own life that this makes a huge difference to change my perspective and to start working myself out of a negative situation.

10. It’s always darkest before the dawn.

This thought helped me to hold onwhen things looked bleak for many months and to keep going when my social skills and dating life was just plain bad. It helped me to keep going when things looked like they would never pick up for my own small online business.
Why? Because I have found it to be true. When things seemed to be at the lowest point something always happened. Often because being at that low point forced me to change something in how I did things. But maybe also because life seems to have some kind of balance if I just keep going. If I keep taking action instead of giving up and doing nothing then something good always happens. Seeing this repeat itself year after year strengthened my belief in taking action and to keep going even on rough days or weeks. And it brings some comfort even when things look pretty dark.

The Only Problem With Your Life Is The Way You Think About It

1. You generally spend more time thinking about your life than you do actually living it. You spend more time dissecting problems than you do coming to solutions, more time daydreaming than you do asking yourself what those thoughts indicate is lacking or missing in your waking life, or coming up with new solutions as opposed to actually committing to the ones that are already in front of you. You’ve replaced “reflection” with “experience,” and wonder why you feel unfulfilled.

2. You don’t find wonder in the simple pleasures, the way you once did. You think nature is boring and “play” is for children and there’s nothing awe-inspiring about a shaft of light through the window or a stranger’s smile or a spring day or your favorite book in bed. When you’ve lost sight of the magic of the little things, it’s not because the magic has gone elsewhere, only that you’ve chosen to disregard it in favor of something else.

3. You have something you wanted in the past, but you don’t enjoy it the way you thought you would, or you’ve replaced your desire for it with a desire for something else. Bring yourself back to the feeling of wanting what you have more than anything, the way you once did. Try to embody that. You’re making yourself prouder than you realize.

4. If you were to tell your younger self what your life is like now, they’d be in disbelief. You seriously could not have imagined that your life would turn out as well as it did – that the worst things became turning points, not endless black holes of emotion.

5. You think of money in terms of “obligation” not “opportunity.” Your mindset is: “I have to pay my bills,” as opposed to “I get to pay my bills, which house me, clothe me, and feed me, and that I can pay for by myself.” If you don’t value money by appreciating what it does for you, you’ll never feel as though you have enough.

6. You think you don’t have enough friends. You’re measuring the connection in your life by a quantity, not a quality, assuming that the problem is not enough around you, when it’s really that there’s not enough inside you.

7. You’re either over-reliant or under-attached to the friends you do have. You either don’t keep in touch enough or you get easily frustrated because you think that friends should make you feel “better” and “happy” in an unrealistic way. So you think that the only way to achieve that is to over-bond yourself to them, or disregard them when they don’t fulfill the role you’ve imposed on them (hence your feeling as though you don’t have enough!)

8. You imagine your life as though someone else was seeing it. Before you make a decision, you recite a storyline in your head. It goes something like this: “she went to college, she got this job, she married this guy after a terrible breakup, and all was well.” This is what happens when your happiness starts to come from how other people feel about you, as opposed to how you feel about yourself.

9. Your goals are outcomes, not actions. Your goals are to “be successful” or “see a certain number in the bank” as opposed to “enjoy what you do each day, no matter what you’re doing” or “learn to love saving more than frivolously spending.” Outcomes are just ideas. Actions are results.

10. You assume you have time. When it comes to doing what really matters to you – reconnecting with family, writing that book, finding a new job – you say “I’m only [such and such an age] I have a long time.” If you assume you “have time” to do something, or that you’ll do it later, you probably don’t want it as much as you think you do. There isn’t more time. You don’t know. You could be dead tomorrow. It doesn’t mean you have to get everything done today, but that there’s rarely an excuse not to start.
11. A bad feeling becomes a bad day. You think that experiencing negative emotions is the result of something being wrong in your life, when in reality, it’s usually just a part of being human. Anxiety serves us, pain serves us, depression does too. These things are signals, communications, feedbacks, and precautions that literally keep us alive. Until you begin thinking this way, all you will perceive is that “good feelings mean keep going” and “bad feelings mean stop,” and wonder why you’re paralyzed.

