Quotes To Cheer Your Day

Friday, 30 January 2015

How To Trick Your Brain To Build Motivation

Motivation is a state that is not just psychological, but also biochemical. If you know a bit about brain circuitry and chemistry, you can use some scientific tricks to sharpen your motivation.

Certain brain chemicals switch on energy and motivation in the human body; so boosting levels of these neurotransmitters will give you more drive and determination. Use the following brain tricks and tips to stimulate your motivational mode, by using the power of biochemistry and psychology.

1. Believe in Yourself

Dopamine is one of the brain chemicals most strongly associated with motivation and reward. Studies show that experiencing self-belief causes a surge of dopamine; so a positive self-image can be a really powerful motivator.

Think of yourself as someone who relishes new challenges and can succeed. Build your identity as a go-getter by forming mental movies of yourself feeling motivated and achieving your goals. Surround yourself with others who believe in you as well. Research shows that being told you will perform well by others releases dopamine, too.

2. Recall Pleasant Past Experiences

If you feel demotivated by a specific task, remembering a time when you enjoyed doing that activity can spark your motivational mode. A recent study showed that recalling and describing a positive memory of a task increases motivation in that area. Not only does remembering a pleasant experience of an activity boost motivation to start doing it, but study participants actually achieved more over the next week when they had a positive memory in mind.

3. Start Smart

Even if you don’t feel very motivated to begin something, that doesn’t mean your efforts are doomed to failure. The way that the brain works is that it will naturally start to produce dopamine as you begin to get things done.

If you’re not very motivated, pick a tiny, easy part of the task to begin with. Dopamine is produced every time you achieve something, no matter how small it is. The brain enjoys frequent positive feedback to let it know things are progressing towards a final goal. The dopamine boost you’ll get from that initial achievement will leave you feeling buzzed — and pave the way to you doing more.

4. Change How You View, Or Do, A Task

Psychology teaches us that the most naturally motivating tasks of all are those for which we have intrinsic motivations. This basically means that the more you enjoy the process, and the more it matches important values for you, the more likely you are to complete an activity.

You can change how you view mundane tasks by recognizing their significance or making them more fun. For example, if you’ve got accounting to complete, look at it as a symbol of you being in control of your finances. Pin photos of your family around your work area, to remind yourself who you’re working hard for. Make admin tasks more enjoyable by making up little games, or take your laptop outside, so you can enjoy a bit of sun while you work.

5. Drink Coffee

Coffee is known to release dopamine into the brain, as well as having the ability to increase mental focus. Scientists have found that caffeine can enhance some cognitive tasks, such as memory functions, and spark off the motivation and reward circuit in the brain.

Drinking sips of coffee as you begin, and progress through, a task can help you to feel more motivated. However, make sure you don’t overdose on caffeine. Too much coffee can lead to an energy slump later in the day.

6. Validate Yourself

One of the most powerful ways of getting dopamine into the mesolimbic pathway, where it will make you feel motivated, is by acknowledging your own achievements. The dopamine reward system goes into overdrive when we achieve positive feedback of one kind or another.

Completing a task should give you this dopamine burst, but you can nudge the process along by validating yourself. Make a mental note of three things you did especially well on any task you finish. If you’re the type of person who needs praise from others to feel satisfaction, share your successes with others to get that dopamine boost.

7. Eat Yourself Motivated

Catecholamines are important neurotransmitters for mental energy, stimulation and motivation. As well as dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline belong to this category of brain chemicals. If you keep levels high, you will have more motivation, energy and mental focus.

Catecholamines are built from an amino acid called L-Tyrosine, which can be found in several food sources. Seaweed is extremely high in L-Tyrosine, but if that doesn’t tickle your taste-buds, you can also get this important amino acid from turkey, cottage cheese, egg whites, chicken and duck.

8. Get Your Brain Going

The body is designed to conserve energy in harsher conditions and environments. For example, when winter comes, the body saves its energy for surviving, rather than enthusiasm. This is why you may find yourself lacking energy and motivation during cooler, darker months. However, hibernating can actually create an unhelpful feedback loop, confirming to the brain that it should stop all non-essential functions.

