I have a recurring nightmare. It goes like this: I’m 16 years old again, back on my old newspaper route. But there’s a major problem: I’m late. I’ve overslept. Now it’s 6:43, and I have 150 newspapers to deliver by 7:00 a.m. If I don’t, I start getting complaints. It’s an impossible task. A wave of immense anxiety immediately follows. Followed by a feeling of pressure, all over my body.
At this point, I usually wake up in a cold sweat–thankful that all of this was simply a dream, until … I realize the dream is related to a real-life situation. The true source of the anxiety, and a real-life feeling of “overwhelm-ed-ness.” After facing this situation over and over, I’ve discovered a rule that helps me to push through those negative feelings, move forward, and do what I need to do.
I like to call it “first things first.”
First things first
When I find myself in an “impossible paper route situation,” I tell myself:
Focus on first things first.
In other words, I narrow my view so as to focus on the first few things I need to do. This allows me to avoid getting overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of the situation, or the huge mountain of tasks before me.
Instead, I make a new list of only two or three things that I need to get done that day.
Then, I look only at the first one, and start chipping away.
First things first has many benefits, but here are four of them:
1. It keeps you moving.
When you have more work than you can handle, the temptation is to not do anything.
But by creating a new list of just two or three tasks, things look manageable again. You regain control of your emotions, allowing you to once more be productive.
2. It builds momentum.
Think about that feeling you experience once you finish a task. Then another. And another.
Next thing you know, you’re hooked. You see results, so you keep going–because at this point it’s easier to keep going than it is to stop. This is what famous psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes as “flow”–that highly focused mental state conducive to productivity.
Once you start building momentum …
3. You see more clearly.
In my nightmare, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, there is no tunnel. Just an unscalable mountain.
But once you start building momentum, you build the tunnel. Once you make enough progress, you can clearly see the path forward.
And once you see the path, it really starts to get good. Because now …
4. You believe.
Things are no longer dark.
The impossible task is no longer impossible.
Seeing the path forward turns into hope, and hope turns into reality.
Following the rule of first things first is how:
Entrepreneurs turn complex problems into simple solutions–and then build companies out of them.
Championship sports teams claw their way back from huge deficits.
Singers turn melodies into albums.
Authors turn words into books.
Artists turn sketches into masterpieces.
And paperboys finish their routes–even when they get very late starts.
Motivation is what explains why people or animals initiate, continue or terminate a certain behavior at a particular time. Motivational states are commonly understood as forces acting within the agent that create a disposition to engage in goal-directed behavior. It is often held that different mental states compete with each other and that only the strongest state determines behavior.
This means that we can be motivated to do something without actually doing it. The paradigmatic mental state providing motivation is desire. But various other states, like beliefs about what one ought to do or intentions, may also provide motivation.
Various competing theories have been proposed concerning the content of motivational states. They are known as content theories and aim to describe what goals usually or always motivate people. Abraham Maslow‘s hierarchy of needs and the ERG theory, for example, posit that humans have certain needs, which are responsible for motivation.
Some of these needs, like for food and water, are more basic than other needs, like for respect from others. On this view, the higher needs can only provide motivation once the lower needs have been fulfilled. Behaviorist theories try to explain behavior solely in terms of the relation between the situation and external, observable behavior without explicit reference to conscious mental states.
These uplifting findings offer routes to business success, as well as individual well being. If we accept gratitude increases happiness, we also know joyful people are more curious, creative, and resilient. Great qualities to possess in a challenging and disrupted post-pandemic world.
Turning Up The Happiness Dial
The evidence is relatively new. However, great thinkers have long identified gratitude as a desirable trait of an emotionally mature mind. The Roman statesman Marcus Cicero described it as the greatest virtue – and a parent to all the other beneficial qualities. The eighteenth-century philosopher David Hume called ingratitude “the most horrible and unnatural crime that a person is capable of committing”.
In King Lear, Shakespeare has his eponymous hero angrily accuse his ungrateful daughter Goneril of being a “marble-hearted fiend”. No surprise that most of us have parents who insisted on “thank yous” like marine corps drill instructors.
Psychologists call your personal level of day-to-day happiness your “set point”. We all inherit an individual benchmark for cheerfulness rooted in our genes and upbringing. It’s long been argued that this setting is stubbornly stable over time. Research shows, whether you win the lottery, or are paralyzed from the neck down, you tend to gravitate back to your set point after three to six months.
If you doubt this, next time you board a flight (those times are returning), glance at the faces of people sitting in the comfy business class seats. Do they look any more contented? Mostly, you’ll find their faces reveal the same level of happiness as the less fortunate trudging towards coach.
Positive Psychology researchers now suggest certain habits can shift your happiness set point in the right direction. There’s a healthy debate about how big the effect can be. However, one point has been agreed upon. Gratitude is one of the few intentional human emotions which has a sustainable impact. Here are three simple, but powerful ways, to move your happiness dial upwards, and keep it there.
1. Count Your Blessings
Writing down three new things that you’re grateful for starts to change the physical structure of your brain. Researchers have shown the impact builds after about three weeks of this daily activity. American psychologist Sean Anchor, the author of The Happiness Advantage, said: “…at the end of that, their brain starts to retain a pattern of scanning the world not for the negative, but for the positive first.”
2. Send a Grateful Email
Another route is to consciously express gratitude to the people in your life. In my leadership programs, we ask participants to pick three people and write a short story about them in the form of an email. The idea is to describe a time when that person helped.
Professor Dan Cable, the author of Exceptional: Build Your Personal Highlight Reel and Unlock Your Potential, advises: “It’s important that the email story has a beginning, middle, and an end. I encourage people to include gritty, specific elements of the event which helps the person receiving the email to relive the memory when they read it.”
When senior executives pluck up the courage to write their emails, Dan and I find a wonderfully rewarding dynamic plays out. Within hours or days, the managers often get an email back. They receive a similarly grateful story in return from their delighted friend, colleague, or family member.
If you are nervous about sharing a grateful story, there is a fascinating facet of the research that is encouraging. It turns out it’s worth writing the story even if you don’t subsequently press send on the email. The evidence shows that people who create the narratives but decide to keep them to themselves, still enjoy the uplifting benefits. Although, of course, their friends do not.
This habit of being more explicitly grateful in writing or face-to-face has a snowball effect. Researchers found the improvements in mental health increase after 12 weeks of the habit. This is exciting because the mental health benefits of other positive activities often decrease over time.
3. Meditate, Gratefully
Coronavirus has transformed mindfulness – the ability to focus on the present moment without judgment – from a management fad into an essential business tool. It’s possible to inject gratitude into this powerful approach by concentrating on what you are currently thankful for: the warmth of the sun, a great book you’re reading, or a special person in your life.
Happiness has come into sharp focus in the teeth of the pandemic. The results in a recent global Gallup survey were counterintuitive. Average happiness across 95 countries has crept up when compared to three years before Coronavirus struck. Even more surprising, Covid-19 has increased the happiness of older people more than any other group. This despite the risk of death being far higher. On average, the elderly are more cheerful while the young are more miserable.
