Positive Psychology

There is power in positive thinking. Positive emotions are linked with better health, longer life, and greater well-being. On the other hand, chronic anger, worry, and hostility increase the risk of developing heart disease.

For some people, being happy comes naturally and easily. Others need to work at it. How does one go about becoming happier? That’s where positive psychology comes in. This relatively new field of research has been exploring how people and institutions can support the quest for increased satisfaction and meaning. It has uncovered several routes to happiness:

  • Feeling good: seeking pleasurable emotions and sensations
  • Engaging fully: pursuing goals and activities that engage you fully
  • Doing good: searching for meaning outside yourself
  • Gratitude: expressing appreciation for what you have in your life
  • Savoring pleasure: placing your attention on pleasure as it occurs and consciously enjoying the experience as it unfolds
  • Being mindful: focusing your attention on what is happening at the moment and accepting it without judgment
  • Self-compassion: consoling yourself as needed, taking the time to nurture yourself, and building the motivation to try again.

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Mind and Mood

Your mood and your mental health affect every aspect of your life, from how you feel about yourself to your relationships with others and your physical health. There’s a strong link between good mental health and good physical health, and vice versa. In the other direction, depression and other mental health issues can contribute to digestive disorders, trouble sleeping, lack of energy, heart disease, and other health issues.

There are many ways to keep your mind and mood in optimal shape. Exercise, healthy eating, and stress reduction techniques like meditation or mindfulness can keep your brain — and your body — in tip-top shape.

When mood and mental health slip, doing something about it as early as possible can keep the change from getting worse or becoming permanent. Treating conditions like depression and anxiety improve quality of life. Learning to manage stress makes for more satisfying and productive days.

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5 Ways Mindfulness Meditation is good for your Health

Research suggests that mindfulness benefits our bodies, not just our minds.

By Jill Suttie | October 24, 2018

According to thousands of years of tradition, Buddhists meditate to understand themselves and their connections to all beings. By doing so, they hope to be released from suffering and ultimately gain enlightenment.

In recent decades, researchers have been gaining insight into the benefits of practicing this ancient tradition. By studying more secular versions of mindfulness meditation, they’ve found that learning to pay attention to our current experiences and accept them without judgment might indeed help us to be happier. Studies to date suggest that mindfulness affects many aspects of our psychological well-being—improving our mood, increasing positive emotions, and decreasing our anxiety, emotional reactivity, and job burnout.

But does mindfulness affect our bodies as well as our minds?

Recently, researchers have been exploring this question—with some surprising results. While much of the early research on mindfulness relied on pilot studies with biased measures or limited groups of participants, more recent studies have been using less-biased physiological markers and randomly controlled experiments to get at the answer. Taken together, the studies suggest that mindfulness may impact our hearts, brains, immune systems, and more.

Though nothing suggests mindfulness is a standalone treatment for disease nor the most important ingredient for a healthy life, here are some of the ways that it appears to benefit us physically.

Mindfulness is good for our hearts

Heart disease is the leading killer in the United States, accounting for about 1 in 4 deaths every year. So, whatever decreases the risks or symptoms of heart disease would significantly impact society’s health. Mindfulness may help with that.

In one study, people with pre-hypertension were randomly assigned to augment their drug treatment with either a course in mindfulness meditation or a program that taught progressive muscle relaxation. Those who learned mindfulness had significantly greater reductions in their systolic and diastolic blood pressure than those who learned progressive muscle relaxation, suggesting that mindfulness could help people at risk for heart disease by bringing blood pressure down.

In another study, people with heart disease were randomly assigned to either an online program to help them practice meditation or to a waitlist for the program while undergoing normal treatment for heart disease. Those who took the mindfulness program showed significant improvements on the six-minute walking test (a measure of cardiovascular capacity) and slower heart rates than those in the waitlist group.

While one review of randomly controlled studies showed that mindfulness may have mixed effects on the physical symptoms of heart disease, a more recent review published by the American Heart Association concluded that, while research remains preliminary, there is enough evidence to suggest mindfulness as an adjunct treatment for coronary disease and its prevention. 

Mindfulness may also be good for hearts that are already relatively healthy. Research suggests that meditating can increase respiratory sinus arrhythmia, the natural variations in heart rate that happen when we breathe that indicate better heart health and an increased chance of surviving a heart attack.

