10 Ways To Get Rid Of Negative Energy Attached To You

Author Article

ile you’re not going to find a lot of double-blind peer-reviewed studies to chart “bad vibes,” it’s a concept that almost everyone understands. You walk into a room, and it feels off. You spend time with someone whose negativity seems like it’s created a dark cloud that follows you home. Or maybe you’re the one who needs to get rid of “negative energy” attached to you and you just want to lighten things up somehow—physically, mentally, and emotionally.

It’s definitely possible, according to people who believe that everyone has an energetic field around them—which is the foundational principle of the chakra system in India’s traditional medical system, Ayurveda, and the idea of energy meridians, which Traditional Chinese Medicine manipulates with techniques like acupuncture.

“We all feel and respond, to each others’ vibrations, even if we’re not aware of it,” says Bridget Ambrose, an energy medicine healer who has studied reiki and craniosacral therapy. Both use light touch to reputedly help balance your energetic field to boost health and offer a feeling of well-being.

According to Ambrose, “negative” energy is used to describe a lower, denser vibration—and it may feel like exhaustion, overwhelm, anger, helplessness, and even jealousy.

It can also come in the form of addiction to worry, feelings of fear, suppressed anger, says Alyson Charles, a New York-based energy healer known as the “RockStar Shaman.”

“When anger is continuously suppressed and not healthily expressed it can morph into deep resentments, unconscious sabotaging behaviors, etc., like when someone is trying to manipulate you (again a fear-based, lower-realm energy system at the root of it),” Charles says.

Since fear, anger, worry, exhaustion, and other emotions are a part of everyone’s life, Ambrose suggests viewing them as an opportunity—as hard as that may seem.

“Learning to strengthen your own force field and maintain your energy within no matter the external circumstances is a skill we all need,” she says. “There are truly so many ways to release negative energy and keep energy flowing through us in a healthy way from meditation, a clearing ritual, a healing session with a trusted practitioner, as well as simple things you can do daily.”

So…what are the best ways to deal with these kinds of energy? I got the top tips from Ambrose and Charles on how to try the energetic route to shake off these feelings.

1. First: Rethink that whole “negative” thing

“When it comes to energy, I think it’s most important to establish up front that all energy states are our teachers (and medicine) and should be viewed and worked with from a place of compassionate observance and exploration,” Charles says. “Which is why I refer to the energies as lower-realm rather than ‘negative’ because it is all here to teach and serve us positively when worked with appropriately.”

2. Take a bath

“This is a wonderful way to purify the aura of any negative energy and renourish your spirit. Adding in some essential oils such as eucalyptus, cedarwood, lavender along with some Epsom or sea salt works to calm the body, mind and spirit,” Ambrose says. “After soaking as the water drains know that it is taking with it all that was stuck to you see all that doesn’t serve, going down the drain.

3. Get in an alchemy mindset

“It’s important to remember that we incarnated here as humans to be able to experience the entire range of human emotions on the scale,” Charles says. “The key is being able to be in healthy relationship to lower-realm energies and being able to alchemize them into love and compassion as efficiently as possible, which is the gateway to then having a lower-realm experience lift you up and strengthen you rather than take you down.”

4. Check in on your boundaries situation

Got healthy boundaries? If not, get some quick. It’s okay to say no to that person, that event, that favor, if it’s something you know in your gut that it’s better to avoid.

“While there is incredible magic and miracles within shadow work, within confronting fears, there are some situations where we just know we are going to be at a place we don’t enjoy, or around someone who just brings the lower-realm energy. So in this case, setting yourself up with energetic protection and healthy boundaries is key!” Charles says.

5. Give your environment an energetic reboot

“At home, open a window, thanking everything that showed up for you that day and allowing anything that is not in your highest and best to leave through the window,” Ambrose says.

Charles suggests clearing your energy field using palo santo, copal, or sage—”firstly honoring and thanking the spirit within the plant and asking that it release anything not serving your highest, greatest, earthly good and only burning the smallest amount needed for clearing,” she says.

6. Take mindful mini-check-ins

You don’t have to settle down on your meditation pillow to give your mind a boost—smaller breaks are helpful as well, when working with heavy thoughts and feelings.

“Throughout the day, take a moment to pause, feel your feet as they connect to the ground, even place your hand on your belly and take three deep breaths,” Ambrose says.

7. Oh hey, spirit animal

If you already know you’re a total panther (or bear, or butterfly), Charles suggests calling on them for help.

“Call upon your spirit animal guide to walk with you and protect your energy field or if you don’t know who your animal is, sacred armadillo brings the power of protection!” Charles says.(Or you can check out Charles’ monthly column here in Well+Good for spirit animal inspo.) “Call upon armadillo to surround you with its shell to shield you and reflect away anything that is not of unconditional love.”

