5 Easy Ways You Change The Way You Look At Your Life

Author Article

The word “can’t” is probably the only four letter word I never heard in my 24 years as an FBI agent. I learned early in my career that negativity would impair my ability to analyze a tough case that looked impossible to crack.Once you allow a negative thought to take root, it can change the way you look at your life. Everything from business to relationships can become affected by your negativity if you allow it to raise its ugly head.

It might not be a lack of talent that holds you back in your business. It might not be a lack of personality that holds you back in your relationships. Instead, it might be the way you look at your life and relationships that prevents you from moving ahead.

Witnesses are always important in FBI investigations because they observe first-hand the sequence of events. In the same way, you need to witness your thoughts and observe them so you are in a better position to identify and eliminate their negative influence.

Here are 5 easy ways you can change the way you look at your life:

1. Avoid Use Words Like “Always” and “Never”

Absolutes like always and never are rarely correct. If you use these words when confronted with an obstacle or barrier, you activate the limbic brain system. This produces emotions like fear and anger.

“My children never listen to me.”
“I never get recognized for my hard work.”
“Everyone always takes advantage of me.”
“I always end up on the short end of the deal.”
How To Make It Work For You: Think about how many times you use an absolute to describe a negative event. Have a trusted friend repeat how many times they heard you use absolutes like always and never in a conversation. Whenever you catch yourself thinking in terms of absolutes, stop and find a different way to express your disappointment.

2. Pay Attention To Your Self-Talk

Studies have shown that our mental chatter is 70% negative. Deep down, we are more self-critical, pessimistic, and fearful than we convey in our conscious thoughts. We are wired for survival, and our aversion to pain can distort our judgement and the way we look at our life.

The brain’s negativity bias produces a greater sensitivity to unpleasant news. The bias is so automatic that it can be detected at the earliest stages when the brain processes information.

How To Make It Work For You: Question your negative feelings; don’t act on them without thinking them through. For example, when you feel guilty about something, be skeptical. Is the guilt trying to teach you something rational and helpful about your behavior? Or, is it an irrational response to a situation?

3. Change Your Memory Of A Negative Event

Once you draw a conclusion about yourself and your abilities, all you will notice is information that reinforces your beliefs. This is called a confirmation bias, and your brain will discount new or different information that contradicts the way you look at your life.

For example, if you believe you’re a failure, that’s all you’ll remember about a specific incident or event—how you failed. The way you look at your life will become your reality. If you’ve drawn inaccurate conclusions about your talents and skills, you create self-limiting beliefs about what you can achieve in life. 

Research shows that new memories remain unstable for a short period of time after the event. During the unstable period, memories are being coded and consolidated into your consciousness.

We can erase our fear if we can alter our memory of it, and the best time to do that is during the unstable period which usually lasts a couple of hours. If we can interrupt the coding and consolidating, we can change our memory about an unpleasant event.

How To Make It Work For You: If you experience a terrifying event or situation, the best thing you can do is replace that memory with a better one—right away. Take the opportunity to update and transform your memory. It is important, however, that you make sure your environment is safe before trying to extinguish your fear-conditioned memory.

4. Keep It Positive

Optimism is a soft and fluffy term that is seldom taken seriously by leaders, entrepreneurs, and business owners. Much like the term happiness, it conjures images of toothy smiles and a Pollyanna attitude about life.

Positive thinking, however, has deep roots in serious research. Barbara Fredrickson, a positive psychology researcher, discusses how positive thinking can change the way you think about your life.

According to Fredrickson, a healthy balance of positive and negative emotions is essential to overall health. People should cultivate positive thinking in themselves and those around them because it not only nurtures psychological growth, it also fuels resiliency. Resilient people have energetic approaches to life, are curious and open to new experiences, and are positive thinkers.

How To Make It Work For You: As an adult, we need to give ourselves permission to play, and yes—smile! Play produces a sense of adventure, and that leads to to contentment and joy as we build new skills. The upward spiral leads to new success, which leads to more positive thinking, and on it goes….

5. Stop Seeing Yourself As A Victim

Victimhood has become an American epidemic. If something goes wrong, we claim victimhood and blame someone else for our situation. We don’t like what someone says, or the way they look at us, we scream “micro-aggression” and seek a safe place where we know we’ll be coddled until our little tantrum ends. In the real world, not everyone is a winner and nothing is free.

We are mentally tough when we acknowledge and accept responsibility for our life. We cannot dodge responsibility for it. The worst thing we can do is take on the role of victim, make excuses, or blame others. This is a lie we tell ourselves, and it prevents us from reaching success.

