Category Archives for "Friend to Yourself"

Would You Rather Be Right or Be Happy?

Do you hold a strong need to be right all or most of the time? Are you judgmental and do you spend a lot of time keeping track of who’s right and who’s wrong? Do you often benefit from allowing others to share their opinions? Is your need to be right enhancing or limiting your life and happiness?

The need to be right is deeply embedded in our culture. Being right affirms and protects the image we want to project to others and ourselves. A personal investment in being right can naturally lead to wanting to impose our way of thinking onto others.

What if there are few – if any – fixed rights and wrongs in the world? We all have our own preferences that have been shaped by our past experiences and what we have been taught but what if there are fewer rights and wrongs than you imagine?

The fact of the matter is that each of us views the world through our own lenses. Convinced that we are right, we often try to force our opinions on others. But trying to control the opinions others is futile and doomed to fail. This becomes very clear when two people are asked to describe the same event and they deliver two very different accounts. How can we declare that we, alone, are right about anything when we don’t see things the same way and everyone has their own mental model of the world?

It may be time to ask yourself: would you rather be right or would you rather be happy? Invariably, the compulsion to be right sidetracks our lives and diminishes our happiness and learning. The inflexible thinker lives life on the defensive and often alienates others by showing rigidity and intolerance. On the other hand, you will be more approachable and you can feel more at ease with your life when you relax your need-to-be-right attitude.

Loosen your grip on your need to be right. Extend tolerance to other people. Give up proselytizing and trying to “fix” others. Release a lot of unnecessary anger and frustration by accepting people for who they are rather than whom you want them to be.

Make the choice for happiness by extending tolerance, accepting others, and releasing your need to be right. Be a friend to yourself and others. Enjoy – instead of curse – the wonderful diversity of ideas and opinions that make up our shared human experience.

Expect the Unexpected

How can one expect the unexpected? How can we expect something, by definition, we did not expect? Regardless of semantics, the sentiment of the expression is to be open or prepared for the unexpected. If you’re expecting the unexpected, you’ll be ready for any changes to your plans.

While having plans and goal setting can provide structure and help us reach our objectives, we also need to be flexible and adaptable when our plans don’t unfold in ways that we expect.

When we are convinced that we should be able to control the outcome of events, we set ourselves up for disappointment. What may be unrealistic expectations can lead to feelings of failure when the anticipated success doesn’t happen. Any problems may be quickly compounded if we are not prepared to take action on unexpected challenges.

When you are too tied to a specific outcome, you limit your possibilities and options. Allow yourself to be delighted – rather than annoyed – by surprises that happen to what you envision as your perfect plan. Approach these surprises with curiosity, wondering where they lead. Recall a time in your past when a surprise led to a much better outcome than you could have planned or imagined.

Action in response to the unexpected will bring new options and will open possibilities that may have been previously unavailable. Think of your life as a puzzle and each time you take action, you are given a new puzzle piece. Many action steps will give you more puzzle pieces and gradually, your picture will become clearer and more identifiable.

Adjusting to the unexpected can be a challenge but it is easier if you maintain an optimistic attitude, a belief that your experiences are helping you stretch and grow as a person. You might even admit that your imagined future was safe and comfortable and would allow less room for personal growth. Look back on your life at those times when you were challenged in a way that you would not have chosen for yourself. From your vantage point now, would you give up the wisdom you gained, despite the costs to you?

Keep your options open and expect the unexpected. Be especially gentle and kind to yourself when life is not following your blueprint. Congratulate yourself on your efforts and consider your life a great adventure rather than a life measured solely by defined and carefully planned outcomes.

Say Yes to Yourself

Do you constantly seek the approval of others? Are you quick to agree to help others without thinking about how that might affect you? Is it time for you to start saying yes to yourself and no to others?

From a young age, we are encouraged to act in certain ways in order to feel loved and accepted. This is the beginning of our loss of own power, sense of self-worth, and authenticity. When we try too hard to please someone else, we lose our identity.

Pleasing others is not the same as helping or being generous and loving to others. Generosity to others can be very fulfilling and personally rewarding. The problem comes when your motivation is less about the other person and more about yourself and being liked or loved.

It is not possible for everyone to love and approve of us. By trying too hard to be liked, you are just as likely to lose respect rather than gain it. We may try to make others like us but how someone feels about us is, to a large extent, outside of our control.

In order to change and to put yourself first, you can choose to believe that you are valuable, that what is right for you matters, and that your happiness is a priority. In many ways, it is as simple – and as difficult – as making the conscious decision to do what is right for you. Make the choice to take responsibility for every action in your life. Instead of seeking the acceptance of others, rely on your own values to guide you.

