A lot of us fail to succeed in life because we don’t think we have what it takes or we are afraid of getting rejected. We miss opportunities and allow doubts and criticisms to take over our decisions because of our low self-esteem. In this article, I will explore the characteristics of high self-esteem and provide tips on how to have it.

Self-esteem is like a continuum from low to high. Rather than having low self-esteem or high self-esteem, it’s often somewhere in the middle. Your level of self-esteem can also vary in different life situations and with different people. However, if you want to be successful in life, high self-esteem is always better. Knowing the characteristics of high self-esteem is the first step to increasing your level of self-esteem.

Most people settle for mediocrity and let opportunities pass them by because they are afraid of taking risks or making bold actions. Don’t allow yourself to become one of those people! Act now and start putting plans in place to boost your self-esteem!

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Here are the characteristics of people with high self-esteem:

1. Leaders with a Clear Vision

People with high self-esteem are leaders. They create their own path in life. They make their own choices and trust their judgment. If someone doesn’t agree with what they want to achieve in life, they don’t feel guilty. They refuse to follow and enjoy carving out their own path in the world.

If you feel that you’re more of a follower than a leader, ask yourself, “What do I really want?” Establish a clear vision in your mind of what you want in each area of your life. Once you have that vision, you will notice more resources and more opportunities to help turn that vision into reality.

2. Guided by Strong Principles

People with high self-esteem are guided by a set of strong principles and values. Some of these values might be honesty, trust, integrity, openness, transparency, or giving value to others. These principles and values provide a roadmap for their life. They believe and act on those principles and values, and they are ready to defend them.

3. Goal-Oriented

People with characteristics of high self-esteem set and achieve short-term and long-term goals. Their goals are aligned with their principles and values. If you are not already doing this, then read my article on how to effectively set and achieve goals.

When they set goals, people with high self-esteem aim high but stay realistic. If you set goals that are not achievable and too challenging, you will not achieve them. And if you do this repeatedly, it will take a knock on your self-esteem. Make sure that the goals you set are realistic but also aim high.

People with high self-esteem have an inner drive to succeed. They know what they want or need, and they focus on getting it. 

They live life on their terms and create an action plan. They believe that when you set goals and create a plan for your life, you’re carving your life in the direction you want. If you don’t create a plan, you can easily and unwittingly become part of someone else’s plan.

It’s crucial to take action and consistently move towards your goals. When you take action, your confidence improves, and your self-esteem increases.

People with high self-esteem are not lazy and don’t procrastinate. They work hard and get things done because they don’t get bogged down in doubts or complaints. They realize that the more they focus on getting things done, the higher their level of self-esteem.

Low self-esteem people often procrastinate. They waste energy thinking about all the work they have to do rather than just getting it done.

4. Believe in Themselves

People with characteristics of high self-esteem see themselves as valuable, self-worthy and know that other people will enjoy spending time with them. They believe that they are equal to others, even if their financial and personal success is lower or higher than other people. They focus on their strengths and don’t compare themselves to others.

They trust their judgment and don’t feel guilty if someone disagrees with them. They don’t criticize themselves and avoid internal negative self-talk.

If you would like to increase your level of self-belief, get rid of limiting beliefs and replace them with positive, empowering beliefs, then this article will show you how.

Another great tip is to focus on your strengths. What are your strong points? What are you good at? Also, notice what your weaker points are. Set small goals to address them and take action. As weaker points improve, your level of self-esteem will increase.

5. Problem-Solvers

People with characteristics of high self-esteem know that obstacles are a necessary part of the road to success. They deal with obstacles by focusing on them as little as possible, but just enough to resolve them.  Their main focus is still on the goal, the vision and their guiding principles and values.

They enjoy self-solving problems. And to quote Marie Forleo, they believe that everything is “figureoutable”. So, whatever the problem, challenge or obstacle, people with high self-esteem will find a way to figure it out.

People with high self-esteem naturally believe that they can do it. They take calculated risks, adjust to failure if it happens, and ask for help if it’s necessary. They’re also not afraid of rejection. Rejection is a part of life, and they don’t take it personally. If you take rejection personally, that can mean that you are avoiding the risks you need to take to get ahead in life and become successful.

6. Take Care of Themselves

People with characteristics of high self-esteem know how to take care of themselves – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They are very resilient, emotionally strong, and able to recognize the role of negative emotions. They are not afraid of anger, guilt, or fear. Instead they look into the reasons behind these emotions and then address them.

They are comfortable looking at themselves in the mirror, and they have a high degree of self-love and self-respect. Their self-talk is positive, empowering and energizing.

I encourage you to energize yourself with positive and encouraging self-talk. Remember that you are what you think you are and what you say to yourself. When your thoughts and actions are positive, your body will respond with more energy, strength, and drive.

7. Great with People

Among other characteristics, people with high self-esteem don’t try to please everyone and they avoid gossip.

They can also separate emotion from a message. When someone’s angry with them or upset, they can insulate themselves from the emotion and focus on the message that this person is trying to communicate.

They’re also sensitive to other people’s feelings and their needs. They are fine with accepting and indulging compliments. When they are struggling with something, they are not afraid to ask for help.

They have effective communication and influencing skills. When something’s important, they do their best to influence others to see their point of view.

There are 2 types of people in the world – people that radiate energy and people that drain your energy. They are radiators rather than drainers.

Here is a tip to help you develop higher self-esteem and get better with people. Surround yourself with positive and successful people to gain some of that energy and motivation. When you’re around people with high self-esteem, you become more positive and feel better about yourself.

8. Transparent

High self-esteem people are open, honest, and transparent. They speak the truth and embrace honesty with no fear of rejection or any intention to harm another person.

If they do something wrong, they are happy to be responsible, take any blame, and own up to their failings. They are accountable for what they say and what they do.

They can also laugh at themselves and see the funny side. Not taking themselves too seriously, they live with an attitude of humility.

9. Flexible

People with characteristics of high self-esteem are comfortable with change and know when it’s time to try a different approach. They’re not set in their ways, and they can adapt to new technology and new ways of doing things.

10. Live in the Present

They know that the past is the past and that they can’t change it. They have a positive view of the future and the confidence in making that future happen. They don’t worry about the future, and they avoid negative “what if” questions. If they notice them, they come up with a strategy and a plan to address and resolve them.

They understand the difference between the past and the present. Their motto would be “My past doesn’t equal the future”. They won’t think their future depends on their past and see the future as something that they can change and influence right now.

A tip here is to put your past into perspective. Remember that you cannot change it. You can only change how you look at it and the meaning you give to it. You can also draw strength from your past. Notice the victories, successes, and obstacles that you overcame in the past and make good use of the present to prepare for a successful future.

These were my 10 characteristics of high self-esteem and a few tips to increase it. Remember that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more you will achieve in life and the happier you will be. Take time to study these characteristics of high self-esteem and put some plans in place to apply them in your own life.

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

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

I believe that everything we do, every relationship we make and every goal we set is driven by one ultimate goal – to be happy and content.

What makes you happy? Is it more money? Is it success at work? Or great relationships? Believe it or not, these are just external factors that may give us a temporary high and short-term happiness. However, to be happy and content consistently is a state of mind – it comes down to our thoughts, attitudes, behaviors and lifestyle choices.

Genuine and long-term happiness and contentment come from a deeper and longer-lasting feeling of satisfaction and gratitude towards our lives. This is something that we can all do. In this article, I will share 10 habits to help you become more happy and content.

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1. Develop Close Friendships

Close friendships are great for your mental and physical health. They improve your mood, boost your self-esteem, reduce stress and the chances of getting sick. Spending time with close friends leads to a happier, more fulfilling life, and increases your sense of belonging and purpose.

There was a study that showed that 94% of adolescents saw their friends pretty much every day. The same study also showed that 91% of retired people saw their friends almost every day. Something seems to go wrong in the middle years. Whether it’s because of work, family, or kids, many of us spend very little time with our friends.

