How Making A Mess Can Silence Your Inner Critic

the benefits of art therapy

the benefits of art therapy

Your inner critic doesn’t leave you alone. It tells you all kind of things:
You’re not good enough…You’ll never match up…You’re a failure…
And its voice is insistent in all kinds of circumstances, never letting you feel good about what you do.

But you keep trying to be perfect hoping against hope that maybe, just maybe your inner critic will shut up once and for all.

Your inner critic was born in childhood
You were not born with an inner critic.

It was bred during childhood and then took up residence in your brain.

You may think that childhood is an idyllic time with little pressure on you, but children develop inner critics for many reasons. One of them is unrealistic expectations.
As a child, you probably thought adults were all-wise and all-knowing, so whatever they said must be the truth. When you couldn’t live up to their expectations, you felt like a failure and your inner critic was born. It perched on your shoulder and took up permanent residence lasting into adulthood.

Copycat crafts may have bred your inner critic 

A perfect example of the effect of unrealistic expectations often happens in kindergarten or your early childhood setting.
Young children aren’t really ready for “real” learning, so lots of activities revolve around crafts. Which is fine, except in most cases, they revolve around perfect, cookie-cutter, copycat crafts.
Teachers and parents often want the children’s crafts to look as perfect as possible. If they left their children to their own devices, they’d just make a mess. So the adults create a model and have the children try to emulate it.
Children try their best, but their project will never look as good as the teacher’s, so they feel like failures. They also feel deficient because they realize deep down that the adults don’t trust them to do their own thing.
But most adults don’t realize that young children NEED to make messes and have imperfect art for their proper development.

Children need to make messy art, not masterpieces

When we allow children to do art at their own level, it nurtures a sense of self and competence even if the end result is not what an adult would be proud of.
When we allow children to create on their own and make messes, we are telling them, “ I know this is where you are at and I trust that you will do what you can at your level.”
This also helps discharge tension and allows them to represent forbidden thoughts in socially acceptable ways.

For example: It’s much better to show anger in art by painting in all black, than to punch your classmate.

When you were young and given projects that were way beyond your developmental needs, you probably started doubting yourself, which almost certainly spilled over into many other areas and carried into your adult life.

This now shows up as perfectionism with the need to do everything just right.
How to heal from that inner critic and shut him up once and for all
Have you ever heard the idea that when you fall off a horse the best thing to do is to get right back on?

The idea is to confront the thing that harmed you, in a positive form. Your trauma can be your medicine. If you indeed had negative art experiences when you were young, then the best way to heal is by recreating those experiences in a positive way.
Art therapy is one such well-known modality, helping people heal from trauma through art. It’s safe, non-confrontational and helps people cope with all sorts of negative feelings.
You don’t have to sign up with an art therapist to benefit from art therapy. You can be your own modified art therapist.
Get messy like you wish you could have as a child!

Let’s go over a few ways you can get involved with messy art that will help you get rid of your inner critic:

1-Finger-painting

Finger-painting is one of the best and most important messy art activities for kids, and if you’ve never done it, then maybe now is the time.
If you are scared that the paint may stain your clothing or your walls, and you don’t want to bring it into the house, I have an alternative: shaving cream! The cleanup will be much easier because it’s not colored paint.
The real point of finger-painting is the wonderful sensory experience you get from feeling the mushy paint between your fingers, and having the freedom to create without permanent results. Shaving cream can give you the same benefit.

2-Mixed media art

Get involved in mixed media art. It allows you to create without feeling your “drawing” is unacceptable even if you can’t draw a straight line.
Mixed media art allows you to use many different types of material like paints, foils, found materials, and various techniques like collaging that are fun and relaxing without any predetermined method.
There are usually no models to follow and it is a great confidence-builder and inner critic-destroyer, as there is no wrong way to do it.

3-Children’s art

Get young children involved in “process only art.” This means the process, not the end product, is what’s important.
Very often when we have suffered from a traumatic experience, getting children involved in the opposite experience can help us to heal.
If there are no children in your life…then it’s time to be a child again for just a little bit (No tantrums though, please).

4-Unplanned watercolor painting

If you want to stretch out of your comfort zone to quiet your inner critic, there is an incredible tool that will help you learn about living and working creatively each day. Easy watercolor painting will teach you improvisational skills and help you turn off your self-censoring as you learn to let yourself go through the guided exercises.

I myself have been going through this process with a book called Painting your way out of a corner (By Barbara Diane Barry). It uses watercolors as the medium to help you break free from your inhibitions and heal. It’s a wonderful book and a must-read for all who would love to get unstuck.

So get ready to silence that inner critic

You have a choice now; you can give a little smile at these ideas and go back to beating yourself up and wallowing in perfectionism.
Or, you can take the bull by the horns and say “I will silence my inner critic. Bring on the shaving cream!!!!”
Now go do some messy art and get rid of that inner critic once and for all.

————

Faigie Kobre is a reignited art teacher who loves to help others reignite their natural, inborn creativity they thought they didn’t have, to help make their lives so much better and more fun . To begin you can get a free copy of her pdf guide 25 exercises to rekindle your natural creativity 

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How To Rewire Your Subconscious Mind in 3 Easy Steps

How To Rewire Your Mind In 3 Easy Steps

how to rewire your mind

Years ago, when I was just starting my career as a physical therapist, I worked with stroke patients at a major rehabilitation hospital in New York City.

Every day, I would help patients out of bed and into the hallway– where we would practice the basic skill of walking. With each step, I would direct the patient’s attention to the essential mechanics: foot placement, step length, knee/hip position.

It could easily take a few minutes to walk 10 feet.

One thing became clear early on: the patient absolutely had to focus their attention on each step or they would lose balance and fall into my arms.

They had to use the immense power of the conscious mind in order to take one simple step.

Something that just days before had been an easy, automatic activity, was now tedious and difficult.

