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How to Increase Your Happiness to Change Your Life

How to Increase Your Happiness to Change Your Life

How can you increase your happiness?

Of course improving the circumstances surrounding your life can do this to a great extent but that's easier said than done.

What else can you do?

Luckily there are once again a few options available to you and a few 'hacks' that can actually greatly boost your mood and your health. Bear in mind that health and happiness are very closely linked.

SAD

One of the biggest regulators of our mood is the weather and even if you don't have 'seasonal affective disorder' you're likely to have much more energy and to be much happier when it's sunny.

If you live somewhere that's dark in winter though, you can 'hack' the effect that the sun has on your brain. One way to do this is with a 'daylight lamp' which creates light in your home that has the same wavelength of the sun. If you get one with a built-in alarm you can get it to wake you up with a pleasing effect similar to a sunrise. You will start every day feeling healthier and more energetic.

Sleep

Improving your sleep is crucial for your mental health and happiness. Make sure that you are getting lots of healthy sleep by taking time to wind down in the evening, avoiding caffeine and having a hot shower before bed. Make sure your room is perfectly dark too. Don't underestimate the importance of this aspect – it is critical for your mood and performance the next day.

Exercise

Exercise is also very important for your mood. Not only will this improve your health, thereby getting more energy to your brain and thus keeping you happy, but it will also stimulate the production of endorphins that make you feel much happier and much luckier.

Generally it can also help to streamline your lifestyle and to remove as many stressors as you can – whether that means having less clutter in your rooms (this makes a huge difference) or it means using systems to automate some of your jobs.

Gratitude Attitude

One of the most powerful ways to transform your happiness though is to change what you focus on. You can have objectively the best life in the world, but if you only focus on what is missing, you will never be happy!

Instead then, learn to focus on the good by spending time every day writing down things you are grateful for, things you have done well, and things you are excited about. This last one is truly game-changing.

Go Getters Aren’t Born with a Success Mindset

Go Getters Aren’t Born with a Success Mindset

There are a great deal of misconceptions when it comes to successful people. They’re seen as a mystery in a way, and naturally many people make assumptions about their lives that aren’t necessarily true.

This can make some people nervous about their own path to success because they don’t feel as capable as the people who have achieved it before them. However, that wasn’t always the case in their lives – we just don’t see the story unfold from day one – we see it once success has already come to fruition.

Some People Seem to Have It All So Easily

It’s easy to look at successful people and get jealous or envious. They always seem to be living the lives that you want to live. They don’t seem to have a care in the world. They have plenty of money, plenty of time, and they’re living the way that they want to.

We always only see them in a positive light - there never seems to be something going wrong in their world. Think about the life of someone successful. It could be someone famous or wealthy, or just someone happy and fulfilled who you know.

It seems like such a fantastic life to live - full of enjoyment and without any significant struggles. They seem to know how they want to live their life and they’re doing it with relative ease, and social media showcases it all for us in real time – the yachts, the luxury purchases, and the endless smiles.

They’re happy with who they are and they’re comfortable with just coasting from here on out, not having to worry about how they can advance themselves to that next level. Successful people almost always seem calm, cool and collected......

Overcome the Number One Fear

Overcome the Number One Fear

The fear is the biggest barrier in your success.

You might have skills, capabilities to reach there but your fear can be the only reason to stop you from going after what you truly desire. They can give rise to negative emotions like your chances of success are very low that you don’t even try.

Fears are complex and cunning, they can be deep-seated and they are often sub conscious, which means the state of being unaware of what holding you back.

Certain practical exercises to help you get beyond it so you can pursue and achieve your goals.

Understand your triggers.

Is there is something obvious that you know you have fear of? Like the sight of a snake on a trail or of darkness? Figure out everything that triggers your fear and try to understand it because more you know and try to understand better are chances to face it.

Question the power the fear holds over you

Does your fear holds you back from keep moving and growing. Is it the reason that you don’t go to family functions or you won’t get on a plane? If anything like this happens to you then figure out what power your fear have over your mind and behavior. Learn to fight from your fears as you hold the biggest power in you, don’t think too much. Learn to face the situations as you are not alone, many people have several fears but if you learn to conquer over them, then you might become the motivation for others.

