In this article, I will uncover the 10 common misconceptions about success. I will bust the myths, lies and limiting beliefs about success and reveal the truth! Once you know these success misconceptions, you will find it easier to take action towards achieving your goals and dreams.  You’ll realize that those old beliefs and excuses are simply misconceptions about success that you can now let go of.

So where do these misconceptions come from?  Often it’s from family, close friends, teachers or colleagues.  They mean well and want to protect you and do what they feel is best for you.  However, unless they are successful themselves, their advice is likely to hold you back.

Successful people develop good habits and take effective action. That’s how they achieve their goals and dreams. You can achieve anything with enough time and focus.  
However, some people believe there are other requirements for success that the average person cannot meet.  These are misconceptions and are not true! In this article, I will help you identify and remove these misconceptions. This will allow you to achieve the level of success that you deserve.

Take the time now to set yourself free of these common misconceptions about success, so you can experience the life that you desire.

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1. Success can only be achieved alone

This is rarely the case today. Most successful people have a coach or mentor to guide and inspire them. You would struggle to find a millionaire that didn’t have a mentor. Successful people also learn from others by reading books or attending training courses.  You can try to go it alone, but it will slow down your progress and increase your frustration. 

2. You need a certain personality trait to be successful

You might believe that you need to be an aggressive go-getter type-A person to be successful or have an extrovert and confident personality. It’s just not the case.  There are many introverted people that have become very successful.

One that springs to mind is the musician Mike Oldfield. When the Tubular Bells album came out in the late 70s, he was so shy that he did minimal publicity. However, because he created an amazing and unique record, this caught the attention of Richard Branson. He had just launched Virgin Records at the time. With his help, the album became incredibly successful.  This new fame was challenging for Mike Oldfield.  However, it became easier for him over time.

There are many introverted people who make money on the internet and rarely talk to anyone. They keep quiet and just get on with it!  So you can be successful with any kind of personality trait.  If you’re a type B, C or D person, don’t use this misconception about success as an excuse!

3. Success requires luck

Successful people generate the most luck because they create more opportunities to be lucky. They take more action, which increases their chances of a lucky break.  By taking effective and consistent action, more opportunities come to them, so they come across as being more lucky. Actually, they’re no more lucky than anyone else. They just create the opportunities to be more lucky.

4. You need an original idea

Some people have become very successful by having an original idea, but these people are in the minority.  There are many people who are successful buying and selling real estate, or doing other activities that many people have done in the past.  Do these activities slightly better or differently and you’ll be on to a winner!

5. Success is determined at birth

It’s commonly thought that successful people were born into the right family or went to a certain school.  I did some research on this and found out that around 75% of recent millionaires came from a poor background. Their strong desire to overcome being poor gave them the motivation to achieve success.

So your background, where you went to school and your level of education doesn’t matter. You will find plenty of examples of people who never finished school who became very successful.

6. Successful people end up alone

When you are very successful, you have access to many opportunities to socialize. So many, you have to turn some of them down. Successful people have a lot of friends, and they’re fun people to be around. There are lots of people who want to learn from them and experience what they’ve learned.  You can have all the social life you could wish for when you’re successful.

7. Success requires an extreme amount of time

Now, it’s true that to be successful, you need to dedicate time to important activities.  In the short-term you may need to prioritize work over some other activities.  However, by working smart, it is possible and doable to be successful without working exceptionally long hours.  The key is to spend time on the most important activities and to know what these activities are.

Consistency is huge too.  Amazing things can happen when you do the same thing consistently over many months or years.  Just check that these consistent activities are taking you closer to your goal.  You can outrun the competition just by being consistent, so don’t let this misconception about success hold you back.

8. Successful people never make mistakes

Successful people make a lot of mistakes, more mistakes than people that failed. By making mistakes and learning from them, you will achieve success.  Take a lot of action, make lots of mistakes, then make corrections and learn from them. You’ll then be on the fast road to success.

9. Success is complicated

It requires a high level of intelligence to achieve success in certain specialist and complex fields.  These include becoming a doctor, professor, engineer or surgeon.  

However, in other fields, success can be simple. You need not be very intelligent. It may even over-complicate things!

Most success comes from realizing what works and doing that repeatedly. It comes from measuring your success and having the flexibility to change.  Success is about being persistent, rather than brilliant.

10. It’s too late

You can be successful at any time of your life and as soon as you decide to do that. If you come up with goals and dreams later in life, you can still be successful. Being older has an advantage, because you have more wisdom, life-experience, knowledge and tenacity. You’re more disciplined and have better success habits. You may have already achieved some success in your life, and you can apply those success principles to your new goal.

So these are the 10 misconceptions about success. As you can see, we have busted some myths and changed some beliefs you have around success. The truth is that anyone with the focus and determination to be successful can and will be successful.  And that includes YOU!

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

Do you want to have a better brain? One that gives you more happiness, fulfillment and less stress and anxiety? There are many ways to improve your brain power. It’s important not to miss any of the crucial ones out.

In this article, I will cover the Bottom-up, Top-down and Outside-in approach to brain power and brain health. It’s the key to improving your brain power and fundamental in understanding the causes of stress, anxiety, depression, and even insomnia. It also provides the solution to these issues.

If you want to have a better brain, then keep reading as I reveal a lot of useful information that will help you improve your brain power and brain health.

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Factors That Cause Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

Many people think that one thing, often a life event, causes their stress, anxiety, and depression. They also believe that one thing, usually changing their mindset, will solve all their problems. If they change their mindset, everything will be better! But in reality, many things influence stress, anxiety, and depression.

A few weeks ago, I attended a great hypnotherapy workshop here in Sydney. The presenter was Dr. Sarah McKay, a neuroscientist. One of the slides in her presentation showed various factors that cause depression. She then displayed a slide that showed the factors that cause anxiety. It was exactly the same slide as for depression. She then covered the factors that cause insomnia, and that was the same slide too!

I reached out to Sarah and asked if I could share this slide with you. She agreed and here it is.

The above diagram illustrates the 3 areas that influence our brain health. Sarah calls them:

  1. Bottom-Up. This area includes genes, hormones, immune system, nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle factors.
  2. Outside-In. This is social and environmental factors – stress, life events, education, current circumstances, and family background.
  3. Top-Down. Our thoughts, emotions, mindset, and belief system.

Each of these areas influence the others.

  • Our thoughts influence our physical health. For example, long-term psychological stress can lead to heart disease.
  • Our social environment impacts our brain health. Isolated people have a greater risk of getting dementia.
  • Also, physical health is closely linked to our mood. So, exercise is a key emotional regulator.

When you focus on mindset and forget other factors, you miss some vital components. Maybe you are struggling to get over depression or anxiety because you are ignoring some of these components.

Bottom-Up: Change Your Biology

Improving your brain power starts with understanding and changing the biological and physiological factors.

1. Genes

You might feel that you are genetically disposed to depression or anxiety because someone in your family had it. That could be true, but you can still manage and deal with it. First, by working on the Outside-In and Top-Down components that I’ll cover shortly.

Second, by knowing that something has to fire that gene. It may be dormant in your body, but something has to activate it. You can read more about this in my article on epigenetics.

2. Hormones

There are lots of different hormones in our bodies that affect anxiety, depression, or our general mood. The most important ones are:

  • Cortisol. This is the stress hormone. It is produced in our adrenal glands. It gives us energy, immune function and influences our mood.
  • Thyroid. An overactive or underactive thyroid contributes towards depression, moodiness, and tiredness.
  • Serotonin. The good, happy chemical that stabilizes your mood and makes you feel joyful!
  • Women also have hormones that affect menstruation and menopause. If you find that you have psychological mood swings around those times, then that can be hormonal.

3. Immune System.

When you get a cut or a bruise, your immune system will bring blood to that area to help it heal quicker. It will often become inflamed during that time. That’s supposed to be a short-term thing and go away when that part of the body is healed. The problem is, sometimes we can get long-term inflammation. That is very harmful to the body and is often caused by psychological stress.

4. Gut

Scientists now believe that we have brain cells in our gut. Also, there’s a very strong and sensitive connection between our gut and our brain. That’s why when you are stressed, you often feel it in your stomach. So don’t underestimate your gut.

5. Nutrition

Research has shown that a Mediterranean-style diet is the best diet for improving your brain health and your brain power and reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety. It consists mainly of plants, olive oil, nuts, some fish, and a little meat. Wine and coffee are fine in moderation.

6. Exercise

Exercise is very important. It releases muscle tension and increases oxygen levels. Exercise boosts endorphins, the feel-good hormones. It also helps use up excess adrenaline and cortisol, released during stressful times. That’s why exercise is so beneficial to stress.

7. Sleep

Sarah believes that sleep is the cornerstone of brain health and can improve your brain power. In sleep, our brain consolidates memories and does an amazing cleanup process. Sleep also helps regulate emotions, and cortisol levels. Sarah is also a big fan of napping. A 20-minute nap recharges your brain and improves your brain power and health. To find out more about napping, you can watch her video here.

Outside-In: Change Your Environment

To improve your brain power, it is important to understand and change certain social and environmental factors.

1. Life Events

Sometimes something external, like a life event, can cause depression, stress or anxiety. That life event could be:

  • Being made redundant, especially later in life
  • A relationship breakup or a divorce
  • Long-term health challenge 

It also includes a feeling that you have lost your mojo. That life was better in the past. It’s when you look back at how things used to be, and you feel that life cannot be that way again. As you get older, this can become a common one that can give you feelings of depression and anxiety. The key is to accept it and then work on changing it.