And it was here in the hallways of a hospital that I fell in love with the brain. What a miraculous instrument.

This organ allows you to walk down the street, while talking on the phone and sipping your coffee at the same time.

The way it does this is by laying down neural networks that become automatic. The reason you don’t have to think about walking is because that function– along with many others like breathing– is under the control of the subconscious mind.

The subconscious mind is a wonderful piece of machinery. It literally frees your conscious mind— the part that is aware and has wishes, desires, creativity– to do all the high level thinking.

It would take me many years to realize that the subconscious is not just responsible for automatic, learned movements like walking.

It’s also here that your deepest held beliefs are wired.

So in the same way that you are not consciously aware of walking, you are also likely unaware of repetitive thoughts such as “I am unworthy”, “I am poor”, or “I don’t deserve love”.

These thoughts become so ingrained from early childhood that you think them as easily as walking down the street.

And these automatic thoughts can bring you a lot of struggle and pain in life. Here’s why.
The subconscious mind is a powerhouse

The thoughts in your subconscious mind shape your reality much more strongly than the ones you generate in your conscious mind. Your subconscious is bigger and more powerful than your conscious mind.

Scientists use the image of an iceberg to illustrate the difference between the conscious and subconscious minds.

The tip of the iceberg that is above water represents the conscious mind. And the rest of the iceberg– the significantly larger portion that is submerged– represents the subconscious mind.

When you look at an iceberg on the horizon, the part you see is only a tiny portion of the whole. And make no mistake: the submerged part holds more weight.

Here’s an example of how this plays out in life. Suppose you want more money. Let’s say you even talk out loud in front of a mirror to reinforce the affirmation. “I want more money”.

Realize that you can repeat this mantra a thousand times but if your subconscious mind holds the thought “I am poor”, this is what you will keep materializing in your reality.

You will keep manifesting a lack of money, no matter what you consciously say or think.

So what do you do? How do you change these subconscious thoughts that may be sabotaging you?

You do the same thing my stroke patients did while relearning to walk: practice.

Rewiring the subconscious mind

Practicing essentially means that you repeat the movement or thought you want until it becomes automatic.

You rewire your subconscious mind.

In my experience, there is a 3-step sequence I use for subconscious rewiring that is simple and effective.

1- See the pattern. Seeing is always the first step. To see means that you bring to your conscious mind that which was previously subconscious.

For my patients, that meant they first had to understand consciously that they couldn’t walk as they did before. They had to accept where they were in the present moment.

The same holds true for a subconscious thought such as “I am poor” or “I am unworthy”. You use the power of your awareness to see that thought.

You bring the thought into your conscious mind.

2- Refocus your attention. Once the subconscious thought sees the light of your awareness, you can now literally rewire it.

You divert your attention to that which you want.

Using the “I am poor” example, you focus not on the thought itself but on what you want.

You plant a seed in your subconscious mind that is completely opposite to that thought.

“I am abundant”. Look in the mirror and repeat it. “I am abundant”. Feel the truth of that statement in every cell of your body.

“I am abundant”.

Don’t just say those words or think them. Saying something is easy.

The trick is that you feel this truth with your entire being. You can see, smell, taste, and touch abundance.

Every single time you focus your attention on this new seed, this new thought, you are allowing it to sprout.

The awareness of your conscious mind is like the sun shining on a seed.

3- Practice gratitude. If awareness is like the sun shining on a seed, gratitude is the water that is also essential for it to sprout.

Awareness and gratitude work together.

Be grateful for what you have now. Be grateful for where you are now.

I vividly remember how gratitude played out for my patients. The ones who accepted what had happened and felt gratitude for being alive had much better outcomes than those who were angry about their situation.

Gratitude literally helped my patients relearn how to walk.

The same can be said for other subconscious patterns too.

Observe. Consciously refocus. Be grateful.

That’s how you rewire your subconscious mind.

Pretty soon, your subconscious mind will think “I am priceless” or “I am abundant” as automatically as it moves your legs while you walk down the street.

And that’s how you attract abundance in all its forms.

———

Christina Lopes, PT, DPT, MPH

Christina is an energy healer, channel, spiritual teacher, and experienced clinician. You can connect with Christina on her website, or through Facebook and Twitter. To download a free copy of Christina’s “Mastering the Art of Breathing in 5 Essential Steps”: click here.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Walking

benefits of walking

benefits of walking

A friend of mine recently complained that the quality of jeans had lately declined. “They have a tendency to shrink over time,” she said. “They fit tighter and it’s getting difficult to button them up.”

Do you have the same problem?

Deep inside you realize it’s not the jeans, your shape became curvier. And you also notice the shortness of breath you have after walking up just one flight of stairs. It’s obvious you need to exercise. Buying a gym membership isn’t a bad idea but how can you fit that into your already busy schedule? That would be tough.

Let’s be honest, you are just looking for an excuse, right? And I understand why. You pay your gym fees and feel obligated to go, and we generally don’t like obligations. You will likely miss a day or two once in a while, and then have a week-long gap because of that dreaded project deadline. Besides, if you are really out of shape, working out in the gym might be a bit intimidating to you. You might feel inferior to those confident, buff gym junkies, and soon will stop showing up. That will relieve the pressure and discomfort (which we human beings are always looking for, aren’t we?) but, at the same time, you will get frustrated and disappointed with yourself.

While all these problems can be figured out, there is a much easier way to start getting fit—good old WALKING. While working out, running or playing sports might not be for you, walking is a perfect exercise for everybody.

You already do it every day, don’t you? But the thing is you don’t do it enough. It’s recommended that people walk 10,000 steps a day. On average, Americans walk 4K-5K steps a day. And the usual route is the walk to the car, to the desk, to the grocery store (once or twice a week) back to the car and back to His Majesty, THE COUCH.

