November 2nd, 2013 // 3:44 pm @ marla
Written by Marc Chernoff
When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.
As Maria Robinson once said,“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot. Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth. And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.
2. Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on. No, it won’t be easy. There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them. We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems. That’s not how we’re made. In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall. Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time. This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.
3. Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself. Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves. Read The Road Less Traveled.
4. Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too. Yes, help others; but help yourself too. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.
5. Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else. Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you. Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.
6. Stop trying to hold onto the past. – You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.
7. Stop being scared to make a mistake. – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing. Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success. You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.
8. Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. – We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us. We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future. Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
9. Stop trying to buy happiness. – Many of the things we desire are expensive. But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions.
10. Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness. – If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either. You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else. Read Stumbling on Happiness.
11. Stop being idle. – Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place. Evaluate situations and take decisive action. You cannot change what you refuse to confront. Making progress involves risk. Period! You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.
12. Stop thinking you’re not ready. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises. Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.
13. Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons. – Relationships must be chosen wisely. It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company. There’s no need to rush. If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.
14. Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work. – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you. But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.
15. Stop trying to compete against everyone else. – Don’t worry about what others are doing better than you. Concentrate on beating your own records every day. Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.
16. Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own. Ask yourself this: “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”
17. Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you. You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough. But reflect back on those negative curveballs thrown at you in the past. You’ll often see that eventually they led you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation. So smile! Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday, and you will be.
18. Stop holding grudges. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart. You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate. Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.” It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.” Forgiveness is the answer… let go, find peace, liberate yourself! And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too. If you must, forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time.
19. Stop letting others bring you down to their level. – Refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.
20. Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway. Just do what you know in your heart is right.
21. Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break. – The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.
22. Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things. The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.
23. Stop trying to make things perfect. – The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done. Read Getting Things Done.
24. Stop following the path of least resistance. – Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile. Don’t take the easy way out. Do something extraordinary.
25. Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t. – It’s okay to fall apart for a little while. You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well. You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears. The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.
26. Stop blaming others for your troubles. – The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life. When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.
27. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out. But making one person smile CAN change the world. Maybe not the whole world, but their world. So narrow your focus.
28. Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy. One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time? Three years? Five years?” If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.
29. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen. Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story. If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.
30. Stop being ungrateful. – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life. Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs. Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.
October 19th, 2013 // 3:16 pm @ marla
by Carolyn Gregoire
The secret to lasting happiness might be neatly summed up in a cheesy neuroscience joke:
“The neurons that fire together, wire together.”
“It’s a classic saying, and it’s widely accepted because it’s very true,” neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, author of Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science Of Contentment, Calm and Confidence, tells The Huffington Post. “The longer the neurons [brain cells] fire, the more of them that fire, and the more intensely they
fire, the more they’re going to wire that inner strength –- that happiness, gratitude, feeling confident, feeling successful, feeling loved and lovable.”
But on a day to day basis, most of us don’t stay with our positive experiences long enough for them to be encoded into neural structure (meaning there’s not enough wiring and firing going on). On the other hand, we naturally tend to fixate on negative experiences. Positive and negative emotions use different memory systems in the brain, according to Hanson, and positive emotions don’t transfer as easily to long-term memory.
Hanson argues that the problem is we’re wired to scout for the bad stuff — as he puts it, the brain is like velcro for negative experience and teflon for positive ones. This “negativity bias” causes the brain to react very intensely to bad news, compared to how it responds to good news — research has even shown that strong, long-lasting relationships require a five to one ratio of positive to negative interactions in order to thrive, by virtue of the fact that the negative interactions affect us so much more strongly. The brain has evolved to be constantly scanning for threats, and when it finds one, to isolate it and lose sight of the big picture, according to Hanson.
“We’ve got this negativity bias that’s a kind of bug in the stone-age brain in the 21st century,” he says. “It makes it hard for us to learn from our positive experiences, even though learning from your positive experiences is the primary way to grow inner strength.”
The way to “hardwire happiness” into the brain, then, is to take in the good — being present to life’s tiny, joyful moments.
“Lingering on the positive improves the encoding of passing mental states into lasting neural traits,” says Hanson. “That’s the key here: we’re trying to get the good stuff into us. And that means turning our passing positive experiences into lasting emotional memories.”
Hanson shared some of neuropsychology’s best secrets for overcoming your negativity bias and hardwiring happiness into the brain, optimizing your potential for joy.
Take in the good. We all encounter positive moments each day, and no matter how small or seemingly insignificant they are, they can be instrumental in changing our perspective. But in order to do so, we must take the time to appreciate these moments of joy and increase their intensity and duration by lingering on them for longer, effectively “wiring” them into our brains.
“People don’t recognize the hidden power of everyday experiences,” says Hanson. “We’re surrounded by opportunities — 10 seconds here or 20 seconds there — to just register useful experiences and learn from them. People don’t do that when they could.”
When you appreciate and maximize the small, positive experiences, he says, “increasingly there’s a sense of being filled up already inside, or already feeling safe inside, or already feeling loved and liked and respected. So we have less of a sense of striving … Insecurity falls away because you’ve got the good stuff inside of yourself.”
Focus on the positive experiences with the greatest personal impact.
Certain experiences will have a greater positive effect depending on your individual negativity bias at the time. For instance, if you’re worried about a health scare, you need experiences that address this worry — so rather than seeking success or praise at work, you’d want to look for things that gave you a sense of safety or a feeling of wellness.
“You want experiences that are matched to your problem, like matching the medicine to the illness,” Hanson says.