8. Get the rainbow connection going…

Charles suggests trying some “rainbow medicine” using the following visualization: “Envision all the colors of the rainbow filling your entire aura, sealing any gaps or holes and then place an outer layer of bright, golden white energy on the outside of the rainbow and say, ‘With these divine energies completely surrounding me I am fully protected in all ways. Only unconditional love may enter my field.’”

9. …or try these visualizations instead

In addition to the rainbow exercise, Charles says this exercise—which uses the image of mirrors—can be effective as well: “Envision the outside of your aura covered in mirrors and these mirrors will completely reflect back out, away from you, any energies that would not be of love and light. Follow your soul guidance and to what process resonates most with you.”

Ambrose says that she imagines the following scenario when she leaves her house and returns back home: “I often imagine myself being surrounded and protected in a beautiful warm light (you can choose any color) that holds all the wisdom, sweetness and love from the universe. I visualize my entire body filling up with this light, every cell being bathed in it. I imagine it surrounding me. Once I feel, sense, and know it is, I then send it out to any situation, person place that could use a higher vibration.”

10. Carry an amulet

“Crystals are wonderful allies for keeping us in our center and deflecting negative energy,” Ambrose says. “Carrying a small pocket stone of smokey quartz or black tourmaline work to absorb negative energy and provide you with a stabilizing center.”
ile you’re not going to find a lot of double-blind peer-reviewed studies to chart “bad vibes,” it’s a concept that almost everyone understands. You walk into a room, and it feels off. You spend time with someone whose negativity seems like it’s created a dark cloud that follows you home. Or maybe you’re the one who needs to get rid of “negative energy” attached to you and you just want to lighten things up somehow—physically, mentally, and emotionally.

It’s definitely possible, according to people who believe that everyone has an energetic field around them—which is the foundational principle of the chakra system in India’s traditional medical system, Ayurveda, and the idea of energy meridians, which Traditional Chinese Medicine manipulates with techniques like acupuncture.

“We all feel and respond, to each others’ vibrations, even if we’re not aware of it,” says Bridget Ambrose, an energy medicine healer who has studied reiki and craniosacral therapy. Both use light touch to reputedly help balance your energetic field to boost health and offer a feeling of well-being.

According to Ambrose, “negative” energy is used to describe a lower, denser vibration—and it may feel like exhaustion, overwhelm, anger, helplessness, and even jealousy.

It can also come in the form of addiction to worry, feelings of fear, suppressed anger, says Alyson Charles, a New York-based energy healer known as the “RockStar Shaman.”

“When anger is continuously suppressed and not healthily expressed it can morph into deep resentments, unconscious sabotaging behaviors, etc., like when someone is trying to manipulate you (again a fear-based, lower-realm energy system at the root of it),” Charles says.

Since fear, anger, worry, exhaustion, and other emotions are a part of everyone’s life, Ambrose suggests viewing them as an opportunity—as hard as that may seem.

“Learning to strengthen your own force field and maintain your energy within no matter the external circumstances is a skill we all need,” she says. “There are truly so many ways to release negative energy and keep energy flowing through us in a healthy way from meditation, a clearing ritual, a healing session with a trusted practitioner, as well as simple things you can do daily.”

So…what are the best ways to deal with these kinds of energy? I got the top tips from Ambrose and Charles on how to try the energetic route to shake off these feelings.

1. First: Rethink that whole “negative” thing

“When it comes to energy, I think it’s most important to establish up front that all energy states are our teachers (and medicine) and should be viewed and worked with from a place of compassionate observance and exploration,” Charles says. “Which is why I refer to the energies as lower-realm rather than ‘negative’ because it is all here to teach and serve us positively when worked with appropriately.”

2. Take a bath

“This is a wonderful way to purify the aura of any negative energy and renourish your spirit. Adding in some essential oils such as eucalyptus, cedarwood, lavender along with some Epsom or sea salt works to calm the body, mind and spirit,” Ambrose says. “After soaking as the water drains know that it is taking with it all that was stuck to you see all that doesn’t serve, going down the drain.

3. Get in an alchemy mindset

“It’s important to remember that we incarnated here as humans to be able to experience the entire range of human emotions on the scale,” Charles says. “The key is being able to be in healthy relationship to lower-realm energies and being able to alchemize them into love and compassion as efficiently as possible, which is the gateway to then having a lower-realm experience lift you up and strengthen you rather than take you down.”

4. Check in on your boundaries situation

Got healthy boundaries? If not, get some quick. It’s okay to say no to that person, that event, that favor, if it’s something you know in your gut that it’s better to avoid.

