#63 Use Your Voice

Using your voice doesn’t mean that you automatically say everything that comes to your mind without thought and intention.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year! My hope is that 2019 is everything you desire it to be!

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#63

Use Your Voice

The phrase ‘use your voice’ is interpreted differently across gender, culture, and age but for the purpose of this writing, it is specifically referring to the effort of speaking the words that run through your mind and heart. You may wonder why that isn’t a universal automatic event because certainly, some people speak with very little consideration and yet, so many do not.

The Unspeakable

Perhaps as soon as we learn to speak we realize that there are things not to be spoken. It’s not polite to verbally address someone’s size or age; to ask about their income or sexual interests; or to openly condemn or criticize. We’ve learned how to be politically correct and how to keep the peace. All of this however, comes at the price of forgetting how to ‘use our voice’.

Shut up & Shut down

When we discover or realize that by speaking our mind or sharing our heart – we may experience negative consequences, we tend to adopt coping mechanisms to make communication easier. In many cases, it stimulates the reflex of shutting down and silencing those thoughts and feelings that might otherwise be shared. We may have grown up with a parent who wasn’t open to other opinions or lived with a spouse who lived within rigid parameters. We might live in a strict culture.

There may also be internal factors that keep us from vocalizing our thoughts; ‘will people still love me?’, ‘ will I sound stupid?’, ‘will anyone pay attention?’. Sometimes, it is the inner voice that controls our courage to vocalize.

Listen & learn

The first step in learning to use your voice is listening carefully to your thoughts and deciphering what you want to say. Clear out the clutter and get to the heart of the matter. Once you do that, make sure to deliver the message in a clear and constructive manner so that it can be heard. Learn how to avoid blaming language, use “I” statements, and offer solutions. Learn to have confidence in your thoughts, knowledge, and presence.

Delivery

Using your voice doesn’t mean that you automatically say everything that comes to your mind without thought and intention. Making sure to speak with clear intention is perhaps, the most important element. Choosing every word – especially when confronting a problem – on purpose is often the key to a successful outcome. And right behind that is the requirement to speak everything in kindness. Confrontation doesn’t have to be ugly to be effective.

If you find that this is an area of your life that could use more resolve, consider a New Year’s resolution to more effectively…

Use your voice.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#80 Take the Long Road

Taking the long road may allow you to contemplate a problem or run through solutions because driving and heading home are such rote activities

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#80

Take the Long Road

While this advice may not always be in your best interest, sometimes taking the long road offers a range of opportunities.

Taking the long road home allows you to gather your thoughts and partition work related stressors away from the energy you want to greet your family with.

Taking the long road on vacation allows you to experience the culture and ambiance of the location you are visiting in a vastly different way than a freeway or interstate does.

Taking the [figurative] long road in responding to a hurtful remark will allow you to make sure that your return comments aren’t ugly and spiteful.

Taking the [figurative] long road to consider ethical challenges will most often allow you to feel confident that your considerations were well thought out.

Taking the long road may help you bypass the frustration of traffic congestion.

Taking the long road may allow you to explore a conversation that may otherwise get interrupted. Some of the best conversations happen in a car when parties are somewhat captive.

Taking the long road may allow you to contemplate a problem or run through solutions because driving and heading home are such rote activities

Of course, taking the long road may also use more gas, put more miles on your automobile (except when using the figurative sense) and ultimately cost more money. Yet, there are times when it’s a clear advantage to…

Take the long road.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

 

#105 Stop Complaining

The adage “what we focus on … grows” and it’s indicated in physical science by looking at the way our brain sends electrical charges through our brain

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#105

Stop Complaining

I read that complaining was like emotional farting – a description that resonated with me and it turns out – that when we complain, it’s as if we are in a closed elevator – essentially impacting everyone in our vicinity with the negativity of our comments. Yes, complaining is contagious. When you are complaining, you are a black cloud of dust settling in, over, and around everything within earshot.

