Do you dread being by yourself? Does just reading the title about the benefits of being alone cause you anxiety?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone (ha!).
In a recent survey by the site, Everyday Health, one-third of women said they were more scared of being alone than getting a cancer diagnosis. Let that one sink in.
It’s shocking, literally. Science Mag posted a study in 2014 with over half of the men and a quarter of the women surveyed preferring to give themselves electric shocks over being left alone without any stimuli.
Wow. That’s pretty dark.
What is wrong with us? Why does our society have such a stigma against being alone?
Did you know that psychologists and cognitive scientists are starting to study the fact that some people actually benefit from having solitary time?
Solitude is becoming a huge factor in mental health when discussing things like practicing mindfulness and meditation, two things that have been shown to positively change brain chemistry.
Those are also two things that require you to go within and be with yourself. Something a lot of people seem to fear.
The reason is starting to become very clear. People are mistaking solitude with loneliness.
The Difference Between Being Alone and Being Lonely
I have no problems saying that I enjoy being by myself. I always have.
I loved creating worlds when I was a child. I started writing a book at seven-years-old. My goal was to be the youngest published author in the world. Spoiler alert: it didn’t end up happening.
But the point is that I tried and I enjoyed trying because it helped me travel into my imagination. I did the same thing when I pretended to have a radio talk show and when I would play with my dolls and create lives for them.
Is it any wonder I ended up being creative for a living?
My imagination is one of the reasons why I have always looked forward to alone time. It occurs to me that there is something to the fact that I’ve never resisted being alone and I am noticing more psychologists seeing the correlation between savoring solitude and fearing it.
So, in essence, loneliness comes down to resisting and fighting the solitude.
If you don’t know how to be with yourself, if you don’t know how to be in solitude, you will put up a fight. You will be miserable. The discomfort that you cause yourself from this resistance will spiral inside of you and make you feel sorry for yourself.
The only time I have ever felt lonely is when I’m around people who don’t get me or don’t want to get me. Being around people who don’t connect with you is one of the loneliest things in the world to me. I know many of you have felt this same feeling.
So tell me, if being around people can make you feel that lonely, how can being alone and loneliness be the same thing?
Don’t just take my word for it.
Dr. Bella DePaulo, a project scientist at The University of California at Santa Barbara talks about this very phenomenon on a podcast called “Considering Loneliness.”
Introspection: Find Yourself and Increase Creativity
So, taking that idea that embracing solitude is the mindset when you’re alone, there are many health benefits both physically and mentally—if it’s approached in the right way.
This means that those nights watching Netflix with a tube of cookie dough are great and everything, but should be practiced sparingly.
You can find the right mindset through introspection. No time is better for that than solitary time. Does that word scare you? It might, our society has placed a lot of heavy meaning on the word solitary.
But this is the opposite of how we should see it. Solitude without introspection is just emptiness. What is the point? How do you find relaxation and peace if you don’t go within?
Depending on other people or things like possessions and technology to make you feel “worthy” in society will never be fulfilling because it will never stop. Introspection teaches you that ‘now’ and who you are is enough.
This leads to more independence because you are free. You become free from the societal chains causing you to believe that your worth is determined by the things you own.. If you find true introspection, it doesn’t matter what you have or where you live. You are free.
Speaking of free…
In the October 10, 2006, Vanity Fair interview with a freshly divorced Jennifer Aniston, the interviewer asked what she enjoyed about being alone. “‘I can have a comfortable couch,’ she says with a wry smile.”
This was said after the interviewer told Aniston about Kidman’s reply when asked the same thing about her divorce with Tom Cruise. “‘Wearing high heels again,’ Kidman retorted.”
As much as these quotes are juicy bits of gossip, they also speak to one of the best things about being alone, freedom.
Nobody gets to decide what you are going to do but you. This applies whether you are single and deciding on shoes and decor, as well as when you have a night to yourself.
Being able to make decisions for yourself and entertain yourself is an important part of enjoying solitude.
It builds a strong sense of self and independence. It strengthens that feeling of being able to depend on yourself and not feeling the need to have others around.
This brings us to how it benefits relationships.
Up Your Intimacy Factor
Finding your needs and wants through positive solitude can help you find better relationships.
Knowing what you actually want out of a relationship instead of just focusing on having one goes a long way.
When you’re in touch with who you are and know what you want, you tend to see the people in your life more clearly and those who are making you feel lonely will stand out more. This gives you a chance to move away from those people and find ones you connect with more.
This might sound scary and it might even sound like you’re committing to some sort of monk life of solitude.
But here’s the thing. I have found that I connect with more people the more I connect with myself.
It’s mainly because I don’t feel so needy to have their company. When you don’t need the other person, it’s a much more enjoyable relationship. The person feels more wanted and needy behaviors go out the window.
Can you believe it? Having more time being alone actually makes you more able to be sociable and make meaningful connections!
This applies to every relationship but most importantly to romantic relationships.
Wanting the person around because there is a deep connection, but being okay if they aren’t there too is the balance every relationship should strive for. Both parties keeping their sense of independence is vital.
This all requires knowing how to connect with yourself on a deeper level.
How to Overcome the Fear of Being Alone
“All of humanity’s miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone.” – Blaise Pascal
I know, I know. I can hear you as I type this. This all sounds great and everything, but what about the fact that you don’t like being alone? What if you fear being left alone with your thoughts? How do you just switch that off, just like that?
Well, you can’t. It takes practice.
The first step is to change your mindset. Don’t see it as a lonely landscape that needs to be filled with people, see it as an opportunity to connect with yourself and grow.
What do you like to do? What feeds your soul?
Being alone gives you the opportunity to do anything you have the resources to do. You can increase your feeling of fulfillment, find a better relationship with yourself, reduce stress, etc.