Friendships are important in difficult times. When you’re going through a divorce, a job loss, serious illness, or death of a loved one, a great circle of friends can help. Friends make life happier, more fulfilling, colorful, and exciting. I recommend having a weekly friend ritual where you take the time to meet up with a close friend once a week.

2. Take Responsibility

This is the first step towards any improvement in life, and it includes taking responsibility for your emotional state and happiness.

As soon as you blame the economy, someone else, your upbringing, lack of skills or intelligence, you become powerless. You take away your ability to change and you feel like a victim. Feeling like a victim and powerless will make you unhappy.

If you want to be happy and content, take responsibility and change things that make you miserable or sad. Think about your life and ask yourself:

  • Can I take responsibility for this situation?
  • What can I change about this?
  • What can I do to not feel that I’m being a victim?

3. Become a Happiness Detective

If you want to be happy and content, try focusing on the good things in your life – the good things about your health, work, where you live, or your family and friends.

We usually focus on what we don’t want and what we don’t have in our lives. A great way to change this is to practice gratitude. Notice and appreciate what you already have in your life. Appreciate everything that is going well. To learn how to do this more effectively, read my article about gratitude.

Remember that there’s good in almost everything. If you’re often unhappy, it will take time and effort to focus on the good before it becomes a habit. It’s like building a physical muscle. You’re building a mental muscle by focusing on what you already have and appreciate. The more you do it, the more your unconscious mind will pick up on it, and the more it will become a positive habit.

4. Set and Achieve Goals

Happy people set goals. If you look at your main areas of life – your work, relationships, and health – you’ll find that you’re either improving or declining. We rarely stay still in any area of life. To ensure that all areas of your life are improving, it’s good to set goals. Many people don’t set goals because they are afraid of not achieving them. However, it’s far better to set goals and do your best to achieve them. If you miss some of them, use this as a learning opportunity.

There is a virtual cycle that goes on here – you set goals, then create a plan. That increases your self-discipline, and then you achieve the goal. When you achieve it, you feel good about yourself. That increases your self-esteem, self-worth and your happiness. Then you set more goals, and the process continues. We are goal-directed individuals, so setting goals is very important if you want to be happy and content.

5. Realize that Happiness is an Inside Job

Long-term happiness doesn’t come from achieving things in life. Why is that? Because the Law of Familiarity kicks in. Let’s say you get a significant promotion at work or a new job. You enjoy that increased responsibility and recognition. You probably have more money and a better lifestyle. That feels great and makes you happier. But over time it becomes normal and familiar.

Then you may think, “Well, there’s something else I need to do to be happy. I’ll go and live in another part of the world”. That feels very exciting. I did that 10 years ago moving from London to Sydney and it was great for the first few months. But then it became familiar and normal. The Law of Familiarity means that anything new and significant you achieve in life will eventually become familiar and normal.

Also watch out for “I will be happy when…” thinking. For example, when you’re at school and you don’t like discipline, you may think “I’ll be happy when I go to university”. At university you have freedom, but you are broke. So you think, “I will be happy when I get a job and get some money”. Then, you get a nice job and money comes in, but you face other challenges – routine, stress, or pressure from other people. Maybe you think, “When I get married, I’ll be happy and content”. And when it happens, it feels great. But over time, it becomes the new normal.

You can see how easily this can increase to “When I have kids I’ll be happy” and then ultimately “When I retire I’ll be happy”. “I will only be happy when…” is a kind of thinking you need to stop. Happiness is not a deferred payment plan! You can be happy and content in this moment. There’s almost like a limiting belief that I need to do this or have that to be happy. Remember that that’s not true. Happiness is something you create from the inside and you can be happy right now.

It’s often the smallest and most basic things that can make you happy and create memorable moments in your life, such as:

  • Being grateful for what you already have.
  • Smiling and having an uplifting posture.
  • Listening to some great music.
  • Quality time with your partner and close friends.
  • Getting out in nature for a few hours.
  • Having a lot of variety and doing lots of different activities.

6. Release Resentment

When you have resentment or a grudge towards another person, it’s you who feels it, not the other person. That person is probably not even aware that you’re thinking about them or having any of those feelings. A resentment or grudge is something that you hold inside. You are the victim. It’s you that feels violated and it’s you that feel someone else is stopping you or holding you back.

It also means that you are not taking responsibility because you are blaming someone else for your unhappiness and inability to succeed in life. Forgiveness and being able to let go is crucial for your happiness. When you do this, you will feel joy, peace, and calm. You can learn more about ways to release negative emotions in my article about the Sedona Method.

7. Cultivate Faith and Peace of Mind

Unhappy people worry a lot. Happy people have faith that everything will turn out fine. Here are 2 great ways to develop this attitude:

Use positive and soothing self-talk.

Having a positive and soothing internal voice means saying things like “You’re doing your best”, “We’ll work it out” and “Everything is okay”.

Welcome and accept all emotions.

Let all emotions flow through you – the good and the bad ones. When you resist emotions, they tend to stay. When you experience them or express them, they move on. Emotions are like clouds in the sky. If you just let them pass, they will move on.

8. Face Your Fears

Facing fears and taking risks is crucial if you want to be happy and content. When you don’t deal with stuff, it festers inside. Taking risks, facing your fears, and overcoming them feels great. That takes you out of your comfort zone and you get the sense of aliveness that comes from achieving something that you thought was hard or even impossible.

I encourage you to do one thing every day that is a bit uncomfortable. You could try a different food at lunchtime, tackle a difficult issue at work that you’ve been putting off, or deal with a difficult person.

Whatever risk you take, make sure it is calculated. Weigh up all the options first. And remember that behind every risk there is a reward – the satisfaction and the feeling of aliveness that comes from tackling challenging and difficult situations.

9. Develop Hope

A lack of hope and a feeling that there is no way out is the main reason people get depressed. Developing hope is key to getting out of any kind of depression. Hope can be built on a conviction that:

  • You will find an answer or a solution to a problem.
  • You are doing the right thing.
  • You are being guided by a higher power that will help you through this.

Your nervous system responds to your perception rather than the circumstances. Hope makes all situations possible and tolerable. Some helpful ways to develop hope include:

  • Working out the steps from where you are now to where you want to be.
  • Looking for role models that have already overcome the adversity or challenge you’re facing.
  • Doing kind things for others – a great way to get out of your head and forget any problems for a while.
  • Practicing mindfulness – letting your mind focus on one thing at a time. When you focus completely on one thing, anxious thoughts will subside. You’ll then feel more present, calm and happy instead.

10. Don’t Compare Yourself to Other People

Comparing yourself with others always leads to unhappiness. It’s a recipe for misery because it gets you focused on what you don’t like about yourself and your life. Here are some tips to help you not compare yourself with others.

Compare yourself with who you want to become.

Ask yourself:

  • What can I improve?
  • How can I become more loving?
  • How can I become more successful?
  • How can I become a nicer person today than I was yesterday?
  • How can I improve in all areas of my life?

Be okay with your past.

You may regret some things that happened in your past. Maybe some events in the past were very difficult for you, or even unfair. That’s okay. Remember that your past has helped you become the person you are today.

Take a break from social media.

Social media highlights all the great things that are happening in other people’s lives. It’s the opposite of the news. The news always tells you what’s going wrong in the world. Social media tells you all the wonderful stuff that’s happening. The reality is somewhere in between.

Take a break from social media if you feel it makes you feel inadequate or lacking something. Remember that when you look at people who seem to have it all, they might not be happy inside. You never know what someone is feeling inside. Although they may seem to have all that success on the outside, it doesn’t mean that they are happy.

So these are my 10 habits that will help you be happy and content. I encourage you to apply these into your life right now.

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

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

I have been on this planet for nearly half a century and a lot has happened during that time. Most of it was good, but I also experienced some difficult and challenging times.

In this article, I would like to share 10 brutal truths about life based on my experience. I hope it will help you make wiser decisions and have a better perspective about your life.

So here are my 10 brutal truths about life:

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1. Life is not fair.

We’re not born equal. When I was at school, I was the skinny, weak, and short kid. I was very poor at sports. The kids who were more athletic were the popular ones. I wasn’t so much.