Second Nature

The adage “what we focus on … grows” and it’s indicated in physical science by looking at the way our brain sends electrical charges through our brain – eventually shortening the distance the charge travels and making it easier for the brain to think the way it is thinking. In this example, “grows” refers to the ease with which thoughts are triggered. When we complain a lot, complaining becomes second nature.

Based on this logic, the reverse would also be true. If we compliment – or notice the positive – over and over, they are the elements that become a natural part of our thought process.

Stress

Negativity begets stress… stress is hazardous to your overall health. When we are surrounded by complaining, stress levels increase. When we are complaining, stress is elevated. In both cases, the overarching effect on our system is negative which, in many cases – become another focus of our complaint.

Easy Street

Complaining is easy. We are hardwired to look for what’s wrong in life. It’s a mechanism that supports our survival and some complaining – is healthy. The truth is that some aspects of life feel negative and expressing frustration effectively is a necessity for good mental health. Constructively expressing the emotions we feel is more difficult than it appears.

Gratitude

The antidote to complaints is to recognize the good in each experience. Expressing gratitude for even the most difficult of scenarios is at the heart of healthy functioning. It is akin to finding the silver lining in every storm cloud and describing IT – instead of the horror of the storm. Noticing the good and allowing it to take center stage instead of complaining about the element that wasn’t perfect… can be where the focus goes. And ass it goes… “what we focus on… grows” so…

Stop Complaining.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#119 Get Hypnotized

When we can reach the deepest part of our psyche, we are able to touch the truest power of our brain.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#119

Get Hypnotized

My mother delivered me under hypnosis and without drugs or an epidural, she remembers only one labor pain. Hypnosis is widely misunderstood; people have a sense that while hypnotized they are unable to have any control. I frequently hear resistance that includes a fear of “not knowing what’s going on”. In actuality, hypnosis is nothing more than a hyper-focused state of concentration.

Hypnotic State

While ‘under hypnosis’, the hypnotized individual is in a heightened state of awareness, temporarily rendering the person fully susceptible to suggestion [but only to the extent that the individual is willing]. It is during this state that the individual is able to zero into the subconscious, mostly due to the absence of  environmental chatter – eliminated by suggestion. Some people call this state a ‘trance’ and is easily recognized by the state we all commonly experience when we arrive at a destination but have no memory of actually taking the route there.

Purpose of Hypnosis

Sometimes, there is so much internal or environmental ‘chatter’ that it is extremely difficult to get to the data stored in our brain. Hypnosis helps us dive through the noise. At other times, we are so consciously resistant to going ‘there’ that hypnosis allows us to bypass the auto-diverters that our psyche has created; allowing us to get ‘there’ [a memory or a feeling]. In other cases, hypnosis allows us to get underneath the ego or established defenses and to the place where we are vulnerable and receptive to new ways of thinking.

Benefits

When we can reach the deepest part of our psyche, we are able to touch the truest power of our brain. There, we can divert pain, established beliefs, and dysfunctional thinking. Hypnosis can attack phobias (irrational beliefs), sleep, depression, stress, and other mental health struggles. It can help us visualize, remember, and concentrate.

Cons

Some people question the validity of the ‘memories’ that are reportedly recalled while in a trance. Since these memories are often unable to be substantiated, it is helpful to consider the ‘point’ of the memory, what is the ‘meaning’ that may be attributed to what the brain has created, regardless of the truth or fiction. I find that under some circumstances, a fictional ‘memory’ may be just as valid a message as a literal recollection – similar to a dream.

If you are challenged with an addiction, an unidentified nagging feeling, or a curiosity about childhood – consider finding a therapist qualified to practice hypnosis and take the step to…

Get Hypnotized.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#120 Use Imagery

If you are challenged to create a descriptive monologue that depicts exactly what you are hoping to achieve, then something recorded may be the best option to start with.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#120

Use Imagery

Yesterday I wrote about using affirmations – a practice popularized from the New Thought movement and now reinforced in many areas of positive psychology. Another technique used to build positivity and sometimes incorporated into cognitive therapy, is imagery.

