3 Instant Ways to Calm Your Mind

3 Instant Ways to Calm Your Mind
3 Instant Ways to Calm Your Mind

Is your mind in a spin? Do you feel stressed? Here are three ways to calm your mind in an instant.

The deep breath.

Take a deep breath. Fill your belly and your chest as your inhale deeply. Then release the breath, letting it flow out naturally. Notice how your mind changes when you do this. The deep breath can help you in difficult situations. For example, if you feel a surge of anger and are just about to lash out, taking a deep breath allows you to retain control of yourself. Use the deep breath often during the day. It is especially useful when you are feeling uptight or angry: it can release you from the grip of strong emotions. When you take a deep breath, you regain an overview over what is happening. It’s as if you are call forth your innate power of wisdom.

The sigh

Another technique of instant calmness is the sigh. Draw the air in rapidly through your nose or mouth and expel it with a whoosh. Try it and notice what happens. The sigh is a release technique. Use it to let go of pent-up worries or to untangle the mind. For example, if you are at work and are trying to hold too many thoughts in your mind, simply stop what you are doing for a moment and sigh.

The slow release

Inhale through your nose with energy and exhale through your mouth very slowly while counting to ten. As you breathe out, let your shoulders drop. This is a very powerful way to calm the mind and relax tension in the body. Use it if your mind is very scattered. For example, if you are meditating and find that your mind is running wild, take three slow release breaths to settle your mind.

Experiment with one-breath calmness techniques. You may find that one of the three works particularly well for you, or that each one works best in particular circumstances. If you work at a computer a lot of the time, try installing a break reminder program. You can set it up so that a pop-up reminds you of taking mini-breaks. Try and use it to take a calming breath each time.

To read more interesting articles like this, visit goodlifezen.com.

5 Timeless Ways to Turn Your Life Around at Any Age

5 Timeless Ways to Turn Your Life Around at Any Age
  1. Focus a little less on the future, and a little more on the present
  2. Focus more on the journey
  3. Do hard things
  4. Embrace uncertainty
  5. Build and nurture quality relationships

Things can change if you want them to, at any age.  Life changes every single moment, and so can you.

Last week I received three emails with the exact same subject line – “Turning My Life Around” – from three different coaching/course students.  This synchronicity certainly caught my attention.  Each of these student’s emails went into detail about their life situation and danced around the same fundamental theme and question:

“I don’t know what I want to do with my future, but I want to be successful…  So what should I do?”

Obviously a sweeping, open-ended question like this is difficult to answer.  But here’s my attempt to answer it for all of us – a short list of five timeless principles and strategies Angel and I live by – a list worth working on regardless of your age or what you decide to do with the rest of your life:

1.  Focus a little less on the future, and a little more on the present.

Yes, it’s healthy to plan for the future, but not at the full expense of today.  The truth is no matter how smart you are or how hard you try, you can’t accurately figure out the future.  Even people who have a systematic plan (steps to be a doctor, steps to be a successful entrepreneur, etc.) don’t actually know what will happen down the road.  And if they have any certainty at all, they’re a bit naive.

Life rarely goes as planned.  For every person that succeeds in doing exactly what they set out to do in the exact time frame they set out to do it in, there are dozens of others who start strong and get derailed.  And if this happens to you, it isn’t a bad thing.  New obstacles and opportunities may come along to shift your perspective, to strengthen your resolve, or to change your direction for the better.  The destination you fall in love with someday may not even exist today.  For example, just a few short years ago the esteemed career paths of working at Google, Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist.  Neither did the job of professional coach and blogger at Marc and Angel Hack Life.

So if you can’t plan out your future in its entirety, what should you do?  Focus a little less on the future and focus more on what you can do now that will benefit you no matter what the future brings.  Read.  Write.  Learn and practice useful skills.  Test your skills and ideas.  Build things.  Be adventurous and seek real-world experiences.  Cultivate healthy relationships.  These efforts will help in any future circumstances that come your way.