How To Make It Work For You: It’s your choice if you let the actions of other people affect you in a negative way. If you always take things personally, you make yourself a victim of what others think and do. All this does is to give people power over you, and quite frankly, it’s self-absorbed to live this way. Do you really believe that everything is always about you?

This article was originally published on LaRaeQuy.

The Benefits of Positive Thinking—and How You Can Do More of It

Author Article
By Jen Doll

No doubt you’ve heard it before, or some version of it: “Turn that frown upside down!” “Smile, you’ll feel better!” “Stop focusing on how stressed you are and think about how #blessed you are.” These little positive-thinking prods might be enough to make you want to punch a wall—look, no one wants to be told to smile, ever—but you might consider repeating the general message to yourself. Positivity has benefits that extend far beyond any Instagram meme. And even if you were born the polar opposite of Pollyanna (your outlook may in fact be influenced by your genes), you can make positivity work for you.

So what is it, exactly? “Positive thinking is all about having an open, optimistic viewpoint. It’s the idea of seeing the silver lining on a bad day,” says Paraskevi Noulas, PsyD, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU Langone Health in New York City. That doesn’t mean you sweep your actual thoughts under the rug to make room for unicorns and rainbows. Instead, it’s about viewing situations from a more well-rounded perspective. For example, when you’re stressed out over your workload, take a deep breath, consider what you’ve already accomplished, and tell yourself you’ll get the job done in the best way you can.

RELATED: What Does It Really Mean to Be Happy? 6 Experts Explain

Shifting your mind-set can make you feel better and also lead to real health benefits. “Research shows that positive thinking is an incredibly important and efficacious way to improve your mood, physical health, energy level, concentration, productivity, and more,” says Noulas. People who are positive have been found to be better at problem-solving and dealing with setbacks. They’re more resilient. And positive thinking can open up creativity, help you connect better with others, and boost your overall well-being, too. Here, experts share a few simple ways to start seeing things in a sunnier light.

Build the Skill

“You can’t just pick up a violin and play,” points out Richard J. Davidson, PhD, director of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Similarly, you can’t just wake up and decide you’re going to be positive. You need to practice summoning those feelings— and rehearsing works. When Davidson and his research team did MRI scans of the brains of people who’d been practicing compassion meditation for two weeks, for just 30 minutes a day, they noticed stronger connections in a key brain circuit that regulates positive emotion.

Even short bursts done regularly—like appreciating a nice view or a lovely piece of art—can help retrain your mind to notice the good stuff all around you. Some other positivity-boosting tactics: List things you’re grateful for at the end of each day. Or engage in simple meditation exercises. For example, you might envision a crowd of people and acknowledge that we all share the same wish to be happy and free of suffering. Then mentally extend that wish to others.

RELATED: Here’s How Feeling Grateful Can Improve Your Life

Spread Some Kindness

One of the most powerful strategies to promote your own positivity, it turns out, is to be generous toward other people: Hold the elevator door for someone, send a handwritten note, pay for the person in line behind you at the coffee shop. A 2016 study found that performing acts of kindness was even more effective at boosting happiness than simply treating oneself. So instead of booking that spa day, try volunteering…or better yet, do both. The more we are helpful to others, the better we feel about ourselves, says Noulas. “Rather than waiting for good or positivity to come to you, take the initiative and create it for those around you. Then enjoy the ripple effect that unfurls as a result.”

RELATED: A Total Stranger Braided This Woman’s Hair in the Hospital, and Now the Story Is Going Viral

Flash a Grin

For a quick dose of positivity, try cracking a smile. A 2012 study conducted at the University of Kansas found that smiling reduced stress. And other research has shown that smiling is contagious. Noulas explains: “If you’re in a horrid mood, but you go to work and put that smile on and treat your colleagues well, their positive response has the ability to slowly shift your mood so that you’re genuinely in a better place.”

RELATED: Traveling Alone Is a Bold Move—But You Will Never Regret It

Nurture Your Relationships

Here’s one more reason to prioritize quality time with your family and friends: Your social ties can color how you experience life, says Vivian Zayas, PhD, an associate psychology professor at Cornell University. Zayas’ work includes a study in which people received a supportive text message from their partner right before a stressful event. “Just getting a text increases positivity in the moment,” she says. She’s also done lab studies in which the researchers showed a photo of a loved one to participants who were recalling an upsetting memory. “Seeing an image of a support figure helped them recover,” says Zayas.

