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In today’s society we usually care more about our external world and neglect the internal one. We seem to overlook details such as our health, state of mind or even self-awareness. We spend thousands of dollars on what gratifies our external world with the latest technology, lavish cars, big homes, stylish clothes, extravagant weddings, cosmetics and even plastic surgery and many times we neglect our internal world. We forget that we have a powerful organ called the mind which can bring us much more abundance than we could ever perceive. I am in no way advising you to suddenly neglect your appearance, become scruffy, throw away all that you own and live in a tent. I believe that for many the material world is equally important as it demonstrates success, hard work and earned rewards and I’m in no way knocking that, yet it’s also important to have a balance.
I have created a useful list in order to take care of yourself internally. These 11 simple strategies and philosophies work for me personally and have been extremely helpful for many of the clients that I have coached.
1. Remember to always breathe
Did you know that your body is designed to release about 70% of its toxins through deep breathing? Breathing also increases pleasure inducing neurochemicals and is known to have a calming effect for those who suffer from anxiety and stress. Deep breathing is also used as part of meditation and when one focuses on the breath in and out it is quite beneficial as it alters their present state, and assists with feeling more calm and may reduce minor physical pain. I personally have eased my own headaches by simply breathing in and out for 20 minutes. So dedicating at least 10 minutes a day to mindful meditation is a great way to find inner peace and balance.
2. Physiology can affect your state of mind
Physiology is very important when it comes to your mental state. There’s a big difference in the way we feel when sitting down hunched over with our arms crossed and head down in comparison to sitting up or standing wide and tall. Try this now as an experiment. Change your posture by standing proud and tall. Make sure your shoulders are back. Now smile, really smile as wide as you can until you look really stupid. Hold that smile for several minutes and don’t forget to breathe. What I want you to do next is to put on your favourite song to dance to, and dance like you have never danced before, jumping up, down, using your whole body. Imagine that you’re an African tribal man, women or even animal. Go crazy! Do this for at least five minutes without stopping. Make sure you keep that silly looking smile pasted on your face the whole time. You should instantly feel much happier and energised.
3. Have a Purpose
Basically have a goal. Find your passion in life and have something to work towards and look forward to. Wake up and go to sleep thinking about how much you want this and how you will get it. This will keep your mind stimulated and excited. I have coached plenty of people, and those without clear goals or purpose were much less happy than those with a goal. Those with a goal had a light in their eyes, spoke with enthusiasm and seemed much more content overall. Having a goal doesn't necessarily need to be based on financial success, but can also include health, relationships, career, education, spiritual, travel, diet, lifestyle, interests and hobbies. Just remember success and reaching goals are not about something to be climbed or possessed but rather a way of life, changing habits and altering your state of mind.
4. Be in control of you present state
There is something called anchoring, which allows you to manage your present state. An anchor is any trigger or stimuli you attach a particular mood to or state of mind. This technique is quite simple and being used by many people on a daily basis. Think of what emotion or state you would like to anchor? Excitement, Confidence, calmness. Let’s do excitement. Now pick a specific time in your life when you felt excited. Make sure that the occasion and memory are significant. Close your eyes and go back there to that particular moment when you felt really excited. See what you saw, hear what you heard, feel what you felt, smell what you smelt. Really be there in that moment, feeling those feelings of excitement and multiply those sensations by a hundred. Make sure that you are breathing and savouring that moment of feeling super excited. This mental anchor is quite useful to have at your disposal anytime you need to alter your state of mind and can be done on any emotion or state that you desire.
5. Avoid watching the news or reading newspapers
I must admit this may be a tough one to follow especially for the socially or politically conscious. Perhaps it may even sound selfish that we are turning a blind eye and ignoring the story of the rape victim who was found in the bushes or that there are millions of displaced refugees from Syria. I will tell you now that ignoring world news is very difficult for me, as I can get a little political and consumed with victim stories and tragedy. There was a time in London on my way to work when the newspaper boys shoved the metro in my face each morning. Obligingly I took it Just like 95% of Londoners who were also on their journey to work. Can you imagine what was happening to my mental state sitting on that overcrowded underground tube reading about murder, death, kill for one whole year each morning before going to work? Studies show that reading or watching bad news leaves the viewer/reader depressed and feeling anxious. This is what was happening to me for a whole year, until I put a stop to it and censored what was been fed to both my conscious and unconscious mind.