“While there is incredible magic and miracles within shadow work, within confronting fears, there are some situations where we just know we are going to be at a place we don’t enjoy, or around someone who just brings the lower-realm energy. So in this case, setting yourself up with energetic protection and healthy boundaries is key!” Charles says.

5. Give your environment an energetic reboot

“At home, open a window, thanking everything that showed up for you that day and allowing anything that is not in your highest and best to leave through the window,” Ambrose says.

Charles suggests clearing your energy field using palo santo, copal, or sage—”firstly honoring and thanking the spirit within the plant and asking that it release anything not serving your highest, greatest, earthly good and only burning the smallest amount needed for clearing,” she says.

6. Take mindful mini-check-ins

You don’t have to settle down on your meditation pillow to give your mind a boost—smaller breaks are helpful as well, when working with heavy thoughts and feelings.

“Throughout the day, take a moment to pause, feel your feet as they connect to the ground, even place your hand on your belly and take three deep breaths,” Ambrose says.

7. Oh hey, spirit animal

If you already know you’re a total panther (or bear, or butterfly), Charles suggests calling on them for help.

“Call upon your spirit animal guide to walk with you and protect your energy field or if you don’t know who your animal is, sacred armadillo brings the power of protection!” Charles says.(Or you can check out Charles’ monthly column here in Well+Good for spirit animal inspo.) “Call upon armadillo to surround you with its shell to shield you and reflect away anything that is not of unconditional love.”

8. Get the rainbow connection going…

Charles suggests trying some “rainbow medicine” using the following visualization: “Envision all the colors of the rainbow filling your entire aura, sealing any gaps or holes and then place an outer layer of bright, golden white energy on the outside of the rainbow and say, ‘With these divine energies completely surrounding me I am fully protected in all ways. Only unconditional love may enter my field.’”

9. …or try these visualizations instead

In addition to the rainbow exercise, Charles says this exercise—which uses the image of mirrors—can be effective as well: “Envision the outside of your aura covered in mirrors and these mirrors will completely reflect back out, away from you, any energies that would not be of love and light. Follow your soul guidance and to what process resonates most with you.”

Ambrose says that she imagines the following scenario when she leaves her house and returns back home: “I often imagine myself being surrounded and protected in a beautiful warm light (you can choose any color) that holds all the wisdom, sweetness and love from the universe. I visualize my entire body filling up with this light, every cell being bathed in it. I imagine it surrounding me. Once I feel, sense, and know it is, I then send it out to any situation, person place that could use a higher vibration.”

10. Carry an amulet

“Crystals are wonderful allies for keeping us in our center and deflecting negative energy,” Ambrose says. “Carrying a small pocket stone of smokey quartz or black tourmaline work to absorb negative energy and provide you with a stabilizing center.”

Positive Psychology Exercises Increase Happiness In People Recovering From Substance Use

Author Article

Positive psychology,Positive psychology exercises,Substance abuse
The study, published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, examined whether positive psychology exercises increase happiness in people recovering from substance use.(Shutterstock)

Self-administered exercises can significantly boost in-the-moment happiness for adults recovering from substance use disorders, suggests a recent study.

The study, published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, examined whether positive psychology exercises increase happiness in people recovering from substance use.

“Addiction scientists are increasingly moving beyond the traditional focus on reducing or eliminating substance use by advocating treatment protocols that encompass quality of life. Yet orchestrated positive experiences are rarely incorporated into treatment for those with substance use disorders,” said Bettina B. Hoeppner, lead author of the study.

As part of the study, the authors noted that effectiveness of positive psychology exercises may be promising tools for bolstering happiness during treatment and may help support long-term recovery.

According to lead researchers, the study underlines the importance of offsetting the challenges of recovery with positive experiences. Recovery is hard, and for the effort to be sustainable, positive experiences need to be attainable along the way.

Watch Your Thoughts For They Become Your Destiny

Author Article

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become your character.
And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.’

— Frank Outlaw

What we think, we become.

Reality is not neutral. We are always passing judgment on what happens around us. You and I can face the same event, yet will react differently — our thoughts shape our reality, not the other way around.

That’s why most people suggest we think positively — it has become an oversimplified approach to make us feel better.

“Be positive” can be terrible advice.

Telling someone who’s sad or depressed that positive thoughts will change their mental state, can be detrimental. Similarly, being overly optimistic can blind our reality.

Positive thinking is not what you think. We must embrace our whole self, not just the bright side.

The color of your soul

“The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.” — Marcus Aurelius

Our society loves black or white assessments — you are either an optimist or a pessimist.

Labels are a heavy burden — we get stuck in one place, rather than exploring our possibilities. Our self is fluid. We all have positive or negative thoughts or positive and negative moments.

Pretending to be always happy is harmful. We focus on one aspect and fail to see our blind spots. Labeling oneself as a negative person doesn’t help either — we overplay our dramas and become victims of self-pity.