RELATED: Gretchen Rubin’s Daily Tricks for Staying Happy

Take Care of You

“You can’t be positive without also understanding how to deal with the negative—and self-compassion is the secret sauce,” says Kristin Neff, PhD, an associate psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin and coauthor of The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook. Selfcompassion helps you navigate the parts of life that aren’t so positive, like health problems and professional failures. To start, imagine how you’d treat a friend if she was in your situation, Neff suggests: “What would I say? What would my tone of voice be? Then try it on yourself.”

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Pet Fostering—and How to Get Started

It’s Ok to Get Mad, Too

Feeling angry on occasion can actually be cathartic and helpful. “Sometimes you need to be angry because you see injustice, and it makes you take action,” explains Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, a professor and vice chair of psychology at the University of California, Riverside. The key is knowing the difference between functional emotions—which help you improve your situation—and unproductive reactions, like road rage. In the case of the latter, “you have to be aware of the trigger and distract yourself from it,” she says. This is where your positivity practice comes in. Say you’re stuck in gridlock. Test out one of your tools: Think of a dear friend or a stellar memory. “The world is both a wonderful and terrible place,” Lyubomirsky notes. “There are good and bad things. It’s what you choose to put in front of you.”

The Benefits Of Being Kind To Yourself Are More Powerful Than You Think, According To Science

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It’s not always easy to be nice to yourself. I’m not sure why this is, but I do know that that cliché about being your own worst critic is definitely true. It’s just so easy to get into the habit of placing other people’s needs or desires (read: your mom, your SO, your boss) way, way above your own. But the benefits of being kind to yourself can actually have a deeper, more lasting impact than you might immediately assume. While self-compassion is an important habit to practice no matter what, the results of a new study suggest it can have a very real, positive, if unexpected impact on your physical body.

Researchers from the Universities of Exeter and Oxford in the UK discovered that, when you actively practice self-compassion, it can actually calm and slow down your heart rate, not to mention switch off your body’s threat response, aka its fight-or-flight mode. Just to put that in perspective a little, when your body’s threat response is activated more than it needs to be (i.e. when it’s consistently activated during times of stress), it can legitimately damage your immune system over time, per research published in the journal Current Opinion in Psychology. So, if there are ways to avoid having that bodily response when it isn’t necessary, it’s all the better for your well-being.

Giphy

As for the new research from the UK, which has been published in the academic journal Clinical Psychological Science, here’s how that study went down: According to a press release from the University of Exeter, 135 students from the school were divided into five groups. Each group received different audio instructions, and while some included exercises of self-compassion, others “induced a critical inner voice.” To gauge how these different instructions affected the participants, the researchers tracked their heart rate and sweat responses, and they asked the students to report how they felt after hearing the instructions, with questions like “how safe they felt, how likely they were to be kind to themselves and how connected they felt to others.”

After all of that, the researchers found that the two groups whose audio instructions were encouraging them to be kind to themselves both reported feeling more self-compassion and connection to other people, and yes, their bodily responses illustrated feelings of relaxation and safety as well: Their heart rates dropped and slowed down, and the participants’ bodies produced less sweat when listening to self-compassion exercises. Meanwhile, the instructions that guided the participants toward a more critical inner monologue seemed to lead to the opposite results: a faster heartbeat, more sweat, and more feelings of distress. The main author of the study, Dr. Hans Kirschner, said in the study’s press release,

These findings suggest that being kind to oneself switches off the threat response and puts the body in a state of safety and relaxation that is important for regeneration and healing.

Giphy

Co-author of the study, Dr. Anke Karl, added,

Previous research has found that self-compassion was related to higher levels of well-being and better mental health, but we didn’t know why.

Our study is helping us understand the mechanism of how being kind to yourself when things go wrong could be beneficial in psychological treatments. By switching off our threat response, we boost our immune systems and give ourselves the best chance of healing.

And listen, I know self-compassion is kind of this lofty, what-does-it-really-mean kind of idea, which can make it feel daunting to practice or really trust as a legitimately helpful habit. But being kind to yourself can truly mean so many different things. Maybe you can create an easy ritual for yourself at the end of a hard week, like getting a bagel at your favorite bodega. Or maybe you can climb into bed early on a Friday night so you can devour more of that graphic novel you never have time to read. Maybe self-kindness just means making a quick list in your phone of all the things that made you smile that day.

Whatever it looks like for you, just do it — give it a try. What’s there to lose, right?

7 Easy Ways to be Mindful Every Day

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“Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally,” according to Marsha Lucas, Ph.D, psychologist and author of Rewire Your Brain for Love.

There are many simple ways you can be more mindful. Here are seven tips to incorporate into your daily life.

1. Practice mindfulness during routine activities. Try bringing awareness to the daily activities you usually do on autopilot, said Ed Halliwell, mindfulness teacher and co-author of the book The Mindful Manifesto.