2. Stress

For me, stress is a little different to life events. These are stressful situations that you can control, reduce or perhaps avoid altogether. If certain people in your life cause you stress, maybe you can spend less time with them. If certain activities and commitments cause you stress, perhaps you can stop doing them or do them less often. So unlike life events, you have more control over stressful situations.

3. Social Support

We are social animals and we crave connection. Having supportive friends, family and social connections can help you overcome stress. This will help you live a longer, happier and healthier life. The reason for this is a bonding hormone called oxytocin, which is released in the brain when you connect with other people. Oxytocin makes us feel good, and it lowers the effects of the stress hormone cortisol.

Social connection also requires you to think, feel, reason, and make use of your intuition. And do this quickly!  When communicating with others, you often think on your feet and make quick decisions on what to say next. You’re also sensing how they’re responding to you. That is good for the neurons in your brain. Also, research has shown that loneliness can be as bad for you as smoking.

4. Education

This is about learning how to deal with depression, anxiety or stress. It’s consuming articles like this one, reading books, watching videos or investing in courses and seminars. The more information you know, the more techniques or strategies you’ll have to resolve your problem.

5. Nature

This is one of my favorites. Getting out in the sun and enjoying the fresh air can help you relax and gain a perspective on life. When you take a walk and allow your mind to just think about things, you can come up with amazing new ideas and perspectives.

Getting out in nature also improves your mood. It reduces blood pressure and improves concentration. Being out in the daylight helps you sleep better because it regulates your circadian rhythm. This is the brain’s way of differentiating between daylight and nighttime. The sunlight also helps you feel better and happier. It increases your serotonin and vitamin D levels.

I think many people underestimate the importance of natural light and sunlight. It is a known fact that in Nordic countries, where there is less sunshine in winter, the rates of depression are a lot higher.

Top-Down: Change How You Think

The last area that helps improve your brain power and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression is called Top-Down. This one is about changing the way you think. It’s the area you’re probably most familiar with.

1. Thoughts & Cognitions

We’ll start with thoughts and cognitions, especially your perception of stress. The way you think about stress has a considerable effect on your body. So it’s not the stress itself, it’s how you think about stress.

Kelly McGonigal did a wonderful video called “How to make stress your friend”. In that video, she says that stress itself isn’t harmful. It’s your belief about stress. When you have a negative belief or a negative perception about stress, your body changes in unhealthy ways. When you see stress as helpful and as a preparation for the challenge ahead, your body responds more positively to further stress.

The next time you have any symptoms of stress, whether that’s a feeling in your stomach, sweaty palms or tightness in your shoulders, start reframing that stress. Think about it in a different way. Could that stress be the energy, the excitement, and the anticipation that you need to get on and achieve your goal?

2. Mindfulness

When you’re fixating on a future problem or past regret, that creates worries and rumination. Rumination is having the same thought repeatedly and this will often keep you stuck in a loop. That creates stress and anxiety. Mindfulness is a way of training your brain to focus on the present moment. When you can let go of past regrets and worries about the future, then you can release the stress and anxiety.

Mindfulness is being aware of the present moment and connected with your senses. Connected with what you can see, hear, feel, maybe even taste and touch. You can also use your breath to slow down your heart rate. Mindfulness is a great thing to practice.

3. Feelings & Emotions

Your emotions and your thoughts are closely related. Remember, it’s your thoughts that create your feelings. However, it’s often a lot easier to spot a negative feeling than it is to spot a negative thought.

People tend to either hold their feelings inside (suppress them), or express them. Holding feelings inside is not good for your body in the long-term. However expressing your feelings (especially negative ones) can upset others, especially if they are close friends or family members.

So other options are better. One of them is just to sit with the feeling. A lot of us use alcohol and food to suppress uncomfortable feelings. But, just facing that feeling and sitting with it for 5 minutes, can help it dissolve by itself. So acknowledging and sitting with that feeling can be very helpful.

Or you can practice releasing that feeling or emotion. My favorite way of doing that is the Sedona method. To learn more about the Sedona method, you can read my article about it here.

4. Mindset & Beliefs

This one is about having a positive mindset and beliefs that support you, especially beliefs around stress.  I go into this in more detail in my article on how to change limiting beliefs.

So now you have lots of ways to improve your brain power. As I mentioned at the beginning, much of the inspiration and information for this article came from Dr. Sarah McKay. Check out the links below to find out more.

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

It’s essential to understand why you get what you focus on. It’s a fundamental component to all success and positive personal change. I can’t emphasize this enough! When you understand this, the way you think will never be quite the same again.

The key reason that you get what you focus on lies in how your brain learns. It learns by focus and repetition. Think about how you learned things in the past?  I’m sure focus on the skill and repetition had a part to play.

However, when it comes to thinking and imagining, we often focus on what we don’t want. We think about the worse outcome primarily because of fear.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Start by understanding why you get what you focus on and how your brain really works. You can then nip your old ways of thinking and imagining in the bud. Life then gets easier, with less internal conflicts and greater peace and happiness.

Watch the video below:

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What You Think About Is What You Bring About

Everything you’ve achieved in life so far is the result of your thoughts and focus of attention. Any disappointment, frustration, or stress in your life results from not focusing on what you want. The same goes for lack of money, lack of love and feeling lonely.

Most people try to fix a problem by focusing on what they don’t want. They say things like:

  • I don’t want this pain in my body anymore
  • I don’t want to be single anymore
  • I don’t want to stay in this boring dead-end job anymore

There’s a great quote that came from Bob Proctor. It’s “What you think about is what you bring about”. Whatever you focus your attention on, your mind will attempt to bring that into your life, to the best of its ability. So whatever you focus on, you get. It doesn’t matter whether that’s positive or negative.

How the Subconscious Mind Works

I first learned this back in 1993 when I read a book called Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. In this book, he explained how the subconscious mind can’t make decisions. It just takes in what you consciously think about. If you constantly think about things you don’t have, then your subconscious mind has no choice but to give you more of that in your life.

But if you imagine and visualize the things you want, then your subconscious mind helps you get more of that too.  I got this immediately. It was a profound insight for me. It made perfect sense. However, it’s taken me a lifetime to apply it. It’s something I have to remind myself constantly about.

How We Learn

Think about the way we learn. Learning to drive requires your conscious attention and conscious awareness. As you deal with changing gears, steering and all the road rules, this is all you can think about.  

However, the more you practice driving, the easier it gets. After a few weeks, you can easily hold a conversation whilst driving.  This happens because you have impressed the skill of driving on your subconscious mind. It’s now automatic and you don’t have to think about it.

The subconscious mind learns through repetition. It can’t learn any other way! So, if you repeatedly think or imagine what you don’t want, the subconscious mind will pick up on it. That’s how it learns.

What the Subconscious Mind Understands

The subconscious mind doesn’t understand words. It gets concepts, ideas, and the feelings behind certain words.

I will give you an example of how this works. I will repeat several short phrases now. I’d like you to repeat them to yourself, either silently or out loud.

  • I don’t want to get cancer
  • I don’t want to get made redundant
  • I don’t want to get rejected.

What did you notice when you repeated those words? You probably noticed a certain feeling on one of the negative words – cancer, redundant or rejected. Your unconscious mind came up with this feeling for a split second when it heard that word. Most people think the unconscious mind is picking up on the word itself. But it is actually picking up on the feeling.

Experience-Based Neuroplasticity

To really understand the importance of focusing on what you want, it’s good to know the basics of neuroplasticity. The old thinking, probably 40 years ago or so, was that the brain was fixed and hard-wired. That it didn’t change much in someone’s lifetime. Today, we believe the brain can change, that it is flexible, malleable, and plastic. This is where the term neuroplasticity came from.

When you have an experience, your neurons, or your brain cells, will switch on and fire. Once those neurons fire, synapses are created. Synapses are the connections between different neurons. We have a hundred billion neurons ready to act at any point in time, but not all of them will switch on and fire. That depends on the experiences we’re having. The more connected the neurons are, the stronger that area of the brain becomes and the more effective and responsive it will be.

The neurons that aren’t used will wither and die. Why is that? Our brains are of finite size. We can only fit a certain number of neurons, synapses, and connections in it. So it reserves space for those neurons or brain cells we need the most.

Our Experience Shapes Our Brain

Every new experience creates new synapses or strengthens the existing ones. When we have the same experience many times, those neurons get elevated in importance and eventually become part of our long-term memory. As a result, we never forget how to ride a bike or drive a car.

Your experiences alter the physical structure of your brain. All the things you do, the people you hang out with, your feelings, thoughts, and automatic experiences influence the wiring in your brain. It’s all part of who you are now and who you want to be.

What do most people do?

Most people are not deliberate or conscious about what they focus on. Instead, they let other people shape their brains automatically. That can happen in a positive or a negative way. If you let your mind settle on self-criticism, stress, worry, fear, guilt, regret, your brain will give you more of that same experience. Over time, you’ll become more vulnerable to worry, depression and anxiety.

What to do instead?

You need to change the meaning of a situation to make it more positive. Then, the brain strengthens connections around resilience, optimism, gratitude, positive emotion and self-esteem.

Holding any positive experience for at least 20 seconds is long enough for neurons to fire and new synapses to be formed. Just thinking about one positive thing to the exclusion of all others for 20 seconds is enough to get the brain to start reshaping itself.  By creating those new connections or synapses, you’re making a change that’s automatic and unconscious.

Dealing with Negative Thoughts

Even when you focus on what you want, you’ll still get some thoughts about what you don’t want. It’s natural. The trick is to pay less attention to them. You can’t stop all negative thoughts from appearing, but you can pay less attention to them. Here are some great ways to do that.

