- From: Tiny Buddha:
“He gave me the most valuable advice I had ever received. “To make the decision, take the fear out, then you’ll know.”What? How on Earth do you take the fear out? I had lived in fear for the majority of my existence. How do you keep yourself safe if you don’t live in the fear? In fact, fear is safe. It kept me securely in the life I felt like I was suffocating in. I knew exactly what to expect.”
“Relying on social support:
Then I asked myself, “What if I used my resources for emotional support? What if I relied on my friends and family—and what if I relied on myself?” The reversal of the what if’s felt powerful and motivating. And I knew it was possible they could be true.”
“When we tell ourselves lies, it feels awful; when we speak the truth, it is light and freeing. Each truth I spoke felt closer to answering my own question.Not only did I have to identify each fearful “what if,” I had to remove them. This can be done by listing them on paper and crossing them out or simply calling them by name and removing them from the equation like they don’t exist.”
“I saw them each, one by one, stand up to me. There were so many. And then, one by one, I asked them to leave the room. And there came my answer: it was time to let go.”
- From: Tiny Buddha:
“And then we become obsessed with our problems. We think about them.All. The. Time.And then we think about them some more.Sometimes my brain actually starts to ache from all this thinking and analyzing. We get exhausted, mentally, physically, and emotionally. And when we realize we are no closer to solving our problems or making a decision, we start becoming more frantic and we flail and panic even more.”
1. Be frantic, flail, panic … then get it out.
Whine to your amazing friends who listen to you patiently with nothing but love and empathy, even though you’ve been putting them through this time and time again.
Then go jogging, go to the gym, go for a swim. Write in a journal. Do something to get all that anger, resentment, fear, and pity out of you.
You’re in over-active child mode right now—tire yourself out.
2. Go spend some time outdoors.
Go for a meander in the woods, walk along the ocean. Observe the birds in action, pay attention to the trees, watch the clouds in the sky. Basically spend some time in nature.
I’m not sure what it is, but there’s something calming about nature. It slows us down. It tires us out (see point 1). It gives us perspective. It shows us that there is more to life than our problems and worries.
3. Do something else.
Worried about whether you should end a relationship? Go learn to play a new musical instrument.
Worried about how you are going to make your mortgage at the end of the month? Go volunteer at your local charity. Or:
Read something uplifting every morning, afternoon and right before going to bed
- Watch YouTube clips that crack you up
- Write five things you are grateful for every morning
- Start a new habit (i.e.: get up an hour earlier, drink more water)
- Learn origami
- Spend some time cleaning your closet
- Offer to babysit for your friends (kids are amazing distracters!! It’s hard to focus on your problems when you are constantly trying to keep them from falling over or hurting themselves)
From: Tiny Buddha
1. Cut down on what you already have.
It doesn’t have to be something drastic. Studies have shown that removing clutter from our surroundings leads to a calmer and clearer state of mind.
Start with one room instead of trying to take on the whole house. Are there any clothes you haven’t worn in years? Be honest and really consider if you’ll ever wear it again.
Personal styles come and go, and there’s no shame in donating something that still has a price tag on it, you’ve only worn a few times, or is uncomfortable due to our beautifully changing bodies.
2. Think twice before you buy.
“If I don’t get this I’m going to regret it tomorrow.” “It’s such a good deal I’d be foolish not to buy it!”
Wait a day to buy whatever you think you need, especially if you hadn’t planned on buying it before you saw it.
More often than not, our concentration is pulled in other directions and we don’t even remember the item we just “had” to have the day before. Or, the prospect of going back to the store is simply not worth it.
3. Be grateful for what you have.
This is by far the most important piece of advice I can give to anyone. There was a day when the servers offered candy for the first time during lunch, and I don’t think I ever enjoyed a small hard candy as much in my entire life.
Being without so much of what I took for granted every day during my meditation retreat (including any chairs with backs!) and during much of my travels led me to realize that focusing on the small things I had made me infinitely happier.
- From Chris Kresser:
- Practice mindfulness
- Stop multi-tasking
- Batch email and social media into 2-4 discreet periods a day instead of checking them continuously
- Turn off notifications from your phone, computer and iWatch
- Go off the grid. Spend one day a week away from your electronic devices
- Do less (but accomplish more). Focus on the absolute important tasks you need to do that day/week/month, plan for it, set some goals and get down to it!
- Is this activity you are doing now adding value to your life? (Or worse, is it becoming a burden?)
- How am I going to fill my glass (day?). Fill your day with what matters (the big rocks) before letting the other grains (watching tv, playing games etc) come in
- What clutter can i eliminate?
- Minimalism/essentialism: getting rid of material possessions you don’t need
- Ask yourself:
“If I didn’t already own this, how much would I spend to buy it?”
- Protect yourself
- Protect your physical (exercise often), mental (read books and record ideas from those books), spiritual health (meditate and write in your journal)
- How often do I disconnect? Disconnect from all the apps, email etc. Take time out to take care of yourself and focus on what matters
- Aim to have no more than 100 items to your name
- Clutter has been proven to show a negative effective on job performance but it’s how you look at your clutter that matters more.