Mindfulness may decrease cognitive decline from aging or Alzheimer’s

People tend to lose some of their cognitive flexibility and short-term memory as they age. But mindfulness may be able to slow cognitive decline, even in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

In a 2016 study, people with Alzheimer’s disease engaged in either mindfulness meditation, cognitive stimulation therapy, relaxation training, or no treatment, and were given cognitive tests over two years. While cognitive stimulation and relaxation training seemed to be somewhat beneficial in comparison to no treatment, the mindfulness training group had much more robust improvements on cognitive scores than any other group.

  • Mindful Breathing Mindful Breathing A way to build resilience to stress, anxiety, and anger

Why might that be true? A 2017 study looking at brain function in healthy, older adults suggests meditation may increase attention. In this study, people 55 to 75 years old spent eight weeks practicing either focused breathing meditation or a control activity. Then, they were given the Stroop test—a test that measures attention and emotional control—while having their brains monitored by electroencephalography. Those undergoing breath training had significantly better attention on the Stroop test and more activation in an area of the brain associated with attention than those in the active control group.

While this research is preliminary, a systematic review of research to date suggests that mindfulness may mitigate cognitive decline, perhaps due to its effects on memory, attention, processing, and executive functioning.

Mindfulness may improve your immune response

When we encounter viruses and other disease-causing organisms, our bodies send out troops of immune cells that circulate in the blood. These cells, including pro- and anti-inflammatory proteins, neutrophils, T-cells, immunoglobulins, and natural killer cells, help us to fight disease and infection in various ways. Mindfulness, it turns out, may affect these disease-fighting cells.

In several studies, mindfulness meditation appeared to increase levels of T-cells or T-cell activity in patients with HIV or breast cancer. This suggests that mindfulness could play a role in fighting cancer and other diseases that call upon immune cells. Indeed, in people suffering from cancer, mindfulness appears to improve a variety of biomarkers that might indicate progression of the disease. 

In another study, elderly participants were randomly assigned to an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course or a moderate-intensity exercise program. At the end, participants who’d practiced mindfulness had higher levels of the protein interleukin-8 in their nasal secretions, suggesting improved immune function.

Another study found increases in interleukin-10 in colitis patients who took a mindfulness meditation course compared to a mind-body educational program, especially among patients whose colitis had flared up. Yet another study found that patients who had greater increases in mindfulness after an MBSR course also showed faster wound healing, a process regulated by the immune system.

Studies have found effects on markers of inflammation, too—like C-reactive protein, which in higher levels can harm physical health. Research shows that people with rheumatoid arthritis have reduced C-reactive protein levels after taking an MBSR course versus being on a waitlist for the course. Overall, these findings suggest that mindfulness meditation can have disease-fighting powers through our immune response.

Mindfulness may reduce cell aging

Cell aging occurs naturally as cells repeatedly divide over the lifespan and can also be increased by disease or stress. Proteins called telomeres, which are found at the end of chromosomes and serve to protect them from aging, seem to be impacted by mindfulness meditation.

Studies suggest that long-time meditators may have greater telomere lengths. In one experimental study, researchers found that breast cancer survivors who went through MBSR preserved the length of their telomeres better than those who were on a waitlist. However, this study also found that general supportive therapies impacted telomere length; so, there may not be something special about MBSR that impacts cell aging.

On the other hand, another study with breast cancer survivors found no differences in telomere length after taking an MBSR course; but they did find differences in telomere activity, which is also related to cell aging. In fact, a 2018 review of research ties mindfulness training to increased telomere activity, suggesting it indirectly affects the integrity of the telomeres in our cells. Perhaps that’s why scientists are at least optimistic about the positive effects of meditation on aging.

Mindfulness may help reduce psychological pain

Of course, while the above physiological benefits of mindfulness are compelling, we needn’t forget that mindfulness also impacts our psychological well-being, which, in turn, affects physical health. In fact, it’s quite likely that these changes have synergistic effects on one another.

First of all, a great deal of research suggests that mindfulness can help healthy people reduce their stress. And thanks to Jon-Kabat Zinn’s pioneering MBSR program, there’s now a large body of research showing that mindfulness can help people cope with the pain, anxiety, depression, and stress that might accompany illness, especially chronic conditions.

