Over the holiday break, I traveled back to Canada to visit my parents. Since I don’t watch TV at home, I decided I would indulge my senses and watch a little. “Hey, it’s the break. Relax, let it loose and watch all those shows I miss out on.” At the end of two weeks, I was an addict. I sat and watched so many random shows that I’m embarrassed just thinking about it.
Coming from a life where the TV never gets used, I found that the change in me was swift and noticeable. My holiday daily routine went something like this: sleep in, lazily walk into the kitchen looking for food, turn on the TV to see what’s on while I eat, watch TV for several hours, spend some time with my family, eventually return to the TV and watch for several more hours.
At the end, I felt so drained and tired. Even with knowing how it made me feel, I continued to repeat this each day until the day I left. Like I was under a magical spell. What’s worst, after coming home, I downloaded all the missed episodes of Tila Tequila’s ‘Shot at Love’ and watched them. Even knowing that it was trash for my mind, I did it anyway.
This article was originally published on December 20, 2007, around the time this blog was born. Sometimes, older articles get buried and lost in the archives, but their advice is still applicable today.
As I transition into a full-time mom again, I recently experienced some guilt (more on that in a new post soon) and this articled helped to ground me with its gentle reminders to "Let go of the pain. It's all an illusion. Set yourself free. Everything will be okay." Enjoy the article!
Have you recently felt guilty for something you didn’t do?
Perhaps, feeling guilty for not replying to emails? Guilty for not reaching all your goals for the day? Guilty for having spent hours browsing the web aimlessly and not having enough time to do something important? Guilty for telling someone you’d call, but never returning the call? Do you beat yourself up for it?
I’m definitely guilty of having felt guilty. :) I’m also guilty for the self-inflicted mental beating I give myself, afterwards.
Thoughts like these have the power to bring you down. They carry an energy that weighs down on your mind, because part of you is constantly thinking about it. The guilt begins popping up in everything you do. Do you get random tightness feeling in your stomach? A sort of nervousness that you just can’t seem to shake off?
When you were a child, you may have been told to “Stand up straight!” or “Don’t slouch!” from your parents and teachers. I remember when I was younger, my mother would poke my back out of nowhere to remind me to stand up straight. I hated this as a teen and was determined to rebel for no reason other than to be stubborn and go against what I was told. My purposeful slouching eventually turned into a habit and carried with me into adulthood.
Now that I’m older, I understand why my mother was so insistent. My poor posture now makes me feel:
Pain in my back and shoulders.
I am breathing shallowly.
I appeared to lack self confidence.
Energy was not flowing efficiently throughout my body. I was often tired.
It made me look and feel weak.
I have spent much time correcting the damage, and undeveloped muscles, from my rebellious teen years. Like any habit, breaking bad posture can be a challenge, but definitely doable with some attention and practice.
Many of us may like to improve our posture, but we often don’t know how, or where to start.
Have you ever justified your lack of success towards a goal with the excuse that you lacked the experience? Or that you lacked the resources: money and time? Did you give up before you even tried?
Have you ever looked at a competition in your field and justified their success to something trivial like:
She’s successful, because she’s got better computer skills.
He’s successful because he knows the right people.
They are successful because they’ve been doing this for many years.
John did it, because he’s loaded, he has more money than I’ll ever see.
Maggie has always been luckier than me.
We’ve missed the real work behind the scene. We’ve robbed them of the real reason why they are successful. Plus, we have spent extra energy justifying our lack of success and missed real opportunities to learn from their excellence.
Have you ever felt mentally blocked from finding a solution to a problem you are facing? Most of us have had this experience, and it can be quite frustrating. Writers call it writer’s block, and the rest of us call it stumped, stymied, confused, etc. Brainstorming is one effective tool for helping to remove the mental roadblock and come up with ideas and solutions.
Brainstorming is a method of generating ideas that allows the brain to think freely and use both sides of the brain to ideally come up with creative solutions to difficult problems. Brainstorming can be used whether you’re sorting out a problem at work, coming up with your next business idea, or resolving a personal relationship issue. Brainstorming can help you hone in on the problem and come up with creative ways to approach it.
A positive mental attitude is the starting point of all riches,
whether they be riches of a material nature or intangible riches.~Napoleon Hill
Okay, so there’s no myth that I am a positive person, or at least striving to be one. However, I am aware that I’m not positive all the time. I am continuously working to become conscientious of my choices, thoughts and reactions. I frequently get asked about positive thinking, and I wanted to first clear up some points of confusion.
Positive people are not living like Pollyanna in some dream world with no hold on reality. Positive people may have an attitude like Pollyanna, but they are not necessarily unrealistic. Positive person are very capable of understanding the reality of a cynic. They just change their mindset to see the reality from a different perspective.
I have a confession to make… I still have not started my Christmas shopping. Having said that, I’m guessing that many of your out there are just like me, waiting for the last week before Christmas. :) As a gentle reminder to myself, I’ve compiled a list of gift ideas for the holiday season. These ideas are not limited to just Christmas, but for all occasions. I hope you may benefit from this list as well.
The list is broken down into several categories:
Gifts that Touch the Soul
Books that Change Lives
Alternative Wrapping Ideas
1. Seed Gift Wrap that Blossoms – Okay, this is really cool. Imagine a wrapping paper that you will plant instead of throwing away. These are biodegradable paper embedded with wildflower seeds. Once you’re done using the paper, just plant and water for beautiful blossoms. There’s no waste.
How do you feel when sitting at home? Calm and peaceful, nestled in your neatly kept place? Or could your space use some love, organization and cleaning? If you fall into the former category, that’s awesome, skip the article and please share tips on how you keep such a tidy place in the comments. If you can barely type over the pile of stuff on your desk, then hopefully you’ll find inspiration in the words below.
I used to be quite a pack rat. I seldom threw anything away. I loved to take home everything I could get for free, such as promotional items from work, or odds-and-ends donated from friends. At one point, I discover that I had stuffed more than 20 techie t-shirts from various University recruiting events at the back of my closet. Yikes!
Perhaps I formed this habit during my poor, uncared-for university days. Maybe I was influenced having grown up in a communist country, where everything was limited and nothing was thrown away. Basically, I had accumulated A TON of stuff from years past.
Not only was it difficult to find things, but my mind was constantly filled with thoughts about what to do with all my stuff. Each time a closet was opened, I was reminded of the stuff I had, and the endless organizing I still needed to do (maybe I need a hoarding treatment). Even if we claim that our messy environment doesn’t bother us, each piece of clutter still takes up mental energy in our minds.
I’ve heard of all the standard public speaking tips, like making eye contacts with your audience, plan your speech, practice, speak with volume, and standing up straight. Although, they are valuable tips, none of these tips address the real problem underlying my speech delivery. Namely, my fear of failure, and the crippling nervousness I experience when standing in front of a crowd of people.
I’m sure you can relate to the nervousness I’m referring to. Even if you are Tony Robbins or an expert in speech delivery, at some point in your life, you’ve felt nervous when giving a presentation. I used to hate public-speaking, I would get so nervous that the only thing I heard was the sound of my heart bouncing out of my chest, the only thing I felt was my stomach tightening up as I wipe my sweaty palms on my pants. In the past, I’ve dealt with this fear by avoiding presenting in front of people, whenever possible. But I’ve since learned that the best way to deal with any fear is facing it. I started looking outside of myself, then learning and testing out various techniques for dealing with fear. I began practicing advice on giving outstanding presentations. In my experimentation, I have found that several techniques have worked miracles in helping me give effective and fearless presentations.