Start by being more deliberate about your actions. Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Is it from a need to be liked or accepted? Is it from a fear of refusing to do what someone else wants me to do? Am I doing it to avoid feeling guilty?

At the beginning, it may take some courage to stand up for yourself. You may well get some resistance from those who are used to you granting their every whim. However, it is far better to cultivate our own values than worry about pleasing everyone else.  There’s a saying that if instead of trying to please others, you try to please yourself, at least one person will be happy.

What will you choose? Will you choose to stay in power by acting with the knowledge that you are responsible for every action in your life? Or will you continue to give your personal power away in order to feel valued and accepted in the eyes of other

Make it your priority to please yourself. Accept that a certain amount of disapproval from others is unavoidable. Be a friend to yourself and find true happiness by aligning with your own inner wisdom and values.

Are you a friend to yourself? Visit www.FriendYourselfProject.com to find practical tips on how to recognize your brilliance and to treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and loved ones.

Subscribe to a free Daily Moment of Inspiration and each day receive a quote from Women with Spirit: Daily Quotations by Inspiring Women (distributed by Amazon).

Georgiana Carollus, MA, personal, spiritual, and intuitive coach offers coaching and resources to help accelerate your process of friending yourself at www.FriendYourselfProject.com

Replace Your Shoulds with Coulds

Do you have an incessant personal judge that constantly tells you what you should or should not do? We each make choices every day about the words we use. Language is a powerful force and simple word choices can have an enormous impact. Create more freedom and less stress in your life by changing your language to a kinder tone and by changing your ‘shoulds’ to ‘coulds’.

The word ‘should’ often carries with it feelings of guilt, shame, and self-blame. ‘Should’ implies there is an ultimate way of behaving in every given situation. ‘Should’ suggests that you are supposed to be different than you are, that you don’t measure up, you need to improve, and you must be perfect. Often ‘should’ carries with it feelings of guilt, shame, and self-blame. It reminds us of the expectations of others for us and creates external motivation based on those expectations.

The word ‘could’ implies a choice rather than an obligation. Because it is more easy-going and less demanding, ‘could’ can open us up to opportunities rather than confining us to a supposedly righteous way. ‘Could’ can help create an internal motivation that is more powerful and compelling than an external motivation.

Consider replacing your ‘shoulds’ with ‘coulds’. Do you worry that you would not accomplish your goals without the harshness of ‘shoulds’ to motivate you? Consider how a set of demanding and rigid expectations makes you feel. Are your ‘shoulds’ helpful or do they serve to de-motivate you by making you feel guilty and inadequate?

Spend a day trying to catch as many of your ‘shoulds’ as you can. Take a neutral attitude as you notice these self-critical commands that you have been automatically telling yourself. At day’s end, notice when you used ‘should’ the most. Was it in relation to work, relationships, chores, leisure time, or something else?

Next, spend a day replacing your ‘shoulds’ with ‘coulds’. While ‘should’ implies an obligation, ‘could’ is more liberating because it implies a choice. Instead of saying ‘I should do better at work’ change it up to ‘I could do better at work’.  And, then carry it a step further by asking yourself, ‘How could I do better at work?’ What new options and possibilities do you discover when you do this? Do you find that you can tap more easily into a genuine internal motivation?

Treat yourself well and change your language to a more gentle and forgiving tone by replacing your ‘shoulds’ with ‘coulds’. Abolish ‘should’ from your vocabulary and increase your possibilities for more happiness and less stress by refusing to impose unrealistic expectations on yourself.

Be Friendly to Yourself!

 

Are you aware of a self-critical voice that has taken up permanent residency in your mind? Do you believe every nagging, mean, outrageous, guilt-producing thing that your self-critical voice says to you? Is it time to change the way you speak to yourself?

The mind is like your house. If its doors and windows are wide open, with nothing to stop or filter out the incoming thoughts, every passing thought is allowed free access to your mind. Any thought can enter your mind, take up residency, stay as long as it likes, and disturb and affect your behavior and actions. For most people, this is the way their minds function. The fact is, though, that our thoughts and belief systems can become our realities. Self-critical thoughts can dampen and destroy dreams, bring down morale, and lead to procrastination and laziness.

The first step is to recognize what is going on. Until we notice, self-criticism can be like background noise that is subtly below our consciousness. This is when its impact is strongest because often it is being accepted without question. Becoming aware of exactly what you are saying to yourself about yourself can help you understand why you react the way you do to people and events in your life.