Imagery

The goal behind imagery is to use your brain’s ability to imagine in order to foster thoughts and feelings more conducive to your goal. For example, if you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, it is helpful to imagine yourself sitting on a beach watching the waves roll in or by a waterfall, listening to the sound of the water hitting the rocks below.

If you’ve read The Secret or if you are a follower of the Law of Attraction, then you know that both promote the use of imagery by using vision boards or manifestation meditation in the pursuit of future objectives. The concept is “if you can ‘see’ it, then you can believe it – and ultimately manifest it as reality; a testament to the power of your brain and it’s connection to your body.

Guided Imagery

When getting started, guided imagery is often the best way to go. Three are thousands of guided imagery videos on YouTube and thousands of other scripts available online that you can record and listen to yourself. If you are challenged to create a descriptive monologue that depicts exactly what you are hoping to achieve, then something recorded may be the best option to start with.

Goals

Imagery is used in the treatment of anxiety, stress, and high blood pressure. It’s been shown to reduce blood loss and pain after surgery. It’s used with athletes to improve coordination, develop skill, and increase confidence. It can benefit self-esteem, deepen intuition, and bolster creativity. And, those are just the areas with empirical research substantiating the benefits.

There are some people who have claimed to ‘cure’ their cancer via visualization and The Simonton Process is now used in a number of hospitals across the country in cancer care. It’s a consistent practice of imagining cancer cells evaporating, getting swept away, or being attacked and destroyed by other means. Many of the patients who saw improvements – and an increase in immune function – were those who committed to the practice.

Think of a change you’d like to see in your life and search YouTube, or find a practitioner to help you get started. There’s a lot to gain when you learn how to…

Use imagery.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#121 Make a list of Positive Affirmations

It’s a way to overturn critical and negative self talk with something encouraging and healthy.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#121

Make a list of positive affirmations

The idea that positive thinking is at the core of positive developments and manifestations is now more than one hundred years old. It is thought to have been born out of Wallace Wattles’s 1910 book, The Science of Getting Rich. One of the primary tenets of the ideology is the value of affirmation.

Affirmation

By definition, an affirmation is “the action or process of affirming something” as well as “emotional support or encouragement”. In the New Thought movement, an affirmation is defined as “a carefully formatted statement that should be repeated to one’s self and written down frequently”.  As they are formulated, attention is directed so that they are “present tense, positive, personal, and specific”.

Louise Hay

Louise Hay, may be one of the original ‘self-help’ gurus as her book You Can Heal Your Life has had a permanent place on the bestseller list for that genre since its publication in 1984 – more than 30  years. She teaches the power of affirmations and offers specific instruction on how to craft them for effectiveness.

Creating Affirmation

An affirmation – as mentioned earlier – needs to be:

Personal – I, my life, I know, I believe, I trust

Positive – absolute, all, always, in fact, everyday, at all times, in every way.

Specific – (naming the ‘thing’ that you want to affirm)

Present – now, as I breathe, in this moment, at this time, here, am, is.

Example: I am (Personal) always (positive) extending compassion (the ‘thing’) as I breathe (present moment).

It doesn’t have to be in that exact order or using only those words of course. The internet has a gazillion examples of you need help choosing the ones that are meaningful to you.

Using affirmations

For many of us, the use of affirmations is a way of teaching ourselves a new language. It’s a way to overturn critical and negative self talk with something encouraging and healthy. Instead of a personal beratement of “I never do anything right” – the affirmation of “I am always learning from mistakes I have made”.

I recommend making a set of flashcards – just like you would if you were learning a new language vocabulary (because you are) – and practice them on a regular basis. I’ve had clients who kept them in their car, their purse, on their nightstand, etc. and reviewed them several times a day. Eventually, they become memorized and etched in our mindsets just like the vocabulary we learned as students.

