How to Turn off Negative Thoughts

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We all ruminate. We all worry about things. We all have to struggle against negative thought patterns. But there are steps that you can take that can help you in this fight, so you start to win the battle, and turn your thoughts around. These include:

1. Notice when you are slipping into negative, absolutist ways of thinking where you think the worst of yourself, your life and your future.

2. Recognise that these are habitual ways of thinking. It’s what you always think when you start to feel bad.

3. Be aware of triggers. Often certain people and situations trigger painful, negative self-destructive thoughts. Try and distance yourself from these, or completely avoid them, if you possibly can.

4. Deliberately look for the counter arguments. For example, when have things been a bit better, when have you done something right, when has someone been kind and understanding?

5. Visualise positive things that make you happy, such as curling up with a book in bed, listening to your favourite music, and so on. Often changing our thinking to things that make us happy changes our negative feelings and thoughts.

6. Get into the habit of building yourself up, so you notice and affirm your successes, strengths, good intentions and positive traits.

8 Small Happiness Boosters

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Small things can often make a huge difference, especially when it comes to changing our mood. A few things to try might include the following:

  1. Count your blessings; practice being thankful.
  2. Do something small to make someone else smile.
  3. Enjoy spending quality time with yourself.
  4. Be your own cheerleader and your own best friend.
  5. Waste an hour doing something that you really love.
  6. Set aside your electronics for an hour.
  7. Experiment and try a new activity.
  8. Go to bed when you’re tired; get plenty of sleep.

How to Deal with Criticism

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We all hate being criticized, but it is a part of life. Hence, it’s crucial that we learn how to deal with it. Bear the following points in mind the next time you’re criticized and they’ll help you to grow from the experience:

1. Acknowledge the feelings it evokes in you.

2. Look at the source of the criticism. Is it someone you respect, or is someone who complains and criticises others, so it says more about them?

3. Ask yourself: “What do I agree with in what that person said, and what should I reject – because it’s clearly wrong?”

4. Ask yourself what you think their motivation was. Was it designed to help you, or to hurt and tear you down?

5. Think of how you’ll deal with criticism in the future. What boundaries could stop you being hurt once again?

How to be Mindful in your Daily Life

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Perhaps a good way to approach the decade and the year is with a mindful attitude that is peaceful and relaxed. Here are a few simple steps that can help you with this:

1. Allow and accept the different feelings you experience – knowing these will change throughout the day.

2. Don’t judge yourself for having negative feelings.

3. Don’t believe every thought that pops into your head. Some of these are true, but many will be false.

4. Slow down and take life at a manageable pace.

5. Stay in the present; do one thing at a time.

6. Let go of the need to control everything.

7. Practice being curious; notice little things.

8. Use your 5 senses to become more aware of what is happening all around you in the world.

9. Nourish and take care of your body and mind.

10. Practice contentment and gratitude.

Tips for Getting More Out of Life

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As we head into a new year, here are some tips for getting more out of life.

1. Stop resisting change; see it as a constant in life.

2. Learn to enjoy, and value, solitude.

3. Never forget that friendship is a gift, not a possession.

4. Things are rarely as bad as they seem at first.

5. Do your most important tasks first thing in the morning.

6. Smiling seems to help with most things!

7. Schedule margin into your life – as something unexpected will often change your plans.

8. QTIP: quit taking it personally.

9. Define what’s necessary; say no to the rest.

10. Take a deep breath and wait before responding. Don’t react, and say something you’ll regret.

How to Leave the Past Behind

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When you’re feeling overwhelmed with your sadness and loss, it’s hard to believe that your life will ever change, or you’ll ever be able to smile or laugh again. But the truth is you will – it won’t always be this bad – and there are things you can do help move on with your life:

1. Decide to face your pain. An unresolved past never really goes away. You may think you have buried your anger and pain but the hurt is still there and it will surface later on. If you don’t face what happened, and the feelings it unleashed, you will end up being ruled by your subconscious mind. So try and find the courage to revisit all the pain.