We all know probably know someone who constantly puts themselves down and criticizes themselves. You may have found yourself thinking, “At least I don’t do that!” You may not do that level of complaining when you talk to other people, but what does your internal dialogue sound like? In your own mind and to yourself, are you constantly complaining and berating yourself?

Creating change always begins with noticing what needs to be changed. Begin to notice what you say to yourself. You probably don’t even realize how often you say negative things to and about yourself or how much that affects your experiences. Make an effort to become more conscious of your internal dialogue and its content.

At random times throughout the day, ask yourself, “What am I saying to myself right now?”  Notice what you are saying without censorship or judgment – just notice what you say and notice how it makes you feel. As you witness more and more of these thoughts, try replacing some of your criticism with kindness. If you were talking to a friend instead of yourself, what encouraging things would you say? Treat yourself with the same kindness you would offer to a friend and be a friend to yourself.

Replacing your self-criticism with friendly encouragement and support can help you control your moods, overcome your shortcomings, and create more successes in your life. For more peace of mind and happiness, try being more friendly to yourself!

Replace Your Self-Criticism with Self-Compassion!

Do you believe that you need to be hard on yourself in order to succeed? Do you think showing yourself compassion is a weakness and only a feel-good way to coddle yourself? Would you change your mind about this if you learned that self-compassion can increase your sense of well-being and ability to cope with life?

Studies have shown that self-compassion is strongly associated with well-being. Self-compassion goes beyond not being critical or mean to yourself. Self-compassion means treating yourself in a caring, understanding, and loving way by offering yourself warmth and non-judgmental understanding instead of berating yourself with self-criticism.  Unlike self-esteem, the good feelings of self-compassion do not depend on feeling better in relation to others. Instead, self-compassion is based on embracing the full range of your human strengths and weaknesses.

Self-criticism is a way of life for many. In our highly competitive society, it is not uncommon for us to look for the flaws and shortcomings in others as well as ourselves. Most of our self-critical thoughts are in the form of an inner dialogue, a running (and often brutal) commentary and evaluation of what we are experiencing. This self-criticism can create a mind-state that is defeated, dissatisfied, and anxious.

The best way to combat self-criticism is to understand it and to have compassion for it. Recognize your self-criticism as your attempt to keep yourself safe and to control your life. While you may feel that you need to use self-criticism to motivate yourself, research has shown that self-compassionate people are just as likely to set and meet high standards for themselves as those who lack self-compassion. Recognize that you can more effectively provide security for yourself by giving up self-judgment and by giving yourself compassion and acceptance for your very human experiences.

Self-compassion increases your ability to adapt and relate to yourself when faced with personal inadequacies or difficult life circumstances. If, when under stress, you are nasty to yourself, you ignite mental and physical stress reactions, and compromise your ability to adapt. By showing yourself compassion, you can reduce your anxiety, improve your confidence, and increase your resilience and happiness. Studies have shown that self-compassionate people are more likely to create specific plans for reaching their goals and to create balanced lives.

To have a fuller, happier, and more satisfying life, stop judging yourself! Be a friend to yourself and treat yourself with the same caring and compassion that you would extend to a friend or even a stranger. True compassion Is extended regardless of worthiness or merit. Extend true compassion to yourself!

How to Find Self-Love through Self-Forgiveness!

How can you love yourself if you are angry and judgmental about yourself? How can you break free from that judgment and love yourself? I have found that the path to self-love and greater personal happiness begins with forgiveness.

Have you tried to think your way to loving yourself? Have you created lists upon lists on why you should love yourself? Did you find, as I did, that these logical reasons had little positive impact on your self-judgment? After trying – and failing – to think my way to self-love and self-acceptance, I looked for other methods.

I came across a practice based on a Hawaiian healing process called ho’oponopono, defined by Wikipedia as “family conferences in which relationships were set right through prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness.” While the original process was performed by Hawaiian elders and was for family mutual forgiveness, the process has been more recently simplified into a mantra by Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len and Joe Vitale in their book, Zero Limits.

Hew Len and Joe Vitale recommend repeating a mantra for forgiveness constantly. The mantra is:

I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.

Instead of only repeating the mantra, I have found it effective to identify something I want to forgive myself for. These issues can be in relation to other people and upsets I am experiencing with them. Perhaps even more importantly, I have also found it highly effective to use it to address those things that I am most critical about myself, such as my issues of fear, doubt, failure, and even self-criticism!