Research shows that optimists perceive less stress because either they are better able to cope with adversity or because of their positive view. However, when facing severe challenges, optimists suffer a lower immune response than pessimists.

Curiously, a strong belief in hope can make optimists think they can achieve anything they want to, just by trying hard. This perfectionist view can lead to unrealistic expectations — positive thinking can’t make everything come true.

We are not our thoughts, because they are always changing. Understanding our fluid nature is critical to continue growing — we are work in progress, not a finished product.

Bad thoughts are harmful — they create more suffering. However, avoiding our negative emotions won’t make them go away.

The problem with optimism

There’s nothing wrong with negative emotions. We all have them. They are a fundamental part of who we are — emotions express our basic intelligence and energy.

Positivity is a fluid state, not a status. You are not either positive or negative. Overplaying one aspect is deceiving — you must embrace your entire self.

“In America, optimism has become almost like a cult,” the social psychologist Aaron Sackett told Psychology Today. Or, as another American psychologist added, “In this country, pessimism comes with a deep stigma.”

Optimism has become a pervasive dogma. Pessimism gets a bad rap, but positive thinking can be brutally enforced.

“It’s gotten to the point where people really feel pressure to think and talk in an optimistic way,” observes B. Cade Massey, a professor of organizational behavior.

Massey’s research shows that, when asked to forecast the outcomes of events such as a financial investment or a surgical procedure, people make overly optimistic predictions. And wish to be even more optimistic. Many of us have drunk the ‘positivity Kool-Aid’ — We believe optimism is the solution for all our problems.

I’m not advocating in favor or against optimism, but to break free from labeling ourselves. A positive approach to life requires embracing both sides rather than living in an exaggerated — positive or negative — fantasy.

Happiness is a state of mind, not something we acquire. We spend more time contemplating what’s missing in our lives rather than what we have. That’s why we suffer.

You are what you think you are

“The mind is everything. What you think you become.” ― Buddha

Connecting to your emotions allows you to respond without reacting — you don’t let judgments or preconceptions shape your behavior. Instead, you decide to explore and understand your emotions — you feed compassion and wisdom, not anger.

Your thoughts define your reality.

The problem with idealizing positive thinking is trying to hide the negativity within us. Bringing a positive spin to what happens is not enough. You must confront and accept all your emotions. And understand how they shape your version of reality.

There’s a difference between our imagined experience ‘in here’ and what’s going on ‘out there.’

As Domyo Burk said, “For me, there is no reality ‘out there,’ separate from my mind; I will never be able to perceive a thing without the involvement of my mind. And what is the use of any reality ‘out there’ that can’t ever be perceived? In a sense, reality is born as we perceive it.”

That doesn’t mean there’s no objective reality. But that our reality lies in the intersection between an object (an event) and a subject (we).

Buddhism has an interesting view of the relationship between positive mind states and reality. It acknowledges the effect of positive thinking on our subjective experience — It’s more pleasant to feel relaxed than upset. If we consciously transform the way we relate to an experience, we can change its nature.

Positive thinking is not doing something to make you feel better, but to stop fighting reality — both positive and negative.

Change your reality with positive thinking

The way we experience something is determined by what we think about it. Positive thinking is helpful. But it only works if you accept your entire reality, not just the bright side. Self-acceptance is our foundation — we can build a stronger life.

The Greek philosopher Epictetus realized this 2,000 years ago when he said, “People are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things. When therefore we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved, let us never attribute it to others, but to ourselves; that is, to our own principles.”
Say a car cuts you off when you are driving on a highway. The driver was probably in a hurry and didn’t notice you. It could have caused an accident. How would you react?

It’s normal to get upset or feel attacked — your own self-concern arises, and you want to fight back. Instead, you could try to take some emotional distance and avoid reacting. Imagine you are the driver who cut someone else off. Would you like the person to get mad at you or to be patient and forgiving?

By putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes, we avoid being taken by negativity. Empathy provides room for understanding reality rather than reacting to it.

Life is full of possibilities — you can’t control what happens to you, but you can manage how you react.

Albert Ellis, the father of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, discovered that how we react to an event is determined mainly by our view of the incident, not what happened. He believed that people don’t just get upset but contribute to their upset-ness.

Ellis said, “Too many people are unaware that it is not outer events or circumstances that will create happiness; rather, it is our perception of events and of ourselves that will create, or uncreate, positive emotions.”

Blaming never helps; it just feeds negativity. Epictetus believed that those who are perfectly instructed would place blame neither on others nor on themselves. Being in charge of our life requires commanding our emotions.

Let your destiny define your thoughts

The mind is an interesting, powerful ally — mindfulness helps us become more familiar with ourselves.