The explanation is gratitude. Last month, The Economist put it this way: “Old people probably are not actually healthier. Rather, Covid-19 has changed the yardstick. They feel healthier because they have dodged a disease that could kill them.”
The scientific research into gratitude now supports the diversionary tactics my wife and I used with our young sons. For two tired, working parents, The Grateful Game started dinner on a positive footing and crowded out bad behavior. We found it easier to divert their attention to something positive, rather than endlessly saying “no” to negative behavior.
The same trick works for all of us. Being grateful shifts your attention away from toxic emotions and towards something more uplifting. Do it for long enough, and it permanently rewires your brain to be a happier person. And, for that, we can all be very grateful.
I am an award-winning business author, global executive educator and Programme Director at London Business School. My most recent book ‘The Human Edge, how curiosity and creativity are your superpowers in the digital economy’ (Pearson) was named as the Business Book of The Year 2020. I’ve led leadership development programmes for global clients in industries including advertising, automotive, consumer goods, banking & insurance, manufacturing, media, recruitment and technology. I’ve shared my insights into building creative leadership and innovative teams in more than 400 virtual and face-to-face talks to executive audiences around the world. Previously, I’ve been a successful entrepreneur, the founding CEO of London Business School’s Centre for Creative Business and a national TV journalist with the BBC and ITV.
“How to Build a Life” is a weekly column by Arthur Brooks, tackling questions of meaning and happiness. Arthur C. Brooks will discuss the science of happiness live at 11 a.m. ET on May 20. Register for In Pursuit of Happiness here […] Americans work and earn and act as if becoming richer will automatically raise our happiness, no matter how rich we might get. When it comes to money and happiness, there is a glitch in our psychological code […]
[…] A compassionate feeling for others give the ultimate happiness to us A compassionate feeling for others give the ultimate happiness to us It seems that everyone has become afraid to have faith in each other, becaus […]
[…] with little room for manoeuvre on contract terms has shown the fragility to profit before client happiness and landlords and providers alike, we believe, are going to have to balance the two much better i […]
[…] When it comes to the result everyone has to face the failures and hence have to say good bye to the happiness for a while or for long term […] She delivers her promises on the cost of her life because the happiness of others really matters of her and this is the reason why you are advised to contact her becaus […]
[…] a book, The Full Body Yes: Change Your Work and Your World From the Inside Out, about finding happiness and authentic meaning in your work and life […] When you tie your identity and happiness to the results of a particular job or company, life happens “to” you, instead of “for” you […] can give you the illusion that you’ve chosen your own path which in and of itself will lead to happiness […]
[…] A compassionate feeling for others give the ultimate happiness to us A compassionate feeling for others give the ultimate happiness to us It seems that everyone has become afraid to have faith in each other, becaus […]
[…] is a sigh and the thought that life would be so much more fun if one didn’t have to think about happiness […] Mustapha declares that “happiness is a hard master—particularly other people’s happiness […] choose to abandon science, truth, beauty, and religion, all in the name of other people’s happiness? This is a great question […]
[…] but they are scarce ever to be seen, and I can’t positively say I had ever that happiness: but am as satisfied that they are  there, as if I had; not in the least suspecting the Credit […] Usefulness in that effusion of Light and Heat to all the Planets round it; in the preservation and happiness of all  living Creatures, and that not only in our Ball, but in those vast Globes of Jupite […]
[…] cross-functional initiatives that will improve the overall customer experience and lead to greater happiness and dedication among our customers Monitor Customer Health Metrics Monitor product engagement an […]
[…] to give you every facility at the minimum possible rate as money isn’t important to us than your happiness, protection, and comfort […] This encourages him to bring unity, purity, and happiness to his spirit, body, and mind […]
[…] people because there is not one person who does not want to have a life full of prosperity and happiness […] Love, money, relationships, and success, all of these things play a vital role in determining the happiness in one’s life […]
[…] who are interested in becoming a mentor in one of our award-winning programs, he says, “Like happiness, giving of your experience and enthusiasm for a given profession doubles when it is shared […]
[…] can find their way back to each other, and Hirano outdoes himself here with multiple impediments to happiness — beginning in that very first conversation, when Makino discovers that Yoko is engaged to someon […]
[…] Truck Driver and root yourself in a career that provides happiness, comfort, and an overall higher quality of life while getting you home daily […] A Local Truck Driver and root yourself in a career that provides happiness, comfort, and an overall higher quality of life while getting you home daily […]
Born and raised in New York; Andrea was passionate about engagement and having fun since a early age. Though she did try to work within the corporate world she never felt she was part of the team. Andrea wanted to change the narrative around happiness and engagement within the corporate world.
[…] The hexagon design helps you easily hold the pen and enjoy the comfort, convenience and happiness of the touch screen </p> <h3 class=”a-spacing-mini”> GIFTS FOR DIY MEN(DAD) </h3> <img alt=”gift […]
[…] High Five is a gesture which expresses your happiness and excitement […] High Five to the happiness we are blessed with […] High energies, positivity and happiness are the emotions associated with high five […]
[…] Year old Preschool Teacher Gilbert, AZ, USA Teachers at The Learning Experience are ambassadors of happiness, creating opportunities every day […] year olds Gilbert, AZ, USA Preschool Lead Teachers at The Learning Experience are ambassadors of happiness, creating opportunities every day that reflect our mission to make a difference in the lives o […]
Hello! My name is Amarildo Prendi and I’m the founder of Healthy and Happy. This blog is created to inform our readers about different information’s related to health and happiness. Please subscribe to our newsletter.
[…] Does science predict happiness? The best age to get married According to statistics, couples who’ve got married aged over 23 ar […] death separates us Unfortunately, nobody can… READ MORE Not always love causes immense joy and happiness […]
Are you seeking blogging inspiration to create content regularly? Blogging can be a fantastic tool to manage your content online, which results in organic traffic to grow your coaching business as a bonus if done right. As a coach, you can seek blogging inspiration easily using the following seven ideas. Assuming that you are willing to do the hard work and not afraid of sharing your why, how, and what.
1. Explore your inspiration.
It sounds simple, but many miss this easy and important source of endless blogging inspiration. If you are genuinely inspired, you should have more topics to blog about then you can handle.
The best use of blogging is to write down:
Why you do what you do ( your inspiration)
How you do what you do (your processes/tools)
What problem you solve (your solutions)
The immediate benefit of documenting the above helps you understand:
Do you really know your “why”?
Do you understand the details of how you do what you do?
Do you have the clarity of the problems which you are solving?
The more you write about these things, the more clarity you get about your why, how and what.
2. Practice focus.
I believe all ideas are great, usually. However, amazing things happen when you practice focus and pay attention to one thing or thought over a longer period of time.
Try it yourself to focus on any of the following aspect of your life over a longer period of time and see how it add value to your life.
Health. Paying regular attention to eating, exercising, and sleeping habits can improve your life significantly.
Family time. Lines are quite blurred between work and family time nowadays. Keeping an eye on this area daily can improve your work-life balance for good.
Work projects. Completing one project fully before jumping onto the next one can enhance your work quality immensely.
