Category Archives for "Self Help"

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.

Counteract Negativity with Gratitude

Are you having trouble coping with any of life’s difficult, stressful, and negative experiences? Noticing something for which you are grateful can effectively counteract negative emotions. Studies have shown that a conscious focus on your blessings can have an immediate emotional benefit and can help reduce your feelings of stress.

What are you grateful for? If nothing comes to mind, it is time to refocus your attention. Even the most beautiful sight can be taken for granted when you see it every day, just as the blessings of good health, close relationships, and comfortable shelter commonly go unnoticed and under-appreciated.

Researchers at the University of California at Davis and the University of Miami conducted a study and found that a control group that was instructed to notice experiences of gratitude as they were happening and to make a list of these, was 25% happier than a group that was instructed to pay attention to daily annoyances and another group that only recorded neutral life events. The gratitude group also reported more optimism than the other two groups in the study. (Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, “Counting Blessings versus Burdens,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, no. 2 (2003), pp. 377-389.)

Take a few moments to look at your life with fresh eyes and identify what you have to be grateful for. Instead of just making a list, allow yourself to feel gratitude for each of these blessings. Feeling gratitude allows us to tap into deeper and more sustainable ways of experiencing fulfillment. When we are grateful for what we already have, we banish disappointment and move into a space of contentment.

As part of your gratitude practice, be sure to friend yourself and express gratitude to yourself for your efforts, traits, talents, and accomplishments. Strengthen the bonds with those in your life by moving beyond your inward feelings of gratitude and by verbally expressing gratitude to them.

Start today to establish an attitude and practice of gratitude. Employ gratitude to reduce stress and to be a better friend to yourself and to others.

Breathe Out Your Stress!

Review how you’re feeling at this moment – are your muscles tense? Are you feeling stressed? Is feeling tense and stressed the norm for you? Would you like to feel more relaxed?

A greater sense of relaxation is only a breath away. Working with the breath is an ancient and very accessible stress management and self-care technique. Taking a deep, cleansing breath lowers blood pressure and pulse and respiration rates. Additionally, it helps promote the release of serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter, into the bloodstream. Many benefits for something that takes hardly a minute!

To get the most of these benefits, diaphragmatic or belly breathing is key. To identify whether you are breathing high up in your chest or in your belly, place one hand on your chest and another hand on your stomach.  As you breathe normally, notice which palm is moving.  If you notice movement in both hands or more movement in the hand on your chest, you need to move your breath lower.

To breathe more from your abdomen, imagine that you have a balloon in your stomach and as you exhale, you are forcing all the air out of that balloon. Once you exhale all that air, your next breath will automatically be a diaphragmatic breath.

Do a few of these deep breaths. See if you can establish a pace that is deep, relaxed, and satisfying. How does it make you feel?

Establish a practice of incorporating diaphragmatic breathing into your day. Notice quiet times during your day, such as while you are waiting at a red light or have been put on hold during a call, to do this. And, the next time you notice you’re feeling stressed, use a few diaphragmatic breaths to change your body chemistry and invite feelings of calm and relaxation.

Diaphragmatic breathing – a simple way to friend yourself!

 

Join the Friend Yourself Project and commit to treating yourself as well as you treat your friends and loved ones. Visit www.FriendYourselfProject.com for more information.

 

Acknowledge 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?

Why is it that we don’t acknowledge our successes? Having created thousands of resumes for clients from all walks of life, I’m very familiar with the difficulty that people have in identifying not only their accomplishments but their strengths. Some of this may come from an upbringing where bragging was discouraged, but I think it also goes to our belief that our achievements pale in comparison to those of others. From the perspective of an impartial bystander, this is rarely the case

People are so caught up in their lives that they don’t notice their own courage, bravery, and kindness. Part of the problem, I think, 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.

I would encourage you to create a This Is My Life resume. Categories you may consider including would be Challenges, Triumphs, Enjoyments, and Attributes. Do an 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 review what you have done and to acknowledge your efforts and successes

Are you finding it difficult? If so, look at yourself with the same perspective that a friend would have about you. What have others complimented you on or praised you for? When did you notice yourself brushing aside compliments or claiming what you did was nothing special? Allow yourself to own those things. Create your This Is My Life resume and give yourself a pat on the back for your accomplishments!

As an example, here’s my This is My Life resume

GEORGIANA

INSPIRATIONAL MOTIVATOR

Creative and intuitive individual with passion for my own self-development and for inspiring other people to recognize their brilliance. Committed to nurturing family and personal relationships. Resourceful out-of-the-box thinker with entrepreneurial spirit; talent for suggesting resources and formulating new solutions to personal and professional problems. Value-centered; compassionate, empathetic, and caring.