1. Use a Stop Word

A stop word is a word or phrase that you say to yourself mentally (or even out-loud) when you notice a negative thought.  My favorites are “cancel”, “delete”, or “thanks for sharing”

2. Challenge negative thoughts with questions

Challenging negative thoughts with questions forces your mind to think in different and more positive ways.  A great question to ask is “Do I want more of this?” The answer will probably be no.

3. Practice Intentional Living

What is intentional living? It’s about being aware of the different situations that occur during the day. Then asking “what do I want?” at the start of each new or different situation.

Here are some examples.

  • You are catching the train to work. Before you get on the train, ask yourself, “what do I want?” The answer could be “I want to get a seat on the train” or “I want it to arrive on time”.
  • You get into the office and you have a meeting at 10 o’clock. Ask yourself, “what do I want from this meeting?” The answer might be “I want to express my point clearly”. Or “other people will understand and appreciate what I have to say”.
  • You might meet someone for lunch. So you ask, “what do I want?” The answer could be “I want to catch up and have an enjoyable experience with this person”. Or “I want to have a few laughs and share some common experiences”.

4. Use the “I’m so happy and grateful” affirmation

Here is a great affirmation that will help reduce any negative thoughts. It’s “I’m so happy and grateful that ________________ is getting closer and closer to being in my life.” You fill in the blank with a goal.

Here are two examples:

  • I’m so happy and grateful that earning $5,000 a month passive income is getting closer and closer to being in my life.
  • I am so happy and grateful that reducing my weight to 60 kg is getting closer and closer to being in my life.

 As you do this, it’s important to focus on the positive feelings generated by repeating these affirmations.

Mind-Body Medicine

The core principle behind mind-body medicine is that your mind (your consciousness and your thoughts) influences your brain. This then influences your body. The simple rule behind mind-body medicine is that you tend to get more of what you focus on. If you focus on illness and disease, you tend to get more illness and disease. If you focus on health and healing, you get more of that.

There are countless examples of people who healed from diseases like cancer by focusing on healing and health. They focused on what they wanted. This allowed the brain to influence the body in positive ways.

The Story of Milton Erickson

To illustrate how the mind affects the body, I want to share with you a story about Milton Erickson. He was the father of modern hypnotherapy. At 17, he contracted polio and became severely paralyzed. Doctors thought he would die. But he didn’t want to give up.

He recalled body memories, such as movement and muscular activity. He did this repeatedly. By concentrating on these memories, he slowly learned to tweak his muscles and regain control over parts of his body. Eventually, he could talk again and move his arms.

Still unable to walk, he trained his body further by embarking on a grueling thousand-mile canoe trip–alone with just a few dollars. And after that trip, he could walk with a cane.

This was back in 1918, long before neuroplasticity was even thought of as a word. It showed that when something happens in the body, the brain can find another way. But only if you focus on what you want.

I hope you now understand how important it is to focus on what you want. Keep this principle in the forefront of your mind at all times. It will have a huge positive impact on your life!

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

Have you ever blamed something on your genes? Perhaps you’ve said things like, “I can’t change that, it’s in my genes”. Now it’s true that we inherit our genes from our parents.  However, once you understand epigenetics, you will realize that this does not mean that your health and your life is dictated by your genes.

Something else has to happen for your genes to be switched on. Epigenetics is all about the study of the other factors that control whether or not genes are switched on.  This is known as gene expression in epigenetics.

In this article, I will explain how you have far more control over your genes than you think. Even if your parents had bad genes that made them more susceptible to certain diseases, it does not mean that this will affect you. Once you learn about epigenetics, you will realize that you are in charge of your health and life.

Watch the video below:

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Old Beliefs about Genetics

It was a common belief that people were born with a fixed genetic blueprint that determined their traits, behaviors, and health. According to that belief, we are all victims of our hereditary. We can’t influence our genes. Our life is very predetermined and we have very little control over our health.

Until recently, most social scientists, psychologists and other opinion makers also believed that our genes shape our habits and personalities. This means we have little control over our ability to change.  This belief is now shifting.

Genetics certainly play an important part – in determining our body size, body shape, the color of our eyes, hair, and other physical factors.

DNA is More Fluid Than You Think

The fast-growing field of epigenetics has discovered that we can influence our genes in a big way. You can no longer blame your genetic makeup for your health, undesirable habits, unhappiness, or feeling stressed and anxious. Your DNA, which is the carrier of your genetic information, is far more fluid than what we previously thought. We used to consider it as a template. And a template is something that you cannot easily change. It’s now thought more like a script and a script is something that you can change.

Genes Can Be Turned Off and On

The word epi in the context of genetics means at, on, above, in addition to, or as well as your genetic makeup. Therefore, epigenetics is the study of how external forces that include your thoughts, behaviors, and life experiences can either turn on and off, or just leave alone, parts of your genetic makeup.

Epigenetic scientists are examining what makes genes express themselves – what turns them on and what silences them. By knowing this, we can influence their activity and dramatically reduce our chances of getting a disease that was previously thought of as genetic.

If your parents or your grandparents had cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, you could be worried that you might get it too. Epigenetics reveals that you can silence the genetic parts that could trigger the disease. Even if you have the cancer gene in your body, it has to be turned on for you to get cancer. And there are quite a lot of things that need to happen for that gene to switch on.

The Gene Switch Is in Our Control

Switching our genes on or off is mostly within our control. Events that happen in our life can change the way our genes operate. They don’t alter the genes you were born with, but they change your genetic activity. The latest research is saying that only 5% of gene mutations directly cause long-term illness or disease. The other 95% of genes linked to illness or disease are influenced by life factors. These life factors include diet, exercise, life experiences, beliefs, perceptions, chemicals, stress, and negative emotions.

Epigenetic scientists now find that meditation, mindfulness and cognitive therapy can modify epigenetic factors. Your perceptions and thoughts affect your brain chemistry. Your brain chemistry alters the chemistry of your blood. This then influences your cells and the expression of your genes. So, the way you perceive the world, the actions you take, and the life experiences that come from that, influence your genetic activity. In a nutshell, your mind controls your body.

All the positive thinking, affirmations, meditation, and other self-improvement work are helping both your mind and body. Your thoughts and perceptions affect your biology. They affect your body. And the great news is that this places you in the driver’s seat.

Childhood Experiences – Baby Rats Experiment

There is one area that seems to be outside of our control. This is our earlier life experiences. Past events, especially those from childhood, can play a significant part in our genetic activity.

An experiment with baby rats supported this claim. Some of these baby rats were very well looked after by their parents. They were licked and groomed regularly and made to feel loved. When those baby rats became adult rats, they functioned normally in the world.

Some other baby rats had parents that weren’t that good. They received the minimum amount of licking and grooming. When these rats grew up to be adults, they were more stressed than the rats that were better looked after.

So if our childhood experiences aren’t so great, we may be more stressed and anxious in adult life. However, there are lots of things we can do to work on stress and anxiety. Even if we feel there’s something that is slightly predisposed to us from our past, we can still do lots of things to change that.

Passing on Epigenetic Information – Cherry Blossoms Experiment

One very interesting question is whether you can pass on epigenetic information to your offspring. To answer this question, another experiment was done, this time with mice. They placed some mice in an environment where they could smell cherry blossoms. Every time they smelled cherry blossoms, they would get an electric shock.

Over time, these mice connected smelling cherry blossoms to receiving an electric shock. They developed a fear response to the cherry blossom smell regardless of whether they received an electric shock or not.

These mice then reproduced. They then exposed their offspring to the same cherry blossom smell, but with no electric shock. Immediately, these baby mice generated the same fear response. So just by smelling cherry blossoms, they experienced fear.

This research seems to prove that genetic information passes from parent to offspring. In this case, the fear response to cherry blossom. This may or may not apply to humans, but keep this in mind anyway, especially if you are a parent.

Placebo Effect

Epigenetics could also explain the placebo effect more clearly. When new drugs are being tested, some patients get a real pill with active ingredients that can help them with their condition. Other patients receive a placebo which is a sugar pill or a pill that contains no active ingredients.

Some people who take the placebo get some kind of physical benefit. And the reason is they believe they got the real drug. They believe it will work. That belief influences their brain chemistry and the chemistry in their body. It has a positive impact on their cells and the way genes express themselves. Sometimes just a belief that something can work, can bring real physical improvements in the body’s healing.

In Conclusion

You can now see why learning about epigenetics is very important. I hope I helped you understand that you have more control over your health and your life than you previously thought. You are in the driver’s seat. You (not your genes) are responsible for your health.

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

Is there something in your life that you feel addicted to, like smoking, drinking, comfort eating or a certain Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) behavior? What would it be like to overcome any addiction and regain a sense of mental, emotional and physical control? In this article, I will show you a 10-step process to overcome any addiction easily and effectively.

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Understanding Addiction

To understand and overcome any addiction, it is good to know the 5 elements common to all addictions. These are:

  • The Addiction must meet certain emotional or physical needs. For example, people smoke to relax, or eat to feel secure.
  • You build up a tolerance or habituation to it. Over time, you do the behavior more often to achieve the same result. Alcohol is a great example. I remember when I first started having a few beers at university. It didn’t take much to get me quite tipsy or drunk. But over time, I needed more alcoholic drinks to achieve the same result.
  • The addiction harms you. The most obvious way is physically. However, it can harm you mentally or emotionally too.
  • It’s something you didn’t want to stop initially. When you were young, drinking alcohol was fun. It helped boost your confidence, self-esteem and lose your inhibitions. With so many positive benefits, there was no reason to drink less or stop altogether. Then later in life, you notice the negative consequences of drinking too much and want to stop. But you can’t! Or more accurately, you believe that you can’t.
  • You receive little or no pleasure from it now. The pleasure and positive benefits are now tiny. However, you still feel that you can’t live without it. So you keep doing it. You have replaced the positive benefits with a fear that you can’t live without it. That fear keeps you doing it.