- Sleep is something that unfolds naturally. If you ask a good sleeper how they fall asleep, they tell you that they lay their head down and close their eyes—there is no effort to sleep, especially if you have good sleep habits.
- For example, when people are sleeping poorly and feeling tired, they often cut back on their activities, lie down to attempt to nap, go to bed early, and/or lay in bed later in the morning.
- This makes sense because they feel tired and they may be trying to cast a wide net to catch some more sleep. However, decreasing activity and spending more time in bed in a twenty-four-hour period sends a message to the system that less sleep is needed, and less deep sleep is needed.
Poor restorative sleep can cause or negatively affect pain. Six hours of quality sleep is far more important than eight hours of poor quality sleep.
- Avoid doing anything you do while awake, while in bed.
- When you cannot sleep and leave the room, you break the association with sleeplessness and the bed. While out of the room you are building sleep deprivation and more drive for deep sleep, so when you eventually return to the bedroom, you have a greater chance of sleeping.We want your bed to be associated with sleep only.
- Create a buffer zone between your day’s activities and going into sleep
Any activity that is relaxing but won’t put you to sleep will do. A buffer zone is a transition time between the pressures of the day and relaxing into sleep, so catching up on work, housework, or homework is counterproductive.
Teens or people sensitive to light should probably avoid handheld devices this time, or it can activate their body and make it more difficult to fall asleep. Exercise is fine but for some, vigorous exercise is activating and can delay being able to fall asleep.
- When you start worrying whilst lying in bed:
Get out of bed and go to another room. Worries in bed often become non-worries in another room because we become lucid. In fact, worrying in bed pairs the bed with wakefulness and worry, making it more likely that worry will become a habitual problem.
In short, whether the person is aware of it or not, insomnia produces a preoccupation with sleep and fatigue that becomes unhelpful. If we want to resist engaging in effort to sleep, we need to think about it less. We want to sleep to live, but never live to sleep.
- “…ask (your)self, “If I could be anything, what would I be in the village? How would I serve others?”. The beauty of asking this question is that we are actually asking who am I? We are getting to know ourselves.
I’ve found that honoring my calling as a writer has been absolutely fundamental in feeling comfortable with myself, and I’m far more able to handle times of loneliness and rejoice in times of connection.”
- “…But then the newness faded. My colleagues became familiar to me. My job was less about discovery and more about delivery. My apartment was decorated. I was done being “new.”
I didn’t have any real friends here; nobody I could call and say “hey, let’s hang out together today.” Family were in a completely different country too.
- What did I actually want? It was simple. I wanted to have someone I could call and spend some time with. But more than ever, I just wanted engagement, conversation, a spark of chemistry and shared experiences.I didn’t want acquaintances. I wanted real friends—the ones where we shared a mutual respect and just had each others’ back. Simple!
But my security did not come from removing the doubts, but choosing to take action in spite of them.
- My journey to finding new friends began with two main themes: the people I knew already, and the things I was interested in doing.I decided I would first ask a few colleagues to have lunch with me. These conversations revealed shared interests, so I asked one colleague to join me at a couture class where we learned to sew dresses. Another colleague and I went indoor-wall climbing.
And that is perhaps the most fundamental lesson from this experience. If I wanted friends, I had to ask for them. It was my responsibility to make the first move. There was no magic pill, no secret formula—just discovering the what and the how…”
From: Tiny Buddha
Have Fun Outside
1. Take a “flip the penny” hike in the woods. Assign each side as right or left, and then when you come to a fork in the road, flip to see which way you go. (Just make sure you keep track of where you’re going so you don’t get lost.)
2. Host a modern scavenger hunt, using technology.
3. Have a picnic in the park and ask everyone to make something from scratch.
4. Make your own kite, then head to the beach to fly it.
5. Take up urban foraging—the act of picking free fruits, vegetables, and edible plant life around your city, where sanctioned.
6. Start a nature collection—collect interesting shaped rocks or shells—and spend the day getting it started.
7. Start a garden on the cheap using some clever ideas from TheStreet.com.
8. Download a bike map app for your iPhone and explore a new area.
9. Have a nostalgia hunt at a flea market. Look for GI Joes, My Little Ponies, Cabbage Patch Kids, or anything else you loved as a kid.
10. Go geocaching—a “high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers.”
Have Fun with Food
11. Swap family recipes with a friend and make each other’s to enjoy together.
12. Make ingredients gifts for upcoming birthdays and events—get a jar, decorate it, and then layer cookie ingredients inside.
13. Have a cookie swap party. Everyone makes a dozen and goes home with a dozen of all different types of cookies.
14. Take turns hosting dinners with friends. It’s much less expensive than going out to eat, and it gives everyone a turn to host.