There are so many positive things you can do for yourself! As long as it doesn’t hurt you or anybody else, what are you waiting for?
Here is a list to start but the possibilities are limitless:
- Self-care practices like taking a bath can reduce stress and really, it just feels good. Now is your chance!
- Writing is a powerful practice. There is no better way to process your internal struggles and find out what is actually bouncing around up in that noggin of yours. The health benefits of writing know no bounds. Case in point, it has even been shown to help injuries heal faster.
- Exercise. That alone time gives you a great opportunity to find time to do any kind of exercise you want. Take a walk, dance like nobody’s watching (because they aren’t!), go for a run, do some restorative yoga. Any way you like to get moving, get moving. Studies have shown that exercise not only increases your physical health but also increases your memory and cognitive intelligence as well.
- Listen to music. This is one of my favorite ones. I mean, really listen. Take it all in, every note. Music lowers stress and actually makes you smarter.
- Reading is one of the easiest, cheapest, and best things you can do for yourself. It builds empathy by putting us in the protagonist’s shoes and increases creativity. You can transport yourself far away from your reality and be whoever you want to be.
It’s pretty clear that knowing how to be alone is one of the most important skills you can have for a balanced life. Your health, relationships, and quality of life all improve exponentially.
It can’t hurt, right?
All it takes is facing fear and you now have the tools to help you do that.
Are you ready to start carving little bits of time to learn how to enjoy being alone, being with yourself? Start with just an hour a week and increase it as your lifestyle allows. You won’t look back once you feel those sweet benefits.
Keep in mind, it’s never “the right time” to face a fear. None of us are every ready. Only now is the time to face yourself and find the benefits of being alone.
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Did you know that light can affect your mood? You’ll notice that on sunny days, you may feel chippier than usual.
Then on rainy days, you may feel down and in the dumps.
There’s even a clinical classification for this known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). You likely heard the term “winter blues” in the past.
Now, you know it’s the real deal.
But what can you do about this when you live in a place outside of year-round sunny places like California and Florida?
Well, we have a list of therapy lights you can use to keep your mood in a happy place all year.
1. Verilux HappyLight Full-Size 10K Lux Bright Therapy Full Spectrum Lamp
Here’s a highly-rated lamp that can help turn your dark skies into sunshine. One customer claims this lamp is “life changing.” They suffered from SAD much of their life, and the lamp helped to improve their anxiety and focus — no afternoon crash.
The lamp allows you to adjust the intensity of the light using high and low settings. Then you can also easily install no glare lenses, which can improve comfort or exhibit high energy.
The broad surface area makes it exceptional for larger spaces. It produces more light per square inch to ensure max therapeutic effects.
2. Circadian Optics Lumos 2.0 Light Therapy Lamp
Let’s say you’re looking to get sunshine wherever you go. In this case, you can take the travel version of the light therapy lamp.
What’s unique about this device (besides its portability) is that you can position it in different ways to meet your needs. It’s perfect to use during those evenings when you want to keep your brain awake a little longer to get some work done after a long ride on a plane.
It’s small enough to fit in your purse or luggage, but bright enough to still be effective.
3. NorthStar 10k Lux – SAD Light Therapy Box
This comes with many reviews exclaiming the brightness of the lamp is superior. With the higher price tag of $300, you’d expect it to be spectacular.
After reading the reviews, you’ll find it may be worth spending the pretty penny for.
It’s larger size allows you to sit further away from the lamp while still getting great exposure. The product promises max results at a comfortable distance.
There’s also an LED option (opposed to the fluorescent light it comes with) if you suffer from light sensitivity. You can expect it to last three to four years before requiring a replacement.
4. Sphere Gadget Technologies Lightphoria 10k Lux Energy Light Lamp
If you’re one of those shoppers who likes to have thousands of reviews on a product before you buy, then this lamp is for you. Today, it boasts over 2k reviews, averaging 4 stars.
Like the #2 option on this list, this product is also portable. It comes with 10,000 lux wide-spectrum light. It comes with a soothing light that feels like natural sunlight.
There’s also the option to set the light sensitivity level, and you can set the timer for 15, 30, and 45 minutes. Inside, there are 72 energy-efficient LEDs, but it only consumes 7.2 watts.
And it’s expected to last for over 20 years. The sleek and compact design makes it easy to travel with. Plus, it comes with an AC adaptor compatible with 110v-240v outlets.
5. Northern Light Technology Flamingo 10k Lux Bright Light Therapy Floor Lamp
Maybe you’d prefer a therapy light that has more of a decorative look. In this case, you want to go with a floor lamp version like the Northern Light Technology Flamingo.
This too comes with high ratings, giving it four stars. It also has 10,000 lux of diffuse lighting, which can reach up to 12 inches. When you plug it up, it automatically chooses between 110-270 volts.
The height of the lamp is 4 feet tall, and the head swivels around so you can get it at the angle you like.
The ballast is electronically powered, so the performance is excellent. And you don’t have to worry about flickering or humming sounds.
6. Philips Somneo Sleep and Wake-Up Light Therapy Lamp
What’s unique about this therapy lamp is that it acts as an alarm clock. You can operate it using your smartphone, and it comes with built-in bedroom sensors.
The purpose is to create a sleeping and waking environment that’s right for you. You do this by customizing the light sensitivity, alarm, sound, and the color of the sunrise and sunset themes.
Just download the SleepMapper App on your smartphone, and you can program it. Now, you can fall asleep and relax the way you want. Then when it’s time to rise, you can set the alarm, so you feel awake and ready to start your day.