For instance, pay more attention as you’re brushing your teeth, taking a shower, eating breakfast or walking to work, he said. Zero in on the sight, sound, smell, taste and feel of these activities. “You might find the routine activity is more interesting than you thought,” he said.

2. Practice right when you wake up. According to Lucas, “Mindfulness practice first thing in the morning helps set the ‘tone’ of your nervous system for the rest of the day, increasing the likelihood of other mindful moments.” If you find yourself dozing off, as Lucas does, just practice after having your coffee or tea. But “…don’t read the paper, turn on the TV, check your phone or email, etc. until after you’ve had your ‘sit,’” she said.

3. Let your mind wander. “Your mind and brain are natural wanderers – much like a crawling toddler or a puppy, Lucas said. And that’s a good thing. Having a “busy brain,” Lucas said, is actually an asset. “The beneficial brain changes seen in the neuroscience research on mindfulness are thought to be promoted in large part by the act of noticing that your mind has wandered, and then non-judgmentally – lovingly [and] gently— bringing it back,” she said.

4. Keep it short. Our brains respond better to bursts of mindfulness, Lucas said. So being mindful several times a day is more helpful than a lengthy session or even a weekend retreat. While 20 minutes seems to be the gold standard, starting at a few minutes a day is OK, too.

For instance, you can tune into your body, such as focusing “on how your shoes feel on your feet in that moment, or giving attention to how your jaw is doing [such as, is it] tight, loose or hanging open at the audacity of the person in front of you in the coffee line?” Lucas said.

5. Practice mindfulness while you wait. In our fast-paced lives, waiting is a big source of frustration – whether you’re waiting in line or stuck in traffic. But while it might seem like a nuisance, waiting is actually an opportunity for mindfulness, Halliwell said. When you’re waiting, he suggested bringing your attention to your breath. Focus on “the flow of the breath in and out of your body, from moment to moment and allow everything else to just be, even if what’s there is impatience or irritation.”

6. Pick a prompt to remind you to be mindful. Choose a cue that you encounter on a regular basis to shift your brain into mindful mode, Lucas said. For instance, you might pick a certain doorway or mirror or use drinking coffee or tea as a reminder, she said.

7. Learn to meditate. “The best way to cultivate mindfulness in everyday life is to formally train in meditation,” Halliwell said. He compared practicing mindfulness to learning a new language. “You can’t just decide to be fluent in Spanish – unless you already are – you have to learn the language first,” he said. “Practicing meditation is how to learn the language of mindfulness.” Meditation helps us tap into mindfulness with little effort, he said. He suggested finding a local teacher or trying out CDs.

Mindfulness isn’t a luxury, Lucas said, “it’s a practice that trains your brain to be more efficient and better integrated, with less distractibility and improved focus. It minimizes stress and even helps you become your best self.”

Lucas cited Richard Davidson’s research at the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin, which shows that all of us have an emotional “set point.” “Some of us have more of a tendency toward withdrawal, avoidance, negative thinking and other depressive symptoms, [whereas] others have a greater tendency toward positive moods [such as, being] curious, tending to approach new things and positive thinking,” she said. Davidson has found that through mindfulness, we may be able to train our brains and shift our set points.

“Mindfulness practice now has an abundance of neuroscience research to support that it helps our brains be more integrated, so your everyday activities, thoughts, attitudes [and] perceptions…are more balanced [or] well-rounded,” Lucas said.

Of course everyone know that being optimistic is better than being constantly pessimistic, but do we know why being optimistic helps you? How does being positive helps you? Pessimists people think they succeed with occasional skills or external causes. They believe it is only a stroke of luck and may give up, even if successful.…

via Being optimistic helps you believe in yourself — Topics with Passion

Be The One Who Saves Yourself

See ThoughtCatalog Article Here
By Ashley Spargo

In a world full of everlasting change, there’s one thing that is certain. You are the only person that can save yourself. You are responsible for your happiness and your happiness alone. If you feel as though you’re drowning, you’re responsible for making sure you come up for fresh air. You’ve had some terrible luck lately? You’ve managed to make all of the wrong decisions? You’re feeling a little unsettled in your life right now? The guy you liked screwed you over?

SO WHAT?

You need to start being selfish. You need to start realizing that you come first NO MATTER WHAT. You are what matters the most to you. You need to realize that.

You’ve had terrible luck lately? It doesn’t matter if this is in your professional or personal life. This is something that is bothering you on a regular basis. You need to realize what it is that’s causing this and how you’re feeling about it and change it. You are the only one that can change your luck and how you feel about it. If you’re not going to change it, you’re better off embracing it.