One of the best ways to begin with all of this, I think, is to build something small in your free time.  Most people fritter their free time away on things that don’t matter, like TV, video games, social media, etc.  A year of that and you have absolutely zero to show for it.  But if you painted every day, or practiced your web design skills, or wrote on a blog, or updated and perfected a video channel on YouTube, or started building a side business/passion project, or spent more time networking with the right people… at the end of a year you’ll have built something.  And you’ll have some great life experiences too – experiences you can point to and say, “I built that, and I learned this,” which, sadly, most people can’t do.

Also, it’s important to mention that although it may seem easier for younger people to do these things, it’s 100% possible for all of us to take small steps in the right direction, day in and day out, for the rest of our lives.

2.  Focus more on the journey.

The most prolific and beneficial experience is not in achieving something you want, but in seeking it.  It’s the journey towards an endless horizon that matters – goals that move forward with you as you chase them.  It’s all about the pursuit and what you learn along the way – the “moving.”

The most important reason for moving from one place to another is to see what’s in between.  In between is where passions are realized, love is found, strength is gained, and memories are made.  You can’t get any of that without firsthand living.

In other words, the right journey is the destination.  (Read The War of Art.)

3.  Do hard things.

If you want to stunt your growth and feel stuck in the same place forever, make excuses.  If, on the other hand, you want to stop feeling trapped, do things that make you uncomfortable – things you aren’t very good at.  There’s no excuse for remaining stuck.  There’s no excuse for making the same exact mistakes over and over again.  Life is too short.  You’ve got to stretch your boundaries and break free.

One of the most important skills you can develop in life is being OK with some level of discomfort.  Because the best things are often hard to come by, and if you shy away from difficulty and discomfort, you’ll miss out on them.

Mastering a new skill is hard.  Building a business is hard.  Writing a book is hard.  A marriage is hard.  Parenting is hard.  Staying in shape is hard.  All are amazing and worth every bit of effort you can muster.

If you get good at doing hard things, you can do anything.

How do you get good at this?  Purposefully do things today that are uncomfortable, and start in small doses.  Try exercising for ten minutes, even if it’s hard, and repeat this practice every day for a month before increasing your exercise duration by even the slightest margin.  Try journaling or meditating every day for ten minutes.  When you find yourself avoiding discomfort or procrastinating, push yourself just a little bit more, but don’t do more than ten minutes.  It’s all about starting small and building a daily ritual that gradually strengthens your mind and body, and allows you to do (larger) hard things effortlessly in the long run.  (Angel and I demonstrate this process in detail in the “Goals and Growth” module of Getting Back to Happy.)

4.  Embrace uncertainty.

A related skill to “doing hard things” is thriving in uncertainty.  Starting a business, for example, is a remarkable thing to do, but if you’re scared of uncertainty you’ll skip it.  You can’t possibly know exactly how things will turn out, and so if you need to know how things will turn out, you’ll avoid life-changing opportunities, projects, career moves, relationships, etc.

But if you can be OK with not knowing, you’ll open yourself up to an endless pool of possibilities.  But of course they won’t come easy…

Sometimes you will not be able to see where you are going; every step will seem uncertain.  But know that as long as you follow your intuition and take baby steps, your soul’s inner GPS will guide you home.  You will find that you will be the right person, at the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing on point.  Trust your instincts.  Relax.  You know what to do.  Living is about learning as you go.

And remember, living is risky business.  Every decision, every interaction, every step, every time you get out of bed in the morning, you take a small risk.  To truly live is to know you’re getting up and taking that risk, and to trust yourself to take it.  To not get out of bed, clutching to illusions of safety, is to die slowly without ever having truly lived.

If you simply ignore your feelings and let uncertainty win, you will never know anything for sure, and in many ways this unknowing will be worse than finding out your hunch was wrong.  Because if you were wrong, you could make adjustments and carry on with your life without ever looking back and wondering what might have been.