My interests and passions were around music, so I played the French Horn. But there was a very gifted kid in the orchestra who played French Horn better than me. He was also proficient on 3 instruments while I could only play one. I found that very annoying, especially as he seemed to practice less than me!

Last year a friend of mine died of brain cancer. He was in his early 40s and leading a healthy life. He didn’t smoke or drink excessively. Why was it him that died of brain cancer rather than someone else? Children also die of cancer every day. What’s fair about that?

At work, people get promoted even though they have fewer skills and less experience than you. And you think, “Why them? Why did they get the promotion and not me?”

The reality is – life is not fair. Fairness is a human invention. We created the concept of fairness or the idea that life should be fair.

2. Behavior never lies.

What you say you do and what you actually do is totally different! Or as Gary Ryan Blair says “behavior never lies”.

Let’s say your friend is talking about becoming super fit and healthy and how they will make that happen. But then you see them in McDonald’s eating junk food. That’s going to give you a mixed message because they are saying one thing and doing another. This reduces trust.

Or you’re a manager at work, and you are lazy and relaxed about things. It’s not surprising if you find your employees acting the same because they will follow what you do much more than what you say. This can also work positively. If you’re proactive and you look after your staff, you’ll find that your employees will do the same. It’s what you do that matters, not what you say you will do.

So one of the brutal truths about life is that behavior never lies. Always focus much more on what someone does rather than what they say and make sure that your behavior never lies too.

3. Sometimes you’ll never know the answer.

Two things happened in January 2016 that I’ve been trying to grasp and make sense of ever since. The first was the friend I mentioned earlier. He was diagnosed with brain cancer in his early 40s during this month. He died 2 years later.

In the same month, a neighbor suddenly committed suicide. She was retired and living a great life, traveling 3 or 4 months of the year, and had loads of friends. She was bubbly, positive, always a joy to be around.

We have 2 people here – one that desperately wanted to live and died of cancer and the other who seemed to have it all, but must have been suffering excruciating mental pain that she couldn’t go on with life. In both cases, I asked myself “Why”? and I agonized for hours over the answer.

I always felt that there was an underlying reason that causes cancer to happen. It can be poor diet, lack of exercise or unresolved emotional issues and stress. But I began questioning that. I thought, maybe that’s not the case. Maybe it just happens and there is little you can do to prevent it.

Sometimes you’ll never know the answers to some things that happen in life. This is one of the brutal truths about life that you just got to be okay with it and learn to let some things go without finding a reason.

4. You never know exactly what someone else is thinking and feeling.

When our neighbor committed suicide, it came as a complete shock to me, my wife, other neighbors, and everyone else who knew her. From the outside, she was bubbly, fun, energetic, friendly, and was living the lifestyle that I would dream about. But none of us, except perhaps her partner, knew exactly what was going on inside her head.

And here is a less extreme example. When someone passes you in a corridor at work and doesn’t smile, what does that mean? You may think they are ignoring you, but you don’t really know what they’re thinking or feeling. Perhaps they’ve got an important deadline, and they’re concerned. Perhaps there had an argument with their partner in the morning and they’re ruminating about that. Perhaps they’ve had a lack of sleep, so they just feel tired.

You just don’t know what someone is thinking or feeling. Instead, we create our own meaning regarding other people’s behavior or actions, and it’s often negative.

5. Happiness is an inside job.

Think about the things that make you happy. Going on a vacation makes me happy – the enjoyment of visiting new places and exploring different parts of the world. In the past, getting a new job made me happy because it felt great to meet new people and do different things and have that added variety.

Coming to live in Sydney, 10 years ago, made me thrilled. We felt like we were on a vacation as we explored the city and the surrounding areas each weekend. The weather is wonderful, and our lifestyle is more relaxed than in the UK.

All these things are great and they give you happiness, but it is a short-term pleasure, joy, and gratification. Why? Because The Law of Familiarity kicks in when you’ve been around anything new and different for long enough. You take it for granted. It becomes familiar and the new normal. This wonderful weather and all the other things we experience in Sydney become familiar and the new normal.

Achieving things in life won’t make you happy long term. Many people feel they go through life never achieving happiness. They think, “When I leave school I’ll be happy”. Then they go to college or university and they find that that’s not it. So they think, “Well, when I leave university and I have some money and a job, then I’ll be happy”. When they find a job, they realize that that’s not it either.

So they think, “When I get into a relationship and when I get married, I’ll be happy”. They do that, but again, it becomes familiar and the new normal after a while. Then, maybe they think, “When I buy a house I’ll be happy, or when I have kids”. And then logically it goes to “When I retire, I’ll be happy”.

Everything in life will eventually become the new normal. One of the brutal truths about life is that happiness is an inside job and you can choose to be happy whenever you want.
Happiness is not something you chase from achieving things on the outside.

You can choose to be happy right now by:

  • being grateful for what is working in your life and all the things you have.
  • developing a happy posture (for example, by lifting your head up) and smiling.
  • listening to some uplifting music that will change your mental state.
  • doing something you enjoy right now.
  • having quality time with your partner and close friends.
  • going out in nature.
  • escaping the Law of Familiarity by having variety in life.

6. Time is more valuable than money.

One of the 10 brutal truths about life is that you can replace money, but you cannot replace time. Time depreciates. Once that minute or day or month is gone, you can never get it back. So it’s important to use time wisely.

Research has shown that you need a certain amount of money to live a reasonably good life so that all your basics are covered. And that is around $60,000 to $70,000 a year. Anything above that is great because it allows you to afford the luxuries or to have other people do things for you, like cleaning, to save you some time.

However, if you’re working crazy hours to fund a lavish house or a posh car, or to have your kids at private school, then perhaps it’s time to think about the value of your time. Most people don’t value time and do things they hate just to have the money. They end up wasting their life away and then regretting it later. Make sure you use your time to do what matters to you, what gives you meaning and makes you happy. Use time wisely because you can never replace it.

7. You will die one day and so will all your friends, family, and loved ones.

This is one of the most brutal truths about life. We don’t know when this will happen. It could be today, tomorrow, next week, or next year. Hopefully, it will be a long time from now, but we often forget that this day will come.

You’ve maybe heard this saying, “Live every day as if it was your last because one day it will be”. I don’t completely buy into that. If I did, I would be on vacation 365 days a year, traveling the world, exploring and having adventures. However, I would also run out of money very quickly! For most of us, we need to work, so it’s important to be realistic here.

However, there are things that you can do. If there is something you’ve been putting off that can be easily dealt with, definitely have a sense of urgency to do that. Maybe it’s changing a job or career you’ve been putting off for a while. I like Gary Ryan Blair’s quote “We are all playing a high stakes game of one and done” We’re not on this planet for long”.

It’s important to have a sense of urgency about the things we do in life and we don’t put off for too long the things important to us. Often, it’s fear that stops us from doing what really matters. If you knew you would die next week, there would certainly be some things that you would do right away without hesitation.

Death can be a reminder to enjoy life and make the most of it and to have a sense of urgency around that. Remember that your friends, family, and loved ones will also die at some point. So it’s important to spend quality time with them right now while you still can.

8. Some people won’t like you.

They will judge and criticize you. It’s impossible to please everyone. Whatever you do in life, whatever you say, you’re likely to upset some people. Don’t go out of your way to get everyone to like you. It’s just not worth it.

Some people are naturally negative and difficult to please. Some will always focus on what’s wrong and will not be grateful. There’s nothing you can do to change that. When you’re walking on the street, people will notice and judge you based on what you’re wearing and how you’re holding yourself.

People naturally judge other people. It’s part of the human condition. And when you step out of the crowd, when you do something that other people won’t do, they may feel a little afraid. They see that you’re taking responsibility and doing things to change your life, and they may feel that you’re a threat to them so they will criticize you.

The more you do different things and strive to become your own person, the more that certain people, even loved ones in your life, will criticize you. And they’re not doing that to help you. They’re doing it because they’re afraid you will become something or someone different from what they’re familiar with. Also, people judge, criticize and put you down to help them feel better. It’s a way of temporarily enhancing their self-esteem.

