Tuesday 28 November 2023

How To Get The Most out of Gratitude Journaling

If you have recently started gratitude journaling, you may be wondering if you are getting the full benefits from your daily ritual. And this is something which you must decide for yourself, but there are several things you can do to get the most out of your journaling. Below are some simple ways to receive the maximum benefits from your journaling practice. 


Try Different Formats


When most people think of journaling, they think of writing letters to themselves or simply writing sentences about their feelings. But this isn’t the only format you can journal in, and the truth is, it may not be the most effective for you. Consider changing up your journaling format, or better yet, employing more than one format in your journaling. This will make sure you are getting the most out of your journaling time. Other formats when it comes to gratitude journaling can be lists, diagrams, or tables. 


Write Yourself Compliments


In gratitude journaling, people tend to write about all the things or people they are grateful for in their lives. And there is nothing wrong with this, just make sure you don’t forget to be thankful for the most important person, yourself! It’s best practice to write a few things you like about yourself each day as you journal. This way, you can reflect on how your day went and watch your transformation as you become a better version of yourself.  


Don’t Forget The Lessons


No one’s life is perfect, and when gratitude journaling, you may find that sometimes you have days where you make significant mistakes that you are embarrassed by. And this is okay, and even something you should be thankful for! Instead of approaching your mistakes as setbacks instead, include them in your gratitude journaling as lessons and approach them with an open mind and be grateful for the lesson you have had the opportunity to learn. This will help keep you from making the same mistakes again. 


Wherever you may be in your gratitude journaling journey, you are most certainly benefiting from the practice. But if you want to make sure you are getting the most from it, try playing around with the format a bit, don’t forget to compliment yourself, and don’t be afraid to approach your mistakes. After all, your gratitude journal is a safe space for you to express everything you are grateful for without any outside judgment.  

Friday 24 November 2023

5 Benefits of Daily Optimism

There is increasing evidence that being optimistic about life has measurable benefits, not just for your mental health, but your physical well-being too. Scientific studies have shown that as you become more optimistic, your life will improve in all sorts of ways. You’re even likely to have a longer life, just from being more hopeful and positive. 

Among the many benefits of being optimistic are:


1.    Optimists are healthier


Optimists not only rate their own health and wellbeing as better, but studies have also shown that optimists have better mental and physical health than pessimists. In a study of the effects of positive psychological well-being, optimism was found to be the biggest predictor of improved heart health. Optimists also have lower blood pressure and cholesterol and a lower risk of developing heart disease.


2.    Optimists live longer


A study by the University of Pittsburgh found that of the 100,000 women studied over eight years, optimists were less likely to die from any cause than women with a more pessimistic outlook.  That was confirmed by a later Harvard study that showed the women who had a positive outlook had a much lower risk (nearly 30% less) of dying from serious illnesses. 


3.    Optimists are happier


It might seem obvious that an optimist would be happier than a pessimist. But it has been shown that optimists are not just sunnier in their dispositions, but they are measurably happier in their relationships, jobs, and life in general. They deal better with stress, are more resilient in bad times, and produce less cortisol, the stress hormone that leads to inflammation and a lowered immune system.


4.    Optimists have smoother career paths


Researchers from Duke University found that the optimistic MBA graduates they studied were more likely to find a job, earn a higher starting salary, and have more frequent promotions than the pessimists in the group. Optimists also deal better with negative feedback, seeing it as an opportunity to improve and increase their chance of promotion in the future. 


5.    Optimists roll with the punches


Life’s adversities do not crush an optimist; they remain hopeful about the future. Optimism helps you deal with whatever limiting beliefs you have developed and shows you a way out. Being positive about life’s possibilities means you focus on what you can do. It boosts your confidence and makes you more likely to look for constructive solutions. It stops you feeling stuck or at the mercy of other people. If you’re optimistic, you know you can do it!