2. Accept there’s nothing you can do to change the past. What’s happened has happened, and what’s done is done. There’s nothing you can do to turn back the hands of time, or to rewrite the story so the ending’s happier. But you can change how you think, and you can start over again, and build a different future that’s not poisoned by the past.

3. Be grateful for the good times. There’s usually something good that you can be thankful for. You don’t have to pretend that everything was bad – or write off any good times and happy memories.

4. Consciously let go and set your focus on the future – Don’t let the baggage, or the failures of the past, affect your identity or self esteem. You are not what you did, or how you acted previously. You’re not just a product of what happened to you. You are valuable, unique and you have so much to give. You’re the author of your future; you control your destiny.

5. Remove your past from your future. We all have a tendency to think that the past will morph into our future – and become our lot in life. But that doesn’t have to happen. The future’s a blank page. You can change your expectations and work towards those goals. Instead, look hard for the exceptions – the times when things went right – and notice what you did that resulted in success. You still have those same strengths, skills and great qualities.

6. Be realistic and take small steps at first. You can’t snap your fingers and find that life has changed. Accept it will take time, and you will still have some bad days. But if you keep on going then the past will lose its grip.

7 Ways to be More Productive with Less Effort

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1.Sort out your priorities. Make time to honestly reflect on your life, and to think about what is important to you. Where are you going? What do you want? What are the steps that will take you there?

2. Focus on the essential tasks. Next, think about your short term responsibilities. Ask yourself: “Out of all the tasks that I have to do, which will get me the greatest return for my time and effort?” Make a list of these types of tasks — they’re your most important things to do this week.

3. Eliminate what you can. Now look at your list. What on the list is not essential? Is there anything there that you can drop from your schedule, delegate to someone else, or put on a “waiting list”. Often when we review these non-essentials later, we find they weren’t necessary at all.

4. Do essential tasks first. Begin each day by doing the two most important tasks. Don’t wait until later in the day as they’ll get pushed aside to make time for other stuff that arises throughout the day. You’ll find that if you do these tasks right away, your productivity will really increase.

5. Eliminate distractions. If you allow yourself to be constantly interrupted by email notifications, IM, cell phones, social media and so on, then you’ll never be productive. Turn them and, if you can, disconnect yourself from the internet.

6. Keep it simple. Don’t waste time on applications that are meant to organise your schedule. Make a simple to-do list with a word document, or with some paper and a pen. Then get started on whatever work you had planned on doing.

7. Do one thing at a time. In most situations, multi-tasking slows you down. You can’t get things done with a million things demanding your attention. Focus on what’s in front of you, to the exclusion of all else. That way, you are likely to achieve more, in less time, and with less effort.

10 Things that can Wreck your Life

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1. Not living in the moment. Always wishing you were somewhere else, doing something different with other people.

2. Blaming your problems on your past. Although the past affects us, it need not define us. We can choose, decide and act – and take control of our lives. Don’t let what happened affect who you become.

3. Running away from problems. It’s pointless to act as if everything is fine when you’re dealing with something that requires your attention. Face reality, take action, and work to turn things round.

4. Being ungrateful. Being grateful sets you free. It inspires all that’s good. Ingratitude destroys you, and will drain your energy.

5. Being angry and bitter. Refusing to forgive, and bearing grudges against others, will slowly start to poison your personality. It’s better to release them, and feel that you are free.

6. Letting your expectations rule your life. Life rarely goes smoothly and according to our plan. And people disappoint us, and hurt, and let us down. Accepting this is normal takes some tension out of life.

7. Disrespecting yourself and others. Each of us is valuable, and is worthy of respect. Also, everyone is fighting their own private battle. So focus on being kind, understanding and forgiving.

8. Neglecting important relationship. A relationship that’s grounded on unconditional love – where we know that we’re accepted, and loved for who we are – is wonderful and precious, and worth investing in.

9. Loving people who are bad for us. Not everyone is good, and wants to build into your life. Be aware of those who who’ll use you, or who want to bring you down. Or, those who want to hurt you, and destroy your confidence.

10. Never taking risks. If you always play it safe, then you’ll end up going nowhere. You need to take some risks, and embrace the chance you’re given. If not, you may regret it, and miss out on a great life.