Walking daily is one of the easiest physical activities you can do to improve your health. You can literally do it right now. I CHALLENGE YOU TO GO FOR A SHORT WALK AFTER YOU FINISH READING THIS ARTICLE. If you decide to do it this very second, without reading to the end, I won’t get mad at you, I promise.

Walking doesn’t require preparation, special equipment, a budget or to be in a good health condition. It has a long list of incredible benefits:

It reduces stress. When you are irritated or upset, go for a walk. You will come back calm and refreshed. How does it work? Exercising, walking in our case, promotes production neurohormones that are associated with improved cognitive functions and elevated mood. Raising the heart rate reverses damage to the brain caused by potentially stressful situations.

Clear thinking. For many of us holding a 9-5 cubicle job, mornings are usually quite stressful. Walking during lunch, and in the evening, after a long, tiring day, can help you sort things out in your mind.

Walking can help ward off dementia. The hippocampus and prefrontal cortex in our brain are crucial to memory formation and complex thinking, and their decline can be a predictor of Alzheimer’s disease. Interestingly enough, as researchers at the University of Pittsburgh discovered, these are the very areas responsive to physical exercise. The higher intensity of workouts correlate with growth of both the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex. This finding means that exercise can help us prevent a cognitive decline.

Emotional balance. If you want to relax and tune out of all the chatter, walking is the tool for doing that. Pay attention to the trees and flowers you see on your walk, the chirping of the birds and aromas in the air.

It tightens your muscles, including glutes that are in danger of being atrophied if you are a “desk jockey” (simple English: sitting on your butt too much).

It is less stressful on your joints and is perfect for beginners or people with arthritis or osteoporosis because it is a low-impact exercise. A workout is considered low-impact if at least one of your feet remains on the ground at all times. It strengthens your bones. Walking prevents osteoporosis. UCSF research shows that people who walk on a regular basis have healthier knees.

It reduces pain. My dad, who advocates taking long walks, has a knee problem. Every time he had pain, he would walk even more. It seemed counter-intuitive to me. You would want to be careful in those situations, right? Well, Australian researchers found that walking reduces pain in people with osteoarthritis.

3 GREAT ADVANTAGES OF WALKING:

1. It doesn’t require equipment. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes. Don’t go crazy, though. It doesn’t have to be a huge investment.

2. It doesn’t require a specific location. You can walk ANYWHERE: in your neighborhood, in the woods, on the beach, in the city, you can continue the list. If you are on a business trip, not only can walking serve as a workout, but also as sightseeing.

3. IT IS FREE.

For those of you who shamelessly consider walking a boring exercise, I advise that you pair it up with a few activities to enjoy additional benefits.

Listen to audiobooks while walking. http://www.openculture.com/freeaudiobooks is a great source. I personally would choose a physical book over any other version—there is nothing like holding a real book in your hands and flipping the pages—but, considering the often crazy pace of life and a lack of time, an audiobook is much better than no book. But don’t replace reading, deal?

Listen to podcasts. This is one of the best forms of education you can ever get, and it is one of my favorites. Download podcasts to your iPod and listen to them whenever you have time. I listen to podcasts when I drive or clean the house—it makes these chores, especially cleaning (hate it!), less depressing.

Learn a new language. Don’t we complain we have no time for that? You can learn dozen of new words and phrases during your walk. https://www.duolingo.com/.

Practice your photography. You can take lots of amazing pictures regardless of the location of your walk. You don’t need your bulky camera, a cell phone is enough, unless you are a professional photographer.

HOW TO START WALKING EVERY DAY.

Well, going outside for a short walk is easy, right? But how to develop it into a habit? Your success will depend on a few things:

Start with a small goal. Walk 15 min a day. Too much? OK, do 10min. Too difficult? If you are completely out of shape, or obese (that’s fine, I still like you), walk 5min a day, but do it daily for a week. Double the time the following week. Difficult? Do small increments, nobody cares how slow you’ll increase your walking distance. You are not in a competition. No pressure. JUST DO IT.

Find a partner who will keep you accountable, encourage you to stick to your plan. It will actually be a mutual thing, you will support him/her as well, which, in my opinion, is a pleasant feeling. It might be a family member, a friend, a neighbor, a PTA parent or someone from your church.

Change your route occasionally. If there is a park, a river, a pond or trail close to your house, alternate your route location to make walking more fun.

Invest in a good pair of walking shoes. Don’t go overboard or turn it into a week-long research to find the best one on the market to start walking. If you do that, you are just procrastinating. In the beginning, you can walk in your most comfortable shoes, and keep looking and shopping around for a better pair if you want to, but don’t put off your daily walk. Steve Kamb walks in Vibrams. They seem very comfortable and I am thinking of buying a pair for myself.

Challenge yourself to stick to your walking routine for 30 days. Mark each day in the calendar, or keep your daily log, or journal about it. Better yet, start a blog. Why not? Share your daily experiences, challenges, photos for that matter. There are lots of people who do that. You might get loyal readers and have a great opportunity to inspire others.

Join your local walking or hiking group. You can find it at: www.meetup.com. You will become a part of community of people who will encourage and help you. By doing so, you are going to kill more than two birds with one stone: you will exercise, meet new people and make new friends, and have lots of fun.

Reward yourself. Reward is a powerful strategy in developing a new habit. At the end of the week, when you successfully met your goal, treat yourself to something you like (junk food is not an option, there must be something else you like, think hard). Buy yourself a book; go to a movie or a spa.

Positive affirmations. The direct connection between mind and body has long since been proven and this subject is not arguable anymore. You must have heard this: “Change your thoughts; change your life.” When the mind thinks healthy thoughts, the body finds it easier to be healthy. Using positive affirmations is a powerful way of creating healthy habits:

I WALK EVERY DAY TO KEEP MYSELF FIT AND HEALTHY

TODAY IS THE BEST DAY FOR A WALK

I AM FILLED WITH ENERGY TO DO EVERYTHING THAT MAKES ME HEALTHY

Drink enough water. You have to drink water before and after your walk. In hot weather or when on a hike, drink it while you walk.

