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15 Important Life Lessons For Women

15 Important Life Lessons For Women

Growing up is tough. I still remember sitting in my college dorm and realizing that I actually had to go to the store to buy toothpaste and toilet paper. When I lived with my parents, it seemed that these and many other household items just magically repopulated. Little did I know that buying toiletries was going to be the least of my worries in years to come.

As women, we face particularly unique hurdles in life. We are lucky to have incredible examples of successful and thriving women around us, but it can be easy to let the inspiration from these women sit stagnant. Don’t let that happen to you. Let go of your fear; branch out and try something new.

As you look through this list of life lessons for women, find something that excites you, or even scares you, and then go for it!

1. You Must Be Your Own Advocate

“Young women, unlike our male counterparts, generally have too few people in our spheres that will advocate for us.” – Shelly Porges, of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards.

In your career, in your romantic relationships, in your friendships, and in your personal life you should understand what you want, what you don’t want, and what you need. Be prepared to fight for what you need. As far as what you want and don’t want, draw a line as to how far you’re willing to compromise.

For example, it’s easy to get frustrated and upset that women make 78 cents for every dollar that men make. But when is the last time you asked for a raise or even negotiated your starting pay? Sometimes advocating for yourself means having an uncomfortable conversation or dealing with conflict. Don’t be afraid to put on your big girl panties and do what you need to be your own advocate.

Besides, if you don’t fight for yourself who will?

2. You Need to Embrace a Healthful Lifestyle

“To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” – Buddha

You’ve got one body and one mind – it’s time to start taking care of them. Establishing healthy habits now is not only going to benefit your current life, but will also be an investment in your future.

Start drinking more responsibly, washing your face every night, moisturizing every day, putting sunscreen on before you leave the house, getting enough sleep every night, reading a book before you go to bed rather than scrolling through social media, or enrolling in a class that you find intriguing a few times a year. Find any way you can to minimize stress and maximize happiness in your day-to day-life.This list may be overwhelming, but if you just take one small habit and work on it for a month, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to incorporate new habits.

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And remember: When setting goals, it’s important to find that balance between improving your physical well being and your mental well being.

3. You Can Be Assertive AND Feminine

“We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.” – Margaret Atwood

It’s so easy to think that you are allowed to be either assertive or feminine. These two traits are not mutually exclusive! Define what femininity means for you and don’t be afraid to incorporate those manifestations in every aspect of your life. Just because you’re a manager at work doesn’t mean that you’re not allowed to be feminine and just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you can’t be assertive. This balance can be hard for women to master.

Establishing this balance takes time, but being aware of changes that you can make will ensure that you are authentic in all of your interactions.

4. Gossip Isn’t Good for Anyone

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Ladies, we are all in this together. Gossiping is an incredibly hard habit to break, but STOP! Fill your life with enough meaning that you don’t need to talk about someone else’s life to entertain yourself. There’s enough gossip about women in our world already. Be the type of woman that chooses to lift other women up, not tear them down. Although this means that you don’t participate in some conversations (or even feel a little out of the loop), being known as a woman that helps other women is far more beneficial in the long run.

Karma will do her job.

5. Courage Means Asking for Help

“You are never strong enough that you don’t need help.” – Cesar Chavez

We all need a little help sometimes. Asking for help shouldn’t become habitual, but it is important to understand when it is necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help that you need!

6. Life Goes On

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” – John Lennon

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Sometimes life feels overwhelming. To keep perspective during these times is extremely important. Whether you are faced with a task that feels insurmountable, grief that feels overwhelming, a decision that feels impossible, or a future that feels terrifying, it is important to remember that life goes on. Struggling is a part of the journey. As difficult as these parts of the journey are, it is important to embrace them.

Embracing the difficult times will help you enjoy the best times.

7. Self-Sufficiency Is Necessary

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face…we must do that which we think we cannot.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

The confidence that comes from being self-sufficient will carry you through the hardest time of your life. It’s tempting to let your parents take care of you until you find a partner. But even if this is a realistic option in your life, don’t do it!

Knowing that you can take care of yourself is invaluable. When supporting yourself you’ll find that you are more judicious about your bills. Rather than automatically renewing your car insurance you may want to shop around. It may be time to start buying some of your makeup at the drugstore. And planning a staycation may have more appeal than an intricate vacation.

Assess your current financial state, look for any dependencies that exist, and do what you can to start ensuring you are self-sufficient. Being emotionally self-sufficient is just as important as being financially self-sufficient. If you feel that you need a partner to be happy, take some time to step back and figure out how you can become more independent. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to break up with your current partner, but take small steps to establish habits that will give you the confidence that you need to thrive on your own.

8. You Can’t Please Everyone

“Let me listen to me and not to them.” – Gertrude Stein

As women, we have a tendency to try and make everyone happy. Sometimes people are going to be upset with you – and that’s okay. Trying to please everyone is exhausting and often provides poor results. Most often, by trying to please everyone you end up making a lot more people unhappy. Mastering the art of saying ‘no’ tactfully, being honest with others about how you feel, and understanding that it’s necessary to have uncomfortable conversations are all important skills to master.

Learning early on that you cannot please everyone will enable you to avoid a lot of stress in the long run.

9. Self-Compassion Is Invaluable

“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” – Malcom S. Forbes

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Be kind to yourself. Don’t compare yourself to other women. Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Do the best that you can do and let that be enough.

If that isn’t enough for someone, it may be time to remove that individual from your inner circles. The power of positive thinking will work wonders in your life!