According to Thich Nhat Hanh, accepting our emotions is key to practice mindfulness correctly: “In mindfulness, one is not only restful and happy but alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.”

The Vietnamese monk and peace activist believes that many of us have the wrong idea about what happiness is. We think that we need to be positive all the time, but happiness is about being present. We appreciate the here and now.

We all need stars to help us navigate our darkest nights. Your life’s purpose provides clarity, so you don’t crash when navigating troubled waters. It helps your mind steer in the right direction. And reach your destiny.

Your life purpose should define your thoughts, not the other way around.

No matter how negative your reality, your purpose gives you the strength to keep moving forward. It provides a positive outlook. Your purpose brings meaning to your life. When you control your destiny, you control your thoughts.

As Albert Ellis said, “The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”

The most meaningful purpose of life is to be helpful, not happy.

People who are generous, who genuinely try to help others are more likely to succeed. Generosity doesn’t empty but fills your tank. As Buddha said, “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

Having a positive approach to life doesn’t mean being overly optimistic. We must become the best version of ourselves, not a fantasy. Our purpose is “to do the best we can, given a set of circumstances and our current dispositions,” as Isabelle Payette wrote here.

Our life will always have both positive and negative experiences. We can choose to add more negativity. And create more suffering. Or we can accept life as is. It’s on us to build our own heaven or hell.

— — —

Positive thinking is not magical thinking — accepting our whole self makes us more self-reliant. Embracing your negative side will help you become more patient and tolerant. It makes it easier to see the good within you and others.

Watch your thoughts because they become your destiny. Better indeed, watch your destiny, and your thoughts will help you get there.

Gustavo Razzetti is a change instigator that helps organizations lead positive change. Author, Consultant, and Speaker on team building and cultural transformation.

This article first appeared on Medium.

The Most Important Ingredient For True Happiness

Author Article

One of the benefits of being both ambitious and obsessive/compulsive is how such qualities can accelerate your career success.I spent over twenty-six years in the law enforcement profession. I promoted quickly through the ranks due to my work ethic, which was drilled into me by my father.


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“Get to work early, stay late, and always do a little more than everyone else,” my Dad used to say.

I took his advice and in sixteen short years went from rookie police officer to chief of police.

There’s no question that ambition and relentless drive can lead to results, but there are always unwanted consequences.

I was a workaholic. There were important family events I missed. The stress started to take a toll on my health, leading to anxiety and panic attacks. Despite a handsome salary and career prestige, I was never truly happy.

“I used to be a classic workaholic, and after seeing how little work and career really mean when you reach the end of your life, I put a new emphasis on things I believe count more. These things include: family, friends, being part of a community, and appreciating the little joys of the average day.” — Mitch Albom

Artwork by John P. Weiss

Fortunately, my doctor came to the rescue. He started to ask about my artwork, and how often I made time for it. A certified Hakomi psychotherapist, my doctor was able to drill down and help me overcome the anxiety and panic attacks.

I started saying no to new commitments, carved out more time for family, focused on helping others more, and made my artwork a priority.

I was happier not because I put myself first, but because I balanced out work, family time, helping others and my artwork. There was now a sweet spot in my life.

The answer is virtue

The author Edith Hall wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal based on her book, “Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life”. Hall examines Aristotle’s perspective on happiness, which probably differs from most of our views.

Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, wrote about “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” American culture often focuses on the holy trinity of wealth, pleasure and fame. Hollywood entertainment largely revolves around these things. But do they really make us happier?

Aristotle would agree that a good life includes happiness, but not happiness based on wealth, pleasure or fame.

Aristotle lived and worked among the Macedonian royal family, who were the elites. He watched their “conspicuous consumption,” lavish lifestyles, and petty plots against one another.

Edith Hall, commenting on wealth, pleasure and fame seekers:

“Such people spend their lives acquiring material possessions or seeking sensory gratification, but on some level they know that these pursuits aren’t conducive to true happiness.”

Consider the glitterati of today’s entertainment industry. How many Hollywood icons succumb to drugs, alcohol, serial divorces, and public squabbles? Despite tremendous wealth and fame, many celebrities appear to be unhappy.

Edith Hall adds:

“Aristotle saw that these seemingly fortunate members of the elite were actually miserable. Such people spend their lives acquiring material possessions or seeking sensory gratification, but on some level they know that these pursuits aren’t conducive to true happiness. They may even recognize the right thing to do, but they are too weak or lazy to act on it.”

So, what’s the right thing to do? If being a workaholic and focusing on wealth, pleasure and fame won’t bring lasting happiness, what will?

According to Aristotle, the answer is virtue. Living our lives by the highest moral and ethical standards. This sometimes means bypassing immediate gain or pleasure for a higher good, but in the end, this will lead to a happier life.