Warming up before walking is a must. Unfortunately, this step is often ignored. By warming up, which is exercising at a low intensity, you get your blood circulating, preparing your body for exercise. This will prevent injuries. Do easy movements, such as ankle circles, leg swings and pelvic loops for 5 minutes.

TAKE IT UP A NOTCH

Add weighted ankle or wrist straps to make walking a little more challenging.

These weights securely strap around the ankles and provide more intensity and resistance. Ankle weights help with faster weight loss by burning 5 to 15 percent more calories than walking without weights.

There are several types of ankle weights with various poundage. The American Council on Exercise recommends that you limit the weight amounts to 3 lbs. If you have joint pain, check with your doctor before you begin using ankle weights.

Walking is a very simple, low impact exercise with endless benefits. Don’t spend days shopping for the best walking shoes, pedometer, methods to measure your progress and mapping out the route. JUST START. NOW. The rest you will figure out later.

Don’t forget to set your daily, weekly and monthly goals. For example:

Week 1 walk 10 min each day

Week 2 walk 15 min each day

Week 3 walk 25 min each day

Set your goals at any number you are comfortable with. The main goal is to MAKE WALKING A HABIT.


Anna Ayrapetyan 
 is a happy mother of two, a wife and a blogger who is passionate about healthy lifestyle. In her younger years, she overcame a serious digestive disorder by changing her diet and using natural treatments. Anna started her blog www.leanhappiness.com with a goal to help people achieve health by altering their eating habits, eliminating processed foods and cooking healthy, nutritious meals.

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5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Saying Yes

5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Say Yes

how to say no

When my son was only a few months old, I made a vow to myself that I would learn, and have the courage, to say no to things.

Now that he’s three, with another one on the way, I am revisiting that same vow.

Up until the point of being able to say no, I thoroughly enjoyed saying yes; I love doing the work. I was constantly on the go. Networking, building, creating, being involved with various groups and committees.

It’s something that’s very fulfilling for me. I enjoy meeting new, inspiring, high-energy, people. I like starting and building new projects.

The one consistent thing with all commitments is time.

We all have the same twenty-four hours in each day. Life is a bunch of choices and we have the choice on how we spend that precious time.

When I vowed to myself that I would begin to say no to things, what I was really doing was making more time for my family (family is number one to me and always will be).

When you take a step back and look at your day, if your family is at the top of your priority list, it’s almost scary to see the number of hours (lack of hours) we actually have together.

Doing some quick math I figure, that with my own family’s typical daily schedule, we spend a total of six hours of each day together. During that time there’s bath, meals, dishes, etc. It’s scary!

It completely breaks my heart. I don’t want to look back fifteen years from now and say I wish I would have been home more and spent more time with my children when they were young.

So part of this vow on saying no was really making room to spend as much valuable time with my family as possible.

I don’t believe in work-life balance. I look at it as a blend, it’s all life.

The big thing I learned, thus far, is that it’s not about being involved with everything, but rather involving yourself with the right things.

For me to say yes to things, I now prioritize those commitments, projects and opportunities.

In doing so, I ask myself these 5 questions before saying yes:

1. Where can I add the most value?

With time being my most prized resource, I want to make sure that what I am committing to is something I can add value to. Something that I can leave my mark on and make a difference to those involved; either now or down the road.

I look for things where I can offer my unique abilities.

2. Where can I gain the most?

This is where I get selfish. When thinking about what I want to commit to I look at the projects where I would gain the most.

Meaning, I never want to be the smartest person in the room. So I’m continuously seeking opportunities where I can learn the most about the things I want to learn more about.

At that same time, while I am adding value and providing my unique abilities, I want to be consuming other people’s unique abilities; those different from mine and particularly, the abilities that I lack completely.

This question may sound one-sided but I always commit to adding value first. This is a “givers-gain” mindset. Give to something where I can add the most value while gaining tremendous knowledge in the areas I lack from people way smarter than me.

3. What kind of people will I be surrounding myself with?

The people we surround ourselves with affects us tremendously. They affect our drive, motivation, beliefs, energy. They ultimately affect our output, as a person, as our work, as our art; both good and bad.

I want to be around the people who I aspire to be myself. I want to surround myself with highly motivated, energetic, intelligent, like-minded people.

4. Is it something that makes me feel good?

This is where I align commitment with passion, purpose and my heart.

This feeling will drive a lot of the other things going on in my life. It will affect the other people I am closest to. If it becomes just another task on my checklist, not only will I begin to feel the wear, but those around me will sense it and feel it as well.

I want to align it as closely to my core, my DNA, as possible.

5. Am I able to commit 100%?

When I say yes to something, I mean it. I want to give it my best 100% of the time. I want to give it my undivided attention and the attention that it needs and deserves; and ultimately, the attention that I promised.

When I noticed myself saying yes to everything I began to see the quality and productivity go down. I was spreading myself too thin.

We are wired to be able to think we can do it all. We may be able to, some make it work really well, but I can almost certainly say something is being sacrificed.

For most of us, we need to learn to say no.

Eric Ungs is founder of the Unless You Care Project. He writes and coaches about leading a life of intentional self growth, nudging you to let go; to give yourself permission to be vulnerable and honest with yourself so you can give your best self to others. Author of 10 Incredible Ways to Live a Fulfilling and Joyful Life ebook. Connect with Eric at UYCproject.com and on Twitter.

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10 Tips For Using Crowdsourcing Effectively to Lead a Productive Life

crowdsourcing for productivity

crowdsourcing for productivity

We all want to be more efficient in order to make the most of our time. But how can we really accomplish more and stop wasting our efforts on insignificant tasks?  The answer to our productivity concerns can be solved with the use of a tool called crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing is the process of enlisting the help of a big crowd of people, usually on the internet, whose collective knowledge, resources, and skills can help to come up with diverse and expert solutions to your problems. This way you can focus your energies on your top priority tasks while still using your crowd to figure out solutions to other problems as well.

