Can Positive Mindset Help Cancer Treatment Outcomes?

Can Positive Mindset Help Cancer Treatment Outcomes?

My dad had cancer before I was born. He was given a rock from a reporter that he knew who said it was special. My dad carried it in his pocket for years as a good luck charm. It turned out to be radioactive that caused him cancer of the muscle in his leg beneath his pocket.

My parents moved up their wedding since they didn’t know if he would survive. He had surgery and now has half his muscle mass in his leg gone. He survived and I and my three sisters were born. My best friend is recovering from breast cancer and another friend died from breast cancer in her 30’s … she was pregnant when the diagnosis came and had to abort. She died several months later. I used to stay with her at night so she wasn’t alone.

So I know, Cancer diagnosis causes a significant amount of emotional burden not only on the patient but their family too. Survivorship may be a lengthy journey. Therefore, patients often experience bouts of anxiety, stress, and even depression. Research suggests that anxiety and depression are at least three times more common in cancer patients compared to the general population. Hence, physicians and experts propose targeting patients’ mindsets to ensure a healthy mind, positively impacting their overall health, wellbeing, and functioning. In this post, we will find out why a positive mindset is essential to overcome cancer-related stress and anxiety.

The Mind-Body Connection

Mindset refers to the core assumptions all of us hold regarding almost everything in life, from the world in general to our surroundings and self in particular. When facing an adverse situation like a cancer diagnosis, it is natural to develop negative perceptions about oneself and life as the person starts having doubts about their survival. When diagnosed with cancer, people can have different mindsets about life, which are usually negative and unrealistic. Such a negative mindset affects the patients’ ability to think and behave. Experts suggest maintaining optimal mental health as it influences a person’s physical health tremendously.

There is an undeniable connection between the human mind and the body. Their link has been well-established by advances in psychology and neuroscience. So, when a person learns they have cancer, often they cannot control themselves thinking on these lines:

  • What did I do wrong in my life to bring cancer to myself?
  • Will I live a long life?
  • What can I do to live a longer life?
  • Why me?
  • No one and nothing can help me out.
  • Life will not be the same after the treatment.
  • Is the treatment reliable? Will I survive?

These are all common queries that keep plaguing the minds of cancer patients, and they cannot help feeling stuck in life. That’s where mindset changes can play an instrumental role in improving the patient’s mental health. 

How can Stress Make Cancer Symptoms Worse?

As mentioned above, cancer diagnosis itself and the subsequent treatment tend to be such a traumatic experience that a person is forced to develop a negative mindset and feel stressed, anxious, and depressed. Research suggests that stress and depression can worsen the patients’ chances of survival by contributing to disease progression. Chronic stress is often experienced by cancer patients and can have devastating health outcomes. Studies have revealed that chronic stress is powerful enough to affect every biological system in our bodies.

Untreated chronic stress speeds up the aging process via telomere shortening, which increases the person’s risk for developing heart diseases, sleep issues, digestive issues, and depression. In addition to this, stress causes patients to avoid exercise and forego healthy eating habits, which are the key to successful cancer treatment and further prevention.

Importance of Positive Mindset:

It is vital to have a positive attitude to improve the chances of curing cancer. Research reveals that keeping a positive approach towards life cannot change the patient’s course of cancer, but it can help them deal with the situation better and enjoy sound mental health. If a person stays stress-free by developing a positive mindset, they will sleep well at night, and their body will be more prepared for and receptive to cancer treatment.

Psychological health can positively and negatively impact an individual’s biological health, so it is important to address stress and anxiety at the earliest. Ignoring these issues and not discussing them will worsen the health condition and make the patient feel isolated, making it harder to cope with the situation.

In a 2019 perspective paper by Zion et al., published in Trends in Cancer journal, experts suggested that targeting cancer patients’ mindsets can have a substantial, positive impact on their overall physical health and wellbeing. The study is titled Targeting Mindsets, Not Just Tumors. Its co-author and a psychologist at Stanford University, Alia Crum, noted that cancer isn’t only a physical disease, so there is no point restricting its treatment to physical systems.

“We spend millions of dollars every year trying to cure and prevent cancer… but cancer is more than a physical disease. As we strive to target malignant cells with the latest cutting-edge treatments, we should simultaneously strive to provide equally precise treatments for the psychological and social ramifications of the illness.”

Experts argued that empowering patients is the key to successful cancer treatment and shifting their mindsets is pivotal in achieving that. Instead of viewing cancer as a catastrophic event in one’s life, considering it as a manageable disease and assuming that your body is capable of dealing with it can motivate patients to initiate productive lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier and exercising regularly. As they maintain a positive approach while getting treated for cancer, they become less scared of its side effects and recurrence afterward.

“Having the mindset such as cancer is manageable or even an opportunity does not mean that cancer is a good thing or you should be happy about it. However, the mindset that ‘cancer is manageable’ can lead to more productive ways of engaging with cancer than the mindset that ‘cancer is a catastrophe.’ What we hope for patients is to inspire them to think about the impact of their mindsets and give them skills to adopt more useful mindsets themselves,” writes Crum.

Mind-Body Practices for a Positive Mindset:

Engaging patients in behaviors that reduce sympathetic arousal and increases parasympathetic arousal is critical to address the damaging effects of stress among cancer patients. In other words, they must learn to stay relaxed in stressful situations. In this regard, mind-body techniques are ideal for managing stress, anxiety, and feelings of distress.

Understanding Mind-Body Practices!

You might want to understand the concept behind mind-body techniques. These are simple healing practices dating back thousands of years and help modify physiological, biological, and psychological processes to improve an individual’s physical/mental health.

For instance, in Chinese, Greek, Tibetan, and Ayurvedic traditional medicine and other alternative medication traditions of the world, the role of mind, behaviors, and emotions in personal wellbeing is fundamental. The National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has combined mind and body therapies in one category, including meditation, tai chi, yoga, and qigong.

These are tried-and-tested mind-based techniques to manage stress, but the scope of such practices is vast as it also includes music, art, and dance-based therapies and journaling in the same category. Body-based techniques include acupuncture, Pilates, massage therapy, spinal manipulation, Alexander technique, and Feldenkrais.

In order to manage cancer-related stress and distress, meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong are the best mind-based practices as these can be performed in a seated position.

Meditation

It is an ancient practice and part of most spiritual traditions in the world. Meditation is defined as a “wakeful hypometabolic physiologic state” where the practitioner develops feelings of relaxation and becomes more alert and focused.

Though meditation methods vary greatly, most methods share standard features such as focused attention, controlled breathing, controlling feelings/emotions/thoughts, and releasing negative energy.

Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong

Whether you study the Indian medical traditions, Tibetan or Chinese, you will find Yoga a part of almost every culture. Tai Chi and Qigong are typical Chinese practices that resemble Tibetan and Indian yoga practices. The practice typically combines physical movements and postures, including meditation and breathing techniques to improve health and wellbeing. Collectively, these practices contribute to enhancing mental health and developing a positive mindset.

Regarding cancer, the impact of yoga and similar mind-body practices has remained the focus of extensive research over the years. In a multi-center study, 410 cancer survivors experiencing moderate to extreme sleep difficulties underwent an 8-session yoga intervention. They felt improvement in sleep quality, and their reliance on sleep medications was substantially reduced.

In another smaller trial conducted by Bower et al. in 2011, yoga was declared an effective treatment option to manage cancer treatment-related fatigue in breast cancer survivors who complained of persistent fatigue. 

Final Thoughts!

Mind-body practices can positively impact our body systems and may even help in reversing the harmful effects of cancer-related stress. These practices impact neurotransmitters like GABA and glutamate and neuromodulators including epinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. These components are essential to maintain a healthy balance between parasympathetic and sympathetic arousal and manage our body’s stress response.  So, it is important to help cancer patients develop a positive mindset so as to be able to better deal with the situation and enhance their quality of life.

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of Gratitude and How it Can Change Your Life

The Power of Gratitude and How it can Change Your Life

Gratitude has been such a powerful force in my life. It has changed my energy, my outlook and with daily practice, it’s a grounding point for me. It’s a trending topic over the internet that practicing gratitude daily brings positive changes in our lives. But ever wondered what gratitude in its most accurate meanings is and how to practice it? You must have had these questions, and we are here to answer that. Through this article, you will learn what gratitude is, the art of practicing gratitude, and the positive changes gratitude can manifest in our lives. Are you ready to unveil one of the world’s biggest secrets to a happy and healthy life? Read on.