15. Host pot luck dinners based on food themes. Everyone brings something Italian, and the next time Thai, and the next time Chinese.
16. Have a food art party—everyone needs to bring something that’s both edible and creative.
17. Have a budget food contest. Everyone has to cook a dish spending no more than $5 or $10. Eat and vote on the best budget dish!
18. Start your own Julie and Julia project—grab a cookbook, start working your way through it, and blog about it as you go.
19. Make a recipe book of all your favorite dishes to give to someone you love.
20. Have an ugly cake contest. Have all of your friends make a desert, and then before you enjoy them together, vote on which is the ugliest!
Have Fun with Entertainment
21. Have a karaoke night using the YouTube karaoke channel.
22. Look on Craigslist for your area to see if there are any free concerts going on in nearby parks.
23. Have a movie marathon with one or two friends where everyone brings their favorite DVD.
24. Have an independent-film marathon, watching free indie videos online.
25. Spend a day looking for free street performances in the nearest big city. In the summer particularly, there’s a ton!
26. Host your own open mic night and invite all your most talented musician, comedian, and poet friends.
27. Have a culture day—visit a museum on a free day, listen to classical music on the way, and watch a classic movie in the evening.
28. Call your local theater to see if they take volunteer ushers. Many theaters give free tickets to volunteers who either seat guests or clean up post-performance.
29. If you have children, host a family barbecue where the adults catch up while the kids come up with a little show to perform later in the evening. (My favorite childhood memories all involve a show with the cousins!)
30. Use Facebook to get a group together for a flash mob. You’ll need a lot of people—and undoubtedly, this requires work—but it can be a ton of fun to prepare and carry out! Here are 15 flash mob videos to get the creative juices flowing.
Have Fun by Trading
31. Host a clothes swap day where everyone brings clothing and accessories they no longer want, and everyone goes home with something new. (This may be more for the ladies.)
32. Exchange homes for a night. When you’re staying at your friend’s high-rise condo and she’s decompressing in your claw-foot tub, a relaxing night in will have a whole new sense of excitement.
33. Trade gear—let your friend use your bike while you learn to rollerblade.
34. Trade books with a friend and then get together to discuss the most insightful, helpful, or entertaining parts.
35. Have a board game night where everyone brings their favorite game. (Okay, so this is more sharing than trading).
36. Trade your services for someone else’s. Offer to help your painter friend set up a website in exchange for painting your bedroom. It will be a fun, free, productive afternoon!
37. Have a no-money garage sale on a sunny afternoon. List on Craigslist everything that you have that you’d like to get rid of, and include a list of everything you want in exchange.
38. Trade ideas. Ask your friend to share his or her favorite way to spend a day off, then you share yours. You can either do them separately and report back to each other, or do them together on two respective off days.
39. Trade videos with a loved one who lives far away. Each of you plan a day of fun, without telling each other what it will entail. Then go through the day with the intention of creating a joy-filled video to send the other one later that evening.
40. Trade blogs. You host your friend’s blog for a day and let him or her host yours. If you both write about different niches, this is an incentive to try something new so that you can write about it.
Have Fun by Giving Back
41. Create a digital product about something you enjoy and donate the proceeds to charity.
42. Host a free webinar sharing something that you’re passionate about.
43. Sign up to be a volunteer dog walker through the SPCA. (You can also help organize fundraising events, provide general animal care, and assist with grooming, among other things.)
44. Call your local children’s hospital and see if you can host a sing-a-long or come dressed up as a clown to spread cheer. (Contributor Harriet Cabelly did something similar through Patch Adams international clowning trips.)
45. Volunteer to help with events at your local zoo. Some zoos require an extensive time commitment, but others take short-term volunteers for specific events.
46. Be an unofficial park volunteer for a day. In between relaxing and reading books on the grass, pick up litter to keep the area clean.
47. Use Charity Navigator to find a local charity that you can trust, and then get involved starting today.
48. Help an elderly neighbor with her garden, or with another chore that you generally enjoy doing.
49. Lead or participate in a midnight run to help the homeless.
50. Have a bake sale with friends in your neighborhood, then donate the proceeds to your favorite charity.
- Skimming: Can be especially effective when we already know what information we are looking for. I find this useful for scanning journal articles, which I have to read often. However, if you need more details, I personally find that it can be slightly challenging to get what you need. Another problem I have with skimming is that if I am not focusing on the piece of reading, I “lose my way”.
- Using a pointer. Pen/Finger to guide our reading and increase our focus. I personally think this works very well, as I tend to get very distracted when I read something, and the pointer focus my line of vision and makes me read faster. Also, moving the pointer slightly faster than you can read helps our eyes to adjust to a faster speed and stabilizes our natural eye movements.
- Increasing perceptual focus. Reading word by word, line by line is time-consuming. Try reading in chunks or clusters of 3-5 words at one go. Try using your pointer to help you, by putting the pointer 2 words into the sentence and ending the pointer 2 words from the end of the sentence.
Another good read: Skillcollector