For example, drug addictions, at heart, come about because of physiological cravings for a substance that relieves people temporarily from their psychological suffering. Mindfulness can be a useful adjunct to addiction treatment by helping people better understand and tolerate their cravings, potentially helping them to avoid relapse after they’ve been safely weaned off of drugs or alcohol. The same is true for people struggling with overeating.

Fascinating though it is, we shouldn’t overplay meditation’s effects on physical health at the expense of its importance to emotional health. In fact, it may be difficult to separate out the two, as a key impact of mindfulness is stress reduction, and psychological stress has been tied to heart health, immune response, and telomere length. This idea is further supported by the fact that other stress-reducing therapies also seem to impact physical health, as well.

Still, it’s encouraging to know that something that can be taught and practiced can have an impact on our overall health—not just mental but also physical—more than 2,000 years after it was developed. That’s reason enough to give mindfulness meditation a try.

A version of this article was originally published in Lion’s Roar.

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3 quick ways to improve your mood

Emotions are part of our daily lives. The breadth of feelings within the human condition are what makes life interesting, exciting and dynamic. Our experiences influence our moods, and our thinking plays a big part in how we feel.

Unfortunately, life is not always positive. For many of us, it is only a matter of time before we are confronted with relational, social, career-related and familial changes. These adaptations are normal, but create certain emotional states. Depending on our prior experiences and beliefs about ourselves, the world and others, our biased reactions may become distressing. This stress becomes problematic when it does not improve, increases in consistency, and impacts our social, occupational and other important areas of our lives.

Major Depressive Disorder affects over 16 million people in the United States. Typical reactions include issues with sleep, appetite, weight changes, loss of energy, interest in daily activities and pleasure, decreased focus or concentration, thoughts of suicide and more. If you find yourself stuck in a cycle of depression, self-help techniques may not be enough. It can be difficult to find appropriate social supports and tools to reframe many of our negative thoughts.

If you find yourself struggling with your symptoms, I recommend finding a certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist in your area.

According to the Beck Institute, “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a time-sensitive, structured, present-oriented psychotherapy directed toward solving current problems and teaching clients skills to modify dysfunctional thinking and behavior.” For mild and moderate depression, CBT has been shown to be as effective as psychotropic medication.

Depressed mood is part of our lives, but suffering doesn’t have to be.

Here are 3 ways you can try to improve your mood:

1. Increase your awareness of your thoughts, feelings, behaviors and situations when negativity seems strongest.

I know it’s overly simplistic, but just because you think something doesn’t make it true.

In our culture, we confuse thoughts and feelings, and are likely to believe our thoughts are biologically ingrained and incapable of change. CBT labels these reflexive thoughts as “automatic thoughts.”

To combat the distress created by automatic thoughts, beginning a process of observing our thinking and feelings in a non-judgmental manner and paying attention to situations when we are more sensitive to negative emotions is imperative. This practice deepens our awareness of our thoughts, connects them with specific situations, triggers and themes, and can improve our confidence in managing our own internal pain.

2. Deepen your commitment to yourself and people who make you feel good.

When it comes to depression, the best cures are action and increasing social supports.

But this is the insidious nature of depression. When we do not have the energy, interest, sleep or concentration to engage and connect with activities or supportive loved ones, we don’t do it. If we continue not to do something, we feel worse and become more likely to avoid the task. This sort of self-defeating emotional reasoning — “I feel, therefore I am/think…” — can be a significant impediment in moving forward in our lives.

Empowering ourselves by committing to a goal of activity and supportive connection is a disciplined way of exercising self-care and self-compassion. Both of these concepts are vital in combating depressive episodes.

3. Practice daily self-care and self-compassion.

I know it sounds simplistic and contrived, but you have to regularly take care of your physical and mental health. But don’t worry, it’s a lot easier than you think. Subscribe to The Morning Email. Wake up to the day’s most important news.

Self-care might include exercise, spending time with supportive others, in nature and by yourself, psychotherapy, nutrition, personal training, massage, intentional nothingness (e.g. being intentional in doing nothing), coping cards, reading and many more activities.

Self-compassion might include treating yourself with love and kindness, decreasing self-blame and self-loathing, increasing emotional tools and coping mechanisms, and more.

