Tag Archives: insight

How to Boost Your Confidence

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Want to look and feel confident, even when you’re quaking in your boots? Strike a pose, say researchers at Northwestern University.

Sit back in your seat with one arm stretched across the top of your chair, your chest out, and your ankle crossed over your knee. Did you just feel a drop in anxiety and a surge in feelings of competence? Turns out that simply placing your body in postures that project power triggers two key hormonal changes. When researchers assigned study subjects certain postures (expansive or constricted) and roles (manager or subordinate), it was the seated posture that gave people the biggest shot of confidence. “The position raises levels of testosterone, a hormone that drives us to take action,” explains author Adam Galinsky, Ph.D. “At the same time, it reduces cortisol, a stress hormone.”

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“Why Not You?

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Today, many will awaken with a fresh sense of inspiration. Why not you?

Today, many will open their eyes to the beauty that surrounds them. Why not you?

Today, many will choose to leave the ghost of yesterday behind and seize the immeasurable power of today. Why not you?

Today, many will break through the barriers of the past by looking at the blessings of the present. Why not you?

Today, for many the burden of self-doubt and insecurity will be lifted by the security and confidence of empowerment. Why not you?

Today, many will rise above their believed limitations and make contact with their powerful innate strength. Why not you? Continue reading

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The Double Standard of Aging…

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“How old are you?” The person asking the question is anybody. The respondent is a woman, a woman “of a certain age,” as the French say discreetly. That age might be anywhere from her early twenties to her late fifties. If the question is impersonal-routine information requested when she applies for a driver’s license, a credit card, a passport-she will probably force herself to answer truthfully. Filling out a marriage license application, if her future husband is even slightly her junior, she may long to subtract a few years; probably she won’t. Competing for a job, her chances often partly depend on being the “right age,” and if hers isn’t right, she will lie if she think she can get away with it. Making her first visit to a new doctor, perhaps feeling particularly vulnerable at the moment she’s asked, she will probably hurry through the correct answer. But if the question is only what people call personal-if she’s asked by a new friend, a casual acquaintance, a neighbor’s child, a co-worker in an office, store, factory-her response is harder to predict. She may side-step the question with a joke or refuse it with playful indignation. “Don’t you know you’re not supposed to ask a woman her age?” Or, hesitating a moment, embarrassed but defiant, she may tell the truth. Or she may lie. But neither truth, evasion, nor lie relieves the unpleasantness of that question. For a woman to be obliged to state her age, after a “certain age,” is always a miniature ordeal.

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Summing Life Up…

Food for Thought:

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“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly despairing, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”

-Agatha Christie, An Autobiography

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The Hidden Benefits of Anger, Cursing and Negativity

What you think of as your worst qualities can have some surprising upsides.

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Imperfect Harmony

In nature, nothing is ever black-and-white, and every yin has its yang. Time and time again we discover that things we thought were unequivocally unhealthy—like germs or UV rays—can sometimes be quite good for us. (We’re still waiting for some happy news about French fries.) And now researchers are beginning to find that the same is true of our habits and personality quirks. “In certain situations, what is typically a detrimental trait can turn out to be a good one,” says Bryan Gibson, PhD, professor of social psychology at Central Michigan University. In other words, what you perceive as faults—even minor ones like blurting out curse words when things go wrong or doodling whenever your boss fires up an Excel spreadsheet—can, in the right context, be strengths. Here’s why.

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Family Secrets: Mom, Interrupted

 

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 Manic depression pushed Ashley Prentice Norton to the brink of suicide. It took six months, her husband’s love, and 17 rounds of electroshock therapy to bring her back to her kids–alive.

It’s 8 a.m. on a Friday morning in early May. My 8-year-old daughter, Anderson, and I hold hands and walk up the three flights to her classroom. Normally, she leaves me standing outside in the crowd of parents, waiting for her to blow me a kiss. But today, I’m helping the girls make sandwiches for the local community food pantry. In her free hand, Anderson swings the supplies I bought the night before: a pound of smoked Virginia ham, a pound of Provolone, and three loaves of potato bread.

Almost all of the girls are already there, sitting in their mini-chairs with plastic gloves on. I know these girls. I was here in October to help them put on their costumes for the Halloween parade, have had them over for play dates, have listened to Anderson talk about them at the dinner table. I know they’re all going through a Harry Potter phase, racing to see who can finish the books first. They are adorable, familiar.

I turn and greet their teacher, and she returns my hello with an effusive hug. “Thanks for coming, Mrs. Norton. We’re so happy you’re here,” she says. It’s the enthusiastic welcome you’d expect after an absence far longer than the 18 hours it’s been since school pick-up–and I understand why. There was a time when I rarely made it to pick-up or drop-off, when I could barely slap together one sandwich, much less help with 40. I couldn’t retain the name of Anderson’s teacher. Honestly, I wasn’t even completely clear on where the school was.