The best possible version of yourself

Aristotle analyzed a wide range of human traits, from courage and anger to how we treat one another and regard money. He argued that we should strive for the mean between extremes.

According to the Wall Street Journal article:

“All of us possess these properties, and happiness comes from cultivating each one in the correct amount, so that it is a virtue (arete) rather than a vice.”

What does all this mean? Namely, that you should pursue a virtuous life. Acknowledge the best and worst in yourself, and strike a balance.

Hone your habits of generosity, integrity, fairness, and kindness. Find the sweet spot in your life, focusing on family, helping others, and your passions.

Edith Hall summed it up this way:

“Real happiness, Aristotle believed, comes from a continuous effort to become the best possible version of yourself.”

The other night, I was tempted to spend the evening working on new articles that might earn me some money. The drive to get ahead still courses through my thoughts and efforts.

Thankfully, I decided to visit my disabled, elderly mother instead. When you’re 85 years old with advanced Parkinson’s disease, any family visit is a blessing. It made me feel good to visit her.

After the visit, I returned to my art studio and crafted the landscape painting above this article. I didn’t paint it for money or fame. I painted it for the same reason that I visited my mother: to invest in the best possible version of myself.

How about you? Why not invest in the best possible version of yourself? Make more time for family. Help others. Strike a balance between work and passions. Pursue a virtuous life. Do these things, and a deeper sense of contentment will wash over you.

True happiness doesn’t come from wealth, pleasure or fame. Rather, it comes from an internal state of mind, anchored in the contentment only attained by living life in the best way possible.

Before you go

I’m John P. Weiss. I paint landscapes, draw cartoons and write about life. Thanks for reading!

This article first appeared in Medium

Positive Thinking Can Help Your Health Later In Life, According To A Recent Study

Author Article
Life sure can have its ups and downs, but it looks like maintaining a strong sense of optimism could actually benefit your health in the longterm. According to a recent study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), positive thinking can help your health in your later years. Who knows — positive thinking could just be the key to immortality. I’m kidding, of course (or am I?)

The study, conducted by Professor Andrew Steptoe and Dr Daisy Fancourt, analysed data collated between 2012 and 2016 from over 7,000 adults over the age of 50 as part of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), as described by University College London.

When asked “to what extent they felt the things they did in their life were worthwhile,” participants were instructed to rate their answer on a scale from one to ten. Researchers found that those who rated higher lived life significantly better. From walking faster to sleeping well, those with a positive attitude exuded it in both mind and body.

Having an optimistic outlook on life has plenty of other benefits too, including an improvement on your ability to cope with stress, can boost your immunity, and can even lead to an increased lifespan, according to Verywell Mind.

Lucas Ottone/Stocksy

Taking other aspects of a participants life into account, the study was also able to determine that those who had higher ratings kept their lives pretty busy, surrounding themselves with strong relationships, socialising, and exercising. Participants who rated lower were “twice as likely to develop depressive symptoms,” and were also linked with living on their own and feeling overwhelmingly lonely.

“As more and more men and women live longer, we need to understand better what factors lead to healthier and happier older age,” Steptoe explained. “This is a two-way process. Not only do good social relationships and better health contribute to our sense that we are living meaningful lives, but this sense of meaning sustains social and cultural activity, health and wellbeing in the future.”

Jovo Jovanovic/Stocksy

Even though this study focuses on those aged over 50, that doesn’t mean that those in their thirties, twenties, or even teens can’t adopt a more positive outlook on life. I mean, starting early is always the best thing in my book, especially if it can improve your health and mental wellbeing.

And even if you’re introverted or have mental health issues like depression, you can gain positivity from literally anything. For me, it’s always the little things like immersing myself in video games or just spending time with my family.

Jayme Burrows/Stocksy

“We do not know what activities the participants in this study thought were worthwhile,” Fancourt explained. “For some it might be supporting their families, for others a particular accomplishment in their work or hobby, enjoying nature or perhaps following a favourite sports team. What is important is that the individual finds these activities worthwhile and feels like they give a sense of meaning to life.”

If you want to start living your life to the optimistic full, here’s some advice. Pick one thing your absolutely passionate about, and fit it into your daily routine. Even if you’re having a rough day, it’ll be there to pick you up and spin your mind back into the positive.

Do you Criticize Yourself Too Much?

Author Article

It’s important to be honest with ourselves. After all, too many people just say what we want to hear instead of sharing a candid perspective. But, where do we draw the line between honesty and stubborn negativity? Is it practical to be our own biggest cheerleader? Or, are we just fooling ourselves into thinking that we are capable when we truly are not?

Constant self-doubt is never a good thing. Sometimes, self-doubt might lead us away from a potential opportunity. Self-doubt could even cause us to step back before ever trying to see if we can make it. While honesty is vital, it’s important to learn how to quiet our inner critic, too. You can be frank while still being hopeful. Read on to learn how.