If you find your enthusiasm flagging with a change in environment or season, this is the very time to make an effort to get active. By getting outside and moving about, you’re telling your brain to stop conserving energy. You should find that your enthusiasm and motivation return once you give your brain the green light.

9. Practice Motivation

In recent years, neuroscientists have learned that people are not fixed in terms of how they think and feel, nor in what they can achieve. You can strengthen any circuit in the brain by simply using it more, making it easier to go that way naturally next time.

If you have a monumental task that you just can’t seem to get motivated for, practice making motivated states by working on something else a little smaller. You wouldn’t run a marathon without having completed a few smaller races. Pep yourself up by achieving some smaller goals in a similar area, so you can strengthen your natural motivational response. Combine some of the tips above to help you build super-motivated states.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Tips On How To Be Mindful

Mindfulness” might sound like a concept so loose as to be almost meaningless, but in actuality, it’s quite simple — boiled down to its most basic essence, it’s the art of living in the moment and accepting everything that happens. People who focus on the thoughts, feelings and events that are happening to them every day are being mindful, even if all they’re focusing on is brushing their teeth or eating cereal. If you’re interesting in finding new mindful habits other than thinking deep thoughts about toothpaste, here are some easy ways to bring more mindfulness into your life.

1. Take A Walk

Walking meditation is a method of meditating while active; it allows the walker to focus on nothing but the act of walking, which makes it a perfect mindfulness-related activity. When you walk, relax and think about where you’re going; smell the breeze; look at the sky; be aware of the soles of your feet and the way your legs move as you walk. Even something as simple as this is a way of being mindful, and the act of walking provides an easy focus for your thoughts.

2. Savor The Small Things

Even if it’s only a cup of coffee, think about how delicious that coffee is; take a few minutes to just sit and drink coffee instead of slurping it down while multi-tasking. If you see a gorgeous sunset, take the time to do nothing else other than watch it. Assigning more value to small things means you’ll appreciate the big ones even more.

3. Turn Off The Autopilot In Your Brain

Focus on the details of the ordinary activities you do every day, even if this literally means contemplating your cereal or the way it feels to wash your face. Zero in on the sight, sound, smell, taste and feel of these activities. This will get you in the moment and also help you start truly thinking about the sum of your daily routine.

4. Don’t Try To Be Mindful All The Time

This may seem contradictory, but apparently our brains respond better to “bursts” of mindfulness. This means that attempting mindfulness for only a few minutes a day is still a great way to go. Practicing 25 minutes of mindfulness meditation for three days in a row can alleviate psychological stress, so don’t feel like a slacker if you’re not being mindful every minute of every day.

5. Meditate

Sometimes the classics are the best. Several studies have shown that mindfulness meditation reduces stress and anxiety by allowing people to dismiss negative thoughts and focus on their breathing and awareness. Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated, though; even a few minutes of meditation a few days a week has proven health benefits.

6. Do Something That Makes You Happy

Being aware of the moment doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to enjoy it. Make a little time each day for something that you like to do, whether it’s exercising, spending time with a friend or singing along to embarrassing music when no one else is around.

7. Listen When People Talk

Actively responding to other people is one of the best ways to really live in the moment. In addition to making the other person feel good that you’re really listening to them, it also makes you feel more engaged and empathetic.

8. Enjoy Food

Eating slowly and really paying attention to every bite will make a meal much more enjoyable than if you just suck it down like a glazed-eyed zombie dining on brains.

9. Take Time To Relax

Turn off electronics. Don’t check your email. Don’t stress out about the things that happened today and the things that are going to happen tomorrow; just think about where you are now and how it feels to slow down for a minute.

10. Accept Your Feelings — Even The Negative Ones

This is a major principle of mindfulness. When you get stressed out, this can lead to “black-and-white thinking,” in which your brain makes a catastrophe out of everything and lead to greater stress. Try not to force yourself to calm down or cheer up; accepting your actual feelings can help you return to equilibrium more than forced happiness can.