You can ask for help and advice from your own crowd of friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter or engage with other kinds of crowdsourcing platforms. Wikipedia is one of the most well-known  of these crowdsourcing efforts.

However, many of us may not know how to crowdsource to its full benefit. In order to get the most out of this process, I’d like to offer a list of 10 tips for crowdsourcing effectively:

  1. Search before asking – Very often someone is experiencing the same challenge that you are. Before asking for help, use special Q&A platforms to search for solutions. My personal favorite is quora.com.
  2. Be specific – When you ask for help, make sure you give specific details about your challenge.
  3. Do not influence. Do not direct people to a specific solution. Make sure you allow enough room for their creativity so they can offer a wide range of potential solutions.
  4. Be brief. Make sure you keep your questions short and to the point. People need to understand very quickly what you are asking for.
  5. Tell a story. The only exception for keeping your explanations brief is if you have an interesting story to share. An interesting story engages people while explaining why you are asking for their help.
  6. Interact – Whenever people come to you with ideas and suggestions, make sure you thank them and engage back. When people see that you are part of the conversation, they have more reasons to respond.
  7. Give value – Don’t just ask for help. Give value to the crowd and do that over and over again. Whenever others see that you give value, they will be motivated to help you.
  8. Pay the crowd – Websites such as fiverr.com allow you to pay $5 for simple tasks. Enlisting the help of someone with experience can save you a lot of time for a small amount of money.
  9. Use WhatsApp – Whenever you need help, WhatsApp is a great way to privately ask for help from close friends.
  10. User special crowdsourcing platforms – There are dozens of crowdsourcing platforms that can help you out in specific areas such as design, health, finance and more. For a complete list of crowdsourcing platforms visit http://mindsharing.info/locales

——

Lior Zoref is the author of Mindsharing: The Art of Crowdsourcing Everything. He is a crowd wisdom researcher, an international speaker, and a consultant. He worked for fourteen years at Microsoft, most recently as vice president of marketing for consumer and online services.

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3 Ways to Become Fascinating and Compel People to Listen

3 Ways To Become Fascinating and Compel People To Listen

Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours / Dale Carnegie

*Sigh*

Social gatherings are unnerving.

Do you feel uncomfortable around other people?

They talk … and you sit there like a fish. You try to join in the conversation but you struggle to find the right words. And everything you say sounds bland.

Why can’t you be a bubbly and engaging person?

I used to be awkward at social gatherings. I was stressed out about finding the right words. And when I said something it turned out completely wrong. I felt dumb.

But I implemented a simple plan. A plan to become interesting. To compel people to listen.

Shall I explain?

  1. Read Like a Psychic

As a kid I loved watching psychic shows.

The dim lights. The quiet music that raises the tension as the psychic picks a volunteer from the crowd.

As expected the psychic reads the volunteer like an open book.

But once in a while he would miss.

He would say that the 40-year old man in a suit had made a big investment lately. And when he found out he was wrong, he’d say that the image wasn’t clear, and he’d soon make a big investment like buying a car, or a house, or property.

But when I grew up I found out their dirty little secret.

They don’t have supernatural powers. They’re exceptionally good at reading people. They obtain a great deal of information by analyzing the person’s body language, clothing and manner of speech. And then they make an educated guess.

The same approach works when communicating.

When you meet someone, don’t just look at him. PAY ATTENTION.

  • Notice his clothing, body language and manner of speech.
  • Engage him with questions using what you have observed.
  • Notice subtle cues such as changes in facial expression or body language. They indicate whether you’ve nailed it or not.

Make it a game. Discover as much as you can about the other person.

Did you make him excited? Intrigued? If not, keep guessing.

Enchant people with your observations. Captivate them with your questions.

  1. Write From The Heart

 Do you struggle with words?

Start writing.

It helps you develop your ability to express your ideas verbally. To come up with the right words every time.

But writing is not enough.

Ask yourself.

When you want something, how much logic do you use?

How much is based on emotion?

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion / Dale Carnegie

Listening to an emotionless speaker is like eating a bland dish. It might look delicious but after one bite you lose interest and move to a yummy piece of cake.

Spice up your writing.

Write from your heart. Get excited. Touch your audience. Make them feel your words.

When you speak from the heart you become enthusiastic. When you speak your truth you get excited. And enthusiastic people are so much more interesting listening to.

Write frequently.

You may not feel it happen, but it will change you. Drastically. You’ll still be you, but you’ll be a better version of you.

And you’ll see the results.

Where you used to get a halfhearted response from people, you’ll start getting their full attention.

Your thoughts will be formed better.

You’ll be more enthusiastic and your language more vivid, letting your emotions shine through.

Apply to emotions. Compel people to listen.

  1. Stop Talking

You know how this goes.

You’re enjoying a cup of coffee with your friend.

He’s ranting about his job, how his boss gives him a hard time. Riding his ass the whole day for being late. But you’re so immersed in your own thoughts that you hardly hear what he’s saying.

When having a conversation do you listen? Or are you trying to come up with something smart to say?

Start listening.

Don’t try to come up with a solution. Pay attention to what the other person is saying.

Be truly interested in him. Ask questions.

Most people think they need to have smart ideas to be a good conversationalist, but it’s far more important to ask good questions.

This makes you an interesting conversationalist even when you say almost nothing.

Heck, you might even learn something new.

The Truth About Becoming Interesting

Being interesting is not about being an extrovert.

It’s not about having charisma or not.

To have a good chat, you need to listen more than you talk.

Pay attention to the other person. Be curious about him. Encourage him to speak.

Make him feel you’re genuinely interested in him.

Captivate him. Fascinate him. Enchant him.