What is gratitude?

Often, we forget about all the blessings that we have been receiving and swirl in the whirlpool of depression and un-thankfulness. When depression surrounds us, we unintentionally attract negative energies to our lives, making things even worse. To let go of all the negative thoughts and the negative energies, we need to practice gratitude daily.

Gratitude means thankfulness; it is the feeling of appreciation for all the things you have in your life. It is also about counting your blessings, taking into account the simplest pleasures of life, and acknowledging everything you receive or have been receiving.

Gratitude can change the way you see yourself, your relationships, and most importantly, the way you see your life. It is a vital habit to practice to amplify happiness and satisfaction with life in general. While many people may already know the benefits of gratitude but still have not put it into practice yet. We will guide you through how to practice gratitude and the positive changes it can have.

How to practice gratitude daily?

Gratitude is one of the most essential yet most ignored ways to achieve ultimate satisfaction in life. Gratitude shifts focus from what you lack to counting the blessing you have been bestowed upon. Experts suggest that those who practice gratitude have shown tremendous improvement both in behavioral and psychological aspects. The simple act of giving thanks and feeling thankful makes individuals more resilient, strengthens relationships, reduces stress, and has beneficial effects on the body’s health.

There are many ways to practice gratitude

How do we practice gratitude? We have listed down a few tips to help you practice the art of gratitude and manifest the positive changes in your life through gratitude.

Keep a gratitude journal

One of the easiest ways to practice gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. Establish a daily practice that you would remind yourself of the blessing in life that you have. Consider the smallest things, ordinary events, personal qualities, and people you value in your life. Choose to write one thing each day, anything that makes you feel good.

Count the steps where you have come from

Everyone’s life has some struggles if we look back. To be grateful for the current life, it is essential to remember the hard time experienced. When you recall the moments of difficulty in your life and how far you have come, you automatically set up a contrast in your mind which helps to establish a fertile ground for gratitude.

Sharing gratitude with others

Experts suggest that relationships can be strengthened by expressing gratitude from time to time. Expressing gratitude not only brings the other person happiness but also brings you satisfaction and content. It makes you feel thankful for the relationships you have in life and how much they matter to you.

Using cards as visual reminders to be thankful

Two of the primary obstacles to gratitude are forgetfulness and the lack of awareness. Visual reminders such as cards can serve as cues to trigger the person to think about their blessings. It’s a good idea to list a few things that you are thankful for and stick them on your mirror. Each morning when you wake up and get ready in front of the very mirror, you would be reminded of the little blessings in life.

Promise yourself to practice gratitude

More like an oath or a vow, experts suggest that if you promise yourself by taking an oath or a vow of practicing gratitude, the chances of actually practicing it increase. Therefore, write on paper, sentences like, ‘I vow to count my blessing today” and stick it on your desk, or let it be in your diary. Revisiting the vows each day will make you feel grateful for the blessing you have.

What happens when you practice gratitude?

Gratitude, counting blessings, and appreciating our relationships should not be reserved for holidays like Thanksgiving; rather, they should be practiced each day. Here are some powerful ways gratitude could change your life.

A treat for your psychological well-being

Happiness and satisfaction with life manifest a lot of positive changes. Gratitude reduces feelings of resentment and envy and also lowers depression. By practicing gratitude daily, you are doing your mental health a huge favor.

Also affects physical well-being

Being happy and appreciative lowers blood pressure, alleviates depression and its side effects. A satisfied and content person is less prone to illnesses because of the improved immunity. Fewer aches and pains also come together with gratitude.

You would have a lot of energy you never knew of

Evidence from psychology suggests that when you practice gratitude daily, you would automatically feel highly enthusiastic, determined, full of energy, and attentive. Those who kept a gratitude journal were reported to have these qualities more than those who didn’t.

Easy recovery from difficulties and hardships

A study conducted using Vietnam War veterans shows that individuals with a high level of gratitude have lower rates of post-traumatic disorder. Hence gratitude is an essential element in managing stress and fostering mental stress.

Most importantly, you will feel better about yourself

Gratitude has been linked with high levels of self-esteem; Individuals who are happier and satisfied with their lives are confident and look at themselves as blessed people. Gratitude reduces social comparisons and promotes feeling happy for yourself, your accomplishments, and other people.

Final Thoughts

So, regardless of the method of practicing gratitude that you choose, try to take a few minutes each day to think and acknowledge the good you have in life and be thankful. This is the simplest and the fastest way to make significant improvements in your life.

Click below if you want to download a free Transformational Journal that helps you create a high level of gratitude.

 

 

 

 

The Missing “Key” to Reducing Chronic Pain

Cure Chronic Pain Through Mindset Changes

If you brush off chronic pain as a simple sensation, that’s the wrong approach. Pain is influenced strongly by the way our brain processes the pain signals. You might already know that chronic pain can evoke strong emotional reactions like terror, fear, and anxiety. These reactions usually depend on how the individual perceives their pain signals. 

Pain Isn’t Just a Physical Phenomenon.

Do you know according to the American Pain Foundation, nearly 50 million Americans are affected by chronic pain? The most common pain drivers include arthritis, migraines, and nerve damage. But, in most cases, emotional trauma enhances the individual’s sense of misery. Jeannie Sperry, a psychologist, and co-chairperson of Mayo Clinic’s division of addiction, transplant, and pain, states that a lot of Americans are hurting and hence, unhappy.

“We have a lot of people in this country who are unhappy, isolated, and hurting. Depression hurts. Anxiety hurts. It’s rare for people to have chronic pain without one of these co-morbidities,” Sperry asserted.

And, there’s no denying the fact that chronic pain does come with a psychological element. Pain often compels the patient to undergo self-imposed isolation. The loss of social networks usually causes anxiety and depression among the patients, which makes them catastrophize the pain. 

That’s why, when you are experiencing chronic pain, such as migraine or back pain, all you can think about is the pain. According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, If you have treated the pain medically, such as through steroid injections, opioids, or surgery, it is least likely to go away entirely. That’s why only 58% of patients who rely more on prescription painkillers agree that drugs are an effective remedy to manage chronic pain. Pain management researcher and the University of Texas, Arlington’s professor Robert Gatchel states that previously pain was considered a physical issue, but this approach has led to making it worse.

“In the past, pain was viewed just as a physical issue. The thought was, if you cut something out, the pain will go away — but lo and behold, it doesn’t in many cases, and sometimes [the pain] gets worse.”

Can You Escape Pain?

Like animals, humans are born with an inborn drive to escape the pain. That’s why when you touch something very hot, you quickly pull your hand away from it. That’s the escape plan for which we have been programmed since birth. This automated reaction that you show when facing adversity is a product of our hardwired biology. Our bodies are attuned to stay healthy and survive against the odds. 

When your body experiences severe, ongoing pain that comes from within the body, escaping isn’t as easy. Around 100 million Americans are facing this chronic agony since severe pain is more prevalent than heart disease, diabetes, and cancer cases combined. This naturally impacts their quality of life drastically.

You can turn to medications to treat this pain, but even drugs like acetaminophen and ibuprofen (e.g. Tylenol) can have several downsides. On the other hand, psychological approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy can help you program your brain in a way that it forgets about the pain. To learn more about this, you need to understand the mind-body connection.

The Mind-Body Connection

Living with chronic pain is definitely not easy. But you might have heard many a time that it’s all in your head. It sounds weird, but it is true that chronic pain is usually invisible, and for most of us, seeing is believing. That’s where the mind-body connection regarding chronic pain comes into play. Also dubbed mind-body medicine by physicians, this concept is gaining popularity among experts as a potent way to manage pain on your own. 

Chronic pain is generated in our brain’s peripheral nervous system. This system is responsible for transmitting danger signals to the brain so that it could determine whether or not to experience the pain signals. So, when chronic pain occurs, this system goes awry unless you know how to train your brain to shut off this alarm system. If you cannot do this, the alarm will keep going off all the time. So the pain may have emerged in one of the legs, the patient will end up experiencing s host of other symptoms like headaches, nausea, fatigue, and back pain. This indicates there has been a short circuit in the brain. 