One addiction that is often overlooked is an addiction to thinking!  Ask yourself, could I be addicted to my own thinking?  If your answer is yes, then I encourage you to read this article on excessive and repetitive thinking.

The 10-step Process to Overcome Any Addiction

Now that you know how to recognize addiction, I will show you my 10-step process to help you overcome any addiction.

Step 1 – Identify the needs the addiction is trying to meet

With alcohol, you may drink to relax, or switch off. Maybe getting drunk gives you that feeling of escapism. Or it gives you the confidence to do things that you wouldn’t normally be able to do.

If you are overeating, food may give you a sense of comfort. Or you eat to escape, relax or relieve boredom. Perhaps you just feel you want a treat.

If it’s smoking, maybe that helps you relax. Perhaps it allows you to hide some social insecurity. Or it helps you fit in with younger people who also smoke.

If it’s OCD, the need to always check things probably reduces anxiety. Or overcomes a fear that something bad will happen. So if you keep doing certain rituals, whatever you’re afraid of is less likely to happen.

Step 2 – Find out how it harms you

You may already know the effects of smoking, drinking alcohol, or eating the wrong food. But I encourage you to do some further research and find out exactly how it harms you.

For example, we know that drinking alcohol will affect your health over time. It will also affect your money because it’s expensive. It can affect your sleep and drain your energy. If you get really addicted, it could seriously affect your relationships and you might lose your job.

Being addicted to unhealthy food will also affect your health, sleep, energy, the clothes you can fit into and your level of self-esteem.

If you smoke, the negative effects on your health are obvious. Smoking also affects your fitness and youthfulness. People who smoke tend to look older. Think about the cost of smoking over a year. This is likely to be thousands of dollars!  What else could you spend that money on?

If you are suffering with an OCD type of behavior, it wastes your time the most because you’re always checking something. You can’t have real peace of mind, and that can get frustrating. You might also have problems with relationships if you’re constantly doing these little rituals.

Step 3 – Identify any Immediate Pleasure

Identify any immediate pleasure gained from the addictive behavior.  This is like step 1, but is more about the sensory experience.  For example, it could be the taste of a certain food or drink. For smokers, it can be that relaxing deep breath as you exhale.

Step 4 – Find 3 other ways to meet the addiction needs

In step 1, we identified the needs the addiction is trying to meet. Now come up with 3 other healthy ways that could also meet the same needs as the old addictive behavior. When you find other ways to meet these needs, the addictive behavior can naturally reduce or stop.

If you need alcohol to relax and switch off, think of 3 other ways that could help you relax? Maybe meditation, going to the gym, reading, or listening to music. Perhaps it’s spending more time with friends. There are so many ways, just find those that help you the most.

Step 5 – Ask yourself, is it really an addiction or just a strong habit?

This is a question I always ask people who come to me for help to quit smoking. I phrase it like this: “If you are on a long flight, and you can’t smoke on the plane, what do you do?” They usually say, “I manage to not think about it. I know I can’t smoke, so I will not think about it for the duration of the flight”. If that’s the case, then it is more of a habit.

Imagine a heroin addict on a plane for eight hours. Would they be able to not think about it? Probably not. Could someone with diabetes, who has to take insulin injections regularly, be able to not think about it while on the plane for eight hours? Probably not.

And as an extreme example, if someone had a gun to your head and threatened to shoot you if you did the addictive behavior, would you do it? Of course not! Why? because you now have a very good reason not to do it! So pretty much everything is more of a habit than an addiction. And just thinking about it as a habit, and not an addiction will help you perceive it differently.

Step 6 – Identify and change the triggers

A trigger is a person, place, thing, or a feeling that makes you want to do the addictive behavior. For example, when you’re having a cup of coffee, you feel you need a smoke. Or when you get home from a stressful day at work, that feeling of stress makes you raid the fridge and eat something unhealthy. The trigger can also be a feeling of loneliness or boredom.

After identifying what the triggers are, find ways to change them. Come up with new triggers. If it’s a coffee that makes you want a cigarette, switch to a different drink.

If you feel lonely at home, and you comfort yourself with eating, maybe you could go out more often. It’s really about being creative with how you plan your life. Remove triggers as much as possible, or replace them with other things.

Step 7 – Make a plan to stop

Start by setting a date, ideally within the next month. Then create plans and backup plans, with lots of ideas on what you will do instead of the addictive behavior. For example, you could make a list of people to call, or different activities to do. Whenever you feel the urge, or even before you feel the urge to do that behavior, you will naturally switch to doing something else.

Step 8 – Be kind on yourself

It’s easy to feel guilty and be hard on yourself because of the addiction and possible relapses. That feeling of guilt or fear can spiral into more addictive behaviors. Or maybe you replace the addiction that you’ve just given up with another addiction. Perhaps you give up smoking and start comfort-eating instead.

Remember that the addiction started for a reason, and that reason was to feel good. So you want to go easy on yourself when you’re finding other ways to feel good. Treat your body with love and care, nourish it well with good food, spend time with quality people, and get plenty of sleep. And the most important thing, love yourself and feel good about becoming a new person with new behaviors.

Step 9 – Think about how you will feel AFTER doing the addictive behavior

People think about the feeling they will have when they do the addictive behavior. But once they do it, they feel remorse or guilt. Instead, think about how you will feel after you’ve done it, before you do it. Then you’ll be less likely to do it.

For example, let’s say you often have a cream cake at night. But as soon as you have it, you feel remorse and guilt. If you think about that feeling of remorse and guilt before you have it, then you probably won’t have that cream cake.

Step 10 – Remove the addiction from your core identity

Smokers often say, “I’m a smoker”. A change in identity could be, “I am someone that smokes”. Then think about other things that are also part of your identity.  Examples include being a good husband, wife or parent, being great in your career, or having wonderful hobbies. Suddenly that old idea of being a smoker is a much smaller part of your identity.

So whatever the addiction is, think about everything else that is also part of you. And when you do that, the addiction will seem much smaller. You will put it in the right place and not see it as an all-consuming part of your life.

Also, if you create a new sense of identity around being fit and healthy, the old addiction will seem alien. It will conflict with your core identity.

Still Struggling and Need Help?

Overcoming addictions isn’t always easy. Many people do it by themselves. But sometimes, you need the help of a friend, a good support group, or a professional.

If you would like me to help you overcome any addiction, you can find more information right here. I am a clinical hypnotherapist and deliver sessions over Skype or Zoom. It doesn’t matter where you live, as I can run hypnotherapy extremely effectively online and at a time that is most convenient for you.

So this was my 10-step process to help you overcome any addiction.  Start putting this into practice today and notice the addiction fade and your life change in a positive direction!

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

We all have goals that we really want to achieve. However, many of us never try or give up too soon because of self-doubt. Self-doubt is thinking you can’t do or achieve something that you eagerly desire.

Everyone has self-doubt. Even the most successful people in the world have it. They, like everybody else, have problems. And anyone facing problems will have an element of self-doubt. I also have self-doubt at times. So far, I’ve delivered around 250 hypnotherapy sessions, but I still sometimes experience the feeling of self-doubt when I see a new client. It’s a human emotion. The only people I can think of that don’t experience self-doubt are those with very high egos, who believe they know it all.

If you are not achieving your goals and feeling stuck, self-doubt might be the reason. However, if you use it constructively, it can help you move forward. What is the opposite of self-doubt? It is self-confidence. I will now show you 12 great ways to help you overcome your self-doubt and gain greater confidence instead.

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1. Believe That You Can Figure It Out

After interviewing many high achievers, Brendon Burchard realized that they had one thing in common. They believed that they could figure out a solution to every problem. With enough time, energy, and information, they could always figure things out.

Think about times when you figured out things you weren’t prepared for. Or solved problems you thought you couldn’t solve. When you remember the times, you figured things out in the past, your level of self-confidence will improve. If you found a way then, you can find a way now. This will help you reduce or even overcome self-doubt.

2. Accept Your Self-Doubt

There can be some truth in your self-doubt. There is always a possibility of failing. Accept that. Then take action anyway! Do it purely for the lesson or experience, no matter what happens. Don’t push that feeling of self-doubt away. Instead, accept it and do it anyway. Feel that self-doubt feeling, and then just let it go.

3. Dump Then Destroy

The conscious mind understands verbal language and self-talk. However, the subconscious mind responds to feelings and emotions. The Dump then Destroy process is a great exercise to satisfy both the conscious and subconscious mind.

How do you do it? First, open a new Word document or grab a journal. Write down all your self-doubt thoughts on a particular situation. Write whatever is bothering you and giving you a feeling of self-doubt. Let your mind go wild and aim for around 750 words.

Once you’ve done that, destroy it! If you wrote them in a Word document, move it to the trash and delete it permanently. If you used a journal or a piece of paper, rip it out, burn it, or enjoy putting it in the bin!

This will give you a cathartic effect. This is a feeling of releasing and letting go of self-doubt. You want that feeling to pour out of yourself so that you no longer feel stuck. Try it and you’ll see that it is a simple and satisfying exercise that will significantly help you to overcome self-doubt.