9. It won’t just happen now like it used to.

When I look back at my parents’ life, it seemed easy and predictable. They went to school, then to university, where they met their partners. They got jobs in their early 20s, often staying in the same job or career for many years. They would get married in their 20s, have kids young and they’d be able to buy their own house because houses were cheap then. Now they’re living a very happy retirement because pension schemes were a lot better as well.

Things have changed now. Most people in their 20s and 30s haven’t met their partners. Many people are renting into their 30s and 40s, even with kids. It seems like things were easier in the past, compared to now. Nothing is guaranteed.

People that are earning 6 figures now have to work hard over many years to get to that level. People now require degrees, even multiple degrees to get into careers that didn’t require these qualifications in the past.

People in great relationships put in a lot of effort to make it great, and continually work on keeping it great.

Why is this? Well, I believe that people have much higher expectations now. In the past, people settled for less.

So don’t think important life events are just going to happen. Life doesn’t work like that anymore. Think about what you want to achieve and by when. Then take proactive action today.

Don’t assume that things will happen. And don’t take them for granted when they do. Take the steps to achieve them. One of my favorite inspirational quotes is “You will be rewarded in public for the thousands of hours you practice in private”. You can apply that to so many areas of life, especially studying, gaining qualifications, or starting and developing a business.

10. You are 100% responsible for changing your life.

Whenever you blame the economy, your level of intelligence, your family, where you live, your genetics, your weight, your looks, or anything else, you take away your power to change.

Bad things happen. But you have complete control over the meaning you give to those things. I don’t buy in to the idea that you create all these bad or good things in your life. But I do believe that if something devastating or bad happens, you have a 100% control over the meaning you give to that and the actions you take to get over it. There have been so many stories of people that were almost entirely crippled, and when they continually visualized their bodies moving, they regained their mobility.

In my hypnotherapy practice, I’m always helping people to take responsibility for their life, helping them get back to the cause rather than being at effect. The effect is when you’re blaming other people and other situations for your life. Being at cause is taking 100% responsibility. It’s important to take responsibility for your happiness, unhappiness, successes and failures.

So, these are my 10 brutal truths about life that no one wants to hear based on my experience of life so far. I may have gone on a bit of a rant at times, but I hope you still found this article informative, inspiring and motivating.

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

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

Life doesn’t always go the way you want it to. Unexpected obstacles and challenges can and do arise. They catch you unprepared and create uncertainty in your life until you resolve them. By overcoming obstacles and adversity, you can get your life back on track and gain some wonderful wisdom and insights from the tough times that are now firmly behind you.

How do you overcome obstacles and adversity? It involves a combination of mindset and behavior changes that you can learn and perfect with practice. To make this process easier and less frustrating, I will show you 10 great ways to overcome obstacles and adversity in your life.

Watch the Video Below:

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1. Take Responsibility

When things aren’t going the way you want them to, it’s tempting to blame someone else. But remember that when you do that, you relinquish control. You take away your power and feel helpless. It’s like saying, “I have no power to change this”. Or “I can’t make this happen unless this person changes or that situation happens”. In reality, you have more control than you think.

It’s good to look at what you can control, however small that is, and focus on it. You want to take responsibility for the situation and especially your reaction to it. We can’t always take responsibility for things that happen in our life, but we can definitely take responsibility for our reactions to them.

2. Control Negative Thoughts

When life isn’t going the way you want it to go, it’s very easy to think negatively. Then self-doubt kicks in and you lose your self-confidence.

To prevent this, whenever you notice a negative thought or feeling, mentally say the word “stop”. Say it out loud if you can. And then change it to the opposite, positive thought. The easiest way to do this is by asking yourself, “What do I want instead?” and then focusing on that thought.

You can also say “Thanks for sharing”. Whenever you notice a negative thought, just say “Thanks for sharing” and let your mind switch to something else.

Also look out for certain words that you say to yourself, such as “always” or “every time”. If you say something like, “I always stuffed this up”, then question that by saying “always?”, and then look for the exceptions.

3. Focus on Solutions

Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. Remind yourself of why you want this goal in the first place and concentrate on the end-result.

The reticular activating system focuses on the goals you set. When you focus on what you want, that brings people, places and situations into your life in accordance to your wishes. You can read more about this in my article about the reticular activating system.

If you want to look at this in a more spiritual way, remember that your thoughts are energy. Positive thoughts give you positive energy, and that positive energy attracts positive energy. So the more you focus on what you want, the more you’re likely to manifest that with the Law of Attraction.

4. View Obstacles or Adversity as a Test

This is a fantastic way to look at a problem or adversity from a different perspective. Think of it as a signal to learn and grow, or that there’s a fear to overcome. Once you overcome it, you’ll gain the knowledge, the skills and the experience, and you’ll be able to go onto the next step or achieve the goal completely. So think of it as a lesson, a test, a learning opportunity and a way to overcome obstacles and adversity.

5. Talk It Over with a Like-minded Person

You want to pick the right person to do this. Someone you trust and that believes in you. This could be a friend, a colleague, a therapist, or a coach.

Why is this important? Because we can become very engrossed in the problem and unable to see the wood from the trees. Another person can provide a different and more detached perspective. They can see through your blind spots and provide guidance and advice on things you hadn’t thought of.

Even if they only listen to you, you can get stuff off your chest and release emotions such as stress, frustration, or anger. So just talking with someone can help. I covered another great way to release negative emotions in my article about the Sedona method.

6. Relax

There are many great ways to relax. You could meditate or go for a nice quiet walk. Or you could do a progressive muscle relaxation exercise, consciously relaxing all the different muscles in your body. If pushed for time, try my rapid relaxation exercise instead.

When you’re relaxed, your mind is not thinking about anything in particular. This allows your intuition to come to the fore and speak to you. You then gain insights from your unconscious mind.

I often get my best ideas in the shower. I suspect you get them too. I wonder why that is. Maybe it’s because the hot water relaxes your body, then your mind relaxes too and you come up with ideas you just didn’t think of earlier.

7. Focus on What You Can Control

I believe there are 3 components to every upset, adversity, or disappointment. These are:

  • What you can’t control.
  • What you could influence.
  • What you can definitely control.

Let’s say that you didn’t get a promotion.

What’s outside of your control?

The decision of the manager to give that promotion to someone else.

What could you influence?

The possibility of getting a promotion in the future. If you can impress that manager over time, then when the next opportunity comes up, you might get it. Therefore, you’ve got some influence. You can’t completely control it, but you can certainly influence it.

What can you definitely control?

You could go to that manager and ask for feedback. Ask what you need to work on, to get a promotion next time? Then you can start acting on their feedback and gain new skills, so you have what it takes to get a promotion next time.

The good thing is that you can control much more than you think you can. And when you focus on what you can control rather than what you can’t, then you will naturally feel more relaxed. You will reduce stress and anxiety and get a feeling of confidence because you’re focusing on the things that you can change.

8. Look After Yourself

When dealing with adversity, upsets or disappointments, it’s easy to forget to look after yourself. You may start eating badly or stop exercising. You may sleep less because you’re trying to work hard to improve your situation. But that usually has the opposite effect.

It’s much better to eat well, sleep well and make time for exercise because that will improve your physical and mental health. You will make better decisions. You’ll have higher levels of motivation and you’ll be more resilient and positive.

9. Visualize the Outcome

Remember that this current adversity situation is temporary and it will pass with time. Look back at previous difficult times in your life and notice how you overcame them and how things improved. Then visualize what you want. Visualize a successful outcome. If you want to learn more about visualization, read my article on how to visualize correctly and effectively.

10. Keep Going

Keep taking action, learning, moving forward, and growing. Sometimes you require a different approach, so it’s good to be flexible. As you keep focusing on what you want, the obstacles and adversity will start drifting into the past and you’ll experience the success and good times again.

These are my 10 ways to overcome any adversity and obstacles in life. I hope you will apply them in your life and find them useful and effective. Use these to get your life back on track today!