Research reveals that since pain involves both the body and the mind, mind-body therapies can alleviate it by altering how you perceive pain. The way you feel pain is influenced by several factors, such as your genetic makeup, personality, emotional state, past experiences, and lifestyle. If you have been experiencing chronic pain for a while, this is a sign your brain has already rewired itself to perceive pain signals even when these signals are not being sent.

How does Mindset Shift help?

It doesn’t matter whether you have backache, arthritis, fibromyalgia, or another type of acute pain that interferes with your day-to-day routine. What matters is to find a way to relieve this discomfort without relying on drugs. It may sound unbelievable, but it is indeed true that all those tried-and-tested mind healing techniques like yoga and meditation can help reduce pain. It all happens because you learn to control your brain and prevent it from sending out pain signals. In other words, it means changing your mindset regarding how you perceive pain.

A negative pain mindset, which means feeling how awfully painful you are or expecting your condition to worsen, can amplify the brain’s pain processing power. So, what you need to do to cure chronic pain without using medications is to steer your mind away from catastrophically negative patterns of thought.

So instead of telling yourself that the pain is awful and you have to live with it, use some soothing and supportive statements like “this pain will go away soon, and I will focus on adopting a better self-care routine,” or “this is a temporary phase, and I will be fine soon.”

The idea is to cultivate a sense of safety and relax your mind and body. This sense of safety will deal with the ingrained danger signal associate with acute pain. You can easily compel your mind to create altered sensations like cold or hot in a non-painful hand and place it on the aching portion of your body and envision transferring this altered but pleasant sensation into the painful area. Through simple exercises like this, you can condition your brain as you want to and enjoy considerable control over your emotions and sensations.

One of the best ways to relax the body and train the mind is mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ability to remain present and aware of your circumstances, what you are doing, where you are, without getting overreactive or overwhelmed by whatever is going around you. 

It simply means to keep your thoughts focused and remain aware of the moment. 

Wondering what you need to focus on to practice mindfulness? It could be an image, emotion, or a word. Anything can be used to meditate and focus. Sounds simple, right? It isn’t as simple as it appears to be. Your mind will find it difficult to focus on a single thing, at least initially. As you begin to meditate, your mind will stray a lot, and you will need to turn the attention back to the problem at hand.

Breathing is a simple way to be mindful and it refers to forming a connection between the body and mind. A major part of medication revolves around this technique. When you feel stressed, your mind starts generating random, stray thoughts, taking a deep breath, exhaling, and then inhaling again. Do it several times. Keep your focus on the breathing as it flows part of your nostrils or lips, reaches the lungs, and warmly goes out. It can be done anywhere and takes a minute or two of your day, but the impacts will last way longer.

Another way is to do a guided mindful meditation. This allows you to listen and relax as you go through a body scan to be present to any pain you might be feeling. The key is not to judge the pain, but just to be present and allow it.

 

 

To download a free 10-minute mindfulness meditation, click the picture below.

Mindset Tips to Help Insomnia

How to Cure Insomnia through Mindset Shifts

I used to do a lot of in-person facilitation (whole day) and always the night before, I couldn’t sleep. I was worried I couldn’t sleep and that I would wake up tired, so guess what… I couldn’t sleep and would wake up tired. The more I thought about it, the more stressed I became and the worse it got.

Can you relate? Do you have an important presentation tomorrow in front of your company’s board of directors or your peers? This could be a career-maker presentation for you. So, what kind of scenarios would you experience the night before that all-important event?

Would your body and mind will be calm, relaxed, and you will slowly drift off to sleep and wake up energized the following day?

Or, when bedtime approaches, your body gets tensed, your mind starts receiving weird thoughts, and

 anxiety kicks in all of a sudden. You try to sleep, but your mind shifts your focus on unsorted issues. You want to give your mind a shut-up call, but you end up tossing and turning in your bed. Resultantly, you wake up with puffy eyes, a confused mind, and an exhausted body.

So, what sort of a person are you?

We know the second scenario fits most of us. We get all tensed up before any momentous occasion, activity, or challenging issue. But have you noticed that the difference in your appearance and energy levels was because of just one thing- your mindset?

Well, believe it or not, most of the time, your mindset is responsible for transforming you into an insomniac or a natural sleeper. When you deal with insomnia, you will experience cognitive delays, which will force you to act impulsively in any given situation, whether professional or social.

You won’t remain articulate, aware and on the ball, as sleep deprivation will hinder your creativity leading to cognitive blocks. What’s worse than that? A restless night will cause anxiety, which will make you irritable. The work you have enjoyed for so long will suddenly turn into a battlefield. You will be fighting against your low energy levels, frustration, and untimely anger outbursts on a daily basis. The bottom line is that you will be exhausted to no ends. That’s not how you want to live your life. Right?

We know it already, and that’s why we have discovered a way to help you overcome insomnia or any other sleep-related problem and be the real you every day for the rest of your life. That magic trick is a mindset shift. But, before we dive into the main issue at hand, let’s understand how much sleep you require every day.

How much sleep is adequate?

Insomnia prevents you from falling or staying asleep. For you to be officially declared an insomniac, you must have spent three sleepless nights in a week for at least three months in a row.

To keep our bodies energized and help them stay alert throughout the day, every adult individual requires around 6 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. However, please keep in mind that the number of sleep hours is unrelated to insomnia. It is the restlessness and frequent interruptions that actually define insomnia. If you felt fatigued during the day, you might not have received adequate sleep. And if you feel energetic, t

his means you got sufficient sleep the night before.

Importance of Restful Sleep

Quality sleep is essential for our well-being. Its benefits go well beyond physical health as it helps us develop and strengthen a progressive mindset, which is crucial for reaching our max potential. It may seem easy to avoid sleep for work or studies. Research suggests that adequate rest can improve our learning capabilities and skill development.

A study published in the Scientific Reports journal, the correlation between sleep and the school performance of students was examined. Researchers concluded that those students who experienced irregular sleep schedules received low grades. On the other hand, a gradual increase in sleep caused substantial improvement in their GPA.

So, consistent quality and restful sleep enable your mind and body to function appropriately and absorb new information effectively. This helps you become more competent, proving that intelligence is flexible and you can change it through your actions determined by your mindset.

What Not to Do When Experiencing Insomnia?

There is a plethora of medicinal sleep aids available since as far back as the 1960s. Usually, to cure sleeplessness, sleep-inducing medications turn out to be the first treatment choice. Medicines like Ambien, Lunesta, and Sonata. Most of us overlook that it is almost impossible to design a sleeping pill that can reverse its action in the morning. So, you will always feel a hangover effect in the day.

The FDA already warned people in 2007 about using sleeping pills as these causes them to do weird things such as sleep-driving. In 2014, the FDA alerted people who used sleeping pills about next-day impairments from some of these sleep aids. The side effects of sleeping pills are well documented, and that’s why sleep experts consider it a passé as a first-line treatment.

How Mindset helps You Overcome Insomnia

Have you ever thought about where do these ideas come from? Well, usually, these pop up just like that, out of nowhere, but if we look deeper, it becomes evident that these stem from a habitual mindset that prowls deep within our unconscious minds. We know that worrying or negative thoughts can easily disrupt our sleep and initiate the vicious cycle of sleep anxiety.

So, what is a mindset? It is merely a collection of beliefs and ideas about life and the way it works. These beliefs/ideas have gotten established long ago and have become habitual, but we aren’t actually aware of them and the way they influence our thinking patterns and feelings every day. These ideas/beliefs will stay in our unconscious mind unless we change them to cure sleeplessness. It would help if you implemented a change in your mindset.

Feed your brain positive, progressive thoughts constantly. Such as telling yourself every day that sleeping well will help you be more energized the next day. Keep the mindset idea a bit generalized. For instance, tell yourself that you must feel good to function appropriately, or feeling bad will affect your health negatively.

Remember that mindset can produce negative thoughts and feelings at times, but these often cause repetitive ways of thinking in certain situations. Mindset basically determines how we view ourselves, our surroundings, and the world and decide how we perceive our ability to adapt, create, learn, change, and deal with issues.

How Can You Change Your Mindset?