4. Have Clarity and a Plan

Get clear on what you want. If you don’t have a plan, if you have done little research, or you’re not sure what you need to do, you will have self-doubt. It’s like trying to do a presentation without being prepared. Preparation is very important! So get clear on your goal. Work out the steps and create a plan. This will remove doubts and boost your confidence.

Take some time to do this. Identify the goals, steps, and formulate a plan. This might involve buying a course to learn the steps or finding a mentor to help you. A clear plan or roadmap will massively increase your self-confidence.

5. Filter Out Anything that Makes Self-Doubt Worse

Identify the elements that make your self-doubt worse? Are there people that question what you do, criticize you or put doubt in your mind? Perhaps it’s someone that constantly predicts the bad things that could happen, but never offers a solution.

Remember that their advice is often based on fear. Maybe there is a positive intention behind their advice.  For example, not wanting you to get hurt. Still, their advice is based on their own limitations and fear. If possible, let go of those people or spend less time with them. That’s not always easy, but if you can, and you want to overcome self-doubt, that’s definitely a good thing to do.

What about social media? Do you get self-doubting feelings when you spend time on social media? Maybe you’re seeing super successful people that you feel you can never live up to? Perhaps limiting your time on social media could be helpful as well.

6. Compare Yourself to Who You Want to Be

So many people with self-doubt compare themselves to other people. They look at what other people have or do. The problem is, you don’t know exactly what someone else is thinking or feeling. You don’t know how happy or fulfilled they really are.

Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself to who you want to be. Also compare yourself today with who you were yesterday, or a month ago, or a few years ago. Notice the progress you’re making. It’s much more important to focus on progress and enjoy the journey. And everyone’s journey is different. The things you may need to achieve success could be very different for someone else. The fulfillment and satisfaction you get from that could be very different to another person.

7. Visualize Yourself Succeeding

Are you thinking and imagining how things could go wrong? Maybe you’re imagining yourself messing things up. Instead of that, start visualizing what will happen when you succeed. If you can, spend more time visualizing and focusing on what you want to happen rather than ruminating about what you don’t want. That will make a huge difference. Instead of thinking self-doubtful thoughts, start visualizing how you want things to go.

8. Change Your Physical State

This can be a fantastic way to get some instant relief. Go for a walk or a run; do a workout or some jumping jacks. Get your body moving! That helps release stress. It also puts self-doubt back into its normal place, making it easier to overcome it.

9. Act Now

Hesitation plants seeds of doubt. If you keep hesitating, those seeds of doubt get bigger and more of an issue. So act now if you can. If not, then imagine what your best self would do. Then take action as soon as you can and make corrections as you go along.

Instead of Ready, Aim, Fire. try Ready, Fire, Aim instead. Take action and adjust as you go along. Try it, especially if you’re a perfectionist!

10. Change the Meaning of Past Events

Our brain automatically looks at the past when facing a new experience or a problem. We live today based on what happened in the past. A failure or a difficulty that we experienced earlier will create self-doubt feelings and thoughts in the present. We obviously can’t change the past, but we can change the meaning of past events. Start thinking about them simply as events. Focus on the things you learned from the past that can be useful right now. This could simply be something like, I am never going to do that again.

Also ask yourself, how can I be grateful for this experience and for what I’ve learned from it. This will help you create a different perception and change the meaning of past events.

11. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Your goals, dreams, and the best version of yourself are on the other side of your comfort zone. So what can you do today that is new, uncomfortable, or even scary? If you do it, your self-confidence will improve. Those self-doubt thoughts and feelings will start fading away and you will overcome them.

12. Have a Weekly Evaluation Ritual

We want to change our way of thinking from judging to learning. When you experience self-doubt, your self-talk is often along the lines of:

  • Why did I do this?
  • Why didn’t I do that?

The weekly evaluation ritual helps you change those judging thoughts to learning thoughts. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What did I learn?
  • What went well?
  • Where could I improve?
  • What did I do that made me feel good?
  • What did I do that made me feel a little down?
  • What can I do better next time?

If you ask yourself these questions and do it as a weekly ritual, you’ll change your self-talk from judging and criticizing to learning and evaluating. When you do that, the feelings of disappointment and self-doubt will fade away.

So, these are my 12 ways to help you overcome self-doubt. I hope you found them useful. As always, put them into practice! Try them out on yourself. See which work best for you. And share your experience by leaving a comment below. I’d love to hear how you’re getting on and what helped you overcome your self-doubt the most. 

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

Approximately 2% of the adult population in the world suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). You may be familiar with OCD. Perhaps you know someone with this disorder or it affects you. So it’s important to understand OCD and take the right steps to overcome it. This article will explain what OCD is. I’ll then cover my 8 proven ways to help you overcome OCD.

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What is OCD?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder. It is characterized by unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, and images, known as obsessions. The person then responds to these obsessions by doing certain repeated behaviors or rituals. These are known as compulsions. After a specific behavior or ritual is done, the obsessive thoughts, feelings, and images reduce. The person feels relief, but only temporarily. The unwanted thoughts, feelings and images soon return.  If they don’t respond by  doing the behavior or ritual, this causes great anxiety.

OCD can range from very mild to very severe. Checking 2 or 3 times if the cooker is off before leaving the house is a mild case of OCD. Checking it 20 or 30 times is much more severe. Someone that washes their hands twice could have a mild case of OCD. But washing hands 20 or more times is a sign of a very severe case.

The Vicious Cycle of OCD

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder creates a vicious cycle that is hard to break. The cycle starts with an obsessive thought. The obsessive thought generates an anxiety feeling. It then compels a person to perform a certain compulsive behavior or ritual. That behavior gives them relief. The problem is that the relief is only temporary. The obsessive thoughts keep coming back and they feel that they have to do the same compulsive behavior again to get relief. Again, the relief is temporary, so the cycle continues.

What is the Cause of the Anxiety that drives OCD

It’s the person having a fearful, imagined negative outcome in their mind. One that they are scared of. They then do a specific behavior or ritual to prevent it from happening. They think, I am scared of this, but if I do this, it might not happen.

Types of OCD behaviors

There are different behaviors that people with OCD do. These are some of the most common ones.

  • Washers or Cleaners – people who are afraid of contamination. They wash their hands repeatedly. Or they obsessively clean their house.
  • Checkers – people that are constantly checking things. They obsessively check if the oven is off or if they locked the door. They fear that some kind of harm or danger will happen if they don’t do that. And they would be blamed for it.
  • Losing control – These people are afraid that they might harm themselves or others by losing control or the ability to do or not do certain things.
  • Hoarders – people who believe that something bad will happen if they throw something away.
  • Orders and Arrangers – people who like to have things in a certain order. They do that to feel calm and if things are not in a certain order, they get an anxiety feeling.
  • Touchers – people who touch something. Often it’s a door or the floor or a wall. They believe that if they do that, everything will be okay. But if they don’t do that, something bad will happen.

The OCD Behavior Makes Complete Sense

When I help people to overcome OCD, I always have one principle in the back of my mind, which is the OCD behavior makes complete sense to the person. If you’re suffering from OCD, you already know this. The behavior that you’re doing makes complete sense to you.

However, if you have a friend or a family member that’s suffering from OCD, it’s probably hard for you to believe that. But if you are willing to help a person with OCD, the first thing to know is that the OCD behavior makes complete sense to them. They are thinking, I must keep doing this because if I don’t, something bad could happen.

If you’re suffering from OCD, there are 2 great questions to ask yourself:

  • What is the bad thing that you are imagining?
  • If that bad thing happened, how would you feel?

Take a bit of time out to work out what that is.

How to Overcome OCD Behaviors

There are many ways to overcome OCD behaviors. I am going to cover those that I have found to be the most useful and effective.

1. Identify and Write Down Your Triggers

Write down the thoughts or situations that bring on that OCD behavior. For example.

  • You’re getting ready for work and you start thinking about locking up and all the things you need to check.
  • You are in a public toilet and you are thinking about being contaminated.
  • You’re switching off a tap and you start thinking about the house being flooded if you don’t turn it off properly.

Rate the Intensity

The next thing is to rate the intensity of each of the triggers on a scale of 1 to 10. Think about the feelings that come from them and give them an intensity score. This will help you anticipate those feelings or urges. Then you can give that certain task your extra attention so that you remember that you’ve done it. And later, be certain that you’ve done it.

2.  Learn to Resist the OCD Compulsions

If you want to overcome OCD, don’t avoid situations that cause it to arise. Let’s say you’re leaving the house and locking up, and your partner or flat mate is with you. If they lock up instead of you, then they take responsibility (and blame) if they don’t lock up correctly.  Seems like an easy way out.  However, if you keep doing this regularly, that will make the anxiety feeling worse when you next need to lock up correctly on your own.

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) Technique

Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is one of the main therapeutic techniques used to treat OCD. If you go and see a psychologist or a psychotherapist, this is the process that they will normally start with.

With ERP, you expose yourself to the situation that causes your OCD behavior, but then you do not do the OCD behavior. Instead, you sit and feel the anxiety feeling. You allow that feeling to be in your body, to sit with it. Over time, your anxiety feeling will begin to reduce. It’s almost like you’re facing the feeling. You’re facing the fear. When you do that, it starts to reduce.

Start with Low Anxiety Situations

The challenge with Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is that you have to do it many times before the unconscious mind picks up on it. It’s always best to start with situations that have a low anxiety or low fear threshold. Remember, step 1 where you identified the intensity of the different OCD behaviors. Start with ones that have a low-intensity score and then work up to the ones that have a higher score.

3. Create a New Ritual

Your old ritual has become a pattern or a habit because you’ve done it so many times in the past. A great step on your way to overcoming OCD is to create a new ritual or habit.