Once I have an issue in mind, I tell myself I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I let myself feel everything that comes up around that issue and I continue to forgive myself for everything associated with that issue. When the issue begins to clear, I tell myself: I love you. Thank you. When I am ready to close, I express my appreciation to the Divine by saying I love you. Thank you.

I have found this to be a powerful doorway to loving myself. When I am able to remove my ego’s attachment to right and wrong, I am able to move past the issue and release negative feelings about myself much more easily. By staying with my feelings around my issues in an attitude of forgiveness, I am able to move into compassion and love for myself.

Use the ho’oponopono to neutralize your negative feelings about yourself and open the door to self-forgiveness and loving yourself! You will find that happiness is more attainable when you love and accept yourself!

Be a Friend to Yourself

Are you looking outside of yourself for validation and happiness? Do you let the opinions of others determine if you are happy or not? If so, you’re not alone! And, it’s probably not working too well for you. Take control of your own happiness by being a friend to yourself.

When we depend on others for our happiness, we set an impossible task for ourselves. You really have no control over the happiness of others and if you depend on others for your happiness, you have no control over your own happiness. On the other hand, if you try to make yourself happy instead of everyone else, you know that at least one person will be happy.

Make the commitment to owning your own happiness by being a friend to yourself. Ask yourself, as your own friend, how can you make yourself happy?

The first step in being a friend to yourself may be to learn to look after yourself and put your needs first, without feeling guilty. Are you someone that caters to the needs and wants of everyone else? Has it left you feeling exhausted and resentful? It may be time to set stronger boundaries for yourself and exercise your right to refuse the requests of others. Before jumping in and rescuing others, ask yourself what is the best course of action for you to take? Pay attention to the “shoulds” – they’re often a clear signal that you’re doing something out of a sense of obligation or guilt. Learn to say no, clearly and simply, without lengthy explanations or excuses.

Another step in being a friend to yourself is to learn to praise yourself and enjoy your efforts and successes. If you wait for someone else in your life to do it, you will probably end up feeling resentful when they don’t notice or care. Be your own cheerleader and congratulate yourself for both your large and small efforts. If you feel called to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself rather than to someone else. Make a habit of patting yourself on the back!

As your own best friend, meet your own expectations. Hold yourself accountable to the promises and commitments that you make to yourself. As your own best friend, enjoy the liberty of choosing the way you want to spend your time. Make yourself someone that you can be proud of.

Take control of your own happiness by learning to treat yourself as a friend. Take the time to change, grow, explore, and comfort yourself in ways that no one else can. You and those in your life will all enjoy the benefits of this!

Lighten Up!

Do you take yourself a bit too seriously? Does your mind feed you a constant stream of self-critical messages? Has your mind told you that you can’t do anything right? Really – you can’t do anything right? Can you gently laugh with yourself and see some humor in that?

We have the choice to change our train of thought. We don’t need to listen to our inner critic and self-talk! People often resist the idea of monitoring and changing their thoughts because they see it as form of escapism. You may worry that if you change your thoughts, you may start to actively avoid facing problems and issues in your life. This won’t happen if you pay attention to what you are thinking. Are you considering action to help you move forward or are you only berating yourself? Distinguish if your thinking is helpful or hurtful and make your choice from there.

The key is to consider your thoughts as they happen. One way to tell if you should allow a thought to continue is to apply a ‘lightness test”. Does the thought make you feel light or heavy? If a thought is helpful to you, it will feel light and may include action to move you forward; A hurtful thought will feel heavy and may make you feel defeated or depressed. Choose those thoughts that make you feel light and consciously override those that make you feel heavy.

Our thoughts generate our feelings. When we choose to allow thoughts that make us feel heavy, the stress response is engaged. Your heart may begin pounding, your breathing becomes shallower, and your muscles tense. Once this is set in motion, it may take more effort to change your thoughts and mood.

If the stress response is engaged, laughter and humor can be used to counteract the physical effects of stress and panic. You can start that laughter by exaggerating your fears to their extreme and most absurd conclusion. Create a parody of your fears by accentuating the negative until you just have to laugh at yourself.

Another technique for moving into happiness when you’re stressed is to ask yourself what thought you could have that would make you feel better. Your thought could be anything – the thought of a loved one, the memory of a sunset, music you love – whatever creates a good feeling for you. If the newly activated thought only makes you feel better for a few moments and you return to feeling stressed, repeat the process as often as needed.

Be a friend to yourself and apply humor and thought-changing to break the grip of your mind and self-talk over your emotions!

How to Be a Friend to Yourself

Do you constantly criticize and belittle yourself? Are you your own worst enemy? How would you treat yourself differently if you treated yourself like a friend?