Bottom line: When you get good at handling discomfort and uncertainty, you can do all kinds of remarkable things that seem impossible now: travel the world and live frugally while blogging about it, write a book, start a small profitable business, relocate to a new city, learn to play a musical instrument, take a job with a startup you admire, travel to “bucket list locations” with your family, and much more.  All of these ideas can be achieved in a relatively short time, but you have to be OK with discomfort and uncertainty, and you have to start sooner rather than later.  (Angel and I discuss this further in the “Success” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

5.  Build and nurture quality relationships.

There are right people and wrong people for you.  There are fake people and then there are those who are true friends and sincere companions on the path.  There are people who take the heart out of you, and those who put it back.  You have a choice of who to spend time with.  True friends (personal or professional) have an honest heart and will go out of their way to help you when you need it most.  Stick with the people who never let you down and keep their promises.  You can’t fake that.

Truthfully, if your time and energy is misspent on the wrong relationships (personal or professional), or on too many activities that force you to neglect your good relationships, you can end up in a tedious cycle of fleeting friendships, superficial romances that are as thrilling as they are meaningless, and a general sense of wondering why you always seem to be running in place, chasing affection and admiration.

How do you build healthy, lasting personal and professional relationships?  How do you find friends that lift you higher?  How do you meet a significant other that belongs at your family reunions?  Here’s a good read on how to meet the right people.

As this topic relates to professional success…  Talk to lots of people every day, even if it feels uncomfortable.  Bosses.  Colleagues.  Employees.  Professors.  Classmates.  Social club members.  Neighbors.  Friends.  Friends of friends.  Everyone!  Why?  Networking…

I have worked for three employers since I graduated from college (I left all three employers by choice and on good terms, and eventually started my own business), but I only interviewed with the first employer.  The other two employers offered me jobs, before I even had a formal interview, based strictly on the recommendation of a hiring manager (someone I had networked with over the years).  When employers look to fill a position the first thing they often do is ask the people they trust if they know someone who would do well in the position.

If you start building your network today, you’ll be set in the years ahead.  Over time, you’ll continue talking to new people you meet through your current network and your network’s reach and the associated opportunities will continue to snowball for the duration of your life.

Again, this may seem easier for young people, but it’s possible for all of us.  It just takes effort.

The underlying key is to be trustworthy in your relationships.  When someone gives someone an employment/business opportunity, the biggest fear is that this person is not trustworthy – that they’ll slack off and try to cheat the system.  Someone who has established a positive reputation over the years will likely be more trusted, and more likely to be recommended.  Learn to be trustworthy by being honest, admitting mistakes and fixing them, and generally going above and beyond the call of duty in your personal and professional relationships whenever you’re able.

If you adhere to this, you’ll build a good reputation and people will appreciate and endorse you, which is the best way to get a job, a business investor, or another good friend.

Afterthoughts

If you follow the principles discussed above, you’ll be remarkable.  You’ll be way, way ahead of most other people (even though you’re not competing with them).  And opportunities will gradually come your way: job opportunities, a chance to build something special with someone, an idea for a business that you can build yourself, a new skill to learn and grow from, etc.

Of course, you can put all this off and take an easier, familiar path that keeps you hiking in circles…

Or you can start down a new path today, turn your life around, and see what the rest of it has to offer you.

The floor is yours…

Which point above resonated the most with you?

What’s the #1 thing you want to change in your life?

To read more interesting articles like this, visit marcandangel.com.

7 Timeless Strategies for Finding Inner Strength

7 Timeless Strategies for Finding Inner Strength
7 Timeless Strategies for Finding Inner Strength

7 Timeless Strategies for Finding Inner Strength (When You Need it Most)

We originally read this article by MarcandAngel.com and found it was a great read. The bullets don’t really do it justice, so be sure to read the full article (link below).

  1.  Decide to be OK with NOT being OK all the time.
  2.  Focus only on today.
  3.  Realize that one tiny step is all you ever need to take.
  4.  Remind yourself that few things in life are as personal as they seem.
  5.  Create healthy space for yourself away from external negativity.
  6.  Make sure you’re only seeking support from the right sources.
  7.  Choose an attitude that moves you forward.