A new ritual must:

  • Keep you concentrated on the task, not the fear
  • Be memorable so you can later remember that you have done it
  • Be done for 17 seconds or more

With the old ritual, while you are doing the task, you are thinking about the fear and not the task. So when you go away, you wonder if you have actually done it? The new ritual needs to be something that you can do with complete concentration. You want to be absolutely certain that you have done it. And you want to later remember that you have done it.

Let’s say you’re checking if a tap is off. While you’re checking, your mind is imagining the house being flooded. You’re getting the anxiety feeling from imagining the flood. As a result, you’re not actually checking if the tap is off. So you go away and then a few minutes later you wonder if you turned the tap off at all. So you go back and check it again.

This new ritual is temporary. You won’t need to do it for the rest of your life! It’s designed to get you concentrating completely on the task and not the fear. So you can be certain you’ve done it and later remember you’ve done it. This ritual will also help you feel calm and in control. When you feel calm and in control, the anxiety feeling is a lot less.

17 Seconds or Longer

Our mind usually thinks about one thing for 3 or 4 seconds, then it switches to something else. During the day we often have lots of different thoughts for just 3 or 4 seconds. When you focus on something for 17 seconds or longer, your unconscious mind realizes that it is important. And it pays attention to it.

In practice, these new rituals could look like this:

  • You could hold your hand under a tap that is off for 17 seconds and focus completely on the feeling of your hands.
  • You could hold the cooker or oven knob in the off position for 17 seconds and notice the feeling of your hand on that knob.
  • After you lock up, you could push the door for 17 seconds to feel the resistance of the locking mechanism.

A new ritual shows that you can change your OCD behavior. This increases your belief that you can get rid of this OCD behavior and ritual completely. So think of the new ritual as a step to overcoming your OCD behavior once and for all.

4. Focus on What You Want and Turn it into a Mantra

mantra or an affirmation is a statement that you repeat often. And to overcome OCD, I suggest that your mantra or affirmation should:

  • Contain a statement that you will only do the behavior once.
  • Include the words certain and remember.
  • Address the underlying fear.

Examples of Affirmations for OCD

Here are some example mantras or affirmations to help overcome certain OCD behaviors:

  • When I turn the taps off once, I can be certain that they’re off and I’ll later remember that they’re off. I’ll know that the house will stay dry as a result.
  • When I lock up once, I can be certain that I’ve locked up and I’ll later remember that I’ve locked up, so that when I return all my belongings will be safe.
  • When I wash my hands once I can be certain that they’re clean and I’ll later remember that they’re clean. As a result, my hands and my body will be free from any contamination.

In the last example, I’ve mentioned the word “contamination”. This is not ideal, as the unconscious mind will think about that word.  However, I couldn’t think of a better example. When you can, try to address the fear in your affirmations by using positive words that won’t focus the mind on the fear.

5. Separate the OCD from Your Identity

All behavior stems from your sense of who you are, your sense of self, and your sense of identity. It’s important to know that OCD is not you. It’s just a behavior that you do. So instead of saying my OCD, say that OCD or this OCD. That way you are separating the OCD behavior from your sense of identity. And your unconscious mind will pick up on that and OCD will become a smaller part of who you are.

6. Challenge Obsessive Thoughts

Remember that the OCD behavior always starts with a thought that leads to an anxiety feeling that then causes the behavior that results in temporary relief. If we can deal with the thoughts, we are closer to the root cause. A key thing here is to not repress those obsessive thoughts. If you do that, they will keep coming back. It’s better to sit with them and deal with them. This is a similar approach to the ERP method.

Write Obsessive Thoughts Down

It’s helpful to write down your thoughts. When you do that, you’ll get clarity on what those repetitive and obsessive thoughts are. They become so much clearer once you write them down. Their power reduces. Remember, they’re just thoughts. They may be unwanted, intrusive, even violent. But they are still just thoughts. The importance you give to these thoughts is what provides them with meaning.

If you begin to let those thoughts go, if you begin to challenge them and ask yourself what other meanings they could have, then you’ll see the power of those thoughts beginning to reduce.

7. Medication

OCD responds very well to certain types of medication. This has led some people to believe that OCD is a kind of chemical thing in your body. That’s not quite my belief. I believe that medications help reduce the anxious feelings behind OCD. But the obsessive thoughts still remain. However, when the feelings are less intense, there is less emotion driving the behavior. So, the behavior will probably reduce as well.

Medications also release serotonin, which is a feel-good hormone. It makes you feel better. So medication can be useful, especially when you’re dealing with the root causes. It can provide some relief while you’re working on the thoughts that have been causing the anxiety feelings.

8. Get Help from a Hypnotherapist

As I mentioned earlier, the main approach that a psychologist or psychotherapist uses is Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). This technique can feel uncomfortable. It can take a few sessions and a lot of work to overcome OCD. It doesn’t always address the fear behind it. In my opinion, this is essential for the OCD behavior to go away once and for all.

I use 3 different techniques or processes, when I help people with OCD, either face to face in Sydney or online, via Skype or Zoom.

  • Regression. I take the person back to the source of what caused the OCD experience. Often, there is something that happened in the past that started the OCD behavior. Once found, we can release the fears and the feelings from that past experience. That allows the unconscious mind to respond differently when the stimulus that drives the old OCD behavior next happens.
  • The Rewind Technique or Fast Phobia Cure. This technique is highly effective when a difficult or traumatic past event caused the OCD behavior. This technique scrambles the past event in your mind and releases the feelings at the same time. As a result, your mind will think differently when that situation happens again.
  • Detach Yourself from the OCD Experience. OCD is almost like a hypnotic trance. So a good hypnotherapist can help you de-hypnotize yourself.

So if you, or someone you know, suffer from OCD, I highly recommend applying the steps I presented in this article. They are very helpful and proven to be effective.

If You Need Help, Contact Me

If you feel you need some help and you would like me to help you overcome OCD, then click here to find out more information. Hypnotherapy can be done extremely effectively online, using Skype or Zoom. Also, we can work together at a time that is most convenient for you. I look forward to helping you overcome OCD once and for all.

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

There are so many benefits to both self-hypnosis and meditation. If you had to choose, which one would you pick? Well, this article will help you choose the best one for you.

Both self-hypnosis and meditation are very relaxing and are wonderful for reducing stress and anxiety. However, there are some crucial differences. Knowing these will help you decide which one is best for you.

In this article, you will learn more about what meditation is and the profound benefits of this simple practice. I’ll also explain how self-hypnosis works and the issues that it can help you resolve. I will then cover the similarities and differences of each.

After reading this article, you may even decide to use both self-hypnosis and meditation to help you improve your mental and spiritual wellbeing.

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What is Meditation?

Meditation is a technique for calming your mind. It involves focusing on something specific. This could be an object, your breath or repeating a specific word or phrase. 

When meditating with your eyes open, you’ll normally focus on an object in the room.  If your eyes are closed when meditating, you’ll probably focus either on your breath or repeat a certain word or phrase.  This is called a mantra, and it can be repeated silently or out loud.

So a key characteristic of meditation is focusing on something specific. When thoughts arise, you might observe or notice them briefly. And when you do, you want to return your attention quickly and gently to the focus of your meditation practice. 

Aims and Benefits of Meditation

The primary aim of meditation is to calm your mind and feel more at peace. It will help you relax and feel happier. It’s great for improving concentration by focussing on one thing. This also helps you to be more present. You will notice your thoughts and feelings more. This is great for improving self-awareness.

Meditation helps you achieve a very calm state of consciousness or perhaps an altered state of consciousness. This occurs as your brain waves slow down from the beta level (our typical waking brainwave state) to the alpha level. To learn more about the different brainwave states, click here to read my article on how to hypnotize yourself.

Meditation is often part of a wider spiritual practice. It doesn’t have to be, but it often is. 

Meditation can be guided or non-guided.  A guided meditation involves listening to a recording (or a live person). This becomes your focus of attention.  The recording (or a live person) then guides you to focus on different things. This could include your breathing, different parts of your body, or certain positive words and phrases. It might also include guided imagery to help you relax by using your imagination. 

With a non-guided meditation, you are doing it by yourself, by focusing on your breath, an object or a mantra. 

Meditation is incredibly easy to learn and do. You simply focus on one thing and notice what your mind does. And you can meditate almost anywhere! 

What is Hypnosis and Self Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is normally performed by another person, such as a hypnotist or hypnotherapist. Self-hypnosis is when you hypnotize yourself.

The key purpose of hypnosis is to access your subconscious mind and make changes at the subconscious level.

Unlike meditation (which is often not guided), hypnosis is normally guided by someone else. This could be a hypnotherapist or a self-hypnosis recording. With a self-hypnosis recording, you listen to someone else and they guide you through a hypnotic technique or process.

So hypnosis involves accessing the subconscious or unconscious mind. Then using different techniques to make a positive change.

Related Article: How to Hypnotize Yourself | A Self-Hypnosis Tutorial

Hypnosis Techniques

Live hypnotherapy sessions and self-hypnosis recordings often use positive suggestions. When you’re in a very relaxed state, positive ideas, suggestions or affirmations go in to your subconscious mind at a much deeper level.

A hypnotherapist can use specific techniques to resolve and release traumatic experiences or unhelpful memories from the past. This is harder to do using self-hypnosis, so I always recommend seeing a hypnotherapist for help with any traumas or painful memories.