11. Don’t Try To Ignore Distractions

Just like you shouldn’t try to repress and ignore your feelings, you shouldn’t try to pretend that distractions don’t exist. If you do, they could actually end up stressing you out and distracting you even more than if you just acknowledged their existence. Being mindful means paying attention to everything that’s going on in the moment, even if that includes one of your coworkers telling a detailed story about their latest invasive surgical procedure.

12. Be Grateful

Thinking about how grateful you are for just one thing each day will naturally lead you to think about other things you’re grateful for. Practicing gratitude can improve happiness and wellbeing, as well as encourage you to value the people and things in your life simply as they are, rather than as you wish they might be.

13. Try Yoga

Yoga boasts many of the same stress-reducing properties as meditation, but it’s a more physical practice, which often makes for an easier way to focus the mind. Connecting your breath to your movement is an important aspect of yoga that will help you get more in touch with your body and become more aware of both your insides and outsides.

14. Stretch

Stretching is another way to get in touch with your body after a long day of sitting, which can apparently kill you. So live in the moment by moving around, stretching regularly and acknowledging that your body isn’t made to sit for 8 hours a day.

15. Pay Attention To Your Breathing

Even without yoga you can still do some fancy breath work, which is actually not all that fancy. In fact, it’s one of the simplest ways to begin practicing mindfulness: Just focus on breathing in and out one time. If you’d like, focus on a few more breaths. Pausing for just this one moment (or a few moments, depending on how long you do it) will allow you to clear your mind and focus on whatever task is at hand, conquering stress one tiny step at a time.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Inspiring Intentions & Goals For 2015

It's the perfect time of year to reflect on and learn from everything that happened in your life in 2014 and to set new inspiring intentions and goals for the year ahead.

Here are some habits you can adopt in the coming year.

1. Forgive more.

The Buddha once said, "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." Remember everyone is fighting their own battle, and everyone is trying their best. Learn to forgive other people and set yourself free.

2. Meditate daily.

Meditation is a beautiful way to still your mind -- giving you a break from circling thoughts, worries and anxieties. Start with two minutes a day and build your way up to longer sittings.

3. See the world as awe-inspiring.

Imagine if you woke up this morning and saw the world around you for the first time. You would be absolutely amazed, fascinated and excited. Start seeing the world through fresh eyes and notice all the magic and beauty you may be missing.

4. Let go of things you can't control.

When the bus is late, the queue is long or the café runs out of your favorite salad, take a deep breath and let it wash over you like water off a duck's back. Don't allow external events to steal your inner peace and joy. Master the art of letting go.

5. Experience the flow of things you love.

When you're completely focused on doing something you truly love, you lose your sense of ego and time. It may be through dancing, cooking, writing, running, building, painting or something unique to you. Make this experience of "flow" a part of your weekly schedule.

6. Be more present.

When you worry about things going wrong in advance of them happening, you're creating your own private hell in an otherwise peaceful and beautiful present moment. Try bringing yourself back to the present moment throughout the day by noticing the sense of your body in your chair, the touch of the fabric against your skin or the gentle sensation of air on your face.

7. Spend time in nature.

Nature can have a calming effect and reminds us to slow down, take deep breaths and soak up the present moment. So make time for more bush walks, beach trips, picnics in the park and reading by the river.

8. Take up yoga.

Yoga is a beautiful way to align your body and soul -- this in turn can increase your sense of wholeness and inner peace. It's also the kind of exercise you can do anywhere, without equipment, once you've learned a few simple moves.

9. Spend time alone with yourself.

You need time alone to catch up on updates from the person you really need to stay in touch with -- yourself. Spend time alone unpacking your worries and anxieties, and getting back in touch with your deepest desires and dreams. Schedule weekly or monthly solo dates in your yearly planner.

10. Keep an inspiration file.

Some days, you wake up feeling incredibly motivated and inspired to achieve your dreams. Other days, you wake up and the motivation has completely vanished. That's why it's so useful to keep an inspiration file filled with your favorite quotes, stories and words of wisdom when your soul needs a boost. You can use a physical scrapbook or an album on your phone.

11. Establish a morning ritual.

Morning rituals can be beautifully soothing and set the tone for your day. It can be anything from a few minutes or a whole hour. Drink a warm lemon juice, read a few pages of an inspiring book, meditate, write a gratitude diary or goals list, or sit in peaceful silence as the world begins to stir.