We have three fundamental needs for safety, satisfaction and connection, he explains. So if you have a safety-related issue like a health scare, you’d want to seek positive experiences that boost your feelings in that sector. If the issue is connection-related, you should focus on small moments of positive interaction with others. And if you’re anxious and feeling threatened, it would help to feel stronger and more protected inside.
Be on your own side.
An essential ingredient of happiness, as research has recently reaffirmed, is setting an intention for joy and then insisting upon it.
“We don’t get on our own side; we don’t take a stand in which we are for ourselves, and that’s foundational,” says Hanson. “There’s a joke in the therapy world: ‘How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb? Only one, but the lightbulb has to want to change.’ It’s lame, and it’s profound, because right there is square one.”
He explains that if someone we love is upset or worried, we try to help them move beyond that state of mind. But when we are upset or worried ourselves, we often don’t help ourselves the same way. Instead, we tend to stay upset and ruminate over things longer than we need to.
Maintain a sense of wonder.
Einstein once said, “He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle.” And when it comes to taking in the good, a sense of wonder is key. Experiencing moments as fresh and new, with a childlike awe, allows them to stick in the brain for longer, potentially becoming part of our lasting emotional memory.
“The more that things seem fresh and new, the more that you’re looking at them with beginner’s mind or child’s mind, that’s going to increase brain structure because the brain is always looking for what’s new,” Hanson says.
Open your eyes and look around.
The secret to bliss could be as simple (and extraordinarily difficult) as paying attention. Mindfulness — the cultivation of a focused awareness on the present moment, developed through practices like meditation and deep breathing — is perhaps our greatest tool when it comes to increasing our capacity for happiness.
“I think of attention as the combination of spotlight and vacuum cleaner: it illuminates what it rests upon, and then shuuup! It sucks it into our brain.,” Hanson says. “The problem is, most people don’t have very good control over that spotlight, and they have a hard time pulling it away from what’s not helpful.”
It can be very difficult to pull our attention away from the negative, which can take the form of rumination, self-criticism, obsession and anxiety, according to Hanson. But one way to change this, and to create more lasting positive memories in the brain, is to make a concerted effort to notice those little, everyday pleasant encounters: A smile from a stranger, a small gesture of caring from a friend or a little personal victory.
“Mindfulness is a great way to get control over your spotlight,” explains Hanson, who is also a longtime meditation teacher and author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom. “It can help you stay with — for 10 or 20 seconds at a time — these positive experiences, and it can help you be present in your own life, so that you’re showing up for the good experiences that are here for you.”
by Carolyn Gregoire
September 15th, 2013 // 11:12 pm @ marla
“One of the hardest decisions you will ever face in life is whether to walk away or try harder”
When we are faced with making tough decisions in Life, here are 10 Valuable Life Lessons:
1. Life is as easy or as hard as you make it.
2. You don’t always know best and that’s okay. Allow people to walk down their own path even if you don’t understand it.
3. Trust the process of Life. The Universe will take care of things that we can’t. You can call this process God, Spirit, Love, etc. But there is a force that is greater than us that will handle what we can’t. But we have to allow that process to work and “surrender” the problem.
4. It’s okay to allow relationship’s to take their natural course. We aren’t going to be close to all family members and there is a good reason for that.
5. Life is like a theater. Some people are meant to be in the front row of your life and then there are others that are best kept in the back rows. And then again, there are some people who shouldn’t be in our theater at all!
6. Over-analysis creates paralysis. We don’t need to understand everything…just do the best you can.
7. It’s when we don’t understand Life that we think Life deceives us.
8. When you feel the need to control a situation, it is usually your “ego” taking charge. When you make decisions from your “spirit” it is easy to let go and let Life be in control.
9. When someone tells you they don’t want to be with you, believe it, and don’t enable them by making them stay.
10. Make wise discernment in your life. Better choices creates a happier life. Sometimes those choices include releasing relationships that aren’t healthy. But don’t worry, God takes care of them anyway: )
December 31st, 2011 // 1:54 am @ marla
When a client wants me to help them stick to a New Year’s Resolution, I give them these 5 tips:
1. Be clear on what you want. For example, if you want to lose weight, how much weight do you want to lose? Is it 5 , 15, or 20 pounds or more? Be realistic and as detailed as possible on what you want to achieve, and then write it down. There is something dynamic about the act of putting your goals on paper and reading them aloud.
2. Surround yourself around people who are supportive. There are some friends who like to sabotage your success, so it’s very important to surround yourself around people who will help you attain your goal and not sway you off course. It would be helpful to be around those who have already attained what you are are striving to accomplish.
3. Be committed. How badly do you want your goal? The stronger your intention of getting what you want will be the catalyst of how fast you can achieve your New Year’s Resolution. Remind yourself of how bad you want it. Leave yourself little post-its in your car, on your desk, and even on the refrigerator. You can even give yourself a “trigger” word to help you stay motivated. I had a client who would wear a rubber band and whenever she wanted to smoke a cigarette, she would snap it and say, “I choose to be healthy” to remind herself how unhealthy smoking was for her. She quit smoking within 3 months.
4. Use your subconscious mind to assist you in getting what you want. Your subconscious mind is very powerful, so try hypnosis or meditation to get yourself in the right frame of mind to really stick to your commitment. Visualizing yourself already attaining your goal is very effective too. “If you can see it, you can achieve it.”
5. Be flexible and ready to tweak your plan to make it work for you. You might to have to alter your strategy if something isn’t working. Don’t give up, just be ready to switch to plan “B” if you find that your original plan isn’t successful. Remember the saying,’ If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again until you do.”
Happy New Year!