10 ways you’re making your life harder than it has to be: reposted (+ 10 ways to turn it around)

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This is it in a nutshell: https://thoughtcatalog.com/tim-hoch/2014/06/10-ways-youre-making-your-life-harder-than-it-has-to-be/. Plus 10 quick tips on how to make life easier (repeat after me):

  • When we continue to rehash (supposed) offenses: Let it go.
  • When we look for affirmation from others: I’m enough.
  • When our worries escalate to panic-attack proportions: It’s temporary.
  • If unrealistic/uncommunicated expectations eclipse our blessings: Be grateful.
  • Sometimes we pray, sometimes we wait but we must always do our homework: Be wise.
  • It’s okay to be picky and/or less bold when taking risks: Failure is better than not trying at all.
  • The truth on comparison shopping: The grass is not greener.
  • We cannot retrieve time we’ve lost or fast forward to the future: Practice mindfulness daily.
  • Let go of [fill in the blank]: Focus on what we can control.
  • About giving back: In the end it’s not the years in your life that count; it’s the life in your years. ~ Abraham Lincoln.

How do you make life easier?

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Falling into place: when the pieces of your life come together

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It’s been two months since I embarked on my mindfulness journey (see “A month of mindfulness…”). While some days—moments even—prove easier than others, there are the days you return home from work and devour a half bag of sweet potato chips without a second thought. And you know what? That’s okay. Because part of practicing mindfulness means you recognize a behavior or emotion but, instead of obsessing over it, you accept it for what it is and then let it go. My recent post, “The secret to letting go…,” focuses on what you can change or control. Based on this premise, I have since discovered a newfound freedom: When I let go, other pieces of my life begin to fall into place. From renewed relationships to a healthier self-image to hope for the future, I’m reaping the fruits of right choices. Most importantly, I’ve learned to be happy regardless of my circumstances, because I choose to be. Every day.

When will you take the mindfulness challenge?

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The secret to letting go (of what you can’t control)

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The key to letting go is giving up what is
beyond your control to embrace
what you can change. ~ Suzie Eller

There are times in life when you might run into situations that cause you to second guess yourself and maybe even desire a “do over.” However, in the long run it is typically healthier to forgo your former ways of thinking, doing or wishing by releasing whatever is beyond your control. The secret? Mindfulness. In my post “7 tips to incorporate mindfulness…,” I describe mindfulness as the act of consciously directing your awareness, without judgment—moment by moment. Take this a step further: If you discover that something doesn’t serve you in the present, then you must let it go in order to make room for new ways of thinking, relating and living. Instead of wishful thinking, choose mindful thinking. When you embrace what you can change today, you begin to entertain hope for your future.

What have you let go in order to move forward?

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Consistency is key: 8 steps to become a better version of you

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After 30 days of practicing mindfulness, I can honestly say: it works. Not only have I gained a deeper level of awareness of who I am and what I want to be, I’ve also discovered that consistency is key to (lasting) change. Practice these eight steps to become a better version of you:

  1. Recognize and acknowledge negative thinking; work to change your train of thought.
  2. Choose happy: every moment, each day.
  3. If you’re not happy with XYZ, pray, say and/or take action.
  4. Don’t take life too seriously: laugh at yourself. It heals, it’s contagious and it’s a free ab workout.
  5. Smile often: it’s sunshine on a cloudy day, for yourself and others.
  6. Mistakes happen: own up and rectify if possible. Then move on.
  7. Slow down; life is not a race to be run but a journey to be savored.
  8. Be kind to your neighbor, your fellow human-being: we are all in this thing together.

How do you practice consistency daily?

A challenge to put mindfulness to work: Quit complaining

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You might have heard, at one time, that you can do anything—for 60 seconds, 10 minutes, a half hour a day. It’s also said you can create or break a habit in just 21 days. In my recent posts, “A month of mindfulness…” and “7 tips to incorporate mindfulness…,” I suggest myriad ways to daily practice a deeper awareness within each moment—which could seem overwhelming. However, I’d like to propose a challenge. For the next 24 hours, choose one area of focus in which to incorporate mindfulness: quit complaining. As I write about in “Complaints don’t change a thing,” we can get caught up in negativity and miss out on the positive, the good that surrounds us. Even seemingly harmless comments like, I’m so tired, or the weather, traffic or XYZ sucks… can quickly turn our thoughts inward and escalate a pessimistic mentality. Just for today, let’s create a complaint-free zone and watch the life-changing magic unfold.