Tuesday 21 November 2023

6 Ways to Cultivate Optimism Each Day

You might be surprised to hear that optimism is not an innate quality. Optimism and pessimism are ways of looking at yourself and the world through a positive or negative filter. Once you think of them as reflections of your mindset, it becomes much easier to believe you can change. Like any new behavior, you need to practice every day for it to become a habit. Try these six suggestions to cultivate your optimism every day. 


1.    Keep a journal


Journaling or keeping a diary allows you to process events and to get a different perspective on them. It encourages self-reflection and captures insights into your thinking and behavior. You can write down what happened during your day and document, not just the bald facts but how you did it, what you did to make it happen and what you did right. And, importantly, how it felt while you were doing it. Don’t just record the good things (a promotion, a presentation or meeting that went well), remember to write down the thing that didn’t go so well and reflect on what happened, how you dealt with it, and what you might do differently next time. 


2.    Laugh


Consciously notice the funny side of things and write them down. If the technology didn’t work, and you had to give the presentation without the slide deck, or the power went out, or there was a fire drill in the middle of your crucial meeting. What can seem like a disaster at the time can also be looked back on as a comedy of errors.


3.    Write to your future 


Write a letter or a journal entry that sets out the future you want. What job are you doing? Are you running your own business? What have you learned? What has changed? Imagining how your future life looks and feels can be a powerful motivator.


4.    Keep a kindness list


Have a page in your journal where you note down kind gestures. Write down when you are kind to someone, or when someone is kind to you. Even little things count, like opening a door for someone or letting them go first in the line for coffee. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they mount up, and your ever-lengthening list will give you a different perspective on things.


5.    Say thank you


Write a letter or email, phone or visit someone (a person outside your family) who has been genuinely kind to you. Tell them how much you appreciate what they did or said and how it has affected your life. 


6.    Choose positivity


Make the positive choice to develop and maintain an optimistic outlook. Do this every morning when you wake up. Decide that today is going to be a great day. Everyone will have some level of suffering in their life. Choosing to be optimistic will make it easier to bounce back from the bad times and to enjoy and be certain of the good times. 

Friday 17 November 2023

Tips for Developing Your Daily Optimism

Optimism is a learned skill like any other skill or habit you want to develop. Having an optimistic attitude of yourself, of life and the world can have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing and resilience, even boosting your immune system and lowering your blood pressure. Studies have shown that optimists have better career prospects and live longer happier lives.  


Here are five tips for developing a more optimistic view of the world.


1.    Identify as an optimist


Self-talk is powerful! Start telling people you’re an optimist, and you’ll soon begin to believe it, and forget you were ever even slightly pessimistic.


2.    Accentuate the positives 


Notice and acknowledge the positive things around you. Small things like having good food, clean water, and being able to read this article for example. A good exercise is to list ten things you’re grateful for every day – they don’t have to be big things, jot down whatever comes to mind. 


3.    Stop comparing


No good comes from comparing yourself to others. There will always be someone who is richer, thinner, more successful than you at any one time, and their success or luck isn’t connected to you at all. Don’t be tempted to lock yourself into a small, comfortless cell of jealousy. Instead think that if they can do it, so can you. Think abundance (there’s more than enough for everybody) instead of scarcity (if they’re successful then you can’t be). 


4.    Shift your focus


Optimism is dynamic and forward-looking. Develop a more optimistic outlook by moving on from the past and instead enjoy the present and actively look forward to the future. Optimists also don’t spend much time dwelling on whatever not-so-good things are in their lives. They acknowledge that bad things happen to everyone, and when bad things do happen, it’s not necessarily their fault. Bad times come, and bad times go, and good times usually happen just as often. 


5.    Don’t get hung up on one outcome


Putting all your eggs in one basket is risky, and it’s highly likely you will be disappointed. It’s also harder to pick up and move on if things don’t work out. An optimist will be flexible about outcomes and see that there are lots of different possibilities. If this one didn’t work, another maybe even better opportunity will come along.


Optimism and pessimism are not hard-wired into people. They are qualities you can change. You can choose to develop a more positive outlook on life and find that you’ll have a happier, healthier, better life!