12. Practice gratitude.

There is a reason gratitude is being promoted everywhere lately -- it's one of life's sweet shortcuts to happiness. By focusing your attention on all of the beautiful things and simple joys in life, you will notice and attract more and more of them.

13. Give without strings attached.

Giving and receiving are one in truth. When you give to someone with no strings attached -- whether it be a physical gift, a compliment or your time -- you are nourished as well as the receiver.

14. Embrace uncertainty.

Uncertainty is a natural part of life and an inevitable factor in making big life changes. Learn to embrace it, and know that you will always be okay at every moment in your journey, even if you can't quite see the road to the finish line yet.

15. Write a soul journal.

Writing a soul journal is a bit like keeping a traditional journal, except that you ask your soul tough questions and seek guidance on things you're struggling with. The key is to write your stream-of-consciousness without self-censoring. You may be amazed by the wisdom residing deep within you.

16. Replenish your well.

Life can feel so busy and fast-paced -- before you know it, you're running on empty. You don't serve the world by burning yourself out. Take breaks. Schedule a day off for fun and laughter. Book a holiday. Don't always cut short your lunch break.

17. Compare less.

Mark Twain once said, "Comparison is the death of joy". Life would be pretty boring if every restaurant was the same, every romantic partner was the same, or every day was the same. Accept when things are not as you expected and appreciate that it makes life interesting.

18. Make time for friendship.

One of the top five regrets of the dying is not spending enough time with friends. Create a weekly or monthly ritual with your friends, like dinner at a local restaurant, trivia night or morning yoga session.

19. Trust yourself.

So often we make mistakes and bad decisions in life because we've ignored the inner voice of guidance inside of us. Trust your intuition. Your soul knows what is right for you.

20. Commit to living a life true to you.

When you live, work, date, play, eat, drink, create, dance, travel and dream in ways that feel right with your soul, you come alive, and the whole world benefits.

21. Be gentle on yourself.

You are perfect and complete exactly as you are. Even when you are striving to improve and grow, you are complete and worthy of self-love. As the Buddhist saying goes, "We are all perfect as we are, and we could all use a little work."

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Things To Let Go Before The New Year

How much stress are you carrying around? Do you feel burdened by life’s circumstances and emotional issues? Becoming more grounded and happy starts with letting go of worry and stress. Physically, spiritually and emotionally, you have to learn how to let go of the person you thought you should be in order to be the person you really wanted to be.

Letting go of anything in life can be a little scary, but it can also be an amazing act of self-love. Letting go of your worries and stress can made a difference for yourself. Of course you may dip in and out of some of my stress jar from time to time, but here is a list of good reminder of what you may need to strive for each day in order to reach unlimited happiness.

Here are 20 things to let go of in order to reach unlimited happiness.

1. Let go of all thoughts that don’t make you feel empowered and strong.

2. Let go of feeling guilty for doing what you truly want to do.

3. Let go of the fear of the unknown; take one small step and watch the path reveal itself.

4. Let go of regrets; at one point in your life, that “whatever” was exactly what you wanted.

5. Let go of worrying; worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.

6. Let go of blaming anyone for anything; be accountable for your own life. If you don’t like something, you have two choices, accept it or change it.

7. Let go of thinking you are damaged; you matter, and the world needs you just as you are.

8. Let go of thinking your dreams are not important; always follow your heart.

9. Let go of being the “go-to person” for everyone, all the time; stop blowing yourself off and take care of yourself first … because you matter.

10. Let go of thinking everyone else is happier, more successful or better off than you. You are right where you need to be. Your journey is unfolding perfectly for you.

11. Let go of thinking there’s a right and wrong way to do things or to see the world. Enjoy the contrast and celebrate the diversity and richness of life.

12. Let go of cheating on your future with your past. It’s time to move on and tell a new story.

13. Let go of thinking you are not where you should be. You are right where you need to be to get to where you want to go, so start asking yourself where you want to go.

14. Let go of anger toward ex lovers and family. We all deserve happiness and love; just because it is over doesn’t mean the love was wrong.