The advice to love yourself is a common self-help theme. This is of little help to most people, especially those who expect they should be exceptional and extraordinary in order to be worthy of self-love. While there are spiritual paths that can lead to self-love and self-acceptance, if someone has low self-esteem and doesn’t feel special, it’s hard for many people to love themselves.

An uncomplicated and easy self-care path to feeling better about yourself is to simply treat yourself as a friend. Those qualities that make being a good friend to others work as well for being a friend to yourself.

What are the qualities you value in friendship? Here are some qualities commonly recognized as key elements in friendship:

Acceptance. A true friend accepts you for who you are and doesn’t try to force you  to be something you are not. A friend accepts both our good qualities and our shortcomings. Can you extend this acceptance to yourself?

Loving.  A true friend is loving, kind, and generous. A friend makes us feel not only liked but loved, cherished, and cared for by their words, their tone of voice, and how they treat us. Can you be more loving, kind, and generous to yourself?

Champion. A true friend will cheer you on. A friend uses encouragement rather than insults to motivate you. A friend is optimistic rather than pessimistic about what you can achieve. Can you motivate yourself with positive rather than critical words? Can you be optimistic about your efforts.

Honesty. A true friend will tell you the truth, even when the truth is hard to hear. A friend will give you well-deserved compliments but will also call you to task when you are avoiding something or trying to disguise the truth. Can you be honest with yourself?

Support. A true friend will support you when you are going through challenges and will stand by you when you have setbacks. A friend can help put your challenges in perspective. A friend can help you see lessons that you are overlooking in the challenges that you are struggling with. And, a friend will know that sometimes all you need in time of trouble is a friend to listen to and support you. How can you offer yourself more support?

Forgiveness. A true friend is willing to forgive you your errors and mistakes. Can you forgive yourself?

One of the most important relationships you can have in your life is with yourself. Is it time to break old habits and invest in a healthy friendship with your internal self? Make the commitment to be a friend to yourself and increase your happiness by decreasing your self-criticism.

 

Acknowledge and Celebrate Your Accomplishments!

Do you find it’s easier to notice other people’s successes than it is to acknowledge your own? Do you even acknowledge your accomplishments before you raise the bar even higher for yourself and set another goal to achieve? By neglecting to acknowledge your accomplishments, you may be missing an opportunity not only to increase your happiness and self-satisfaction but also to fuel your motivation for future achievements.

Why is it that we have such difficulty in identifying and acknowledging our successes and our strengths?  There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Some of this may trace its roots to an upbringing where bragging was discouraged. Carried to an extreme,  many are uncomfortable identifying their successes even to themselves.  Those who do this miss the happiness and joy of taking ownership for something well done.
  • Another reason some may be reluctant  to acknowledge their successes rests with their belief that their achievements pale in comparison to those of others. Many people have a perfectionism complex and feel that anything less than perfection does not merit mention. The problem with this is that perfection is ultimately unattainable for anyone.
  • Some people may be unaware of their own greatness and they don’t appreciate their own courage, bravery, or kindness. They take it for granted that everyone does the same, when in truth, many people don’t.
  • A key factor in people not taking ownership for their successes is that our society does not encourage us to stop and take stock of what we have achieved. In the work world, the resume can fulfill this function but there are many other, and usually more important, personal successes that will never be featured on a resume.

Why is it even important that we acknowledge our successes? Our past successes can give us a clear sense of our ability to overcome obstacles. Knowing that we have succeeded before can give us the motivation we need to persevere when we are faced with new challenges.

I would encourage you to perform an annual inventory of your large and small successes. Identify those things that you feel good about either starting or finishing. Don’t measure your successes against those of anyone else. This is only for you. This is your chance to see what you have done and to acknowledge your efforts and personal successes.

Are you finding it difficult? If so, look at yourself with the same loving perspective of a friend. What have others complimented you on or praised you for? When did you notice yourself brushing aside compliments or claiming that what you did was nothing special? Allow yourself to own each and every one of those achievements.

Acknowledge and celebrate your successes! Be a friend to yourself and give yourself a pat on the back!

Are you a friend to yourself? Visit www.FriendYourselfProject.com to find practical tips on how to recognize your brilliance and to treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to a free Daily Moment of Inspiration and each day receive a quote from Women with Spirit: Daily Quotations by Inspiring Women (distributed by Amazon). Georgiana Carollus, MA, personal, spiritual, and intuitive coach offers coaching and resources to help accelerate your process of friending yourself at the Friend Yourself Project website.