Tuesday 14 November 2023

If You Want to Be Better at Starting Conversations, Take a Break from Social Media

Social media has helped many people connect and reconnect. People who have not seen each other since high school or college are now striking up conversations on Facebook. But there is something lost when connecting in this manner. It’s possible we have become more isolated due to these channels, which makes it more difficult when meeting people face-to-face.


There is nothing like a physical meet up with people. Emoticons aside, there is no replacement for seeing someone’s smiling face. Also, the more we engage in social media conversation, the less we make ourselves available to chat one-on-one.


The appeal of social media is understandable. Where else can you strike up instant conversations with friends you haven’t seen in ages? We can share pictures, listen to music together, and keep each other up-to-date with what is going on in each of our lives. When we have struggles, we can turn to our friends and hope someone can help. At the very least, we can get emotional support from them.


The internet has made us less connected in some ways. The next time you find yourself in the presence of several people, take note of how many of them are typing away on their smart devices. There isn’t much need to start up a conversation since people are already in the process of speaking to someone else. In fact, if you decide to try, you’ll probably find people getting annoyed because you interrupted their conversation online.


Before the proliferation of smart devices, people chatted with each other all the time. On trains, in the subways, and even at the bus stop, it was all fair game. 


These days, if you want to stand out from the crowd, strike up a conversation with a stranger. In fact, you can talk about the technology the person uses for his or her smart device. This can be a great conversation starter. Simply go up to someone and say, “Excuse me. I am currently thinking about buying a new smart device. Can you tell me about the one you have?” Even if you aren’t in the market for one, this conversation starter will get them talking for a while.


Social media isn’t going away. However, it can’t hurt to connect directly with people face-to-face. You can determine within a few moments whether the person is worth continuing speaking to. You don’t have this luxury with social media.


Friday 10 November 2023

The 2/1 Communication Secret to Become More Charming

Charming is a word that has different meanings for different people. The word charisma is often brought to mind. When you think of someone as charming, you may feel that person is desirable and delightful, pleasant and appealing, maybe even magnetizing. 


Often times you won't be able to put your finger on exactly what draws you to that person. You just know you feel pleasant in their company and enjoy being around them.


Do you want to be more like that? Could you advance your career if you learned how to turn on the charm when dealing with others? It's an important skill that socially graceful people use to improve their relationships. Even when interacting with people they don't necessarily like or respect, a charming person can leave a good impression.


If you'd like to communicate more effectively and have people refer to you as charming and likable, there's one very simple thing you need to start doing. By the way, this doesn't take much practice. You are already physically hardwired to give off a more friendly, charming, and engaging vibe.


You just have to do a little basic math.


How Many Ears Do You Have? How Many Mouths?


Don't worry. You don't have to break out the calculator here. Just perform a simple math-based assumption.


  • You have 2 ears that are always open.
  • You only have 1 mouth, and it can be closed.


That should tell you what you were created to do more often. You should be listening much more than talking. The charming person is an excellent listener. 


She doesn't do it falsely. She asks many questions and uses facial expressions to show she's interested in the person talking. She listens deeply and can repeat things that have been told to her. Those are charming qualities.


As writer Eugene O'Neill stated ...


"We were given mouths that close and ears that don't ... that should tell us something."


Ancient philosopher Epictetus gave us the same lesson for being more charming.


"We have two ears and one mouth, so we can listen twice as much as we speak."


Being Charming Is All About Listening


Talking is an important part of being charming. You have to say the right things. You should also be genuine. People can tell when you're false and trying to manipulate them. So really care about the person you're talking to. Say pleasant things and think about the experience for the other person rather than yourself.


Then listen deeply. Get into the conversation, so when you decide to talk, you repeat things the person has said. You let them know you're truly listening and getting into the feelings and emotions being relayed. You were given two ears and only one mouth, and that mouth can close. So do at least two times more listening than talking if you want to be more charming and engaging.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

Improve Your Communication Skills

Communication consists of sending messages which involve speaking, listening, writing and understanding. The act of communication takes at least two people to complete. 