6. Write a gratitude list
This one always works for me. Every time I’m feeling down about something I simply make a gratitude list either in my mind or take the time to jot it down. Whether it’s being grateful for my health, that I live in a great country like Australia or that I’m blessed to have a roof over my head. Having an attitude of gratitude does not only push you to look at the bright side of life, but scientific research has also linked it to strengthening emotional resilience and reducing stress. If you were to imagine a person who lacks gratitude how would this person seem to you? Do you think that they would be a pleasant person, friend, lover or boss to be around? Would this person appreciate your kindness or hard work? Developing an attitude of gratitude is a core quality to develop and maintain, not only for ourselves but for those around us. My advice to you is if you have never done a gratitude list before or usually look at the glass as half empty then you may need to keep a gratitude journal for at least one month making a daily list of all that you are thankful for. After a month take a moment to reflect and see if it has made any difference on your outlook or how you feel.
7. Write an achievement list
This is another one of my favourites. It’s a simple feel good list of all your achievements. Everyone has achieved something no matter how small. From child birth, to getting your driver’s licence, falling in love or even getting a job or qualification. In my opinion even having your heart broken is an achievement because unlike many people, you were courageous enough to be vulnerable. Now when you do write this list don’t worry about being humble, this is a personal list for you only. Doing this will not only boost your confidence but also remind you of how awesome you really are. It might even bring to mind a few other things you may want to achieve in the future. When you finish this list be sure to give yourself a pat on the back for all that you have achieved and that you are capable of accomplishing.
8. Change your bad habits
I’m sure that this is easier said than done. I’m also pretty certain that you already know that you should quit smoking, eat more veggies and get off your butt and exercise. But I thought that I will remind you once again, and then it’s up to you. As Tony Robbins says, “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” So once we get diabetes or some life threatening illness then we might reflect back on how badly we may have been treating our one and only temple. Aside from disease there are enough studies which indicate that what we eat and how often we exercise can also affect our mood and mental health. In my view being healthy mostly depends on how you view your body. Some regard theirs as an old ford and others like a Porsche. Personally as I get older I’m more interested in my internal organs looking good than having a nice firm ass. And yes I will be the first to admit that it’s tough to maintain my health, especially in a society where fast food is on every corner and even organic foods have been invaded with toxic chemicals. I will also admit that I do have many bad days where I’m treating my body like an old broken down ford, but I always put myself in check and then reflect on my current and future health goals.
9. Educate and enlighten yourself
If you hate reading then there are plenty of YouTube videos and audio books around which cover the same material as books. My advice on this one is to take a few days out just for yourself and for the purpose of learning about you. Having self-awareness is a very attractive quality in any human being. Practicing self-awareness will boost your (EQ) emotional intelligence which is currently regarded as more valuable than IQ. Also it is imperative to understand ‘You’ before you can recognise what you want, how to get what you want and even what type of life partner or career you want to attract. Take time out to understand your values, how you relate to others, your model of the world. Realize your strengths and weaknesses. Why do you always need people around you? Why are you constantly attracting the same type of partner into your life? What makes you so aggressive? When did you suddenly become a doormat for family and friend? Once you make discoveries about you, is often when self-awareness develops into seeking change. Only then will you start changing habits, thought processes, altering states, reactions and recognising what it is you really want. There is a wealth of resources, such as personality tests, youtube videos, books and articles. I will also include several of my personal favourites which have basically changed my life and inspired me on my journey towards personal development and becoming a life coach.
1. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
2. Awakening the Giant – Tony Robbins
3. A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle
4. The Road less Travelled – M. Scott Peck
5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
These resources will not only help you understand yourself, but as well teach you methods on how it’s possible to change, being aware that you already have all the resources inside you for change and what steps you need to take in order to achieve what you want.
10. Surround yourself with people who help you grow
Am I saying ditch your 10 year loser boyfriend who always insults you? Or the jealous friend who is visualising your bankruptcy? Yes I definitely am. You only have one life. So use it wisely. Ask yourself these questions. Do I value myself? Do I value my time? Do I continuously give my time and energy to those who don’t appreciate me? If you answered yes to all of these questions then you need to make some major changes. Are you aware that surrounding yourself with people who suck you emotionally is a life threatening situation. I personally know a man who developed a critical illness and had to undergo a major operation because of an emotionally abusive relationship he refused to leave. I also know another lady who was in a toxic 20 year relationship and spent 90 % of her time crying and feeling suicidal. She eventually developed cancer and died. So what type of people should you surround yourself with? Those who genuinely care about your well-being. The people with a positive outlook, the ones that encourage your dreams, inspire you for better, give you their time and see you as a blessing in their life.
11. Accept that life was never meant to be easy
Life is not easy. People you love will eventually die, you may get heart broken, you will hurt people and others will hurt you back. You might lose some money and you may have to let go of some dreams. You may not be perfect and you or your child might even suffer from a disability. Once you understand that life was never meant to be easy and surrender to this fact is when you could ever truly be happy. Because someday you might be asking why me? And the difference between those who continue to live and grow stronger and others who collapse mentally and never recover is that they accept that life was never meant to be easy, recognise the beauty in it, take responsibility for their own feelings and continue to look ahead.
Turning the average salesperson into a sales champion.