You’ve managed to make all of the wrong decisions? REALIZE WHY. Realize why and change it. There’s always a reason to make a terrible decision. He hurt your feelings so you slept with one of his friends? Totally understandable. However, making it a regular thing is not. Let’s stop acting on emotions and begin making more rational and logical decisions. There’s no excuse for terrible behavior.

You’re feeling a little unsettled in your life right now? Change it up. Thinking about applying to grad school? Do it. Thinking about a career change? Start making moves. You control your happiness and if you’re feeling a bit blah about where you are in your life right now, do something about it and do it now!

The guy you liked screwed you over? WELCOME TO THE DAMN CLUB. He wasn’t worth your time anyway. You were much hotter than him, you cared more than he did, and let’s be honest, no one wants someone who’s sleeping with everyone. You’re feeling upset about the way things ended and that’s completely understandable. Stop feeling as though this didn’t work out because of something you did. Stop feeling the urge to drink until you no longer want him. What you need to realize right now is that he’s an ass. He’s an ass and a douche. You deserve a hell of a lot better and your time is coming.

Stop hoping for someone to come around and save you. Save your damn self. You’re worth so much more than you’re showing. Now act like it, girl.

17 Daily Habits Practiced by Highly Successful People

See Author Article Here

Your best days are likely the ones in which you take good care of yourself while being highly productive. To make it happen, though, you need to be intentional with how you use the minutes of your day. Here are more than a dozen habits highly successful people practice to push themselves to the next level.

1. Find your purpose, refer to it, and let it guide your path

“Knowing and following a personal, specific purpose empowers us to live with greater confidence. Having an active awareness of our purpose leads to deeper satisfaction as we readily know if a choice or task serves or takes from our purpose. Set aside time and explore your purpose. Write it down, refine it, share it, and refer to it often no matter how large or small. It doesn’t have to be monumental: ‘Make memories with my family,’ ‘Provide for those I love,’ ‘Create jobs,’ ‘Serve others,’ etc. Just be certain to make your purpose your daily mantra.”

–Doug Bloom, Philadelphia chair of Tiger 21, a peer membership organization with more than 650 high-net-worth wealth creators and preservers worldwide

2. Connect with someone

“Humans are inherently social. We’ve an innate desire to connect with one another–whether it be over a meal, traveling to other countries, or watching a movie together. Due to this, I make a daily effort to get out of the office (when feasible) to show up and meet interesting people as a means of identifying opportunities, striking partnerships, connecting, and learning new things. But I believe that how you show up is just as important as the act of showing up itself. You can’t expect every meet-and-greet to be as simple as driving down to your local coffee shop, so I’m adamant about immersing myself in their world as well: catching a plane, meeting them in their office, [or] driving to their home. I’ve been fortunate enough to start and invest in numerous successful businesses because I showed up to meet someone, many of whom I was meeting for the very first time. Ultimately, relationships are what drive businesses forward, and there is no better substitute when developing a relationship than to show up.”

–Adam Jiwan, founder, CEO and Chairman at Spring Labs, a blockchain startup that raised $14.75 million in 2018

3. Practice the SAVERS habit

“Currently, I use a process from The Miracle Morning book by Hal Elrod. It’s based on the acronym SAVERS: Silence (meditation), Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribe (journal). Every morning I meditate for 10 minutes, then move into five minutes repeating my affirmations, spend five minutes doing visualization exercise (seeing your future and what you must do to attain it), read for 10 to 15 minutes, then finish with 10 minutes of journaling and preparing for my day. Being able to clear my head and focus on my goals and priorities has made my days more productive and less stressful.”

–Krista Morgan, cofounder and CEO of P2Binvestor Inc., an online lending platform which has raised more than $13 million in equity

4. Get updated on industry news first thing, then work out

“I am a creature of habit, committed to routines that keep me informed and energized. Every morning, I begin my day with a 30-minute review of my news feeds, favorite websites, and alerts. No work email yet, just an overview to get a sense of industry activity to share with my direct reports through Slack. Then I work out. As an avid mountain biker, I try to get a ride in multiple days a week (personal trainer and home gym the rest of the week), followed by a shower and breakfast. Once in the office, I exercise my Domo muscles (Domo is a business intelligence and data visualization tool). The data-driven platform gives me an early view into new issues or opportunities within my company. Together, these pre-work rituals allow me to dive into the normal course of business activities mentally and physically prepared with insights into both my industry and company that keep me ahead of the curve.”