Rather than thinking of your depressed mood as being representative of you, try thinking of it as a cue or reminder that it’s time for some self-care and self-compassion.

And with that, I’m off to spend some time with my family outdoors. Here’s hoping you find something to rejuvenate, recharge and refresh yourself today.

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Benefits of mindfulness

It’s a busy world. You fold the laundry while keeping one eye on the kids and another on the television. You plan your day while listening to the radio and commuting to work, and then plan your weekend. But in the rush to accomplish necessary tasks, you may find yourself losing your connection with the present moment—missing out on what you’re doing and how you’re feeling. Did you notice whether you felt well-rested this morning or that forsythia is in bloom along your route to work?

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment. Mindfulness is now being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in stress reduction and overall happiness.

What are the benefits of mindfulness?

The cultivation of mindfulness has roots in Buddhism, but most religions include some type of prayer or meditation technique that helps shift your thoughts away from your usual preoccupations toward an appreciation of the moment and a larger perspective on life.

Professor emeritus Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and former director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, helped to bring the practice of mindfulness meditation into mainstream medicine and demonstrated that practicing mindfulness can bring improvements in both physical and psychological symptoms as well as positive changes in health, attitudes, and behaviors.

Mindfulness improves well-being. Increasing your capacity for mindfulness supports many attitudes that contribute to a satisfied life. Being mindful makes it easier to savor the pleasures in life as they occur, helps you become fully engaged in activities, and creates a greater capacity to deal with adverse events. By focusing on the here and now, many people who practice mindfulness find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, are less preoccupied with concerns about success and self-esteem, and are better able to form deep connections with others.

Mindfulness improves physical health. If greater well-being isn’t enough of an incentive, scientists have discovered that mindfulness techniques help improve physical health in a number of ways. Mindfulness can: help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, , improve sleep, and alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties.

Mindfulness improves mental health. In recent years, psychotherapists have turned to mindfulness meditation as an important element in the treatment of a number of problems, including: depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, couples’ conflicts, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

How does mindfulness work?

Some experts believe that mindfulness works, in part, by helping people to accept their experiences—including painful emotions—rather than react to them with aversion and avoidance.

It’s become increasingly common for mindfulness meditation to be combined with psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioral therapy. This development makes good sense, since both meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy share the common goal of helping people gain perspective on irrational, maladaptive, and self-defeating thoughts.

Mindfulness techniques

There is more than one way to practice mindfulness, but the goal of any mindfulness technique is to achieve a state of alert, focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without judgment. This allows the mind to refocus on the present moment. All mindfulness techniques are a form of meditation.

Basic mindfulness meditation – Sit quietly and focus on your natural breathing or on a word or “mantra” that you repeat silently. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on breath or mantra.

Body sensations – Notice subtle body sensations such as an itch or tingling without judgment and let them pass. Notice each part of your body in succession from head to toe.

Sensory – Notice sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches. Name them “sight,” “sound,” “smell,” “taste,” or “touch” without judgment and let them go.

Emotions – Allow emotions to be present without judgment. Practice a steady and relaxed naming of emotions: “joy,” “anger,” “frustration.” Accept the presence of the emotions without judgment and let them go.

Urge surfing – Cope with cravings (for addictive substances or behaviors) and allow them to pass. Notice how your body feels as the craving enters. Replace the wish for the craving to go away with the certain knowledge that it will subside.

Mindfulness meditation and other practices

Mindfulness can be cultivated through mindfulness meditation, a systematic method of focusing your attention. You can learn to meditate on your own, following instructions in books or on tape. However, you may benefit from the support of an instructor or group to answer questions and help you stay motivated. Look for someone using meditation in a way compatible with your beliefs and goals.

If you have a medical condition, you may prefer a medically oriented program that incorporates meditation. Ask your physician or hospital about local groups. Insurance companies increasingly cover the cost of meditation instruction.

Getting started on your own

Some types of meditation primarily involve concentration—repeating a phrase or focusing on the sensation of breathing, allowing the parade of thoughts that inevitably arise to come and go. Concentration meditation techniques, as well as other activities such as tai chi or yoga, can induce the well-known relaxation response, which is very valuable in reducing the body’s response to stress.

Mindfulness meditation builds upon concentration practices. Here’s how it works:

Go with the flow. In mindfulness meditation, once you establish concentration, you observe the flow of inner thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations without judging them as good or bad.