Positive Self-Talk

Overcome the critical voice in your head by using positive self-talk. Instead of just assuming that you aren’t good enough or that you won’t be successful, say words out loud like, “I can do this” or “My hard work will pay off.”

Look in the Mirror

Practice using positive self-talk while looking directly in the mirror, so that you are literally talking to yourself. Consider this exercise: Find one new thing that you love about yourself every day. In the morning, before you start your day, look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I love my [blank].” You might fill in that blank with words like smile, kind eyes, or friendly nature. See how many days you can go without repeating a quality or attribute that you love about yourself.

Our Attitude Drives our Behavior

The more that we use positive self-talk, the more we believe it. Those words become our mantra, and we say positive things about ourselves more and more regularly. Our attitude drives our behavior. So, a positive attitude will lead us to persist even when placed in a tough situation.

It’s normal to doubt ourselves. Be honest when evaluating your own strengths and areas of opportunity. Surround yourself with people who support you and your dreams. Participate in online communities or support groups to give you the tools and the understanding audience that you need to be successful. And, know that it’s okay to fail! When we bounce back from failure, we are that much closer to success. Remember that we either learn to fail or fail to learn. Which path do you choose?

Copyright© 2019 Amy Cooper Hakim

Can’t Find a Path Forward? Make One

Author Article

We all have times in our lives when we are confused, uncertain, indecisive. Sometimes this is about how to solve a problem we’re facing—preparing for our first big interview or learning the ropes on a new job, filling out our income taxes or fixing a leaky bathroom faucet. These are straight-forward in that they are about skill, and the first step in acquiring skill is getting information—about interviews, the work tasks, the filling out taxes, the leaky faucet. To solve the problem we start by  learning what we don’t know.

But other times our problems are not so much about skills but about emotions that make us indecisive. Here are some of the common ways you can get stuck:

You don’t want to upset others

This is common and big. You kind-of know what you want to do but you’re worried about the reactions of others—parents, bosses, partners, friends. You’re afraid of disapproval or conflict, or being put on the spot and needing to defend yourself, which is especially difficult if you’re not solidly sure yourself of your idea or plan.

You’re not sure what you want

You have a lot of ideas of about what you should do, what might be the best course, and your friends, your partner have given you ideas—take the job, drop the new date. But you get hung up because you have all this advice, all these should in your head, but you can’t pin down what you emotionally want.

You have too many options

Okay, you’re not so worried about how others may react, you know what you want—that you want to say, live and work in San Francisco—but your flooded with too options of possible jobs, possible places to live. You’re overwhelmed.

You want to make the right choice

You’re struggling with all of the above or a mix of a couple but why you’re really stuck is that you are trying to find the perfect, Right choice or solution.

The way forward

There is a famous poem by Antonio Machado, entitled Traveler, Your Footprints; here is an excerpt:

Traveler, your footprints / are the only road, nothing else. Traveler, there is no road; you make a path as you walk.

Sometimes there is no clear path. As Machado suggests, you find the path by walking and making the path, by moving forward in spite of your not knowing. As you move forward it all becomes clearer.

So, you worry about other’s reactions, but you press forward and sensitively but assertively say what you want. The challenge here is seeing what happens next, and if you do get a negative reaction, telling yourself that you didn’t do anything wrong by speaking up, and that now you simply have a new problem that you may need to address.

If you are not sure about what you want, you want to listen to your gut, your needs, get out of your head, and move forward based on these emotions. This is not about being impulsive or acting out, but not dismissing this important source of information. As you follow these wants, your path will become clearer.

If you are flooded with too many options, and feeling overwhelmed, the problem is that your anxiety is kicking up, and as anxiety does, making you lose sight of what is most important. Return again to your gut: Take those deep breaths and ask yourself: What do I most want and need right now?

And finally, if you are trying to craft the perfect solution, realize that life is not about perfect solution, but about trial and error. Machado’s sage advice is to move forward, don’t dither and expect an answer by standing still. The answers come by taking action, often any action.

Walk forward and discover your path.

Is Optimism Ever Unhealthy?

Author Article

As children, many of us were taught to think positively. Parentsand teachers may have told us to “always look on the bright side” or “keep a positive attitude.” Many self-help books even instruct that optimism is the secret to a healthy and successful life.

There’s no doubting that optimism is a powerful force. According to hundreds of studies, people high in optimism are happier, experience lower depression and anxiety, achieve their goals more often, show greater persistence in the face of setbacks, and even cope with physical illness better than their less optimistic counterparts. Optimism is clearly a good thing.

But, those same well-meaning parents and teachers who encouraged us to think positively may also have offered us the opposite advice: “Don’t get your hopes up or you’ll jinx it.”