Sweep him off his feet.

 

Benny (@BenjaminMalev) is an energetic family man. He’s on a mission to help men live their life to the fullest, while putting their family first. Join him and learn to live a vibrant life at Vibrant Dad.

 

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3 Key Reasons You Might Not Be Losing Weight

how to lose weight

how to lose weight

Deciding to take the step to getting healthy can be overwhelming as you often wonder where do you even start. There is so much information out there that trying to add in all these new foods and lifestyle changes can lead you feeling defeated before you have even begun.

I believe that you first need to look at the things that can be sabotaging your ability to lose weight and get healthy. These three things should be looked at if you are just getting started or you have already been committed to a healthy lifestyle for years

1. NOT EATING ENOUGH

I find this as one of the biggest misconceptions in weight loss.

It seems simple enough that if you start eating less you’ll automatically lose weight, But when you see how the body treats that you will think again before drastically cutting calories

Your body needs to be in a state of balance. If you’re cold your body starts to shiver to get warm, if you’re tired your body starts to slow down as it craves sleep. When you start to deprive yourself of food your body compensates by also slowing your metabolism. Since calories are being consumed sparingly the body will start to expend energy less in order to preserve the few precious calories it has.

This can grind weight loss to a halt as the body is now trying to desperately hold on to what it has making each pound loss a longer and longer process. The flip side is when an abundance of food is then introduced back in (which will eventually end up happening after trying to restrict food for too long) your body with an already lowered metabolism will very readily convert the new influx of calories into body fat.

Your body has been starved and it doesn’t know if it will be getting food again so it quickly converts the sudden influx of food into stored energy aka body fat.

A reduced calorie diet usually then follows and the same process continues over and over as that incremental bit of weight gain each time adds up to quite a lot over the years.

2. LACK OF SLEEP

We live in a society where it has almost become a badge of honor to proclaim how little sleep we got the night before but look how it doesn’t stop me!

This will certainly stop your weight loss pursuits though.

Lack of sleep can have a big impact on your hormone levels, primarily the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that when out of balance and secreted too much can cause weight gain and a lower metabolism as another “preservation” mode.

When you get very little sleep, especially in the 4-5 hour mark your body is assuming there is some kind of stress going on. It doesn’t know if there is a some sort of physical threat or famine or that you’ve been up all night watching a Keeping Up With The Kardashians marathon.

Your body basically assumes something negative must be happening if it’s keeping your from sleep and those constantly elevated,unbalanced cortisol and stress hormone levels will severely sabotage your weight loss pursuits

  • Try for at least 6-8 hours of sleep a night and remember that sleep and exercise will help to metabolize and burn off those stress hormones
  • Create a wind down routine so your body get accustomed to recognizing when you start to slow down for the day
  • Avoid T.V and electronics a few hours before bed. Blue light from our electronics can disrupt natural melatonin levels in the brain leading to unnatural circadian rhythms and very disrupted sleep

3. REGULAR DAILY STRESS

This will be related to the sleep issue but it’s becoming apparent that chronic stress is responsible for an immense amount of diseases and illnesses.

At the moment 43% of adults suffer adverse health effects from stress. And here is a list of just SOME of the effects of stress on the body:

  • stroke
  • heart disease
  • hypertension
  • diabetes
  • anxiety
  • IBS
  • insomnia
  • depression
  • weight gain and obesity

You can see how weight gain and obesity seem almost secondary to these other horrible conditions but the effects of stress are two fold in weight loss pursuits; stress creates effects in the body that will allow weight loss to become excruciatingly hard while at the same time causing weight gain itself.

Reducing stress in your life is not only beneficial for your waistline but your entire overall health and wellness.

There are some simple steps you can take to help reduce and remove stress from your life including:

  • Adequate and consistent sleep
  • exercise and yoga
  • a whole foods based diet
  • elimination of junk and preservative laden “foods”
  • Meditation
  • recognizing what stresses are in and out of your control
  • deep breathing exercises

This only scratches the surface of things you can do to reduce stress but hopefully it encourages you to explore all options in taking back your health and wellness.

WRAPPING IT ALL UP

There are other things involved with getting underway in weight loss but if you keep these 3 things in your back pocket it will help set you up for success.

Remember to:

  • Not deprive your body of food but focus on fresh, whole foods consistently to allow your body to keep fed, nourished and your metabolism high
  • Not deprive yourself of sleep. Allow your body to rest and repair rather than force it to elevate its stress hormones and set you back
  • Try and remove or at least manage sources of stress in your life. Your weight loss pursuits and your overall health will be all the better for it.

 

Jamie Logie is a personal trainer and nutrition and wellness specialist who runs regainedwellness.com and the Regained Wellness Podcast. You can get the free Healthy Eating Starter Kit ebook by going to regainedwellness.com/guide

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7 Things Successful People Do Differently to Reach Their Dreams

7 Things Successful People Do Differently

successful people

It’s inspiring to envision the future and to set dreams and goals for things we hope to achieve. But then there’s the question of how to turn those dreams into reality. It’s not as easy as just wishing it to happen; our biggest dreams can take a lot of time, hard work and perseverance.

Fortunately there are plenty of people who have already made it happen. We can learn from them and study their efforts in order to understand what went right.

As Brian Tracy once said, “success leaves tracks.” And in those tracks we can discover habits and behaviors that helped make them so successful. From there we can gain insights and knowledge to guide us on our own paths.

1. They don’t make excuses why it won’t work – they find reasons it will

There are a lot of excuses to give why you can’t reach your dreams – time, money, energy, environment among others. Sometimes they can seem impossible to overcome.

But those who successfully reach their dreams don’t give in to these excuses. Rather than seeing obstacles as insurmountable, they see them as challenges – something they’ll eventually solve.

Instead of finding reasons why your dreams won’t work, start to look for reasons that they will. This will help you avoid a defeatist mindset and move you a step closer to victory.