Consider for a few minutes, those positive elements that you want to become more pronounced in your day-to-day life and …

Create a list of positive affirmations.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

The Struggle

Not one of us if free from the distortion that occurs after birth. We only experience varying degrees and intensities.

“The capacity to learn is a gift; The ability to learn is a skill; The
willingness to learn is a choice.”  ― Brian Herbert

We are born into this world in perfect form. We are innately able to express ourselves, we smile, eat, sleep, burp, and fart at will. And then we learn not to.

For the first two years of our lives we are taught to walk and talk and then someone – perhaps many – tell us to sit down and shut up; and we struggle to make sense of it.

We are told to eat everything on our plate and then not to be fat; and we struggle to make sense of it.

We are told that our parents love us and then they leave or don’t pay attention; and we struggle to make sense of it.

We are told that love is wonderful and then it hurts like hell; and we struggle to make sense of it.

We are told that sex / sexual touching might be bad but it feels physically good; and we struggle to make sense of it.

We are told we can by one segment of society and that we can’t by another; and we struggle to make sense out of it.

We are told that Santa is real and then find out that he is not; and we struggle to make sense of it.

We are told that white lies are acceptable but dishonesty is not; and we struggle to make sense of it.

We are told there are laws and then we break them without consequence; and we struggle to make sense of it.

We are told that marriage is forever and then we divorce in anger; and we struggle to make sense of it.

And along the way we just do the best that we can.

Most of us.

We are born pure of heart, perhaps believing in unending possibilities and then we are told, we learn… something else.

It’s not anyone’s fault specifically as each of us has faced the same fate. We are all born into a mold of prior teachings that bends and shapes the beginning of our personal story until we have sculpted a cast of our own with the addition of social and cultural contradictions.

Essentially, we are all … each and every one of us … bent out of shape from our original, perfect form. Designed individually by the things we struggled to make sense of; the things that we observed and interpreted.

This is the foundation, the cornerstone of personal growth.

Learning how you came to think and understand the things that you do.

Why was it that you disagreed with your parents but your sibling acquiesced? Why did you learn to feed your feelings while your mother was a beauty queen? How did you learn to motivate yourself even though your father never held a full-time job?

We are products of our family life, social environment, town culture, and national philosophies. We come to believe that what makes one of us ‘right’ makes another of us ‘wrong’ when in fact it only makes us DIFFERENT.

Not one of us if free from the distortion that occurs after birth. We only experience varying degrees and intensities. We only differ in the shape, color, and size of those variants.

Not one of us is exempt.

The secret here is an absence of judgment. An understanding that we are all the same in that we are bent – broken – and twisted by our backgrounds, our heritage, and our experiences. We cannot possibly acknowledge that our extent of understanding is “the” best, “the” right, “the” optimal interpretation of life.

Once we allow for our differences and truly honor the fact that what makes me different from you is the way we were bent… we can begin the process of compassion and acceptance. We suddenly see one another as perfect human babies that are composed of the same material but shaped by different forms.

Like spoons.

The same molten metal is forged into any variety of individual and unique pieces. Each one of them intended for a slightly different use generating almost endless possibilities. And yet they all seem to serve a distinctive purpose and are enjoyed by a variety of populations.

We seem to accept that there are so many types of spoons without question; without judgement.

What would your life be like if you stopped to consider that the person you are angry with is bent? What about the person with whom you are disappointed? Have you considered that they may be formed into a shape that may be painful to exist within?

Have you thought about your own bends? Are they working in your life? Do you need to hammer out a few kinks? Can you accept that the forces at work as you were originally being shaped may have been bent and broken; making it impossible for you to exist without needing a few repairs?

Can you take responsibility now for those corrections?

You are where you are. Your shape is your shape. Anything that happens now must happen because you are aware and deliberate about making change.

Be what you want to be. Take the time to know your shape and learn how to bend in the way that makes life work for you.

 

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