Make Your Days Brighter with Therapy Lamps
Whether you’re at home or on the go, you can use the lamps on this list to make your days brighter all throughout the year. The therapy lights on this list are highly rated and come with varying price ranges.
See if you can find the one that’s right for you.
Don’t forget to let us know in the comments how well it works for you!
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So many of us worry about all kinds of things: Am I saving enough for retirement? Will he ever propose? When is my health going to give out?
Sure, some concerns are completely valid, but stressing over them is not doing you any favors.
Here are four ways to stop worrying about the things that don’t matter right now:
Stop Playing The Comparison Game
Listen, you are invited to play this game every time someone shares good news with you, your neighbors buy a new car, a friend gets a promotion.
It’s up to you to whether or not you participate.
Social media is another slippery slope. Can you look at someone’s success without questioning your own?
Can you acknowledge that other people may be getting the very things that you want without berating yourself?
Then, by all means, go ahead, log in, and commence the scroll. But if you can’t, then maybe it’s time to press pause before swiping open any apps.
Scrolling through the endless feed of carefully curated glimpses into strangers’ lives can add to your self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy.
Matthew Crawford, author of The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction, points out that, “Attention is a resource—a person has only so much of it.”
The social media abyss is no place to spend your precious time if you’re prone to playing that comparison game every chance that you get.
Do you swipe out of social media feeling anxious and criticizing yourself more?
Then stop. Put down your phone. Spend a few days away from all of those platforms and take the time to reconnect with yourself.
Return to it with a fresh perspective and maybe even purge accounts that always leave you feeling less than awesome.
And please keep this in mind when you do decide to start double tapping pictures of engagement rings on perfectly manicured hands and cute babies sound asleep on hand-stitched blankets: You are a human.
You don’t see a whole lot of inspirational quotes about how epic fails can leave you bummed out for days and that it’s all just part of life.
There aren’t too many memes reminding you that when you get everything you think you want, it might not make you happy after all, despite what those well-filtered selfies of strangers living their #bestlives implies.
Change The Narrative
Drown out the negative voices in your head.
You know the ones. They sound like: You can’t possibly do it all, You’ll never accomplish that, There’s too much to do, But what will happen if … and the list goes on.
Try writing down a reality check. Something like:
What my brain says: I will never reach my goal.
What’s true: I got this. It may be difficult, but it is not impossible.
Doesn’t the second one make you feel better? Then why waste any time thinking that you can’t if it’s just as true that you can?
Let go of the destructive ideas that just don’t serve you.
Dan Harris is a correspondent for ABC News, an anchor for Nightline and co-anchor for the weekend edition of Good Morning America.
He’s also a guy that suffered a severe panic attack on live national television, then went on to use meditation as a way to deal with his depression and anxiety.
In his book 10% Happier, Harris writes:
“…the internal narrator is the most intimate part of our lives. For most of us, it is our lives. It chases us out of bed in the morning, and then heckles us all day long with an air horn. It’s a fever swamp of urges, desires, and judgments, a frittata of toxic impatience, anticipatory annoyance, and outdated assumptions. It’s fixated on the past and the future, to the detriment of the here and now.”
The University of Toronto published a study that showed how practicing mindfulness meditation reduced activity in the part of the brain associated with that very internal narrator.
Try spending a few minutes every day in whatever mediation practice works for you.
Quit Seeking Approval In All The Wrong Places
Facebook likes, Instagram follows, the singles on the other side of the dating apps, your son’s new girlfriend, the other parents in the PTA … they aren’t the ones you should be looking to for validation.
Begin by checking in with your own thought process. Happiness is an inside job, so try developing a more stable relationship within yourself. Here are a few tips:
- Focus more on what makes you happy and less on what others think.
- Practice self-care.
- Learn to trust your own intuition.
According to the psychology theory Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, esteem, love, and belonging are all crucial components of what motivates us.
You just have to make sure that they aren’t the only things motivating you.
Sure, it’s important to have a group of loved ones in your life that you can always turn to for advice, pep talks, and the tough love we all need from time to time.
Identify those people who really matter and make it a point to spend quality time with them.
These are the people whom you respect and who also respect you. They love you unconditionally and only want what’s best for your wellbeing. They are the only ones who should matter to your sense of self.
It’s utterly exhausting trying to be everything to everyone. But more importantly, it’s just not sustainable.
Feeling confident without anyone else’s approval means loving yourself first and knowing your own self-worth.
Shift Your Perspective
Try your best to stay positive about things. There are endless benefits of looking on the bright side.
Research shows that optimistic people tend to enjoy increased marital satisfaction, better physical health, and higher incomes.
What are you grateful for right now? That’s what matters.
If you aren’t sure, then put your pen to paper and make a gratitude list. Studies on gratitude cite a variety of benefits, including greater life satisfaction, stronger cardiovascular health, and better sleep.
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology looked at the benefits of a gratitude journal as well as verbally expressing gratitude to friends and family.
Participants who journaled their gratitude improved their mental health, and those that verbally shared their gratitude showed greater improvement overall.
Sometimes, all you can control is your reaction to things. When you accept that, then you’ll be much more effective (and a lot less stressed).
Until then, here are 15 things you can quit worrying about ASAP:
- The money that’s not in your savings account.
- Your parent’s health.
- The wrinkles on your forehead.
- Anything that may take place in the future. Sure, plan. But worry? Nope, it won’t help a thing.
- How this moment will look on social media.
- What other people are thinking of you right now.
- What would people say if …
- What will happen when …
- Anything that took place in the past. Need to make amends? Go ahead. Want to ruminate? It’ll only make it worse.
- Being perfect. There’s no such thing.
- How many likes or follows you have on social media.
- Whether your child is developing like the other children.
- If your brother will ever quit smoking.
- If your dog may actually run away for good one of these days.