It is extremely important to have good communication skills in all areas of your life. When you think about it, you communicate at almost every opportunity. You may be sending a text message, writing an email, talking to someone or listening to someone. 

When communication is not done effectively this can lead to unresolved issues and difficulties. Many couples get divorced due to lack of communication.  


Would you say that you know how to communicate well in your everyday life? A person that communicates well displays the following characteristics: 

  • They know how to pay attention.
  • They demonstrate that they understand the situation.
  • They pay attention to the person who is speaking.
  • They look directly into the eyes of this person.
  • They watch for body language including facial and hand gestures.

When you become good at communication you will find it easier to build relationships and keep them. People who communicate well can work on a team together and produce fantastic results. 


Listening skills have to be on the top of the skill list for communication. You can’t very well respond if you don’t clearly understand the situation. The best way to develop your skills is by doing the following: 

  • Pay attention and then ask questions, especially if you are unsure of a certain point.
  • Show the person sympathy and understanding, even if your own feelings are a little different.
  • Don’t interrupt the person when they are speaking. Let them finish talking before taking your turn and if necessary present your point of view.
  • Do not judge people. Everyone is entitled to their point of view on any subject. This essentially means that there is no one right or one wrong view point on anything.  

When you can put all of these things into play you are on your way to becoming a good listener. Once you have mastered this skill then you can improve your other communication skills such as writing and speaking. 


You have to agree that it will be much easier to respond by email to someone, when you have fully understood the issue. This will be because you took the time to listen attentively in the first place. 


Remember taking the time to improve your communication skills can help improve all areas of your life including building your self-confidence and self-esteem. 


Friday 3 November 2023

Charles Darwin Discovered the Powers of Rest on his "Thinking Path"

Most people, you included, can only go full tilt for about 90 to 120 minutes. After that, if you try to push through and continue to produce at a high level, you start fouling up the works. Keeping mentally focused and at your highest production level is difficult. Your mental engine begins to break down.


The same is true with your physical body. You can't go very long at a high level physically without taking a break. 


The greatest athletes in the world take several breaks in the middle of a game. Basketball, football, and soccer players regularly substitute in and out of a game. Their coaches know that's the only way to keep the freshest and most capable bodies in the game most of the time.


The human mind and body require rest. In many cases, a higher level of productivity and creativity can only be achieved if rest happens regularly. That's what Charles Darwin discovered ... the hard way.


Charles Darwin, the Stereotypical Work Addict


You may know Charles Darwin as a naturalist, biologist, and important figure in evolutionary biology. He is famous for his theories on natural selection, though he contributed in important ways to various other fields.


He wrote thousands of letters and papers which helped us understand our world. From all accounts, he was your typical workaholic. What he discovered about constantly working was that it didn't lead to his greatest discoveries.


He would push past mental fatigue, or at least try to. The result was eventually a crash-and-burn state, physically and mentally. Once he realized he was being counterproductive, he shut down his brain. Darwin stepped outside his home in Kent in the UK and walked on a gravel track. 


He returned to work refreshed and rejuvenated. Darwin began to schedule morning and afternoon walks on what he eventually called his Thinking Path, where he rested his mind and exercised his body.


He discovered that frequently taking breaks from his work's physical and mental aspects led to his greatest achievements.


Evolution by Natural Selection Was Born on the Thinking Path


Darwin had toyed with the idea of natural selection when he lived in London. It wasn't until he moved to Kent and began regularly taking breaks from work on his Thinking Path that his natural selection evolutionary theory was fully developed.


It is said that Darwin would sometimes stop talking in the middle of a sentence when he realized he needed a break. It may have been a break from work, a break from socializing, or a rest from whatever he was doing at the present time.


He believed in the power of resting because he saw the wonderful results in his life.


You may not strive to rewrite humanity's views on some important topic. That doesn't mean you can't benefit physically, mentally, and creatively from scheduling rest into your day. It's a simple fact that your mind and body need to rest and rejuvenate to be their best. Start resting more regularly to achieve and produce more in your life.