Hypnosis and self-hypnosis are highly effective for accessing and changing sensations, experiences, resolving fears, accessing resources, dealing with obstacles, habits and emotions. These are often difficult to access and change in a normal conscious waking state.  Hypnosis and self-hypnosis is often used to switch off or reduce physical discomfort and pain.  

Similarities between Self-Hypnosis and Meditation

Both involve achieving a different or altered state of consciousness, where your brainwaves change from the beta level to the slower alpha wave level.

They both involve some kind of disassociation. This is becoming less aware of your physical surroundings and external world and developing a more internal focus. You will then have a greater awareness of your thoughts, feelings and emotions

Both involve focussed attention or concentration. For meditation, this could be your breath, a mantra, an object or a recording. For self-hypnosis, this would be the words from a hypnotherapist or self-hypnosis recording.

Both are great for reducing stress and calming your mind.

The Differences between Self-Hypnosis and Meditation 

Hypnosis and self-hypnosis are more goal oriented. There’s a purpose behind it. It could be to increase motivation, develop greater confidence or stop procrastinating. Perhaps it’s eating more healthily so you can lose weight, or to motivate yourself to exercise more. It could also be to stop doing an old habit, such as smoking or nail-biting.

Unlike meditation (which is often not guided), hypnosis is normally guided by someone else. This could be a live hypnotherapist or a self-hypnosis recording. It is possible to perform self-hypnosis without a recording, but it is much harder. It’s very easy for your mind to wander without you noticing. A self-hypnosis recording makes it easier for your mind to stay focussed. A great option is to record yourself and then use your recording to guide you.

Hypnosis is not spiritual. As far as I’m aware, hypnosis is not used as part of a spiritual practice. 

Hypnosis frequently involves the use of visualization and guided imagery. It makes use of your imagination. Some guided meditations may include ideas that activate your imagination, but it’s not normally a key part of meditation.

Hypnosis is a natural state that can happen automatically. Let’s say you’re reading a great book. You become less aware of everything else around you. Or, you are watching a wonderful, captivating and exciting movie and your mind is completely focussed on the movie.  Both these situations are a form of hypnosis, with a more focussed concentration and awareness. So self-hypnosis can happen automatically. 

When using hypnosis, it can be possible to recall things that you wouldn’t normally be aware of in your normal waking state. This includes past memories or unconscious messages or sensations from the body that you would not normally be aware of. 

Hypnosis can help you express and then let go of unhelpful feelings and emotions generated by past experiences. 

Meditation is about being mindful and in the present moment. With hypnosis and self-hypnosis, your mind is often taken to another place. This might be visualizing something that you desire or focussing on a past memory that you want to resolve.

Guided Meditations

In my mind, guided meditations are very similar to self-hypnosis recordings. In both cases, you are focussing your mind on the content of the recording. With guided meditations, the purpose of the recording is to help you achieve a calmer emotional state and a quieter mind. A self-hypnosis recording may do this too, but will often focus on changing a habit, behavior or experiencing something that you want to happen in your imagination.

A guided meditation can also help you reprogram your subconscious mind in the same way as a self-hypnosis recording. Both achieve the relaxed state required to allow positive ideas and suggestions to be taken in at a deeper level.

Which One Should You Do?

Should you meditate or use self-hypnosis? Well, do both if you can. I typically do a 10 minute meditation in the morning. This helps me focus my mind and be more grounded and peaceful. It also improves my concentration. Then at other times, I’ll listen to self-hypnosis recordings to help me with specific goals and skills that I want to improve.

So, if your goal is to feel more peaceful, relaxed and less anxious, then meditation is great for that. If you want to change specific behaviors or habits, then self hypnosis will help you do that.

So now you understand the similarities and differences between self-hypnosis and meditation. I hope this helps you decide which one will be best for you. Or perhaps like me, you’ll do both of them.

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

The quality and quantity of your sleep are essential for your physical, emotional, and mental health. Are you making sleep a priority in your life? Or are you cutting back on sleep because you feel that other things are more important?

This article will motivate you to make sleep a priority in your life. I’ll also talk about the different types of sleep and some simple things you can do to improve your sleep quality.

Sleep is the ultimate form of rest and recovery. It is essential for our mental and physical health. It seems to be so underrated. Few people think of making it a priority in their life.

After a good night’s sleep you will feel great. You’ll feel that you can take on the world! You will focus better and face your challenges with confidence. A poor night’s sleep will leave you feeling tired, grumpy, and easily distracted. Even simple tasks can seem hard and take more time to finish. You may also make silly mistakes.

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The Effects of Not Getting Enough Sleep

There is a lot of useful information on how to improve your sleep. But this won’t help if you don’t have the motivation to do it. So I will start by covering the adverse effects on your body and mind that can occur from regularly sleeping less than 6 to 7 hours a night.

1. Increased Risk of Cancer and Dementia

Sleeping for less than 6 to 7 hours a night regularly, dramatically reduces your immune system. It doubles the risk of cancer. It increases your chances of getting Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Margaret Thatcher, the UK prime minister in the 80s, used to thrive on 4 or 5 hours of sleep. She ended up getting dementia. Ronald Reagan did the same thing, and he got dementia as well.

2. Being Diagnosed as Pre-Diabetic

If you sleep less than 6 hours a night for just one week, you could be diagnosed as being pre-diabetic. This really surprised me! Just one week of poor sleep can affect your blood sugar so much that you could be mistakenly diagnosed as pre-diabetic.

3. Increased Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

A lack of sleep is not good for your heart. It increases the chances of your coronary arteries becoming blocked. This can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

4. Hormone Imbalances

Not getting enough sleep switches off certain hormones and increases other hormones. For example, when you lack sleep, the “I’m hungry” hormone increases, and the “I’m satisfied” hormone decreases. If you don’t sleep well, you’re going to feel hungry and eat more. That’s important if you are trying to lose weight. Also, you will lose lean muscle rather than fat. I believe the body wants to keep the fat so it can convert it into energy, if you continue to deprive yourself of sleep.

5. Increased Anxiety and Depression

Lack of sleep can dramatically affect your mental health. Just 3 nights of poor sleep can massively increase your anxiety. Sleep deprivation is also linked to depression.

Pretty much every organ in your body enjoys good quality sleep and is negatively affected by persistent poor sleep. If you don’t sleep enough, you are at risk of dying at a younger age or developing specific health problems. I hope you now realize how essential it is to make sleep a priority in your life.

The 3 Types of Sleep

Not all sleep is the same. During the night, we typically go through 3 phases of sleep.

1. Deep Sleep

Deep sleep is rejuvenating. It allows your body to heal. Your body requires deep sleep. Your brain will prioritize deep sleep over the other types of sleep. Therefore, deep sleep happens earlier in the night.

2. REM sleep

REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. REM sleep is your dream sleep. This type of sleep is vital for your mental health. It’s almost like your in-built therapy system. Your thoughts of the day are being processed and put into different places, for example, your long-term memory. It happens later in the night.

3. Light Sleep

Light sleep is somewhere between deep and REM sleep. Around 50% of your total sleep is light sleep.

There are a few different ways to track your sleep, and I have tried some of them. I have used a Fitbit tracker and sleep apps on my phone. Now, I use the Oura ring. The Oura ring is great because it tracks the different types of sleep, but also your heart rate and body temperature. If you’re interested in finding out more about the Oura ring, you can check it out here.

How to Improve Your Sleep.

So you’ve decided to make your sleep a priority. What next? Well, there is a lot of great content online on how to improve your sleep. Therefore, I will not go into too much detail here. I’m just going to share with you a few tips that have helped me personally.

1. Avoid Computers and Phones Before Going to Sleep

One thing I’ve noticed is that being on my computer or phone too late into the evening seems to affect my sleep. There are a couple of reasons for that.

The first is mental stimulation. When I work too late into the evening on my computer, I find that my mind is more active, and this affects the quality of my sleep.

The second is the light from computer or phone screens. This is known as blue light. It tricks your body into thinking it’s still daylight. There are many products, like glasses and screen filters, that you can use to reduce the blue light.

2. Relax 1 Hour Before Bed

It is always good to relax an hour before going to bed. The things that can help are meditation, physical relaxation, taking a bath, or reading. If you are reading, choose a book that doesn’t require too much thought or brain stimulation. I avoid personal development books and read something lighter.

3. Go to Sleep and Get Up at a Regular Time

If a good night’s sleep is a priority to you, this can be very helpful. But I’m not super strict about it. I’ll typically try to be in bed around 10:30pm and get up at around 6:00am. At weekends, I often go to bed later at 11:30pm and get up at 7:00 or 7:30am, particularly if I feel a need to catch up on sleep.

4. Think Positive Thoughts

I like to think positive thoughts or list things I’m grateful for just before going to sleep. I’ve found that this works very well for me. The thoughts you have when you go to sleep, are often the same thoughts you have when you wake up in the morning. They can also influence your dreams.

When you go to bed, focus on what you want, on your dreams, goals, and vision.  Your unconscious mind will start looking for ways to achieve them. For example, you may come up with a dream that gives you the answer to your problem. Also, think about the things you are grateful for.

5. Do Not Eat Too Late

When you eat a large meal less than 2 hours before you go to sleep, your body will still be busy digesting food. As a result, your heart rate will be higher when you go to sleep. And to get quality deep sleep, you need your heart rate to be lower, especially during the first 4 hours of the night. A lower heart rate increases the quality and quantity of your deep sleep which normally occurs earlier in the night.

6. Avoid Alcohol

Many people think that drinking some alcohol will help them get to sleep. It will help you initially. You might get some deep sleep, but you will get virtually no REM sleep. This means that your mental health will suffer. Your brain will not get the opportunity to process things and put them into long-term memory. I have also found that drinking alcohol before going to sleep increases my heart rate and body temperature.