Identify false beliefs

 Many fears are based in false beliefs or catastrophic thinking. It may be based on your ancestors or false society beliefs. Like when you see a spider a sudden thought came that spider may harm you and then you will die. Identify these patterns and starts questioning them. Do some online research and understand the difference in actual and perceived risk. Start re- structuring your thoughts to not engage in catastrophic thinking.

Learn relaxation techniques. When your body experiences fear, lots of triggers ready your body for a “fight-or-flight” action response. Learn to override this response by counteracting with relaxation techniques. Relaxation tells your body that there is no danger and that you are safe. Relaxation can also help you cope with other stress and anxiety in your life.

Try deep breathing exercises.

 Focus on your breath, and start counting each breath: four seconds inhale, then four seconds exhale. Once this is comfortable, elongate your breath to six seconds.

Learn relaxation techniques. One way to do this is to clench all the muscles in your body for three seconds, then relax them. Do this two or three times to melt stress throughout your body. Relaxation will tell your body that there is no danger and help you to cope with stress and anxiety in your life.

Use your senses

One of the most reliable way to relieve anxiety is be engaging your one or more senses—sight, sound, taste, smell, touch—or through movement. But still it may work for you or may be not but do some experimenting to discover what works best for you.

Challenge negative thoughts about your phobia

When you have a phobia, you tend to overestimate the situations and start overthinking like how bad it would be if you are exposed to it or underestimate your ability to cope. These negative thoughts that fuel your phobias are usually negative and unrealistic. By writing your negative thoughts when confronted by phobia, you can begin to challenge these unhelpful ways of thinking.

Start seeing fear as an opportunity

Fear can also be a tool to help us identify problems and solve them effectively. It’s a red flag that warns us when something needs attention.

When you feel fear of something unfamiliar, take it as a sign that you need to get to know a person or situation better. If you feel a flash of fear then its an opportunity to make a plan of action to be prepared, it can be rehearsing a play or practicing a speech.

Overcoming the fear and anxiety will give you the 'spare capacity' in life to focus on what you really want to be and do. Though it takes efforts and might be little time but imagine the rewards you will be getting afterwards.

Success is Attitude too

Success is Attitude too

If you want to achieve your greatest potential in your life then one of the most important step is to monitor your attitude and its impact on your performance, your relationships and everyone around you. It’s difficult to be happy and content professionally (not to mention personally) if you’re constantly overworked and stressed out. But there’s an easy way to become both happier and more successful quickly. It’s as simple as this: change your attitude.

Here are some of the ways that the right attitude can make you more successful:

Self-Motivation through Discovering Your Motives

Discover what motivates you in a positive way to take action to change your life. Basic motives include love, self-preservation, anger, financial gain and fear. Self-motivation requires enthusiasm, a positive outlook towards life, a positive physiology and a belief in yourself and your God-given potential.

The Power of Visualization

Studies have shown that peak performers use affirmations and visualizations either consciously or subconsciously to enhance and focus on their skills. Nelson Mandela has written extensively on how visualization helped him maintain a positive attitude while being imprisoned for 27 years. “I thought continually of the day when I would walk free. I fantasized about what I would like to do,” he wrote in his autobiography. Visualization works well to improve attitude.

Exercising Will Help Keep You Motivated

One of the best ways to move to a more positive and motivated frame of mind is to exercise. A regular exercise routine can provide relatively quick positive feedback in the form of not only losing weight or muscle development but brings a sense of doing something positive for yourself.

Create positive impressions.

It is no secret that life seems to reward us most when we approach the world with a positive attitude. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. It probably comes as no surprise, but when you have a good attitude, you’re more likely to present yourself to others in a positive light.

Good impressions can lead to many potential benefits. Employers may be more likely to choose you as a new hire. Co-workers, colleagues, and potential partners will be more inclined to work with you.

Deeper connections.

A good attitude creates positive first impressions, which are the gateway to developing deeper personal and professional connections. Ultimately, this can create in-roads in business, so that you can forge positive, lasting relationships with employers, colleagues, and potential partners.

Remember: when opportunity knocks, there’s someone doing the knocking. You want people to think of you when opportunities arise, and your connections are the key to making this happen.

Gain more confidence.

If you want to be more confident then there are variety of things that can help you from visualization to improving your posture to dressing nicely for success. However, none of these exercises will be very effective without the right attitude.

When you have a good attitude then you likely to put efforts for self-improvement exercises and continue getting stronger. In short, a positive outlook will make it possible to keep getting better, and this positive progress can boost your confidence big time in the long term.

You’ll be happier.

By adopting the right attitude, you stand to gain in so many ways, but perhaps the most profound is that it will make you feel happier. When you feel happier, things seem far more achievable in life.  Day in and day out, they can have a profound effect on your career -- and life.

So, consider shifting to an attitude of gratitude and apply it to your work moving forward. You have everything to gain!

Qualities of a winner

Qualities of a winner

In the era of fierce competition when everyone wants to know the secret formula of success- either individually or in team or as an organization. What is the real secret? Why some people reach at the top, be it in business, sport, or entertainment?

What are the qualities that separate such winners from others? These are-

Self-Direction

This means knowing what you want to achieve. This is a critical quality of a winner. When Federer started playing tennis he had one goal and that was to win six grand slams just like his childhood heroes Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker respectively. This is not a bad goal and he has surpassed that goal by nearly 3 times. The key is he was absolutely clear on what he wanted to achieve. The only way to be self- directed is to set goals for every area of your life including personal, career, family and financial. Once you ignite the flames of your potential you can blast through any setbacks.

Self-Discipline

Self-discipline is the most important one because of his only you can follow other disciplines. The greatest people of the world practiced it. You can develop it too if you have a burning desire inside you to achieve something with your life. You cannot build it if you are unclear of the blueprint of what you want your future to look like.

Self-Reliance

You are the boss of your career. In the last you are the winner or you are the loser and it’s your choice what you want to be. You cannot blame any situation or person for it. Think like you are running a company with one employee yourself and to keep going you need to take its responsibility, upgrade your skills, build your brand (there are more avenues than ever to achieve this), and network relentlessly. You also should develop the habit of asking for what you want. Only if you ask you can get.

 Winners know themselves and are honest with themselves. They figure out the balance between training harder and taking some time to recover.  They regularly push themselves to the limit but also allow themselves to recover appropriately.

Burning Ambition

 Winners aim and aspire for the stars. They hold a vision for themselves and create stretching goals. Having the drive, motivation and dedication to continuously focus take them to achieve their ambition and reach their destination.

Maximizing Opportunities

Taking full advantage of every opportunity that comes on your way must be a priority if you want to be a winner. You don’t have fewer opportunities, only the way to look at them differs from person to person. The Winners see an opportunity and grasp it with both hands and make full use of the situation or task. The winners don’t take opportunities for granted and are grateful for the opportunities that have come about, seeking to make the most of their situation.

Gracious Humility

Ego can be a destructive thing. If you are suffering from being too egoistic then you are in battle with yourself. It’s not that you should not be proud of your achievements or there is any harm in flaunting them but one should never forget humility. As Good things happen to good people. Gracious humility leads that path.

Enthusiasm and Passion

Nothing kills momentum and creativity faster than a lackluster spirit. A sour attitude is deadly to just about anything it touches. If we are fortunate enough to have a passion for what we do, it’s a great thing. Many people are not that lucky. So where do we find the energy and enthusiasm to do our work well? We find it in the things that really matter. The smiles and laughter of our children. The support and gratitude of our loved ones for the things we do. Enthusiasm is a powerful tool. It will always reward in increased production, positive leadership, and the building of the desired reputation that opens doors.

Don’t waste time

Time never waits for anyone. The winners know how to make out of every minute; they understand that some things and some people only slow them down on their journey of success. It is always better to eliminate distractions so that you can focus on priorities.

Conclusion

Learn to develop such qualities to be a winner. However this does not means that you will always experience victory, sometimes failures will also come your way but remember you must learn from them and nothing can stop you. Once you fall, make sure you come back much stronger than before.

How to Use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Transform Your Limiting Beliefs

How to Use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Transform Your Limiting Beliefs

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a very popular form of psychological therapy that has largely replaced psychotherapy and plain behavioral therapy in clinical settings. This model of psychology is often used to treat anxiety and mental health problems and it has been proven very effective in doing this.

But interestingly it has uses much beyond that, which we will look at next week. Make sure to keep your eyes on your inbox because this is some pretty powerful stuff!

CBT is a psychotherapeutic approach used to treat mental illness. Specifically, it works by looking at the contents of the thoughts and then trying to change those. Someone who has a fear of heights for instance is likely to have lots of negative thoughts like 'I'm going to fall' or 'it isn't safe' and this will only make their problem worse. CBT looks to change that and thus improve mental health.

There are two ways that they do this:

Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a form of meditation where you 'watch' thoughts go by. Here you will not try to 'calm your mind' or anything like that: you are literally just going to close your eyes and see what thoughts come to you. When you're finished, make a note of these and you can identify ones that might be causing trouble.

Cognitive Restructuring: This is the point in which you are going to change those negative thoughts for positive ones. So if you think you're in danger on top of the roof, you will be trying to replace those thoughts with things like 'this place was built with safety in mind' and 'I'm in complete control'.

Cognitive Restructuring and Luck

So to use this in the context of improving positivity, confidence, and luck, you first need to use some mindfulness to try and identify some of the negative thoughts you might be having which could be impacting on how lucky you feel you are and how successful. Maybe you think things like 'bad things always happen to me'. Once you're aware of these thoughts, you'll be one step closer to dealing with them.

Once you've made a note of your negative beliefs you can then use some more strategies to use cognitive restructuring. One is something call 'thought challenging' where you critically analyze a thought to ask yourself whether it's truly valid.

Sit down and actually assess the content of that negative thought.

How likely is it really that you would jump or fall from that height? Or that it hasn’t been safety tested to near exhaustion?

What other beliefs are holding you back?

The Damaging Negativity of “I Don’t Mind”

The Damaging Negativity of “I Don’t Mind”

Many of us will answer “I don’t mind” to a vast array of questions. From what we want for dinner, for what we want to do.

The reason that most of us will say 'I don't mind' a lot is probably because we think it's the more pleasant response when posed with a question. Rather than forcing everyone to do what we want, we instead pretend that we don't have an opinion in order to ensure that everyone else is happy.

How sweet.

On other occasions you can't decide what to do for best and don't want the responsibility of making the wrong choice, so you say 'I don't mind' thereby giving someone else the job of making that decision.

Actually though, this tends not to be how things play out. For starters, there's a very real chance that everyone will say they don't mind, which then slows things down and prevents you from making any progress and usually results in one of the worst outcomes. Now you've just inconvenienced everyone else and ended up doing something that no one wanted to do… great!

Another danger is that you end up seeming disinterested, like you don't care about the question enough to give an answer. That's pretty annoying when someone is offering you a hot drink…

Alternatively you say you don't mind, the other person then gives their opinion, and so you default to doing what they want instead. That then means that you don't get to do what you wanted to do, and in some scenarios you may even end up resenting them for that. Which is pretty nuts really when you failed to provide an alternative option…

The other problem is that when you say you don't mind, it appears as though you have no opinion or are just completely indecisive. This may come as a surprise to you, but that's actually not something that people consider particularly attractive. Keep saying I don't mind and pretty soon you'll come across as 'wet'. Want more respect? Then learn to make at least the tiniest decisions – such as whether you'd rather have orange juice or apple juice.

Here's the worst part: if you keep saying “I don’t mind” then you might well come across as though you don’t feel you value your own opinion enough to share it – or that you don’t feel you’re entitled to a vote.

This can eventually change the way that others see you, and even lead you to actually believe that about yourself.