If you often think about things while lying in bed, it is easier for these thoughts to spiral out of control, and you’ll find yourself unable to shut them off. They will keep you awake all night long and prevent you from enjoying a relaxed and sound sleep. In order to change your mindset to deal with sleeplessness, it is essential to follow these tips. These will help you change your mindset and positively transform your thoughts and ideas.

Go To Bed in a Relaxed Manner

Even if you don’t feel calm and relaxed, try to prevent your mind from focusing on it and avoid thinking about how the day went by, relationship issues, or workplace challenges. Just let go.

Put Your Life on Standby

You must learn to put your day in particular and life in general on a standby mode when bedtime. Don’t let your bedtime become a life planning session. While trying to sleep, you should create a soothing environment. That’s possible only if you leave your day behind and look forward to just one thing- a sound and refreshing sleep. Keep in mind that your brain must stay relaxed to sleep well, and thinking about issues forces it to enter a problem-solving model that prevents us from sleeping.

If Restless, Have a Bath

If you are restless and find yourself fidgeting and getting stressed, try a warm bath. The change in scenery helps refocus your attention and the warm water (Epsom salts help too) relax your muscles.

Maintain a Sleep Diary

If too many thoughts disturb you while trying to sleep, the good idea is to transfer them onto paper. It is a tried-and-tested technique to reduce anxiety. Journaling is one of the best ways to store your thoughts and ideas for the morning and help yourself forget about them, at least for the night. When your mind knows that the problems are safely stored, and you can easily access them in the morning, it won’t bring them up repeatedly in the night.

Final Thoughts

So, that’s how you can transform yourself for the better and improve your sleep routine. Start believing in the power of the mind and the control you can exert on your mindset to bring forth positive changes in your health and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Be patient as this can take time, but so well worth it. I have turned my insomnia into a wonderful nightly routine of sleep. It’s not perfect, but I have reduced the stress and worry of not sleeping well into a mindset of tonight I am calm and relaxed when I sleep.

 

If you want help in reprogramming your brain, download a set of Affirmation Cards now… click below for the free download.

 

How Neuroplasticity can Get You Unstuck

Get Unstuck in Life Through Brain Plasticity

Have you ever heard about Brain Plasticity?

Don’t feel confused. It doesn’t mean our brain is made of plastic. And, there’s no such involvement of plastic in this process.

So, what is it?

Brain plasticity or neuroplasticity refers to our brain’s ability to change throughout our lifetime. Neuro is the physical structure of the human brain, and plasticity means easily molded or shaped. So, when the two are combined, it becomes neuroplasticity, which means the capacity of the brain to be reconfigured or reprogrammed.

You see, it’s not a medical procedure. It’s a natural process that continues as we grow from kids to adults and enter old age.

Is the Human Brain Able to Change?

That’s not the case!

Contrary to popular perception and previous research that declared the human brain immutable because of being hard-wired, modern research has a different story to tell.

As per the latest studies on the human brain, the brain is actually plastic and has an unimaginably vast ability to change as per our experiences. Apart from genetics, the environment in which we live and our behaviors and actions play a crucial role in our brain’s plasticity.

That’s why Norman Doidge, the author of The Brain That Changes Itself, wrote that “everything having to do with human training and education has to be re-examined in light of neuroplasticity.”

Can Brain Re-Wire Itself?

Yes, indeed!

The human brain can reorganize or re-wire itself by forming new connections with neurons, the all-important brain cells. That’s called neuroplasticity. Do you know there are 86 billion neurons in our brain? Their function is to process and transmit information in the form of electrical and chemical signals. Throughout her life, neurons are reproduced, known as neurogenesis.

Previously, scientists believed that neurons could not be reproduced after the first few years of life, but new research suggests that there’s no time limit for neurogenesis. In research conducted by the Salk Institute, San Diego, it was observed that neurogenesis was occurring in a 72-year-old adult.

And, this could be attributed to our life experiences. Our brain’s programming is prone to change because it doesn’t work on a specific structure or capacity.

Dr. Michael Merzenich, who’s regarded as the father of neuroplasticity, explained that neuroplasticity offers you newer prospects to improve the learning process, mental illnesses, addictive behaviors, and even perform physical rehabilitation.

Stages of Neuroplasticity

It occurs in the brain at several stages in our life, starting from infancy when the brain is immature and learning to organize itself; if there’s a brain injury occurred, neuroplasticity helps it compensate for the lost functions, and it keeps occurring throughout our adult life especially when we learn something new.

Can Neuroplasticity Help You Get Unstuck in Life?

Research has proven that our brain never ceases to evolve. Plasticity refers to the brain’s capacity to change as we learn and experience new things. Such as when you become a pro at some specific field of study or domain, the areas in the brain that deal with that skill undergrow steady growth.

For instance, musicians’ brains undergo more remarkable plastic changes compared to non-musicians. As per a study conducted by Gaser and Schlaug, professional musicians’ gray matter or cortex volume in areas involved in playing music was higher than in amateur musicians and lowest in non-musicians. These areas were motor regions, inferior temporal, and anterior superior parietal areas.

New Thoughts, New Pathways

So, new thoughts and skills we learn create new pathways in the brain. These pathways get strengthened through repetition and practice, whereas old pathways that we do not use more often weaken. Every time we feel, think or do something, these pathways get strengthened even more. This means we can rewire our brain through repeated focus and attention to the desired change and ignoring the undesired thoughts or experiences.

The human brain’s physical structure is such that it lets us process everything from thoughts to memories, feelings to perceptions, decisions, and conclusions, and even attitudes. Neurons provide the pathways along which these feelings and perceptions travel. Keep in mind that the brain behaves more like a muscle group, so it becomes more assertive when we focus on a particular muscle continuously. When we neglect a particular muscle, it wastes away.

Similarly, when neural pathways are laid down in our brain, the more we use a particular neural route, the stronger it’ll be and the easier it will be for any thought pattern to travel down it. On the other hand, the lesser that route is used, the less effective it will become, and eventually, it will be rendered unusable.

Habits of Thought

You can consider neural pathways in the prefrontal cortex as shortcuts for the electrical currents we identify as habits of thought. We naturally interpret current situations as per the rules developed from past experiences. The familiarity of prior experience compels the brain to follow a well-traveled neural pathway. So, when we are stuck in a rut, we won’t get anywhere because we feel safer the way it is and avoid making changes.

Creative insights and solutions to problems often require us to get out of existing neural ruts and break the ongoing thought pattern. Numerous researches on neuroplasticity have revealed that we can develop new neural pathways simply by challenging our brains. One way to do that is by reframing the questions we ask ourselves about a situation we wish to change.

Harvard psychiatrist and brain-image researcher Srini Pillay, wrote in his 2017 book Tinker Dabble Doodle Try that we must shift focus by changing our questions to get unstuck in life. He gave the example of Serena Williams’ comeback in the 2012 US Open tennis tournament. When facing Victoria Azarenka, defending champion Williams struggled a lot. In a post-match press conference, she explained that she was already down by two games in the last set. But instead of worrying about the probability of her losing another set, she focused on this question- “What will it take to win?” Williams calculated that she needs 12 more points and decided to achieve this goal one point at a time. Result- Williams defeated Azarenka.

Remember back in high school when we took French or Spanish lessons? We were slow learners and found the language difficult because there weren’t any neural pathways created through which the new language could travel. We needed to force our brains to lay down these pathways through sheer repetition. After this was done, learning French or Spanish became easier because our brain understood that it needs to come out of its comfort zone since the language isn’t going away.

Final Thoughts

Neuroplasticity can work for good and bad thoughts, feelings, actions, attitudes, almost anything. If you lay down neural pathways and use them repeatedly, your brain will reorganize itself accordingly and make it easier for you to use those mind routes. This is what we call brain programming, and this programming is the leading cause behind why we get stuck and the only way to get free. So, start breaking up those unhelpful mind routes and replacing them with neural pathways that allow quick and easy transformation towards positivity and getting unstuck.

If you want help in reprogramming your brain, download a set of Affirmation Cards now… click below for the free download.

 

Do Affirmations Really Work – You Bet!

Do you often get negative thoughts like these?

  • I’ll never succeed.
  • I’m not good enough for this job.
  • I suck at math.
  • Public speaking is not my forte.
  • I will never be as successful as my sister or brother.
  • I am never going to get ahead of my colleagues. 