Your turn…

This was a great article, read the full article here…

Simple Phrases that Will Give You Strength

Simple Phrases that Will Give You Strength
Simple Phrases that Will Give You Strength

Yep, I talk to myself… we all do! What a lot of people don’t realize is that it’s not only healthy to talk to yourself, it’s a key to feeling a sense of control and peace.

You can say the wrong things to yourself and feel a sense of weakness and vulnerability.

The trick is having a few positive mantras that you can repeat in your mind over and over when you need them. Here are a few of my favorites which you’re welcome to use anytime you need them. They give me strength and they’ll do the same for you.

  1. I love myself no matter what.
  2. I’m in charge of my own emotions.
  3. I will attract what I think about so I better think about good stuff!
  4. When I’m going through hell, I should keep going… this too shall pass!
  5. Everyone has horrible scars. Mine make me who I am.
  6. What I’m looking for is not in the past. It’s in the present.
  7. Every single day is a brand new beginning–tomorrow could be great!

12 Little Known Laws of Happiness

12 Little Known Laws of Happiness
12 Little Known Laws of Happiness

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”

– Aristotle

12 Little Known Laws of Happiness

  1.  Integrity is the foundation of a happy, meaningful life.
  2.  Happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being brave.
  3.  Happiness is wholeness, and every step and experience is what makes you whole.
  4.  A happy life story does not mean an easy life story.
  5.  Happiness lives in all the small things.
  6.  Happiness is not some possession to be prized – it is a quality of thought, a positive state of mind in pursuit of meaning.
  7.  The secret of everyday happiness is not in always doing what one likes, but in mindfully liking what one does.
  8.  You can’t be happy unless you’re unhappy sometimes too.
  9.  Happiness is an evolving mindset.
  10.  Happiness flourishes through detachment.
  11.  It’s impossible to build your own happiness on the unhappiness of others.
  12.  You are incomparable to everyone else, and so are your triggers for happiness.

To read more interesting articles like this, visit marcandangel.com.

9 Ways to Make Your Days Simple Again

9 Ways to Make Your Days Simple Again
9 Ways to Make Your Days Simple Again

Found a great article on how to make life simpler which everyone needs to read. The author’s recommendations need to be read to be fully understood; however, here’s the condensed list:

  1. Know what your perfect day looks and feels like
  2. Determine what’s most important to you
  3. Say “no” to unnecessary commitments that do not support your priorities
  4. Limit your daily tasks
  5. Schedule at least one distraction-free time block each day
  6. Do ONLY one thing at a time
  7. Batch the smaller, less important tasks
  8. Leave space between everything
  9. Practice gratitude

Any darn fool can make a day more complicated than it has to be; it takes a touch of genius to make it simple again.

Read the full post on: marcandangel.com.

Having Less and Loving It

Having Less and Loving It
Having Less and Loving It

Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
– Lao Tzu

Spend five minutes watching TV ads and you’ll know what makes us happier. In the eyes of the advertiser, that is. A new car, diamond earrings, a new kitchen, carpets, house, overseas travel – everything that adverts offer us pretends to be a magic pill that will make us happier.

But does it?

Actually, it does.

I remember a time when I was so small that I had to stretch to see over the table. My parents bought me a  pair of shiny red shoes. And I loved them! I loved them so much that I put them under my pillow at night.

I can’t remember what happened next. But I suppose it is what always happens after we get a new toy. Scuff marks appear on the new shoe, or you drive you car into a hedge and get scratches over the gleaming paintwork. You put down a hot pot on the new kitchen bench and can’t get rid of the burn mark. Your new shiny thing ages.

So, yes – buying something new does make you feel happier. But only for a short while. That’s what our consumer society is built upon. Because when the thrill wears off, we need to go shopping again.

The beauty of less

A minimalist embraces the beauty of less, the aesthetic of spareness, a life of contentedness in what we need and what makes us truly happy. ~ Leo Babauta in The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life

I’ve recently been thinking about the difference between the mind of having, and the mind of being. These two are completely different ways to experience life. In a commercial society, everything is for sale, and everything needs to have a benefit.

The focus on benefits is all about having. What we’ve lost sight is that there is also being. If you look at the question below, you’ll see how limited the ‘having’ mindset is:

What is the benefit of being alive?