Pay attention. You also notice external sensations such as sounds, sights, and touch that make up your moment-to-moment experience. The challenge is not to latch onto a particular idea, emotion, or sensation, or to get caught in thinking about the past or the future. Instead, you watch what comes and goes in your mind and discover which mental habits produce a feeling of well-being or suffering.

Stay with it. At times, this process may not seem relaxing at all, but over time it provides a key to greater happiness and self-awareness as you become comfortable with a wider and wider range of your experiences.

Practice acceptance

Above all, mindfulness practice involves accepting whatever arises in your awareness at each moment. It involves being kind and forgiving toward yourself.

Some tips to keep in mind:

Gently redirect. If your mind wanders into planning, daydreaming, or criticism, notice where it has gone and gently redirect it to sensations in the present.

Try and try again. If you miss your intended meditation session, simply start again.

By practicing accepting your experience during meditation, it becomes easier to accept whatever comes your way during the rest of your day.

Cultivate mindfulness informally

In addition to formal meditation, you can also cultivate mindfulness informally by focusing your attention on your moment-to-moment sensations during everyday activities. This is done by single-tasking—doing one thing at a time and giving it your full attention. As you floss your teeth, pet the dog, or eat an apple, slow down the process and be fully present as it unfolds and involves all of your senses.

Mindfulness exercises

If mindfulness meditation appeals to you, going to a class or listening to a meditation tape can be a good way to start. In the meantime, here are two mindfulness exercises you can try on your own.

Basic mindfulness meditation

This exercise teaches basic mindfulness meditation.

  • Sit on a straight-backed chair or cross-legged on the floor.
  • Focus on an aspect of your breathing, such as the sensations of air flowing into your nostrils and out of your mouth, or your belly rising and falling as you inhale and exhale.
  • Once you’ve narrowed your concentration in this way, begin to widen your focus. Become aware of sounds, sensations, and your ideas.
  • Embrace and consider each thought or sensation without judging it good or bad. If your mind starts to race, return your focus to your breathing. Then expand your awareness again.

Learning to stay in the present

A less formal approach to mindfulness can also help you to stay in the present and fully participate in your life. You can choose any task or moment to practice informal mindfulness, whether you are eating, showering, walking, touching a partner, or playing with a child or grandchild. Attending to these points will help:

  • Start by bringing your attention to the sensations in your body
  • Breathe in through your nose, allowing the air downward into your lower belly. Let your abdomen expand fully.
  • Now breathe out through your mouth
  • Notice the sensations of each inhalation and exhalation
  • Proceed with the task at hand slowly and with full deliberation
  • Engage your senses fully. Notice each sight, touch, and sound so that you savor every sensation.
  • When you notice that your mind has wandered from the task at hand, gently bring your attention back to the sensations of the moment.

Invest in yourself

The effects of mindfulness meditation tend to be dose-related — the more you do, the more effect it usually has. Most people find that it takes at least 20 minutes for the mind to begin to settle, so this is a reasonable way to start. If you’re ready for a more serious commitment, Jon Kabat-Zinn recommends 45 minutes of meditation at least six days a week. But you can get started by practicing the techniques described here for shorter periods.

Adapted with permission from Positive Psychology: Harnessing the Power of Happiness, Personal Strength, and Mindfulness, a special health report published by Harvard Health Publishing.

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Golden Rules of Goal Setting Five Rules to Set Yourself Up for Success

 

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Golden Rules of Goal Setting

Five Rules to Set Yourself Up for Success

Have you thought about what you want to be doing in five years’ time? Are you clear about what your main objective at work is at the moment? Do you know what you want to have achieved by the end of today?

If you want to succeed, you need to set goals. Without goals you lack focus and direction. Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life’s direction; it also provides you a benchmark for determining whether you are actually succeeding. Think about it: having a million dollars in the bank is only proof of success if one of your goals is to amass riches. If your goal is to practice acts of charity, then keeping the money for yourself is suddenly contrary to how you would define success.

To accomplish your goals, however, you need to know how to set them. You can’t simply say, “I want” and expect it to happen. Goal setting is a process that starts with careful consideration of what you want to achieve, and ends with a lot of hard work to actually do it. In between, there are some very well-defined steps that transcend the specifics of each goal. Knowing these steps will allow you to formulate goals that you can accomplish.

Here are our five golden rules of goal setting, presented in an article, a video and an

infographic.

The Five Golden Rules

1. Set Goals That Motivate You

When you set goals for yourself, it is important that they motivate you: this means making sure that they are important to you, and that there is value in achieving them. If you have little interest in the outcome, or they are irrelevant given the larger picture, then the chances of you putting in the work to make them happen are slim. Motivation is key to achieving goals.

Set goals that relate to the high priorities in your life. Without this type of focus, you can end up with far too many goals, leaving you too little time to devote to each one. Goal achievement requires commitment, so to maximize the likelihood of success, you need to feel a sense of urgency and have an “I must do this” attitude. When you don’t have this, you risk putting off what you need to do to make the goal a reality. This in turn leaves you feeling disappointed and frustrated with yourself, both of which are de-motivating. And you can end up in a very destructive “I can’t do anything or be successful at anything” frame of mind.

Tip:

To make sure that your goal is motivating, write down why it’s valuable and important to you. Ask yourself, “If I were to share my goal with others, what would I tell them to convince them it was a worthwhile goal?” You can use this motivating value statement to help you if you start to doubt yourself or lose confidence in your ability to actually make the goal happen.

2. Set SMART Goals

You have probably heard of SMART goals  already. But do you always apply the rule? The simple fact is that for goals to be powerful, they should be designed to be SMART. There are many variations of what SMART stands for, but the essence is this – goals should be:

  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Attainable.
  • Relevant.
  • Time Bound.

Set Specific Goals

Your goal must be clear and well defined. Vague or generalized goals are unhelpful because they don’t provide sufficient direction. Remember, you need goals to show you the way. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up.

Set Measurable Goals

Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. If your goal is simply defined as “To reduce expenses” how will you know when you have been successful? In one month’s time if you have a 1 percent reduction or in two years’ time when you have a 10 percent reduction? Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with knowing you have actually achieved something.

Set Attainable Goals

Make sure that it’s possible to achieve the goals you set. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only demoralize yourself and erode your confidence.

However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. Accomplishing a goal that you didn’t have to work hard for can be anticlimactic at best, and can also make you fear setting future goals that carry a risk of non-achievement. By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the balance you need. These are the types of goals that require you to “raise the bar” and they bring the greatest personal satisfaction.

Set Relevant Goals

Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you’ll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want. Set widely scattered and inconsistent goals, and you’ll fritter your time – and your life – away.

Set Time-Bound Goals

Your goals must have a deadline. Again, this means that you know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker.

 

 

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35 Affirmations That Will Change Your Life

IF you believe the phrase “you are what we think”, then life truly stems from your thoughts. But we cannot rely purely on thoughts; we must translate thoughts into words and eventually into actions in order to manifest our intentions.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Rope Swinging over a river

Rope Swinging over a river

If you believe the phrase you are what you think, then life truly stems from your thoughts. But we cannot rely purely on thoughts; we must translate thoughts into words and eventually into actions in order to manifest our intentions. This means we have to be very careful with our words, choosing to speak only those which work towards our benefit and cultivate our highest good. Affirmations help purify our thoughts and restructure the dynamic of our brains so that we truly begin to think nothing is impossible. The word affirmation comes from the Latin affirmare, originally meaning “to make steady, strengthen.”

Affirmations do indeed strengthen us by helping us believe in the potential of an action we desire to manifest. When we verbally affirm our dreams and ambitions, we are instantly empowered with a deep sense of reassurance that our wishful words will become reality.

Affirmations are proven methods of self-improvement because of their ability to rewire our brains. Much like exercise, they raise the level of feel-good hormones and push our brains to form new clusters of “positive thought” neurons(http://www.arlenetaylor.org/brain-care/953-affirmation). In the sequence of thought-speech-action, affirmations play an integral role by breaking patterns of negative thoughts, negative speech, and, in turn, negative actions.

The art of the spoken word is critical in crafting our futures. As a teacher of spirituality, it is my firm belief that we influence the universe word by word. If we dictate to it our wishes, it will respond. When we utter a sound, we emit a sound wave into the universe. This sound wave pierces through the air and becomes a real object. It therefore exists in our world, intangible and invisible. No words are empty words, as every syllable we speak engages energy towards or against us. If you constantly say “I can’t,” the energy of your words will repel the universal force against you. But if you say “I can!” the universe will endow you with the abilities to do just that. So speak away; relinquish your fears and purge your anger, predict your own future and live up to your potential with the 35 affirmations that will change your life:

1.) I am the architect of my life; I build its foundation and choose its contents.

 

2.) Today, I am brimming with energy and overflowing with joy.

 

3.) My body is healthy; my mind is brilliant; my soul is tranquil.

 

4.) I am superior to negative thoughts and low actions.

 

5.) I have been given endless talents which I begin to utilize today.

 

6.) I forgive those who have harmed me in my past and peacefully detach from them.

 

7.) A river of compassion washes away my anger and replaces it with love.

 

8.) I am guided in my every step by Spirit who leads me towards what I must know and do.

 

9.) (If you’re married) My marriage is becoming stronger, deeper, and more stable each day.

 

10.) I possess the qualities needed to be extremely successful.

 

11.) (For business owners) My business is growing, expanding, and thriving.

 

12.) Creative energy surges through me and leads me to new and brilliant ideas.

 

13.) Happiness is a choice. I base my happiness on my own accomplishments and the blessings I’ve been given.

 

14.) My ability to conquer my challenges is limitless; my potential to succeed is infinite.

 

 

15.) (For those who are unemployed) I deserve to be employed and paid well for my time, efforts, and ideas. Each day, I am closer to finding the perfect job for me.

 

16.) I am courageous and I stand up for myself.

 

17.) My thoughts are filled with positivity and my life is plentiful with prosperity.

 

18.) Today, I abandon my old habits and take up new, more positive ones.

 

19.) Many people look up to me and recognize my worth; I am admired.

 

20.) I am blessed with an incredible family and wonderful friends.

 

21.) I acknowledge my own self-worth; my confidence is soaring.

 

22.) Everything that is happening now is happening for my ultimate good.

 

23.) I am a powerhouse; I am indestructible.

 

24.) Though these times are difficult, they are only a short phase of life.

 

 

25.) My future is an ideal projection of what I envision now.

 

26.) My efforts are being supported by the universe; my dreams manifest into reality before my eyes.

 

27.) (For those who are single) The perfect partner for me is coming into my life sooner than I expect.

 

28.) I radiate beauty, charm, and grace.

 

29.) I am conquering my illness; I am defeating it steadily each day.

 

30.) My obstacles are moving out of my way; my path is carved towards greatness.

 

31.) I wake up today with strength in my heart and clarity in my mind.

 

32.) My fears of tomorrow are simply melting away.

 

33.) I am at peace with all that has happened, is happening, and will happen.

 

34.) My nature is Divine; I am a spiritual being.

 

35.) My life is just beginning.

You can utilize any of these affirmations alone or create your own unique combination based on your personal wishes and needs. What is most important is to establish a profound communication with the universe — so say it with conviction, say it in your own unique voice, and make it happen in the real world.

 

Affirming my love,
Dr. Carmen Harra

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Top 100 positive Affirmation list.