How hard is it for you to quit complaining?

Mixed messages: how to make sense of it all

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Mixed messages play havoc with logic. Just when you think you understand a simple concept, doubt creeps in and you begin to question your sanity, your ability to reason—everything you thought to be true. In the publishing world, there is frequent interaction between publisher and advertisers, authors, sales reps, subscribers and so on. As concise as one can be through email, there is often room for interpretation on both sides, which may lead to miscommunication, lost time and, not uncommon, bruised feelings. With the majority of business and social communique handled via digital means, it might require an old-fashioned phone call to right a wrong or lend clarity to a situation in order to move forward. It isn’t necessarily about the mistake or misunderstanding, because we are human and they happen. It’s how we react in the moment, mindful that relationships—business or otherwise—are always hanging in the balance. And that pride goes before a fall every time.

How do you make sense of mixed messages?

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Letting go doesn’t mean loving less

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At times, it feels like our journey through this one life is fraught with trials and setbacks more so than smooth sailing. Times when we could use an encouraging word, a hug or a shoulder on which to cry. A friend of mine is going through such a time and, earlier this week—despite my attempt to practice mindfulness (see ‘A month of mindfulness…’)—I allowed frustration over a situation out of my control to instead control my tongue. Unfortunately, this resulted in words spouted off between us, words that stung, words that could not be retracted. And, ultimately, a falling out. Although I tried to right it, the damage had been done and I realized the only thing I could do was to let go. To give my friend space. It doesn’t mean I love any less; it means I love enough to allow someone else to take my place. To pick up where I left off.

How do you know when it’s time to let go?

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7 tips to incorporate mindfulness into your day

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If you want to conquer the anxiety of life,
live in the moment, live in the breath. ~ Amit Ray

In my post, “A month of mindfulness…,” I share how I’ve begun to practice mindfulness—the act of consciously directing my awareness, without judgment—moment by moment. I also include a few examples of where I’ve begun to pay attention on purpose. Here are seven tips on how you might incorporate mindfulness into your everyday routine: 1) Choose a better-for-you beverage or snack option. 2) Focus on your breath when you’re uncomfortable, scared or upset. 3) Give other speakers 100 percent of your attention. 4) Notice if you exhibit behaviors like jumping to conclusions or overreacting, interrupting or responding with rudeness. 5) Look for ways to extend compassion and kindness to those around you. 6) Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations—before you “think aloud.” 7) Pause before you speak/email/text. Bonus: Always remember it’s a practice. Then watch the changes start to unfold.

How do you practice mindfulness?

Photo courtesy of David Castillo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A month of mindfulness: one moment at a time

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Recently I followed a movement in my Facebook feed about a 30-day minimalist challenge: remove one thing (from your life) on the first day that no longer serves you, two the second and so on. At first I was ready to jump on this spring-cleaning twist; however, rather than minimize, I’ve chosen to practice a month of mindfulness. The simple definition: to pay attention on purpose; a conscious direction of our awareness. First, I began to apply this attention to my food choices. Soon it eked into my yoga, the way I interact with my colleagues in the work place, my little family on the home front and my other relationships; how I choose to spend my time. Although it’s only a week into June, I see tangible results from my efforts. And, because mindfulness also involves approaching each moment without judgment, as I become more skilled at the practice, I can better recognize when judgment rears its ugly head. One moment at a time.

How mindful are you?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Discovering your life’s purpose

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your-purpose

For the past several weeks, I’ve spent a good portion of each day conducting my version of soul searching: journaling my frustrations (see ‘How to excel…‘), practicing mindfulness (e.g., moving meditation in the hot room, on the mountainside, in the gym) and asking myself what’s next on the other side of the half-century mark? Although I’ve discovered true happiness (focusing on others rather than myself), have a general idea of how to achieve the simple life (say ‘no’ when necessary, pitch the clutter, etc.), now I need to take a look at what I’m doing with this one life (see ‘Wasting time or living life…’). In other words: What’s my purpose? For me, it’s not found in the 8-5 routine. And it goes beyond the simple acts of kindness I try to impart as a daily habit. I might have uncovered the solution recently during my morning prayers and devotions, however, an ‘ah ha’ moment of sorts. But more on that later.

Are you living your life’s purpose?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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