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

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

Life can be a series of challenges that come in all shapes and sizes. They test our patience, inner strength, and beliefs. These tough times can be hard, but there are ways to deal with them successfully. If you’re going through a challenging time, you are not alone. This article will help you learn how to overcome the challenges you face now, or those that may come your way in the future.

If you or someone close to you is going through a challenge at the moment, it is likely to be in one of the main 3 areas of life:

  • Finances. It could be a financial or business challenge – losing your job, being made redundant, or dealing with debt.
  • Health. It could be a health challenge – an unexpected illness or chronic illness that gives you a feeling that there is no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Relationships. It could be a divorce or a breakup, loneliness or difficulties with your children or a family member.

Challenges are difficult to overcome. It wouldn’t be a challenge if it wasn’t tough or if the solution was obvious and easy. We all go through struggles. Some people more than others, but we all go through difficult times in life. We cannot escape challenges, but we can choose how we respond to them. We can also choose the meaning that we give to those challenges.

In this article, I will help you learn how to overcome challenges more easily. I will also provide some useful tips on how to minimize the chances of adversity and challenges happening in the 3 main areas of your life.

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1. Gain a Sense of Perspective

When learning how to overcome challenges, remember that it is not the challenge itself, but your perception and interpretation of it that gives you negative thoughts and feelings. A great way to change your perspective is to imagine it from someone else’s eyes.

Ask yourself:

  • How would your best friend overcome this challenge?
  • How would someone you admire view this challenge?
  • What would they think about it?
  • What meaning would that person give to this challenge?
  • How would they act to overcome the challenge?
  • What would they do that could be different to the way you’re dealing with it?

Seeing the problem from somebody else’s eyes reduces negative emotions and helps in releasing them.

Another great way to do this is to imagine your challenge from a different location. For example, looking at it from the top of a mountain. You’ll find that it feels different! The level of negative emotions reduce.

2. Reframe It—Change the Meaning

A great way to reframe is to ask questions because when you ask questions, your mind is forced to give you an answer. But there are good questions and bad questions.

Here are some bad questions that you might say to yourself:

  • Why did this happen to me?
  • Why did this person do this to me?

These are bad questions to ask because the answers are likely to be outside of your control. And keep you looped in the problem, rather than providing a solution or way out.

Good questions could be:

  • What can I learn from this challenge?
  • What is great about this?
  • How did I get here?
  • How can I find the support that I need to overcome this challenge?

If you listen carefully, when you ask these questions, you will get useful answers that will help you move forward.

3. Focus on the Positive

Focus on the areas of your life that are going well. If there’s one area of your life that’s challenging at the moment, let’s say it’s your finances, then look at the other areas that are going well, like your health or your relationships. That will help put this challenging situation into perspective and make it a smaller part of your life.

Our brains are wired for negativity. It is our survival mechanism. We look for threats; we look for dangers and things that we fear. Psychologists call this “negativity bias”. Pretty much everyone, even the most successful people in the world, sometimes think negatively. It is a part of the human condition.

When we sit in a chair, we can slouch or sit up. It often seems easier to slouch. Likewise, it’s easier to think negatively about something then to think positively because positivity requires extra effort, the same as sitting up in a chair.

Thinking negatively is the easiest default thing for us to do. To reduce this natural tendency, you need to focus consciously on what is positive and good. Start appreciating all the things that are going well in your life.

4. Take Responsibility

You may not be responsible for the challenge that is happening in your life. It can be something that is completely outside of your control. But now that you are in this situation, you are 100% responsible for the action you take. This is a good thing because it gives you choices and options, and you’ll feel more in control.

If you act as a victim and blame someone else, you are not taking responsibility. That’s a good clue. If you notice yourself doing that, you need to take that responsibility back. Taking responsibility is key in discovering how to overcome challenges.

5. Reach Out to Others

When life is challenging and hard. When life really sucks, it’s very easy to go solitary. It’s easy to wallow in self-pity, and that’s not a good thing to do. What you want to do instead is reach out to people that care about you and love you.

Humans are not designed to overcome challenges alone. Other people can give you a different perspective. They can reframe things for you, they can change the meaning, and help you with the practical steps to resolve it. So surround yourself with positive people as much as you can. People that can listen and help you get through this. You don’t have to go through challenges alone.

6. Focus and Visualize What You Want

When life is difficult, it is very easy to focus on things that are not working. If you focus on the problem alone, you make it bigger in your imagination and that keeps you stuck.

Remember, there is almost always an endpoint. There’s almost always a solution. A time when things will get better. Often there is something far better waiting for you on the other side of this challenge!

A great way to help you focus on what you want is to ask yourself:

  • What is the magical solution?
  • If I could wave a magic wand and this whole challenge could go away, what would that be like?
  • What would I have instead?

Imagine that now! It may seem very unbelievable at the moment, but it will help your mind focus on the solution.

Let’s say you’ve just lost your job. The magical solution of finding another job might seem unbelievable. But if you focus on that, it will become a reality. If you are going through a divorce, the thought of being in another relationship might seem highly unlikely at the moment. But if you focus on that idea, it can become more and more a part of your future.

I can think of many times in my life where I’ve been in a difficult situation and thought the things I wanted were miles and miles away. In most cases, what I wanted happened. It seemed unbelievable at first, but I achieved it. You can do it, too! The issue is that when you’re going through challenging times, you don’t believe that you can.

Remember to focus on what you want, even if that seems a million miles away right now. When you focus on what you want, the part of the brain called the reticular activating system comes into action. And it notices situations, events, and opportunities that could help bring that into your life.

It only does this when you think about what you want. So visualize yourself overcoming the challenge and notice how that feels. Get a sense of that new feeling. Focus on it and maintain it as a part of your vision. This will give you more of the inner strength you need to overcome the challenge.

7. Let Go

Let go of limiting beliefs, doubts, destructive patterns and negative emotions. Sometimes, you need to experience emotions before letting them go. Get a sense of them in your body. It’s okay to be sad when things are difficult. But once you’ve done that, be willing to let those emotions go. And a great way to do that is to use the Sedona method questions.

Ask yourself:

  • Could I let this go?
  • Could I let this belief go?
  • Could I let this feeling go?

If your answer is yes, then ask yourself the next question, which is:

  • Am I willing to let this go?
  • Am I willing to let this belief, this doubt, this person go?

Again, you will either answer yes or no. If you say yes, then ask yourself:

  • When?

The “when question” is actually an invitation to release it immediately. Imagine that emotion coming out of your body right now.

If you get a “No” to any of these questions, ask yourself:

  • What is holding me back from letting go of this right now?
  • Could I release the thing I’m holding resistance to?
  • Am I willing to release the thing I’m holding resistance to?
  • And if so, when?

If you want to find out more about this method, you can read about it in more detail in my Sedona method article.

8. Start Journaling

Write down all the thoughts that are in your head right now. Why? Because writing gets it out of your head and helps you separate yourself from the challenge. It also helps you gain a different sense of perspective.

The interesting thing about journaling is that it uses your conscious mind, but reduces the effects of the unconscious emotional mind. It helps you process and reduce the emotions you’re feeling right now. It gives you mental clarity and enables you to see the bigger picture. All these things can reduce stress and anxiety that come from your challenge.

Make journaling a key part of your process in uncovering how to overcome challenges in your life.

9. Take Small Steps in the Right Direction

If you’re experiencing a challenging time, it’s possible that you feel overwhelmed by the challenge. It may seem insurmountable, and you may wonder how you will ever overcome it. I know what that feeling is like. And one thing that has really helped me in the past is setting small goals.

Set small goals, achieve them, and then congratulate yourself when you do it. That will give you a feeling of accomplishment, and a sense that you’re making progress. Over the weeks and months, you’ll notice how you are steadily overcoming the challenge. You will see the light at the end of the tunnel, and you will experience greater self-esteem and self-confidence.

9. Plan and Make Good Decisions

Here are some useful tips to help you minimize the chances of having challenges or adversities in your life. We can’t completely stop them, but sometimes with a bit of foresight, the right decisions, good planning, and some consistency, we can minimize the chances of them happening.