12. You think that being uncomfortable and fearful means you shouldn’t do something. Being uncomfortable and fearful means you definitely should. Being angry or indifferent means you definitely shouldn’t.

13. You wait to feel motivated or inspired before you act. Losers wait to feel motivated. People who never get anything done wait to feel inspired. Motivation and inspiration are not sustaining forces. They crop up once in awhile, and they’re nice while they’re present, but you can’t expect to be able to summon them any given hour of the day. You must learn to work without them, to gather your strength from purpose, not passion.

14. You maladaptively daydream. Maladaptive daydreaming is when you imagine extensive fantasies of an alternative life that you don’t have to replace human interaction or general function. Most people experiencing it while listening to music and/or moving (walking, riding in a car, pacing, swinging, etc.) Rather than cope with issues in life, you just daydream to give yourself a “high” that eliminates the uncomfortable feeling.

15. You’re saving up your happiness for another day. You’re sitting on the train on the way to work, thinking how beautiful the sunrise looks, and how you’d like to read your favorite book, but you don’t in favor of checking your email again. You begin to feel a sense of awe at something simple and beautiful, and stop yourself, because your dissatisfaction fuels you. You’re creating problems in one area of your life to balance out thriving in another, because your happiness is in a mental container.

Reasons Why Pain Makes You A Better Person

Reasons Why Pain Makes You A Better Person

It is a fact of life that we will experience pain time and time again – pain changes people. It may take a while for the pain to leave your body and your heart or it may be engraved inside of you forever, but I realized that every time I experienced unbearable pain, I changed significantly – changed for the better. There is something about going through a lot of pain that makes you want to be a good human being.

Here’s why pain can make you a better person:

1. It makes you compassionate. When you go through a lot of pain, you become more empathetic; you don’t want others to go through what you’ve been through and you don’t wish the pain you experienced upon anyone. It teaches you how to be kind and to never underestimate someone else’s pain just because you haven’t gone through it yourself.

2. It makes you wiser. The little things don’t bother you anymore, you don’t sweat the small stuff like you used to; you look at the bigger picture instead. Pain makes you look at life differently and it makes you understand the essence of life.

3. It makes you cherish your relationships . Pain makes you value your relationships more, you realize that you have people you can lean on in times of trouble and people who genuinely love you and are happy to support you. Pain makes you strengthen the bond between you and your closest friends and family.

4. It makes you stronger. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. After the storm has passed, pain makes you a lot stronger and better prepared to face difficult situations. Pain is sometimes the training you need to pass the tests of life.

5. It makes you re-evaluate your life. It makes you reconsider your career, your health, your finances and your relationships. It can help you go in another direction or find a meaningful purpose for your life. Pain makes you stop and question a lot of things and try to find answers and these answers can change your life.

6. It can be a major source of inspiration. Your pain can be your main inspiration for a new project, for a new charity, for a new community event and if you’re an artist, it will be the catalyst for the art you produce. Most masterpieces were painted strokes of pain.

7. Your love becomes stronger. You love more deeply and you are more open to being vulnerable. Even though pain makes you stronger, it makes you softer too. It makes you want to give love and ease someone else’s pain. Your love becomes pure and more profound.

8. It makes you fight for happiness. When you’re in pain, you look for waysto feel better and ways to be happy. You do things you never thought you would just to put a smile on your face. It makes you active in the pursuit of happiness.

9. It makes you more spiritual. When you can’t understand why certain things happen to you, you tend to look for answers outside of yourself. You try to understand God and the universe. You try to comprehend the divine laws and you start to slowly believe that there must be a bigger reason for your pain – you become more in touch with your spirituality and you pay more attention to it.