- Anything at all that you can’t do anything about.
What do you do when you find yourself worrying about the “small things” in life? Leave your best tips in the comments below!
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So, you’ve just been dumped.
Most of us have been through this at least once. Regardless of the reasons, or the number of times it’s happened, it hurts.
And it hurts a lot.
Usually, breakups seem to come out of nowhere. Things were all sunshine and roses, then suddenly you’re left heartbroken and confused.
You might be left wondering what you did wrong, feeling ashamed that you allowed yourself to be so vulnerable…
Or maybe you’re worrying that you’ll never meet anyone again.
These are all common feelings. But no matter how difficult it feels right now, your life isn’t over. As the cliché saying goes, “time heals all”.
And that really is true.
But until then, we’re sharing some practical steps you can take to make life a little easier for yourself. We want to help you heal and rebuild your confidence during this difficult time.
1. Don’t Feel Guilty for Being Sad
Breaking news: it’s OK to grieve!
In today’s world, people typically praise one another for being able to handle the ever-increasing stresses of life without complaining.
“Mind over matter” and “good vibes only”, right?
When you’re going through a breakup, it can be tempting to act like you don’t care and try to “suck it up”. This is just something we humans do to guard ourselves and our pride.
But this way of thinking can also be detrimental to your mental health.
Yes, it may be difficult to admit you’re feeling down. Maybe you even feel a lot of anger towards your ex.
But trying to put on a brave face doesn’t make the pain go away. In fact, it will probably make you feel even worse.
Don’t pretend that you don’t care if you’re actually falling apart inside.
A big breakup is one of the hardest things a person can go through—of course you’re going to feel sad! There’s no shame in expressing that.
Cry as much and as often as you need to. Let yourself be angry. Honor your emotions and allow yourself to grieve for what once was.
It’s OK to mope around for a while and feel utterly sorry for yourself if that’s what you want to do. Sometimes, it’s an essential part of the healing process.
2. Focus on Moving Forward Instead of Pining
Do not—I repeat—do not stalk your ex on social media. As strong as the temptation may be, it’s wise to completely avoid checking up on them.
At best, you’ll become obsessed with them. At worst, you’ll see something you didn’t want to and end up feeling even worse.
And don’t fall into the trap of trying to stay friends with your ex. Keeping in touch with someone you still have feelings for will stop you from moving on completely.
It’s usually best to cut all contact, at least until you no longer have feelings for them.
It may sound harsh, but you need to act like they don’t exist for a little while.
Remove all mementos from your surroundings, at least temporarily, and delete their number from your phone if you can’t resist the urge to contact them.
It takes a lot of strength to cut someone out of your life but it’s an essential part of moving on after a breakup.
Of course, being friends down the line might be an option, depending on the circumstances. But right now you need to focus on getting used to life without them.
3. Make Peace with the Situation
As much as you might not want to accept that you’ve just been dumped, try to accept this situation for what it is.
Yes, it will be hard, but letting go of the resistance will make things way easier for you.
Instead of seeing your relationship as a waste of time or holding a grudge against your ex, think about what you gained from that relationship.
What did that person teach you? Did they help you let your guard down, show you the value of good communication skills, how to handle conflict?
Maybe they taught you that you need to raise your standards when it comes to relationships.
Even if all they taught you was what not to look for in a partner, everyone comes into our lives for a reason. Have a good think about what that reason might’ve been.
Viewing the relationship as a learning experience that you can grow from is incredibly healing. It will also make it easier for you to move on.
4. Find a Positive Distraction
Something a lot of people do when they get dumped is to immediately hook up with someone else, otherwise known as “rebounding”.
More often than not, rebounding will only make you feel worse about yourself.
If you’re struggling with post-breakup loneliness, try taking up a new hobby or set yourself some goals instead of trying to replace your ex.
It can be common for us to “lose” ourselves in a relationship and become so infatuated with the other person that we forget to work on ourselves, too. Now is the perfect time to change that.
Whether you’re trying out a rock-climbing class, starting a food blog or simply reading a new book, make sure you have at least one positive thing to work on.
Setting personal goals and trying new hobbies will not only take your mind off of your ex but will also help your personal development.
5. Surround Yourself with Good People
Having a good support system will help you to heal a broken heart much faster. It may be easy to withdraw when you’re feeling sad, but it’s so important to allow love into your life too.
Being around people who love you will help you to raise your confidence and self-esteem and ultimately move on faster.
If you don’t have many friends around you, now is a good time to try to make some.
It can be a little bit trickier as an adult, but it’s possible. Taking up new hobbies should help with this.
6. Take Care of Yourself
Nurturing yourself physically and mentally is one of the best things you can do after a breakup.
Instead of longing for someone else to be there for you, show up for yourself and do things that make you feel really good. And do them often.
Here are some ideas:
- Bake your favorite dessert
- Watch a comedy movie with some friends
- Take a luxurious bath
- Go for a run or walk in nature
- Put on your favorite outfit and dress up for yourself
- Cuddle your pet
- Buy yourself those shoes you’ve had your eye on for a while
It doesn’t have to be a massive or expensive gesture, but treating yourself well will help you to set the new standard for your life.
It might also be nice to incorporate some new healthy habits such as journaling, meditating or exercising. Although not for everyone, these habits can be incredibly healing.
They’re also a great distraction in the evenings, as this is when post-break-up-feels tend to be the strongest.
Try to reconnect with yourself as an individual, separate from your ex, and realize how amazing you are as your own person. You’ve got this!
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With the rise of social media, it’s easy to feel like our social media accounts are an extension of our lives. After all, between Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, almost three billion people worldwide have a social media account.