That questions is absurd, isn’t it? It just doesn’t make sense. Because being alive is – well – about being. And not about having.

In our consumer society, the mind of having is predominant. Our value in society is measured not by how we are, but by what we have. Everything turns into a lifestyle accessory when we look at it from the perspective of ‘having’ – even love or friendship.

One of the ways to escape the trap of having is the way of Minimalism

I’ve recently come across a thought-provoking book by Leo Babauta, called The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life. In it he describes simple ways of escaping consumerism, in order to heighten happiness.

What is a minimalist life?

It is a life, say Leo, “that is stripped of the unnecessary, to make room for that which gives you joy…It’s not a life of nothing, of boringness. It’s a life of richness, in less.”

How to become a minimalist

Leo sets out four steps that help us embrace a life of minimalism:

  • Start by realizing you already have
    enough.
  • Start cutting back on clutter and
    possessions.
  • Start simplifying your schedule.
  • Slowly edit everything you do.

By Mary Jaksch

Stop Being Your Best and Enjoy Life…

Stop Being Your Best and Enjoy Life...

A lot of times, I hear the phrases “Be your best,” “Live your best life,” “Be the best in everything.” You can buy books and read tons of articles that will “teach” you to be your best (you can check out Optimal Thinking: How to be Your Best Self if you want to employ “the best” attitude).

I think that these mottos create a generation of perfectionists who are highly unsatisfied with everything they have in life because they do not believe that they have reached “the best” status.

What is the problem with being the best?

Well, I can’t say that I am the best I can be. Sometimes I do not look the best, sometimes I do not feel the best, sometimes I do not make the best decisions, sometimes I am not the best mother or wife and sometimes I am not the best friend. Striving to be the best will make me a failure in my own eyes because I cannot live up to the expectations of the “best world.”

Being the best means that you constantly have to climb to the top of a ladder that you have created for yourself. You cannot stop and appreciate the moment as well as you cannot let yourself go down a few steps.

Every day you are hungry for new achievements and new proofs of your “bestness” (being the best in your professional field, earning more money, being the best parent, being the best student, being the best in a competition, having the best house etc.).

After you have achieved all of this you start pushing your own desire for being the best onto people around you (you want the best partner, the best kids, the best parents and the best friends).

When they do not fulfill your expectations you feel like they’ve failed you and that they are not good enough to be around you. This leads to a deep feeling of depression, dissatisfaction with your life, permanent loss of happiness and a 100% imbalance.

For peace of mind, we need to resign as general manager of the universe –Larry Eisenberg, actor

Instead of being the best, I choose to be good in everything I do and this makes my life much more balanced and fulfilling. The motto that I try to follow is “Good is good enough.” I think that this motto can help anybody to live a good life where they can comfortably find their own ZEN.

How do you incorporate the “Good Is Good Enough” principle?

Here are just a few ideas that can get you started and I am sure that you can transform them to fit your life and desires:

  • Set your own standards in life. Do not follow somebody’s else example or vision of life
  • Do not compete with everybody around you
  • Be in touch with yourself
  • Be grateful for what you have (appreciate even the smallest things like a sunny day or a smile on your partner’s face)
  • Look at the big picture. Do not fret about little things like dishes that have not been washed or grass that hasn’t been mowed in a while. What is more important: these details or your general well-being?
  • Do not expect much from others, just be grateful for who they are and for the fact that they are in your life
  • Write a list of expectations of the best you. Analyze this list and decide which of these expectations are really important and will make you happy
  • Do not try to be the best self for somebody else (for your partner, your kids, your friends or colleagues)
  • When the thoughts of “bestness” start chasing you, fight them with loving-kindness meditation

What are your ideas about being the best?

Do you think it is important to be the best, or would you rather be happy and balanced by using the “Good Is Good Enough” principle?