First, make wise decisions about your career. Whatever you decide to do with your career, remember it will be long term. So make sure that the decisions you make are the ones that will make you happy and fulfilled and that you will enjoy what you do in your work and career.

Second, think about your relationship. Are you with your soulmate? Are you with the person who makes you ultimately happy, or have you settled for a relationship out of fear of being lonely? Again, you will be with that person for a long time, so make sure you make a good decision.

As for your health, remember that whilst some health problems come out of the blue, many of them are predictable. If you’ve been eating poorly for many years, then it may not be a surprise if you find yourself dealing with obesity, heart disease or diabetes later in life. These things are predictable.

And the same with money. If you’re not saving regularly, then when another recession happens, and it will at some point, you will have money problems. But if you’ve been saving consistently, then you’ll have that financial buffer necessary to deal with a year or even more of unemployment.

You can see how planning and making good decisions can help minimize many of these challenging situations in life. When you do this, the importance of knowing how to overcome challenges diminishes.

I will finish with a quote from Jeff Olson’s book, The Slight Edge. He says: “There will be many obstacles placed in front of you during your lifetime. And you can determine the size of a person by the size of the problem that keeps them down.”

Successful people look at a problem and see the opportunity. And here is one simple, but inspiring quote from Eckhart Tolle: “This too shall pass.” Whatever the obstacle, whatever the challenge is in your life at the moment, remember that this too shall pass.

I hope this article helped you learn how to overcome challenges. As always, put all that you have learned into practice and notice how capable you are of overcoming all your challenges and gaining a greater control over your life.

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

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

Let’s be honest, most of us start the day passively. You wake up late, skip breakfast and rush to work, hoping you will get there on time. This leads to a very reactive life. Practicing a daily morning routine will help you feel great and tackle your day more proactively.

A daily morning routine programs your day for success. It helps you create positive habits, develop the right mindset to achieve your goals, and overall feel better about the day. Highly successful people recognize how invaluable a daily morning routine can be.

In this article, you will learn the best daily morning routine for an outstanding life. Practice these healthy morning habits today and become more productive and successful.

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What is a Daily Morning Routine?

A daily morning routine is something that you do early in the morning before anything else. Its purpose is to program your day for success. Getting yourself in the right mindset early in the day develops new habits and helps you in achieving your goals. It gives you the time to work on your personal development consistently.

Many of us start our days very reactive. Maybe we get out of bed late and rush to get to work. Then at work, you’re already stressed and reacting to people and situations. This leads to living a very reactive life. Getting up earlier and doing a morning routine gives you the ability to start the day proactively.

A daily morning routine is a great way to do the activities that are important to you early in the day. Maybe you want to exercise or meditate or repeat affirmations. Perhaps its reading and learning. If you do these activities early in the day, you can have a guilt free day because you’ve already done those things that you should or want to do.

The Daily Morning Routines of Successful People

What are the most successful people doing in the morning to achieve their goals and live an outstanding life? This was a question that Hal Elrod was very interested in answering. He researched many of the most successful people in the world to find out what they did in the mornings. He found out they did a lot of different things. However, he also identified several morning activities that many of them did.

What do most successful people do in the mornings?

From his research, he identified 6 main things that most successful people did in the morning. He came up with the acronym of S. A. V. E. R. S.

  • S is for silence or meditation. Many of the most successful people in the world meditate daily.
  • A is for affirmations or mantras. Many successful people repeat positive mantras every day.
  • V is for visualization. They also do some kind of goal-directed visualization, consciously or unconsciously.
  • E is for exercise. Again, most successful people have some kind of exercise ritual built into their morning routine.
  • R is for reading and learning.
  • S is for scribing, which is journaling or writing.

How long should a daily morning routine be?

It’s entirely up to you. The longer you do it the more benefit you’ll get from it. It could be 5, 10, 15 minutes, half an hour or even an hour. Whatever it is, focus on these 6 areas and aim to put an equal amount of time into each of them. However, you might sometimes prefer to spend more time on one area rather than another.

S. A. V. E. R. S.

1. Silence or Meditation

The goal of meditation is to still your mind, be mindful and able to focus completely on the present. Here are some simple ways to do this.

Focus on your breathing

Sit comfortably and focus on breathing in and breathing out. Whenever you notice your mind wandering, bring it back to your breath.

Chant

You could chant something like “om” and focus on the sound you are making.

Repeat a certain word

My favorite word is “release”. Every 2 or 3 seconds, you could say “release”. Focus your mind entirely on that word. I learnt this one from Brendon Burchard.

Counting

You could count from 1 to 100 whilst being completely focused on that.

Listen to a guided meditation recording

It could be one you’ve recorded yourself, or one of the many wonderful guided meditation recordings that are available. There are lots of different apps you can get for your phone that have guided meditations.

Whatever you do, remember your mind needs to focus on something specific. You don’t want to sit there and daydream for 5 minutes because that’s the same as being in bed! It’s also not thinking about what you must do during the day. You want to focus your mind on something different. This will prevent your mind from doing its normal everyday thinking and be completely in the present instead.

2. Affirmations or Mantras

This one is about repeating affirmations, mantras, or incantations. These are positive phrases about you, not any specific goal. A great tip is to base your affirmations on being happy, healthy, wealthy, and wise, in that order.
In many cases, the reason for achieving goals in life is to make us happy. Focusing on happiness is often a great shortcut to feeling happy.
Affirmations for health are important because it’s very hard to achieve things (or be happy) when your physical body is in pain or discomfort.

Repeating affirmations for money and wealth will help you create the money to do the things you want to do in life.

Then finally, create some affirmations about being wise, intelligent or knowledgeable.

Affirmation Tips

I highly recommend repeating affirmations out loud whenever you can. You could also record your affirmations and play them back to yourself. There’s a great app to do this called ThinkUp. This app allows you to record affirmations in your own voice and then put your own choice of background music.

Sometimes, when you repeat affirmations, a great idea comes to your mind. When that happens, start repeating that new idea as well, and incorporate it into your affirmations.

Affirmations are great because they help you believe and feel that you’re okay about yourself, that you’re a good person, and that life is going well. Over time, you will become a better person and you will have a better life.

3. Visualization

So affirmations help you become a better person by focusing on positive mindset traits. Positive visualization is more about helping you achieve and accomplish specific goals.

Goals and Measurable Outcomes

Creative Visualization works best when you focus on 1 key goal. If you have several goals in life, then focus on a different goal each morning.

For your specific goal, make sure you have a clear, measurable outcome so you’ll know when you achieve it. Also include why you want to achieve that goal, and how you will achieve it. If you want more help with setting goals, then check out my article about goal setting.

Occasionally visualizing your goals can be enough to get the Law of Attraction into action and manifest the desired outcome quickly. But that’s fairly unusual. Usually it takes time and you have to focus on the why, the how, and the what. That allows you to develop and increase your energy and vibration level, so you’re more likely to attract what you need into your life.

Visualization Tips

When visualizing, I encourage you to speak it out loud as you’re doing it. I’ve tried in the past to close my eyes and visualize a goal for 5 to 10 minutes. I find it easy for my mind to wander onto other things. But if you speak out what you’re visualizing, your mind will really focus on that.

Another great way is to record yourself. Record the visualization and play it back. Some people use vision boards and that can be very effective. Whatever type of visualization process you do, make sure you include a specific action that you will do today. This will help you get one step closer to achieving your goal.

4. Exercise and Movement

This is about exercising or doing some kind of movement every day. What you do can vary from day to day. Here are some examples of the things you could do:

  1. 5 x 1-minute workouts – for example, starting with a plank, then press-ups, crunches, jumping jacks and squats for 1 minute each.
  2. Go for a walk.
  3. Run for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Do yoga or stretching.

This doesn’t have to be very energetic. Sometimes just some stretching can be very beneficial. If you’re pushed for time, you could combine the affirmations and the exercising together.

And although you might plan to do a longer exercise routine later in the day, if for any reason that doesn’t happen, at least you can say, “I’ve done my 5 minutes of exercise”. It helps prevent you from feeling guilty later in the day for the things that you should have done.