Plus, the average person spends more than 35 minutes on Facebook and more than 15 minutes on Twitter. And that’s just the average, most young people spend way more time every day on social media.
When you spend that much time online, your reality inadvertently changes. You start to view the social media world as reality, and that’s where the problem starts.
With social media, you can fabricate your own reality. Through a series of carefully curated pictures and images, you can appear to be living a completely different life from the one you have now.
If given the opportunity to create a brand-new life, what kind of life would you create? A perfect one of course. And therein lies one of the biggest social issues that the use of social media has created — social media jealousy.
When you pick up your phone and scroll through your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter timelines, you’ll be bombarded with pictures and captions that make you feel like the life you have is worthless.
After all, your classmate is currently backpacking through Europe with her boyfriend, your old roommate from college is in the Maldives, and one of your former coworkers quit her job to run a six-figure business from Bali.
Looking at these people seemingly living the life you’ve always dreamed of can be hard to swallow. Before you know it, social media jealousy might start to creep in.
But how can you deal with it? Luckily, you can always correct the feeling and start feeling amazing about your own life. Let’s take a look at how you can deal with social media jealousy.
1. Limit Your Social Media Time
This first way might seem simple, but it could be harder than you think. If what you see on your social media timeline bothers you, you should spend less time scrolling, and more time doing other things. There are tons of apps dedicated to helping you do just this. They work by displaying notifications that you’ve exceeded your allotted screen time, or even exiting the app. This kind of drastic step will help you to break out of the social media habit.
In the time that you’ve freed up because you spend less time on social media, you can learn new things or develop some of your existing skills. There’s a lot more to life than followers, likes and social media friends. Taking this step will help you to rediscover how amazing real life can be.
2. Unfollow People That Make You Feel Bad About Yourself
Though this one isn’t often mentioned when people discuss getting rid of social media jealousy, it needs to be said. You don’t have to continue following somebody who’s Instagram, Facebook or Twitter posts make you feel bad about yourself.
The fact of the matter is, some people genuinely go out of their way to brag on their social media. And if you don’t like that, you’re within your right to unfollow them.
So, take stock of who you’re following. Whoever doesn’t suit your spirit, kick them to the curb. You deserve it!
3. Change Your View of Social Media
This last tip is also hard, but it will ultimately reap you the most results in the long term.
What do we mean by changing your view of social media? Instead of allowing jealousy to boil inside of you every time you see someone on your timeline doing something that you wish you were doing, you should reflect on what that feeling means. Additionally, you should think some more about who the person really is.
For example, let’s go back to the three situations that we mentioned at the outset which might make you feel jealous:
First, that old classmate backpacking through Europe.
What makes you feel jealous about her situation? Is it because she seems to be in exotic places, eating good food and meeting new people?
While that may be true, most of her experience isn’t captured in the pictures she posts every few days. She doesn’t record the confusion she first felt when she arrived in a foreign country.
She doesn’t share the dormitories she sleeps in to save money to make the trip possible. And she certainly didn’t share the food poisoning she came down with after eating from a street vendor.
Here’s another scenario. Your old college roommate who is in the Maldives might make you feel jealous. After all, a week at a hotel in the Maldives plus flights might run you close to $5,000.
You’re jealous and wish you could be doing the same. But her social media posts don’t tell the entire story.
You don’t know that she’s now a flight attendant, so she flew to the destination free. You also don’t know that she lived extremely frugally for months to pay for the hotel in the Maldives.
You also don’t know that she might not take another vacation like this in years. None of those things would be communicated through her posts.
Lastly, the coworker that quit her job and is now running a six-figure business from Bali? Her social media posts don’t get into the nitty-gritty of her financials—while her business might be making six-figures in revenue, she only has about $2,000 in profit to spend each month.
She’s able to live a luxurious life in Bali because of the ridiculously low cost of living. Plus, her social media posts don’t show you the downside of being an expat.
Don’t Buy into the Hype
Most times, what people present on social media isn’t who they actually are. But, even if it were all true and they were exactly the person you thought they were, it still shouldn’t matter.
The point of social media is connections, not comparisons. The sooner you decide to change the way you think about social media, the sooner you’ll be happier. Kick social media jealousy to the curb, and start reveling in the amazingness of your own life!
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Ever wish you could meditate, but can’t quite get the hang of it?
Let me tell you a secret…
Meditating doesn’t have to mean sitting cross-legged on the floor, humming unfamiliar sounds. While that might work for some people, it’s not suited to everyone.
The Art of Mindfulness and How to Apply It
Most of us have a hard time quietening our busy minds. But that’s understandable in an age where we’re expected to be connected and switched on 24/7.
Trying to switch a bunch of racing thoughts for a clear mind in the blink of an eye usually just won’t work. Personally, it makes me agitated, restless and unenthusiastic about meditating ever again.
The good news is, there are some easier ways to calm your mind if traditional meditation isn’t for you.
Mindfulness is one great tool you can use and you can apply it to almost everything you do in your day-to-day life.
All mindfulness means is simply to be conscious of what you’re doing. Or, to practice being in the present moment.
It’s easy to zone out during the tasks we do every day, such as washing the dishes or driving our cars, but mindfulness will help bring you back to the present and ease your racing thoughts without too much effort.
Here are 9 simple ways you can practice meditation (even if you’re a person that doesn’t meditate):
1. Breath Meditation
Breath meditation is exactly what it sounds like- it’s all about focusing your attention on your breath. Breathe in and out deeply and observe how the air feels as enters and leaves your body.
You can either do this for a set amount of time (such as 5 minutes) or you can do it until you reach a pre-set amount of breaths. Do whatever feels best for you.
2. Do It For 1 Minute
With our never-ending to-do lists and demanding jobs, it can be hard to find the time to meditate at all, never mind practice it!