Be a Friend to Yourself

Are you your own best friend or your own worst critic? Does your mind generate a constant chorus of self-talk criticizing you and your choices? Is it time to change your mind – specifically, your way of thinking and talking to yourself?

The words we say to ourselves go to the very core of our being. These words shape what we think of ourselves and what actions we take. The brain believes what we tell it and we become what we think about most. We can be our own strongest motivator or our own worst enemy. We can, in fact, create our own happy or unhappy state of mind.

What words and tone do you use when you talk to yourself? Chances are, it’s unlikely that you would ever talk to a dear friend or loved one with the same tone and criticism that you shower on yourself. In fact, there is probably no one whom you treat as badly as you treat yourself.

Our culture sanctions the idea that you should be hard on yourself. Do you believe, as many do, that self-criticism serves to keep you in line? And, that if you weren’t self-critical, you would become overly self-indulgent?

Has all this self-criticism and negativity helped? Has it motivated you to improve or meet your ideal? Studies show that children and adults are more motivated by encouragement than by threats. Research also suggests that giving yourself a break and accepting your imperfections may lower stress, depression, and anxiety, and improve happiness and life satisfaction.

The most direct solution to short-circuiting self-criticism is to give up judging and evaluating yourself and to replace this with self-compassion, an acceptance of yourself despite your perceived weaknesses. This is not about self-indulgence or lowering your standards but rather about accepting your humanness and accepting that ups and downs are part of life.

Cultivating self-compassion provides a foundation of love, acceptance, and security for yourself despite the circumstances of your life, despite your failures or disappointments. Self-compassion looks beyond your actions, values you for yourself and your imperfections, and respects all aspects of your humanity. In short, you exercise self-care and give yourself a break!

Many of us find it easier to extend compassion to others. One way to extend it more to yourself is to commit to treating yourself as well as you would treat your friends and loved ones. Encourage yourself and acknowledge all of your efforts, just like you would for a friend. Be kind to yourself and be your own cheerleader, your own motivator, and your own comforter.

What would your life be like if you had a more positive set of attitudes, beliefs, and feelings about yourself? Find out by gifting yourself with self-compassion and by being a friend to yourself

Be Inspired by Daily Quotes!

How do you keep yourself motivated? One way to maintain motivation is to read a daily inspirational quote for a daily dose of inspiration. For a change from the usual, quotes by women can be especially stimulating and thought-provoking!

First, why read a daily quote? Daily inspirational quotes can inspire, inform, motivate, encourage, nourish, entertain, validate, and at times, challenge us. While some quotes are religious in nature, many are not. The best quotes will have us considering their underlying meaning and how this meaning relates to our own lives and values.  In many cases, quotes will inspire us to action.

Another reason to read a daily quote is because it can introduce some positivity and inspiration into your life. It’s been shown that positive thoughts lead to positive actions. When you think and feel more positively, you approach life with a happier outlook and with renewed enthusiasm and energy. Freshly inspired, you are more open to new options and possibilities. Daily quotes by inspiring people can also make you feel more connected to the shared human condition.

Second, why quotes by women? Quotes are not inherently sexist –  a good quote, by either a man or a woman, can inspire men and women alike. There are certainly very compelling and powerful quotes by men. Quotes by men are well-documented and recycled, with many of them a little too familiar. There is something wonderful about encountering a less familiar quote that surprises us with a new observation.

Throughout the centuries, women have always had something to say but they haven’t always had the chance to be heard. One only needs to skim any general quote collection to see that most (usually 90% or more) of the quotes are by men. This is true even when the topic is women!

Women speak not only to the human condition but also to the uniquely feminine experience. By their words of wisdom and witticism, they encourage other women to celebrate themselves and to transcend discrimination and stereotypes. Review a collection of quotes by women and you will see that they are subtly yet distinctively different from their male counterparts.

Here are just a few of my favorite quotes from Women with Spirit: Daily Quotations by Inspiring Women (Compiled by Georgiana Carollus, 2012, distributed by Amazon):

“I realized that if what we call human nature can be changed, then absolutely anything is possible. And, from that moment, my life changed.” Shirley MacLaine, American actor, activist, and writer, 1934-

“Hope is a renewable option: if you run out of it at the end of the day, you get to start over in the morning.” Barbara Kingsolver, American novelist and poet, 1955-

“Let me listen to me and not to them.” Gertrude Stein, American writer and playwright, 1874-1946

Add  positivity and motivation to your life by beginning a practice of reading daily inspirational quotes!

Laugh Away Your Stress!