I used to think I wasn’t good enough. I tried so hard to please my father as a child that I always felt I had to do more to get his love. I became an overachiever to get his attention. My negative thought was;  I wasn’t good enough or worthy. It took quite a lot of work to shift those self-beliefs and not let them lead my life. It had been ingrained in me for many years. I would sometimes write down affirmations 500 times a day until I really embodied the new thought.

Whether you get them frequently or once in a while, the thing is that negative thoughts prevent you from growing on a personal level and succeeding in many domains of life. When we develop negative thoughts, it impacts our outlook, mood, and self-confidence all at once.

The main problem with negative thoughts is that they might become self-fulfilling prophecies because we believe that we aren’t good enough to do anything. Resultantly, these thoughts drag down our relationships, career, and other parts of our private life. So, if we consciously use positive thoughts about ourselves, the impact will be just as helpful and powerful. So, today, we will explore how affirmations can drive positive change in your life and career and find out does this work at all?

What Are Affirmations, and Do They Work?

Simply put, positive affirmations are positive statements that can help you overcome self-destructive thoughts and channel your energies and thought processes towards productive and positive ones. When we repeat these statements often and truly embody them, we start believing in them, which instigates positive changes in aspects of ourselves.

However, most people disregard affirmations as unrealistic or wishful thinking. In some ways, I understand. In an era heavily dominated by medications and scientific treatment options, something as harmless, cost-effective, and simple as telling yourself that you are great seems outlandish. 

If you also believe this to be true, try looking at affirmations in another way. Think of them as repetitive exercises that we regularly do to improve our physical health. Consider repeating positive affirmations as a form of exercise for better mental health.

Does Science Back Affirmations?

Affirmations are mental repetitions that help you reprogram your thinking pattern to start thinking and acting differently. A 2015 study revealed that affirmations could improve your performance at work. Spending only a few minutes thinking about your good qualities and traits before a high-pressure meeting or performance review can boost your confidence, calm your nerves, and increase the chances of a successful outcome. 

Moreover, self-affirmations can help mitigate the effects of anxiety, stress, and depression. In a previous study, chronically distressed subjects were asked to undergo a short affirmation exercise. At the end of the study, the exercise concluded that the exercise boosted their problem-solving abilities to the same level as subjects with low-stress levels.

In other studies, affirmations were used to successfully treat people experiencing low self-esteem or other mental health issues like depression. The studies showed affirmations stimulated those portions of our brain that make us more likely to make positive changes in our life.

Another study suggested that a stronger sense of self-worth can make one more likely to improve their health and wellbeing. This means, if you are worried about following an unhealthy diet routine and not being able to exercise a lot, using affirmations can help you remind yourself of your goal and motivate you to change your behavior.

Is There any Psychological Theory Behind Positive Affirmations?

Yes, there is. The primary psychological theory working behind positive affirmations is Self-affirmation theory. It is based on the idea that to maintain our sense of self-integrity, we must tell ourselves to believe in positive ways. This theory argues that maintaining self-identity isn’t about being perfect. Instead, it is about being competent and self-sufficient in areas that we value.

Can Affirmations Help Change your Outlook on Life for the Better?

Since positive affirmations are inherently positive, these encourage an optimistic mindset. Optimism in itself is pretty powerful, and when you want to reduce negative thoughts, optimism is the key to success. That’s because it helps you deal with negative messages from your brain and replaces them with positive statements. So, affirmations can be beneficial in constructing more hopeful, adaptive, and productive narratives about our true identity and what we can accomplish.

Leanne from Liverpool, England, tried positive affirmations and now swears by its effectiveness in helping her learn to drive. She struggled to develop a positive outlook on life in general and was experiencing self-doubt. In her testimonial, Leanne wrote about her experience and how affirmations helped her take control of her life.

“I have Dyspraxia and struggle with balance, coordination, and spatial awareness. I started my driving lessons when I was 17 years old. I struggled straight away and was extremely frustrated. I had three different instructors and had to do my theory test twice as it took me that long to pass the practical test! The first time I took my test I had been repeating negative thoughts about myself constantly. The second test was months later and I

 still was having negative thoughts and feelings despite the encouragement of my instructor. I failed that test too. My third test was almost a year later, however this time I praised myself, and every morning before I had a chance to think anything else I would tell myself “I will pass my driving test this third time, I know I can do it.” I repeated these affirmations so many times throughout the day, sometimes without even thinking about them. They became a habit, and I passed.”

Karen Ellis from Terrebonne, OR, USA, was finding it hard to lose weight as her body wasn’t responding to the same diet plan she had been using since being a teenager as she had turned 50. So, she turned to positive affirmations, and this is her experience.

“I guess I’ve been dieting ever since my teen years. I’m now in my fifties. Now, when I diet, nothing happens at all, no matter how long I restrict my food intake. However, I can easily gain five pounds in a matter of days, just eating like a normal person. I decided to really infiltrate my thinking with a thought about losing weight. After all, I figured I had nothing to lose, as diets simply weren’t working anymore. I had just recently gained eight pounds. My statement was simple and short, “I am _____ pounds.” A month later, I was eight pounds lighter than my current weight. I said it especially when going to sleep at night, over and over, and when I woke up in the morning. But I also repeated it throughout the day and if I woke up at night.”

She kept losing weight and is now 10 pounds lighter. The process was long as it took her three months to lose all that weight, but she didn’t lose hope and is now in complete control of her weight and diet.

Bottom Line

Affirmations are more impactful and effective when you pair them with positive thoughts and goal-setting techniques. Such as, affirmations work well with visualization. So, you can picture the change you want to see or write it down and say the positive statement out loud. Affirmations are most valuable when you need to set personal goals, as when you identify the goals to be achieved, these statements can keep you motivated to achieve them.

The power of affirmations lies in regular repetition. It would help if you recited the statements several times a day, and as soon as you engage in negative thoughts or behavior, you intend to overcome.

Another cool realization is that you can only hold one thought at a time. Would you rather it be a negative self-talk thought or a positive affirmation. You can train your brain to think positively. Affirmations are much more powerful with expansive emotions attached. Breathe in deeply when affirmation and truly embody the message.

CHANGE YOUR THINKING, CHANGE YOUR WORLD.

 

You can write your own affirmations; an easier way is to use affirmation cards. If you want to download a free set of 48 affirmation cards, click below on the graphic … you are worth it.

 

5 Signs you are Stuck in Life

When we are stuck in a rut or go off-track, the universe starts showing signs to help us understand the situation. These are subtle hints to help you realize where you stand in life, what you are doing wrong, and how you can deal with the situation. Today, I will reveal some common signs that indicate you are stuck in life and then share some tips on how to get yourself unstuck.

You might find that some of these signs you connect with and others you don’t. Awareness is the first step for any lasting change. Sometimes the patterns are so familiar that we cannot see beyond where we are.

I remember when I was in a bad place and quite depressed. My day in and day out habits were all the same. Long heavy days. When I shifted out of that funk, I was surprised at not only how different I felt; but how unfamiliar it was to me. Now I know when I feel that way because it’s different than the great space I am now in.

1. You always Revert Back to Old Ways and Habits.

If you notice that suddenly you are doing things that you only did in childhood and are becoming less self-sufficient, this is a meaningful sign you are stuck. Things you shouldn’t be doing but do because you feel like it. Usually, people return to their previous habits rather than focusing on bettering themselves in the present. That’s the beginning of a process where you knowingly or unknowingly start slipping away and get caught up in a routine that you used to have previously.

This shows you that your coping mechanisms are trying to keep you safe and calm. Go back to what is familiar. It takes observation to identify that you are doing this. Pay attention. Does this resonate with you?

2. You Continually Feel You’ve Accomplished Nothing in the Day

Every day seems the same to you. By the time it ends, you have a feeling that you haven’t done anything to make it productive. There’s a pang of continuous guilt plaguing you from within that that you cannot accomplish anything. As a result, you develop a feeling that there’s no use in getting out of bed in the morning just because the day would be fruitless and unproductive for you.

Even if you do get things done, it doesn’t feel productive, and you feel drained. A lot of times, this is when the negative self-talk comes into play and we tend to beat ourselves up. Notice what you are saying to yourself.