A guest post by Anastasiya Goers from Balance in Me

To read more interesting articles like this visit, goodlifezen.com

5 Hard-Core Happiness Hacks

5 Hard-Core Happiness Hacks
5 Hard-Core Happiness Hacks

Accept your right to happiness

Accept the fact that there isn’t a perfect person alive. Every human being has made countless mistakes, has broken hearts, broken dreams and their share of regrets. You deserve to be happy as much as anyone else.

Get out of your own head

Your brain is a tool for performing tasks and solving problems, but it can suck you into watching an endless string of re-run movies depicting past disappointments and future fears. You can easily stop yourself from watching the reruns just by being aware of them. That’s it. As long as you’re aware when you’re doing it–you can catch yourself and chose to do other things. So choose to live in the “now,” get off your butt and do stuff. Your reruns are boring by the way. Presence is the key to an inner peace like no other.

Schedule yourself in first and last

Put time on the calendar for what you need to stay positive and renew your soul each day. Own at least two time slots on your own calendar. Make them yours and make them great. Read a couple chapters of your book, exercise, meditate, take an online class, whatever floats your boat. Do it.

Appreciate the time between disasters

Life is full of disasters and blessings. An “attitude of gratitude” is the key to experiencing joy in life. Everyone has countless blessings that we can be grateful for. If you or a loved one has cancer, well let’s be grateful for the life we had and still have. If you’re missing a limb, well someone is missing both. If you’re missing a loved one, well, you were fortunately enough to have known them and loved them eternally. If you are reading this and not born into slavery, well, lucky you. A million people less fortunate than you would give everything to for your troubles compared to theirs. Appreciate what you’ve got–as your life is a beautiful masterpiece of good experiences in between the disasters. Nobody gets out alive… so love the time you have.

Fire your old gatekeeper

When others try to feed you negative crap, well, don’t let them in the gate. Once they start up, as the new gatekeeper will say… “gotta go” or “can’t talk right now.” They’ll move on to some other sucker. Same goes for your eyes and mouth. Don’t watch stuff that brings you down and don’t eat what you know you shouldn’t. It’s really self-care or self-love I’m talking about–but let’s just start out by firing the old gatekeeper and commit to managing the gate better. You can do it.

You deserve this thing called happiness.

Reminder, there are no shortage of impoverished people who want and need nothing more than safety to be happy and there’s no shortage of zillionaires who are miserable.

Newsflash: Happiness can be yours, just accept it.

Brain Exercises That Will Leave You Feeling Sharper…

Brain Exercises That Will Leave You Feeling Sharper...
Brain Exercises That Will Leave You Feeling Sharper...

The brain is a muscle and needs to be exercised just like any other muscle in the body. By keeping your brain in tip-top shape, it can increases your IQ, memory retention and improves overall problem-solving skills. This article describes a few exercises you can do to keep your brain in shape.

Reading

If you don’t come from a language enrich environment, reading a book can help boost your vocabulary deficit. By increasing your vocabulary, you increase your understanding of language in a more general application. When you come across a word you don’t know, pull out that handy dictionary (AKA google it), then use it throughout the day, making it a new part of your speech, and in turn shrink that language deficit.

Eat healthy and exercise

Scientist have proven that broccoli, tomatoes, omega-3, certain berries, green teas and protein in general will boost neurons to produce important neurotransmitters nor-epinephrine and dopamine― which increases mental alertness. Healthy exercise and eating right is not just for your body but important to the mental wellness of your brain.

Positive mind-set

Recent discoveries prove that your mind-set matters on an emotional level but also on a physiological one.

Believing in yourself when a task is hard, will help you cross the finish line and with every finish-line you cross, you’ve learned something new to get you there. (AKA: Clever. Intelligent. Smart.)

Pushing past your comfort zone

To increase brain functions, we need to learn something new that’s out of our current skill set. Is there an instrument you’ve always wanted play but never took the time to learn? Did you want to study a different language? Childhood fun like coloring and puzzles are a great way to keep your brain in shape which helps to expand the brain’s neural networks.

Brain games

There are many great brain game apps on your phone too. You could also take up the daily crossword puzzle, sudoku, play a board game like boggle and scrabble. The key here is to be creative so your brain gets the exercise it needs to stay sharp.

Written by B. Miles