5. Reading, Listening, or Watching

This refers to consuming some kind of content that will inspire, motivate, uplift, or help you learn something new.

You want it to be educational and help you move forward in your life. It should move you closer to achieving your goals. It could be learning about:

  • new marketing tools
  • new sales techniques
  • new computer software
  • new therapeutic techniques that you can use on yourself or other people
  • new personal development techniques, like NLP or hypnosis.
  • something religious or spiritual.

Podcasts or Audio Books

Besides reading, you could listen to podcasts, or audio books. Audible.com is a great source of audio books nowadays. If you’re listening, try to focus on what you’re listening to. I listen to a lot of things on the go and I find that I don’t retain the information as deeply as when I set aside a few minutes to listen to something and do nothing else.

YouTube Videos or Courses

You could watch relevant YouTube videos, or an online course that you have invested in. Again, watching 10 minutes of the video content works much better if you focus completely on it rather than watching it while you’re doing other things.

Whatever you do, whether it’s reading, listening, or watching, make sure it’s aligned with your goals. Look for content that will make you more productive or give you greater positivity during the day.

6. Scribing—Writing and Journaling

There are many activities you could do here. The easiest way to start is doing a gratitude journal.

Gratitude Journal

Take 5 minutes to write all the things you’re grateful for in your life right now. List it all down and be as creative as you can. You can be grateful for and write about:

  • waking up and being here for another day
  • your health – what’s good about your health
  • the people in your life – your partner, family, kids
  • your job or career – what you like about it
  • what you have achieved in the past and how good that makes you feel now

Express Thoughts and Feelings on Paper

Other things you could do is express your thoughts, feelings, and ideas on paper. Getting something out of your head and putting it onto paper makes it seem more real. Once you get limiting or negative thoughts and feelings out of your head, it’s a lot easier to challenge them, question them and come up with new ideas. It’s also a very good way of releasing emotions. Get it out on paper, out of your system. When it’s on paper, it seems less overwhelming.

Statement of Intent

Another great thing you could do is write your statements of intent. Here are some examples.

  • How would you like your day to be?
  • What are your intentions for today?
  • What are the positive things you want to happen today?

Rather than focusing on what you think will happen today, focus on what you ideally want to happen.

Inspirational Quotes

You could write down your favorite inspirational quotes. Even a whole passage from a book you’ve enjoyed or found inspirational. Writing it out several times will impress it on your unconscious mind and memory more deeply.

There are a lot of different activities you could do, and the key is to vary it. Maybe one day you do a gratitude journal, another day you write your goals down, or express your thoughts and feelings.

Write or Type?

The final question is, do you write it or do you type it? There are lots of different opinions on this. If you write something by hand, it goes more deeply into your unconscious mind. But if you have terrible handwriting like I do, typing might be better. Typing into something like Evernote enables you to refer to it easily on multiple devices throughout the day. Decide what’s best for you.

Practical Tips

Here are some practical tips to help you develop a great daily morning routine:

1. Decide how long it will be

You could have a 6-minute morning routine and spend 1 minute on each of the 6 areas. Or a 30-minute routine, 5 minutes on each of the 6 areas. Or spend 10 minutes on each area and make it 1 hour.

This could vary from day to day. Maybe you could do a longer routine at the weekends.

2. Get yourself out of bed instantly!

The best way to do this is to put your alarm clock away from your bed so that when your alarm clock goes off, you have to get out of bed to turn it off. That’s a great tip. When I started doing morning routines, that was the one thing that made a huge difference for me.

3. Brush your teeth

As soon as you’ve got out of bed and turned off that alarm clock, brush your teeth!

There’s something about brushing your teeth that helps you wake up. It makes you feel fresh.

4. Get into comfortable exercise clothing

Put these clothes out before you go to bed, so you can get into them as soon as you get up. Use these exercise clothes for your daily morning routine only. When you put these clothes on, your body knows that it’s time for your morning ritual.

5. Go outside

If you’re not comfortable repeating affirmations out loud or chanting when you’re meditating because there are other people in the house, consider doing it outside. You could go for a half-hour walk in the morning and incorporate these things in the local park.

6. Try it for 30 days

Do a daily morning routine for 30 consecutive days. That’s long enough for you to see the benefits of doing it. It’s also long enough to experience occasional days when you’ll feel resistance, like you don’t want to do it. As it becomes more of a habit, you’ll find it easier to do your morning routine on those days when you don’t want to do it. After 30 days, you can decide whether it’s something you want to keep doing.

Resources

If you want to get much deeper into morning routines and morning rituals, I recommend checking out these 2 resources. The first is The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. This is the book that goes through the S.A.V.E.R. S. process that I talked about in this article. I actually learned this from Andrew Parr in a recent webinar that he did for his online hypnotherapy diploma program.

The other is the program Morning Ritual Mastery by Stefan James at Project Life Mastery. This course helped me initially develop my morning routines. Stephan’s approach is somewhat different. He focuses on doing something for your body, something for your mind and something for your spirit. I highly recommend this program.

And as always, if you want to live a great life and achieve your goals, put all you have learned into action. Find out what daily morning routine works best for you and stick to it!

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

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

Why do many people fail to achieve success and happiness? One reason is self-sabotage. It can affect anyone, even highly successful people.

Self-sabotage happens when your subconscious mind keeps you in your comfort zone. It does this to avoid pain, discomfort, and fear. If you feel you are missing out on important events, having trouble with your relationships or doing things that damage your career, you are most likely self-sabotaging. To overcome self-sabotage, it is important to understand this behavior and learn how to get rid of it.

In this article, I will share with you 10 different ways to overcome self-sabotage. Practice and apply them to achieve success and happiness in your life!

Watch the Video Below:

Listen to the Podcast

What is Self-Sabotage?

Self-sabotage is a defense mechanism. It stops you from doing something that might hurt you. It keeps you in your comfort zone. Your subconscious mind might block anything different or unknown, even if it is something that you really want. Self-sabotage is any thought, feeling, behavior or action that goes against your dreams and goals.

So, your logical conscious mind wants one thing, but your subconscious mind wants something else and is fighting against you. Some people refer to that as the anti-self because it’s trying to do the opposite of what you want. Maybe it’s that inner critical voice that says you can’t do it. But whatever it is, it’s trying to protect you. It wants to prevent pain, discomfort, and fear.

Self-sabotage can be very unconscious. You may not even know that you’re doing it. However, these self-destructive behaviors can become habits that undermine your level of success and happiness in life. Behind self-sabotage is often a feeling of low self-worth. Or a feeling that you don’t deserve to be successful.

Consequences of Self-Sabotage

There are many consequences of self-sabotage and some of them include:

  • A feeling that you missed out in life and you don’t quite know why
  • The erosion of your self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Negative affects on your relationships or the ability to get into a relationship
  • Damage to your reputation or career 

Self-Sabotaging Behaviors

Are you self-sabotaging? The answer is probably yes. And why do I think that? Because everybody self-sabotages. Even the most successful people have self-sabotaged in the past. It’s a part of the human condition. We all do it. It’s just a case of minimizing it and doing it as little as possible.

Some of the most common self-sabotaging behaviors are:

  • Not taking calculated risks. Not taking action when there’s an element of risk involved.
  • The inability to say no to other people.
  • Not thinking carefully before deciding.
  • Overthinking or spending too much time deciding and then not taking action.
  • Having unrealistic expectations about yourself and setting unrealistic goals.
  • Having unrealistic expectations about other people.
  • Procrastination or leaving tasks to the last minute.
  • Perfectionism. Behind perfectionism is a fear that I’m not good enough. Perfectionism can lead to waiting for the perfect time to do something, and there’s never a perfect time. Or wanting to get the perfect skills before taking action. Remember, you will never have the perfect skills. You’ve just got to work with what you have and get better over time.
  • Hesitating on a new challenge. Missing out instead of seizing on an opportunity.
  • Seeking comfort or reward. Maybe you’ve got an assignment to do and instead, you think about having a nice bit of cake first and you waste 20 minutes doing that before you even start the assignment.