Have you laughed today? Did you know that globally we are laughing much less than we used to in the last century? What are the benefits of laughter and why should we be laughing more?

The International Congress of Humor reports that laughter is down is some areas up to 82% from the 1950’s. In the 1950’s, people laughed on the average 18 minutes a day and today the average is only between 4-6 minutes a day. We are much more serious than we used to be! Part of the reason for this may be because electronic media such as, television, computer, Internet, video, CD’s, and audio equipment, has reduced our social interactions and laughter is a social activity.

In fact, laughter usually occurs in groups and some believe uncontrollable laughter only occurs in groups. Try to laugh out loud right now. Do you find it difficult or forced? Most people would find it feels forced and a little unnatural because laughter is involuntary and almost impossible to fake.

Laughter happens more naturally in social interactions. Laughter builds relationships, creating camaraderie and lessening our sense of isolation. In groups when some are laughing and others are not, it becomes evident that people have very different senses of humor. A sense of humor is the ability to be amused and laughter is the physiological response to humor. While many believe a sense of humor cannot be taught, it can be developed by paying attention to what others find amusing.

Why would we want more laughter in our lives? As a physiological response, laughter has many health benefits. When someone laughs, all of the body systems are engaged. Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones, including cortisol, epinephrine, adrenaline, dopamine, and growth hormone, and increases the level of healthy hormones like endorphins and neurotransmitters. As a result of these physiological activities, laughter may help fight off illnesses and diseases like heart failure. After a good laugh, stress reduction occurs when overall good feelings, happiness, and deep relaxation are generated.

In addition to the health benefits, people who laugh a lot don’t worry as much as those who don’t laugh. A laughter break can help us gain fresh perspectives and new insights about our problems and conflicts.

Laughter, like crying, can provide an excellent physical and emotional release. Laughter can also make us feel happy and create a more positive state of mind by breaking the painful emotional grip of fear, anger, guilt, stress, and boredom.

Be a friend to yourself and enjoy the many emotional and physical benefits of laughter and humor. Lighten up and, for the greatest benefits, share a laugh with others!

Gift Yourself with Rest and Relaxation

Do you consider relaxing a waste of precious time? Do you feel guilty if you aren’t constantly productive? You may be overlooking the very real benefits of time to rest and relax. Instead of a luxury, relaxation can lead to extreme happiness by playing an essential role in mental and physical health.

Stress is a major health problem and it has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, and other serious illnesses. In fact, according to the American Institute of Stress, up to 90% of all visits to doctors are for stress-related disorders.

Rest and relaxation top the list of effective self-care and stress management techniques. Relaxation boosts happiness by counteracting the stress response – muscles relax, breathing and heartbeat slow down, and the digestive system functions more efficiently. Regular relaxation strengthens the immune system and helps the body heal itself, reducing the effects of chronic stress. Incorporate relaxation into your life and notice that you begin to feel better!

While it may not seem logical, you may get more done by taking breaks and doing less. When you take a break, relax, and let your thoughts slow down, the mind begins to access the resources of the right brain – the creative, intuitive, and non-linear part of the mind. After relaxing, you may find that you approach your work with a new perspective and that you are able to generate new solutions to problems.

Relaxation further contributes to happiness by providing a detachment from everyday busyness that enables us to realize what is really important to us. When we operate from our values, we are usually happier and more satisfied with our lives.

Quick relaxation techniques are useful in dealing with immediate stress. Stopping, even for the shortest time, will recharge your batteries and will give you more energy.  Create little breaks in your busy schedule. Consider your home your sanctuary and place of relaxation. Set boundaries to keep it as work-free as possible and avoid the temptation to bring work home by complaining about it.

Regular, concentrated rest and relaxation has a deeper and more permanent effect on reversing stress. Explore leisurely activities apart from your work. Choose something that you consider relaxing and that you will commit to doing on a regular basis. This might be sports, gardening, reading, exercise, or even time to daydream – whatever you choose should be something that you enjoy. There is no point in creating more stress for yourself by forcing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy!

Be a friend to yourself and give yourself the gift of rest. Learn to value rest and relaxation as much as you  value activity. And, enjoy increased happiness as you reduce the stress in your life!

Change Your Self-Talk to Improve Your Self-Image

Do you have a positive or negative self-image? Do you basically feel good about yourself or do you worry that you aren’t good enough? Everyone’s self-image changes somewhat depending on circumstances, but when you feel bad about yourself in many areas of life and these feelings become persistent, then your negative self-image can impact your physical and mental health. In this article we’ll explore that impact and ways to achieve a more positive self-image.