Speaking Your Mind

'I don't mind' is essentially conflict avoidance taken to the extreme, and if you don't stop it now, then you'll possibly find yourself coming off worse in the vast majority of discussions and looking completely incapable of making decisions.

And the crazy part is that there's actually nothing impolite at all about speaking your mind and saying what you'd prefer. Just make sure you make it clear that you'll potentially go along with another decision and don't be too forceful with your opinion. Instead of 'I don't mind', try: 'I'd prefer we had the lasagne tonight, but I'm open to other options'. There you go, that wasn't so hard was it?

Stop Wallowing, Just Do It

Stop Wallowing, Just Do It

Negative beliefs and thoughts can end up impacting your entire life in a “butterfly effect” type way. If you think that you are worthless, then this can change the way you stand, the chances you take, and opportunities that you believe are available to you. The result is that you make a worse impression on others, and don’t take full advantage of your innate skills and abilities.

But did you know that similar beliefs can affect you on a day to day level? Hidden beliefs that you aren’t aware of can change the very way you approach tasks… or fail to.

The example we’re going to use here is a busy day in the office. Let’s say that you get to work and you find that things have really piled up. There are 100 (angry) emails to answer, you have one project that’s late, and you have another one that you haven’t even started yet that is going to be horrible to work on.

You now find yourself frozen. Without knowing which thing to start on first, you might find yourself doing nothing.

Likewise, you might find yourself wasting time thinking of ways to outsource the work (palm it off) or otherwise not do it. Great if it works… not so great if you spend 20 minutes looking for a shortcut and get nothing for your efforts!

You might write a to do list or find other ways to procrastinate.

But here’s what you really need to do: start.

While you can wallow and feel sorry for yourself all you like, while you can try and “get out of it,” the truth is that things will only get worse the more you put if off. If you just dive in and start, you’ll at least make positive headway. And you’ll feel MUCH better as a result.

Another one we love is the “one minute rule.” This states that if something takes less than a minute… you should just do it!

To get to this point though, you need to learn to better recognize your own thoughts and emotions, and to better understand how to take them and transform them into positive beliefs and thoughts – determinations that help you to get work done.

This comes from two places:

  • Changing your deeply felt beliefs about you, what you’re capable of, and what “worth” you have
  • Becoming better at identifying unhelpful thoughts and immediately swapping them for better ones

Once you can do this, you’ll completely change your ability and your life.

How Brain Power and Focus Make You Happier and Luckier

How Brain Power and Focus Make You Happier and Luckier

It is common in self-help literature to hear that being more confident, believing in yourself, and regularly thinking positive thoughts can all help you to feel happier and to even influence your life in a positive way.

But here’s another factor you might not have considered: brain power. Did you know that mental focus, creativity, sharpness, and more can help to make you happier and even luckier?

Those who are more positive and happy tend to notice opportunities more because they are less stressed. But by the same token you could notice even more opportunities by being more alert and switched on.

Likewise, effective use of CBT requires mental discipline which in turn needs energy and focus. The last section on health will deal with this to an extent but on top of this you also need to ensure your brain is just loaded with energy and that it's functioning better. If you're groggy and easily distracted you won't be able to exert the necessary discipline to change those negative thoughts.

So how do you boost your brain power?

A Quick Guide to Upgrading Your Brain

One way to quickly upgrade your brain is to give it more energy. We've seen how sleep can help with this but you can also do it through the right diet and supplementation. Omega 3 fatty acids for instance help to improve brain cell permeability which in turn aids rapid communication and thus brain power. Similarly, studies have shown that creatine – a supplement that athletes use to increase cellular energy – is capable of improving focus and IQ.

Brain training 'games' haven't been conclusively shown to work with the exception of the 'Dual N-Back' test which can increase 'working memory' and thus pattern recognition – critical for seeing and noticing those opportunities.

Most important of all though is to learn how to get into a 'flow state' which is that mental state where everything just seems effortless. In this situation your brain floods itself with the neurotransmitters dopamine, anandamide and norepinephrine which work together to further enhance pattern recognition, reflexes, attention and creativity.