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A Journey Without a Goal

by Leo Babauta

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A Journey Without a Goal

Post written by Leo Babauta

Nearly every activity we do has a purpose, a goal in mind.

We drive to get to work, to the store, to a class or party. We walk for fitness, or to get to a specific destination. We work to achieve something, to reach certain numbers. We workout to get healthier, to get a nicer body.

But what would happen if we gave up the goal?

What would a journey without a goal be like?

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Who Do You Think You Are? Why You’re in Control of Your Destiny…

By Mike Robbins

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If you had to sum up your life’s story, would you say it’s inspiring? Boring? Tragic? Realize that not only are you the main character in your life, but you’re also the author—only you can determine if you think your story is good and what the next chapter will be!

Sometimes when I’m about to take a big risk, go for something important or step out in a bold way in my life, a judgmental question will pop up in my head: “Who do you think you are?” Does this ever happen to you?

This is one of the many ways the feelings of not being good enough or of unworthiness show up in your life and get in the way of your success, fulfillment and authenticity. Sadly, as most of people know, this question doesn’t come from your true self; it comes from your “Gremlin,” the little monster in your head whose only job is to keep you out of perceived danger. The more you listen to your Gremlin, the more you allow him or her to sabotage your life.
However, this question, “Who do you think you are?”—while often asked in a negative, critical way and is something you allow to stop you from doing, saying and going for important things in life—is also a very important question for you to ask and answer honestly. When you look at it on deeper level, you see that your answer to this question has a lot to do with how you experience life in general.
How life is for you has a lot less to do with your circumstances or situations and much more to do with how you relate to them and the thoughts you have. Some of the most powerful thoughts you think and the ones that have the most impact on you are the thoughts you have about yourself (i.e., who you think you are).
Everyone has a story about themselves and their lives. These stories are often dramatic, funny, scary, inspiring, sad, intense, boring, enjoyable or tragic (usually a combination of many of these things). In most cases, the story you have changes a bit, depending on how you’re feeling about life and yourself at any given time.
One of the things you may sometimes forget, however, is that you’re the author of the story of your life, not just the main character. You may think that your story has to do with all the things that have happened to you, the qualities you were born with or have cultivated, the stuff you’ve done or haven’t done yet. But, when you remember that your story is a function of your thoughts, most specifically the thoughts you have about yourself, you can be empowered to consciously transform not just your story, but your life as a whole.

Here are a few things to think about and do to enhance your thoughts about yourself and therefore enhance your experience of life:

  • Notice when your feelings of being not good enough or of unworthiness show up.
    In other words, pay attention to when the question, “Who do you think you are?” stops you in your tracks and takes you out of the game of your life. When you’re able to notice this, be honest about and have some compassion for yourself, you can take your power back from your Gremlin in those moments and step more fully into who you really are.
  • Ask yourself more deeply, “Who do you think you are?”
    Go deeper with this question, beyond the judgment, and really inquire about how you relate to yourself. What’s your story? The more honest you can be about the story you have about yourself, the easier it is for you to acknowledge it, own it and ultimately change it. Remember, these stories are not “true”—they are simply your interpretations, judgments and beliefs. You created them, so you have the power to transform them at any time.
  • Upgrade your story about yourself.
    In the specific areas of your life where your story is not empowering, inspiring or fulfilling, see if you’re willing and able to “upgrade” it in an authentic way. This basically means you change your thoughts, words and feelings about your story in a genuine way. Because people often get so attached to their stories and tend to defend them passionately, this upgrading process can be challenging. It sometimes takes support, feedback and coaching from others in order for you to move beyond your story and remember that you have the power to upgrade it whenever you’re ready.

Who you think you are is one of the most foundational aspects of how you relate to life and yourself. As Henry Ford said in his famous quote: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” This simple quote is so wise and profound. And, whether you think you’re great not, you’re always right—it’s a function of who you truly think you are.

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The Most Important Skill to Master from Zen Habits…

Post written by Leo Babauta

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If you’re like me, you are constantly learning new skills — gardening, carpentry, pizza-making, languages, sports, and so on. And I think this is a fun and wonderful thing to do.

But what’s the most important skill?

That’s debatable. I think compassion is a huge one, as is mindfulness. I’d go with those two any day of the week.

But if I had to pick just one, it would be this: learning to be happy with yourself.

That seems too simple, to trite! Too mushy and New-Agey! And I’ll grant all of that, but I stand firmly by my pick.

Why? The answer has to do with how this one thing can affect everything else in your life. If you are not happy with yourself, or your body, you become insecure. You think you’re not good enough. You fear being abandoned and alone. You do lots of other things to compensate, and these lead to problems.

So many of the problems people have stem from this one thing — being unhappy with themselves (often in the form of being unhappy with their bodies). Let’s take a look at why, and then look at some ideas of how to master the skill.

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