3. You Keep Worrying About Things Endlessly

When you start worrying and taking on the stress of every single thing, that’s when things can take an ugly turn, and you get stuck in a rut. What happens is that you stop trusting your abilities and believe that nothing will go right… here comes the worry part. Maybe you’ve had some actual adverse, negative experiences that eventually compel you to develop these kinds of thoughts.

Again that little voice pops up to beat yourself up. Nothing you can say helps. This happens when you suffer from a lack of confidence and lose touch with your inner self.

4. You Don’t Feel Enthusiastic About Lots of Things

When almost everything stops making you feel excited and enthusiastic, that’s a clear sign that something somewhere is drastically wrong. These are signs of depression and that you are stuck.

Deep down inside, you nurture a belief that something isn’t right. Your heart keeps telling you that you aren’t in the right place or going in the correct direction. Then you start feeling trapped and ultimately develop a deeper state of hopelessness. This can lead to anxiety.

Again noticing that your days are not filled with joy and lightness, consider where you are… are you stuck in your life, your thoughts. If you feel you are depressed, seek professional help.

5. You Feel Lethargic and Tired

When you see clothes piled up on the floor and hesitate from picking them up, or the laundry keeps sitting in the hamper for weeks while you take out what you need from it, or the dishes on your kitchen sink are always piled up, this is an indication that you are stuck. You get lazy and don’t feel the urge to do even the most basic tasks because you stop caring about your surroundings and your life in general. You sometimes feel emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually drained. You go through the motions only to make it through the day and don’t know what more to do.

What does this Mean?

If any or all of these signs describe you, it’s time you start thinking about getting unstuck in life. You need to take out some time and think about who you are and what you want from life?

Why do You Need to Get Unstuck in Life?

Getting unstuck in life is the key to a happier and healthier self. If you don’t do this today, you’ll keep going around and around in a never-ending spinning wheel. This will be nothing but slow death. We live in a society that not just appreciates but expects us to progress, achieve, and move forward. We are usually taught to suppress our feelings of stuckness and push them deep down inside. It leads to the development of ruminating thoughts, ambivalence, and future-related uncertainties/anxieties. So, instead of ignoring these feelings, start facing them head-on and get unstuck. Here are some tips on how you can do that:

Note Your Body’s Signals

Don’t ignore or disregard a discomforting feeling and do the exact opposite of that. Start paying attention to what your body is trying to tell you. Examine where you are feeling that sensation. Do you feel hot or cold, contracted or open? Does it have a smell, color, sound, or texture?

Now, write down all the observations in a journal and try to identify any consistencies, patterns, or clues in the information. You may a particular person, place, object, or experience that could be making you feel stuck. Just being aware of your body’s signals regarding stuckness is the first step to initiate the change. 

Start Focusing on Your Thoughts

You create your reality by the beliefs you develop about yourself and the world. You can say that a recorder installed in your head is on repeat with self-limiting statements and beliefs. This recorder holds you back and makes it impossible for you to get unstuck. You have to change your thoughts and align yourself with the present situation. Tell yourself what you want in life to reconnect with your inner intuition. Not every time you have a self-limiting thought and align it with your aim in life or whatever you want in your life. Then replace the thought with a positive affirmation about who you are. Such as tell yourself- I Have Enough! Say these statements out loud to make them more effective.

Search For Signs from the Universe

 

You may find it hard to believe at this moment, but it’s a fact that the universe continuously sends us signals. 

The tragic part is that we never pay attention to them. Has it ever happened to you that the song you were humming gets played on the radio or someone gives you advice that you wanted to hear? These are more than coincidences- these are synchronicities.

You should start paying attention to little moments of oddities, dreams, or ease. 

Write them down or, if you can, share them with a trusted friend. You must work to make sense of the signs and trust them. 

Lastly, believe in yourself. You are way stronger and resilient than you think. Start sharing your thoughts with someone you trust and ask for advice. Things will start getting better sooner than you think.

Click below if you would like to download a set of 48 free affirmation cards. This can be the first step to helping you get unstuck.

How to Raise your Vibration

How to Raise Your Vibration- The Abraham Hicks Way

“As you think, you vibrate. As you vibrate, you attract.” — Abraham-Hicks

Did you check in to identify the emotions you are feeling at the moment?

If you want to raise your vibration and keep your spirits high, it is time you start tuning into your emotions and get the vibes flying high.

Emotions indicate your vibration and serve as a compass to guide you on whether you are aligned with your manifestations or not.

So, what is vibration?

It is a state of being, an individual’s energetic quality, and the atmosphere, place, thing, or thought. It could be anything. Reading vibes is an intuitive process. You can tell what kind of energy the person has as soon as they walk into the room.

“Everything in life is vibration.” –Albert Einstein.

Albert Einstein rightly pointed out that everything in this world or universe is created with molecules vibrating at varying speeds, including trees, rocks, bodies, animals, emotions, and thoughts. Human vibrations don’t just comprise physical matter but also how we communicate our thoughts and everything in between. In simple words, some molecules vibrate slower and some faster. Or there can be higher or lower vibrations.

Once I understood what vibration was; I was excited that I could be the creator of my reality through my vibration. I started reading a lot and became a certified law of attraction coach. I studied for almost 2 years and learned all the tools of increasing your vibration.

Have you ever heard of Abraham-Hicks?

They are a group of non-physical things or entities channeled by Esther Hicks. Though many people may think that channeling couldn’t work as effectively, it is a tried and tested way to improve or increase your vibrations. It is all about the law of attraction and consciousness. You can consider Esther and Abraham as your spiritual teachers and healers.

I have gone on a cruise with Abraham-Hicks and met Jerry and Esther. I have also been to their live events and listened to many recordings and videos. They are awesome and so wise; they also have an amazing sense of humor.

And when we are discussing vibrations, how can we not mention the valuable tips Abraham’s book Ask and It Is Given has given us. The book has about 22 powerful processes that can help us achieve our goals. For each aspect of our life, there’s a process that can help us make it better and worthwhile. I want to explain some of Abraham Hicks’ processes in the book to raise your vibrations; these are my favorite ones.

Ask and It Is Given is Abraham’s collection of channeled messages and speaks about attracting the life we desire. So, let’s find out which are these processes that can improve our vibrations. Read through and choose the one that resonates… or try them all. Remember you can only focus on one thing at a time; so make it a good one.

Place Mat Process

In this process, you draw a line on paper, for instance, a placemat. On one side, you will write down a list of things you want to do today, and on the other side, you will write a list of things that you want the universe to take care of, eventually. You can create a list of realistic tasks to be completed in a day like doing laundry, brushing your teeth, going to work, paying the bill. And on the other side, you can mention that one thing you want to be done on its own like finding true love. Keep doing it every day. It may take a week or a month, but it will happen.

Emotional Guidance Scale

The biggest takeaway from Ask and It Is Given is the Emotional Guidance Scale. Abraham explained in the book that it is a scale of our emotions and feelings in sequences from highest to lowest vibrational feelings. To raise your vibrations, Abraham explains, you will find it easier to travel through your emotions as they happen instead of trying to leap to the top. Such as, if feeling pessimistic, you can quickly achieve a vibration that resonates at boredom, and you can then reach for contentment, followed by hopefulness, and further ahead.

Segment Intending

Abraham Hicks is a process of setting your intention to reset vibration and put yourself into a state of allowing you to achieve whatever you want to manifest. W

hatever energy you currently hold will build momentum and start attracting similar experiences into your life. This means, if you learn to focus on your energy, it will become easier for you to gauge what kind of experiences will come to you. This is the core philosophy behind segment indenting. Abraham says at a point in the book:

“Segment intending is just about being aware of yourself in your surroundings and what’s coming next. It’s a redefining by you of the intentions that you hold in this second.”

So, as soon as you become aware of this, you can start taking actions that enable you to realign/pre-pave your energy for most of the day.

Wouldn’t it be Nice Method

In the book Ask and It Is Given, Abraham says that vibrational harmony is the key to bringing something into your experience that you desire. The easiest of all ways to achieve vibrational harmony is to pretend or imagine that you already are experiencing it. This will divert your flow of thoughts towards the enjoyment or joy related to that experience.

“As you practice those thoughts and begin to consistently offer that vibration, you will then be in the place of allowing that into your experience,” says Abraham.

This is a decisive manifesting game as when you say- wouldn’t it be nice if…. You are choosing something you desire and are being straightforward about it. It isn’t too forced or made up.