How to trigger these flow states? You convince your brain that what you are doing is hugely important. And you can achieve this through the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (which you now understand) as well as by simply being highly passionate about what you do – by loving your job and your partner. People who love what they do are happier, more focused and much happier.

How Thoughts Shape Our Lives – And How to Shape Your Thoughts

How Thoughts Shape Our Lives – And How to Shape Your Thoughts

What you think shapes your life.

That’s because what you think shapes your behavior, which indirectly controls the way your life unfolds.

If you think you’re unlucky for example, then not only will you not take any chances, but you might also actually miss opportunities that appear. You’ll focus on things that go wrong, and this will make you feel worse about yourself.

If you think you’re bad at your job, you won’t speak up in meetings, you’ll keep your head down, and you might even be less prone to power dressing!

Affirmations

In the case of a thought like 'I'm always unlucky', you now know that you're only unlucky because you think you're unlucky. Likewise the thought that 'good things never happen to me' is self-perpetuating. Ask yourself genuinely what your skills are and your assets. Be objective and ask others if necessary. Chances are you will find that you're just as capable as everyone else so the only thing that could be bringing you down is your own negativity. Accept this and replace those thoughts.

Likewise, you can also use positive affirmations in order to improve your luck. These are statements you repeat to yourself like 'I'm a successful and positive person'. Over time, if you repeat these enough they can become ingrained and part of your psyche. If you struggle to remember to use them, consider putting post-it notes up around your home.

This might seem like it wouldn’t accomplish much, but by constantly exposing yourself to these positive messages, you will be repeating the same thoughts over and over and actually strengthening the neural pathways in the brain that are responsible for creating them. As these become strengthened, they will become more likely to be activated in future.

In short, those positive thoughts can actually become a habit.

Thought Restructuring

There are other more powerful methods you can use to transform thoughts too. One is to use “thought challenging.” This means looking at the content of your thoughts and assessing whether it’s accurate.

Can you really just be an unlucky person?

And if you are so bad at your job, how are you in the position you’re in now?

Another trick is something called hypothesis testing. Here, you actually put those negative beliefs to the test in order to prove to yourself they’re inaccurate. For example, take on a big project at work and show to yourself that you can do it!

Using these techniques. you can learn to change your beliefs and that's when you will start becoming luckier.

How to Blog

How to Blog

While there is no one right way to blog, there are certain steps that you don’t want to ignore. If you miss some of those steps, your blog won’t have the kind of reach that is possible for it - and the words that you have to share can be a powerful tool of influence.

The book, How to Blog, is a guide that can take you from the beginning where you create the blog all the way to understanding how to monetize what you write. You’ll discover in the pages of this book all of the reasons why you should start a blog.

Among these reasons are personal growth. You’ll be amazed at what you learn about yourself once you start blogging. The book will show you how to choose the topics that you write about once you discover which niche is right for you.


The right niche is often one that you feel passionate about or that you already invest your time and money in. It can also be one that’s driven by a desire to share what you’ve learned so that others can grow, too.

Choosing what name to give your blog is covered in one part of the book. This can be a name that has a special meaning or it can relate directly to the niche that you choose.
Of course, all great blogs have good content on the pages and the author teaches readers how to schedule content.

Regular content keeps your blog fresh in search engine results pages, which is part of search engine optimization or SEO, which is also taught in the book. Even if you’re brand new to the world of blogging, you’ll still be able to set one up.

The book goes into detail about the blog themes - including the layout and design that you can personalize. If you’re not comfortable setting up your blog, then you can hire someone else and the author also shares information for how to go about doing that.

You’ll also learn about sharing content. This deals with social sharing, which you not only want to do across your own social media platforms, but you want to encourage others to do for you as well.

You can blog using Twitter bites and also share your blog through the use of share buttons that you can add to the site. How to network with other bloggers and how to make your blog a fit for mobile users is part of the guidance that you’ll receive from the book and it also covers the marketing side of blogging.

You’ll learn about email marketing, sponsored posts, affiliates and using your blog as advertising space in order to earn. The book also shares some of the common problems found in blogging - such as failing to market or network and being too general with your blog slant. 

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