15. Let go of the need to do more and be more; for today, you’ve done the best you can, and that’s enough.

16. Let go of thinking you have to know how to make it happen; we learn the way on the way.

17. Let go of your money woes — make a plan to pay off debt and focus on your abundance.

18. Let go of trying to save or change people. Everyone has her own path, and the best thing you can do is work on yourself and stop focusing on others.

19. Let go of trying to fit in and be accepted by everyone. Your uniqueness is what makes you outstanding.

20. Let go of self-hate. You are not the shape of your body or the number on the scale. Who you are matters, and the world needs you as you are. Celebrate you!

Friday, 26 December 2014

Destructive Habits You Need To Beware Of

We are all guilty of self-sabotage at least one point in our lives.These behaviors often creep up on us, and before we know it, they’re habitual. Awareness towards one or all of these habits can significantly increase anyone’s quality of life. Here is a list of 13 destructive habits and how to change them.

1. Having negative people in your sphere of influence

 Limit time spent with others trying to poison your mind with negativity. Replace them with positive influences that lift you up rather than pull you down.

2. Living in the past

 Everyone has something in their past they wish they could change. Unfortunately, it already happened and it must be accepted and learned from to live well. Instead of dwelling on what you could have done differently, ask yourself “what did I learn from this experience and how can I use it in my future?” Your brain will surely come up with some good answers.

3. Worrying

 Marinating in your troubles or difficulties is one of the worst ways to spend your time. Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere. Stop thinking about what could go wrong, notice everything already right in your life and recognize that everything will work out as it should.

4. Being scared to fail or make mistakes

 The greatest people to ever live were fantastic failures! Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Stephen Spielberg, Michael Jordan and Walt Disney just to name a few. Their “failures” were simply opportunities for improvement. Just remember that any experience you have is a form of success itself, because you will surely learn something valuable from it.

5. Thinking that happiness has anything to do with material things

 Advertisers have programmed people to believe that happiness comes from purchasing their products. This cannot be further from the truth. True happiness cannot be bought. Volunteer, give a compliment or a gift, and appreciate your life and the people in it. Realize that you have the power to be happy now by an easy change in your thoughts or actions.

6. Complaining

 Talking about how bad something is has never made it better for anyone. It is okay to acknowledge a problem, but focus all of your energy on finding a solution. Ask yourself “how can I change this?” or “what can I learn from this?”

7. Taking the easy way out 

 Life is not always easy and when faced with difficulty, most people choose the path of least resistance. Why? Because it offers less pain. As time passes, we are usually aware that the path of least resistance was the wrong choice. When faced with a difficult situation offering two paths, ask yourself “which path offers the most long-term happiness, not the least amount of pain now.”

8. Focusing on what you don’t have

 An easy way to drain yourself of any sort of peace is by looking at all the things you don’t have. Telling yourself over and over that you don’t have something won’t make it magically appear. It also won’t make you feel too good. Look at what you already have and be grateful for it. If you want something that you don’t have you must harness your focus and act towards attaining it.

9. Comparing yourself to others

 When you compare yourself to other people, your focus is on their qualities, achievements or possessions that you want. This relates back to number 8. Stop focusing on what you don’t have, notice what you have that people already admire and pursue that which you want in your life.

10. Holding Grudges

 When we hold onto resentment and fail to let it go, it often drags through life with us. Remember that forgiving someone does not justify what someone did to you; it just means that you refuse to let it get in the way of your happiness.

11. Overlooking the little things in life that really matter

 Things that might seem small to you now often turns out to be big things later. Don’t take for granted the memories you can make with the people you love.

12. Perfection

 In most cases, people are seeking perfection to gain self-confidence. However, striving for perfection is a guaranteed way to ruin self-confidence as it is an unattainable quality. It is a disastrous habit that many people put on themselves. Recognize the areas you want to improve and work towards them. In the meantime, remove the word perfection from your vocabulary.

13. Expecting the world to revolve around you

 Is it possible that maybe just maybe the world might revolve around you? Not a chance and we all know this is far from true. When we are conscious of this our little problems seem to fade away. No matter what happens throughout your day, just realize that someone is fighting for theirs.