When you say, I want this thing to happen, you mean that you don’t have it, and therefore, you never achieve it. Some ideal Wouldn’t it be nice… affirmations include: Wouldn’t it be nice if my favorite restaurant is open or we reach home safely.

Process of Pivoting

Whenever you find yourself affirming that I don’t desire this, see that you are attentive to the absence of someone or something in your life. This is a wrong approach. The process of pivoting involves saying to yourself that- Alright, I don’t desire this, so what do I actually desire?

Let’s suppose you catch yourself saying something like- why am I in such a huge debt situation. You need to twist this statement and say, How can I make money using the opportunities at my disposal?

This method will change the way you focus on things and your vibrational regularity from low to high. It is vital when you have a lack of vibration or lower vibration. This method will reverse your thinking process from negative to positive and favorable, making it easier to attract your need than making it farfetched.

Focus Wheel

The Focus Wheel is an effective self-discovery tool, but instead of merely helping you learn something about your relationship, it helps transform negative feelings that you may have. The wheel comprises a circle, which is divided into 12 equal parts. At the center of the Focus wheel, you have to write the goal you want to achieve or something you deeply desire and have been trying hard to manifest but found it difficult to visualize it in your life.

This method can help you work through your thoughts and feelings about whatever you want to manifest. It is most useful for things that you cannot connect with. People commonly use it for manifesting relationships since sometimes it is easier to feel positive and visualize something that we know we have better control over, such as our weight, health, or relationships. So ideally, you should use the Focus Wheel when you find it challenging to connect with the contributing beliefs.

 

 

Rampage of Appreciation

To raise your vibration and match the energy you desire, a Rampage of Appreciation is one of the best methods around. It is a specific technique for honing the thoughts-related energy. You can use this tool anywhere and anytime to increase your happiness level. It is also based on the Law of Attraction. Abraham Hicks coined the term Rampage of Appreciation and designed this tool to enable receiving mode within you. To start rampage of appreciation, the first step is speaking your current thoughts in mind aloud. While speaking, you will notice how it feels. It doesn’t matter if this feeling is good or bad. You only have to observe what sort of feeling is associated with that thought. That’s when you will find out where you are. The final step is choosing a new thought that helps you feel slightly better than the previous thought. You can switch topics if the previous thought generated a bad feeling.

Prosperity Game

The Prosperity Game helps expand our capability of receiving/spending wealth and directing it with our attention and intention. It is also based on the Law of Attraction. In this game, you focus on raising your vibrational state to align with receiving/sending large sums of money. While doing so, we awaken our creative side. Connecting emotionally is the key- as if we are already receiving/spending it though you won’t receive or spend real dollars. For this game, imagine that you have received $1,000 from the universe to spend as you want to. Think about how you will spend it and spend it in your mind. The next day imagine the universe has given you $2,000 to spend, and spend it again according to your wishes. Keep increasing the money as you practice every day. This will continue for 30 days at least, but there’s no limit.

Commitment

It takes time and effort to unlearn our negative patterns of thinking and feeling… and yet things can shift really quickly. When I was coaching clients, I was amazed at how quickly their lives changed with concerted effort. You need the willingness to reflect and then make the conscious decision that feeling good is a priority in your life.

You can only go up from there.

How ‘Should’ Statements Keep you Stuck

Do you say these things to yourself?

  • I should sleep earlier!
  • I should exercise more
  • I should cut back on sugar
  • I should be nicer to my partner
  • I should save more money

I have been guilty of many should statements and I still do it sometimes. Sometimes it’s a repeat thing… my most popular one is I should save more money. It’s partly my dad talking in my head and partly my guilt for not doing it better. I learned as a child I could always do better. Therefore never felt ‘good enough’ and have been hard on myself to do better.

I once made a 10-course dinner which is a big accomplishment for me and was told; the peas could be cooked a bit more. So I learned to focus on what I did wrong and what I can do better. I would look for the issues and see how to solve them. I am a great problem solver; for that I am grateful; but it came at a cost. I used to beat myself up about not doing things right and always the words…. you should do better.”

It’s one of those niggly little things that happen that we are not usually aware of that can become a big thing in our lives if we don’t stop it before it rules us.

At the beginning, I listed some examples of Should statements. Believe it or not, ‘shoulding’ has become an indispensable part of our mindset and thought process. What does ‘shoulding’ mean?

What it Means

There’s no specific definition of ‘shoulding’. You can understand it as just a process of telling or pressuring yourself to be or do something you are supposed to be or do instead of doing what you really want to.

Which ones are you saying to yourself? Do you hear the voice of your parents, teachers, friends in the back of your mind saying… “you should do ________”?

We believe that by “shoulding” ourselves; we can pressure ourselves into doing something we either want to do at some level or feel guilting about not doing. Either way, it’s a form of self-beat up. When we don’t end up doing what we wanted to do in the first place, we beat ourselves up and end up “shoulding” ourselves even more.

How it Impacts You

Should statements can impact your life with depression, panic, and anxiety by instilling negative thinking patterns, which is also called cognitive distortion. As a result, you get confused, fearful, and worried. When you think about it; does the “should” help? Do you ever really do it? It’s a form of self-pressure that results in guilt.

Putting unreasonable and unnecessary pressure on yourself often makes you feel guilty when you fail to achieve the target. Culturally, we are held captive by the internalized voice of what we believe we are supposed to be, and that’s why we use Should so frequently. It takes the place of more powerful and apt phrases like I can, I want, and I will.

We generally use Should without any context and forget that it just indicates an obligation or suitability of a task and not some universal truth. Cognitive therapy, in theory, suggests that your thought process plays a crucial role in the development of mental health issues, particularly stress. People dealing with depression or anxiety often rely on should statements when describing their life situations.

The problem with our thinking pattern is indicated when we start using should, ought, and similar other terms in our speech. These are the words that negative thinkers, people with panic disorders, and those having a pessimistic perspective on life use. Such behaviors only contribute to increasing your anxiety and avoidance behavior. Shoulding keeps you stuck and breeds shame and guilt. We need to stop shoulding as it is a destructive habit.

How can you stop shoulding so much?

The first step is to be aware of the fact that you are “shoulding” yourself. Start listening to that inner voice and see what it is saying. We can’t change what we are not aware of. Once you recognize the pattern of these should statements, write them down. Acknowledging them helps you open up to heal.

Be gentle with yourself as you write them down, we don’t want the “I shouldn’t should voice to pop up. Keep breathing. Once you are aware, you have the power to change. Choose one that isn’t a heavy one and reflect on why you want that behavior changed. Start thinking about the benefits of why. For example, I am trying to reduce eating processed foods. My favorite is rich chocolate ice cream. It’s my comfort food. It calms me down and I love to anticipate how cool and tasty it is in my mouth. I tried to shame and guilt myself into not eating it. Major “shoulds” were going on.

Once I accepted the craving and tapped on the desire and the need for comfort food, it lessened and I could focus on the reasons why I didn’t want to eat processed foods and started looking at and imagining what I would feel like if I didn’t eat it. It took some time. Now I only have it about once a month and I don’t even like it anymore.

While I was in the habit of eating ice cream, I wasn’t addicted to it. If you have any addictions that you are “shoulding” yourself about, see an addiction specialist.

Start imagining and visualizing what you do want vs. what you “shouldn’t” do. Then forgive yourself for not doing it and beat yourself up about it. When we don’t forgive ourselves; the energy is still tied to us.

If you want to download my free forgiveness cards, click the link below.

Adding Context

One of the best ways is to add context to Should sentences, like who, why, and what circumstances. For instance, instead of saying I should get back in shape, you should tell yourself, I should start eating healthier to stay in shape. Adding a context is necessary to avoid conflict. What if you don’t really want to lose weight and are forcing yourself to do so because of societal pressure to look a certain way. So, the only way to stop shoulding is asking yourself what you actually want and how to incorporate changes successfully.

This can help you ensure you are motivated by the right reasons and it’s a healthy choice for you.

In Summary

“Shoulding” ourselves doesn’t work. It’s a double whammy as we are feeling guilting or beat up and still not getting done or making the changes we want.

