Category Archives for "Self-improvement"

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.

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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