–Drew Edwards, founder and CEO of Ingo Money, a provider of mobile-forward, turnkey instant deposit and payment services solutions that works with companies including Visa, PayPal, KeyBank, and Safelite

5. Clean up your inbox over the weekend

“Email can be a huge time suck. I’ve found that it’s best to prep my outbox over the weekend while I have some downtime. I block time on Sunday to start responding to emails and save them as drafts, so I can hit send first thing Monday morning. This helps me go into the week less stressed without dumping things on my team over the weekend. To limit time spent on email Monday through Friday, I check Apple Mail to read messages in batches every couple days. If something is urgent, my team knows that I’m big on texting.”

–Isaac Oates, founder and CEO of Justworks, an HR technology platform supporting more than 60,000 employees of entrepreneurs and companies in all 50 states

6. Endure short-term pain for long-term gain

“Almost all of life’s decisions, business and personal, come down to the same question, can you accept short-term pain for long-term gain? Losing weight, firing a producing employee that is problematic elsewhere, exiting markets that are profitable but aren’t your focus–all point to the same thing. Most people choose to focus on short-term gains and get long-term pain. People who want to win are willing to accept some level of professional pain to find opportunities that might elude everyone else.”

–Marty Puranik, CEO of Atlantic.Net, a cloud service provider serving 15,000 businesses in over 100 countries

7. Learn something new before the kids wake up

“Every morning, before my children wake up, and I get ready to leave for work, I will typically spend around thirty minutes reading the news. As I read, I make a point of researching any topic or context I’m unfamiliar with. There is something very energizing to me about starting the day with this mindset of curiosity–of learning something completely new or broadening my perspective on an issue or concept. It’s important to me, before I spend the day focused on my work and company, to expand my horizons, and tune in to what is going on in the world and the reality and interests of others. I find there is often an opportunity to apply these findings and discoveries in my work, even if at first they seem far-removed.”

–Jonathan Cherki, founder and CEO of ContentSquare, an A.I.-powered user experience analytics and optimization platform which raised $42 million in capital last year and works with companies including Walmart, GoPro, Avis, and L’Occitane

8. Live below your means

“The great part about the human spirt is our ability to adapt to our surroundings and environment. Whether you own a billion-dollar company or work the night shift at the local gas station, I firmly believe that your future is highly dependent on your habits, today and tomorrow. Something that I always do, and would encourage everyone else to do, is take that bonus, that compensatory raise, that record-earnings year for your company, and defer the use of those funds through savings or investment. By saving or investing those funds instead of digesting them into your bank account, it may be the difference between a want today versus a future need. I encourage people of all ages to maximize their retirement contributions from annual compensation increases before doing anything with after-tax dollars.”

–David Kilby, published author and president of FinFit, a financial wellness benefits company with more than 125,000 clients

9. Stop adding value

“It is seductively soothing to be doing tasks that add value. ‘Am I adding value?’ is so easy to answer because almost everything you do usually adds some value. It is much harder to answer the question ‘Is this the best use of my time?’ To wit, it’s easy to be busy improving the product but it’s a lot harder to look up and realize the product is good enough already and I should be focused on finding the right distribution partner.”

–Kon Leong, cofounder and CEO of ZL Technologies, an information management provider with clients spanning the Fortune 500, including half of the top 10 financial services companies

10. Read a chapter or a section out of a book, or an article

“Studies show the more you read, the greater your chance for success. When you have an insatiable desire to learn you grow personally and professional at a faster rate. You could take one thing from the chapter or the article and implement it, and that one thing could make a huge impact in your future.”

–Nicole Middendorf, author, wealth advisor and founder and CEO of Prosperwell Financial, a financial services company with over $160 million in assets

11. Start your day with clear focus and gratitude

“It’s too easy to jump into the day’s activities and lose sight of the big picture. Spend time each morning doing something that will help you grow as a person and as a leader. I start my day by reading the Bible and in meditation. Then, I listen to something positive, uplifting, and motivating while exercising and getting ready for the day. Each morning I post my top three annual goals to the top of my calendar, where I will see them daily. I also share with my team three things that I feel blessed for each day.”

–Robin Kocina, a Minnesota Women Business Owners Hall of Fame honoree and president/CFO of Media Relations Agency, a performance-based marketing agency

12. Make a to-do list

“This act of writing down what needs to get done helps me feel less anxious because the tasks seem less on paper than in my head. The list also allows me to see what is a priority or time-sensitive, and I can order what needs to be done accordingly. And crossing off an item, or deleting it, gives me this sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, even if it is just the task of dropping off a package at the post office.”