2. They’re willing to take risks

The bigger the goal, the bigger the risk it takes to get there. As with any big endeavor, there’s always an element of chance and the possibility of failure.

Reaching your dreams means putting yourself out there and doing things you’ve never attempted. Whether that means taking a chance on an opinion, a business or a product, you have to try something new to reach your reward.

But if you believe in yourself and know that what you’re doing is the right course of action, the risk will be worthwhile. The only alternative is to sit back and wonder what might have been.

3. They know that getting anywhere takes time, patience and effort

History is full of people who gave up too early, never realizing just how close they were to realizing their goals. Whatever your dream happens to be, you’ll need strength to persevere every day towards it.

Perseverance acts like a filter to weed out those who only “kind of” want their dream from those who truly want it. Think of it like an endurance test which needs to be passed in order to get where you want.

The time and patience it takes to reach your dreams should be treated like a marathon. We’re trying to get to the finish line, but need to focus on continually making progress. In the end it doesn’t matter what your pace is as long as you keep putting enough footsteps in front of the other. With enough patience and perseverance, you’ll eventually get to the end.

4. They create time to make it happen

If you’re like most people, you lead a busy life. We all have things to do, friends to hang out with, and lives to live. But in all your busyness, enough time needs to be carved out to work on making your dreams a reality.

Take a lesson from John Grisham. While writing his first novel, he worked 60-70 hours a week as a lawyer, using any time in the morning or during courtroom recess he could find.

By most people’s measures, he had no time to write. But instead of giving up, he created time whenever possible and that eventually helped him launch his writing career.

5. They have unwavering faith in themselves

People who reach their dreams don’t know they’ll reach it. If they’ve never done it before, they have no previous experience to reference.

It’s often hard to find reasons why you think you’ll make it. There will be more doubts and fears pulling you back and little to no reassurance of success.

This is why faith is so important. When your path to success is unclear, it will keep you moving forward, knowing that somehow you’ll find your way. With enough faith, you’ll discover hidden strength and resolve to keep you moving forward.

6. They enjoy the process to get there

Realizing your dreams is a lot like mountain climbing. For most of the climb, you’re fixated on reaching the top – that’s your goal. However, most of your time will be spent on the journey to get there.

The journey to reach your dreams is just as important as the dream itself, perhaps more important since that’s where you’ll spend most of your time. You have to love the work and effort you do every day to reach your destination.

If you can’t find a way to enjoy the time it takes to reach your dream, you’ll find it harder to get there. Getting your dream isn’t solely about the target, it’s also about finding the joy in the process to get there.

7. They don’t rely on luck, they prepare for it

The relationship between working hard and being lucky is closer than most people realize. However, luck is a concept that most people misunderstand.

Being lucky isn’t solely about being in the right place at the right time. It’s also about preparation and being in the right mindset so when the right opportunity comes along, you’ll be able to capitalize on it.

The ancient Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” With that in mind, we should see luck as nothing more than preparation for the moment when all your hard work pays off.

Steve is the writer behind Do Something Cool where he blogs about travel, motivation, self improvement and adventure. He’s always looking for ways to make life more interesting. For fresh ideas on living life to the fullest, join his newsletter.

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9 Ways To Stop Trying to Change Other People

dont change people

Most of the people we’re surrounded by every day – our loved ones, friends, colleagues, neighbors, etc. – have flaws. There are things in their behavior, appearance and way of thinking that we want to change.

Some of the stuff they do annoys us, we don’t agree with their opinion on particular topics, we don’t like some of their habits. And all of this prevents us from enjoying their company, appreciating them for who they are, accepting them and being good to them.

Eventually, that brings disappointment and discontent in our lives, makes the other person feel bad, and ruins our relationship.

And this is a result of us wanting to change them.

But why?

Why would we take an individual, someone that’s already a part of our life, who’s already perfect in his own unique way, and try to change him so that he can answer our expectations and be who we imagine him to be?

Isn’t that selfish?

Of course it is.

And if we stop for a moment and think about it, we’ll realize how ridiculous this desire of ours is.

Trying to change others is an awful thing to do.

We live with an ideal of how another person must behave and whenever he doesn’t do what we expect, we’re disappointed.

We don’t let him be who he is and try hard to change him. But when we do, he becomes another person and is different from the one we loved/became friends with/ had something in common with.
And we’re still not satisfied.

So let’s see how we can turn that process around and have great relationships:

9 Ways to Stop Trying to Change People

1. Let go of ideals.

Why would you have your own version of who others should be at all?

You can’t decide how they need to live their lives, you can only choose who to be in yours and accept him for who he is.

2. Respect their individuality.

Those around you are individuals, just like you.

They are unique human beings and have their own way of thinking. Everyone sees the world in his own way. It’s not right or wrong, it’s just different.

All the people in your life are complex mixtures of opinions, emotions, values, knowledge, experience, dreams, interests and goals.

Don’t change that! It’s taken them so long and so much to get here. Respect that!

3. Focus on their good sides.

Flaws are inevitable, but why focus on that?

Instead, see the good in others. Only this little change can make you so much more happier. And without changing anything in them, you’ll start appreciating and enjoying who they are.

4. Put yourself in their shoes.

Everyone is fighting a battle.

Most of the people you see every day have been through a lot, and this explains why sometimes they act bad, can’t trust you, are rude, want to be alone, etc.

You never know what’s going on in their life, so keep that in mind next time you start judging.

Their problems may be bigger that you expect.
Often people have money issues, are hurt, have a disease, or else, but don’t tell anyone about it.

So don’t try to change them, don’t take it personally if they behave in a way you don’t like.

5. Be compassionate.

The best way to show understanding, love and acceptance is through compassion.
This will help both you and the other person no matter what the situation is.

6. Be grateful for having them.

Whatever it is that you want to change in them, it can be put aside.
Meanwhile, thank them for being here, appreciate who they are.