But those high-stress days when we have no spare time are usually the days that mindfulness and meditation would help the most. Ironic, huh?
A great solution is the 1-minute mindfulness meditation.
A 1-minute meditation each morning (or whenever you feel stressed) will help you reconnect with the present moment and regain your mental clarity.
To begin, set your timer for 60 seconds. Then, sit upright on a chair with your feet planted on the ground and starting breathing deeply, in and out. Notice how your body feels and see if you can feel if there are any areas of tension.
When the timer stops, you’re free to carry on with your day! Having to commit for only 60 seconds makes it almost impossible to use the excuse that you don’t have enough time.
3. Get Colouring
Colouring is something most of us did for fun as children. But it can have a calming effect on adults, too!
A study carried out in New Zealand suggests that just 10 minutes of coloring a day can help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Pretty good, right?
Colouring also helps you to embrace your creative side, which a lot of us suppress as we get older.
There are many adult coloring books available to buy now. You can color anything from flowers to Game of Thrones characters, and I’ve even seen a whole coloring book dedicated to “dinosaurs with jobs”!
Cooking is an excellent way to practice mindfulness because it requires your utmost attention. I find it to be even more effective when I’m cooking a dish I’ve never made before.
Chopping, measuring ingredients and ensuring you’re using the correct method all require your full concentration if you want the dish to look and taste nice. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for your mind to think about anything else.
While you’re cooking, notice the different textures of your ingredients and how they feel in your hands. What can you smell, what can you hear?
If you notice your mind wandering, just gently bring it back to the task at hand. It doesn’t matter how many times you have to do this as long as you keep returning your mind to the present moment. Noticing that you got distracted is also being mindful.
5. Listen to Music
Listening to music is something you probably already do every day. But have you ever thought about turning it into a mindfulness exercise?
I’d recommend choosing music without lyrics to decrease the chance of your mind wandering. Take some deep breaths and really immerse yourself into the music.
Try to figure out which instruments are playing. Notice any changes in tempo or volume. How does the music make you feel? Again, gently bring your mind back to the present moment if you get distracted.
You can practice music mindfulness at home in a candle-lit room or you can practice it through your headphones during your daily commute. That’s one of the best things about mindfulness, you can do it wherever you are!
6. Get A Guide
If you like the idea of traditional meditation but struggle to stay focused, guided meditation may suit you best. Having someone there to guide you makes it easier to stay in the present moment.
There are thousands of free guided meditations available online and the lengths range from a few minutes to over 1 hour. You can start small and build your way up as you can better at meditating.
There are also several guided meditation apps available on IOS and Android. Some are completely free and most will at least offer a free trial. Two of my favorites are Headspace and Calm.
Yoga and Pilates aren’t the only forms of exercise that can help get you into a meditative state.
Running, high-intensity training, swimming, skipping and weight lifting are all great forms of exercise that will help keep your mind focused. Even just going for a long, mindful walk can do wonders for your mental wellbeing.
As you exercise, notice how it makes you feel. Has your heart rate increased? Do you feel good? Is your body sweating? Are you tired?
Try not to judge the thoughts you have, just observe them as if you were an outsider looking into your mind.
8. Connect with Nature
Walking in a forest, watching a beautiful sunset, picking apples from a tree, listening to ocean waves or even just watching the birds flying in the sky are all great ways to connect with nature in the present moment.
Go for a walk outside and note what you can see, hear, smell and feel. Can you hear birds squawking? How do the crunchy leaves feel under your shoes?
I like to leave my phone at home when I do this. I’m often tempted to take photos of the beautiful things I see. But by leaving my phone at home, I’m reminded to enjoy the present moment through my senses rather than through a screen.
Dust the shelves, throw out old clothes, do that big pile of dishes…
Cleaning is such an easy way to completely immerse yourself in the present moment without really trying.
If you hate cleaning and keep putting it off, blast your favorite music and try to view it as a fun mindfulness exercise instead of a chore.
Instead of rushing through your list of tasks, try to observe your surroundings. Look out for smells, textures and sounds you rarely notice, and note how they make you feel.
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Anger is a natural emotion that you will feel a lot throughout your life. It’s there to protect you, to let you know that something is wrong.
But if anger goes uncontrolled, it manifests itself into resentment, a feeling of bitterness that takes control of your mind. This anger and resentment can last for days, months and even years.
It’s in its longevity that it becomes toxic, overbearing and prevents you from being happy. When you find that they’re both taking control of you, it’s time for you to take back control and work towards letting go. Here’s how…
Identify Your Source of Anger
Long term anger can come from a multitude of sources. Over time, you may find that the deep source of your anger has been buried below more superficial concerns, like the guy who cuts you off on the highway or the woman who speaks to you in a tone not quite to your satisfaction.
Searching within yourself to find the true cause of your anger is the first step to letting go. It could be your parents, friends and other family members, or perhaps someone from a previous relationship.
No matter the cause it’s important to identify it as soon as possible in order for you to be able to deal with it.
Separate The Relationship And The Human
It’s normal for you to put extremely high expectations on the people that are closest to you. Sometimes, those expectations can be unrealistic and you need to be able to see the person (or people) you’re angry with are human – meaning they’re going to make mistakes.
Use your own life experience as a case study. Think of all the times you’ve made mistakes that hurt and upset someone.
Being able to see the flawed human and empathize with their journey will leave you being more open to forgiveness – which is far more beneficial to you than it is to them.
Write a Letter And Rip It Up
You may not be in a position to tell someone how angry you are with them. Sometimes it can do more harm than good to go into a verbal battlefield with a person you’re holding resentment for. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to bottle up your thoughts and feelings.