10. Friendships Take Time

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” – Jane Austen

Making friends and maintaining friendships takes effort and time. It’s easy to be a good friend when convenient, but becomes much more difficult when it is inconvenient. Invest in a group of friends that you want to keep around for a long time. Schedule time to catch up with them, remember their birthdays, and be there for them when they need someone. Social ties have been shown to increase happiness levels and having people that you can count on is well worth the time that you invest.

As women it can be easy to have girlfriends when we are single and then forget about them as soon as we are in a relationship. Although your new relationship may be time consuming, be sure that you continue to reach out to your friends and keep those social ties strong.

11. Mother Knows Best

“A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.” – Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Whether it’s your mom or a ‘mom like’ figure in your life, be sure to listen up when they talk. It’s so easy to think that we ‘know better’ and that older women ‘just don’t understand’. Although they may not understand every single facet of the problem you are facing, their advice is worth listening to. If you choose to disregard their advice, you will probably find out the hard way that they were right.

Even if you don’t understand, it’s worth it to listen to and take the advice of your mom. More than likely, you will be happy that you did.

12. Obsessing About Men Won’t Get You Anywhere

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Create a life that you love and you will be able to attract partners into that life that are the type of partner you want long term. I know this is much easier said than done but it will be SO worth it. If you are continually evolving and becoming a better version of yourself, the odds that you will attract a better version of a potential partner will increase.

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Investing time and energy into an obsession about a future partner is a total waste of time – avoid it like the plague!

13. You’ll Make Mistakes

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” – John Wooden

One of the best ways to learn is by making mistakes. Focusing on and striving for perfection will result in heartache and frustration. Do the best that you can and be gentle with yourself when you make a mistake. When you make a mistake, be willing to admit that and apologize if needed. Don’t apologize excessively; instead, take action.

Do what you need to do to fix the situation and move right along!

14. It Helps to Let Go of Stress

“Nothing is miserable unless you think it so; and on the other hand, nothing brings happiness unless you are content with it.” Boethius.

Do you stay up at night and worry about things that are out of your control? Are you stressed about potential problems in the future? Being stressed and worrying are survival skills that we need, but that are often abused in today’s world. If you are constantly stressed or constantly worried your body can experience negative symptoms. These symptoms will soon become extremely problematic and cause other health problems in the future.

Learn to manage your stress now. You may need to see a therapist, take some time for yourself, or start participating in stress relieving practices to ensure you can let go of unnecessary stress. It’s a lifelong pursuit.

15. We’re All in This Together

“The success of every single woman is the inspiration for another.” – Dianve Von Furtsenburg

Ladies, we are our own worst critics. Stop talking about the way your coworker dresses. Stop belittling other women to get a leg up. Start encouraging each other, start being a positive force in the lives of other women, and realize that we are all in this together. Remember: The more women out there that succeed, the better off we all are.

Take these lessons one at a time and learn to truly incorporate them into your life. Slowly but surely, you will start to see a positive difference.

Featured photo credit: Woman hair falling via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

We often hear people talk about the importance of living in the present and the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, especially the lower levels of stress and anxiety, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly worrying about the past or plans for the future?

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then, we’ll look at some of the obstacles and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.

The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.

The Importance of Living in the Moment

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha

While it can be difficult to live in the moment, it has innumerable benefits.

Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:

Better Health

By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being[1].

Improve Your Relationships

Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally s/he’s a million miles away?

Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and building relationships with them extremely difficult.

How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with her/him because we can make a much deeper connection.

By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.

Greater Self-Control

You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier[2].

Why Do We Worry?

Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.

When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then, once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.

Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.

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Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.

3 Steps to Start to Live in the Moment

Step 1: Overcome Worrying

In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:

Calm Your Mind

When you calm your mind, you are able to see more clearly.

The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. Then, we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.

In addition to seeing more clearly, a calm mind will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions, allowing you to live in the present.

Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems

Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.

People with more education tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.

If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.

Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment

In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, as well as outside influences.

Racing Mind

Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.

You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.

If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down.

Unpleasant Situations and a Troublesome Past

None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.

So how do most people cope with painful emotions?

By doing whatever we can to avoid them, we can take our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.

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In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.

Some people resort to things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as food, alcohol, or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.

A Wandering Mind

From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. Therefore, it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.

Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. One thought starts an endless chain of thoughts, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function or get distracted with something else.

Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities[3].

Outside Influences

Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The media draws our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future[4].

Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.

Step 3: Practice Mindfulness

So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?

Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.

Understand Mindfulness

The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful is to live in the moment.

When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment, and you are fully in touch with reality[5].

You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.

This may be counterintuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then, much of our understanding will come from simple observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.

To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.

If you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you live in the moment.

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You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you and suit your lifestyle.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.

Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.

You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to start spending time away from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.

This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.

If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article: What Is Mindfulness Meditation? 7 Ways to Start Meditating

Mindful Breathing

While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.

You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.

Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)

Mindful Walking

Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting or calling someone while walking. But are we really?

Instead of getting on your cell phone or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking to train yourself to live in the moment and focus on the task at hand?

Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing, but instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.

You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.

In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable and can really help your mind settle down.

You can discover more benefits of walking in nature here.

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Mindful Eating

Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. Therefore, many of us try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.

The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level[6]. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.

Live in the present with mindful eating.

    Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss[7].

    So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:

    • Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
    • Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself.
    • Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.

    You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating

    Mindful Activities

    Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander,. When it does, just bring your attention back to washing dishes.

    Notice some of the specific movements or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.

    You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.

    Final Thoughts

    Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time, and this will add up to greater peace and happiness, as well as get you closer to achieving your goals.

    Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.

    Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning, but I can assure you it will get easier.

    The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying. When you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.

    More About Living in the Present

    Featured photo credit: Smile Su via unsplash.com

    Reference

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