ATTRIBUTES

Creative · Optimistic · Intuitive · Compassionate · Determined · Curious · Committed · Motivated · Idea Generator · Flexible · Self-Directed · Enthusiastic

TRIUMPHS

  • Nurture personal and family relationships; value healthy work/life balance and time to enjoy fun/creativity.
  • Pursue self-development; established morning meditation practice and actively cultivate my intuition and spiritual life.
  • Extend myself beyond my shy, introverted tendencies.
  • Published 2 books of quotes by women in both Kindle and print formats; over 7,000 Kindle downloads!
  • Left full-time employment and started own businesses; met challenges of self-employment and reinvented businesses to meet changing markets.
  • As single parent, raised two great children to adulthood.
  • In early married life, navigated 5 major moves across country within 8 years.
  • First person in my family to graduate from college and earn Master’s degree.

ENJOYMENTS

  • Love of the arts, including live musical and theatrical performances and quilts and quilting.
  • Family reunions.
  • Every vacation with Dennis.
  • Annual birthday retreats with friends, Molly and Kathleen.
  • My grandson, Colin’s birth, and my other two grandchildren, Brandon and Natalie.
  • The birth of my own two children.

LIFE CHALLENGES

  • Job changes and losses that were outside of my control.
  • Divorce, 1990.
  • Deaths of parents and older brother.
  • Closing of human potential company I strongly believed in; closing resulted in job loss and disbanding of close personal network.

Join the Friend Yourself Project and commit to treating yourself as well as your friends and loved ones. Visit www.FriendYourselfProject.com for more information.

©Georgiana Carollus, 2012. All rights reserved

Create a This Is My Life Resume!

Do you find it difficult to acknowledge your own accomplishments? Having created thousands of resumes for clients from all walks of life, I’m very familiar with the difficulty that people have in identifying not only their accomplishments but their strengths. I also know that it is very affirming for someone when they see their strengths written out. Clients often tell me how impressed with themselves they are after reading their new resume.

I began to wonder what a resume of someone’s life, rather than only their career, would look like. How helpful would a concise synopsis of one’s challenges and triumphs be? Would such an exercise help us gain a new respect for ourselves?

I took up the challenge and created one for myself. I found it much easier (and more fun!) than some life timelines I had worked on in the past. I also liked the positive emphasis of focusing on my strengths rather than my weaknesses.

I would encourage you to try this exercise yourself. If you would like a simple Word template, contact me below and I’ll send you one as well as some tips to create your own This Is My Life Resume. If you would like my help, let me know that and I will send you information about my fees.

Here’s mine:

GEORGIANA

INSPIRATIONAL MOTIVATOR

Creative and intuitive individual with passion for my own self-development and for inspiring other people to recognize their brilliance. Committed to nurturing family and personal relationships. Resourceful out-of-the-box thinker with entrepreneurial spirit; talent for suggesting resources and formulating new solutions to personal and professional problems. Value-centered; compassionate, empathetic, and caring.

ATTRIBUTES

Creative · Optimistic · Intuitive · Compassionate · Determined · Curious · Committed · Motivated · Idea Generator · Flexible · Self-Directed · Enthusiastic

TRIUMPHS

  • Nurture personal and family relationships; value healthy work/life balance and time to enjoy fun/creativity.
  • Pursue self-development; established morning meditation practice and actively cultivate my intuition and spiritual life.
  • Extend myself beyond my shy, introverted tendencies.
  • Published 2 books of quotes by women in both Kindle and print formats; over 7,000 Kindle downloads!
  • Left full-time employment and started own businesses; met challenges of self-employment and  reinvented businesses to meet changing markets.
  • As single parent, raised two great children to adulthood.
  • In early married life, navigated 5 major moves across country within 8 years.
  • First person in my family to graduate from college and earn Master’s degree.

ENJOYMENTS

  • Love of the arts, including  live musical and theatrical performances and quilts and quilting.
  • Family reunions.
  • Every vacation with Dennis.
  • Annual birthday retreats with friends, Molly and Katleen.
  • My grandson, Colin’s birth, and my other two grandchildren, Brandon and Natalie.
  • The birth of my own two children.

LIFE CHALLENGES

  • Job changes and losses that were outside of my control.
  • Divorce, 1990.
  • Deaths of parents and older brother.
  • Closing of human potential company I strongly believed in; closing resulted in job loss and disbanding of close personal network.

©2012. All rights reserved.

 

header nav ul li a{ font-size: 28px; }