How to Overcome Self-Sabotage

I will now cover 10 ways to help you overcome self-sabotage today, so you can achieve your goals and dreams more quickly and easily.

1. Become a Self-Sabotage Detective

You want to find out why you’re shooting yourself in the foot. That is not always easy, so I encourage you to do a bit of detective work. First, identify self-sabotaging actions and behaviors. Then uncover the feelings and thoughts that lead to these self-sabotaging behaviors.

Identify the triggers

The triggers could be specific people, tasks, events, locations, or times of the day. Once you know the triggers, ask yourself, “can I remove them?” If you can do it! But in most cases, it won’t be easy to do.  Don’t worry, the other methods covered in this article will help you instead.

Notice your critical inner voice

What is your critical internal voice saying when you’re self-sabotaging? Is it criticizing you for past mistakes? Is it telling you you’re not good enough? Does it say things like:

  • This is too hard for you.
  • You’re a failure.
  • Success requires special traits that you don’t have.
  • You don’t deserve financial abundance, happiness, and success.
  • You are not smart enough or good enough.

Write your thoughts down

As you’re doing the self-sabotaging behavior, write down the thoughts that come to your mind. Getting these self-sabotaging thoughts on paper will make it easier to change them.

Watch out for subtle internal self-talk

For example, you’re looking for a relationship and you’ve been on a few unsuccessful dates. You might say to yourself, “I’m fine on my own”. That’s subtle self-sabotaging self-talk.

People also often say, “just be yourself”. I think that’s a bad idea because just being yourself means you will never change or improve. You will never become a better version of yourself. This one doesn’t seem negative, but it actually is.

Subtle internal self-talk can be thinking that you deserve some kind of treat or a break. Sometimes, we are genuinely tired, but other times it can be just an excuse for not doing something.

It can also be thinking that having another drink, a cigarette, a bit of cake or chocolate, won’t hurt you. These kinds of comforting thoughts can distract you from what you really want and cause you to self-sabotage.

2. Make Your Internal Self-Talk Work for You

It is fear that drives that internal critical voice. Even for the most successful people, up to 80% of their self-talk is negative. So how do they deal with it? First, they ignore it or challenge it. Second, they don’t believe that the self-talk is true. They know it’s just a voice in their head. Finally, they refuse to give it any air time.

The best thing to do is to assume that the negative self-talk or the inner critical voice is wrong. Do it for a week and notice what happens! Then, replace it with positive, encouraging words, words about what you can do. These words need not be super positive, they just need to be the next positive step that you can do, a step that feels believable to you.

So ask yourself, “what can I say to myself right now that is positive and encouraging and will help me achieve what I want in life?”

3. Replace Negative Behaviors with Positive Ones

Every action that you take either draws you closer or further away from who you want to be and the way you want to live. There’s no static point. We’re never standing still. We’re either moving forwards or backwards.

Ask yourself, “what options do I have?”, “What other ways could I do this?”, “What is the obvious first step?” The key here is to take action despite how you feel. Just focus and do the opposite, and then the opposite will become habitual and a part of the normal way you do things.

4. Make the Unknown More Known

People often self-sabotage when they don’t know what to expect. Behind every uncertainty is an uncomfortable feeling of fear and anxiety. We naturally want to move away from that feeling, which is why we self-sabotage.

The solution is to:

  • Set detailed goals and plans.
  • Create a step-by-step roadmap to follow.
  • Start doing these steps. It will help you increase your confidence and give you the feeling that you’re moving in the right direction.
  • Identify anything on your list that seems difficult.
  • Visualize yourself acting confidently and seeing things go the way you want them to go.

It’s easier to overcome self-sabotage when you have detailed goals and plans. It’s also easier to notice your self-sabotaging behavior.

5. Boost Your Self-Worth

The more you feel that you deserve whatever you are striving for, the less likely you are to self-sabotage. To help boost your sense of self-worth, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the good things that I’ve done?
  • How have I helped others?
  • What am I proud of?
  • What am I good at?
  • How have I positively impacted the lives of other people?
  • What is good about my life?

Asking questions like these forces your subconscious mind to come up with positive answers. And that’s why these kinds of questions are beneficial in improving your sense of self-worth.

6. Play the Pain-Pleasure Game

Behind any self-sabotaging behavior, there is always a positive intention. This is often to avoid pain, fear, sadness, disappointment, or rejection. One way to get around this is to play the pain-pleasure game:

  • Write down all the things you won’t get, if you keep doing the specific self-sabotaging behavior.
  • Write down all the pleasures you’ll get from doing the positive behavior instead.

For example, you’re self-sabotaging by not going out on dates, because of a fear of rejection. Write down all the pain that you would suffer if you ended up being lonely for the rest of your life. Then write down all the pleasure you will have when you meet your soulmate.

If you’re self-sabotaging your diet and efforts to lose weight, write down all the pain and discomfort you will have later in life if you stay overweight. For example, getting Type 2 diabetes will bring a lot more pain than sticking to your current diet. Then list all the pleasurable things you will have when you lose weight and get to your ideal size.

The goal of the pain-pleasure game is to realize that the pain of not doing something is much greater than the pain of doing it. And that your pleasure later will be much greater than your pain now. Your unconscious mind will pick that up. It won’t have that positive intention that makes you self-sabotage and it will be easier to overcome it.

7. Interrupt the Pattern 

Over time, many self-sabotage behaviors become habits. Interrupting these habits is very beneficial.

Let’s say you’re working on an assignment and you keep checking your phone for social media notifications. Put your phone on flight mode so you don’t get the notifications. Or download apps that will stop you from going to certain websites and apps whilst you’re doing a certain activity.

If you are drinking or smoking too much, or eating the wrong foods, try putting these in different places in your house, so it’s harder to get hold of them. Or even better, do not buy them in the first place.

The great thing about interrupting the pattern is that you’ll notice when you’re doing these self-sabotaging behaviors, which will make it easier to stop it.

8. Question and Then Change Your Beliefs

Your limiting beliefs represent the upper boundary of what is possible in your life. When you reach that boundary, your unconscious mind will start to self-sabotage so you don’t exceed it. The way to get around this is to identify your limiting beliefs and then start changing them.

Pick an area of your life that you feel you’re self-sabotaging at the moment. Write down all the beliefs you have around that area of your life. For example:

  • Becoming healthy involves pain and sacrifice.
  • Becoming wealthy means that I will have no time and no life.

Now, come up with counterexamples. These will become new, positive, empowering beliefs. Here are two examples:

  • Being healthy feels great and gives me massive energy
  • I can be wealthy and do this on my terms and still have a life.

To learn more, read my article about changing your limiting beliefs.

9. Get to the Cause of the Fear

Since fear is driving the self-sabotaging behavior, many people try to repress it. They don’t acknowledge it. Instead, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What am I afraid of?
  • What is scary about this?
  • If it happened, could I handle it?
  • Is this fear more important than my desire for success?

These questions will get you to face the fear and realize that it’s not as scary as you originally thought. It won’t make the fear go away, but it will reduce its power. This is a key step to overcome self-sabotage.

10. Have an Accountability Buddy

Self-sabotaging behavior is often unconscious. But it’s only unconscious to you. It’s often very obvious to someone else. That’s why a good accountability buddy is very helpful. They will spot your self-sabotaging behaviors. This could be a coach or a mentor, someone you pay to see, but it could also be a good friend, someone that can hold you accountable.

When you have an accountability buddy, you’re less likely to self-sabotage because you’re accountable to that person. You need to own up to that person and explain why you did or didn’t do certain things. It’s a great way to help you overcome self-sabotage.

So these were my 10 effective ways to help you overcome self-sabotage today. There are lots of actionable steps, so I encourage you to take the time to apply these into your life right now. When you do, you’ll see some great results and positive changes in your life!

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

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

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.

Watch the Video Below:

Listen to the Podcast

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, then please share it with other people or on social media. If you have a comment or question, please post this below. I would love to hear what you think. Also, please click on the stars below to rate this post.

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.

Watch the Video Below:

Listen to the Podcast

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.

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

Paul