Finances. Focusing on finances can save you several unnecessary direct debits and missed investment opportunities.
Time off. Taking breaks without checking work communication is a superpower, which can be a game-changer to increase your focus and quality of life.
Similarly, blogging instantly becomes easy when you say no to everything and focus on your coaching inspiration. Mehdi’s weight lifting passion and focus helped him write over 25,000 words on a single page to explain a simple weight lifting exercise of how to do a bench press with proper form.
3. Clarify your blogging purpose.
A blog is an excellent tool for:
Managing your content online
Sharing your ideas and getting feedback
Creating a community around your passion
Establishing rapport by documenting your learnings
Promoting your coaching business
All or some of the above can be the purpose of your blog. Getting clear about your blogging purpose helps you seek blogging inspirations.
A clarity of blogging purpose help you:
Pick your minimum viable audience
Answer actual audience questions
Use language your audience uses
Write detailed and in-depth content
Create the best user experience
Do you have clarity for your blogging purpose? If yes, then it can be a great source of ongoing blogging inspirations.
4. Document your learning and experiences.
Business blogging isn’t writing.
Most people don’t search to read. They search to find solutions to their problems. A blog enables you to solve their problems using text, images, audio, and video. The better you solve your tribe’s problems, the more traction generally you’ll get online.
The more disciplined you get at documenting your day-to-day learnings, experiences, and solutions you offer to your customers, the less blogging inspiration you’ll need to seek.
Gary Vaynerchuk, who is a big advocate of “document, don’t create” content creation strategy, has a camera crew, which follows him around to record everything he does daily. The Kardashians are another great example of documenting their life.
5. Be curious.
Some say that you don’t seek inspiration; instead, it is the by-product of curiosity. Aim for continuous improvement. Measuring backwards, instead of stressing out by staring at your ultimate big goal really help to reduce the daily stress level.
How can I improve blogging 1 percent better than yesterday?
Asking this question to yourself daily can lead to amazing progress over time, and also lead to several blogging ideas to document. You can ask this question regarding all aspects of blogging to reap the benefit of compounding.
Imagine how improving 1 percent daily in all blogging areas can help you grow your coaching business over a year?
British cyclists’ fate changed one day in 2003 when Brailsford had been hired to put British Cycling on a new trajectory. Following this 1 percent improvement in every aspect of cycling took struggling British Cycling team to dominate the road.
During 2007 to 2017, British cyclists won 178 world championships and 66 Olympic or Paralympic gold medals and captured five Tour de France victories widely regarded as the most successful run in cycling history.
6. Answer support emails.
If you are already in business, answer support emails for a day. Your customer requests and questions can be the most useful blogging topics.
It will also help you build your frequently asked questions & answers collection, which will:
Save you time on answering the same questions repeatedly
Improve the speed & quality of your customer support
Increase your blog’s chances of getting traction in search engines
This is an easy way to seek blogging inspiration and improve your coaching services.
7. Start now and optimize later.
Don’t compare yourself with those who are years ahead of yourself. Your favourite blogger’s first blog post likely wasn’t as impressive as they are today. Be kind to yourself and write often. There is no other way to get better at writing than start writing and publishing often.
Our creative writing abilities are trainable and can be improved with regular practice. Therefore, don’t wait and start your blogging journey today.
COVID-19 Vaccination Programme – What You Need to Knowhttp://www.cheshireccg.nhs.uk – Today[…] A number of regional vaccination centres are also in place. If you receive a letter inviting you for a vaccination at sites such as the Etihad Campus in Manchester or St Helens Rugby Club, you can either take u […] Manchester or St Helens Rugby Club, you can either take up this offer or wait to be invited for a vaccination locally. When it is your turn to book a vaccination you will need to provide: Your name and date of birth Your NHS number (which will be provided i […]4
Paul Wilmes wwwen.uni.lu – Today[…] to be administered only once to acquire immunity, which will hopefully simplify the logistics of vaccination procedures in the future. What happens in the cells when you get vaccinated? Generally speaking, vaccination is an artificial way of exposing your immune system to key molecules from a pathogen against whic […] that only a very small part of the virus’ genetic information is brought into one’s own cells upon vaccination. It is not possible to create a virus out of these fragments and thus vaccination cannot induce the corresponding disease […]0
India Extends “Vaccine Diplomacy” to Cambodia: What We Should Know cambodianess.com – Today[…] 5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Myanmar, which has scheduled the countrywide vaccination program to be rolled out with the made-in-India vaccine by Feb […] Even though Cambodia’s schedule for vaccination rollout remains undetermined, it can be expected that there will be more propensity of more peopl […]129
Biden warns of growing cost of delay on $1.9T econ aid plan theusatribune.com – Today[…] vaccines will be a defining test, has not explained what the increased money for testing and vaccination would achieve — including how much quicker the White House believes it would help bring about a […] His plan allots $400 billion to spearhead a national vaccination program and the reopening of schools […]1
Churches Together in England : Coronavirus vaccinationshttp://www.cte.org.uk – Today[…] Churches Together in England is therefore supporting the vaccination programme and efforts to provide answers to the questions that many have (see a range of resourc […] first dose of the vaccine — either because they fall into the age groups currently being offered a vaccination, or because they work in front-line contexts such as hospital chaplaincy […] Local churches and cathedrals are being used as vaccination hubs, church members are assisting with transport and volunteering at those hubs, and, of course […]N/A
Pharmacy in Long-Term Care 2021 Report mailchi.mp – Today[…] of vaccinations, the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care (LTC) Program is facilitating on-site vaccination of residents and staff at more than 75,000 enrolled long-term care facilities (LTCFs) […]0
Vaccination Care Volunteer | St John Ambulance vaccinationvolunteers.sja.org.uk – TodayVaccination Care Volunteers will be supporting patients all the way through from arrival to discharge […] They will help patients get to the right place to receive their vaccination and be on hand to provide first aid if anyone has a medical emergency […] ensuring they are comfortable, reassuring them pre and post vaccine, helping them navigate the vaccination centre, as well as signposting them to relevant external resources as needed […] Work with other St John and NHS colleagues to deliver a vaccination service including escalating problems outside your scope of training to an appropriate person […]7
COVID-19: Vaccine delays worry at-risk groups scheduled to received the first shots | Vancouver Sun vancouversun.com – Today[…] may delay the start date for some vaccination clinics in Indigenous communities […] Article content continued “Some communities have received their first vaccination and are waiting and watching to see when the second one will be made available to them […] ” Casimer said it is important that vaccination delays for remote communities be reduced as much as possible because there are a growing number o […]10
Coronavirus: School staff threatened for getting vaccination en.brinkwire.com – Today[…] It is currently limited to priority groups as determined by advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) […] 70 and over are due to receive the jab in a range of settings, including community centres and mass vaccination centres, from Monday […] Volunteers and NHS staff prepare to open the mass vaccination centre yesterday at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre […]0
Rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Ireland – HSE.ie www2.hse.ie – Today[…] The first groups to get the COVID-19 vaccine are: COVID-19 vaccination will be offered to the next groups as soon as possible […] getting your COVID-19 vaccine Progress updates 4 to 10 January This was the first full week of the vaccination programme […] (CHO) is working with its long-term residential care facilities in their areas to finalise the vaccination schedules. Our vaccination teams will give the vaccines to residents and staff at each of the locations […]1
Coronavirus live news: Coachella festival cancelled; fears over Australian vaccine | World news | The Guardianhttp://www.theguardian.com – Today[…] “This is actually dubbed heterologous vaccination, a long word, but it basically means vaccinating you with two different products,” he said […] Dridi and her sister accompanied their frail 92-year-old Algerian-born mother to a vaccination centre for the first of two shots to protect against Covid-19 days after it opened last week fo […] Next month, a bus will travel through the region, notably visiting street markets, to provide vaccination information. In addition, about 40 “vaccination ambassadors” who speak several languages are to be trained to reach out, starting in March, abou […]0
COVID-19 Community Vaccination Centres | West Dunbartonshire Councilhttp://www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk – Today[…] Council is supporting NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde with the local rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Three mass vaccination centres being set up in the area will open from Monday, February 1 to begin the next stage o […] What to expect at the Mass Vaccination Centre NHS GGC has also published information on what to expect at your vaccination appointment. Please remember Do not come to a vaccination centre if you feel unwell or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms such as a high temperature o […]0
COVID-19 Vaccination Survey docs.google.com – TodayPlease spare a few moments to tell us what you think about the COVID-19 vaccine. The NHS is doing everything it can to deliver COVID-19 vaccines in Hull, but there might be things that can be improved.5
NIH VideoCasting – Past Events videocast.nih.gov – Today[…] Clinical Center Grand Rounds Read more 520 views (514 live, 6 VOD) – Runtime: 00:57:54 COVID-19 Vaccination Event with Vice President Harris at the NIH Clinical Center Tuesday, January 26, 2021 Kamal […]3
HSE hoping to provide daily vaccination figures ‘in the next week or two’http://www.thejournal.ie – TodayHSE hoping to provide daily vaccination figures ‘in the next week or two’ It had been expected that a daily system would be up and runnin […] at an Oireachtas Health Committee briefing this morning, several TDs raised the importance of daily vaccination figures for public reassurance. The HSE’s vaccination lead David Walsh said that he was aware daily figures are a matter “of great concern” and that “w […] sick with Covid from start of December to January He added that some of the nursing homes where vaccination have been taking place “weren’t set up” to record vaccinations in the system […]9
Coronavirus: Travel information and advice tfgm.com – Today[…] Vaccination sites travel information If you’ve been contacted by the NHS and invited for a COVID-19 vaccination in Greater Manchester, we have information and advice to help you travel to and from you […]1
WilCo Creates Site To Help People Register For Coronavirus Shots patch.com – Today[…] residents can get help filling out their registration paperwork once they have received a vaccination appointments from Family Hospital Systems (FHS), officials said […] to set up additional vaccination sites, once they are named a hub provider by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) […]1
Stay-at-home orders and quarantine life have forced us to make some pretty abrupt changes in our fitness routines. And even though you may have the best intentions to meet your step goals every day, the bottom line is that it can be harder to do when you’re spending more time in the house. Despite your best intentions, it’s really easy to get sucked into a more sedentary lifestyle when you don’t really have anywhere to go and the couch is literally right there.
You know how it goes: You wake up in the morning, tell yourself you’ll just sit down on the couch for a few minutes and then next thing you know, you’re two coffees and four Friends reruns deep. If this sounds familiar, don’t feel bad. You’re in the company of many others.
While sitting around more frequently may have been fun for a while, after more than three months of staying at home — and news of some companies turning to remote work for good or at least a while longer — you may be looking for some motivation and ideas on how to take 10,000 steps when you’re spending more time inside. It’s true that reaching your step goal indoors requires you to be a little more deliberate with your steps and your time, but it’s totally doable.
As the weather starts to warm up, you always have the option to go outside and walk around your local park or hit the track at your local high school. But if those areas seem too busy for your comfort, there are plenty of ways you can get creative inside your home.
Get a smartwatch and don’t ignore alerts to move
If you’re tracking your steps, it’s likely that you already have this one checked off the list, but I wanted to suggest it anyway, in case you don’t. When I started to fall into a quarantine sit-around-all-day slump, I treated myself to an Apple Watch ($399 at Apple). The deal was that I had to make a valiant effort to get off the couch and close my three rings every day. In the back of my mind I thought, “yeah, OK, that’s just my excuse for spending the money, and it’s not really going to happen,” but I was actually surprised at how well it worked (when I let it).
At first, I would dismiss every “stand” and “breathe” notification that popped up, but after about a week or so, I decided to play along and let the Apple Watch give me the motivation I needed. I obliged every alert and notification and really got moving and now, three months later, I make it a point to crush my goals daily.
Closing rings and getting digital awards may sound cheesy to you at first, but they actually provide some serious external motivation, even if you’re someone like me who doesn’t really love exercise, but does it anyway for the physical and mental benefits.
Of course, you don’t have to get an Apple Watch. There are other, less expensive options out there, like the Fitbit Versa 2. If a smartwatch isn’t in your budget at all, you can also opt for a basic pedometer or one of many free pedometer apps that you can download right to your phone. The apps are usually not as accurate as wearing something on your wrist, but they’ll still give you a good idea of where you stand.
Walk while you binge
Let’s face it; some days (or most days), the appeal of binge-watching the new season of Queer Eye far outweighs any desire to get up and get moving. But instead of settling into the couch with a box of tissues and a bag of Doritos and completely succumbing to Jonathan Van Ness‘ charm, strap on your pedometer or your smartwatch and get to stepping.
Of course, you don’t have to walk for the entire episode — and you’re free to choose your own binge-worthy show to watch — but the point is to move instead of sitting. And move like you mean it. Swing those arms, bring those knees up to your chest and get that heart rate going so you can really reap the benefits. If you really commit, you can rack up 4,500 steps in one 45-minute episode. March through two episodes and you’ll knock off 90 percent of your steps for the entire day.
You might feel silly walking back and forth in the hallway or in circles in your kitchen, but desperate times call for desperate measures. While the scenery may not be as visually stimulating as the passing trees you see when you’re walking in the park, a step is a step, no matter where you take it.
You can simply pace back and forth in one area of your living space or map out an indoor track. For example, my living room, kitchen and dining room all connect in a circle. I mapped out the area and know that it takes 71 steps to do a full lap. That means 20 quick laps around, which takes me just over 17 minutes, will help rack up 1,420 steps.
If you go this route, optimize your effort. Instead of walking in a straight line from point A to point B, follow your home’s floor plan and walk along the perimeter of each room to get as many steps in as possible.
The 17 best health and fitness apps for Apple Watch
If the thought of walking around in circles in your house doesn’t give you the motivation you need to get moving, make it more appealing by finding a podcast you love and listening to it as you go. Listening to a podcast helps you zone out so the time goes by much faster. And if you walk briskly, you can knock out up to 3,000 steps by the time your 30-minute podcast is over.
I like to listen to personal development type podcasts as I work out because it makes me feel like I’m getting a physical workout along with a mental one. Some of my favorites are Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations, The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes, and Not Another Anxiety Show with Kelli Walker, but there are so many that you can choose from. If personal development podcasts aren’t your bag, find a genre that excites you and then start going through the options until you find one you really enjoy. You can also swap out a podcast with an audiobook and let someone else read to you as you walk.
Walk every time you have a phone call
Quarantine has been all about the Zoom calls, but if you’re still spending a lot of time having regular phone conversations or conference calls, use that time to get your steps in. Every time you take or make a phone call, start walking around your house and continue to walk until the end of the call, whether it’s 5 minutes or 30.
Keep in mind that if you’re putting a decent effort into your steps, you’ll probably get a little out of breath. While this is fine for team calls or check-ins with your colleagues, it might not be the best idea for phone interviews or something more formal.
Even if you don’t have work calls, you can use your step goal as an excellent excuse to actually call a family member or a friend instead of texting. Spend 15 minutes on the phone, pacing while you talk, and you can rack up 1,500 steps without even thinking about it.
Be less efficient
Normally, when you’re doing chores or cleaning up the house, the goal is to get as much as you can done in as little time as possible, but when you’re trying to get your steps in, make it a point to be less efficient.
Instead of piling up all of your laundry in a stack that’s taller than you and then struggling to get it all to the washing machine in one trip, bring a few armfuls at a time so that you have to walk back and forth several times.
If you have kids or pets and you need to clean up their toys, grab one at a time and put it back where it belongs before going back for the next one.
If you’re bringing groceries in from the car, resist the urge to pile as many bags as possible onto each arm and take only two at a time — one in each hand — until everything is brought into the kitchen.
It might seem like these things will only add a trivial amount of steps to your day, but once you start doing it regularly, you’ll see how fast all those 20-step extra trips add up.
Get a treadmill desk
Treadmill desks take the advice to stand up as you type one step (pun intended) further. If you haven’t already heard, there are actual under-desk treadmills that you set up with a standing desk to turn your workspace into your workout space — a multitasker’s dream. But there are other options, too.
If you already have a treadmill, there are also desk attachments that you can snap onto your treadmill’s handlebars to turn it into a treadmill desk. If you don’t have the budget or the space for a treadmill desk, you can opt for a regular standing desk without the treadmill attachment and walk in place as you work. If you do this at a moderate pace for one hour, that’s about 6,000 steps that you can check off at the same time as your work to-do list.
Fair warning, things can get a little bumpy and it’s not as easy to type when you’re moving as when you’re sitting stationary in a chair, but after some practice, you get used to it.
Get a mini trampoline
OK, you might not technically think of jumping as steps, but it does count toward your step goal. And a study done by scientists at NASA in 1980 found that jumping on a mini trampoline — or rebounding, as it’s officially called in the fitness world — is a more efficient exercise than running on the treadmill at any speed. It also puts less stress on the body, so injuries and sore joints are less likely.
Rebounding, even for just five minutes a day, may also help increase lymphatic flow. The lymph system is responsible for isolating infection and clearing out toxins from everywhere else in your body and, unlike the circulatory system which uses your heart to pump, the lymphatic system has a weak internal pumping system. Because of that, lymph drainage relies heavily on skeletal muscle contractions and jumping on a trampoline is one of the most effective ways to get things going.
You can get any type of mini trampoline, but bungee rebounders, like the ones from JumpSport or Leaps and Rebounds, tend to be the easiest on your joints. They’re also a lot quieter than the spring-style rebounders.
Dance around the kitchen while you cook
Getting in your steps doesn’t have to be a formal, robotic process. Make it fun by turning it into a dance party. Since you most likely have to cook or prepare a meal in some way at some point anyway, you can get two tasks done at once. As an added bonus, listening to music and dancing are both proven ways to help reduce stress and boost happiness.
Instead of standing in front of the stove waiting for your pan to heat up or for the water to boil, put on your favorite song and dance around the kitchen. Dance to the refrigerator, taking as many steps as possible, as you get out ingredients. Shimmy back and forth as you chop veggies (but be careful).
Make it a competition
Nothing lights a fire under me faster than turning a step goal into a “friendly” competition. And by “friendly” competition, I mean “completely unfriendly, there’s no way I’m going to let you beat me” competition. That might be the Type A in me, but even if you don’t consider yourself a competitive person, you might be surprised at how much more motivated you feel when you’re trying to out-step someone else (especially if that someone else is your significant other).
Research shows that competition can help boost physical effort — both in the short- and long-term, increase physical motivation, and improve performance (as long as the situation doesn’t require a lot of mental effort).
If you have an Apple Watch, you can share your activity with anyone else who has one, too, so you can see where you stand in real time. If you don’t, you can easily send pictures or screenshots of your step status with your competitor to keep track.
Don’t beat yourself up
Now that I’ve given you all of my best advice to reach 10,000 steps indoors, here comes the cliche pep talk: don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get there right away. I know, I know, but seriously — 10,000 steps, which is equivalent to about five miles, is a lot. If you’re coming from a sedentary lifestyle, you’re probably not going to be able to jump off the couch one day and rack up 10,000 steps around your house like it’s nothing — and that’s OK.
Ten thousand steps isn’t some magical fitness number — that step goal was actually created in the 1960s by a Japanese company that was trying to sell a pedometer. And it worked. Since then, that number has become the go-to step goal for health enthusiasts, myself included.
But if the thought of 10,000 steps intimidates you, scale it back. Make it your goal to reach 2,000, 4,000 or 8,000 steps indoors for a couple of weeks and then once you’ve nailed those goals, you can work your way up. A study that was published in JAMA Internal Medicine actually found that you start seeing some serious health benefits at just 4,400 steps per day, and once you reach 7,500 daily steps, those health benefits kind of level off.
Even if you were fairly active before the shutdown in March and the number doesn’t intimidate you, but you relied on outdoor activity or the gym to help you reach your step goals, figuring out the best way to get there indoors is going to take some trial and error. Be patient with yourself through the process. You have to learn what works for you and what doesn’t. Start with a few strategies on this list and then go from there. Soon, you’ll figure out what you like and what you don’t and hitting your step goal indoors will become second nature.
NO EXCUSES ♥︎ a Full Body Workout that can do whenever and wherever you like. // Werbung You don’t need any equipment or weights!! Targets the muscles of your whole body and gives you a QUICK SWEAT! The video is in full length which means you can just follow whatever I’m doing 30s for each exercise. There are two 1min rests in between. If you need to pause longer – feel free to do so. If you don’t need a break – skip them! I recommend switching up your workouts to give your muscles enough time to recover. You can do this workout 2-3x a week and if you want to do be active on the other days: check out my Sixpack, Core & Booty Workout ♥︎ __ ▸ you can find FREE WORKOUT PLANS on my Instagram Channel. 30min, 45min and Beginner Friendly combinations.
In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to prepare for your financial future.
And one of the easiest ways to add to your nest-egg is to simply cut your biggest household expenses and save more of your hard earned money.
We often forget some of the golden rules to saving that our parents taught us. Here’s a quick list of things you can do to save on bills in 2019. No matter your circumstance, there’s something here that everyone can use like cutting down your mortgage bill and save on utilities.
1. Take Full Advantage Of These Tax Deductions
Owning a home can be very lucrative. Seriously, owning a home can not only give you a cheaper monthly payment than renting but in many cases, the tax benefits make the decision a no-brainer.
Here are a few of the larger deductions that you need to be sure to take:
Interest you pay on your mortgage: If you own a home and don’t have a mortgage greater than $750,000, you can deduct the interest you pay on the loan. This is one of the biggest benefits to owning a home versus renting–as you could get massive deductions at tax time. The limit used to be $1 million, but the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) reduced the limit and made some clarifications on deducting interest from a home equity line of credit.
Property taxes: Another awesome benefit to owning a home is the ability to deduct your property taxes. Before TCJA, the rules were a little more flexible and you were able to deduct the entirety of your property taxes. Now things have a changed a bit. Under the new law, you can deduct up to $10,000. The deduction for state and local income taxes was combined with the deduction for state and local property taxes, too.
Tax incentives for energy-efficient upgrades: While most of the tax incentives for making energy-efficient upgrades to your home have gone away, there are still a couple worth noting. You can still claim tax deductions on solar energy–both for electric and water heating equipment, through 2021. The longer you wait, though, the less money you’ll get back. Here’s the percentage of equipment you can deduct, based on time of installation:
Between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2019 – 30% of the expenditures are eligible for the credit
Between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020 – 26%
Between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2012 – 22%
2. Use Government Rebates To Get Solar Panels And Slash Your Energy Bills
Warning: Do not pay your next energy bill until you read this…
This is the 1 simple truth your power company doesn’t want you to know. There is a new policy in 2019 that qualifies homeowners who live in specific zip codes to be eligible for $1,000’s of Government funding to install solar panels. Has your power company told you that? Of course not. They hope homeowners don’t learn about this brilliant way to reduce your energy bill tremendously!
When homeowners check whether they qualify many are shocked that subsidies and rebates can cover a lot of the costs associated with installation so it greatly reduces the amount you’ll have to pay. Many may qualify for $0 down! Soon, you could be on your way to significantly reducing your electric bill in a matter of weeks.
Smart homeowners are setting out to do their own research and determine whether this new program lives up to its reputations. Over and over again, many are reporting back on their findings, with the most exciting part being that they are now able to save $1,000s a year on their own energy bill.
New lighting technology has really come a long ways. Now although they do cost more than traditional incandescent bulbs, CFL and LED bulbs can last for years without having to replace them. You don’t even need to replace every bulb in the house at once. Even swapping just your four or five most-used light bulbs can save you $45 or more a year!
CFL vs. LED
CFLs, which use a quarter of the energy of incandescent bulbs and last for years, are the next cheapest option after traditional bulbs. But they also have some drawbacks: They take a while to warm up to full brightness, and they also contain a small amount of mercury.
Meanwhile, LEDs are more expensive. However, they’re getting cheaper all the time, and they are easily the best lighting option available: They light up instantly, are efficient as CFLs, produce a warm glow without getting hot to the touch, and can last for decades.
4. Automate Your Thermostat
One of the easiest things you can do to instantly start saving money on your heating and cooling bills is to get an automated thermostat. These smart thermostats will learn when you are home and make sure the home is at a comfortable setting during those hours.
You may even be able to get a rebate from your utility provider for installing one of these in your home. It’s a win-win!
5. Make A Grocery List
You ever go to the grocery store when you’re hungry and find yourself checking out with way more than you intended? We call this “Hunger Shopping” and it’s quite dangerous to your wallet!
Before going to get groceries, make a list of groceries that you need for the upcoming week. That way, you only buy what you’re intending to use and the amount that will get thrown away from being expired is kept to a minimal.
6. Buy in Bulk
One of the easiest things you can do to instantly start saving money is to buy in bulk! Retailers often give a MUCH better deal on products such as paper towel, toilet paper, detergent, etc if you buy in bulk.
This might seem like an obvious one, but we often forget how much money we waste by not buying in bulk.
7. Want a Patio? Consider Concrete Over Pavers
Building a patio can add great value to your home, as well as creating enjoyable outdoor living space for you and your family. But patios can come at a great cost.
When we decided to add a patio to our home, we looked at the different surface options carefully. Although many landscapers would recommend pavers over concrete because of their durability over time, we decided that the cost savings was more important to us. We personally love the clean look of concrete as well.
Now one thing to remember with concrete is that it WILL crack eventually. But if you have a good concrete crew, it should be prepped right where the cracks are minimal. So we expect to see cracks, but are hopeful that it will be minimal.
8. No Life Insurance? You’ll Want To Use This Brilliant Life Insurance Trick
If you don’t have life insurance, you better read this.
It’s not something any of us like to think about or plan for. But when the worst happens, it’s essential to know your family and loved ones are covered financially. That’s why it’s essential to have a life insurance. A good life insurance policy can help cover the cost of a mortgage, childcare costs and safeguard your family from inheriting any debts you might have.
But the sad truth is, a shocking number of Americans do not have a life insurance policy and their family is at financial risk if the worst should happen.
There is a service that is now allowing users to get free life insurance quotes from some of the top insurance companies out there. People are shocked at how cheap an excellent policy is after requesting their free quotes. But the reality is, life insurance rates are at a 20-year low and thanks to new program policies you could qualify for a great new policy at an extremely affordable price.
To get your free quote today, click below and complete a few questions (about 60 seconds). Once you’re done, you will be presented with choices and rates you never thought possible (no login required). Enjoy your savings!
Just like we need to breathe, your air conditioner needs space where it’s getting air easily. Many AC units are surrounded by shrubs that can restrict the airflow it needs to run efficiently. Take a few minutes this weekend and do the following:
Trim up any bushes that are are touching the unit so there is at least 1 foot of clearance
Clean up the ground for any loose debris or leaves
If the outside of the unit has a lot of debris clogging it up, consider having a professional service and clean it out
10. New Auto Insurance Policy
Here’s what auto insurance companies don’t want you to know…and what thousands of consumers are quickly learning about their current auto insurance plan:
If you’re paying more than $63 per month for auto insurance, this auto insurance comparison tool can help you check to see if you’re overpaying in a few minutes. This is something every driver should be doing every 6 months or so to ensure that they are getting the best deal.
Insurance companies are always competing to win your business, but if you turn a blind eye and keep the same policy in place for a long period of time, your rates might have increased. By checking rates, drivers saved an average of $531 per year with a new policy.
All active military and veterans are entitled to get a 10% discount on all in-store purchases at Lowe’s.
To make it even better, Lowe’s extends this offer to their spouses! Need new tools? How about new appliances? How about a kitchen remodel? Lowe’s carries a variety of things, so take advantage of this incredible discount!
12. Born Before 1985? Get $3,000/year Taken Off Your Mortgage With The Government’s New “Enhanced Relief” Program
Banks Don’t Want Homeowners Knowing This
Still unknown to many is a brilliant Government Program called the Freddie Mac Enhanced Relief Refinance Program (FMERR) that could benefit millions of Americans and reduce their payments by as much as $3,000 per year! You could bet the banks aren’t too thrilled about losing all that profit and might secretly hope homeowners don’t find out before time runs out.
So while the banks happily wait for this program to end, the Government is making a final push and urging homeowners to take advantage. This program is currently active but could be shut down at any given time in 2019. But the good news is that once you’re in, you’re in. If lowering your payments, paying off your mortgage faster, and even taking some cash out would help you, it’s vital you act now and see if you could qualify for FMERR or a better rate in today’s marketplace.
Apparently, in the dating world, there’s now an epidemic of men specifying partners and relationships with “no drama”. “I understand that people want joy, laughter and happiness in their relationships,” wrote Laura Hilgers, in a New York Times essay on the phenomenon.
But the men who use such phrases, she argued, “want something that doesn’t exist: a problem-free partnership with someone who has no life experience. Are they looking for a woman who never gets angry or afraid or sad, who never worries about her family or struggles in her job?”
It’s hard to say, because “drama” is so vague. That makes it a worthy successor to the now rather 70s-sounding “issues”: a label capacious enough to include people with severe personality disorders – whom you might be forgiven for wishing to avoid – but also everyone who has displayed any human emotion other than upbeat good cheer. So, by demanding “no drama”, you get to characterise your fear of difficult emotions as a simple matter of self-care.
Of course you don’t want to date somebody with, you know, issues! (To be clear: if drama means emotional or physical abuse, you should definitely avoid it.) On the other hand, good luck finding a fulfilling relationship if you will only consider people with no issues.
If I have sympathy for these drama-avoidant men, though, I can sum it up in two words: internet dating. Romance, like much else these days, comes with the promise of infinite possibility: if this particular match doesn’t work out, there are countless fantastic alternatives on standby. The promise might not be real; maybe none of those astoundingly attractive women would date you.
But it’s the belief that counts – and in this environment, filtering out the prospect of being exposed to someone else’s emotional struggles makes a certain, rather soulless, kind of sense. Why choose a challenging experience if a fun one seems like an option? Sure, the challenging experience may ultimately prove more meaningful, but it’s still a big ask.
It’s a mild version of that phenomenon where people have a brush with death, through illness or accident, then say it was the most meaningful experience of their lives. Fair enough – but even so, few of us would choose that path if we thought we could skip it instead. The problem here is the collision of a timeless truth – that what we think we want isn’t always what’s best for us – with a modern one: the way the “convenience revolution” makes it so easy to get what we think we want.
Convenience plays funny tricks: “I prefer to brew my coffee,” writes the academic Tim Wu, “but Starbucks Instant is so convenient I hardly ever do what I ‘prefer’.” A decade or two ago, it didn’t matter so much if you couldn’t handle negative emotions in others; if you wanted a relationship at all, you would have to learn to cope.
These days, when it takes willpower just to go and meet a friend instead of staying at home watching Netflix, how much more willpower does it take to voluntarily submit to the risk of difficult feelings? You still should, since it’s the only way to fulfillment. But like many other things worth doing, it’s getting easier and easier not to do it.
Have you considered listing all the positive things happening in your life?” my therapist asked me.
I winced a bit at my therapist’s words. Not because I thought gratitude for the good in my life was a bad thing, but because it glossed over the complexities of all that I was feeling.I was talking to her about my chronic illnesses and the way it impacts my depression — and her response felt invalidating, to say the least.
She wasn’t the first person to suggest this to me — not even the first medical professional. But every time someone suggests positivity as a solution to my pain, it feels like a direct hit to my spirit.
Sitting in her office I began to question myself: Maybe I do need to be more positive about this? Maybe I shouldn’t be complaining about these things? Maybe it isn’t as bad as I think?
Maybe my attitude is making all this worse?
Positivity culture: Because it could be worse, right?
We live in a culture steeped in positivity.
Between memes spouting messages meant to uplift (“Your life only gets better when you get better!” “Negativity: Uninstalling”), online talks extolling the virtues of optimism, and countless self-help books to choose from, we are surrounded by the push to be positive.
We are emotional creatures, capable of experiencing a wide range of feelings. However, the emotions that are deemed preferable (or even acceptable) are far more limited.
Putting on a happy face and presenting a cheery disposition to the world — even when going through really tough stuff — is applauded. People who push through hard times with a smile are praised for their bravery and courage.
Conversely, people who express their feelings of frustration, sadness, depression, anger, or grief — all very normal parts of the human experience — are often met with comments of “it could be worse” or “maybe it would help to change your attitude about it.”
This positivity culture transfers over to assumptions about our health, too.
We’re told that if we have a good attitude, we will heal faster. Or, if we’re sick, it’s because of some negativity we put out into the world and we need to be more conscious of our energy.
It becomes our job, as sick people, to make ourselves well through our positivity, or at the very least to have a perpetually good attitude about the things we’re going through — even if that means hiding what we’re truly feeling.
I admit that I have bought into many of these ideas. I’ve read the books and learned about the secret to manifesting good into my life, to not to sweat the small stuff, and how to be a badass. I’ve attended lectures about visualizing all I want into existence and listened to podcasts about choosing happiness.
For the most part I see the good in things and people, look for the silver lining in unpleasant situations, and see the glass as half full. But, despite all that, I’m still sick.
I still have days where I feel most every emotion in the book except for the positive ones. And I need that to be okay.
Chronic illness can’t always be met with a smile
While positivity culture is intended to be uplifting and helpful, for those of us dealing with disabilities and chronic illness, it can be detrimental.
When I’m on day three of a flare-up — when I can’t do anything but cry and rock because the meds can’t touch the pain, when the noise of the clock in the next room feels excruciating, and the cat’s fur against my skin hurts — I find myself at a loss.
I’m grappling with both the symptoms of my chronic illnesses, as well as guilt and feelings of failure associated with the ways I’ve internalized the messages of positivity culture.
And in that way, people with chronic illnesses like mine just can’t win. In a culture that demands we face chronic illness inauthentically, we’re asked to deny our own humanity by concealing our pain with a “can-do” attitude and a smile.
Positivity culture can often be weaponized as a way of blaming people with chronic illnesses for their struggles, which many of us go on to internalize.
More times than I can count, I’ve questioned myself. Did I bring this on myself? Am I just having a bad outlook? If I’d meditated more, said more kind things to myself, or thought more positive thoughts, would I still be here in this bed right now?
When I then check my Facebook and a friend has posted a meme about the power of a positive attitude, or when I see my therapist and she tells me to list the good things in my life, these feelings of self-doubt and self-blame are just reinforced.
‘Not fit for human consumption’
Chronic illness is already a very isolating thing, with most people not understanding what you’re going through, and all the time spent in bed or homebound. And the truth is, positivity culture adds to the isolation of chronic illness, magnifying it.
I often worry that if I express the reality of what I’m going through — if I talk about being in pain, or if I say how frustrated I am at having to stay in bed — that I’ll be judged.
I’ve had others say to me before that “It’s no fun to talk to you when you’re always complaining about your health,” while still others have remarked that me and my illnesses were “too much to handle.”
On my worst days, I started to pull back from people. I’d keep quiet and not let anyone know what I was going through, except for those closest to me, like my partner and child.
Even to them, though, I’d jokingly say that I wasn’t “fit for human consumption,” trying to maintain some humor while also letting them know it may be best to just leave me alone.
Truthfully, I felt shame about the negative emotional state I was in. I’d internalized the messages of positivity culture. On days where my symptoms are especially severe, I don’t have the ability to put on a “happy face” or gloss over the things going on with me.
I learned to hide my anger, grief, and hopelessness. And I held onto the idea that my “negativity” made me a burden, instead of a human being.
We are allowed to be authentically ourselves
Last week, I was lying in bed in the early afternoon — lights off, curled up in a ball with tears quietly running down my face. I was hurting, and I was depressed about hurting, especially when I thought about being bed-bound on a day I’d had so much planned.
But there was a shift that happened for me, ever so subtle, when my partner walked in to check on me and asked me what I needed. They listened as I told them all the things I was feeling and held me as I cried.
When they left, I didn’t feel so alone, and even though I was still hurting and feeling low, it somehow felt more manageable.
That moment acted as an important reminder. The times when I tend to isolate are also the times that I actually need my loved ones around me the most — when what I want, more than anything, is to be able to be honest about how I’m really feeling.
Sometimes all I really want to do is have a good cry and complain to someone about how hard this is — someone to just sit with me and witness what I’m going through.
I don’t want to have to be positive, nor do I want someone to encourage me to change my attitude.
I just want to be able to express my full range of emotions, to be open and raw, and have that be totally okay.
I’m still working on slowly unravelling the messages that positivity culture has ingrained in me. I still have to consciously remind myself that it’s normal and perfectly okay to not be optimistic all the time.
What I’ve come to realize, though, is that I am my most healthy self — both physically and emotionally — when I give myself permission to feel the full spectrum of emotions, and surround myself with people who support me in that.
This culture of relentless positivity won’t change overnight. But it’s my hope that, the next time a therapist or a well-meaning friend asks me to look at the positive, I’ll find the courage to name what I need.
Because every one of us, especially when we’re struggling, deserves to have the full spectrum of our emotions and experiences witnessed — and that doesn’t make us a burden. That makes us human.
Angie Ebba is a queer disabled artist who teaches writing workshops and performs nationwide. Angie believes in the power of art, writing, and performance to help us gain a better understanding of ourselves, build community, and make change. You can find Angie on her website, her blog, or Facebook.
Editors’ Note: Following the huge popularity of this post, article source Amy Morin has authored a guest post on exercises to increase mental strength here and Cheryl Conner has interviewed Amy in a Forbes video chat about this article here.
For all the time executives spend concerned about physical strength and health, when it comes down to it, mental strength can mean even more. Particularly for entrepreneurs, numerous articles talk about critical characteristics of mental strength—tenacity, “grit,” optimism, and an unfailing ability as Forbes contributor David Williams says, to “fail up.”
However, we can also define mental strength by identifying the things mentally strong individuals don’t do. Over the weekend, I was impressed by this list compiled by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker, that she shared in LifeHack. It impressed me enough I’d also like to share her list here along with my thoughts on how each of these items is particularly applicable to entrepreneurs.
1. Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. You don’t see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they’ve been mistreated. They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair. They are able to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned. When a situation turns out badly, they respond with phrases such as “Oh, well.” Or perhaps simply, “Next!”
2. Give Away Their Power. Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad. They understand they are in control of their actions and emotions. They know their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.
3. Shy Away from Change. Mentally strong people embrace change and they welcome challenge. Their biggest “fear,” if they have one, is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant. An environment of change and even uncertainty can energize a mentally strong person and bring out their best.
4. Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control. Mentally strong people don’t complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage, or especially about other people, as they recognize that all of these factors are generally beyond their control. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude, and they use these attributes well.
5. Worry About Pleasing Others. Know any people pleasers? Or, conversely, people who go out of their way to dis-please others as a way of reinforcing an image of strength? Neither position is a good one. A mentally strong person strives to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate, but is unafraid to speak up. They are able to withstand the possibility that someone will get upset and will navigate the situation, wherever possible, with grace.
6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks. A mentally strong person is willing to take calculated risks. This is a different thing entirely than jumping headlong into foolish risks. But with mental strength, an individual can weigh the risks and benefits thoroughly, and will fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take action.
7. Dwell on the Past. There is strength in acknowledging the past and especially in acknowledging the things learned from past experiences—but a mentally strong person is able to avoid miring their mental energy in past disappointments or in fantasies of the “glory days” gone by. They invest the majority of their energy in creating an optimal present and future.
8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over. We all know the definition of insanity, right? It’s when we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we’ve gotten before. A mentally strong person accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs.
9. Resent Other People’s Success. It takes strength of character to feel genuine joy and excitement for other people’s success. Mentally strong people have this ability. They don’t become jealous or resentful when others succeed (although they may take close notes on what the individual did well). They are willing to work hard for their own chances at success, without relying on shortcuts.
10. Give Up After Failure. Every failure is a chance to improve. Even the greatest entrepreneurs are willing to admit that their early efforts invariably brought many failures. Mentally strong people are willing to fail again and again, if necessary, as long as the learning experience from every “failure” can bring them closer to their ultimate goals.
11. Fear Alone Time. Mentally strong people enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone. They use their downtime to reflect, to plan, and to be productive. Most importantly, they don’t depend on others to shore up their happiness and moods. They can be happy with others, and they can also be happy alone.
12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything. Particularly in the current economy, executives and employees at every level are gaining the realization that the world does not owe them a salary, a benefits package and a comfortable life, regardless of their preparation and schooling. Mentally strong people enter the world prepared to work and succeed on their merits, at every stage of the game.
13. Expect Immediate Results. Whether it’s a workout plan, a nutritional regimen, or starting a business, mentally strong people are “in it for the long haul”. They know better than to expect immediate results. They apply their energy and time in measured doses and they celebrate each milestone and increment of success on the way. They have “staying power.” And they understand that genuine changes take time. Do you have mental strength? Are there elements on this list you need more of? With thanks to Amy Morin, I would like to reinforce my own abilities further in each of these areas today. How about you?
Cheryl Snapp Conner is a frequent speaker and author on reputation and thought leadership. You can subscribe to her team’s bi-weekly newsletter, The Snappington Post, here.
One day, when my brother was 18, he waltzed into the living room and proudly announced to my mother and me that one day he was going to be a senator. My mom probably gave him the “That’s nice, dear,” treatment while I’m sure I was distracted by a bowl of Cheerios or something. But for fifteen years, this purpose informed all of my brother’s life decisions: what he studied in school, where he chose to live, who he connected with, and even what he did with many of his vacations and weekends……..
As the sky smiles, the street tears the chunks Fear units more than courage, a rock has sunk Wants the knowledge, he is back to that youth The barefoot cries, are unknown to love & truth He’ll never forget, lessons learned through hurt A tasted victory, a forced witness, a false rebirth A wish for […]