A common practice for freeing you of your negative emotions is to write a letter to that someone you’re angry with. Get it all down, hold no punches, say exactly what you want to say and express exactly how you’re feeling. Once it’s out in the open the next step is to let go.
You let go by going somewhere peaceful, a place you feel content. Take the letter and begin to rip it up. While you’re ripping it up, verbalize the statement “I choose to let go”. And as the letter is destroyed so are those overpowering feelings of anger and resentment.
See a Therapist
Seeking professional help and guidance is a great way for you to unravel years of thoughts and emotions. Being in an environment that comes without judgment allows you to verbally express your life experience.
Everything you’ve bottled up or expressed in an unhealthy manner can come out in a safe, trusting space.
It’s in the therapy room that you can come up with positive strategies that will help you to move forward. Letting it all out allows you to let it all go—freeing up space within your mind for more positive emotions.
Accept That You Can’t Change What Happened
“How could they do that to me?”. A common question you may ask when remembering the pain that someone caused you. The harsh reality is the damage has been done, and no amount of questioning can change that.
You have a choice; do you let their actions dictate the rest of your life? Or do you choose to move on? If you’re holding onto anger towards someone from 20 years ago, for example, it’s no longer about them, it’s about you.
Taking ownership of how you’re feeling, no matter how hard that may seem, will allow you to understand it is, in fact, you who has full control over how you let their actions and your feelings impact you.
They cannot undo what they did. It happened and it hurts. But you have all the tools and techniques to not allow it to control your life.
Speak to The Source of Your Anger
Now, you should only do this if you are confident you can do it in a calm and controlled manner. As previously stated, it’s no good for you if you have an angry outburst – you’ll only feel bad and it will impact your self-esteem.
However, if you feel you can express your feelings in a healthy way, then this could be very useful for your development.
If you can look them in the eye, tell them why you’re angry at them, whilst also making it clear that you choose to forgive, you will reclaim your power.
For years, there has been a power struggle, and you’ve allowed them to get the better of it. Showing them through forgiveness that they no longer have control over you lifts the burden of weight from you.
And hopefully, you can find a way for you to both find peace and move forward – maybe in a way that gives birth to a new type of relationship, one that is more positive and less toxic.
Know That It Takes Time
Anger and resentment won’t leave you overnight. You have to really work on the situation by working on yourself. But through patience and continued work, you can overcome the feelings that are holding you do down.
Anger can be a terrible prison to live in. Put your escape plan together and it’s almost certain you can be the person you deserve to be—happy, hopeful and free.
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Do you find it difficult to feel content in your own company? Do you feel pressure to be constantly connected to others, resulting in overwhelming anxiety when you’re alone?
If the answer is yes, then you’ll be pleased to learn that there are steps you can take to help combat the dreaded feeling of isolation.
For your mental stability and wellbeing, it’s important for you to recognize that being alone does not need to impact you negatively. To support you with the process, here are eight tips to help you enjoy solitude without feeling lonely.
1. Find Companionship in Your Passion
Whether your passion is art, writing, knitting or baking a cake, being alone is a great opportunity to get connected to it.
Investing mindful, quality time into doing something you love has multiple benefits for your mental health. It keeps you focused, which reduces anxiety, keeps your brain energized and helps to keep you happy.
Developing your skill is a great confidence boost and having that focus will contribute to you feeling less concerned about having someone around you.
Please understand that loneliness is a feeling, one you can take control of. If you’re a social person most of the time, when you’re alone your brain may be guilty of convincing you there’s something wrong. As a result, you become worried, you’re on edge and there’s an intrusive desire to be around someone. Breathe…
Taking time to focus on your breath and meditate has proven to be a great way to reduce those feelings of hopelessness and worry. Even if you start by taking 10 deep breaths, telling yourself “it’s okay to be alone” it will allow you to feel both content and comfortable.
3. Challenge Yourself
One of the biggest consequences of finding yourself alone is that you may automatically believe you’re bored. This is far from the case, and there are plenty of things you can do to keep your mind stimulated whilst in your own company.
Climb that mountain you always wanted to climb or lift those weights you always wanted to lift. Do something that you see as a challenge and then focus your mental energy on achieving the goal of completing it.
4. Design a Plan
You may find yourself just going through the motions in life. Going to work, visiting the same bar on a weekend, going to the same yoga class on a Tuesday. And whilst structure is a good thing, it can also prevent us from moving forward.
When you’re alone, sit down with a pen and paper and design a plan of action for you to mix things up a little bit. It doesn’t need to be a life changing plan (unless of course, you want it to be). It could be as simple as aiming to save money, or looking for new hobbies and classes to attend.
Being mindful about the direction of your life allows you to feel in control – something you may feel you lose when not in the company of others.
5. Have a Friend On Stand By
If you know that you’re going to be alone for a certain length of time, have someone you can call on. Tell your friend that you may need to reach out to them should the feeling of isolation become too overbearing.
Sometimes, just knowing there’s someone there if you need them makes you feel more secure – you may find that’s enough and you don’t need to contact them.
6. Watch That Movie Nobody Else Wants to See
At some point in your life it’s highly likely you’ve been excited about a movie, only to find nobody shares your enthusiasm. Well, being alone is a perfect time to go and watch it.
If you’re worried about a certain stigma of going to the movies alone, don’t be! Plenty of people go watch movies in their spare time without other people. Plus movie theaters are the most unsociable of environments, so it makes little difference if you’re with someone or not—just enjoy the movie, eat the popcorn and have fun!
7. Make a List of Everything You’re Grateful For
Taking time out and being in your own company gives you a great opportunity to think. Don’t be scared of your thoughts, they’re there to help with your self-awareness and personal growth. To turn them into a positive, connect to everything you’re grateful for.