–Tracey Welson-Rossman, co-founder and CMO of custom software development firm Chariot Solutions and founder of TechGirlz, a nonprofit inspiring tens of thousands of middle-school girls to pursue technology careers

13. Take time every Sunday to write out the full list of what you want to accomplish for the week

“I consider how [these tasks] align with my bigger goals for month or quarter and once I’ve got a solid list, I draw a line on what must [be] accomplish[ed]. I try to keep that to just three things, and everything below the line can be pushed. Then I review my calendar to make sure my schedule has time carved out for me to be successful. The 30 minutes this takes on a Sunday helps me manage my time and hit the ground running on Monday.”

–Dave Evans, cofounder and CEO of virtual manufacturing platform Fictiv, which has raised $25 million in funding

14. Practice being humble

“I believe that cultivating humility is crucial to success for any professional as they advance their careers and assume greater leadership in their organizations. It is equally important for growth and development in our personal lives. I try to cultivate humility every day by being present and aware–whether I’m stuck in traffic, changing my son’s diaper, or apologizing for a mistake I’ve made. Embracing these humbling moments gives me motivation to keep learning, listening and improving as a husband, father, son, brother, friend, colleague, leader and human being.”

–Raul Vazquez, CEO of Oportun, named one of Time magazine’s 2018 “50 Genius Companies Inventing the Future” for its work providing over 2 million small dollar loans which have saved its customers more than $1.3 billion

15. Seek out tough feedback

“I make a point to connect over coffee daily (or weekly) with people on my team who aren’t my direct reports.  I always ask them to tell me something they don’t think I want to hear, whether it’s a challenge they’re facing, or something about the business that they’re concerned about. Not only does this give me an opportunity to see inside parts of the organization that I might not see every day, and a unique perspective and understanding of the complexity of their day-to-day, but also gives me a new way to think about where my help and leadership can make the most impact. It has repeatedly broken down barriers and opened up the lines of communications across our organization.”

–Jennifer Tescher, president and CEO of the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), a nonprofit that brings together hundreds of financial institutions, employers, innovators and policy makers

16. Write out your to-do list early in the morning

“I watch the sunrise, have a cup of coffee, and write out the list of all meetings and tasks for the day. I do this every day with paper and pens and sometimes in different colors.”

–Dede Gotthelf, owner of the Southampton Inn which has received several Best of the Best awards from Hamptons publication Dan’s Papers

17. Keep a detailed calendar while looking back at this time last year

“I maintain a detailed calendar each day of the week and keep copies of my schedule for at least a year. Each week, I review the prior year’s calendar to see what projects I was working on and whom I was meeting with around the same time the year before. This process gives me a 360-degree perspective on how I progressed on those projects, what projects I need to complete or restart and reminds me to reconnect with specific people. Looking back at what I was doing the year before helps me stay on top of important projects and professional relationships.”

–William T. Sullivan, executive director of the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF) which has increased philanthropic revenue by 30 percent since 2017

You are the architect of your owner destiny; you are the master of your own fate; you are behind the steering wheel of your life. There are no limitations to what you can do, have, or be. Accept the limitations you place on yourself by your own thinking.

How Learning My MBTI Personality Type Helped Me Understand Myself

The Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is available on a few sites completely free & is is an “assessment that was designed to help you better understand what makes you tick, how you relate to others, and how you can benefit from this knowledge in everyday life.”

This site has different options for sites to take the test on. I suggest the HumanMetrics one to start, but none are too long so I chose to do a few to see if the results were the same (they were). It is pretty hard to “doctor” any responses because of the nature of the questions… check it out!

MBTI Site

Free MBTI Test On These Sites

After taking the test, you will be assigned to one of 16 different combinations:

Thera are so many resources to look further into whatever personality type that you fit with, and some are extremely in depth that, (at least in my experience) left me with my mouth hanging open, because they were so relatable.

My Personality Type:
INFJ – Future posts will focus on all things INFJ.

The Dangers Of High-Functioning Depression And Anxiety

Nicole Kordana on Living With High-Functioning Depression And Anxiety
Author Page Here

“It’s been 8 years since I was diagnosed with depression and 5 since I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety. For many people when I tell them, it comes as quite a shock. “Wow, you don’t seem depressed” or “I’ve never seen you panic about anything” is a rather common response. Reflecting on this, I can understand why it would come as a surprise. I graduated high school with above a 4.0 GPA because I loaded my schedule with Advanced Placement courses so I could get ahead in college.

I participated in sports, I volunteered, I had a job, and generally seemed to be doing pretty well. I was accepted into the colleges I applied to and started school in the fall, where I also excelled and became involved in many activities around me. I was functioning as a “normal” young adult, so how depressed or anxious could I be right?

My depression and anxiety seemed like a war going on inside my head, reeking havoc on my physical health and general outlook on life. You would never have known by looking at my grades, my endurance on the soccer field, my performance at work, or my interactions with peers. It was easy to go about my daily life and excel in public, my mind was too busy to be sad or nervous, but when I returned home I entered a different world.

I was inconceivably sad and overwhelmed reflecting on the day I had. I knew I had a list of things I needed to complete before I could fall asleep in good conscience, but I lacked all motivation to complete a single task. On the other hand, not completing anything made me irrationally fearful that I would not succeed. I was sitting in the shell of my body unable to do anything.

Do your homework. I can’t. If you don’t you’ll be a failure, you’ll never be accepted into a good college. I’m too tired to do anything tonight. If you don’t do anything tonight, your grades will plummet; your teacher will be disappointed with you.

I’d go back and forth with myself until I forced myself to agonizingly and poorly complete something.

The physical toll on my body was no less. My back hurt immensely, I experienced migraines frequently, my panic attacks made me feel like my heart was going to be ejected from my chest, and my outbursts of anger toward my family were uncontrollable. And despite my insisting “nothing was wrong” my mother took me to see a psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist informed me that I experienced high-functioning depression and anxiety, which is not uncommon, especially in teens and young adults. High-functioning illnesses are scary in the fact that its easy for people who experience them to convince themselves that everything is fine, that they are just going through a phase because every other aspect of their lives are relatively normal.

Due to the “normal” levels of functioning in people who experience high-functioning depression or anxiety (or both), these people often go undetected by themselves, family, friends, co-workers, even medical professionals, and therefore don’t receive the treatment they need. Prior to receiving treatment, I was excelling in my personal and academic life, which made me question: what was the point in seeking treatment at all?

Our society is becoming more aware and accepting of mental illnesses, yet it is too common that people put the symptoms of mental illnesses in a box. I want to be explicitly clear when I say mental illnesses affect each person differently, not one experience with mental illness is identical. From therapy to medication to natural remedies, many treatments exist to help people who have depression or anxiety — but not receiving treatment often worsens the issue.

Many mental illnesses are invisible ailments, and high-functioning illnesses can often be silent, but that doesn’t mean they are not felt. We often hear that the people who fall victim to suicide “led perfectly normal lives” or their friends “had no idea they were sad enough to feel suicide was their only escape.”

Seeking treatment is not only a preventative measure to ensure symptoms don’t further progress; it is a proactive way to better your quality of life. As cliché as it sounds, with some simple ways to be proactive about your mental health, managing depression and anxiety is 100 percent attainable.

If you or someone you know experiences depression, anxiety, or a combination of both here are some ways to be proactive about your health and some important tips for when you are feeling low.

1. Know your body.

There are typically warning signs – bold or subtle changes- of when you are about to experience a little more of a struggle with your mental illness. Pay attention to these changes so you can take preemptive measures against your symptoms.

2. Have a solid support network.

Struggling with depression or anxiety is not something to be ashamed of. Millions of people are experiencing the same thing as you. Lean on people who can relate to what you are feeling, or find someone you trust that you are comfortable explaining your situation to. It’s good to have someone you can call, text, or talk to when you need a quick pick me up.

3. Give yourself some well-deserved attention.

Pamper yourself a little sometimes. You work really hard in your daily life and you manage your mental illness, appreciate yourself. It’s okay to have an extra helping of ice cream, buy those concert tickets, or just plain old relax for an afternoon. If you don’t take care of yourself, how are you expected to be able to perform at your best?

4. Exercise and eat right.

I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times but it is a miracle what eating right and some exercise can do for your body. I love to think of the mantra “feel good, do good” because it’s true; the better you feel the happier you behave. When you feel good it is reflected by how the people around you behave and leads to positive reinforcement.

5. Discover a hobby.

Finding an activity or hobby that you really enjoy can serve as a very positive distraction for negative things, and a mood boost for when you’re feeling above average. Find a group of people

6. Five sense distraction.

If you are in a public place and feeling overwhelmed, you can use the five sense method to calm down. Focus and examine: 5 things you can see, 4 you can touch, 3 you can hear, 2 you can smell, and 1 taste. Try to breathe through your nose as you complete this task and you will feel relieved in no time!

7. Don’t give up.

Treatments are typically not a quick fix, they take time, and yes a little energy. But the outcome is well worth it. Don’t give up on your treatment plan, on the people supporting you, or yourself. You are a powerful, resilient individual.

You can do this.

I love how relatable her story is. Don’t wait until it’s too late. It took me tying to kill myself to realize I was struggling