After all, they too have decided to be part of your life, to stick around, to put effort in keeping this relationship.

If you tell yourself that each time you’re with them, you’ll start seeing them as the blessings they are.
And soon all the things you don’t like about them won’t matter anymore.

7. Remember why they were important to you in the first place.

Maybe they are your family, you became friends, met under interesting circumstances, have spent quality time together, had a lot in common once, or else.

Go back to that time and remind yourself of the things that made you decide to make them part of your life.

They’ve done things for you, made sacrifices, dedicated their time and spent it with you.
And that’s enough to be thankful for.

8. Accept them and everything they do.

Stop trying to change things and interfere. Let everyone be who he is and accept his view, opinion, actions and behavior.

That will make your life so much easier, will simplify your relationship and both you and the other person will be free to do what you think is best.

9. Stop comparing.

Wanting to change someone means not agreeing with him, not approving his way of living life.
And that’s a result of comparing him to yourself.

But why should he be anything like you?

He wants other things in life, has a different approach and other stuff is important to him.

So let him follow his own path. Let him make mistakes and fail. That’s how everyone learns, grows and eventually succeeds.

***
Now you see why trying to change people is a bad thing. It’s actually a flaw of ours and something to work on.

You can lead a great life, have healthy relationships and make the best of each day that’s given to you by letting go of all judgment, comparison, ideals and expectations that concern other people.

Instead, let them be who they are, accept, be compassionate and enjoy every minute you get to spend with them.
That’s how life becomes a beautiful journey full of love, peace and contentment.

Are there people in your life you want to change? What is it that you don’t like about them? How do you deal with it

Lidiya K. is a writer and blogger in the fields of self-improvement, life hacking, human potential and minimalism. She’s the creator of Let’s Reach Success , where her mission is to motivate and inspire and think of creative and unusual ways to overcome fear, procrastination, insecurity, clutter, failure, overthinking, discontent and much more.

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4 Major Reasons We Need To Tune Out. NOW.

4 Major Reasons We Need To Tune Out. NOW.

take a break from tech

News and media is widely accessible these days thanks to modern technology; we can keep up to date at home or on the go, and at any time of the day or night.

It used to be the case that in order to become informed of the current events of the world, we would have to tune in to the TV or radio at certain times throughout the day.

When I was younger, my parents would sit down to watch the main evening news at 6pm everyday- and sometimes again at 9pm. This was extremely upsetting for me and my brothers- as our cartoons were put on hold in favor of current affairs and politics, and other such material that we found uninteresting.

What struck me at the time was how- more often than not- the mood in the room would become slightly tetchy after watching the news. It would usually leave my parents feeling upset, and frustrated.

Similarly, if there were a group of adults watching the news together- for example if we had visitors over- a big discussion would always ensue where everyone would complain about the current state of affairs; a cluster of pessimism.

I always showed my age at the time by thinking- perhaps a little selfishly-

“We’re missing ‘The Simpsons’ for this?!”

As I got older and began to tune in myself- I found that there rarely seemed to be happy or uplifting stories being broadcast, and I can’t recall ever coming away feeling revitalized or enlightened as a result.

So, I made the conscious decision a long time ago to not tune in to the news- of any kind.

Now and again I will have a look at the sports pages- as I am a sports fan- or the gossip column just to keep an eye on what Kourtney, Kim and Khloé are getting up to- but that goes without saying.

I know some will say that it is irresponsible- that we should keep informed with current affairs and what is going on in the world around us- and maybe they are right.

For me though, I like to think that there is much to be gained by taking control of the information we consume.

Health

Stay with me here.

Yes, every nugget of information we absorb on a daily basis is affecting our health- and that includes the type of news we decide to engage with.

In gaining complete control of the material we expose ourselves to- we are taking steps towards improving our health and happiness. I understand that this isn’t always possible to control- but it’s something we can try to keep in mind.

It doesn’t make any sense to me- to invest our time in something that is perhaps going to have a negative impact on our well-being.

Productivity

I’m not sure of the exact figures, but I would guess that we spend a pretty substantial chunk of our week tuned in to news and media.

Why not free up some of that time spent listening to those irritating politicians go around in circles- and dedicate it towards some of the things which we had been putting off.

Maybe it’s the novel we had always dreamed of writing, or the business idea that has been simmering now for some time, or perhaps there is something we simply want to tick off our bucket list- whatever the case- let’s go and get after it.

Mindfulness

When we begin to limit our exposure to news and media, we allow ourselves to become more aware of our thoughts and feelings.

In doing so, we are afforded with the opportunity to listen to our inner voice, and to carry on passionately along the path that was set out for us.

Purpose and Meaning

In the act of looking inward- rather than allowing outside influences dictate our thoughts and actions- we begin to realize what it is that we really want to achieve in life.

We have an opportunity to create our own news- to impact the world and the lives of those around us in a positive way- with desire and fortitude.

The world will continue to turn- whether we decide to tune in or not- but the important thing is that we feel in control of our own destiny.

Like I said, I don’t feel like we are missing out on anything by deciding not to follow the news- quite the opposite actually. I feel like we can be better for it, and have much more to gain by deciding to take control of the information we consume.

If there is something of great importance- or is of relevance to our current situations- I figure we will find out sooner or later.

Who knows, perhaps the day will come when I will feel the need to start following the news- when I have transformed into one of those disagreeable old hecklers from ‘The Muppets’ and have become cynical and battle-hardened from the experiences of life- but I sincerely hope not.

Or better still, maybe by then the news will be filled with positive, inspirational, feel-good content that will leave us feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, excited to go and make the most of the day ahead; to live our lives to the fullest.

Now that is something I would tune in to.

We can live and hope- but until then- I’ll stick to my cartoons.

You can check out Patrick’s self-development website The Irish Introvert, and you can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook

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