So, which is it? Is optimism good for us or not?

According to research, the answer is “both,” depending on the circumstances. While being a positive person in general is a good thing, optimism can backfire when it strays too far from reality. In particular, too much optimism can lead people to believe they are less vulnerable to common problems than they actually are.

Known as the optimism bias, most us occasionally fall prey to this tendency. Next time you’re at a dinner party, try the following experiment: Ask people to raise their hands to indicate whether they believe they’re at greater risk, equal risk, or less risk than the average person of their same age, gender, and background for virtually any common negative event, from having a heart attack to being mugged. Defying the statistical odds, most people will say they’re at less risk.

This is exactly what psychologist Neil Weinstein found in his first study on the phenomenon in 1980.  He listed out more than 20 negative events ranging from relatively small (your car turns out to be a lemon) to catastrophic (developing cancer), and asked college students to estimate their risk for each. For nearly all of the events, four times as many students thought they were safer than average than thought they were at greater risk than average.

As nice as it might sound to be unrealistically optimistic, it has its downsides. Namely, it may lead people to take unnecessary risks. Studies of more than 20 health issues show that people are less likely to take precautions when they perceive that their risk for a disease is low. When people believe their chances of having a heart attack are low, for instance, they’re less likely to eat healthy diets, and more likely to smoke and consume alcohol.

The optimism bias may even make people more likely to text while driving. Sending text messages while behind the wheel is unequivocally dangerous, increasing the likelihood of accidents and near-accidents by twenty-three times. Nonetheless, people often dramatically underestimate their personal risk. In a national survey of more than a thousands drivers in New Zealand, only 41 percent of people said they thought texting while driving was “very unsafe,” while 30 percent even said they thought texting while driving was either “very safe” or at least “moderately safe.” So, it shouldn’t be surprising that the majority of people said they regularly read or send text messages while driving.

Unfortunately, unrealistic optimism isn’t as easy to remedy as you might think. Education alone doesn’t seem to help. In a study appearing in the journal Health Psychology, researchers approached people in public places on the campus of Rutgers University, asking them to fill out an anonymous survey about their perceived risk of heart disease and alcoholism. Just before completing the questionnaire, some participants were given information about the risk factors for developing these conditions. The researchers hoped that this information would help participants come to realistic conclusions about their actual risk. Unfortunately, no differences were found between those provided with this information and those not. Both groups underestimated their risk.

As gloomy as this might sound, it doesn’t mean the optimism bias is unshakable. People aren’t unrealistically optimistic at all times or for all events. For instance, people are less likely to be unrealistically optimistic about things they perceive to be beyond their control. That’s because, when people perceive control over an outcome, they tend to base their predictions of risk on their intentions. If someone intends to go on a diet or start exercising, then that person may perceive his or her risk of heart disease to be lower. The problem is, of course, that most of us don’t follow though on all of our good intentions.

And perhaps that’s the most important lesson to be learned from this research: What often separates realistic optimism from unrealistic optimism is whether we actually act on our intentions. If all of us would follow through on our plans to eat healthier, exercise regularly, or pay an occasional visit to the doctor, perhaps our unrealistic expectations wouldn’t be so unrealistic after all.

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.”

195 Words To Keep You Going If You Feel Down

Author Article
By Todd Brison

Maybe you think it’s easy.

Maybe you had rich parents.

Maybe you inherited the perfect network.

Maybe you were able to party through school and still get what you want.

Maybe you simply have enough raw talent to get by.

Maybe you don’t have to worry about the future.

Maybe you already achieved all you desire.

Maybe you’re not like me.

But maybe …

Maybe you have idea and nothing else.

Maybe you count on your creativity to keep you alive.

Maybe you can’t imagine one more second stuck in a job you hate.

Maybe you are insane enough to believe your dream is worth pursuit.

Maybe you realized, suffocating under an avalanche of meaningless days which turned into meaningless years, that Comfort is a misleading swindler and its twitchy, nervous twin brother Safety is even more crooked.

Or maybe you hadn’t realized that yet. Don’t worry, you will soon.

Maybe your inner voice tells you “don’t give up yet.”

Maybe that voice is telling you the truth.

Maybe you think you were born for more.

There is a reason for that.

You are.

Recently, a random person pushed me across the 50,000 follower(!) mark on Medium. I wish I knew who it was. So much influence is insane to me.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I think it happened because I do things like this:

If you are struggling now, if you need encouragement, text me today. Here is my personal cell phone number. I will get back to you as soon as possible:

615–428–3309

(And I figured out how to use WhatsApp this time… apologies to all the messages I missed last time)

I love you. I believe in you. You will change the world.

Much love,

— Todd B

This article was originally published on Medium.