There are so many other options:

  • Tap on the issue
  • Write a journal
  • Be aware of what your ‘should’ statements are
  • Rewrite them into positive and supportive goals
  • Have self-compassion as you effort to change your behaviors
  • Practice self-forgiveness
  • Reprogram your brain with affirmation instead of “should” statements

 

If you want to download your free “Get Unstuck Affirmation Cards”, click on the link below.

Who do you need to Forgive?

Who do you need to Forgive?

 

The Power of Forgiveness

There won’t be a person in this world who hasn’t been wronged or hurt in their lifetime. It is next to impossible not to get hurt from time to time. Disappointment and pain are inevitable aspects of the journey that we all refer to as LIFE. So, when you are wronged, disappointed, deceived, or hurt, what do you do?

Do you keep grudges as long as you can or forgive the wrongdoer and move on in life?

It’s common that you might hold the grudge. And there’s nothing quite unusual about it. We are humans, and we all tend to do that. It’s a natural phenomenon. Forgiveness is not easy for any of us. We have been wronged, so we deserve to punish the person and continue to be mad. Why should we forgive them? Do these thoughts keep crossing your mind whenever you are in such a phase?

Believe it or not, choosing to forgive can help you heal so much and have a tremendous impact on your life. I was taught as a child that feeling my feelings was wrong and that I had to hold my anger; so why would I forgive. I ended up having such anger and trust issues with men that I developed fibroids; one was the size of a grapefruit. As Louise Hay says; fibroids indicate a “hurt from a partner”. I had been hurt so many times; that I manifested the anger in a fibroid. On the day of the surgery, I asked my dad to drive me to the hospital. In the parking lot, I had him read a poem of forgiveness that all women forgive the hurts men have done. He cried and I cried and I knew that with the surgery; I was removing the anger and hurt from the men that had hurt me. After the surgery,  I felt much freer.

It’s not about portraying yourself as a superior being or better than others. It is about YOU. Forgiving people can help you become stronger and calmer. 

You Have a Choice- Take Your Pick!

We always have a choice. We can either hold on to resentment and hurt or choose to let go and move ahead. Choosing not to forgive the past offenses and hurts makes us angry. Anger isn’t a good emotion to nurture. It will make us distrust others, which will eventually shake our faith in our own abilities and capabilities.

Forgiving others will prevent you from nurturing anger and aggression within you. It’s a toxic emotion because resentment and anger sap your energy and keeps you stuck in the past. It closes doors of hope and other opportunities.

On the other hand, if you choose to let go, you will feel free and light. Forgiveness is a powerful exercise for character building. According to Dr. Tyler VanderWeele, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Initiative on Health, Religion, and Spirituality co-director:

“Forgiving a person who has wronged you is never easy, but dwelling on those events and reliving them over and over can fill your mind with negative thoughts and suppressed anger. Yet, when you learn to forgive, you are no longer trapped by the past actions of others and can finally feel free.”

How to Let Go?

It’s not easy to let go and forgive. But if you really want yourself to feel liberated and relaxed, take forgiveness as an exercise you should regularly perform. There are two aspects to forgiveness- emotional and decisional. In emotional forgiveness, you stop dwelling on the wrongdoing and move away from negative emotions. It is much more complex than decisional forgiveness, but it is the most fruitful. Dr. VanderWeele says that emotional forgiveness takes longer because those negative emotions keep coming back.

“This often happens when you think about the offender, or something triggers the memory, or you still suffer from the adverse consequences of the action,” he explained.

In contrast, decisional forgiveness encourages you to make a conscious choice to replace ill will with goodwill. When you opt for decisional forgiveness, you stop wishing that bad things would happen to the wrongdoer. Hence, it is easier to accomplish than emotional forgiveness.

What are the Health Benefits of Forgiveness?

Practicing forgiveness has several health benefits. As per various observational studies and randomized trials, forgiveness lowers depression, anxiety, and hostility levels. It minimizes an individual’s tendency to indulge in substance abuse and improves self-esteem. Moreover, it leads to greater life satisfaction.

However, it is essential to note that forgiveness won’t erase the past. It will just change your outlook about it. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting the incident or hurtful things; it just keeps your focus on the prospects and prevents you from getting stuck in the past. To succeed in life, you must learn to move on without any strings attached to the past. I like to see it as forgive “why” someone hurt you; not “what” they did. It’s much easier to go within and forgive the little child in them than the adult things they did.

Forgiveness helps you let go of hatred instead of letting it consume you. You won’t feel disturbed by the constant replaying of disempowering emotions. Instead, you’ll start living in the present moment.

Dangers of Withholding Forgiveness:

Withholding forgiveness is highly dangerous for you because it keeps alive negative emotions like anger, hurt, and blame. This impacts your overall perception of life and quality of living. Conversely, forgiveness has the power to help you feel healed. Many of us turn to self-blame by considering ourselves responsible for the entire situation to some extent. That’s also dangerous.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you are accepting that you are partly responsible for what transpired. It creates a feeling that you aren’t the victim and whatever happened was destined to happen this way. As we mentioned above, forgiveness simply changes your outlook. 

Forgiveness is for Your Own Welfare!

There is a close link between negative feelings and illness. Destructive, toxic emotions can activate certain diseases if we ignore our emotional wellbeing. Conversely, forgiveness is linked with your emotional welfare. It’s more than granting the wrongdoer pardon. It is about preserving your own emotional and mental health and wellbeing. Rather than have the anger sword hurting you; you release it.

I acknowledge it is difficult to forgive a perpetrator for wrongdoing, yet, if you consider it from a greater perspective, forgiveness is associated with your emotional welfare, not merely granting the other person pardon. Author Dennis Merritt Jones explained it beautifully in these words:

“At the end of the day, forgiveness is really not for the other person’s benefit at all — it’s for our own. Regardless of how illogical it may seem at times, it is through unconditional forgiveness that we surrender the past to the past and enter the present, freeing ourselves to stand in the infinite Light that knows how to heal our deepest and most painful wounds.”

Why do you need to Forgive?

We all wish for a happy and peaceful life. Still, we are reluctant to let go of toxic feelings and emotions. We want to take revenge most of the time, but this won’t erase the past or cleanse your body and mind of toxic emotions. It may generate even more troubling and lethal emotions that you might find difficult to deal with. We take revenge and avoid letting go because we feel vulnerable after being wronged. Mario Martinez wrote in The MindBody Code: How to Change the Beliefs that Limit Your Health, Longevity, and Success:

 “When you’re wounded, especially by significant people in your life, your empowerment is challenged, and your worthiness is called into question. The vulnerability your loss of empowerment creates within you allows the wound to damage your worthiness.”

Take cues from the 2009 movie Invictus. Actor Morgan Freeman who played Nelson Mandela, says these beautiful and very relevant lines that may help you understand why forgiveness is so important.

“Forgiveness starts here…Forgiveness liberates the soul… It removes fear, that is why it is such a powerful weapon…The past is the past, we look to the future.”

How to forgive- Understanding HO’OPONOPONO

If you struggle to forgive- turn to Ho’oponopono. 

It is an ancient practice that originated in Hawaii. For those who cannot forgive themselves and others, it is the perfect go-to remedy to learn to forgive. This healing practice is nothing complex that you might find challenging to master. It is a therapeutic Hawaiian prayer for forgiveness.

Ho’oponopono is a concept for reconciliation as well as a tool to help you restore self-love. The word Ho’oponopono simply means causing things to return to a balanced form and make things right. Pono means balance, so we can consider it a Zen-inspired concept.

To practice Ho’oponopono, you only need to chant the prayer repeatedly. This will cleanse the body of all negative emotions such as guilt, shame, ill will, haunting memories of the past, and anything that keeps our minds fixated on negative thoughts.

If you want to try out Ho’oponopono, chant this mantra over and over while sitting with your eyes closed as if you are meditating. Here‘s the Ho’oponopono prayer.

 “I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you, I love you.”

That’s it. The prayer is all about chanting these four feel-good phrases. It is a touching prayer comprising of very simple but universally loved and cherished words. 

With regular practice, you will see positive changes in yourself. It will help you develop self-love and self-esteem when you need it the most. 

Forgiveness Meditation

If you want to do a forgiveness meditation; play this video below from my friend, Sarah Dawkins. It’s four minutes of forgiveness. Try it and see what changes in your life. Click the image below to listen to the meditation.

Try out my forgiveness tapping affirmation below and see more on my Tapping Affirmation Page

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