List of Positive Affirmations

  • I am successful in whatever I do
  • I plan my work and work my plan
  • I focus on what is truly essential
  • I will make the most of new opportunities
  • Good flows to me, good flows from me
  • I feel wonderful and alive
  • I feel the joy of abundance
  • I speak with confidence and calm assurance
  • The universe provides for my every want and need
  • I am healthy and happy
  • I have a lot of energy
  • I radiate happiness
  • I am successful in whatever I do
  • Everything is getting better every day
  • My mind is calm
  • I am always on the path of success & victory
  • I am peace with myself
  • I find peace and joy in all aspects of my life
  • I have value and I matter
  • I am a success in all that I do
  • I am happy.
  • I feel joy, love, and abundance
  • I am one with my inner child
  • I am amazing
  • I can do anything
  • I am prepared to succeed
  • Positivity is a choice
  • I am fabulous, funny, and giving
  • I am outstanding
  • I am unique and special and most importantly I am me
  • I am financially free
  • I am perfect exactly as I am
  • I focus on what is truly essential
  • I make positive healthy choices
  • I am in control of my reactions
  • I find all solutions within me
  • All is well in my life
  • I will make the most of new opportunities
  • I organize my priorities with clarity
  • I forgive myself
  • I am forgiven
  • I will always be there for myself
  • I enjoy the variety of life
  • I am my own guru
  • I take good care of myself
  • I am patient with myself
  • I let go of my past
  • I am evolving eternally
  • I know I can always upgrade
  • There is a gift for me in everything that I experience
  • I follow my inner guidance
  • I appreciate my physical body
  • I treat my body well
  • I take it easy
  • I make room for fun and playfulness
  • I appreciate intimacy
  • I am very good at letting go
  • I am grateful for my life
  • I love being myself
  • Time is on my side
  • I surrender to love
  • I invite bliss
  • I learn from my past
  • I am good at walking the talk
  • I enjoy being taken good care of by the universe
  • I create my reality on a continuous basis
  • My body is healthy
  • I am superior to negative thoughts and low actions
  • I forgive those who have harmed me in my past and peacefully detach from them
  • I possess the qualities needed to be extremely successful
  • My business is growing, expanding, and thriving
  • My ability to conquer my challenges is limitless
  • My potential to succeed is infinite
  • I am courageous and I stand up for myself
  • My thoughts are filled with positivity and my
    • my life is plentiful with prosperity
    • I am blessed with an incredible family and wonderful friends
    • I am a powerhouse
    • My future is an ideal projection of what I envision now
    • I radiate beauty, charm, and grace
    • I am conquering my illness
    • I wake up today with strength in my heart and clarity in my mind
    • My fears of tomorrow are simply melting away
    • My life is just beginning
    • The assertion that something exists or is true
    • I always have everything I need to be happy
    • I live a positive life and only attract the best in my life
    • I am peacefully allowing my life to unfold
    • Today, and every day, I choose to be happy
    • I am fun energetic and people love me for it
    • My life overflows with happiness and love
    • Today is rich with opportunity and I open my heart to receive them
    • I take the time to show my friends that I care about them
    • I am thankful that I get to live another day
    • I see the world with beauty and color
    • I deserve whatever good comes my way today
    • I believe in myself
    • I radiate confidence, certainty and optimism
    • I courageously open and move through every door of opportunity
    • I am in charge of my life
    • I have the power to love my dreams
    • My mind has unlimited power
    • I stand up for what I believe in
    • I act with courage and confidence
    • I love myself more everyday
    • I am blessed with an incredible family and wonderful friends

    Come join several themes under your profile. Forever and always be here at the group. Struggle with those you get to know. Sharing can be hard but give it time. Read first a. Little and check out the awesome home pag full of resources and helpful research links and more @

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How Your Brain Creates Your Sense of Self

Some years ago one of my neighbors worked in the film industry doing special effects. He showed me a brief clip for one of his projects, of a whale swimming underwater, and he mentioned that the powerful computers at his company had worked overnight to render that single beautiful scene. It seemed remarkable to me that it had taken many hours for their equipment to create a few seconds of imagery that the brain could produce at any time in the theater of imagination. The circuitry of this inner theater has been one of the major evolutions of the brain over the past several million years. It’s an extraordinary capability that helped our ancestors survive, and it aids and enriches our lives today. But it has some drawbacks, and it’s important to learn how to use it wisely and not let it use you.

Watching Your Inner Movie

Our powerful brains allow us to mental time travel and have a strong sense of self. We draw on our neural networks for what’s called affective forecasting; affective is a psychological term that means “relating to moods, feelings, and attitudes.” This forecasting involves imagining and evaluating different scenarios, such as considering how it would feel to talk with someone in a certain way or simply wondering, “What would taste good for dinner tonight?”

Pause for a moment and consider how much time you spend in the mental activities that draw on these powerful neural capacities. For most of us, it’s a lot. Experientially, we’re caught up each day in many mini-movies in which there is a kind of “I” observing various situations, people, events…and often a “me” to whom things are happening…with lots of thoughts and feelings about the show.

The more a person’s mind wanders, the more it tends to tilt negatively, toward anxiety, resentment, regret, and self-criticism.

This ability, evolutionarily speaking, helped our human and hominid ancestors to get better at learning from the past and planning for the future. But sometimes we just need a break to daydream, which can reveal creative connections and hopeful possibilities. These capabilities have brought many benefits. Still, they’ve come with a price.

 

jmac

 

 

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