It could be your friends and family, your job, or your ability to display empathy. They’re personal to you and putting them down on paper can really boost your awareness of how enriched your life is.
To go a step further, once you’ve written them all down, say them out loud—giving them further reinforcement.
8. Know That Being Alone Doesn’t Mean You’re Lonely
This list is to help prompt you to be proactive when you’re in solitude. It’s here to remind you there are several things you can focus your mind and energy on without other people being around.
Most importantly, it’s to highlight that there are as equally fulfilling things you can do in your own company that will support your happiness and mental well being.
Just having the presence and awareness that being alone doesn’t need to mean that you’re lonely will help you manage it better.
Seek Support If You’re Lonely
It’s important to note that loneliness can be a genuine problem for some.
If you’re someone that’s struggling with loneliness and connecting to other people, then it’s advised you seek support as soon as possible in order to get the appropriate help.
We are social creatures, and great companionship and relationships will make for a more fulfilling life. But people won’t always be around us, and it’s during those moments that it’s vital that you remind yourself that the only person you need to connect with…is yourself.
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We’ve all had our brushes with “little white lies,” from blaming a sibling for a mishap at home to fibbing about what he had for breakfast when we were younger.
But, the older you get the more tempted you may be to lie for your own benefit or omit key details to paint a different picture. Americans tell an average of eleven lies per week, which totals more than 570 lies per year on average.
What if you find it difficult to tell the truth? Or what if you don’t even understand the importance of telling the truth when it’s clearly in your “best interest” to lie?
Let’s take a look at a few reasons why you should tell the truth, even when it’s inconvenient for you.
1. Lying Can Make You Stressed, Anxious and Sick
Whenever we tell lies, it’s easy to think of them as harmless or even beneficial to us or the people we tell them to. But when you look at it from a medical perspective, that is the farthest thing from the truth.
People who tell lies frequently have a variety of complaints, including being more prone to feeling anxious. They also have frequent headaches, runny noses, diarrhea and even more extreme physical ailments like back pain. Lies aren’t as harmless as we think, and if you’re currently dealing with any of these issues but can’t seem to find the cause, the reason may be lying.
The good news is that if people change their ways and choose to tell the truth more often, they can actually reverse the effects that their untruthfulness has had on their health.
2. You Have Better Self-Esteem Because You’re Not Competing with Fake Accomplishments
We all know the pressure that comes from trying to meet the expectations of others. But when those expectations aren’t even real, and you’ve lied about your accomplishments it becomes exhausting.
The disparity between who you are and who people think you are will eventually grow into a chasm that you just can’t seem to jump over. Undoubtedly, your self-esteem will take a hit as well.
Being truthful about what you’ve done, the places you’ve been and who you are as a person only benefit you in the long run. You deserve to feel great about yourself and who you are!
3. You’ll Have a Better Reputation
Somehow, before we tell a lie we always fool ourselves into thinking that nobody will find out. Or that they’ll forget eventually, so there’s no reason to think that lying can damage your reputation.
However, the truth is that no matter how hard you try, the truth will always get out. And when it does, you can easily become a social pariah — or at the very least, have a bad reputation that precedes you.
Lies damage relationships, both professional and personal. And it can be difficult, or sometimes impossible to regain the trust of others after you have damaged it with a lie. In fact, just one lie can completely ruin your reputation. And if you run a business or work in a managerial position, lying can also be costly.
4. You’ll Be Able to Create Deeper Connections with Others
Believe it or not, lying also limits you when it comes to getting closer to others, even if you lie to improve their impression of you. Each time you lie, it’s as if you’re giving cancer to your friendship several times over and hoping it will just go away all on its own.
Most people consider lies as malicious and personal betrayals, even if it’s just lying by omission and when they eventually come centerstage they are met with many rotten tomatoes.
It causes others to question everything you’ve ever said to them and doubt every moment they’ve ever shared with you. How can you get to know someone if you’re not letting them know who you truly are?
Honesty allows others to trust that even if there is something going wrong, you will be open about it and allow the problem to be solved as quickly and as reasonably as possible.
5. Lying Holds You Back from Accomplishing Your Goals
Lying takes no prisoners as statistics show that on average, over 76% of parents, friends, siblings and spouses get lied to. But what does that have to do with accomplishing your personal goals?
It is fascinating to note that 1 in every 7 lies is discovered. Once this happens, there is an automatic air of distrust surrounding the liar and others become unwilling to negotiate with or even include them in related tasks.
Workplace lies can be extremely dangerous as your employer may consider you more of a liability than an asset as it radically changes how you are perceived by your employer and coworkers.
How so? Well, even if it is a “small lie”, it can be viewed as an indication of more serious, weighty lies to come and based on the severity of that infraction, the conclusion could be drawn that you are jeopardizing the entire workforce, weakening morale and injuring the company’s entire brand.
Be a Truth Teller
It takes twenty-one days to form a habit and by age four, 90% of children have learned the concept of lying. The bottom line is that lying is like the Velcro that sticks to all your other clothes in the washer, it ruins things and eventually really annoys you.
When someone lies, they put a veil over the facts on their actual lives and intentions and it affects the actions required to move forward, sometimes even eroding past progress. Liars blacklist themselves.
With all this in mind, it’s easy to understand why it is best to tell the truth, even in situations that may be inconvenient. After all, lies have bigger repercussions than we think!
The bright side of it all is that no matter how many lies you’ve told, you can always start fresh. It may be a hard habit to break, but it is worth the benefits.
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Ever wondered what makes you, you? Sure, you may think of your likes and dislikes, the schools you attended, the charities you volunteer at, or even your specific way of speaking. But, have you ever considered what made your personality the way it is today? It was in his attempt to decode the question of […]
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