10. Your scars make you beautiful. The scars no one can see, the scars that hold stories of pain and survival, the scars that show that you’ve fought for something or loved someone, the scars that indicate that you have been bruised but you’re still walking – your scars make you different, they make you a human being with imperfections and they make you special .

Things No One Tells You About Living The Creative Life

Things No One Tells You About Living The Creative Life

1. You will have a lot of haters.

No matter how politically correct or general you are trying to be, there are people out there who enjoy putting others down. They enjoy hating as much as they enjoy letting others know that their work doesn’t mean a thing. You’d think if someone doesn’t like something, they could just ignore it instead of reading it or seeing it and taking the time to write paragraphs mocking your work. But this will somehow be the fuel you need to keep creating and keep getting better.

2. People are a lot more sensitive than you think.

If your art is emotional; you will provoke some people. The simplest thing can really trigger a lot of emotions or send out the wrong message and you must learn how not to dwell on it.

3. You will realize that creativity is another world.

It’s really a world of its own, as a writer, I get lost in my writing every day, I get lost in my ideas, I get lost in how the words flow together and how one word can give meaning to a whole paragraph. I get lost in the art of writing – I get wonderfully lost that sometimes I really don’t know how I wrote something or all how all the pieces of it came together the way it did.

4. Heartfelt comments will be the air you breathe.

As much as you will piss a lot of people off, you will also touch so many hearts and in my opinion this is what makes it all worthwhile. Knowing your art moved someone, they helped someone find a way, they touched someone’s heart, they made someone get over their heartbreak and they made someone feel less alone. This is the best and most powerful reward you get from creative living, you get to connect with so many amazing people and you all inspire each other.

5. You have to be fearless.

If you really want to make it as an artist, you have to be completely fearless. You will always be afraid that someone else already did it better, or that you won’t be taken seriously, or that you will be too exposed, or that people will think you are a fool or that you will embarrass your friends and family. The list is endless and boring . You have to give it all you’ve got because it’s what you’re passionate about and it’s what you know and it’s what you love. Creative living requires courage. Taking the road less traveled will never be easy but it will always take you to extraordinary places not many people have been.

6. Art is not something you learn.

Creative people, artists, writers or musicians don’t really need schooling to be considered as one. A lot of Nobel prize winners and Oscar winners never even got past high school. If you are working on your craft with love and devotion and creating something that at least a few thousand people can connect with and relate to then you are already an artist – you don’t need a fancy degree to affirm that for you.

7. You will have self-loathing moments.

You will have moments when you hate the stuff you’ve written or produced and you want it to take it back, you will have moments when you wish you would’ve never published this piece – but this is part of the creative living. It’s better to produce something that is not that great than to produce nothing at all — it’s also part of growing as an artist. As long as you are creating something; you’re already ahead of the pack. Good enough is better than nothing.

8. Your love life might suffer.

Most days it will – sometimes it will take away the air of mystery if someone is getting to know you because your whole life can be revealed to them by the click of a button and sometimes it will scare people off because they don’t want their lives to end up somewhere in your work. This goes back to being fearless enough and having the courage to be an open book or exposed. In a way it filters those who don’t like you for the real you.

Things No One Tells You About Living The Creative Life

9. Self-discipline is essential.

People think that if you work creatively that you can be a sloppy mess with zero time management skills. This is one of the worst misconceptions about artists; we do have more flexibility but you still have to discipline yourself to prepare your craft, fix it, re-do it and find more inspiration. Creative living means less sleep and more work because it will become your priority and it represents you.

10. It’s a life-time commitment.

At the end of day creative living issomething you commit yourself to. You commit to keep creating regardless of the results, you commit yourself to finding new sources of inspiration, talking to different people, visiting new placed and you sometimes commit to temporary isolation – isolation with your thoughts and your ideas. You spend your life promising your art that you will never give up on it, take it for granted or stop loving it.