The health benefits of a having a positive self-image are many. Those with a positive self-image are more likely to manage stress better and to be more resilient when facing challenges, disappointments, or illnesses. Those with a positive self-image are generally more assertive and they enjoy strong relationships.

Low self-image often leads to stress and, at times, depression and anxiety disorders. The negative emotions that come with low self-image weaken the immune system and increase the risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and cancer. Low self-image is also associated with addictive behaviors, such as alcoholism, smoking, drug addiction, and gambling.

Negative self-image can affect individuals regardless of age, ethnicity, sex, or socioeconomic status. While the picture of a person with low self-image can vary greatly, from a shrinking wall-flower to a highly competitive workaholic, the common denominator is that a person with a low self-image is extremely self-critical.

Your own thoughts – what you tell yourself in your self-talk, your interpretation of situations, and your beliefs about yourself and others – probably have the biggest impact on your self-image. It is important to realize that your thoughts are within your control and that you can change them. If you tend to focus on your weaknesses or flaws, you can learn to re-frame negative thoughts and focus instead on your positive qualities.

If your self-talk is habitually self-critical, it will take some practice to change. When you notice that you are having a self-critical thought, consider if you can replace strong negative words with more neutral or positive words. If your inner critic has a favorite critical name for you, see if you can turn it around to something more positive. Instead of calling yourself wishy-washy, substitute open-minded or flexible; instead of sloppy, substitute relaxed; instead of too noisy, substitute energetic and outgoing. And, instead of saying that you hate something about yourself, see if you can replace “hate” with “don’t like” or “I’m ready to change.”

Don’t confuse positive self-talk with self-delusion or mindless positive thinking. Draw the distinction between what is true and what is negative. Recognize self-sabotaging messages and replace them with more rational and positive self-talk.

Be a friend to yourself and speak to yourself as kindly as you would speak to a friend or loved one. Affirm your strengths and acknowledge your efforts rather than punishing yourself with negative self-talk. Use your inner voice to reassure yourself.

How you feel about yourself affects every aspect of your life. Change your negative self-talk into positive affirmations of your worth to improve your self-image and the quality and quantity of your life.

3 Ways to Become a More Optimistic Person

Are you a pessimist? Do you have a tendency to expect the worst to happen? Although a pessimistic attitude may seem to be an unchangeable character trait, one, in fact, can make a choice between pessimism and optimism. There are practical self-improvement techniques to make it easier to develop a positive attitude and undo lifelong habits of pessimism. This article will present three ways to help you become more optimistic.

Optimists have an outlook on life that is generally more positive and they know and value hope. Studies show that pessimists give up more easily and get depressed more often. Optimists, on the other hand, have superior stress management skills and do better in school and at work. Evidence suggests that optimists may even live longer. These are compelling reasons to become more optimistic!

One way to help convert from pessimism to optimism is to practice looking for the silver lining in problems. Optimists tend to look for the positives in situations that don’t work out while pessimists use those same situations to reinforce their expectations of failure. Do you have a tendency to magnify the negative aspects of a situation and overlook any positive ones? Rather than automatically focusing on the worst, take a second look to see if there are any positive aspects in a difficult situation.

Don’t wait for a problem to happen but start now to get into the habit of seeing positives in every situation. Additionally, make an effort to create some experiences of happiness. Brief, happy moments can help strengthen your sense that life can be good and you can draw on these feelings in more difficult times.

A second way to create more optimism is to review your past accomplishments. Identify your top five personal and work-related accomplishments and the strengths you used to achieve them. Use this review to affirm for yourself that you are capable and competent. Apply the confidence gained from reviewing your strengths and accomplishments to increase your optimism in your capabilities to impact the future.

A third way to increase optimism is to watch your language! The words we use help to create and shape our reality. Avoid negative self-talk – stop using phrases such as “I can’t” and “This will never work.” Challenge your negative self-talk and turn these statements into questions such as “How can I handle this?” and “What can I do?’. Not only are these questions more hopeful, they invite new options and possibilities.

Pay special attention to how you talk to yourself and make a concentrated effort to treat yourself as well as you would treat a friend or loved one. Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. When a negative thought enters your mind, turn it around to something to something more positive.

In conclusion, there are specific techniques you can use to convert from a pessimistic attitude to a more optimistic one. These techniques include highlighting the positive; using your past accomplishments and strengths to fuel your optimism in the future; and deliberately replacing negative self-talk with more positive messages.

As with changing any habit, it may take practice to defeat pessimism but your self-development efforts will prove worthwhile as you gain the positive health and social benefits of optimism.

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