My Recommendations


To learn more about sleep, I highly recommend reading the book “Why We Sleep” by Dr. Matthew Walker.

If you would like to monitor your sleep, then I highly recommend the Oura ring.  I use the Oura ring every night to track my sleep phases, heart rate, body temperature and the overall quality and quantity of my sleep.  It’s been a game-changer for me. 

I can now see the influence of working or eating late on my sleep. I can proactively work on improving my sleep and get accurate feedback the following morning. 

The Oura ring will also tell you when you need to rest and take it easy.  As it tracks your body temperature, it can also tell you when you’re coming down with an illness. 

I hope I convinced you to make your sleep a priority. If you do that, you will certainly notice the benefits. Positive thinking is much harder when you’re doing it on less than 6 hours of sleep. So make sleep a priority and see how your mental health improves.

Your body will be grateful too, and your thoughts will naturally be more positive. It’s incredible how such a small thing like improving your sleep, can have a huge positive impact on your life.

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

Just click the button below and I’ll send this eBook to you right away.

Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

Optimistic people live happier, healthier, and more successful lives. However, optimism is not something that you are born with. Being optimistic is a skill that you can learn. In this article, I will share with you my 10 ways to be more optimistic. Once you learn and apply these strategies, you will experience the amazing benefits of optimism for yourself.

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What is Optimism?

Optimism is feeling hopeful. It’s looking forward to the future and believing that your future will be better than the present. Pessimists are often fearful about the future. They’re afraid of bad things that could happen to them. They believe that the future will be worse than today. As a result, they feel anxious, depressed, or miserable.

Why is it Important to be Optimistic?

Here are some excellent reasons to learn the ways to be more optimistic:

Optimistic people are happier, more joyful, and more cheerful. They are better to be around.

Optimistic people are high-achievers. They see more opportunities and try more things. They accomplish their goals faster and are more successful in life. They are more persistent. They stick with their goals for longer because they believe that they will have a successful outcome.

Optimists deal better with disappointments. In the back of their minds, they have a strong feeling that the future will work out well. They can handle disappointments because they know they are temporary.

Optimistic people rarely experience depression and depressive episodes. They also have a lot less anxiety. You can only be anxious when you think negatively about the future. With an optimistic and positive view, the future looks bright and better than the present.

Think about the things you are not doing right now because you don’t believe they will work. Well, that’s a form of pessimism.

The 4 Parts to Optimism

There are 4 parts to optimism. These are:

  • Thoughts – thinking that your future will be good and pleasant in some way
  • Imagination – imagining that your future will be better than the present
  • Energy – feeling hopeful and excited about your future
  • Action – acting as if you are getting a desirable outcome in the future

The 10 Ways to Be More Optimistic

Now that you know what optimism is and what its benefits are, I will cover 10 ways that will help you to be more optimistic.

1. Contain the Problem to a Small Area

Let’s say you’re about to go on holiday with your family. You arrive at the airport, and your flight is delayed by four hours.

How would an optimistic person deal with this? They might be a little disappointed or annoyed. But they would probably think or say something like:

  • It’s only a flight.
  • I’m still excited about going on holiday.
  • I’m happy to be with my family.
  • It’s just a bad start, but everything will be okay.

A pessimistic person would say:

  • This is so frustrating.
  • We’ll be hanging around at the airport for hours.
  • We might miss the connecting flight, and if we miss it, we’ll get to the hotel really late, miss dinner and all the good rooms will be taken.
  • We’re all going to be stressed out and emotional.
  • It’s a terrible start, and everything will go downhill from here.

Can you see how a pessimistic person is making this flight delay negatively affect the whole holiday? A key to being more optimistic is to contain any setback, challenge or problem to one area of life and not let it affect anything else.

2. Forgive and Let Go

When something happens that makes you feel pessimistic or negative, know that you can look at the situation differently. You can change your perspective.

Also, let go of any negative emotions, such as anger, frustration, disappointment, or sadness. A great way to release negative emotions is to use the Sedona Method.

Forgive yourself for things you did or didn’t do in the past. And then learn to forgive others. Forgive others so you and your life can move forward. When you have a grudge against someone else, it negatively affects your life by thinking about it. So, it makes little sense to hold on to any resentment or grudge against another person. So learn to forgive others, so you can free yourself of these negative emotions.

3. List 30 Things That Make You Excited

This one came from Leo at Actualized.org. He recommends making a list of 30 things that you’re excited about, which are likely to happen in the next year. These could be things like vacations, promotions at work, or getting rid of debts. Also, starting a new business or losing weight.

The idea is to get very specific to fuel the excitement. Spend some time journaling all these things. You will feel different and more motivated.

Leo also suggests paying attention to how you feel before writing these down. After writing them down, see if your feelings have changed. You’ll notice that you are more excited, engaged, motivated, and more optimistic.

4. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

When I have a bad night’s sleep, I find it much harder to be optimistic and positive. I also react more emotionally without thinking. It’s because your brain goes back to a familiar set-point when you’re tired. You’ve been working on yourself for a while, and you’ve become more optimistic. After a bad night’s sleep, your brain may go back to what’s familiar – your old pessimistic self.

So how do you deal with this? Firstly, acceptance. Just accept that you will not be as positive and optimistic as you usually are. Secondly, take a power nap if you can. Close your eyes and have a little nap for up to 20 minutes. I’ve done this on many occasions, and it’s had a huge effect on my level of optimism and positivity.

5. Consult Your Inner Coach

Think about a setback, frustration, disappointment, or anything that makes you feel pessimistic. Then imagine your favorite self-help or personal development expert in the room with you. What would they say to help you? What questions might they ask you? What advice would they give you? What might they do in the same situation? Then imagine taking their advice and acting as if you are that person.

6. Perceive the Event as Temporary

When something frustrating happens, pessimistic people see it as long-term and permanent. Optimistic people see it as temporary.

Let’s go back to that 4-hour flight delay example. Once on the plane, an optimistic person will forget about the delay and focus on enjoying the holiday. A pessimistic person will still think about it and how it will negatively affect the holiday.

Or, let’s say you lose your job. An optimistic person would say:

  • These things happen.
  • I’m confident I’ll get a new job.
  • It’s good to make a change.

A pessimistic person might say:

  • I’m never going to find a new job.
  • Things will never be the same again.
  • My life is ruined.

A pessimistic person sees this one event permanently affecting the rest of their life. They lack a positive and optimistic view of the future. This will influence the action they’ll take. A pessimistic person is more likely to give up and fall into some kind of depression. An optimistic person will probably look forward to applying for new jobs.

7. Identify Your Role

It’s crucial to identify your role in the situation correctly. Let’s go back to that 4-hour flight delay. An optimistic person would say:

  • There is nothing I can do about it.
  • These things just happen.

A pessimistic person would personalize it in some way. They would say:

  • Why did I choose this airline?
  • Why am I always on flights that are delayed?

In response to losing their job, an optimistic person might say:

  • These things happen.
  • People lose jobs, especially when the economy changes.

A pessimistic person might say things like:

  • I’m not good enough.
  • Younger people are better than me.
  • I don’t fit in anymore with this company or culture.

Let’s say that these two people get a new job. The optimistic person might think “Great! I worked hard, and I deserve this new job”.

A more pessimistic person might think “The company needed someone. I just happened to be there. There was no one else available”.

There’s quite a difference here. An optimistic person believes that they took action to get that job. A pessimistic person thinks it just happened, with little action on their part. They didn’t take responsibility for their success.

That’s a key difference – an optimistic person takes responsibility and takes action.

8. Acknowledge What Went Well

I recommend doing this daily. Ask yourself 2 questions:

What did I do well today? List all the things you did well. These are situations where you took some positive action. You took responsibility for them turning out well. When you focus on this consistently, it will help increase your level of optimism. And this will grow your self-confidence because you’re focusing on the things that you can do rather than the things you can’t.

What went well? This question refers more to the fluky things that are outside your control. Sometimes great things just happen. It’s good to appreciate and be grateful for these. You can take this further. Acknowledge what’s good about your life and list all the things that you usually take for granted. Create a gratitude journal. The more you focus on what works well in your life, the more you’ll feel optimistic.

9. Focus on Small Changes

What can you do today to improve your life? It doesn’t matter if it’s something small. The key is to take responsibility. Pessimists often believe that they are helpless. They blame others. However, you can do more than you think. We always have a choice of how to think and how to act. So, what can you do to make any situation better for yourself? By taking positive action, you will almost always feel better.

10. Ask “What Else Could This Mean?”

The way we perceive situations that happen to us is one of the fundamental ways to be more optimistic.

When something happens, our brain comes up with a meaning based on our previous experiences. And the brain can be lazy. The way to get around this is to ask “what else could this mean?” List 5 other meanings that you could give to that same situation.

For example, in my 20s, I missed out on a promotion. I was quite resentful about it for a few days. And then I went for a long walk and thought about it. I came up with a few different meanings.

  • By not being promoted, I could continue doing a job that I was comfortable with and feel confident doing.
  • The new job could be more challenging and out of my comfort zone.
  • It also made me think about moving my career in a different direction which I ultimately did!

Think about any disappointing situation that happened to you and ask yourself “what else could this mean?” Remember, the only meaning this has is the meaning you give it.

So these were my 10 ways to help you be more optimistic. Take action and apply them to your own life! Then see yourself becoming more optimistic and less pessimistic. Remember that optimism is a skill that you can learn and develop. Your life is in your hands!

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Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul